After years of writing and querying, I have now signed with Joshua Bilmes of JABberwocky Literary Agency.
Why signing with this agent is significant: he works with some amazing authors like Charlaine Harris, writer of the Sookie Stackhouse novels (later adapted into TRUE BLOOD), Brandon Sanderson (author of the Mistborn and Stormlight Archive series), Elizabeth Moon, who wrote one of my favorite near-future sci-fi novels THE SPEED OF DARK, and a number of other authors who have achieved incredible success with his help.
This is a significant life event if you know a lick about publishing. In fact, it took me almost twenty-four hours to actually enjoy the news, because my anxiety was so shot through the roof that everything had turned into a surreal blur. (Everything’s better now, and I’ve been having a blast celebrating with Joshua at the Nebula Conference in LA).
If you live well outside the writing community, you may be wondering what a literary agent does. You can roughly correlate them to talent managers – Joshua is the guy who will guide me in my writing career; sending my books to editors at publishing houses (editors are the people who find books for their houses), negotiating contracts in case an editor makes an offer on my book, selling foreign rights so I can publish in other countries, and much more. He’s an editor in his own right; he provides feedback and suggestions so I can make my book the best it can be before it goes on submission. Agents also help writers deal with the emotional highs and lows in publishing. This commitment is a big deal for him too, as authors and agents can stick together for years, and I know it’s rare for a writer to leave his agency. This says a lot about how amazing it will be to join the family at JABberwocky Literary Agency.
So many people helped me improve my craft over the years; namely the Pitch Wars community, which was an endless reservoir of support and positive energy. In particular, Judi Lauren is the one who opened the door to such a fantastic community, and I’ll always cherish the memories we shared during 2016 Pitch Wars (she has an editing service side hustle too, in case you’re interested). Yes, it took two and a half years after Pitch Wars to snag an agent! So don’t worry so much if you’ve participated and have yet to find representation. I promise you your journey is just starting, so long as you have the drive to keep going. You can do it.
Finally, I need to thank Joshua. He offered feedback on multiple drafts of my book’s first fifty pages, then read through the entire thing more than once and provided notes before taking me on as a client. This was a gamble on his part, since there was no guarantee my edits could rise to the occasion, so it means a lot he would put so much time and effort into no sure thing. If you’d like to read the specifics on what my journey from query to signing looked like, you can learn more about that here.
I can finally end this chapter on Clay’s Publishing Odyssey. Woo!