Lessons From a Literary Agent - Part One
Updated: Nov 18
November 15, 2020
Welcome. I am excited to meet you and I am "Grateful" to you for visiting my Grateful Author website and blog. I felt this was the best way to keep my fans and readers informed as to the progress of my debut book, Grateful: Faith, Healing and the Gift of Music, a Christian memoir detailing my life's journey living with Bipolar Disorder. Well actually, my literary agent and I both concluded that this would be the best way.
I truly owe a debt of gratitude to her for taking such time and care when it comes to finding the right publisher for my memoir, and guiding me on the journey of reaching people with my story. She is working tirelessly and making submissions, much the way that I did when I embarked on the journey of finding the right literary agent. I have to tell you, that process was almost as lengthy as writing the book itself. It was tedious. It is not a process where an author creates just one proposal and then sends it out to as many agents as possible. Each agency has a specific set of submission guidelines.
I spent about eight hours a day for weeks writing, tweaking, researching, editing and finally, submitting to as many Christian literary agencies as I could. The one who now represents me, required what ultimately ended up being a fifty page proposal, complete with marketing strategies, excerpts and a detailed biography and background on me, the author. As God would have it, I kind of won the literary lottery.
My proposal found its way to a new agent within one of the country's top ten Christian literary agencies, who did not have a full roster of authors already. When I say new, I don't mean new to the business. On the contrary, she is quite experienced as an agent and author herself. She was just new to that agency and consequently looking for new authors. She had an interest in non-fiction stories such as mine and believed in educating people, especially people within the church, on just how real mental illness is, and she felt as passionate as I did about stripping away at the unfair stigma society still attaches to it.
She signed me last Fall and explained that the journey to the right publisher could be a lengthy one. As a singer/songwriter and jazz vocalist who has knocked on many locked doors, I was no stranger to the waiting game. I assured her that I had acquired a thick skin over the years, and that I knew this was hardly a process to rush.
God bless her, she is very attentive. I call her with ideas as to how I'd like to go about promoting the book, even before it's published. She never hesitates to chime in with her expertise. She encourages nearly every idea I take to her. She supported my decision to join the Catholic Writers Guild, to post videos and video blogs on social media featuring the original music that goes with each chapter of the book, to start this blog and website, and to book speaking engagements.
As a professor of jazz voice at Kent State University, I have been interviewed about my book and quoted for published articles by their Marketing and Communications Department for all faculty and staff to read. I have been asked to speak to the university chapter of Active Minds, the national non-profit organization on mental health awareness, and also for several other university organizations with the same goal in mind. I have also been interviewed by the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper and website. All of these print and internet publications reached tens of thousands of people, educating and informing them not only about the progress of my book, but on mental illness in general. For this I am truly "Grateful."
I am both thrilled and excited to share my story with others who might relate to my life-long struggle with Bipolar Disorder. I am beyond grateful to my literary agent, not only for signing me but also for guiding me through this unchartered territory. I am anxious to help others understand that they too can find themselves one day living in remission from this horrible disease, the way that I am today, and to let them know that God has their back, like He has mine.
Something really pushed me to be candid and honest throughout every chapter. I have lived a life of struggle, pain, fear, but ultimately hope and faith. I do not regret one step of the walk that I have endured, despite all of its flaws and missteps. As I asked in my book: how can I regret the road that led me to a richer faith life?
Please head over to the website home page to read some excerpts from the book to gain a little better understanding of why I am so grateful, and check back often for more! Please also fill out a contact form so that we can stay in close touch.
Thank you and God bless!