No longer am I alone in this world to sell and promote the writings of Kelsey Timmerman. I have help. Her name is Caren.
I have officially signed with the Caren Johnson Literary Agency. I met her at a writing conference in my hometown, Muncie, Indiana. I sat at a table with agent-hungry writers and asked Caren, “I have a couple of agents interested in my book and I’m not sure what to do. Any thoughts?” To which the agent-hungry writers rolled their eyes and said a version of “oh, you poor thing.”
Yes, it was a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. Caren asked me what my book was and she said something like, “There aren’t that many original ideas out there, but this is one.”
She had me at “original.”
I hadn’t really started seriously looking at agents until they started finding me. For nonfiction books you don’t have to have the book completed, only a book proposal outlining your idea, the market, the content of the book, and a sample chapter. My intention was to write my book proposal first and then start looking for agents.
I had been monitoring the book deals on Publishers Marketplace for the past year looking for agents that were selling works similar to mine and I had a rough idea of who I was going to send it to, but, to my surprise, other agents contacted me first. So, instead of doing the whole query-the-agent game where my proposal sits in the slush pile of authorial dreams, I focused my efforts on those who were interested already.
Still, this was a bit overwhelming. Some of them wanted exclusive reading rights, which meant I couldn’t send it out to anyone else while they held it hostage. I read articles on the internet about how courting more than one agent would ruin your career. How much agent shopping can a fella do without pissing off other agents and ending up with none of them interested?
And then Caren called a few days after I sent her my proposal. She was excited. I was excited. She offered to represent me. But even though I was jumping up and down on the inside, I remained calm and asked for some time to think about it. The following few weeks I googled the heck out of Ms. Caren Johnson. She’s been written about on Media Bistro, on Publisher’s marketplace, and many other of the right places. She has 30 some reported sales – more than any of the other agents I looked at. She has a blog.
She met all the requirements I was looking for in an agent:
1. She liked my writing and my book.
2. She didn’t request I snail mail her my proposal. Live in the now people.
3. She lives in New York, the heart of the publishing industry. I live in Indiana where I have absolutely zero publishing contacts and I don’t want my agent to be from Alaska.
4. She’s driven. After working for several different agencies she’s now on her own.
5. Her clients seem to like her an awful lot.
Regardless of how naïve my requirements were, they were mine, and Caren met every one of them.
No one is more excited about my book than me. Trust me. But Caren is close. If anyone can get a publisher excited about Where am I Wearing? it’s Caren.