Can you believe Thanksgiving is upon us?!
I certainly can’t. My mind is still halfway in sticky NYC August or cool, colorful September. What are these boots and jackets? What is this Christmas music piping into the coffee shop? Why are stores opening at 3 a.m. this Friday (!!!) to entice shoppers with big bargains? Where did fall go?!
Maybe time flew so fast because I’ve been doing so much flying, myself. From Florida to Illinois, from South Dakota to Wisconsin, from Louisiana to Ohio, I’ve checked off a lot of new states on my “Places to Go” map and met a lot of writers, organizers, and new friends in the process. (I’ve also eaten cheese curds, lobster, beignets, buffalo, and enjoyed a whole lot of wine!)
This week, I’m happy to be back in California for a while to enjoy friends, family, and my wonderful colleagues. The ABLit team will be congregating at Big Sur next weekend. (If you missed out on planning for December, March spots are still available for this intimate writers workshop with a great student/faculty ratio (and a gorgeous setting!). To find out more, click here. We’ve got the ABLit agents teaching, as well as big NY editors and beloved children’s book writers and illustrators. Marla Frazee’s going to be there in December! Squee!)
As for the blog, I’m taking today and Friday off to just hang out and relax after my hectic fall adventures. I’ve read a lot of great manuscripts, I’ve picked up a few great clients, I’ve sold some fantastic projects, and now it’s time to sit back and check in with myself and plan for next year.
This is, of course, the season of giving thanks, and I wouldn’t be anywhere without the love of my family, my friends (west coast, east coast, and everywhere in between!), my inspiring colleagues and amazing mentor, Andrea, and all the other meaningful relationships in my life. And Sushi, who is my little furry ray of sunshine. I’m grateful for my readers, too, who challenge me and ask the right questions and spread the word and make what I do on this website so fulfilling and interesting. I read my old posts all the time — to update them and post them as “from the archives” features on Twitter and Facebook (click the links to follow me or add me as a friend) — and it’s been really interesting to see how the blog has changed, how my opinions have shifted, how I’ve grown in the last year.
Not all changes have been for the best, though. From talking with colleagues and other friends in the agenting business, I know that the second year can be one of the most frustrating, especially with all of these fundamental shifts in the business and the bad taste of a recession still in the mouths of many publishers. I feel like I’m still finding my way, honing my judgment, getting the most accurate read on the industry and my own place in it. These are not new experiences for any agent, but this fall has seen projects I love go unsold, manuscripts I love go to other agents, and clients become former clients.
This, of course, is part of building a career, and I’m keeping my usual longview perspective. I’m also reinvesting time and energy in myself and my passion for writing, teaching, and publishing. This spring, I’ll see the wonderful milestone of the first actual books I’ve sold hitting shelves! (The months are March and May and the books are PELLY AND MR. HARRISON VISIT THE MOON by Lindsay Ward and BUGLETTE, THE MESSY SLEEPER by Bethanie Murguia.) I think that will help a lot with this odd in-between feeling.
Just like writing is a journey, and life, it should come as no surprise that agenting is full of ups, downs, lessons, and revelations. I hope to share some of those as the blog moves forward, and as I wrap my head around them!
As for December, I have loads more questions to answer from the last time I reached out for question ideas. I’ve also been reading a lot, so I will recommend some books that I think are especially wonderful from fall and from the upcoming spring season. My travel schedule in the next few months is nowhere near as hectic, so look forward to an engaging and tranquil December, with regular posts. For all of you finishing up NaNoWriMo novels…good luck sprinting to that 50k finish line!
Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all who read, enjoy, and support kidlit.com. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!