My First Full Year as a Literary Agent: Six Lessons I Learned

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So last year was my first full year working as a literary agent.

I had a lot of awesome victories that I shouted to the social media winds and posted about here. I signed a number of rockstar authors, from well-established authors to debuts. You can check out my team in this handy Twitter list. They are all wonderful. I went to a bundle of conferences all around the country, so many that I can’t remember all the places. I even sold some books I can’t quite announce just yet.

And the ones I did announce? I’m so proud of them.

And while all of that sounds awesome, there were some big hurdles in the mix, and some major lessons I took away. Because for every author I picked up, there was another I didn’t get to work with. There were conferences that were, sadly, not a good use of my time. And I’m going to try to get better at handling all of these things.

Here are some of the lessons I learned, that I hope you can learn from too. Read more

SPINE OUT: January 19th, Reading in NYC with Samira Ahmed, Emmy Laybourne, & More

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Oh. Oh my. Now this is exciting. In mid-January, I’ll be joining a number of awesome authors, including one I work with (I represent Samira Ahmed!), for a special reading in New York City.

Spine Out.

Emmy Laybourne, bestselling YA author of books like Monument 14 and Sweet (this was one of my favorite books last year, you guys), hosts this wonderful event in NYC every other month or so, inviting authors to come share personal essays on stage.

It’s been a long time since I read a personal essay at a reading. The last time… oh goodness, was First Person Arts in Philadelphia, maybe? Valentine’s Day like two years ago? I’m not even sure. Point is, it doesn’t happen often, I’m just so thrilled to be invited.

You can grab tickets off of Dixon Place’s website, and there’s a Facebook page where you can RSVP, if you want.

Deals: Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed Acquired by Soho Teen

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Update: Samira’s debut has been re-titled Love, Hate & Other Filters! You can add it on Goodreads here!

Oh man.

Here we go.

Back in February, during one of the many publishing pitch events on Twitter (#PitMatch, a team up between the crew of #PitMad and #MSWL), I came across Samira Ahmed’s query, which, and I’ve said it multiple times and in emails to editors, I favorited so fast I nearly broke my mouse.

Here’s that original tweet:

Four days later, I called and offered to represent her. She dishes about all that here.

Four days. That’s how fast I read this manuscript. Faster, really. I read it in a single weekend. It was beautiful, hilarious, and heartbreaking. It felt important and utterly needed. A story of a girl torn between worlds, the one of her family and the one she wants. Of her family’s dreams and her own. Of two boys. Of two futures. And it all comes falling down when a terrorist attack hits a nearby city, and the alleged bomber shares a last name with her and her family.

It asks a gripping question. What happens to the one Muslim girl, and the one Muslim family, in a town suddenly rocked by fear and peers driven by misguided hatred? 

It’s my belief that this book will give Muslim teenagers a powerful place to see themselves in literature, during a time when hatemongers are continued to be given a platform in our media. I hope they see this book and know they are wanted. That their voices matter.

In fact, while discussing the book on Twitter this weekend, one teenager sent out an excited tweet about the book, and it made me tear up:

This book tackles important themes with grace and breathtaking prose, and I’m so thrilled to announce it’ll be on shelves soon.

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LOVE, HATE & OTHER FILTERS by Samira Ahmed has been acquired by Daniel Ehrenhaft at Soho Teen, the YA imprint of Soho Press. Daniel worked on my favorite book of 2015, More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera, and is an incredibly talented editor who understands and believes in this book’s message. It’ll hit shelves everywhere in the Spring of 2018.

Epic thanks to Daniel at the team at Soho for taking this book on. Be sure to follow Samira on Twitter, and send her all the congrats.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some more crying to do.

And remember, querying authors. Social media is a fantastic resource. Samira and I found each other there, and just a few months later… here we are.