Books Update

In October I sent my agent, Lucy, 25ish pages from the non-fiction book I’ve been working on. I was terrified to send them to her for a few reasons. 

1) She signed me for a fantasy novel, and these pages were from a NF business/energy book for creatives. She didn’t have to rep me for anything, and this is certainly outside the scope of things we had initially embarked upon together.

2) I had gone MIA while people were dying and hadn’t really talked to her in close to two years. Honestly, she could have dropped me in that time and it would have been totally understandable & justified. 

But, when she got the pages she was thrilled to hear from me.  I finally made time to look at  my new agency website, (My agency, Kneerim & Williams merged with another one during the dying years bringing me under Calligraph now. ) and when I saw my name on their client list I almost started crying.  It was such a relief, and maybe I hadn’t totally sabotaged my entire career in the few years I needed to say goodbye to people.

In late November, Lucy and I zoomed to talk about the non-fiction pages. It was weird to talk to her, like when you haven’t seen a friend in a few years & forgot how to talk like a real human. But, I remembered how eventually, and we talked about the non-fiction book & her super cute puppy. 

She was on board with the NF, which was a huge relief, and had brilliant questions to help me really see the bigger scope of the project. She said she would send me some questions about NF stuff via email, and “How was I feeling about fiction?”

I was feeling good about fiction and this GAME ON look came over Lucy’s face, and she said “Let’s meet again in January, and you can give me 5-10 fiction book ideas and your first pass at a NF Book proposal.”

I nodded my head, because I did want to get back to work. But inside I was all 5-10 book ideas. holy fuck that is a lot of book ideas. & I’ve never written a book proposal, & blah, blah, blah.

(In writing world to sell a fiction book you write the whole book first. To sell a NF book you write a proposal, which is a 30ish page document that’s part outline/market research/qualifications proof why people should listen to you. The beauty of the NF route is you can get paid for a book before you put in all the time to write it.) 

Well Lucy’s real smart and those questions she kept emailing were just bits and pieces of the book proposal so that made it feel much more manageable.

I came up with 5 book ideas (& all my fiction writer friends agreed 5-10 was like a jaw-dropping amount, but I think Lucy was just trying to get me back to real work mode which I appreciate.) There was one I knew was a compelling sell. And there was one that felt distinctly me. 

When I met with Lucy in January she picked up on the fiction idea that was distinctly me, and I breathed the biggest sigh of relief ever.  

She’s the right agent for me. She likes my work wherever it’s ends up taking us. And, she knew to give me time to grieve and recover before pushing me to get back to work.

I am firmly back to work on both the NF book and the new fiction one and it feels good.

It feels good to have my brains back and energy/focus to do what I love. It also feels like any doubts I may have clung to from when I was a baby writer about not being good enough or fully valued for my skills died. There’s a confidence and solidity I haven’t felt before, both in my writing and in my partnership with Lucy. 

I don’t want to share about these books yet. My instincts say it’s time to just create the things and share when they’re ready for public consumption. 

I do need to say a specific thank you to those of you attending the Sat workshops though, because the stuff we’re exploring in those sessions is really helpful for the NF book. I appreciate your vulnerability and insights, they’re helping me write the book now, but they’re going to help so many more readers later. 

Thanks for sticking around and supporting me.  I appreciate you. 

Jessica 

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