2019: A Decade in Agenting

This little blog has slowly become a place where, once a year, I offer query stats. I didn’t know that 2018 would be my last year of A Year in Queries. And I really didn’t know at the time that 2019 would be my last full year of being a literary agent after nearly a decade.

It’s still slightly surreal to say out loud, but it’s true. My big 2019 news is that I have left Bradford Literary and my career as a literary agent. Starting in 2020, I’ll be offering freelance editorial services with my new venture, Next Chapter Editorial. I’m also going to continue teaching writing workshops, and focus on my own writing again (!). There will be more details – and an actual website – for my editorial services soon. Stay tuned!

If you came here for query stats or a hope that this post would be my announcement that I’m opening back up to queries, I’m sorry. You can cross me off your lists, but I hope you add a different Bradford Literary agent in my place! The support I’ve received from my BLA colleagues has been overwhelming, and I feel so lucky to have worked with these amazing women.

I’m not going to get too into my feelings about not being an agent anymore because I truly wouldn’t even know where to start. This was a decision that was both painfully obvious and managed to take me by surprise.

We read articles about burn-out and the importance of self-care all the time. They make us feel “seen” right before we keep scrolling to the next thing. The part of work/life balance that gets talked about less is what happens after you find it. When the anxiety and stress of trying to achieve that balance is no longer the thing occupying 90% your brain.

For me, not being totally consumed by work allowed me to view it as a job again, and not experience it the way I had been: as my identity. ::cue “Going Through the Motions” from Buffy::

Here’s what I know about me – I’m a good editor. I genuinely love teaching, advising, and problem-solving. These are the parts of being an agent where I’m confident and happy, but they are only a fraction of what makes a good agent.

Here’s what else I know – I might be a good writer. I don’t know this for sure yet, but I know I used to be pretty OK, so I’m looking forward to finding out if I still am in 2020.

Thinking like an agent isn’t going to be something I easily turn off and I hope I never do. I’m looking forward to taking it with me to my next adventure, and using that perspective and experience to help writers in new ways.

More from me soon, either here or Twitter or elsewhere (but let’s be real… probably Twitter). Thanks, everyone, for an amazing, bittersweet, and inspiring year. And if any of you need to bring this advice into 2020 with you, remember:

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