Welcome to Picture Book Spotlight!
Ahhhhh...the end of July. Harry Potter's birthday. The death of summer fast approaching in the northern hemisphere. And back to school commercials and store displays in full swing, subsequently triggering all teachers...
This of course includes myself. Sweet freedom is but a few weeks from ending. But if I'm totally honest, I get a little excited when August rolls around because I actually love teaching. Each new school year is a chance to start fresh. A chance to improve my skills with a new group of students. A chance to make grandiose promises to myself that I will actually grade essays faster this time...
In all seriousness, this will be my third year as a high school English teacher (seventh year as a teacher if I don't count my time as a sub and paraprofessional) and I'm super pumped to go back. My primary and driving passion is to help my students discover, rediscover, or grow in their love of reading and writing. There's obviously way more to it than that, but I always try to keep those objectives at the heart of everything we do.
And this year is extra special for me. Not only will I be heading into the school year with my Master's under my belt (Master's of Science in Education with an emphasis in Reading from Arkansas State University), but also just before my debut picture book comes out--not to mention the third year of #PBCritiqueFest! I have a feeling it's going to be a whirlwind of a fall semester...prayers, coffee, and cinnamon rolls are appreciated.
Quick commercial for THE BOOK OF RULES. I don't know how it happened...cough...but Dennis the monster...has his own Twitter account. You should follow him. That is all.
Today, we have an extra special Agent Spotlight. Why is it special? Because it's with Kaitlyn Sanchez! As most of you know, Kaitlyn does a ton for the kid lit community and is always a bright light of encouragement. And she's been killing it as an agent for Context Literary Agency so I had to bring her on. Kaitlyn will be doing a giveaway for this post, so be sure to check out the end of the interview for details.
Alright. Without further ado...
Fade to black. Quiet backstage! Cue the spotlight...
Congrats on your agenting journey so far! I’ve been so thrilled to see sales happening and that you’re building your list and generally just being awesome. What’s been the most meaningful or rewarding part of your job as an agent so far?
Thanks so much, Brian! I can’t believe it’s been over a year-and-a-half since I stopped by to talk about becoming an agent intern! And way to start off with a tough question! It's so hard to pick one thing, but if I have to pick, the most meaningful things are the connections--with my clients, mentors, and the amazing editors in the industry. There are so many phenomenal people working to bring beautiful books into the world, and being a small part of that just lights up my world, especially when I see the wonderful stories my clients create turning into books before our eyes.
What are some recent sales that you’re really jazzed about? Any clients you want to gush on or give a shout out to?
All of them! Including the ones we can't talk about just yet that may or may not include an auction. ;)
As for my clients, I want to gush about all of them, too! They are such amazing storytellers and editors and just the greatest people, always working together to help each other, it makes me so proud to be on their team.
When you think about building your client list, what are you most excited to see? What types of picture books might not be the best fit for you?
Wow, this one is a doozy, too! You ask all the hard questions, Brian. Right now, I'm looking to build my MG and YA side, so those of you PB people that also have the magic ability to write novels, definitely keep me in mind. When it comes to PB style, I tend to like pretty much everything as long as it's not too didactic (with the exception of concept books, of course). I tend not to be attracted to traditional fairytale things like fairies and princesses, but if a story really takes a cool spin, like how MALEFICENT did and how Tracy Marchini and Joana Pastro did with their princess PBs, or of it's a super hilarious take, I might be game. ;)