Last April, I made writing a priority in my life.  My goal is to be a published author, and I’ve taken another step on this journey by accepting representation by a literary agent.  Though there’s much work to be done, I thought I’d continue to share what I learn along the way.  In this post, I reflect on the past year and prepare for the months ahead.

When I attended the 2016 ACFW Conference this past summer, I had the opportunity to pitch a middle grade manuscript to several literary agents.  During one agent meeting, we had additional time, so I shared my idea for a second middle grade book.  I asked for her advice since I had heard the middle grade market is tough. She loved the story but offered a twist I had not considered:  instead of a seventh grade female protagonist as I proposed, she suggested my main character be a 16-year-old Amish girl during her Rumspringa.  I responded with excitement because I have had opportunities to immerse myself in the world of Amish fiction for the past few years.  This is another example of God at work in my life. I agreed to write the story with Thanksgiving as the target completion date.  But as I drove home from Nashville, the middle grade characters reclaimed my heart, and their story flooded my mind.

I spent about a month on the middle grade book, but a dear friend encouraged me to give the Amish story a try. Literary agents know the market–it might be in my best interest to follow their advice.  So, I set aside my seventh graders and created a community among the Amish.  In November, I sent the literary agent a synopsis and the first three chapters of the Amish novel.  She requested the full manuscript in December.  At the end of January, she offered representation, and I signed a contract with her!  We had our first phone meeting earlier this week.

In preparation for the meeting, I considered book ideas for an Amish series anchored by the manuscript in her hands.  I wrote a synopsis for book #2 and composed a paragraph about book #3.  When a second series came to light, I did preliminary research and jotted down my ideas.  The day before the big phone call, I shared the pitches with my writers group and noted their suggestions.

I was excited for the conversation with the agent because she and I had such a positive interaction when we met in person.  On many occasions I’ve heard the relationship between writers and agents is critically important–you function as a team.  The great vibe continued over the phone.  In addition to the book ideas I mentioned, we talked about revisions, how I can improve as a writer, what we need to do to prepare a proposal, and how she pitches to editors.  She outlined the next steps for me and explained how she will help manage my time.  When I asked about the middle grade manuscript, she offered to pass it along to their agent who works in that division of the industry.  I sent a synopsis and the first three chapters along with Vacation Bible School curriculum I created based on the book.  I look forward to the feedback–does it have potential?  Or should I set it aside for good?

For now, I will push forward with revisions and research.  Hotel reservations have been made, and I can’t wait for the road trips!


  1. Judy Neal

    Laurie, couldn’t be happier for you.You do have a talent and glad you are being offered a chance to share. Love you. Aunt Judy

Comments are closed.