Drum Roll . . . I Have An Agent!

J.R. -- Rainbow 2

After many months of pitching my book, HILLBILLY, QUEER, I’m delighted to finally say that I’ve signed with NYC-based literary agent Julie Stevenson of Massie & McQuilkin. In the end, I received four offers of representation. The final four were all great and had much to offer, but Julie is the one who I feel truly gets me and the book.

When I queried Julie in April, she wrote back within an hour and told me what she loved about the pitch and how it has connections to her own lived experiences. She told me that my dad sounds a lot like her dad and she couldn’t wait to read my book. Then when we first connected by phone, the synergy was immediate. We talked for over an hour. She knew my book inside and out, she understands my career as an author and where I want to go, and she has clear ideas on how to get there.

Julie grew up in a working-class town in Montana and made the big move to New York for college. She has been a literary agent for 10 years. Prior to that, she worked in the editorial departments of Tin House and Publishers Weekly. Over the past 10 years, Julie has signed authors who have gone on to become New York Times Bestsellers and Pulitzer Prize Winners. Her agency, Massie & McQuilkin, represents a strong family of writers including people I admire like Lidia Yuknavitch, Roxane Gay, Sharma Shields, and Ashley C. Ford. I am completely in awe (and shock) that my name will be added to that list.

This is a feeling I never want to forget, and, after months of swimming in the slush pile, I’m allowing the universe to send this my way while remaining humbled by knowing that I am only one of many authors who sign with an agent each year.

There are many people who helped me along this path to getting an agent. But, most namely, I want to give shout outs to my husband, Cory, for believing in me and allowing me the time and space to write and pitch (and for handling my melt downs with grace), and to my best friend and partner-in-crime, Kelsey Timmerman, who gave me kicks in the ass every time I said I was going to quit; and he always gave me sound industry advice when I needed it (even if sometimes I’d argue with him on how I thought he was wrong).

This is just the beginning. The next path forward is finding the right publishing house, and I know this part of the journey will be smooth sailing with my agent, Julie Stevenson, by my side.

Thank you for all of your support, friends.


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