Jennybondurant’s Blog

Interview with a Literary Agent

Posted in Uncategorized,Writing by jennybondurant on September 5, 2009

A common response I’ve had when asking people for connections and help with finding an agent to represent my novel is “Do you know how hard it is to get published today?” and then they start talking statistics on how publishers aren’t printing as many books, people don’t read as much, etc. Of course, I still want the dream, so I resigned myself to the fact that I may be beating my head against a wall in this effort.

When an agent actually e-mailed with an interest in representing my novel, my first instinct was blind joy. Then, cautioned by writer friends to make sure the offer is legit, I crashed – this must be a scam – especially since I couldn’t find much on the Internet about the agent.

After speaking with Paul Zack on Thursday, though, hopes are rising again. His agency is young, even though his entire career has been in publishing, editing, marketing and advertising. No, he doesn’t have a long list of success stories to share, but the most important thing I gleaned from the conversation with him: If the book is good enough, it will sell.

He’s in Illinois, not New York, and when I asked if he uses connections he made in his previous positions in publishing to get his authors in print, he said he doesn’t believe that matters. If the book is not good, it won’t matter who your friends in publishing are – it won’t get published. If it is good, it will. He cautioned that in this publishing climate we have to be patient and there are no promises, but he gave the process a hopeful air – and an authentic one. Yes, publishers’ catalogs have been cut from 1/4 to 1/3 in many cases, but they are still publishing good books. He isn’t jaded about the process.

And since he thinks my book is good enough for him to invest in as an agent, I think we are on a good wavelength.

Waiting for the author-agent agreement from him, so I can review the details, but looking forward …


Am I learning a lesson?

Posted in Uncategorized by jennybondurant on September 1, 2009

Trying to find info on Paul Zack Literary Agency, but can’t find any other authors he has represented. Waiting to hear back with details, but wondering if this is a scam and I am learning a lesson??

I fell off the blogosphere and landed an agent for my novel.

Posted in Uncategorized,Writing by jennybondurant on September 1, 2009

I started sending queries out for Disappearing Acts, my first novel, in May of this year and intended to blog about the experience. From doing my own research, I know how helpful it is to read others’ personal experiences with agents and their responses. Two blogs into the process, life threw me an unexpected and unbelievable curve – my friend’s little boy who had been battling cancer started failing and the doctors sent him home with hospice care. Zac Talley was expected to not live more than a couple of days, but in an incredible display of spirit and love, he stayed with us for six indescribable weeks. My friend Chrystal and her husband showed such strength and love and care during Zac’s time at home, the weeks he stayed in between this world and the next.

I never expected that life would bring me to a place where I would help a friend by sitting up during the night beside her 7-year-old child, where I would watch to make sure that he kept breathing, praying to God to heal him and then praying for God to take Zac into his arms and make him whole again in heaven, if that was the place where his journey was going to take him. I never expected to have to sit by my friend and help her through the loss of her son. Blogging about a novel was a trivial experience to even think about, so I didn’t do it. But on a few nights when I sat up with Zac so his mom could get some sleep, I sat with my laptop on my lap and researched agents, wrote a few more queries, working to keep myself awake with one eye on Zac in the middle of the night.

Zac earned his angel wings on July 8. Life slowly, sadly, returns to a normal pace and routine for me and my family, while Zac’s family is still figuring out a new, painful life without him. I have re-joined my writer’s group, wonderful women I had missed during the first part of the summer because it was too hard to be anywhere else but at Zac’s house, close to him, whenever I could. I have even started working on a new novel, which feels like insanity but I know there is another story inside of me, ready to get out if I can sit down long enough at the keyboard.

Over the summer, I received a handful of agent requests for a full manuscript or for a few chapters from Disappearing Acts. I received a few turn-downs, with much appreciated critiques. I received a request for a full copy of the manuscript to review on July 24 from the Paul J. Zack Literary Agency. Today, the agency e-mailed an offer to represent my novel, and I still can’t believe it.

The older I get, the more I believe that all things are connected. Thank you, Zac, for letting me hold your hand and be a part of your journey. Thank you, Paul J. Zack, for a new journey about to begin.