Moment of gratitude: I accepted an offer of representation from the fabulous Ammi-Joan Paquette back in 2010, and I’ve yet to feel anything other than slobberingly good about that decision. However, signing with Joan was the culminating moment of an agent search process that showed me what a kind, generous, and encouraging community of professionals I was about to join, because I received so many offers of help in my agent search.
I didn’t ask anyone for a referral because I felt really, really uncomfortable with the idea of imposing on anyone like that, but luckily for me people offered me those referrals on their own. More than one of them were from EMLA clients, which played no small role in my final decision, but they weren’t the only ones. Pretty much all of those referrals came from people I’d only communicated with online, although I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many of those people face-to-face, and I consider all of those people my friends, whether we’ve met in person or not.
Here’s another one of those moments in which I suppose I could take some credit for myself, because it’s true that I’ve always tried to be a positive, supportive, and emotionally honest member of the kidlit tribe. I try very hard to maintain the belief that people deserve to be lifted up, even in the relatively small ways that I’m capable of. However, that kind of effort isn’t received well in every professional arena. It can be met with suspicion, dismissal, or scorn. It can be perceived as weakness.
The kidlit tribe doesn’t appear to see it that way, however. I’ve tried to be kind and generous, but the reason I’m able to keep trying is because this business is filled with people whose kindness and generosity far surpass my own. I’ve benefited enormously from that collective spirit of kindness, and every so often it knocks me into a state of slack-jawed amazement. It did during my agent-seeking years, and it still does today.