It has been a long and difficult decision for me to find an agent. First, it required me to get over the fact, accept, and declare that I am a Writer. (Yes with a capital letter.) It also required me to quickly abandon all of my insecurities and "imposter syndrome" complexes and recognize that yes, I am an excellent writer and that yes, I can be successful at my craft. I had to learn to not fear future successes. I essentially needed to take my writing career very seriously.
Secondly, I realized that having an agent would help me to delegate and share the tasks of being an author/presenter... these include the roles that I have been taking on as I plan out my writing career, find publishers to submit manuscripts to, and negote contracts. An agent would do all of these as well as help me to decide which of my stories to prioritize, prepare a manuscript for submission, and negotiate the terms of a contract. Although, I have employed a literary lawyer and consultant for the latter, an agent does this job as well which would free up my time more so I can focus on promoting myself, youtube videos, social media, appearances, and most importantly, writing.
Thirdly, I have been a full-time teacher since I begun this writing journey (and since 2003). My schedule is increasingly busy-- between my work responsibilities, presentation and promotional schedule, grant applications, manuscript submissions, writing, and life. It is a gruelling schedule that I have been able to maintain but in the long run, I will need to think about sustainability. I realize now that delegation and changes need to be made to achieve more balance in my life and longevity.
Also, my stories celebrate diversity. I know that the United States has a larger market for diverse stories and books. I know both Canada and the United States have a need for these stories. I hope to continue to publish stories in Canada but also the United States and the world. My first American published book will be "Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter" by Harper Collins Children's Books.
Lastly, I had an "aha moment" that when I think of all of my favourite authors, such as this group of my 15 favourite women's authors, they all have agents. I aspire to be like them and get my many stories out in the world. Hence, an agent will be indispensable.
In conclusion, I realize that things in Canada are very different than in the United States when it comes to the publishing industry. I believe that I am blessed. My hard work has resulted in my ability to write and attain four books published and 2 new ones under contract (2019) and 2 more close to signing (2020). (And still there are others I am working on.) As I see the wonderful Black films such as Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time, my colleagues to the south releasing bestselling and award-winning novels such as The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson, and The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton, it makes me realize that the TIME IS RIPE for Black stories and the TIME IS NOW for telling my own. And for this, I will need help to do so. So, I have taken my goal from vision board 2017 and my action word for 2018 to reACTIVATEthis my goal of finding an agent. I am so excited, nervous, and ready. I thank everyone who has given me ideas, shared, and taken an interest so far. I will keep you updated!!!