Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant
Today I have two announcements to make concerning changes at Books & Such. One gives me great joy, and the other makes me sad.
A New Agent
First, I’m pretty dang happy to announce that a new agent has joined us. I wasn’t looking to add anyone to our roster, but a few weeks ago, one of our clients, Cynthia Ruchti, chatted with Wendy and me on a video conferencing call. She had some ideas that would help other clients with their writing careers. After Wendy and I heard her out and realized what a grand concept she had, we thanked her profusely and started to say good-bye. Cynthia piped up, “I feel like I’m part of the agent team, just making this suggestion.”
The next day, after that idea hovered in my mind and heart, I called Cynthia to ask if she would consider joining our agent team. By the day after that, she had thought, prayed, and talked over the option with her husband–and Cynthia said yes.
My head was spinning that I had unexpectedly expanded our ranks. But the decision was so right. And it’s not as wild and impetuous as it might seem.
Cynthia’s Strong Agent Attributes
Cynthia comes to this job with a wealth of publishing experience, knowledge of the industry, and a strong network among authors and industry personnel. As a matter of fact, some of you may have met her through her work with the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) organization.
She has served as its board president (2009-2010) and in her current role as ACFW’s professional relations liaison (since 2011). Both of those positions help to keep her informed about the publishing industry and have introduced her to many publishing professionals.
Plus, as the author of 21 books to date, Cynthia has experienced the author’s side of the process. She has written novels, novellas, full-length nonfiction, and contributed to several devotion collections. (She intends to continue writing her own books.)
I know Cynthia to be a savvy, kind-hearted, perceptive writer and business woman. She knows a great book idea when she sees one and knows how to help writers sharpen their ideas so they gleam with potential.
For all those reasons and many more, I’m thrilled to welcome Cynthia to our cadre.
A Departing Agent
On the other hand, almost simultaneous with Cynthia’s arrival, Mary Keeley will leave the publishing industry, effective today. While I’m making these announcements in the same blog, I am in no way attempting to replace Mary with Cynthia. As I wrote earlier, I wasn’t looking for an additional agent when Cynthia popped up as an excellent choice. Mere coincidence explains the timing of these two events.
Mary joined our agency in 2010, coming from a wealth of publishing experience, first with eight years at Tyndale House as a product manager, administrator, and nonfiction acquisitions editor. Then through her four years’ work with Christianity Today International, where she learned about magazine publishing and had the opportunity to become acquainted with a number of leading pastors and others who are key in shaping our thinking and our faith through their articles.
Mary’s Strong Agent Attributes
All of us associated with Books & Such have come to realize that Mary is a natural-born encourager, which is an elemental quality for an agent to possess. I love the way her eyes sparkle with passion and excitement whenever she pitches one of her client’s projects to editors. Her belief in her authors’ work has remained undaunted as the industry has downsized and shifted radically in the years since she became an agent. And she has done an amazing job in placing so many projects with good publishing homes.
The decision to leave publishing has taken shape gradually for Mary, and she and I have talked about it for some time. She has found herself leaning toward possibly serving her local church through ministry, but her far-flung, large family has been a clarion call to her. She longs to spend more time with her adult children and grandchildren. Agenting, being an all-consuming, never-done type of job has been a joy to her but, ultimately, her family beckons more strongly. I commend Mary’s desire to devote herself more fully to her family and wish her all the happiness in doing so. (As I wipe the tears from my eyes, that is.)
Concerning Our Blog
This Thursday, instead of Mary’s wise words coming to you via our blog, you’ll find Cynthia’s pretty face smiling at you. I can’t wait to read the first blog she’ll write as an agent.
Feel free to say goodbye to Mary and hello to Cynthia in the Comments section. Both of them know I’ve invited you to cheer them on in their new endeavors and will be reading what you have to say.