These are exciting times both in publishing and at BookEnds. Within the last year we’ve made a lot of changes and we see many more, all good, in our future. The first of these big changes is welcoming Jessica Alvarez into the BookEnds family. I first met Jessica years ago at a Romance Writers of America conference. She was attending as a young editor from Harlequin. Fast-forward a few years to 2011, and randomly Jessica’s resume lands on my desk at just about the time I was thinking we needed to grow our staff. As a believer that sometimes things should be just that easy, I met Jessica for coffee to hear more about what she was looking for and to talk about BookEnds. I liked her. I really liked her, and more important, I thought she had great energy for BookEnds and would fit well into the fold.
We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Jessica on our team, and before I go on rambling anymore, let me turn the stage over to Jessica and let her tell you about herself . . .
Hi! I’m Jessica Alvarez, BookEnds’ newest agent. I’m thrilled to have joined the team and want to tell you a bit about myself.
My publishing career began in 2001 when I got a job as the editorial assistant for Harlequin Historicals and Steeple Hill. As a lifelong romance reader, working at Harlequin was a dream come true. And when I moved over to single titles, focusing on HQN Books and Red Dress Ink, my job got even better! I adore category romance, but being on single titles gave me the opportunity to work on a wider array of romance. Even so, after some time, I moved back to category, specifically to Harlequin Intrigue and NEXT.
As the editorial assistant for all those products I was the first line of defense when it came to submissions. I found a number of authors, including Lee Nichols, Jenna Kernan, Brenda Coulter, and Sarah Elliott. I also got to co-edit other fantastic authors—Diana Palmer, Sharon Sala, Gayle Wilson, and Kasey Michaels, to name a few. It was an unbelievable learning experience.
In 2005 I was promoted and began acquiring primarily for Silhouette Romantic Suspense, a terrific line. But when an opportunity arose on Steeple Hill, I had the perfect combination of experience needed, and it made sense for me to move.
In 2008 I embarked upon a freelance editing career. I was sad to leave my writers, colleagues, and a job I loved, but I had a life change in the works. My husband and I adopted our son that year, and freelancing provided the flexibility I needed. I enjoyed it, but it was a very solitary endeavor. I missed collaborating with writers. I missed combing through submissions. I missed being part of a team.
I’d known for some time I wanted to be a literary agent. I wanted to be the ultimate advocate for my authors, fight for them, help build their careers, help them develop and shape stories. Okay, yes, I did that as an editor, but I always felt limited since my first responsibility was to the publisher, not my writers. I’d never had the opportunity to work with Jessica or Kim, but I knew of their fantastic reputations and how highly regarded BookEnds is. I’d heard that Jessica is a great mentor, and I saw that firsthand when reading this blog. I also just had the sense that we’d work well together. So I got in touch with Jessica, and here I am.
I am actively looking for authors in women’s fiction and romance, both single title and series. I have a special fondness for historical romance and romantic suspense, but I’m also interested in paranormals, urban fantasy, all types of contemporary romance, and erotica. If your project falls under the women’s fiction or romance umbrellas, please take a peek at the agency website for specifics on how to query me. I’m looking forward to hearing from you!