I’ll admit that I have been making bucket lists since I was a child. When I was younger, my bucket lists had hundreds of items – be on Wheel of Fortune, learn another language, design and sew all my own clothes, see all seven continents, win an Academy Award, be an investigative reporter – and now my personal list is simplified into 8 bullet points that have skewed a bit less bucket list and more like a way that I’d like to live my life in general. So one bullet point from my personal list is:
I will look for ways to keep my life simple and minimalist, yet deep in value and breadth of experience.
For me, this is a reminder to really focus my energies on the things that matter most – family, friends, doing work I love, and staying intellectually curious – and not being afraid to say no to things that don’t add value – commitments that aren’t in line with my goals, physical clutter, etc.
So, in terms of doing the work I love, my bucket list would look like:
1.) Represent a Caldecott, Newbery and/or Printz Award Winner. I would love for a book that I represented to win one of the three above or any of the ALA awards – the Geisel, the Pura Belpré, etc. I think having a client that was recognized in this way would be an amazing experience for both of us.
2.) Continue to write and publish as a children’s author. When I first started in publishing, a colleague told me that it was impossible to write and agent. That I would have to choose, because there’d never be time for both. At the time, that gave me significant pause. But now I look a number of successful agent-writers and editor-writers, and I think the truth is that you just have to make different decisions in other areas of your life if you want to make time for both. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible. (And maybe that’s what decades of list making and list editing was leading up to anyway – making it easy to figure out those key bullet points and discarding the rest!)
3.) Represent a New York Times bestseller. Okay, you had to know this one was coming!
4.) Contribute to more accurate representation on the shelves. I want to make sure that all children and teens can find a reflection of themselves in at least one – if not several – of my client’s books.
5.) Go back to France (or maybe Italy) on a writers retreat. Back in 2010, I was lucky enough to spend a month at a writer’s retreat in France with five other writers from all over the world. We wrote in our rooms during the day, and then ate dinner and drank wine together on the terrace at night. On the weekends, we explored. It was productive, inspiring and a great way to recharge. I would love to do that again!
6.) Make a merch deal. Making a merchandising deal for a book (my own or a client’s – either/both would be great), would mean that it’s already a bestseller, that there was an obvious tie-in (e.g., plush characters for a picture book), likely it would be part of a series with more books forthcoming, etc. But I love thinking about ways to take a property and expand it into other, unique formats. So I would be thrilled to have a book where something like this would be on the table.
7.) Sell a graphic novel. I’m not quite ready to look for clients that only write graphic novels yet, but I would be interested in seeing work from people who do both graphic novels and pb/mg/ya.
Okay, so that was long. So much for editing down to bullet points!