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#BookEnds20: Jessica Alvarez reflects on 8 Years

In early 2011, I was looking to make a change. I’d been an editor at Harlequin for a number of years, then left to spend a few years freelance editing while my son was a baby. But in 2011, my son was going off to preschool full-time and, while I enjoyed freelance editing, I missed the thrill of the hunt. Searching for hidden treasure among agented submissions or in the slush pile had always been my favorite part of the job as an editor, and freelancing just didn’t give me that.

I’d known for years that, when the time was right, I wanted to become an agent. It would give me the thrill of the hunt, plus the freedom to work on any kind of book I wanted, and it would let me truly be the authors’ advocate throughout their careers, not with just one publisher. As a long-time reader of the BookEnds blog, I had a feeling it would be the right place for me, so I reached out to Jessica Faust to convince her to hire me. I knew Jessica (and Kim) would be supportive and offer guidance, but wouldn’t limit me.

Back then, BookEnds was just Jessica, Kim, and a literary assistant. I met with Jessica a few times, then with Jessica and Kim, and I’m pretty sure I spilled coffee on myself at every meeting. For the record, Jessica later described these meetings in a blog post as “a torturous series of interviews”–maybe she was referring to the coffee burns. Despite my total lack of graceful drinking (not a job requirement!), Jessica agreed to take me on.

Now, eight years later, it’s hard to believe I’ve been with BookEnds for almost half its existence. BookEnds has grown in that time, and so have I. I’m thankful to Jessica for being smart enough to hire klutzy me, to Kim for not talking her out of it, and to all the writers I’ve had the great privilege of working with over the years. Thank you.

Category: AlvarezBlog


  1. Congratulations! I can’t believe it’s been eight years! I remember (like it was just last week!) when you were the new kid on the block, but you never “felt” new. You just slid right into place and, at least to this non-agent person, felt as if you had always been one of the team.

    So glad you’re still part of making BookEnds such an amazing agency! Hope to see you this summer at RWA.

    1. Thanks, Kate! There was a little period of adjustment but I think we all realized pretty quickly that Jessica, Kim, and I are three peas in a pod. We make a great team.

      And, I do remember meeting you that first time back at Nationals in 2011. Looking forward to seeing you again in July!

  2. Isn’t it amazing how fast time speeds by. Children grow and so do parents who jump back into careers they love. So glad you are where you want to be. That says a lot about the life choices you have made.

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