Name: Kailei Pew
What you Write: Picture Books
Agent: Emily Forney
I have long admired BookEnds, and I’m still pinching myself that this dream is coming true and I’m actually joining the BookEnds family! I love everything about BookEnds. It is such an accessible and transparent agency that I feel like I know all of these awesome agents! I adore the BookEnds YouTube channel and will be forever grateful for the time that Jessica and James and others take to really explain the ins and outs of the publishing industry. BookEnds has made a commitment to help all authors, clients and not, in every stage of development, and that is something that was always really unique and special in my opinion. From my very first call with Emily, I knew for sure that BookEnds was where I wanted to be. She is incredible, part of an amazing team, and I’m confident that I’m in good hands.
If you’re not reading or writing, what would we catch you doing?
Most often, you’ll find me down on the ground playing dolls or blocks, doing puzzles, coloring, and playing games with my little ones. You might also catch me playing the piano, baking, or running. In a previous life I was a half marathon runner.
Where can readers find you on the web and social media?
What’s the last book you read?
I check out a set of 40 picture books each week! (Thank you, curbside pickup!) I’m obsessed. Some recent favorites include Soaked by Abi Cushman and Dozens of Doughnuts by Carrie Finison. We also read Not Quite Snow White by Ashley Franklin almost every day. My little ones adore that book. And just for fun, I recently read The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, because I was apparently living under a rock when it was released. It was stellar.
If money were no object, what would be your dream writing location?
A small house on the beach. I would love to sit on the porch, listening to the sounds of the waves as inspiration flows in.
What’s your favorite piece of writing advice you’ve received?
Tara Lazar has said many times that she has never known a writer who didn’t make it if they didn’t give up. Whenever I was discouraged in the query trenches, I would remind myself that the only way to fail in this industry is to stop trying. So for every rejection, I’d send another query. For every “almost” I’d revise one more time. And for every “not yet,” I’d write a new story.
What excites you most about joining the BookEnds family?
Oh man… so many things! But I think I’m most excited to work with Emily and see what we can accomplish together. She has been a joy to work with in just these few days. Talking to her on the phone has been amazing. There’s this incredible energy when we’re talking about my work and I have every confidence that she will be the perfect advocate for me and my stories.
What advice would you give to other authors in the query trenches?
Don’t ever give up! Send one more query. Revise one more time. Write one more book. Again and again and again until you reach your dream! It might take longer than you thought it would, but it is worth the hard work and effort. I’d also say to find your people. Having a critique group and other writer friends to be there for you to cheer you on when you succeed and lift you back up when the rejections come is invaluable. I’ll be forever grateful for my writing group.