Name: Anoop Judge
What you Write: Multicultural fiction and non-fiction
Agent: Jessica Faust
Why BookEnds? I could say: because it’s an agency that believes in making publishing more inclusive through the #ownvoices titles and marginalized authors they represent. That is indeed true; however, for me, it was all about Jessica Faust. I’ve been listening to her podcast for years. I pitched my previous manuscript to her, which she passed on after asking for the full. When I saw the email from her asking to set a “call time,” there was no contest in my mind as to who I was going with!
Describe your experience with “The Call.” What do you write? When did the agent catch you? What was it like to get the call of your agent offering on your book/work? How long had you been querying/submitting, etc? Share as much as you’d like!
I had been querying NO ORDINARY THURSDAY for almost a year and had received agent feedback that they loved the voice and the characters but that the manuscript suffered from a saggy middle. Ironically, Jessica Alvarez of BookEnds had a previous draft of the full, and around the same time, she sent me a note declining it. I stopped querying completely and spent three months doing a deep dive of the ms, keeping in mind the recommendations of a beta-reader friend I trust.
After a round of revisions, I felt the book was as good as I could make it and began querying again. I regularly listen to Jessica Faust’s podcast, and when she said she was seeking women’s fiction by #ownvoices authors, I felt the Universe was speaking to me. I felt some trepidation from knowing I had pitched my previous book to Jessica F. and she had passed on it after requesting a full, and that Jessica Alvarez had reviewed this ms previously. In any case, I crossed my fingers and sent a sample to Jessica F. after making sure agency guidelines allowed that I could approach another agent when one had passed on the ms. I could hardly believe my luck when Jessica came back a week later and asked for the full!
In the meantime, I had signed up for a Writing Day Workshop virtual conference and was excited to be pitching six agents. The second agent I pitched loved the book and wanted me to send her the full manuscript as soon as I got off the zoom call with her. She even sent me an email halfway through the conference day, saying she was loving it. Not to be Disney channel corny, but it was like the stars aligned, and everything kind of fell into place after that.
The agent from the conference asked to set up a call, and although I loved her energy, I wasn’t convinced her vision for the novel matched mine. However, I had been told over and over (and had experienced it while in the query trenches) that it was extremely hard for a POC writer to break into traditional publishing, so, reluctantly, I began to wrap my head around the revisions that I would need to undertake.
As per industry protocol, I asked the agent for two weeks to let other considering agents know about the offer. Jessica was the first to respond that she was very interested in reading the ms, and was making it a priority. Jessica got back to me in less than three days and said she absolutely loved the story and the multiple POVs and wanted to set up a call. The day I got the email, I was flying to Mexico with some friends on a holiday that had been planned for months. I informed Jessica of the trip, and we agreed to set up a time to talk when I’d return. Time seemed to move slower than usual while I was away, and I kept reading and re-reading Jessica’s email and pinching myself that this was happening to me.
Then the call happened, and it was like the Universe was pointing flashing neon arrows at her name. I loved that she loved the writing. She totally got what I was trying to do with the story. She suggested minor revisions that I could see right away would make the novel better. She gave me the name of four-five other clients to speak with. I spoke with one of them, and I knew Jessica was exactly who I was looking for—passionate about the story, incredible at agenting, and a longtime champion of #ownvoices authors.
There was a third agent as well from the conference who was very enthusiastic about the manuscript, but in my heart, I already knew. When I announced my decision, no one in my life was surprised that I chose Jessica Faust. It just felt right.