Name: L’Oreal Thompson Payton
What you Write: Nonfiction, self-help/personal development
Agent: Jessica Faust
Why BookEnds? I was crushing on BookEnds for some time. As a first-time author, I found the blog posts, YouTube videos and social media posts to be super informative.
What book do you wish you had written, and why?
Anything by Jasmine Guillory. Writing fiction is not my jam, but her romance novels are among my favorite because they’re so smartly written and feature badass Black women doing the damn thing. What’s not to love?
If you’re not reading or writing, what would we catch you doing?
Probably yoga (fun fact: I’m a certified 200-hour yoga teacher). I’m also a diehard Pelotoner (#LTintheCity in case anyone wants to catch me on the leaderboard).
Where can readers find you on the web and social media?
What’s the last book you read?
The Afrominimalist’s Guide To Living With Less by Christine Platt
If money were no object, what would be your dream writing location?
I’m a water sign (Scorpios, represent!), so I love being by the water. But that also means I’d probably spend more at the beach than writing, so a remote snowy cabin full of snacks would be ideal.
What’s your favorite quote about reading or writing?
“I write for the same reason I breathe — because if I didn’t, I would die” by Isaac Asimov. It’s sounds super dramatic, but it’s the best way I can describe why I do this. I didn’t choose writing, writing chose me.
What’s your favorite piece of writing advice you’ve received?
She didn’t give it to me specifically, but there’s a tweet by Toni Morrison that reads, “If there’s a book you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” I’ve carried that with me ever since.
What advice would you give to other authors in the query trenches?
To paraphrase Dory from Finding Nemo, “Just keep writing. Just keep writing, writing, writing. What do we do? We write, write.” It sounds annoying, I know, and so cliché and yet it’s true. While you’re querying, keep writing—articles, essays, whatever. Take a break when you need to, of course, but pick up that pen and get back to it. All you need is one yes.
What was the most important question you asked when interviewing agents?
We don’t talk about breaking up with agents enough, in my personal opinion. So in my experience (because I had to learn the hard way), one of the most important questions you can ask when interviewing agents is “how would you describe your communication style?” Ask about their preferred method (text, email, phone call, etc.); timeliness when it comes to responses, etc. As someone who is admittedly very Type A, open flows of communication are very important.
How did you know your book was ready to submit?
To be honest with you, I’m still not 100% sure that it is, which is definitely my impostor syndrome showing up (ironic in that I’m writing a book about overcoming impostor syndrome, but I like to keep it real). But as one of my mentors-in-my-head fellow author and podcaster Elayne Fluker often says, “feel the fear and do it anyway.” And that’s exactly what I’m doing with this book.
Photo Credit: Flavia Borges