Name: Jenny Vazquez-Newsum
What you Write: Adult nonfiction
Agent: Jessica Faust
Why BookEnds? Jessica and BookEnds have done such great work in demystifying the querying and publishing process. Even before I submitted my query letter and proposal to Jessica, I took advantage of the many resources BookEnds makes available through blog posts and Youtube. As a debut author, this support was essential in trying to navigate this process. I was thrilled when Jessica shared her interest in my work because I knew there’d be alignment with my goals and BookEnds’ commitment to bring underrepresented, yet necessary, voices into publishing.
What book do you wish you had written, and why? Gods of Morning by John Lister-Kaye. It was such a beautifully written book sharing the almost-secret lives of birds in northern Scotland. I felt transported to a new world and even began watching the activity of the birds that would visit our front yard in the morning. How wonderful would it be to watch birds and write every day?
If you’re not reading or writing, what would we catch you doing? I spend my days designing and facilitating leadership trainings and spend my evenings and weekends following the whims of my 18-month-old daughter and 5-year-old son!
Where can readers find you on the web and social media?
What’s the last book you read?The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin
If money were no object, what would be your dream writing location?I think I’d do my best writing in a cozy little cottage in a small Vermont town during the fall months – if I were to be specific!
What’s your favorite quote about reading or writing?“There is a reader for every writer.”
I saw this floating on Twitter and am unsure of the original source, but it was a quote that came at the right time as it encouraged me to keep pushing forward!
What excites you most about joining the BookEnds family?It is obvious that everyone at BookEnds loves their work and brings their best to the clients they represent. I feel fortunate to join BookEnds as I see the agency championing the work of many diverse voices across genres. I look forward to everything that is to come.
What advice would you give to other authors in the query trenches?I think what helped me was staying very organized with tracking the wish lists of agents. Very early on in my proposal writing process, when I needed to take a brain break, I’d search for agencies and keep track of those who could possibly be interested in my work. I created a spreadsheet with the agency website, their submission requirements, and a note of which agent seemed to align most. I did a little at a time, but then when it came time to query, I was able to move through fairly quickly. It helped to focus my energy into adjusting my proposal to ensure it included the information that agents wanted to see since that could vary.
What was the most important question you asked when interviewing agents?I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what to ask!
How did you know your book was ready to submit?
I seemed to reach a point with my proposal that I had no additional edits or content to add. It felt like I needed to test it by getting it out into the querying world and making adjustments depending on the result. I participated in #pitmad and received interest so that was my cue to get it out there more assertively and I tackled that agent spreadsheet I created! Jessica/BookEnds was the 2nd query I sent and the alignment was so clear after our discussion that I didn’t even make it down my full query list!