Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Calling all Agents!

This past month has been an interesting one. Since returning from sunny California to frozen Salt Lake City, I have been in the process of selecting a literary agent. Nearly four years ago when my first book, Remembering Isaac was nearing completion, I considered finding an agent to help me launch it to the world. But reasoning that no agent or publisher would be interested in an unproven author, I decided to self-publish instead and see how it would be received. Discovering Isaac followed nine months later, and Becoming Isaac, nine months after that. To date, I have sold more than 28,000 copies of the Niederbipp books, most of them through word of mouth, from people like you who have read the books and told their friends and book groups about them. I have spoken to more than 180 book groups over the last few years. It has been an inspiring, exhausting journey. I have met thousands of people I never would have met and been invited into homes I never would have entered. Isaac, for so many of us, has come alive—a living, breathing, wonderful old potter who not only shaped the village of Niederbipp, but also each of us who has learned to love him. Thank you for sharing Isaac with those you love. Thank you for spreading Niederbipp. Thank you for believing in me and this story. It has been touching to hear from you and your experiences with Isaac and the characters of Niederbipp.

As much fun as this has been, I feel like the time has come to find an agent who can help me spread Niederbipp beyond the Wasatch Front. This morning, I sent out my first ten query letters to agents. This process is normally long and depressing, from all I have heard and read, but I feel confident, with the track record of these books, that someone will be interested and want to know more.

I have many more books to write and I want to get back to writing. I think I will always make pottery. It is in the quiet studio, in the middle of creation, that the voices of Niederbipp and Borrowing Fire have spoken to me. I don't know if I could ever separate my writing from my physically creative art, but I know I want to be writing more than I have been. I got a great start on the new book while in California, but since being home, I have done little but make pottery and search for potential agents. I need to get back to writing and work on the other stories that continue to sing in my head, begging to be written. I feel like finding an agent and selling my books to a big publisher is the only way I can continue to do this. I feel like the stories I have written, and the stories I have yet to write can help shed a little light and joy in our sometimes dark world. I am anxious to find an agent who can help me spread the happiness.

 I want to thank all my readers and everyone who has taken it upon themselves to be my promoters. Without you, Niederbipp would still be an dream and Isaac would be stuck in a box, unable to breathe. I am convinced that there is no such thing as a self-made man. I have struggled for years with the stories I have written, but without you, without all the good things you have said about my books, I never could have done what I have done. 28,000 books is huge. But I feel like the story is just beginning and I look forward to the ride. Thank you for your part in making this a reality.

If you know any agents who might be interested in my books, I would love to hear from you. Otherwise, please cross your fingers and send out good energy for me, the books, and the agents who will be receiving my query letters.
Viva Niederbipp!

I should also mention that I have had several book clubs come to my home and studio for a book club field trips. I am open to this. We have hosted several book group discussions in our living room. It makes the experience even more real. If you are interested in coming here with your book group, or having me attend your gathering to share the story behind the story, please give me a call. My number is in the back of the books. I look forward to hearing from you. Cheers, Ben

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

BEN thanks for the quilters retreat at Ruby,s Inn and most grateful for the fireside at Draper prison...
lives touched and bring hope for change...
VIVA Niederbipp !! (-:
Richard Costigan