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How I Got My Agent - Jenna's Story

I started writing for children in early 2015. From the beginning of my journey, I dreamed of getting an agent. I attended the 2015 NESCBWI conference and was in awe of both the agents on faculty and the authors who were represented by them. After the conference, I joined a critique group and revised my one manuscript a couple of times. So naturally I was ready to start querying, right?


When I look back at my first batch of queries, I cringe. It wasn’t until I fully immersed myself in the amazing kidlit community that I recognized how much work it takes to be successful in this business. I decided to press pause on the submissions and focus on my craft.

In 2016, I joined the 12x12 Picture Book Challenge, attended the NESCBWI annual conference in April, and enrolled in Kristen Fulton’s Nonfiction Archaeology class. All of these proved to be invaluable in helping me grow as a writer. Through it all, I kept writing. And revising. And writing and revising some more.

In July of 2016, I attended the WOW Retreat in Georgia. The best way I can describe this conference is that it was like a kid getting to spend a week at Disney World. I met so many amazing writers, editors, and agents there. One of those agents was Victoria Selvaggio. I did a round table with Victoria, and she gave me some incredible feedback on what would later become Finn Finds a Friend (Clear Fork Publishing, 2017).

I continued to work on improving my craft through classes, conferences, mentor texts, 12x12, and my wonderful critique group. I started submitting to agents again and made my own version of Rejection Bingo to help me stay positive amidst all the rejections. (insert picture)

And I published two picture books! Pixie’s Adventure (eTreasures Publishing, 2017) and Finn Finds a Friend (Clear Fork Publishing, 2017).

Fast forward to this spring. I received an offer from an editor on a manuscript (this hasn’t been announced yet, so I can’t say anything else). I immediately reached out to the agents I recently queried. Some wanted to see more of my work. Victoria Selvaggio was one of them. From there, I received two offers of representation! It was an exciting and nerve-wracking couple of weeks, for sure! But I had wanted to work with Victoria ever since I connected with her in 2016. Our phone call reaffirmed this feeling, so my decision was made

What I dreamed about three years ago is now a reality. I feel so fortunate to be represented by Victoria. It was the result of a lot of hard work and the support of this amazing kidlit community. If I could go from the person who asked a big-time agent at her first conference, “What’s a slush pile?” (cue cringe) to an agented author, it will happen to you, too.

Jenna lives in Connecticut with her husband, two crazy awesome kids, a cat named Pixie, and dog named Ozzy. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Boston College and a Master’s in Education from the University of New England. Jenna is the author of Pixie’s Adventure (eTreasures Publishing, 2017) and Finn Finds a Friend (Clear Fork Publishing, 2017). She recently traded in her librarian hat to become a full time writer. She is an active member of SCBWI and 12x12. Jenna features interviews with children’s authors on her blog, KidLit Coffee Talk. At all hours of the day (and night) she can be found at her desk, drinking iced coffee and working on her next story. Jenna is represented by Victoria Selvaggio of Storm Literary Agency. Follow Jenna on Twitter @jennawritresPB, Instagram @jennawritesPB, and her website

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