Jeri-Anne Agee Success Story Interview with Mark Malatesta – During this insider interview on our literary agent blog, Jeri-Anne Agee, author of the children’s chapter book series The Life and Times of Birdie Mae Hayes shares advice for authors of all genres about how to write, publish, and/or promote their books. Jeri-Anne also talks about how she worked with former literary agent Mark Malatesta to improve her query letter, synopsis, and manuscript, which resulted in literary agency representation with Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Jeri-Anne then got a book deal with Sky Horse Publishing, a publisher with 41 New York Times bestsellers that Publishers Weekly has called the fastest-growing small publisher in America.
Scroll below now to: 1) Get instant access to the audio interview, 2) See Jeri-Anne’s success story about how she got a top literary agent, and 3) See a description of Jeri-Anne’s books. You can also click here to get a copy of Jeri-Anne’s first book, The Gift. Click here to get a copy of her second book, Henry the Cat. And, click here to visit Jeri-Anne Agee’s website.
Audio Interview with Jeri-Anne Agee – Author of the The Life and Times of Birdie Mae Hayes Chapter Book Series
Press the play button below now to listen or click here to download the file (left-click or right-click the link, then select “Save Link As”). This recording is 78 minutes.
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of this audio interview!
Jeri-Anne Agee’s Success Story
“Mark, after you helped me get represented by Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, they got me a contract with Sky Horse Publishing, the fastest-growing small publisher in America according to Publishers Weekly. They have 41 New York Times bestsellers!!! It’s very exciting because Sanford J. Greenburger Associates was one of my favorite agencies and I get along with my agent very well. She gets everything about my writing and, although she’s a new agent, she has more than 30 years of experience in children’s publishing—and she helped me flesh out the manuscript.
I can’t stress enough, honestly, how working with you was 100% the only reason this happened. I talked to a lot of people before I found you. Many of them said you don’t need an agent if you’re writing books for younger readers. Later, I found out that wasn’t true and started researching agents online. That’s when I found your agent directory and everything else you. I knew basically nothing at the time. I was clueless and I would have bombed out with agents if I’d approached them alone. Looking back on it now, I see that I learned so much.
Our work together was awesome, starting with the questionnaire you sent me before our first phone call. You asked so many questions that it was a little overwhelming and intimidating at first, but once I started working on it everything was fine. It was also clear from all the questions that you wanted to help me, and you later used my answers to improve my query. You know exactly what agents are looking for, and obviously it worked!
I also didn’t know anything about the different book genres for younger readers like chapter books, juvenile, middle grade, and young adult. That really helped. Another thing that really helped was the agent list you created for me, and you showing me how to format everything correctly. I wanted to get everything right and I was using a lot of brainpower on that. You showed me a shortcut that saved me lots of time.
Everyone has a dream of getting an advance and being published. That’s because authors know, if you really want to make a self-published book work or be a big deal, you have to work your ass off. I did that with my first book. I traveled to book shows and schools, entered contests, and all that good stuff. I had no help—it was just me doing everything. Later, I worked with a small publisher but that wasn’t much different.
Here’s the thing…
When you write a book and it’s done, you can’t spend all the time in the world publicizing that book. You also need to start on the next one. You don’t have time to be selling that first book all the time. Plus I have a husband, three kids, and four dogs! Having a life was a huge motivation for me to try and get an agent and a major publisher. I wanted to focus mostly on writing, and I wanted to talk to someone who’s knowledgeable about the industry who could help me get to the next level.
Because I’m very busy, I also have to say that the agent spreadsheet alone was worth every dime I spent to work with you. The amount of time that saved me, having all the information I needed at my fingertips, was huge. It makes it easy to see what each agent wants since they’re all different. It also makes it easy to keep sending out queries, even if you’re discouraged because it’s not happening right away.
You were up-front with me and said getting an agent might be a long process and it did take a long time, about six months, but you were always accessible. You’re also very professional, extremely knowledgeable, and super easy to work with and bounce ideas off of. You never said anything that wasn’t true and you didn’t promise to do something and not follow through. Everything was just as described.
I was never disappointed in you and that was a relief. My husband would say I’m a bit of a sucker because I’ve been party to some things that weren’t so legit over the Internet at times and paid money for some things that were disappointing. After I got so much out of my first call with you, I talked to my husband about it. He was skeptical at first because he’s heard me say things like that before.
You didn’t strike me as someone who was trying to pull one over on me though. You seemed like the real deal. And you sounded sincere when you told me that you don’t invite most people to do more with you. The other big thing for me was the testimonials on your website. I visited some of those authors’ websites and saw what they said about you. I knew that if I decided to work more with you and I was successful working with you, it would be the best decision I’d ever made.
And that’s exactly what happened…
To the authors reading this testimonial getting an agent is like anything else in life, like trying to get a great job or be a high-performance athlete. If you want to be successful, you go the best person you can find, with the right experience, who can help you be better. Investing in an introductory coaching call with Mark is a no-brainer. Then you can see how it goes and figure out if you’re a good fit to do more.
I just can’t say enough about the experience and how working with you has been the best investment I’ve ever made by far. I’m telling every writer I know. Not everybody has that kind of money lying around, but if you can make it happen and you’re passionate about your writing, there’s really no reason not to do it. I guarantee you’ll get something out of it and find it valuable.
Thank you, Mark!
I really do feel that I owe this all to you.”
Author of the Children’s Chapter Book Series
The Life and Times of Birdie May Hayes
The Life and Times of Birdie Mae Hayes by Jeri-Anne Agee
The Life and Times of Birdie Mae Hayes is a children’s chapter book series about growing up in the Deep South—with all the charm and humor you’d expect from the region. Birdie Mae Hayes is reminiscent of other children’s book characters that are likable, relatable, and loyal, and never let you down: Ramona and Beezus Quimby, Henry Huggins, Junie B. Jones, Judy Moody, etc.
Book 1: The Gift
Birdie Mae Hayes has pretty much the perfect life. Her best friend Sally lives just down the street, she’s becoming friends with the new boy in town, and Halloween is coming up. Her little brother Bubba drives her crazy sometimes, but whose doesn’t?
Except, lately, Birdie can’t stop feeling like something is about to happen. Then she starts seeing things happen—before they happen!
It turns out her Grandma Mae has the same ability. But Birdie doesn’t know if she’s ready to take on the responsibility of this “gift.” Still, with the right attitude and some practice, she could help a lot of people. One thing’s for sure: life is going to be real interesting from now on!
Click here to get a copy of The Gift.
Book 2: Henry the Cat
Birdie May Hayes is getting a handle on her new gift—her ability to sense and see things before they happen. Then one morning a white fluffy cat appears at her window. Cuuuute! Only no one else can see this cat, just Birdie. Henry seems to know things, too—like how to find lost dogs. Maybe Birdie and Henry the Cat were put together for a reason…
Click here to get a copy of Henry the Cat.
Jeri-Anne Agee – Biography
Jeri-Anne Agee grew up in Huntsville, Alabama, and graduated from the University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in communications. An avid reader and a mother of three, Jeri Anne retired early from the financial industry and, at the age of forty-four, began writing her first children’s book. Her quest to combine her own stories of growing up in the South with a character who is strong, lovable, loyal, and funny resulted in Birdie Mae Hayes. Jeri Anne currently resides in Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband, three children, and three rescue dogs. Jeri-Anne is represented by Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. Click here to visit Jeri-Anne Agee’s website.
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