Etta Wilson was first recommended to me as an agent by Jane Kurtz, adult missionary kid and author of several award winning children’s books. At the time Etta’s client list was full. A few years later I queried her again. That same day, she had noticed an announcement of the release of my picture book So That's What God is Like. It felt right to both of us, and she took me on.
Agents get paid from a writer’s royalties. The fact that I have never been a best-selling author means Etta has not padded her 401k by representing me. I write stuff that doesn’t fit the usual American mold—foreign settings, HIV, boys who figure skate. Yet Etta has remained faithful for the past 6 years. She negotiated a good advance for me for Glastonbury Tor. She interceded when I had a conflict with an editor. She negotiated contracts for me with African publishers although she has yet to see a penny from either of those. During the years I lived in South Africa, I was grateful to have a representative in the States to continue presenting my work to US publishers even when I was not around. When I returned to the States, she encouraged me to keep writing. She was patient when I was slow to produce the sequel to <i>Glastonbury Tor</i>. She has been a prodder, a literary critic and an encourager.
Etta Wilson retired this week after eighteen years as an agent and many more in publishing. She even has a Caldecott honor book to her credit--the Lamplighter by Elisa Bartone. When she took me on, an agent was not a necessity in Christian fiction. Now it is. Etta has graciously given me the names of agents she believes might be appropriate for me. So I am back to sending query letters, looking for a kindred spirit to advise me and represent my work to publishers.
Thank you, Etta, for all you have done. May you enjoy your piano, your flowers, your needlework and the extra time with family. We, your former clients, hope to provide you with many great books with which to relax.
LeAnne Hardy has lived in six countries on four continents. Her books come out of her cross-cultural experiences and her passion to use story to convey spiritual truths in a form that will permeate lives.
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