OMag Highlights Two WSA Books

We are so proud to share that two WSA books represented by Nicki Richesin, Everybody (Else) Is Perfect by Gabrielle Korn (January 26, 2021) and Red Rock Baby Candy by Shira Spector (March 23, 2021), have been highlighted by Oprah Magazine in a list of “32 LGBTQ That Will Change the Literary Landscape in 2021”!

Read more here.

Congratulations to WSA’s Michelle Bowdler on being long-listed for the National Book Award for Nonfiction!

We are so proud of Bowdler’s Is Rape A Crime? (represented by Nicki Richesin) which has been long-listed for the National Book Award for Nonfiction. Here is the complete list below:

2020 Longlist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction: 

Michelle Bowdler, Is Rape a Crime?: A Memoir, an Investigation, and a ManifestoFlatiron Books / Macmillan Publishers

Karla Cornejo VillavicencioThe Undocumented AmericansOne World / Penguin Random House

Jill Lepore, If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the FutureLiveright / W. W. Norton & Company

Les Payne and Tamara Payne, The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm XLiveright / W. W. Norton & Company

Claudio Saunt, Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian TerritoryW. W. Norton & Company

Jenn Shapland, My Autobiography of Carson McCullers
Tin House Books

Jonathan C. Slaght, Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl
Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan Publishers

Jerald Walker, How to Make a Slave and Other Essays
Mad Creek Books / The Ohio State University Press

Frank B. Wilderson III, Afropessimism
Liveright / W. W. Norton & Company

Isabel Wilkerson, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
Random House / Penguin Random House

How To Sell A Book by Sarah Ruiz

Pictured: My notebook from creative writing class in high school.

How to sell a book.

2000-2009: Write a story about a kid farting. It amuses your 4th grade teacher. Write weird stuff in MS and HS, including some angsty poetry. Get a teacher who critiques your work and teaches you revision.

2009-2013: Start a writing club in college with your BFF. Write a bad novel about a psychic teen named Cayce Edgar (lol). Take a fiction writing class and become the prof’s TA. Convince him to advise a fiction honors thesis, even though you aren’t a cw major. It almost doesn’t get approved. Work harder on it than you ever worked on anything in your life.

2015: Apply to 1 MFA program. Get waitlisted.

2016: Work on your app stories for NCSU’s MFA program every morning at 5 am. Get accepted on April 1st while on a plane. (It’s not a joke. Also you’re pregnant and have a toddler.)

2016-2018 Start your MFA 7 months pregnant. Be bummed your water doesn’t break in class. Write a novel.

Dec 2018: Query novel. Miraculously spend less than a month in the query trenches. Assume sub will be easy (lol).

March 2019: Go on sub. Revise book with an editor, but the book never sells.

Aug-Nov 2019: It’s okay. You were already working on the next thing. Send your agent the first 80 pages. She gently/accurately tells you it’s not great. Agree and freak out for 2 days. Read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. An old idea pops into your head. Write the first draft in 70 days.

Feb 2020: Send horrible 2nd draft to your agent. She sees potential but gives GIANT feedback. Gut it and revise for 3.5 months.

May 2020: Agent loves it. Give your dream editor (the one who liked the first book) an exclusive.

June 2020: Commence the longest two weeks of your life. Expect rejection every day. Oh wait! The editor makes an offer. Cry, roll on the floor, drink champagne. (Not simultaneously.)

The point: Getting published is hard. Everyone’s path is different. I had a LOT of failures along the way (and expect plenty more), but each was a step forward, not back.

–Sarah Ruiz, author of forthcoming LOVE, LISTS, AND FANCY SHIPS

Two Deal Treasure by Kelli Martin

I wasn’t supposed to sell non-fiction. I’m an escapist novel kind of girl. A ride-or-die fiction-loving woman. I live and breathe and bleed feel-good fiction that I can devour in one sitting – flowy dress slipped on, knitting needles in my lap, afghan throw lovingly placed over my bare feet, tealights decorating the pier under the Adirondack chair I’m curled up in. I’m that kind of reader. Over the years, I’ve learned that in books, in reading, in publishing and in love, sometimes the best-laid plans go awry…happily so.

When I started as a literary agent at Wendy Sherman Associates, my mission was to focus on love stories and romance novels. Imagine my delight when the first project I sold was for narrative non-fiction – a beautifully written, no-holds-barred memoir with humanitarian, social activist, racial and cultural lenses aimed at the U.S. justice system. The next day, a charming romantic comedy about a Millennial med school student diagnosed with anxiety disorder received an offer too.

At first glance, these two books may seem like they have little in common. Looking deeper, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Both are about protagonists who are trying to cement their places in the world. Both are about people and/or lived experiences that have been invisible or maligned. Both are about finding peace amidst pain. Both are about the tears we shed, and the loved ones who help put us back together. Both are about the tough, tender ways we come of age and come into adulthood. Both are affirming celebrations of the ways we grasp at life.

Most of all, both books are love letters…love letters to family and culture, love letters to aspects of ourselves that we shed, and love letters to the selves we are becoming – in all their fullness and richness and radiance.

The plans we make? Sometimes they end up by the wayside. Then something new takes over. Maybe that something new is not really new at all, it’s been there all along. And now we see it. We finally see the path to this new kind of self-love. And the view is mighty fine.

-Kelli

Michelle Bowdler’s Is Rape A Crime? A Memoir, an Investigation, and a Manifesto

When Michelle Bowdler was in her early twenties, she dreamed of becoming a writer. Then in 1984, she was violently raped during a home invasion and her whole world exploded. Once a passionate assistant editor working at a magazine, she had to rebuild her entire life while struggling with PTSD. And she did. She studied public health at Harvard (and gave the commencement speech), married her devoted wife Mary and had two children, became Executive Director of Health and Wellness at Tufts, an activist for rape victims, and joined a vibrant writing community at Grub Street in Boston. When I met Michelle in 2018, I read her manuscript and was astonished by her exquisite mastery of language and storytelling. I signed her as a client and discovered the perfect editor for her project, Bryn Clark at Flatiron Books. Witnessing Michelle achieve her 30+ years dream come true of finally publishing her book has been an honor.

Michelle’s story is one of inspiration, love, and overwhelming hope. As her publicist Amelia Possanza pointed out to us, she became the champion she needed all those years ago. I am in awe of her incredible talent as a writer, but also her generosity, kindness, and gracious spirit. I hope you will read her powerful manifesto, join the movement by supporting local grassroots organizations, and vote.

You can learn more about Michelle’s book Is Rape a Crime? and her work in this Guardian interview by another courageous writer Moira Donegan.

–Nicki Richesin