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Frequent Questions Answered, Part 1

by Mary Sue Seymour
The Seymour Agency

I love to participate in writing conferences where I enjoy presenting workshops, meeting with writers about their books, and speaking on panels. My current blog consists of questions asked of me while sitting on panels at recent conferences along with my responses.

How did you become an agent?
I grew up one of eight children in rural New York State. My brothers, sisters and I liked doing things that were free such as attending Sunday School, going to the library, and swimming in the river. (I still enjoy doing all of these things!) One day when I was five years old while evading my chores I took a stack of library books to an empty brooder house which is a place where turkeys were kept. When I finished reading half the stack, I remember looking up – because that’s where I thought God was in those days – and praying, “God, when I grow up I want to read books for a living!” That’s where my career began – in an old turkey brooder house!

What is new with you and your clients?
Shelley Shepard Gray’s Found [Harper Collins] hit the New York Times and USA Today best sellers lists; Mary Ellis’s Living in Harmony [Harvest House] is a 2012 Lime Award nominee after receiving a 5 star review; Jen Turano’A Change in Fortune[Bethany House] received a starred Booklist review; Amy Clipston’s October release, the Kauffman Amish Collection [Zondervan], includes A Plain and Simple Christmas and Naomi’s Gift; Vannetta Chapman has begun writing her second series for Zondervan and recently signed a 3 book deal with Harvest House for the Amish Artisan Mystery Series ; Kate Welsh was nominated for a Golden Leaf Award for Texan’s Honor [Harlequin]; Kelly Irvin just signed a new contract with Harvest House for a spin-off series entitled New Hope Amish; Ruth Reid’s An Angel at Her Side[Thomas Nelson]will be released January 1, 2013; Amy Lillard, author of Saving Gideon [B & H], received a 4 star review from RT; and Jennifer Beckstrand’s Amish series titled Forever in Apple Lake[Summerside Press] includes Miriam’s Quilt which is scheduled to be released March 1; I just sold Caryl McAdoo’s Vow Unbroken to Howard Books which is a division of Simon & Schuster and Pat Trainum’s three book deal Shadows From the Past to Revell. In the past few weeks have sold 7 inspirational works of nonfiction including Angels in the Fire which went to Bethany House. Co-agent, Nicole Resciniti, and I have a book being released in 2013 titled The Smart Guide to Getting Published which we are very excited about. I also authored a picture book titled Friends in a Storm which was illustrated by Samantha Flynn, 9 year old art student of mine. This will be released by Guardian Angel Publishing in 2013.

What is the best advice you can offer a new writer looking for an agent?
Make certain your agent is a member of the AAR. When an agent is a member of the Association of Author’s Representatives, he or she must uphold a Canon of Ethics. There is a complete list of members on the AAR site which is: www.aaronline.org

Mary Sue will answer more questions tomorrow.


Mary Sue Seymour, nominated for American Christian Fiction Writers Agent of the Year, has been agenting for 20 years, and is listed as a top deal-maker for inspirational fiction on Publisher’s Marketplace. She has sold multi-book deals to Thomas Nelson, Zondervan, Harvest House, Bethany House, Cook, Harper One, Abingdon Press, B&H, Guideposts, and others. Mary Sue and her co-agent, Nicole, are writing a book titled The Smart Guide to Getting Published which will be released in 2013.

Mary Sue represents several best selling Christian authors such as New York Times best selling author Shelley Shepard Gray, Beth Wiseman, Mary Ellis, Amy Clipston, Don Reid of the Statler Brothers, Vannetta Chapman, and others.

Mary Sue likes to keep busy since her sons, Matt and Luke, have grown up. She ran the Disney half marathon this past January and took 317th place in her age category of 55-59. She teaches art on cruise ships in exchange for a complimentary cruise for two (which has made her exceedingly popular with her friends!).

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