Congratulations to Sandra Bishop on the well deserved recognition as ACFW Agent of the Year! While I was honored to be named a finalist I said from the very beginning that both ladies were a much better choice and the selection was very appropriate. I do thank my clients, family and friends for all of the support that they gave me during the process, however.
The reason I do this job stems all the way back to a writing conference in Glorieta NM where I was trying to get a handle on what the Lord might want me to do in regards to my writing. I went through a process designed to identify my spiritual gifts and one of them turned out to be the gift of encouragement. When Joyce gave me a chance to be an agent I began to do it as an avenue to utilize that gift. My focus is on helping and encouraging writers and for that reason I have a lot of new authors and have helped place a number of debut books. I probably work with too many new authors to be considered a successful agent by normal definitions but that’s where my heart is. I’m extraordinarily pleased every time I help a new author break into print no matter what level of publishing we have to go to in order to make that happen.
I was pleased at the event to get to go up and accept the Genesis award for my client Stephanie Morris for her young adult title. Stephanie has been a finalist before, but this time was the key. In the comments she sent me to deliver she said “How fun, I get to force my agent, Terry Burns, to thank himself for believing in me.” That was an interesting line to have to deliver but the audience loved it. I’m very proud of Stephanie as I am of all my clients.
Lynda Schab was a Genesis finalist as well but in spite of how hard our entire Hartline client group was pulling for her (and there were around 40 of us) she didn’t make the cut this time. But making it to be a finalist is a major recognition in itself and I am proud of her as well.
I also continue to be proud of Jill Williamson who was a finalist in her category for the Carol Award. She is no longer a client but I was her agent when she published “By Darkness Hid,” which also won her a Christy Award. I congratulate her on her continued success as well.
I enjoyed meeting with a lot of long time as well as new friends at the conference and aided by my assistant Normandie Fischer had an opportunity to hear a lot of very good pitches. We’ll be following up on those. The food was tremendous, the logistics very well handled, and those putting on the conference are to be commended for doing a terrific job.