I married a disabled man—a quadriplegic—and then adopted two babies, and that was the end of my working outside the home. My husband died when I was 48 and he had no life insurance because you can’t get life insurance when you’re disabled. But my parents were elderly so, since they didn’t want to go into a nursing home and since I was experienced at taking care of people, they paid me to care for them.
My dad died when I was 49 and my mom hung on a couple of more years. But then she was gone, too. And there I was: fat, female, and fifty-two. I’d been out of the workforce for 25 years. Who was going to hire me? And . . . did I want to be hired? Did I want to go to work for someone else?
I chose to be a literary agent because I’d wanted to be one since I was small and because I had decades of experience reading and evaluating children’s books (books written for people from age 0 to age 18). And then I had twelve years of experience writing novels for children and reviewing them. I owned and operated a blog tour company that publicized children’s novels, but all of that–the writing, the editing, and the publicity–was done on a very limited basis. I was dabbling. I became a literary agent with Leslie H. Stobbe Literary Agency, and I love the job so much I can hardly stand it.
I set my own hours, I work with people I like, I travel all over the country speaking at conferences, and I get to read lots of good books. I’m not making the big bucks (yet). I’m cobbling together an income selling books and selling online “how to write” courses. I also do some freelance editing. I’m doing work I love, and I’m being paid a great hourly wage. I get to work from home most of the time, and I get to travel the rest of the time. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
I am four years into this venture and my income is now split evenly between selling books, doing freelance editing, speaking at conferences, and selling online courses. My goal is to have it be mostly from selling books. But all the older agents tell me it takes seven years to make a living as an agent. So I am grateful that while I’m working toward that seven-year mark, the fact that I am an agent lends itself to other ways to make money.
Since I’m an agent, I can sell my freelance editing skills more easily than an editor who is good but doesn’t have a platform. I can also sell writing courses more easily than writers and I am invited to twice as many conferences each year than I can fit in. So all of my income is directly related to my being a literary agent, though only one-quarter of my income is coming, right now, from the books I sell.
More information is available on Sally’s website.
Sally’s on-line courses are available here