Sunday, July 20, 2014

How I Got My Agent: Lori Ann Levy-Holm

Today I am thrilled to feature my friend, Lori Ann Levy-Holm in my How I Got My Agent series. 

I first met Lori Ann through Julie Hedlund's 12x12 picture book writing challenge; we were in a critique group together; and we were in the Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program together as illustration mentees. So I've had the great pleasure of enjoying her hilarious and wonderful company both online and in person. 

Lori Ann writes and illustrates picture book manuscripts. She recently announced that she has signed with Jodell Sadler of Sadler's Children Literary

Here she is to tell us about it.






Give us the short version of how you came to children's writing and illustrating.


When I was in grad school my first class was with Ted and Betsy Lewin. . . I know . . . right??? The course was Your Dream Project. I decided to write and illustrate a picture book. It was my first attempt and they helped me from start to finish. On a later study tour that dream team invited us to visit them at their Brooklyn home where Ted gave us a reference photography lesson. Ted and Betsy gave me much encouragement and I haven't looked back.

What is your niche in writing? How did you figure this out?

When I started writing, I concentrated on developing characters to illustrate and then came up with story lines to accompany them. Needless to say, these stories were horrific. My friend Kristen Fulton read a story I had written in grad school and asked me why I wasn’t writing nonfiction.  

I’ve always been fascinated with biographies. The first chapter book I read as a child was about Abraham Lincoln. The cover was textured light blue linen with a black line drawing of Abe’s childhood cabin. In my mind's eye, I can still see the spine of the book in my elementary school library.

How did you learn about/ meet Jodell Sadler and what drew you to her?

I read a post she did about pacing pictures books weeks before I met her at the WOW retreat. I thought she was articulate, insightful and had a great command of picture books. Basically, I thought she was a pretty sharp tool in the kidlit shed.  In person she is kind, intelligent, a direct communicator and best of all she is happy.

Tell us about "the call" or the moment you got the offer. 

I didn’t get a call. Jodell looked me in the eyes and said, I really want to work with you. I love your work and I think we would make a great team.

What would you say are the one or two things you did that got your work  to the level that landed you an agent?

I stay connected to my need for learning. If I am not discovering, then I am not living. Taking classes and doing the work are essential for me. 

I am not talented, people. I am a hard worker. 

My critique partners have helped me hone my craft. 

David Diaz and Jim Averbeck from the SCBWI Nevada Mentor program were instrumental mentors who continue to support me on my journey long after the program ended. 

I am a lucky girl.

How did you celebrate getting an agent?

I cleaned my refrigerator, got a pedicure, and finished up the excitement with grocery shopping. I stick with my motto . . . do the work.

Any parting words of advice to other writers and illustrators?


See the above motto, do the work.


Thank you so much, Lori Ann!

The website I help run, Kidlit411.com will feature Lori Ann in the Illustrator Spotlight on Friday, July 25, where we will explore her illustration work. In the meantime, here's a teaser of her one of her illustrations:

© Lori Ann Levy-Holm
  


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48 comments:

  1. Oh, yeah, right, Lori Ann...you're not talented like I'm not Asian! LOL!! Congratulations, you talented woman, you!!! Hugs!

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    1. You're Asian? I thought you were just fabulous!

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  2. Congratulations, Lori Ann! I agree, hard work is the key! I love that you cleaned your frig in celebration! When work is done, then one can finally relax for a few minutes. :)

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  3. Congratulations, Lori Ann! You've worked hard and deserve this! I echo Teresa and Carrie's sentiments- hard work and time is the key! Hugs!!!

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    1. I'll be 54 next month so the time factor is ticking ;)! Thank you for your words of support.

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  4. Lori forgot to mention that she is an idea-spinner with a killer sense of humor! Ka-ching! Congratulations, beautiful human!

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    1. Oh sweet Julie, future studio mate! Thank you very much!

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  6. Lucky Jodell, she's signed a gem!

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  7. What, you didn't strike a yoga pose? Jodell and you will make quite the team. Am over the moon to hear this.

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    1. Kathy, no yoga pose, but I did shake my boodie.

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  8. This is awesome, Lori-Ann. You rock. Congratulations :D

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    1. Jackie, thank you. We all know that you rock sister from another mister.

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  9. I am so lucky to represent Lori Ann, Joanna. She is such a talent and we make one extreme, high-stepping KidLit team!

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  10. Congrats, Lori Ann!!! Such a step up. So happy for you. Keep working!

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    1. Thank you, Sue. We are all on this path together.

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  11. So happy for you Lori Ann! Well deserved indeed.

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  12. Such great news for Lori Ann! Looking forward to seeing the wonders of your continued hard work and learning. Your drawings, whether "doodle" sketches or finished paintings, are inspirational indeed.

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    1. Gayle, I love seeing your images on Doodle a Day! Thank you for your kind words.

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  13. Lori Ann, I am thrilled to hear this news! We have the same motto. Good for you for keeping your head down and getting the job done. Much deserved! :)

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    1. Thanks for celebrating with me Renee. Now if I could just get over to Italy to celebrate in person!!!

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  14. Lori Ann- I love you. I am so proud for you. You are truly the most talented illustrator, I am not surprised that EB and David both wanted you as a mentor and Jim Averbeck became a kindred friend.

    Your agent is the bomb- a true class act. She doesn't take, she gives and gives and gives.

    The majority of this wonderful world of children's literature appreciate kindness and you are dearly appreciated.

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    1. Thank you for all your help and support along the way, Kristen. You brought Jodell to the WOW retreat, so kudos to you friend. It is an experience I will always treasure. XO

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  15. Great story bursting with life! Congratulations and best of luck as you head into this new stage. Hope to meet you someday.

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    1. Beth, thank you for your kind words. I hope we do meet soon! Writers and illustrators rock!

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  16. Hip-hip-hooray-yahoo-hot-diggity-dog! What fantastic news. Congratulations Lori Ann!

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    1. Thank you Alayne! Continued success to you on your journey.

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  17. LORI ANN!!! YAY!!! So excited for you and Jodell! Happy happy happy!

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    1. Thank you Marcie. It was so fun to laugh with you at the retreat. Can't wait 'til next year.

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  18. Great interview! Congratulations, again! Very precise and true motto: Do the work.

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  19. Congratulations, Lori Ann. I love your story and your motto! :-)
    - Carrie F

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    1. I appreciate it Carrie. Good luck to you.

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  20. Well deserved congratulations Lori Ann! Your work is beautiful. Wishing you great success!

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    1. Thank you for the kind words Telaina. I like seeing your drawings on Doodle a Day. Keep up the great work.

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  21. Congratulations, Lori Ann! So exciting, and so well deserved! :)

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    1. Thanks for helping me along the way teach! You are wonderful.

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  22. Congratulations, Lori Ann. I'm another who loves your motto! It's the only way to go :-)

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    1. Let's keep working together Penny! Thank you for your thoughts.

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  23. Congratulations Lori! I am so excited for you, all that hard work is paying off! I am looking forward to seeing some of your work in print soon.

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    1. Thank you Yvonne. I, too, look forward to seeing you books. Good luck to you.

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  24. HUGE congrats, Lori Ann! I was lucky to have you critique my stories at the WOW Writer's Retreat round tables and all I can say is that it takes a 'sharp tool' to know one. Wishing you every success! :0)

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    1. It was great to share that time with you. I can't wait to see your guinea hen book in print! Keep writing friend.

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