I am super excited to have the awesome and fabulously talented, Cynthia Rutchi, joining me on this Writerly Wednesday. If you don’t yet know Cynthia, you’re in for a treat.
Hi Cynthia, thanks so much for joining me on Writerly Wednesday. Could you take a moment and yourself to my readers?
I came into the publishing world through the back door. I worked in the medical field–in a chemistry laboratory of a large medical facility–for the first several years after I married my husband. When our first two children were little, I “retired” from that pursuit to stay home with the kids, grow a big garden, can or freeze everything we could raise or forage, sew, knit, make homemade bread, and watch Little House on the Prairie.
I also took correspondence courses in creative writing so my brain cells didn’t stagnate. I didn’t envision a career in writing or publishing, but thought I might gain enough skills to write an occasional magazine article, newspaper human interest piece, or put together decent devotionals for baby and bridal showers.
But God had other plans in mind. Two weeks after finishing the final correspondence course, I was handed the opportunity to write a 15-minute scripted broadcast for radio. That broadcast recently retired after 33 years on the air.
By the time the broadcast retired, I had published my first novel. I’d been writing fiction and nonfiction all those years, so it was far more natural for me to do both. Since 2010, I’ve been blessed to have more than twenty books published, with more contracted.
You’re a writer, and now an agent with Books & Such. How do you juggle the demands of both?
It may seem repetitive, but I came into agenting through the back door, too! I hadn’t been looking for that position. But after a few months in this role, I can tell that God had been grooming me for it. I love everything about agenting (except having to say no so often), just as I love everything about the writing, publishing, and marketing process.
I’m less a juggler than I am working a literary circuit–like the exercise gyms that rotate clients from station to station in order to get a full workout for all muscle groups. I spend time working on my own proposals, then as an agent tweaking my client’s proposals. I flesh out ideas for marketing my latest releases, then brainstorm with a client about his or her marketing needs.
I move from fiction to nonfiction, from ACFW responsibilities to agent responsibilities to author responsibilities. They’re not only related to each other, but inform and strengthen one another. I have just enough ADD in me to make me okay with jumping from project to project, from writing devotions to creating a press release to pulling together a magazine article to reading through a client’s contract.
Exhausting? Sometimes. Like a good workout.
How are you enjoying being an agent? What’s your favorite aspect?
My favorite parts of agenting relate to relationships with publishers and clients, finding a perfect match between an author’s ideas and a publisher’s needs, and interacting (aka, learning from) the other agents within Books & Such. It’s energizing, too, to help a proposal go from good to polished.
Why the decision to go into agenting?
Even though the invitation came as a surprise, it quickly made perfect sense. I’ve long cared about helping other authors succeed. I’m an encourager at heart and propelled by hope. God has given me unique opportunities to get a peek at many facets of the publishing industry–which makes me more informed as an agent and sympathetic to all sides of the equation, even while cheering hard for my clients.
What are five fun facts most people don’t know about you?
- I used to play the bass drum in the marching band. (Most directors frowned on carrying a bassoon while marching).
- I was a baton twirler (majorette) in middle school and part of high school. (I know. Scary to think about, isn’t it?)
- I’ve hiked the Chilkoot Trail in Alaska. (Okay, part of it.)
- I’ve been whitewater rafting in Colorado.
- I was paid for one of my first online writing projects in chocolate. That’s right.
Wow. How fun to be paid in chocolate. My kind of payment 😉
Are you accepting submissions and, if so, what are you looking for and what is the best way to contact or query you?
Yes to accepting submissions. I’m focused primarily on nonfiction, but I’m interested in a few fiction clients. As any agent will say, whether fiction or nonfiction, I’m looking for strong writing skills, a significant built-in audience (platform), and a compelling story from writers who understand the power of a well-turned phrase and the importance of a fresh approach. Those seeking representation can send a short email inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org or connect through the information provided on the Submissions page.
Thanks so much for joining us, Cynthia. In honor of her graciousness in visiting Writerly Wednesday, I’m giving away a copy of Cynthia’s latest release, A Fragile Hope.
Simply leave a comment or answer ask Cynthia a question, and you’ll automatically be entered to win. The winner will be contacted next week. Thanks again to Cynthia for joining us.
Cynthia Ruchti tells stories “hemmed in Hope” through novels, novellas, nonfiction, devotions, and through speaking events for women and writers. Many of her more than 20 books have been recognized by key industry awards. Cynthia serves as the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) professional relations liaison and is an agent with Books & Such Literary Management. She and her grade school sweetheart husband live in the heart of Wisconsin.