Penumbra is much more than the shadow cast by an object during an eclipse. It’s is also the name of the literary agency I just signed with.
That’s right– Katie Li, writer, is now represented by Jennifer Chen Tran, founder and principal of Penumbra Literary Agency.
Boston Arts Academy had taught me how important it was for artists to find ways to market their skills so they can do their work and make a living.– a concept that I firmly believed and probably one of the reasons why I have felt a little guilt-ridden for just writing this past year. During my last year at Hampshire, I worked like crazy trying to figure out what career path to take with my writing. I worked as a technical writer, taught writing to kids at an afterschool program, assisted an author on researching her book, and interned at a publishing house– all in the same semester.
It was a crazy time, but I had the chance to share some of my writing with the editor who supervised me. She told me, “Your work is really good– you need to find yourself an agent”
That had been my goal ever since. Writing was not always my first priority– I had day jobs and break-ups and quitting cigarettes and new friends and crappy apartments and early-20-something angst to deal with. But I understood, when it came to my writing, finding an agent was my first step.
Meeting Jennifer was the most like a serendipitous romantic comedy than any interaction I have had in a while. During my first morning at the Muse conference, I had two back-to-back workshops that covered fairly similar topics. Feeling good about the information I gathered after the first session, I slipped into a panel discussion on Non-Fiction Publishing.
The room was relatively empty when I arrived, I grabbed a seat somewhere in the middle. As the room filled a woman sat next to me, and, determined to connect with more writers, I introduced myself to her.
We had been corresponding ever since. I shared my work with her, we negotiated a contract and signed over macarons last week in Rockefeller Center.
The night before signing, I sat on the floor with Kyle at his sister’s apartment in Brooklyn. We played cards, specifically war, which I hadn’t played since I learned the rules to Chinese poker in high school.
“I don’t really know what I’m doing with myself now,” I confessed. “Finding an agent has been my big goal for the past five years.”
“Well, that’s what you have an agent for now,” he told me, sweeping away the pile of cards he won after we both put down Jacks. “She’ll help you figure out what to do next.”
Indeed she has. We have a plan. It’s gonna be a good summer.
I am so so psyched to be working with Jennifer, and I am really looking forward to see what comes next!