Please welcome my guest today literary agent Kelly Mortimer of Kelly Mortimer Literary Agency.
I’ve invited Kelly to give us the inside scoop on the new association she’s formed. For those of you who may not know Kelly let me tell you a little bit about her background. Kelly represents clients in both the American Booksellers Association (ABA) and the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA). She’s the founder and current president of the Christian Media Association (CMA), dedicated to helping all Christian and Jewish writers. She made the Top 5 of the 2008 Publisher’s Marketplace Top 100 Dealmakers – Romance Category, and she won the American Christian Fiction Writers “Agent of the Year” award in 2008. Kelly writes the snarky humor column, “Gotta Get It” for Christian Fiction Online magazine, as well as the “Ask an Agent” column for the Romance Writers United newsletter.
Kelly, I recently read your announcement about the start of CMA. Can you tell us a little bit about this new association you’ve formed?
CMA stands for: “Crazy, My A**!” [Sorry.] Seriously, it’s the Christian Media Association. The web site is: www.joincma.org. It’s a nonprofit organization meant to help ALL Christian and Jewish writers, no matter what they write, including Christians who choose to write in the secular market, nonfiction writers, and screenplay/TV script writers, and fiction writers.
What brought this about and where did the idea come from?
I could tell ya the whole story, but that’d mean I’d be movin’ backward, and I’m in fast-forward mode now. Suffice it to say, I was a member of a different writers’ organization, and didn’t like what the bylaws said, nor how the organization operated. I wanted to run for office to try to change things, but that didn’t … work out. Then I got a message from God: Don’t remodel. BUILD. [He’s always talkin’ to me. I often argue, but not this time.] So, I thought of all the things I’d like [and not like] in an organization, and planned CMA accordingly.
My understanding is that all of the board positions have been filled. Who are the new CMA board members?
Yes. I made sure I invited four people who were not “yes” guys. I wanted intelligent members who wouldn’t necessarily agree with me on every issue. I also made ’em promise to slap me around if I get power hungry. [Good thing; no time to eat anyway.]
The Board of Directors and Operating Board positions are filled, but we still have a few volunteer chairs open….
Officers’ bios and pictures are on the site.
Board of Directors:
Mr. Richard Burriesci: The Lincoln Studio
Dr. Debra Holland: Psychotherapist, Corporate Crisis Counselor and Trainer
Dr. Gayle Link: CEO Graphic Ventures, Inc.
Kelly L. Mortimer: Mortimer Literary Agency – Chairman and Founder
Diane Noble: Award-Winning Author, Two-Time RITA Finalist
The Operating Board was appointed, but in the future, we’ll hold elections. The members consist of:
President: Kelly Mortimer
Vice President: Deborah Piccurelli
Treasurer: Peg Phifer
Secretary: Carole Brown
Membership Co-Officers: Laura Byrne, Cynthia Hickey
What does a writer need to do to join CMA?
Grab their wallet! [Sorry.] Prospective members need to fill out a form, agree with our statement of faith, and pay the membership dues of $25.00 for one year. [No, that’s not a misprint.]
I can’t imagine trying to juggle your busy schedule. What’s your secret for successfully running your literary agency while serving as the chairman for CMA?
Sleep is overrated. [At least I keep tellin’ myself that.]
I also have a custom handbag business. [Gotta have a creative outlet or I go crazy—no snide comments from the peanut gallery.] You can see my designs [but not buy ’em] at: www.4galsdesigns.com [Don’t forget the word “designs,”—4gals.com is a porn site….]
My family is number one. The kidlet has dubbed me “The Mominator.” [Writers—no stealin’ that for a book title—I still might use it. If I catch ya, I’ll haveta refer ya to my Web site to see my fave photo: I’m holdin’ a rifle in one hand, and a dead rattlesnake in the other….]
I get up before six, and when the kidlet leaves for school at 6:30 a.m., I start workin’. My schedule changes during summer. I haveta save time for summer homeschooling. I get the workbooks for the grade The Genius Child will go into in September and work with her, and we watch documentaries and certain Discovery Channel programs, etc. Buuut, still haveta do my regular stuff: foldin’ laundry, doin’ dishes, scrubbin’ toilets. [Yep, this big-time agent/chairman of the board still cleans her own house.] Gotta tell ya a secret. If I’m talkin’ to you on the phone, I’m either sweeping the kitchen floor, or using my 360-degree Swiffer to dust. I simply cannot waste a second. Believe me, I’ve tried. I think I have a mutated gene. Can’t even sit 60 seconds for the microwave to heat somethin’.
Next, I go to work for my clients. I make calls, edit their work and get it out, I follow up with editors who are draggin’ their feet [If you’re an editor and reading this, I don’t mean you.], etc. Then I handle matters dealing with CMA. Currently trying to finish the bylaws so the members [that means y’all, not just the Boards] can vote to ratify them, and I’m working to get our Home Page video trailer completed.
From 6:00-7:30 p.m., I work my 20-acres: clearin’ brush, scrapin’ trees, shootin’ rattlers, you know, everyday kinda stuff. After dinner, I watch an hour of TV with the kidlet, then trade off nights either designing handbags, or reading non-client submissions.
I try to get to bed between 10:00-11:00 p.m. Sometimes I don’t make it until 2:30 a.m., but my hubby [he’s such a sweet man] likes to know there’s someone beside him to hear his snores. I keep tellin’ him I can hear the snores from the fabric room, buuut….]
Then, I start all over. Of course, when huge, stress-amplifying situations come about, I haveta force myself to function. Goes with the Bipolar Disorder territory. Well, Sharon, that answer long enough for ya? I got more time if you got more room….
Goodness, Kelly, I don’t know how you manage to keep your great sense of humor while juggling everything. Speaking of humor, I have one final question for you. What’s your favorite comedy movie or movies?
I had no idea I was supposed to be funny. Good thing I’m a natural screwball. My favorite comedy movie? Hmmm. Don’t see a lot of comedies. I go for action/adventure, thrillers, and period pieces. My hero is Lucille Ball. I bill myself as the “Lucy Ricardo of the 21st Century.” I believe the two best comedy television shows of all time are I Love Lucy, and Seinfeld. If I hafta name a comedy film, I guess it’d be Animal House. [Yeah, so sue me.]