Our Story

September 2018

Welcome to The Author Village.

Back in the spring, I received a phone call from my booking agent, Jean Dayton of Dayton Bookings. After seventeen plus years in the business, she was retiring.

On the one hand (and selfishly), I was sad. I’d been her client since 2002 and loved working with Jean. But at the same time, I was thrilled for her. I knew this was something she’d been contemplating for awhile.

A few days later, I received an email from Loren Long. Loren was also a client of Jean’s, and like me, he was simultaneously bummed and thrilled when he’d heard the news. He was reaching out because he wanted to know if I knew my plans moving forward with regards to booking school visits and appearances.

I called Loren back that afternoon and told him I wasn’t looking for a new agent. Of late, Jean hadn’t been handling nearly as many of my appearances, and I’d taken to scheduling more and more school visits on my own.

Loren didn’t know what he was going to do. He wasn’t certain he wanted to handle his own bookings. He was planning on reaching out to his publishers and to local bookstores to see if they knew anyone who did this type of work. Then Loren asked,

“Would you do it?”

The light bulb went on.

It really did. I have a flashbulb memory of the moment. It was the first Friday of summer, and I was on the back porch because my husband Kevin was inside programming the new television remote, and I knew if I wanted that done (which I really did), I needed to be far way.

So a little history when it comes to Loren: We’ve known each other for years. The first time we met was at the SCBWI annual conference in Los Angeles. It was the year he won the Golden Kite Award for I Dream of Trains. We created the Sluggers serial together.

I listen to Loren, but that wasn’t always the case. Over the years, there were times when I didn’t listen as well as I should have. I know that. I learned that lesson. I was listening now.

That weekend, Kevin and I talked for hours and hours about the possibility of me starting my own booking agency, and the more we talked, the more I liked the idea. So did he.

But I needed to speak to more people. I reached out to Laurie Halse Anderson. Kevin and I have been friends with Laurie and her husband, Scot for years. I spoke to my agent, Erin Murphy. I talked to Deb Shapiro, Kirsten Cappy, and LeUyen Pham. And I spoke to Jean Dayton. I had to speak to Jean.

I’m fortunate to have people in my life where I can ask questions and get real answers, even if they’re answers I don’t want to hear. But in this case, I didn’t get any answers I didn’t want to hear. Instead, I got overwhelming support. Everyone pointed out that I had over twenty-five years of experience in the world of education – first as a middle school teacher in the New York City public schools and then as a children’s book author visiting schools around the world. I know the business. I know the business better than most.

So I decided to start this booking agency.

It’s an opportunity to work with like-minded people who share my values and vision when it comes to reading, the arts, and community.

More importantly, it’s an opportunity to help bring these like-minded and immensely talented humans to young people everywhere so that they can open hearts, inspire minds, and change lives.

Welcome to The Author Village.

Phil Bildner

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