I’m a New York based publishing consultant, specializing in editorial and online marketing consultation. On the editorial side, I work with authors to shape and strengthen their book. On the marketing side, I help authors build a strong platform—using social media and online media—to highlight their expertise and their writing. I also volunteer for Room to Write, an organization that teaches NYC public school students about writing and publishing.
Before becoming a publishing consultant, I was a literary agent for eight years. My clients included Kelsey Timmerman, author of Where Am I Wearing (check out the 2nd edition, which just hit bookstores); Jordan Christy, author of How to Be a Hepburn in a Hilton World; Marlene Wagman-Geller, author of And The Rest Was History; Lee Roland, author of Viper Moon; and Lila DiPasqua, author of A Midnight Dance. Prior to becoming an agent I was a bookseller at Barnes & Noble for three years. I have a degree in English Lit from CCNY.
About the site
While you don’t need a business plan to become a writer, you do need to consider short and long-term goals. This means taking into account how publishable your work is (by industry standards), what career benchmarks you’re looking to achieve, and how to grow your brand. I’ll be talking about all of these factors and more. Please email me with topics or questions that you’d like addressed and explore the blog to see what topics have been covered so far. I’m looking forward to building this community with you.
About Johnson Lit Agency
I’m no longer agenting and will not be considering new projects for representation to publishers (unless you’re self-publishing and need a consultant to navigate the options; go to the services page for more info). All queries coming in will get a message stating that I am no longer an agent and will be deleted. I am still listed as an agent on many websites and am working to get those updated. Please be patient with this process. For information on agents currently looking for authors, please consult Publishers Marketplace.
From writers who have worked with me in the past:
In 2007 I had an idea to write a book on the stories behind famous literary dedications; however, although I was comfortable with the writing and research process, I was at a loss how to create a book proposal, a mandatory step for prospective publishers. I enlisted the help of Caren, who created a professional proposal. With Caren’s assistance, Once Again to Zelda: The Stories Behind Literature’s Most Intriguing Dedications was purchased by Penguin/Perigree. She was once again instrumental with my next two book proposals which again resulted in their Penguin publication: Eureka! The Surprising Stories Behind the Ideas that Shaped the World as well as And the Rest is History: The Famous (and Infamous) First Meetings of the World’s Most Passionate Couples. Ms. Estesen made my ‘dream the impossible dream’ a reality, for which I will be forever grateful.
Caren is a fearless editor. She has the unique ability to tell you that your project needs more work and do it in a way that gets you excited to do the work.
In addition to being an impeccable editor and genius marketing guru, Caren is a mentor and a friend. She possesses creativity and intelligence, and is able to translate those skills to her clients and projects. Working with her in any capacity is a true joy.
As one of Caren’s authors, it was customary for Caren to review all my manuscripts. I found that she had very strong skills in giving me an overview of the strength of the manuscript. She was always professional. Not only was she deft at identifying weaknesses, but gave me food for thought in fixing them. She is very personable and knowledgeable of the business. She also has very strong marketing skills and ideas. She was great to work with.