How to Be Your Own Agent
A conversation with Chloe Caldwell, author of four books, most recently The Red Zone: A Love Story.
This is the third in a series of behind the scenes video interviews with authors, editors, and others in the field about aspects of publishing personal essays, essay collections, and memoirs. The first, in December, was with Tajja Isen, author of Some of My Best Friends: Essays on Lip Service, and the editor-in-chief of Catapult.
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For this installment, I’ve interviewed Chloe Caldwell, author of four books, including The Red Zone: A Love Story, I’ll Tell You In Person, Women, and Legs Get Led Astray.
Caldwell has had an unusual career tragectory. She started as an outsider who hadn’t completed her studies at community college. She learned by being a reader, and taking courses at places like Gotham Writers. She fell in love with small literary publications and websites like The Rumpus, and books from indie publishers.
Caldwell’s preference for indie outlets and publishers informed the kind of writer she became. All of Caldwell’s books have been published with independent publishers—Future Tense Books, Short Flight/Long Drive Books, the Emily Books imprint at Coffee House Press, and Soft Skull Press.
Now she’s not only a popular author, she’s a much sought-after teacher at various institutions, including Writing Workshops Dallas, Fine Arts Work Center, and Corporeal Writing—where beginning February 6th she’ll teach Writing With Intution: Trusting Yourself.
In our conversation, Caldwell talks about her experiences with publishing; signing with, then parting ways with agents; the mainstream publishers who considered her work; and the indie presses where she happily landed.
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