This Agent’s Look Back at 2019

2019 was quite a year for me. I suppose it was a year for nearly everyone who made it from January 1 to December 31. In my case, however, it was a year of much change, stress, and some success.

The bulk of the change (and stress) involved a long-planned move for me and my wife from our Ohio home of 24 years. We spent the first five-plus months of 2019 packing and preparing for the sale of our home (which sold in ten hours from listing to accepted offer, a surprise that prompted more than a few adjustments, I hope to tell you). We packed our possessions into a moving pod, closed on the sale of our home in late June, my wife accepted a new job, and we journeyed to Las Vegas, Nevada to start a new chapter of life within driving distance of our kids and grandkids (all of whom tried to get away from us within the last few years by moving to new homes and jobs in California; but while they can run, they can’t hide). After living in temporary lodgings for about three months, we moved into our Vegas home in late September and have since been unpacking, enjoying regular trips to see family, ordering and awaiting new furniture, and adjusting as well as possible. But we survived and hope in one of the boxes we have yet to unpack to find some semblance of a new normal.

As a writer, I was blessed by the publication of two books in 2019 (Don’t Close Your Eyes—my first children’s book— in February and Closer to God in May). I did a little article writing for Mature Living, Bible Advocate, Peer, and War Cry. I continued my daily contributions to (a daily prayer blog) and posted weekly to my “A Thousand Ways to Pray” blog (on and this agency blog (

My speaking schedule took me to three engagements in California, two in North Carolina, two in Ohio, and others in Florida, Tennessee, Alabama, and Oregon.

In my role as a literary agent, I was honored to help clients sign a number of new book contracts and one video curriculum deal. I added a bunch of new clients into the agency this year, and I expect many to get good news on their projects in the very near future. (Some have already received their good news.)

I often tell people that writing for publication is a “long obedience in an uphill direction,” to paraphrase both Friedrich Nietzsche and Eugene Peterson. That continues to be the case. The Christian publishing picture these days looks more like a late Picasso than a Rembrandt or Van Gogh. But I continue to be blessed and inspired by the perseverance and perspicacity of my clients and by the beautiful and life-changing books being produced by the editors and publishers with whom we work. Overall, though, I’m supremely confident that, like my personal 2019, the road ahead promises much change and stress but also some success.

14 Responses to This Agent’s Look Back at 2019

  1. Avatar
    Loretta Eidson January 8, 2020 at 5:03 am #

    Blessings as you find your new normal!

  2. Avatar
    Judith Robl January 8, 2020 at 5:39 am #

    The idea of selling a home at my age is daunting. We’ve lived in this house 49 years. It would take a crew of twenty and a month and a half to pack up my house. You have my unending admiration and respect. Of course, you had that before this post as well. Do enjoy being nearer the family. Grandchildren are wonderful. May you find your new normal quickly. Life is a mixed bag.

  3. Avatar
    damonjgray January 8, 2020 at 6:19 am #

    Wow, Las Vegas. It makes me cringe just thinking about it, because I’m such a small-town boy. My high school graduation class numbered a whopping 42. But my son is like you, a lover of the city.

    I wish you all good things as you continue to look for normal in your new digs. It is amazing how exhausting experiences (like this move) can also be brimming with excitement and anticipation.

  4. Avatar
    Loree Johns January 8, 2020 at 7:46 am #

    Happy New Year and thank you for all your words of wisdom and advice. And best wishes on your move. Hope you find blessings in Vegas. I’ve been a city gal all my adult life and found myself thrust into the country last year. You never know what a change of scenery will do for your soul. I didn’t know I would adore it so.

  5. Avatar
    Roberta Sarver January 8, 2020 at 7:56 am #

    Best wishes on your new normal. Didn’t Erma Bombeck say that normal is only a setting on your dryer? We also moved in 2019, from the midwest to the east coast, from the country to the city. But those children and grandchildren do have a way of drawing a person away from the old and familiar.

    Congratulations on your writing achievements. You have been a blessing to a lot of people.

  6. Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser January 8, 2020 at 8:18 am #

    Too ill to contribute anything but a haiku. Blessings on your road ahead, Bob!

    The clear and frosty winter air
    is most suitable
    for looking back.

  7. Avatar
    Brennan S. McPherson January 8, 2020 at 10:09 am #

    Began to read Closer to God. Beautiful writing. Interesting seeing your style in different mediums. That’s a lot of work in one year! Blessings on finding rest and your new normal.

  8. Avatar
    Catherine January 8, 2020 at 2:06 pm #

    Hi Bob—I just purchased “Closer to God” from Amazon. The topic is a running theme in my life currently, and I know your book will be a blessing. Congratulations on handling your many and varied responsibilities with such success!

  9. Avatar
    Molly A. Weber January 8, 2020 at 2:31 pm #

    Congrats on your move, setting and interest in helping writers. I’m sure your family will love you even more now that you are closer.
    Molly Weber

  10. Avatar
    claire o'sullivan January 8, 2020 at 2:54 pm #

    Call me … ‘Slacker.’

    I am feeling rather slothish in comparison!

  11. Avatar
    Linda Elliott Long January 8, 2020 at 8:32 pm #

    Encouraged by your words, “writing for publication is a ‘long obedience in an uphill direction'”. And, recently, I also moved from Ohio (to Seattle) to be closer to grandchildren. Blessings to you. Linda Elliott Long

  12. Avatar
    Kathy January 11, 2020 at 2:49 pm #

    Best wishes on your move! We moved to Colorado a couple years ago to be closer to family and it’s been well worth it to be near grandchildren and participate more in their lives!

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