I’ve written a children’s book which has had some positive response from agents, but no one who is willing to sell it without getting paid for making submissions, etc. I’m looking for someone – locally or not – to represent me and help me pitch to publishing companies, and I’m hoping that maybe somebody here can steer me in the right direction.
Thanks for stopping by! As to your question, you’re right to have some warning flags raise up about those fee-charging agents. If you haven’t already visited Writer Beware, please do. Their website is at:
This is the page for agent issues in particular. As you’ll see, the first listed sign of a dishonest agent is “Requiring a reading fee with a submission.” The second is “Requiring a ‘marketing’ or ‘submission’ fee on contract signing.” The entire section is worth a serious read, but you might want to pay particular attention to the links toward the bottom called “Tools to Help You Evaluate Agents.”
There are loads of agents out there, and you can learn about them through books, like Writer’s Digest’s Writer’s Market or Guide to Literary Agents, which you can buy at Barnes & Noble or online at places like Amazon. (Writer’s Digest’s Writer’s Market is also online and updated throughout the year so that you’re always privvy to the latest info. It’s free for the first 30 days, then $3.99 thereafter.)
The Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market, also published by Writer’s Digest, is geared specifically for your genre, including listings of agents and editors looking for children’s book manuscripts. We did an interview with the editor of the CWIM last year, Alice Pope:
Agent Query is a great, free online resource ( http://www.agentquery.com/). If you’re willing to pay $20 for a month of access to Publishers Marketplace (http://publishersmarketplace.com/), the listings of daily sales can be quite illuminating; you’ll learn which agents are selling what stories every day (and also be able to peruse mountains of revealing listings re: what agents have sold over the last several years). Use PM to help identify authors who write books like yours–stylistically, etc… See who their agents and editors are. Query the agents specifically. Then find out which agents those editors work with and query them, too. Check out eHow for a synopsis of what more PM has to offer: http://www.ehow.com/how_2175279_use-publishers-marketplace-website.html.
Check the reputability of your would-be agents through one of the best safety nets out there for unagented writers, Preditors & Editors.
You know, a lot of children’s book writers don’t use agents at all, but instead submit directly to editors. Unlike the world of adult fiction, many (if not most) children’s-book editors will take unsolicited submissions. Check publishers’ websites for details on how to submit. You can always get an agent after landing a publishing deal, if you really want one at that point.
Finding a home for your work can be a long and trying business, but smart hunting can help you find it. This all assumes that your ms is polished and ready for professional eyes. But of course it is. Right? :-)
Good luck, and stick with it!
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