Our panel included Ann Rose, agent with the Prospect Agency, Ariane Felix, intern for agent Victoria Selvaggio from Storm Literary Agency and Rebekah Manley, a writer who recently signed with Natalie Lakosil of Bradford Literary Agency. Ann Rose is also a debut author, and her YA novel, Road to Eugenica, was published earlier this year.
The panelists shared their journey and their day to day tips. Ariana works in a literary agency internship position. Ann receives 100+ queries a week and is always working to evaluate manuscripts and Rebekah has a personal query strategy that she shared with all of us. Rebekah tracks her submissions with an excel spreadsheet. She also uses email, goggle docs and keeps close connections so she may share her work with her critique group. Ann reminded us to listen and pay attention to the guidelines. Agents and publishers are busy so following the guidelines will serve you well. Ann and Ariana reminded us that it is all about the book! They are looking for voice!
Ariana receives submissions requested by the agent she interns with. She will read 20 pages, and if interested ask for the full manuscript. Ann reads the entire manuscript all the while taking notes.
When writers receive an offer of representation, they need to assess what they want from an agent. Let the agent talk and find out why they are interested. Find out their career path and let them know what projects you are working on. You never have to say yes on the spot.
Here are some suggestions for development:
Pitch Wars can be helpful
Get in with critique groups
Be willing to really revise
Keep expectations realistic/manage expectations
Try to enjoy the process
(See Rebekah Manley’s resources for researching literary agents at the end of this post).
So how do agents work? They try to build a team with their clients. They are there to support and encourage and to edit.
Every day feels like an eternity when waiting to hear from an agent. Use common sense – wait for awhile before reaching out if you do not hear back! Don’t just wait though…Keep writing!
A big thank you to Ann, Ariana and Rebekah for sharing their time, knowledge and experience!
Following the meeting, author and attorney Jacqui Lipton chatted with members about copyright issues and publishing law.
Jacqui is a law professor and the director of Authography, LLC, a company dedicated to assisting writers and other creative artists with their legal and business concerns. Her columns on these issues have appeared in many publications, including the SCBWI Bulletin and her .
Literary Agent Research Resources, courtesy of Rebekah Manley
Online newsletters (there are many websites/blogs that let you subscribe and have endless tips/ agent interviews etc)
Writing and Illustrating: Sharing Information About Writing and Illustrating for Children
The Writing Barn: Check out the speakers and past professionals. These classes are a HUGE support. Even if you can’t make a certain intensive with a certain agent, you know they are a good professional to look into if they are with the Writing Barn.
SCBWI: Read the online and in paper bulletins closely!
#PitMad and other Twitter pitching events
Make a list of agents
#MSWL some agents tweet their manuscript (MS) wishlists (WL)
Check out the SCBWI conferences (even ones you can’t possibly make it to) and see what agents will be there. SCBWI is reputable and does their best to find agents you can trust. They do everything they can vet agents and editors, but people should always do their own research as well and talk to clients, etc., when they get an offer. SCBWI conferences are a wonderful place to start, and if people can go to them, an incredible place to make connections, especially the local events. Curate your list from speakers at conferences.
Note: inclusion on this list does not constitute an endorsement from SCBWI. You should always do your own research to see if a group or organization will be helpful to you.