Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Meet Our 2020 Conference Faculty: Laurel Symonds

Meet the faculty of the 2020 Austin SCBWI Writers & Illustrators Working Conference. We’ve asked all our faculty members to answer 4 quick questions so we can get to know them better.

Laurel Symonds, Agent, The Bent Agency

Laurel Symonds launched as a literary agent at The Bent Agency in Fall 2018 after nearly a decade of experience in the publishing industry. She began her career in the editorial department of HarperCollins Children’s Books/Katherine Tegen Books in New York City and has also held positions in the marketing department at a small publishing house, in a library, and as a bookseller at one of the nation’s best independent bookstores. As a literary agent, she is seeking children’s fiction and nonfiction, from picture books to young adult, particularly focusing on voices that have previously been underrepresented and stories that have been overlooked.

Laurel Symonds
Laurel Symonds

What attracted you to children’s books?

I never considered doing anything else! As a former reluctant reader, I know how important the right book can be to spark a lifetime of being a reader.

What’s the best part of your job?

I love working closely with my clients and helping them build careers that make a difference to young readers.

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

The hardest part of my job is the challenge of finding the right editor match for each project and having to deliver disappointing news. But it only takes one ‘yes’ from one editor who really understands the project.

What’s the best piece of advice you were given that helped drive your career?

This is a tough industry for everyone involved–authors, editors, agents–so you need to be passionate about who you are and your vision and keep working at it, despite any setbacks.

Come see Laurel Symonds at the 2020 Austin SCBWI conference, May 2-3, 2020