1. cuzzo
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    cuzzo New Member

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    Agents Children's Book Agents

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by cuzzo, Oct 10, 2012.

    I've been working on and off on a YA / children's book for about two years. It's pretty short (~20k words) and I've spent a lot of time polishing it.

    Anyway, I have some general questions. I have a bit of experience going after traditional agents. I've written a novel and am going through the process of attempting to get that published. I've had a few agents contact me back but none so far that will take me up /=

    I read the book Phantom Tollbooth at a relatively old age (20) which gave me the inspiration to start this story. It's an illustrated book (in case you didn't know) and I'd like to have mine illustrated also. I feel like the short length, word choice, and style I used suit the book for maybe the 11-14-ish age group (although, I'd hope that people of all ages could enjoy it [= ). I think that's probably around the same age group as Phantom Tollbooth so I don't think that the age group is too old for illustrations. I think I'd like to just have one per chapter (about 1k words, in my case)... I'm starting to ramble >.<

    It was pretty easy to search online and get some advice for steps to take to get a traditional novel published / get an agent. I wasn't so lucky when searching for YA / children's. So I'm wondering if any of you have any advice.

    Also, am I supposed to have it illustrated before or after I get an agent (assuming that I ever do >.<)?

    Thanks [=
     
  2. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hi, Here in the UK it is not always necessary to have an agent for children's books.

    If you are from the UK; place a search for 'children's publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts' look through the search engine for Lou Traveaven, she has a list of children's publishers with links.

    Don't bother about illustrations, the publishers deal with that. Good Luck!
     
  3. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    You could buy the Writers handbook it has all the information you will need. Warning though its expensive and changes each year but you could always borrow it from your local library.
     
  4. Steph4136
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    Steph4136 Senior Member

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    I'd still go through process for getting a children's book published as you would a novel. Query letter, all that jazz. Do your research on agents the same way you would with anyone else. This is a pretty good site for finding agents in your genre: http://www.agentquery.com/format_tips.aspx

    Most agencies websites and author profiles have detailed information about how to submit manuscripts to them. Just make sure you follow each one to the T. Good luck!
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    are you looking to publish in the us, the uk, or canada/australia?

    in the us, you can submit a children's book ms [what you have seems to be what is called a 'chapter book'] directly to many publishers, but having an agent is always preferable... and the publisher will assign an illustrator, no matter where you are...

    i have good agent and publisher listings for all us/uk/canada that i'll be glad to send you if you drop me an email...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  6. JQJohnson
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    JQJohnson Member

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    As I noted in another thread, I just went through every agent listing in the 2013 Guide to Literary Agents. What I noticed among the agents specifically looking for YA and children's picture books was that many of the agents specifically noted that they were looking for manuscripts where the author was also the illustrator, or where the illustration was already complete. While it may not be necessary, you may want to consider looking at potential illustrators.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    What I noticed among the agents specifically looking for YA and children's picture books was that many of the agents specifically noted that they were looking for manuscripts where the author was also the illustrator, or where the illustration was already complete.

    ...that's surprising, since publishers have long been averse to accepting artwork from new writers and prefer to assign their own illustrators... in fact, most publishers of picture books specifically state in their guidelines that they do not accept unsolicited artwork...

    ...if the tide has indeed changed, as your post seems to indicate, i'd appreciate your listing the names of some of those agents, so i won't be misdirecting members here and those i mentor, who ask for advice on this issue...
     
  8. swhibs123
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    swhibs123 Active Member

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    Late to reply, but maybe you're still looking for some opinions.

    First, don't worry about illustrations. That's not your job, unless you are a professional illustrator and want to pitch a book with your illustrations. Otherwise, it will be the publisher who designs the book.

    Second, generally you have middle grade novels: geared for 8-12 year olds, or young adult novels: geared for 12-18 year olds. Of course, there are some that fall in the middle, which perhaps is where yours sits. If so you might want to pitch it as a MG/YA crossover novel geared for the 10+ market. That happens to be the market I write for too.

    The process to getting a children's book published is precisely the same as getting a book geared for the adult market published. There are hundreds of agents who rep MG/YA manuscripts. Query them. If you want to go it alone, there are quite a few MG/YA publishers who accept un-agented manuscripts. I actually have a rather nice list of some of the really great ones, and I'd be happy to share it if you, or anyone would like it. Let me know. Before I got an agent I was preparing to submit directly to publishers and I did a lot of research to build my list.

    I would suggest, though, that you exhaust your agent list before you submit to publishers. And when you submit to publishers (if you chose to do so), aim high. Submit to the best you can first - and believe it or not, some of the TOP publishers in the world still accept unagented submissions (but you are much better off to submit to them via an agent).

    Biggest thing is just forget about the illustrations and query agents.

    Good luck! I hope you'll post an update so we can hear how it's going!

    Cheers
    S.

    ETA: One more thing - since you mention your book is very like THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH, have you looked up who the agent is who reps the author of that book? If not, you should, and you should query them.
     
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