Wednesday, February 26, 2014

So You Want to Get an Agent

A growing number of publishers are not accepting unsolicited manuscripts and are seeking agent submissions only. To dip into the larger pool of publishing houses, I decided to seek an agent who will represent me. 

Image courtesy of Renjith Krishnan/
Here are the steps I've used in my agent search:

  1. Have at least 3 polished manuscripts ready for submission before querying an agent.
  2. Make a list of agents who are accepting clients and represent the genre I am writing. In my case, picture books.
  3. Research these agents and take note on what they are specifically looking for in a picture book.
  4. Make a short list of agents who are a good match for the type of picture books I write.
  5. Do more research on the agents on the short list and take more notes. Take note on why I want the agent to represent me and why I think we are a good match. Also study the authors that they represent. I like to Google [agent name] interviews. You can gather a lot of good information from the Q & A.
  6. Take notes on the agent's submission guidelines and make a checklist.
  7. Write your query or cover letter, making sure you personalize your letter to the agent. I wrote a post that lists helpful links that will help you write the perfect query letter
  8. Submit to no more than 6-8 agents at a time. Read the article by Chuck Sambuchino to find out why.
  9. Practice patience.

Want to know more about the process of searching for an agent/editor? Read Alayne Kay Christian's All About Submissions Q & A- Researching agents and editors: How Do You Determine Who To Submit To? Part I and Part II. In this post writers share their personal experience so you get to learn about each ones process and select which is best for you.

Below is a list of a few websites I've compiled that will help you with your agent search:

What an Agent will Do for You- In this post, Lara Dotlich Anderson, former Senior Assistant to the V.P. of Curtis Brown, Ltd. answers the familiar question to help you decide if querying an agent is the next step for you.

Homework List When Researching an Agent- Kathy Temean goes into detail about how to search for the right agent. I listed my steps above, but Kathy explains why it is important.


The following is an awesome list of agents generated by Casey McCormick/Natalie Aguirre, Heather Ayris Burnell, and Krista Van Dolzer. They've taken the time to gather valuable information, links and interviews of agents all on their site! 

Literary Rambles by Casey McCormick & Natalie Aguirre- On the left of the page you can do an agent search by genre or agent name. On the right sidebar you will find a list of agent blogs. This is an excellent source for initiating your agent search. Here you will find agents' web presence, what they are looking for, their philosophy, their client list, submission information, interviews and guest posts. 

Monster List of Picture Book Agents by Heather Ayris Burnell- Agents are listed alphabetically by agency.

Mother. Write. (Repeat.) by Krista Van Dolzer- Here you will find a list of agents that Krista had interviewed over the years. 

Of course, check out Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market and the agency website for current information.

Here is my favorite post on why you shouldn't be afraid to query new agents:
New Agents Don't Have Cooties- by Maria Vicente, literary agent intern.

I hope you find these links helpful to you in your agent search. If you have a link that you feel I should include in this post, please share with me in the comment below.

~Happy Agent Search!


  1. Excellent summary post! Will be bookmarking this for reference.

  2. Enjoyed your article immensely. I especially like and appreciate the practice patience note. I have a hard time with that!


    1. Yes, patience is the toughest one to deal with! What helps me is to write new stories to get my mind off of the wait. Thanks for stopping by Todd.

  3. Thanks, Romelle, for all the great links. Can't wait to peruse them all. Hope you find the perfect one for you!

  4. Very helpful Romelle. I also like the google searches:
    Represented by Agent name
    Brokered by agent name

    1. Oh, Lauri, that is a good one! "Represented by..." It is always nice to know the authors they represent and the type of books they write.

  5. Thanks. I've got it bookmarked for when I begin my own research.

    1. Great! Best wishes to you, Joanne. Hope you find a terrific agent when that time comes.



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