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Literary Agents - Tips on Finding an Agent

A popular question from children's writers is, "Do I need an agent to sell my children's book?" The answer to this lies solely with you. Many writers are successful on their own without an agent. When you're trying to break in as a new writer, it's just as hard to find an agent to take a chance on you as it is to find a publisher. Many say it's even easier to get published than it is to find an agent! Agents have reputable client lists, so it's hard for new writers to prove that they're going to make an agent money. After all, writing is a business.

When debating whether you need an agent, you need to ask yourself, "What kind of person am I?" Many writers are capable of handling all the business aspects that come along with writing on their own (researching publishers, mailing and marketing manuscripts, negotiating a contract, etc...). If you have any questions along the way, there are many resources on the internet and how-to books that can lead you down the right path. There are also writers who can't stand being bogged down with the business aspect and would rather spend their time on their writing. If the business aspect is something you'd rather not deal with, it might be wise to find an agent.

Some tips on finding an agent...

*Find one who specializes in children's literature.

*Check out the Preditors & Editors website to research an agent's reputation.

*Just as you would query a publisher about your manuscript, you need to query an agent as well. Include your publishing experience if any, the type of writing that you do, and mention specific manuscripts that you would like them to market for you. Just as you would sell these manuscripts to a publisher, you need to sell them to an agent.

*Get all the information you can on the agent's terms. Do they charge reasonable fees? (Most agents require 10-15% of what they make for you) Do they submit your work to houses that don't accept unsolicited manuscripts?

*Some agents charge fees to read new writer's manuscripts while others do not. Are you willing to pay up to $50 to have an agent consider you?