Once you have completed your manuscript, you will need to get it through the publishing process. While you can certainly approach a publisher directly, many mainstream publishers do not take on a book, unless it is represented. So if you are a children’s writer who wants to take the traditional route to publishing, it is easier if you get yourself a literary agent. Literary agents use their experience to get you in sync with a publishing house that will work for you and your book. They will also work with you to get the best deal for your work.
While looking for a literary agent, work on these points.
Find a Match
Try to match the agent with the book you have in hand. Be clear about the genre and the age group that your children’s book is targeting. And contact the literary agents who handle similar work.
The resource to check is Children’s Writers’ and Artist’s Yearbook 2014. This probably has the most current extensive listing of literary agents in UK. You can also check out the newly published books in your genre at the bookstores and the library. Check through the thank-you and you will probably find the agent listed.
Follow the rules
Once you have narrowed down the list of agents, do your research about the agency.
In case, it is an agency, find the right person within the agency to send your manuscript to. And make sure you follow all the rules of submission, regarding what to send and how. Make sure that yours is a hassle-free submission and that’s how you are first noticed at the agency. It’s the little things that will help you build up a solid working relationship with your agent.
Know your Expectation
Know your agent and be clear about your expectations from this relationship. You may choose a local agent for more personalized attention to your book and the ease of commute. Or you may choose a large agency in another continent for their market reach. But in this case the physical distance will have an impact on the author-agent relationship. So, make choices based on your needs and expectations.
Be Honest in your Dealings with your Agent
Considering the close working relationship, all agents expect straightforward dealings from the authors they might represent. Begin your relationship with honesty. If you are not doing a solo submission, do let the agent know at the time of submission. It is pragmatic to send your manuscript to more than one literary agent but it is advisable to let them know this.
And finally, a word of warning – be careful if the agency you are to sign up with asks you for money. An agent may suggest editorial help or other professionals who will help improve your work. But they should never ask for payment to help you publish.