To agent or not to agent? Sometimes it feels like harder work finding an agent than finding a publisher, so my temptation has been to submit without an agent. In the current market, however, with fewer and fewer publishers accepting submissions over the transom, an agent seems more and more necessary to publishing success.
When I first heard agent Marcia Wernick speak at an SCBWI conference in Seattle in 2004, she was associated with the Sheldon Fogelman Agency in New York City. In January 2011, she founded the Wernick and Pratt Agency with long-time colleague Linda Pratt.
This is one story I LOVE to tell, about Jill Corcoran, a fellow blogger and buddy of mine for years. It was a hoot to see her at many SCBWI events, always curious, always learning her craft and always a blast to hang out with. A few years back Jill decided to become a Children's Literary agent for the Herman Agency in New York. This girl was born to do this job. Jill has sky rocketed to success with multi-book deals for many authors. We who "knew her when" are bursting with pride. I'm happy that my good friend and buddy Jill Corcoran agreed to give us a Writing Tip of the Day.
I met Kelly Sonnack years ago at a BEA children's authors' breakfast. She and a colleague were sitting at my table of authors and librarians. I got to know her better last year when we were both on the faculty of the SCBWI summer conference. A top selling agent, Kelly is kind, funny and very accessible. I am so pleased that Kelly to agreed to give me an interview for the blog.
When and why did you start representing children’s book authors and illustrators?
Just over 5 years ago now, when I got an entry level position at another agency in San Diego. There, I learned agenting was exactly what I wanted to be doing, and children’s literature was what I wanted to focus on, but the agency wasn’t the right fit. Luckily there was a position available at ABLA, an agency I considered to be a leader in the industry. Now, I’m in just the right spot!
I am often asked if my agent, the fabulous Mark McVeigh, will be teaching any webinars soon. I am happy to say he is. Mark plans to teach one on nailing your first chapter. What I've always loved about Mark, when he was my editor and now that he is my agent, is his fresh view and specific comments. He is a pleasure to work with and an excellent teacher.
The webinar is offered through Yalitchat, a great site for YA writers. Here are the specifics for "Nailing Your First Chapter." Mark will be giving the same webinar four times, twice in December (1 pm EST and 4 PM EST on December 8) and twice in January (1 PM EST and 4 PM EST January 11). You have to join yalitchat to participate, but the basic membership is free. The button is on the right side of the page at http://yalitchat.ning.com. The fee for the webinar is $100.
Today I am happy to be part of Sarah Lynn Scheerger's blog tour for her picture book Tip Tap Pop. Her agent, Deborah Warren from East/West Literary Agency, gives us some insight into Sarah and the changing market of children's publishing.
What was it about Sarah’s work that inspired you to offer her representation?
Sarah's solid writing was the first clue that we had someone special here. Then came the ability to get teen dialogue just right without going over to the dark side of current teen slang (which ages faster than a peach on a hot summer day),followed by her talent for creating a strong voice and plot; in particular, her facility with developing characters throughout the story with telling little details.
I met Michele Corriel last January at the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York. She is a dedicated RA and a member of the class of 2K10 with her debut novel, Fairview Felines: A Newspaper Mystery. I am thrilled to be part of her Blog Tour with an interview by our mutual agent, the wonderful Mark McVeigh.
What was it about Michele's work that first attracted your attention and caused you to offer representation?
Michele's clear and on-target voice, her humor, and her ability to create memorable characters blew me away when I read ALL OF THE ABOVE, the novel that is out on submission right now.
At the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York I had lunch with my editorial agent, Mark McVeigh. He was kind enough to give us a Revision Tip of the Day. Since that lunch Mark started a blog with fascinating posts on the publishing industry. You can visit Mark's blog at http://themcveighagency.blogspot.com/
As an afterthought, during lunch with my agent, Mark McVeigh, I pulled out my video camera and asked him three questions. It was noisy in this hipper-than-hip fish restaurant and I apologize for the sloppy camera work, but I was happy to have Mark answer a few questions.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jamie Weiss Chilton at SCBWI Ventura / Santa Barbara Writers' Day last fall. She gave an entertaining and insightful talk about being an agent with Andrea Brown Literary Agency. I asked Jamie to give us her insights on being an agent.
When and why did you start representing children’s book authors?
I joined the Andrea Brown Literary Agency as an Associate Agent in January 2008, but my career in children's books started ten years earlier. In 1998, I became Christy Ottaviano's intern at Henry Holt Books for Young Readers. On my first day, I knew I wanted a career in children's books.