Posted by: nancyisanders | October 10, 2012

Steps I Took to Find an Agent, Part 1

The first time I looked for an agent 15 or so years ago, it was simple! I just looked through the Writers Market in their list of agents, contacted one that looked like she represented the types of books I liked to write, and she accepted me!

Easy Peasy. At that time I had numerous books published in the Christian market and she was one of the top agents there—both adult and children’s market. At that time I was interested in writing Bible Studies and Christian marriage books, etc. Not just books for children. She represented my career.

Our relationship lasted for several years, but then I reached a point in my career where I wanted to write mostly for the educational market. As I mentioned earlier, you don’t need an agent for that market, so I asked to cancel the contract with my agent and then I just marketed my own manuscripts and contracts without an agent for awhile.

But then came a time when I wanted an agent to just represent one or two of my picture book manuscripts. I wanted someone in New York, but I wanted someone who still had a hand in the Christian market as well.

In my next post, I’ll tell the steps I took to find my next agent.


  1. very interesting ! I understand better now… 🙂

  2. I think what’s interesting is that you didn’t have much trouble finding an agent the first time around, while many writers struggle with this. It seems that the secret is that you had already established yourself as a hard-working and productive writer first. You had sales, which would be proof of having developed your craft. It makes me wonder if too many writers are jumping for agents before they’re really ready.

    • I do think that’s a good point, Beth. My first agent told me that one of the reasons she signed with me was because of my track record. However, it is good to remember success stories of some local authors I know personally. They were able to write top notch from the very beginning and acquired agents with their first published book. So if you feel your writing is of publishable quality, then by all means look for an agent in your submissions process. But for the majority of us, it’s best to acquire solid writing skills and get some published books with smaller publishers under our belt first.

      • Good point. In a way, there is no handy rule that will just work for everyone, because every agent and every writer is different. We just have to examine how many writers have succeeded in this area and try some of those models to see what works.

  3. Tina Cho gave me this link…I’m glad she did as I’ve set a goal of submitting at least 6 picture books this year.:) I’ll bookmark your blog and follow you…I think you have a lot of important things to say!

    • Nice to have you join in with us here at my blog! And say “hi” to Tina…she’s a gem!!!!

      • Yes, she is, Nancy! I’m thrilled to be in her online critique group.:)

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