Posted by: nancyisanders | November 23, 2012

Steps to Finding an Agent: Part 9

Step 9
9. I basically started the process all over again. I went through this list of big New York agents who owned their own agency with just one or two other agents working with them. I studied the various websites and interviews and blogs and I chose my favorite agency that topped my wish list of these agents.

I wrote up a brand new picture book manuscript and targeted it to this agent’s preferences that I discovered while studying her client list and her list of books she repped. Plus I went to a local SCBWI conference where I met one of the agents at her agency. I used the same strategies to target this second list as I did for my first list…

And the great news was that my journey for searching for an agent came to a successful end. I landed a contract with my top choice on this list. I never even had to send out any more simultaneous submissions because this agent responded immediately and things progressed from there over the next 6 or 7 months toward signing a contract.

Now, if I hadn’t gotten accepted by this agent, I would have gone down my list and submitted to every agent in this group. And if those had all come back as rejections, I was planning to send simultaneous submissions to all the small agencies I liked on the third chart I had been compiling.

So from start to finish, it took me about 1 ½ years of focused submissions to find my picture book agent.


  1. My question is…do you subscribe to Publishers Weekly so you can see all the deals the agents make? On agencies web sites, they do list books they’ve helped with, but sometimes if multiple agents work there, they don’t list who did what. So how do u find out? You had mentioned on your post, you researched them. I know some agents have blogs and tell us… Thanks, Nancy!

    • Great questions, Tina! I have author friends who subscribe to Publisher’s Weekly, but I never have. When I researched agents, I just found on their sites many of the books they rep. I think nearly every single agent I checked out had a list of their clients and their books. And if they only had a list of their clients, I just went on Amazon and looked at those authors’ newest books. Regarding multiple agents working at one agency, they usually state which type of book they’re looking for, so I just figured if that type of book was listed on that large agency’s website, it was the kind that particular agent was looking for. And as I heard from multiple agents I was interacting with during my search, if they get a manuscript they’re not particularly looking for but know another agent at their agency would like it, they pass it on over. And also…I looked up different agents’ blogs and read various ones. Plus, by getting the brochures from SCBWI Nationals in Los Angeles and also the New York City annual conference, the agents listed what they were looking for…and that was free info unlike the big expense of subscribing to Publisher’s Weekly! Hope that info helps!

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