Posted by: nancyisanders | August 12, 2020

Kidlit Author: Agent or No Agent?

You’re a kidlit author. You write for children. Chances are you have a manuscript. Right now it’s in the caterpillar stage. You’re longing for it to find a publisher, go through a process of metamorphosis, and take flight as a beautiful butterfly.

But you’re worried. Do you need an agent? Or do you NOT need an agent?

Here’s the answer: Yes. And no.

Yes, you need an agent if you want to work with the big publishing houses. You know: Zonderkidz, Scholastic, Penguin. I currently have an agent and I’ve had an agent for years because I want some of my manuscripts to be published by the big houses. And they have.

But no, you don’t need an agent if you want to work with the many, many other publishing houses who don’t require an agent. All throughout my writing career I’ve also written plenty of manuscripts (nearly 100 books!) for other publishings houses and haven’t needed an agent to work with them: Chicago Review Press, Scholastic Teaching Resources, Christian Ed Publishers.

When I first started getting books published, I didn’t have an agent. But as I started learning my craft and diving into different genres, I realized I was ready for an agent.

So if you’re in this whole agent/no agent vortex right now, I encourage you to click on two links of mine to get more information:

CLICK HERE to read a list of agents who represent children’s books.

CLICK HERE to read a list of publishers who don’t require an agent.

(NOTE: I haven’t updated this list since COVID-19, so please let me know if you find a link that isn’t working or that no longer fits.)

(ANOTHER NOTE: I know lots of reports are going around about publishers not accepting things at this time, but I just want to let you know that I’m hearing from writer friends who are currently landing contracts…so be encouraged as you move forward on your journey!)


  1. Thanks for the heads-up, Nancy. I’ve been trying for almost a year to get an agent. Onward and upward!

  2. Thank you, Nancy. I appreciate the lists of agents and publishers. I’ve heard so many things about the current world of kid lit writing. Your clarity is helpful!

    • I think it’s so important to get a variety of perspectives. Especially from a fellow author.

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