Today's post is the last in the Valentine's Week Extravaganza: Why and How I got an agent.
First, the Why...
Many people ask if they need an agent to get their children's book published. My short answer is no. After all, I sold my first two novels on my own to a well respected New York City publisher. (Yay FSG!) There are a lot of houses that are open to unsolicited submissions, and if you write a fantastic manuscript and do your research in terms of where to submit it, you could be lucky enough to get published.
But (here's the long answer)... there are also a good number of houses that are closed. That means they won't accept unagented submissions. After spending about four years submitting THE YUCKIEST, DROOLIEST, STINKIEST, BEST VALENTINE'S DAY EVER, I had pretty much run out of the open houses. I considered sending my manuscript to the closed houses with the wild hope that they would read my story even though they said they wouldn't. But common sense prevailed, and I saved my postage. Instead, I figured maybe it was time to find an agent. After all, I had sold two books, and one of them had won a pretty terrific award. I wasn't quite a nobody anymore.
And now for the How...
Deciding which agent to pick was not what you might expect. I didn't spend days researching. I took a short cut. One of my critique partners, Jenny Meyerhoff, had recently signed with Michelle Andelman at the Andrea Brown Literary Agency, and she was loving her. (Jenny had done lots of research. Thanks, Jenny!) I looked up Michelle, and she seemed like a good fit for me, too. Best of all, she accepted e-mail submissions!
So the very same day I came up with the idea that maybe I should get an agent, I submitted my manuscript to Michelle. And, believe it or not, that very same afternoon, I received a response from Michelle saying she loved my manuscript and was going to share it with her colleagues at ABLA. And the very next day Michelle said the whole team loved my manuscript, and she scheduled a time to phone me to talk about representation!
In an industry that is notorious for moving painstakingly slowly, this fast paced acceptance blew my mind!
Michelle sold my manuscript to Harcourt about six months later. Yay!
Sending love today to Michelle and the whole team at Andrea Brown!!