The Agent Search: Wait for a Good Match

SCBWI members have through this month to submit their work to Alexandra Penfold, an agent at Upstart Crow.  So I’ve read up on Penfold and I love so much about her.

  • She represents fiction and nonfiction.
  • She’s an agent and an author.
  • She represents picture book authors as well as people who write children’s novels.
  • She’s an editorial agent.

Cool, cool, cool!   So I logged onto my library’s catalogue and started requesting books.  I requested four that she wrote and three that she repped.

First I read the books that she wrote.  She’s a picture book author so I could do this in one sitting, especially since only three had come in. They were all really sweet.  Maybe that’s not the word she would use, but that would be my one word description.

The fourth book she’d written came in and so did the three she repped so I sat down to read again.  These were less sweet but still very “awww!”  Again, this isn’t a judgment call.  Just a description.

But the problem is that absolutely nothing that I’ve written could be described as sweet.  Clever, yes.  Surprising, yes.  But not sweet.

As much as I like her books, I just don’t think we’re a good match.  But still I’ve been tempted to send her my work.  I really want an agent.

Fortunately, I met to agents that I think would be a good match at the KS-MO SCBWI Agent Day.  One of them even recommended another agent for my work, someone she thinks would be a good match.  So that gives me three agents to approach.

And that might be why I have the guts to pass on Penfold.  We just have different sensibilities. I want an agent who gets my work, really gets it.

Still, I really liked what I saw of Penfold. She’s a top-notch agent so if your work is sweet or touching and you’re a SCBWI member read some of what she’s written.  Read what she’s repped.  See if she’s the right match for you.