One Writer’s Journey

February 8, 2017

Agents: Susan Hawk

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:34 am
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moving-dayToday is #MSWL day over on Twitter.  If you have an account, be sure to pop over there and see who wants what in terms of manuscripts.

If Susan Hawk is one of your dream agents, note that she has moved.  Formerly of The Bent Agency, Susan is now at Upstart Crow Literary Agency.

Susan recently blogged about what she would like to find this past year.  She is interested in:

Picture books that click in terms of the childhood experience (Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day), concept books (Not a Box), great character stories like Olivia or Pigeon, and lyrical, informational books (Over and Under the Snow).  

Middle grade mysteries ala US Agatha Christie, edgy and dark stories that push boundaries, contemporary stories with STEM interested female characters, historical fiction, and fantasy.

Young adult stories that focus on family, siblings and strong parent/child relationships, rich world building, non-Euro American historical fantasy, science fiction that deals with changes that might happen in our lifetimes, epistolary novels, unreliable narrators and more.

Good luck on your agent searches!   I still have two pitches out and am getting ready to work on a third.




February 29, 2016

Ask the Agent: Things to ask before you sign…

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:41 am
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Question Mark, Question, Response, Search EngineWhen I read blog posts and articles about what to discuss with an agent before you sign on the dotted line, I frequently find myself shaking my head.  Wouldn’t you want to know that before you contacted the agent?  I think this when I read questions like:

Are you an editorial agent?  I want an editorial agent.  So I look for agents who state this outright.

Who do you represent?  I look for agents/agencies that list this right on their site.  If they don’t post this information, I get suspicious.  I understand that a new agency won’t have a long list of sales but I want to see what types of clients they represent.

How many clients do you represent?  Again, if there is a list on the site, I should be able to come up with a rough estimate. Given the fact that I can’t decide if a low number or a high numer is best, I’m not sure how much help the exact number would be.

If these are questions you should answer before contact the agent, what should you ask?  Here are a few suggestions.

What publishers are you considering for my project?  Yes, I can look at their clients and see who publishes their work, and I do.  But who among all of these publishers are you considering for my manuscript.  A specific answer tells me that they are truly enthusiastic and ready to run with it.

How frequently do you update authors on the status of their work?  Some agents get in touch with their clients every time there is a rejection or a “send us more.”  Other agents update the author once a month.  There isn’t really a right answer but it does help if you know what to expect.

How do you prefer that your authors communicate with you?  If this agent is e-mail phobic, you may not want to sign with her if you have a day job.  You also need to know if they only/never want phone calls.  You aren’t trying to find a new BFF, but you want to know how best to make contact.

What questions are on your list?



January 13, 2016

Agents: And the Search Goes On…

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:46 am
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Agent HuntAs we head into 2016, I’m still on the lookout for an agent.  I have 3 submissions out at this point.

Kristen Hall from Catbird Literary has had it for 2 months which really isn’t all that long even for a 200 word picture book. Yes, I am being serious.  Until an agent opens an e-mail submission, they don’t know if they are going to have to puzzle through 2000 words or 200.  My guess is that most queries sit there until they truly have the time to tackle them.  I met her at the Missouri SCBWI conference.  She said point-blank that she likes books that are hard to categorize and that she’s a rule breaker.  Right up my alley.

Susan Hawk at the Bent Agency has had my submission since . . . drum roll . . . yesterday.  I haven’t heard from her yet either.  How odd!  That said, they do send out a notification as soon as they get the e-mail so I know it went through. The Bent Agency web site said that if you haven’t heard back in a month, send again.  I have the date marked on my calendar.

Emily Sylvan Kim of the Prospect Agency also received my submission yesterday.  Like the Bent Agency, the Prospect Agency lets you know that they received your submission.  They give a broad response time — 1 week to three months depending on conferences and volume.  I have the end date marked on my calendar.

I’ve been researching a few more agents and mostly striking out.  They like nonfiction but not picture books or they like picture books but only fiction.  Blah.  I have one that is closed to submissions until Valentine’s Day when she will post what she wants to see now so I’m going to hold off researching her.  In spite of the “I don’t think so’s” and the “hurry up and wait,” I did find one more agent to really look into.

Maria Vicente of PS Literary wants children’s nonfiction, likes picture books and wants people with family friendly blogs that can lead to picture books.  Yes!   My next step is to read some of her books.

Anyone else looking for an agent in 2016?


October 2, 2015

Agents: Adding to My List

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:29 am
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Agent HuntSo what did I accomplish last week on my great agent search?  Did I send out my letters?


But I had a good reason.  Last Saturday I was one of the staff at the Missouri SCBWI conference.  It meant that I got to meet 2 agents (Brianne Johnson/Writer’s House and Kirsten Hall/Catbird Productions).  Before I sent things out, I wanted to find out if either one of them was write for my list.

I’m going to be doing more research on Brianne Johnson.

While I liked Kirsten Hall — she is so full of energy and loves books so much! — she is realy only interested in picture books.  Sure, she’ll take on longer works but her real interest lies in picture books.  And that doesn’t just mean 32 page picture books.  She loves picture books that break the rules — 100 pages?  As long as it works, she’s game.

But Brianne Johnson handles everything from picture book through young adult.  What made me think that she might not be a good match for me was that her market listing didn’t mention juvenile nonfiction although it did include adult nonfiction. Fortunately, one of my friends spent some time with her this weekend and managed to catch me on Saturday.  “She wants children’s nonfiction! She’s perfect for us!”

This means that I’ll be doing a bit of research and her and what she likes this week.  I did manage to take to her at dinner and, like me, she’s a crafter.  Granted she quilts and throws pottery but still.  She did edit an adult book on knitting.

A bit more research and then . . . I promise! . . . those letters are going in the mail!



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