For the past 5 months, I’ve been trying to keep two major parts of my life separate. One side as the director and an instructor here at Children’s Book Academy (formerly the Picture Book Academy). And the other as the founding agent of Hummingbird Literary. Recently, I realized it was becoming ridiculous and making me feel schizophrenic, so I’m getting integrated beginning with this first Mondays monthly series of posts on the Agony and Ecstasy of Agenting.
Agenting is hard work. Ridiculously hard. Most people have no idea what happens once they manage to sign with an agent. In the coming months, I’ll be talking about this and why you may or may not want an agent, how to work with an agent, what agents look for in submissions and how to increase your chances for representation, not necessarily in that order.
Right now I’m reading a client’s young adult manuscript that I’m in love with. It’s a real page-turner with believable characters, a building plot, a wee love story, universal themes, and an historical background. It needs some work but not too much; mostly in avoiding repetition and taking a bit long to hook into the drama of the story. While different age levels have different language and age-appropriate conceptual development needs, as well as different word counts, all good stories need a strong introductory hook. Helping to ensure this, is part of the magic and ecstasy of being an agent and a teacher. And then, of course, there’s the magic of making a sale to bring these meaningful and beautiful words into book form and then into children’s hands. The ups and downs of accomplishing what feels like a Herculean task to fruition is part of the agony while helping others is truly a joy.
As an agent, because of the small size of the agency, we can only accept submissions on certain dates, but when submissions come in, there are certain things we look for that show that the writer or illustrator is professional and knows what they are doing. As the director and an instructor at the Academy, part of my job is preparing writers and illustrators to create marketable children’s books. As an agent I’m on the receiving end of submissions. On January 24th at 6PM Pacific Standard time, I’ll be doing a free webinar on writing cover letters and pitches that agents and editors want to read based on what I've learned from both teaching and agenting. Here’s the link to register http://www.childrensbookacademy.com/free-cover-letters-and-pitches-webinar.html I plan on also leaving time for critiquing as many 30 word pitches I can to help make the submission as appealing as possible. I hope you’ll join me. Next month, I plan on writing about what an agent actually does.
1/6/2014 02:49:26 am
The date is the 24th listed here, but on the reg site it says the 21st.
1/6/2014 03:38:24 am
So happy to see you back, Mira. You and Mandy run a tight ship and give so much of yourselves to us. I look forward to the Webinar on Jan. 24th at 6PM PST. Congratulations on your further adventure!
1/6/2014 07:40:56 am
Thank you Marcia for pointing this out. I believe it's fixed now and yes it is on the 24th. Charlotte, thank you for all your support. Looking forward to seeing you there :)
1/7/2014 12:39:19 am
GREAT to see you back MIRA and looking forward to the 24th (thanks for clearing up the date). Your offerings of classes are very impressive. I'll be taking some for sure. So glad you're back!!!
1/9/2014 08:43:10 am
Than k you Deb and Virginia <3
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We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with awesome multi-published former student Shirin Shamsi who will be focusing on Muslim and cultural kidlit.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays will feature STEM, STEAM & SEL obsessed author Kourtney LaFavre sharing delightfully dorky, quirky, and fun info.
And 5th Mondays we'll be taking a break