…but I wouldn’t recommend it.
For years, I subbed directly to editors (which is still possible in children’s publishing). I saw agents as a nice idea for those already established but extraneous for a newcomer like me.
Now, having signed my first contract, having seen the changes Agent Michelle has secured, I don’t know what I was thinking before.
Did she get everything she asked for?
Does she work with my best interest in mind?
If publishing’s a business (and we all know it is), it stands to reason that a publishing house wants to get the best deal possible. This isn’t malicious or unfair, it’s the way business works. By signing with an agent, I’ve sided with someone who knows the business and is my advocate for the long haul.
Have you subbed directly to publishers?
Would you consider selling a book without representation?
Andrea Mack says
Thanks for sharing your perspective. I think it would be a tremendous help to have someone who knows the industry well on your side.
Natalie Aguirre says
I did meet a publisher at a SCBWI conference who asked for my whole manuscript. Sadly after 6 months, she returned it. In retrospect, it wasn’t ready at all and I can’t believe I sent it. I might continue to send out my work to editors I connect with at SCBWI conferences, but otherwise agree with you that going through an agent is better. And even then, I’d find an agent to negotiate the contract. Hope I get to that point some day.
Heather Sunseri says
I don’t think I would sign with a publisher without an agent. If I were fortunate enough to grab the attention of a publisher, then I would immediately look for an agent to walk me through the process.
Karen Strong says
I have subbed directly to editors that I’ve met at conferences and you are right, it’s still possible in children’s literature.
But now, I don’t think I would — especially with the industry changing and new formats coming out — plus, I really want to concentrate on my writing and not necessarily stress out over if my contract was in my best interest. Plus, it’s just really good to have an advocate who knows the business on your side.
Great post. But how about when your story is not trending with agents but editors are interested? Sometimes writers don’t have a choice.
Solvang Sherrie says
I did go direct to publishers with my first story and had interest from two. This time I’m trying the agent route. We’ll see…
Shannon O'Donnell says
I would definitely prefer to have an agent. Hopefully, an agent will have ME. 🙂
I was pretty lucky in that I didn’t sub long enough to think about going directly to publishers. I know now that I see how long editor submission takes WITH an agent, it’s something I would not have enjoyed. Plus, I can’t even begin to think about how a writer would navigate offers and contracts and all the stuff that goes with those things without an agent. Agents make our lives easier.
Rosalind Adam says
Thanks for getting me to think this through again. As a children’s writer I’ve been struggling on alone. I’ve had a few books published but many mss rejected and even more ignored. Maybe I should consider looking for an agent for my next submission.
I definitely see the value in having an agent. If an editor that I met through SCBWI was interested in my book, I’d still want to find an agent to represent me especially because I know very little about contracts. In my MFA program, we were told over and over again that having an agent was important.
I would agree. We still work with slush at my company and while we never treat our authors poorly, authors with agents tend to get a better advance.
Faith E. Hough says
This was good to hear, after deciding to follow the agent path. The more I read, the more I believe the insight of an agent is invaluable…
Jemi Fraser says
I’m not at the submitting stage yet, but I have every intention of trying to get an agent when I am. I don’t have the time or inclination to learn the ins and outs. And I certainly don’t have the time. I think they’re fabulous.
Elle Strauss says
It crossed my mind, before I had an agent, but now that I have one, I’d never want to do this book thing any other way.
Jody Hedlund says
I didn’t know that writers could still directly submit to children’s editors. Even so, I think you’re right about agents. They can help us in so many more ways than we realize!
Priya Parmar says
i agree. agents are necessary. it is an intense, supportive, huge relationship. it shapes your career totally.
Susan Kaye Quinn says
I signed directly with a small press for my YA book. But I’ll be shopping for an agent shortly for my MG book – if I’m going to sign with a big6 publisher, I definitely want an agent on my side!
I truly agree that it is best to have an agent and I fully intend to submit to agents.
I don’t have a personal opinion at this point because I’m not to the submissions stage yet. Soon though, very soon.
Christina Farley says
I agree with you. I’ve subbed to both but haven’t secured an agent yet (notice the yet!). But I do think if you have contacts or know what an editor is looking for, you can get feedback. I’ve actually received many helpful rejection letters from editors on how to make my manuscript stronger, but I think it’s because I was subbing to them something that interested them or was up their alley.