Agents 101

Posted by

Why Get An Agent?

The first time I heard about the idea of getting an agent, I had this vague sense of someone who works with actors or musicians. I didn’t realize at that authors or illustrators could get an agent, too.

Here are three reasons I want to work with an agent:

  1. Agents help you navigate the industry. Who do you submit to? What elements should be in your contract? What are publishers looking for? Who have they submitted your work to and what is the status of that submission? Organization is key.
  2. Agents can submit to publishing houses that are normally closed to unagented authors. This is a big one for me because I want to get published traditionally. As a bonus, Agents also can help negotiate contracts…which is a relief because contracts, rights, can affect your bottom line. Note: illustrators may still have access to submit portfolios, but you should check their submission requirements.
  3. Agents can help you map out your career and your stories! Some agents are developmental or editorial agents, meaning you can bounce ideas off them and edit with them. Some may even have experience with building art portfolios. Some represent multiple genres. Decide what you want from your career and partner with someone who will rep the things you love to create.

Not everyone may need or want an agent, but I know I do.


What is an agent? Kidlit creator Anoosha Syed has a jam-packed blog post about agent, literary versus illustration, and because I’m a list person, pros versus cons of signing with an agent. It is an honest take from a creator who has had experience with both in her career.

How Does a Literary Agent work with an Author?: Featuring Bookends Literary agents Jessica Faust and James McGowan discuss the agent-author relationship. The Bookends Literary agency had a wealth of information on their channel.

Specific versus Vague Conflicts in a Query Letter: As part of the iWriterly channel, former literary agent Meg LaTorre gives some examples on how to rewrite vague query pitches.

How to Find an Agent: writing coach and author Tiffany Hawk provides a 6-step system to help streamline your agent search. In addition, she has numerous posts about finding an agent covering everything from querying to mistakes.

Agent Listings

Manuscript Wish List: Besides checking out authors or illustrators they rep, you’ll want to get a sense of what they are looking for. This database allows you to search by genre and format. Entries can include information like what they want and don’t want, links to their agency’s submissions guidelines, and social media information.

BIPOC Bookshelf: This free database focuses on connecting underrepresented creators with editors and agents. This database is fairly new and growing.

Latinos in Publishing: provides a list of agents who have or are looking to rep Latinx authors or illustrators.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *