Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Children's Books and Agents

I’ve done many searches looking for a statistic or at least a better understanding of why some houses do not respond to agented submissions. I read on one editor’s blog that he doesn’t even look at a MS until the agent nudges him. Is this common practice?

I write children’s’ fiction, and out of 7 agented subs this past year, I’ve only received two positive rejections. The rest are all no shows (these are major houses, too). I’m trying to figure out if this ‘if we’re not interested, you won’t hear from us’ is a common thing now, even with an agent, or if my agent is not being aggressive enough with follow up (which I suspect is true). I’d really appreciate it if you could address this on your blog. Thanks so much for your insight.

So I'm not sure the statistics in children's fiction (particularly middle grades and below), but yes, most houses have a blanket policy of no un-agented material. See more about it in this post. There are, however, a lot of smaller publishing houses for children's books that take un-agented submissions.

EDIT: (OK, this is the third time I'm typing this out because blogger keeps losing my work) Sometimes agents take on work that they cant sell, either because they're not good enough or the book isn't as good as they thought it was. Also, markets can dry up and contacts can quit or get fired. Give your agent time to exhaust every possible avenue. When he/she does, it's time to write another book and/or find a new agent.


Anonymous said...

Respectfully, Rejecter, I think you misread this question. The questioner is very clear that they do have an agent and never asks about un-agented submissions.

Anonymous said...

I think there's some confusion over what I'm asking. I'm wondering if it has become a common practice for editors of Children's fiction to not read an agented manuscript until that agent has nudged them at least once.

To be clear, I am agented, and my agent has subbed a MS on my behalf to several publishers. With no word on many of these subs from the editors, I'm left wondering if the MS has even been read because my agent hasn't nudged since subbing the book.

Deb said...

A couple of years ago, my then-agent shopped a completed book around to ten publishers. Only three ever got back to her without her nagging them. Several never responded at all.

I hate to think of publishers treating their partner-agents this way. Of course, we could always go back to over-the-transom submissions, if the pubs wanna be unprofessional...

The Rejecter said...

Clearly I should decide that the day I have anesthesia is not the day I catch up on my posting. CLEARLY.

Deb - yeah, that totally happens, and agents hate it. They view it as rude for a publisher not to respond at all, but it happens more and more and everyone deals with it.