Who represents Eoin Colfer? Who helped Derek Landy climb to the top? Who represents Cathy Cassidy? A few years ago I wrote a blog about the best children’s agents – my most popular blog ever. So here is a brand new, updated version. I’d like to pay tribute to Philip Ardagh who posted a question on Facebook recently – ‘Who is your agent and would you recommend them?’ Lots of writers responded (myself included) and it was useful for this blog. Thank you to Philip and all the writers who answered his question.
I’ve had the good luck to work with one of the best agents in the business, the wonderful Philippa Milnes Smith from LAW (details below).
Good luck in finding someone as clever, kind and supportive as Philippa.
So firstly I’m often asked ‘Why do you need an agent? Can’t you just go it alone?’
In Ireland we are lucky to have the O’Brien Press whose editors are happy to read unsolicited manuscripts. You can send your book directly to one of their editors. Details of how to do this are here: http://www.obrien.ie/guidelines.cfm
Little Island (Ireland) will also read unsolicited manuscripts – www.littleisland.ie
Penguin Ireland have just appointed highly experienced writer and teacher, Claire Hennessy as their Children's and YA Editor - Claire will read unsolicited manuscripts and will accept them by email. Submission guidelines here.
But most UK publishers do not accept unsolicited manuscripts so you will need to submit your work through an agent.
What does an agent do exactly?
1/ An agent can advise you on your manuscript and on how to make it more attractive to a publisher. Some of them will act as unofficial editors to their clients or at the very least can suggest changes or improvements. They are also excellent at coming up with zippy titles as I’ve discovered.
2/ An agent can find the right editor or publisher for your work – like a book matchmaker. And they can sell your UK, US, digital and foreign rights. They can also look after any film or television rights.
3/ Agents deal with the difficult and technical area of contracts. This is particularly important at the moment as digital rights can be tricky.
4/ Financial back up - they can chase up your royalties and talk to your publishers about outstanding monies owed to you.
These days having potential isn’t enough, your manuscript must be as perfect as you can make it before it goes anywhere near a publisher. A good agent can play a vital role in this process.
Who Represents Who?
The Agents Who Represent Some of the Most Successful Irish Children’s Writers (with Contact Details) and Children’s Agents Highly Recommended by UK Writers
Remember to check each agent’s website for submission guidelines before you send anything out. Or ring the agency for details – I know it’s daunting but they are always happy to advise you on how (or if) to submit. Be warned – you may get the agent herself/himself on the phone. Be prepared.
Highly Recommended Children’s Agents:
Eoin Colfer is represented by Sophie Hicks. Sophie is a very experienced agent and her writers rate her highly. She has just set up her own agency and is currently taking submissions (2014).
Derek Landy is represented by Michelle Kass, who also represents Patrick Ness. firstname.lastname@example.org
Darren Shan is represented by Christopher Little For general enquiries please email: email@example.com
Sarah Webb and Chris Judge are represented by Philippa Milnes Smith at LAW
Contact: All submissions should be sent, in hard copy, by post to:
LAW, 14 Vernon Street, London, W14 0RJ
Marita Conlon McKenna is represented by Caroline Sheldon www.carolinesheldon.co.uk
Irish Writer, Elizabeth Rose Murray recommends her agent, Sallyanne Sweeney of Mulcahy Associates (London). She says she’s ‘supportive, thorough, creative, knowledgeable & really champions her authors. And she really loves children's/YA literature too - always a bonus!’ She’s also from Dublin originally.
Other Recommended Children’s Agents:
(Check their websites for submission details)
Cathy Cassidy is represented by Darley Anderson.
Julia Churchill at A M Heath
Eve White, Eve White Literary Agency
Veronique Baxter at David Higham
Catherine Clarke at Felicity Bryan
Robert Kirby at United Agents; Jodie Hodges at United Agents; also Catherine Mary Summerhayes, Jo Unwin and Clare Conville at United Agents
Polly Nolan at Green House
(Polly is from Galway, now based in the UK and is a highly experienced editor as well as an agent.)
Hilary Delamere at The Agency
Lindsey Fraser at Fraser Ross
Gemma Cooper at The Bent Agency
Penny Holroyde at Caroline Sheldon
Elizabeth Roy – www.elizabethroy.co.uk
Laura Cecil – www.lauracecil.co.uk
Madeleine Milburn – www.madeleinemilburn.co.uk
Sam Copeland and Claire Wilson at Rogers Coleridge and White - www.rcwlitagency.com