COMMUNITY LEARNING HUB: ONLINE MODULES

6.4 WHICH AGENT? AND FOLLOWING THEIR INSTRUCTIONS

We have a full list of agents who accepts children’s fiction here. You will have to do your own research to see if they accept YOUR specific genre/age category, but we hope this initial list will be a great starting point for you.

Once you have compiled a list of potential agents, who represent what you have written, then we would suggest opening a spreadsheet (or a notebook) and making a table. Maybe something like this:

Agent NameAgencySubmission RequirementsExpected turnaround
(if indicated)
Date sentOutcome (and any notes)
Leia OrganaRebellionFirst 3 chapters
Single page synopsis
Cover Letter
If you hear nothing after 8 weeks,
assume it’s a pass
1/1/21Standard rejection
(24/1/21)
Luke SkywalkerRebellionFirst 3 chapters
Single page synopsis
Cover Letter
We respond to every submission,
but do nudge us if you have no response after 12 weeks
1/1/21Request for a full
(16/1/21)
Darth VaderEmpireFirst 10,000 words
200 word synopsis
Cover Letter
If you hear nothing after 12 weeks,
assume it’s a pass
1/1/21Standard rejection
(24/1/21)
Emperor PalpatineEmpireFirst 5,000 words
350 word synopsis
Cover Letter
DO NOT EMAIL US TO NUDGE1/1/21Order 66
Rey PalpatineScrapyardFirst 3 chapters
Single page synopsis
Cover Letter
N/A1/1/21Request for a full
(19/1/21)
Ahsoka TanoJediFirst 3 chapters
Single page synopsis
Cover Letter
If you hear nothing after 8 weeks,
assume it’s a pass
1/1/21Standard rejection
(24/1/21)
Obi-Wan KenobiJediFirst 3 chapters
Single page synopsis
Cover Letter
N/A1/1/21No response
ChewbaccaWookieAudio recording of a Wookie roar
200 word synopsis
Cover Letter
You may nudge us if the Forest Moon of Endor
causes an eclipse
1/1/21Still waiting
Finn (FN218)ResistanceFirst chapter only
Twitter Pitch
Cover Letter
If you hear nothing after 12 weeks,
assume it’s a pass
1/1/21No response
Han SoloSmuggleStolen 10,000 words
Twitter Pitch
Cover Letter
N/A1/1/21Still waiting

You might not think it’s important to do this initially, but keeping track of who you have submitted to and when will help you later. You don’t want to sub to the same agent twice or worse, not submit to them at all, due to poor record keeping.

It’s also super helpful to note the date you submit and the timescale they indicate they will reply within. If they say they will reply to ALL queries, you can expect an email, but if they say they will only reply if they are interested within 8 weeks, that is worth noting down, so you can have some closure and move on once that time period elapses.

The column on specific instructions is also so important. It’s easy to just copy and paste a query letter and send the first 3 chapters and synopsis automatically. However, you would not be giving yourself the best chance with this approach. Some agents ask for specific word counts rather than 3 chapters. If submitting to the US, it’s common to complete a form rather than emailing, and they also ask for word counts much more often than UK agents. Not following instructions is simply giving the agent an opportunity to pass on you, so do pay particularly attention to the instructions and follow the exactly.

Following on from that, make sure you personalise. Agents love it when they feel like the query is directed specifically to them, and isn’t cut and paste and sent to fifty other agents. Do your homework, find their MSWL, look at who else they represent. Say why you’re submitting to them – what specifically about them makes them your dream agent. The odds are really not stacked in your favour when it comes to querying, so give yourself the very best shot by taking a very measured and personal approach, as outlined above.

It must be said that this is still a hugely subjective thing, and while we give this advice, there’s a hundred examples of other ways to approach this process, and potentially exceptions that have still been successful. Ultimately, as Obi-Wan says, ‘you must do what you feel is right, of course.’