Tuesday, February 10, 2009

AGENTS PANEL: Selling Your Work in These Economic Times

With the economy on the downslide and no upswing in sight, we children’s writers, like everyone else, worry how it will affect our livelihoods. At the SCBWI Winter Conference in New York, four agents assembled in front of the crowd to discuss their take on the economic crisis and told us a little about themselves and their agencies. Here’s what they had to say:

Michael Stearns, Firebrand Literary:
-The market is constantly changing, but it always rebounds.
Firebrand is a small and fairly new literary agency. It is their practice to pool their thoughts together during the editorial process. Therefore, each agent is familiar with what one another is working with.
-Not a big fan of multiple submissions but wants to know if you send him one.

Alyssa Eisner Henkin, Trident Media:
-People don’t want to scrimp on their kids. Even during hard times, children’s books usually do well.
Trident Media is a rather large commercial agency. They usually will take on a client by signing in them on for one year and includes all their work during that timeframe.
-Prides herself as being a hands-on agent.
-Accepts multiple submissions, but would like to be made aware of such.

Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich:
-There are opportunities out there, you just have to find them.
-Having an agent during difficult times is important. You need someone to be an advocate for
Dystel & Goderich is on the smaller side, which gives them the opportunity to garner more personal attention to their clients. They handle each client on a project by project basis.
-Personally handles all his own work.
-Accepts multiple submissions, but would like to be made aware of such.

Edward Necarsulmer, McIntosh & Otis:
-Times of crisis can be times of great opportunity.
McIntosh & Otis is a large firm with their own functioning film stage.
-Is the children’s dept.
-Handles all his own work.
-Believes an agent should be a career builder not someone on the lookout for a one hit wonder.
-If it’s not finished, I don’t want to see it.
-Accepts multiple submissions, but would like to be made aware of such.

All four editors agree that each submission should come to them with full disclosure. For example, if you have sent them a manuscript which you have also sent to editors on your own, please inform them of such, including who you’ve submitted it to and when. In fact, honesty seemed to be an important issue for all concerned and it was quite clear that it would easily make for a quick deal breaker. Follow the rules, be courteous and send only your best work.

Good luck!

-Niki Schoenfeldt

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this, N! I'm so glad you got to go. I'm looking forward to hearing even more about it!


Thanks for joining in and posting your comments. I hope that by networking together we'll become better at our craft.