|Josh Adams, Quinlan Lee, Tracey Adams|
Josh Adams said that he is looking for potential, not perfection. His first criteria is not, "Can we sell it?" but rather, "Do we love it?" Tracey added that their agency wants to represent an author, not just necessarily one manuscript. All three agents emphasized the need to work hard at the craft, not to submit a piece too soon, and to be prepared to spend years at honing a manuscript. "Put your manuscript in a drawer for a week. Let it marinade before you press send."
Here is some other advice:
- Adams Literary is looking for timeless works that are not tied into a specific trend. (Vampires might actually not be hot in 2-3 years--the length of time it takes for a book to be published!)
- Be ready to answer the question, "What other books are you working on?"
- Don't submit more than one manuscript at a time.
- Be focused! Find out who you are as an author.
- Send in your best work. Editors want top-notch material.Wait until your critique group says that your book or illustration is ready for submission.
- Research an agency that fits your book. Look at the types of books they represent.
- You can look for an agent by looking at books in your genre. Often the agent is mentioned in the acknowledgments.
- In the current industry, literary agents are the gatekeepers for editors and publishers. You probably need one--unless you connect with an editor at a conference.
- Don't ever pay up front for agenting services and make sure the agent is a member of the Association of Author's Representatives.
- The picture book market is hard to break into. Make sure you have a fantastic hook into your book.
- Picture books are getting shorter and shorter. Parents are spending less time reading to their children. Think about how much text you would include on each of the 28 pages in a 32-page picturebook.
- Picture books should be beautifully written and target the the 3-5 year-old market. Older children don't want to be seem carrying picture books around and kids graduate to easy readers which they can read themselves.
- Well-written prose must be visual. The reader must "see" the story.