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Querying Agent vs. Publisher

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After a polishing a PB manuscript, how does one decide whether they will query publishers directly OR literary agents? My understanding is that offers of agent representation for an unpublished PB author come through at astoundingly low rates. Does that persuade most to query direct to publishers? Are there other factors to consider? Trying to organize a query list now and couldn't help but stumble on the first hurdle: publisher or agent.
#1 - July 13, 2021, 10:15 PM

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If you plan to submit to agents then do that first. If you submit your manuscript to publishers and are turned down by all of them, and then think, oh, I'll get an agent--you have just limited the number of editors your agent can submit a shopped manuscript to. They are not going to bring it back to someone who has already turned it down.

Yes, it is difficult to get an agent. But it is difficult to get an editor, too. And many editors will not even look at a manuscript unless it comes in via an agent. 

If you aren't interested in an agent then you might want to go to conferences, as sometimes visiting editors will allow you to submit things to them during a short window of time after the conference (even if they are normally closed to non-agented submissions.)

Anyway, just some things to consider.
#2 - July 14, 2021, 04:56 AM

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:welcome Katie. Rose has outlined a good plan. It really depends on whether you want to have an agent at this stage. If so, query them. They might want to see what else you have so you might want to wait until you have 3 polished PBs. On the other hand, some children's publishers accept unsolicited manuscripts so you can try directly. Here's a place to start: As long as it's not gone out to more than a handful, I'd say it's not widely shopped around and you can still send it to an agent. If an agent accepts you as a client, make sure you give them your submission history of that story. Good luck!  FWIW, I don't have an agent.
#3 - July 14, 2021, 08:27 AM
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