Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Strategies for “Selling” Your Work to an Agent

Date(s) - 09/27/2022
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Presentation Description

In their eagerness to see their book sold to a publisher, sometimes writers and illustrators do not think about the fact that their project first needs to be “sold” to an agent. A wonderful story is what agents are looking for, but in support of that, your communication with an agent will have its best chance of success if it shows that you are informed about how– what you offer is similar to and different from comparable titles; who the intended audience is; and why you think the particular agent may want to represent you. (This last point is important and parallel to what the agent does in thinking through potential editors for submissions). In reviewing your query, the agent will be looking for clues about your professionalism and commitment. If you don’t present yourself well in your query, no matter how strong your story is, you likely won’t receive a favorable response from the agent (to see more work, to have a conversation about potential representation, etc.). Insights into all of these points, as well as “do” and “don’t do” tips, will be covered in this session, with plenty of time for Q & A.

**This webinar will be recorded. The recording will be sent to all registered participants on September 27, and will be available for viewing through October 17, 2022.


Our Presenter

Literary Agent, Mary Cummings

After thirteen years as an agent for books for children and teens with Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises, in 2021 Mary opened her own agency: Great River Literary. Except in the depths of winter, nearly every evening Mary goes down to the banks of the Mississippi River in St. Paul MN to see the passing scene. She finds great joy in helping her clients polish their stories to stand out for editors and to become books that will make a difference in kids’ lives.

Before becoming a literary agent, Mary was Education Director at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis where, among other accomplishments, she curated an annual festival of children’s literature and selected judges for the McKnight Award from leading editors in children’s publishing. Among her sales are board and picture books, chapter books and novels to such houses as Knopf; Philomel; Viking; Nancy Paulsen/Penguin; Balzer & Bray; HarperCollins; Walker; Little, Brown; Holiday House; Henry Holt; Feiwel & Friends; FSG; Imprint; Candlewick; Chronicle; Wiseman S & S; WorthyKids; Running Press; Random House; Abrams and many others. Mary is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the Association of American Literary Agents (AALA).


Mary Cummings is offering a limited number of manuscript critiques as part of this event. Add a critique to your ticket for $50.

→ Instructions for submitting critique materials will be sent to registered participants on September 16.

→ Materials will be due by the end of the day on September 23.

→ Completed SCBWI Gold Form critiques will be returned on or before October 17. 

Click the link to find out what Mary Cummings will cover in the Gold Form Critique.

Manuscript Critiques are sold out for this event.