Making the Most out of your Conference Critique

Your hands are sweating. You lie awake at night. You can’t stop thinking about your face-to-face critique with the publishing professional of your dreams. On the day of the conference, you manage to stumble to the registration desk, blurt out your name to the welcoming lady behind the table, and get your shiny folder which includes everything you need to know … including your critique assignment.

You open the folder.

how to avoid children’s book scams

I have run into countless writers who have spent hundreds of dollars on literary agents, vanity publishers, and book doctors, in the hopes of making it big in children’s publishing. It really breaks my heart to hear this because the truth is, there are people out there feasting on hopeful newbie writers, turning a very legitimate business into something reeked with fraudulence. THIS ANGERS ME.

How To Interview a Literary Agent

I’ve been asked this question quite a bit since I wrote my series of articles on How To Find a Great Agent For Your Children’s Book. It occurred to me that I never provided detailed information on how to execute the agent interview. But before I get into that, here are the conditions under which you will need to interview an agent.

Status Updates: When and How To Do It

Do you know the difference between a status query and a status update? It goes something like this:

  • Status Query: You’re asking about the status of your manuscript. You hope information will come back.
  • Status Update: You’re notifying someone about the status of your manuscript. You do not require information to come back.

Status Queries: When and How To Do It

So things haven’t gone as you’d hoped. Your manuscript went off months ago, and your phone didn’t ring off the hook with five editors or agents vying for your awesome book.
You find yourself wondering – what are they doing with my manuscript?

Did it get lost in the mail?
Did my dog Rufus eat my rejection letter?
Did I even include my manuscript in the submission?!
Status queries are a touchy subject where people will have different opinions.

Oops! I Did It Again: Mistakes In Submissions

Say you’ve just realized you made a bunch of typos in your manuscript or you forgot to enclose an SASE AFTER you sent the whole thing off. Should you try to contact the editor or agent and correct your mistake? Um….no.

Why? Mistakes will happen no matter how hard you try to make it perfect. RESIST THE URGE TO MAKE IT RIGHT. Trying to apologize will only point out your error and demonstrate to the editor/agent how neurotic you are.

Exclusive Submissions or Simultaneous Submission?

Whether you’re submitting to agents or editors, you’ll need to understand what the difference is between exclusive and simultaneous submissions.

  • Exclusive – Once you send your work to the agent or editor, you do not send it to anyone else. You wait until you hear back or until the exclusive expires.
  • Simultaneous – You may send your work to more than one editor or agent at the same time.

How To Submit Your Work To Children’s Book Literary Agents

Whether you’re submitting your children’s book to agents or editors, you’ll need to understand the difference between exclusive and simultaneous submissions. A wrong move here and you could torture yourself needlessly. Read my post, Exclusive Submission or Simultaneous Submission?

Now that you understand how exclusives work, we’ll get more into the manner in which you submit to your top picks.

Should I Find a Literary Agent Now?

Assuming you’ve followed steps one through four (be sure you’ve read my post, Get a Second Opinion), you might wonder if you should be looking for an agent now. That depends.

What do you have to sell? If you only have one picture book (PB) manuscript completed, it is very unlikely (almost impossible) you can get an agent off this one work. Why? PBs are difficult to sell in general (because so many people write them and the market for them is so competitive).