Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Trip to the Marketplace

At the 2010 Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Workshop, one of my classmates asked our teacher if he could recommend any literary agents. He shrugged and said, "This is what you do.Get a one-month subscription to Publisher's Marketplace and then look and see who is selling what you write."

Subscribe to Publisher's Marketplace? I'd never tried that before. It costs money.

In the past I've used free online agent listings, like and  I've read agent blogs and studied agent websites. All I wanted to know was--will this agent like what I write? But at the workshop I learned that I need to ask another question--will this agent be able to sell what I write?

The only way to know that is to know what an agent has already sold. And the best way to do that is... you guessed it... Publisher's Marketplace.

So I subscribed.

It was twenty bucks well spent.

I can't say how educational it was to read through a list of all publishing deals made in children's lit in the past several months. It gave me a real sense of the scale of the children's publishing industry, gave me an idea of what's selling right now, and let me know how many books like mine are going to be out there. I spotted a couple of upcoming titles that I just can't wait to read, and it was also fun to see a couple of friends and acquaintances show up in the deals (if you see this, Beth, this means you! HOORAY!). I've got a new list of agents now, people who have sold books in my genre and sold them recently. Now I can use Publisher's Marketplace to research their individual track records and decide who to include in my next round of queries.

And so, when you're ready to sell, I highly recommend a trip to the Marketplace.

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