Tip 6 of 6 Tips for Aspiring Writers

Yay!! You are finally ready to seek the guidance and expertise of a Literary Agent.  So…what’s next?

Well, first you need to purchase the Guide to Literary Agents and research those that are in your specific genre.  If you’ve written a picture book, then you need to locate agents that represent children’s authors.  Make a list or spreadsheet of the agents that accept picture book submissions and be prepared to send them your information, one by one.  It is imperative that you cross-reference the information from the Guide to Literary Agents with specific guidelines from their website especially since information changes daily and you want the current information.  If they take submissions only online then you should not send your submission through the mail.  Read every detail carefully!  It can be the difference between you getting a contract and your manuscript being dumped in the trash.

Remember to address all inquiries specifically to that person and refrain from using greetings such as – To Whom It May Concern.  Make sure that you read their bio and submission guidelines thoroughly.  If they request a query letter, synopsis, and the first ten pages of your manuscript, then it’s important that you send them EVERYTHING that they want!  Keep track of your submissions so that you don’t contact the same agent twice.  Sometimes, it’s okay to contact an agent following a rejection letter if you have significantly revised your manuscript and/or you are submitting materials for another book that you have written.

Not every author receives a contract from the first agent that they’ve queried.  Don’t be alarmed if you do not receive a response from them at all.  Continue to remain positive and if necessary, contact every agent in that field.  If you haven’t received a contract after two years or after you’ve queried 20+ agents then you possibly need to move to your Plan B.  No one knows your Plan B, except for you.  Maybe you need to take a break from writing.  Possibly take a trip somewhere and when you come back, be prepared to revise your manuscript, synopsis or query letter.  Also, you may consider self-publishing, which is becoming a great route for new authors.  Regardless, never give up on your writing and continue to believe in yourself or no one else will.  This is a competitive business and only the strong and persistent survive.

Good luck!

Aspiring Writers Tip 1
Aspiring Writers Tip 2
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Aspiring Writers Tip 4
Aspiring Writers Tip 5


Taneeka Bourgeois-daSilva is an authorpreneur, teacher, blogger, educational consultant, and writing coach. She wrote the award-winning Broccoli Chronicles and is the CEO of Building Voices and TCD Kids Foundation. She tweets at @taneekabdasilva.

Below are reading stepping stones and suggestions of great books to purchase for your children to read.

Stage 1: Baby Books – Age 0-3

These books are for infants and toddlers. They usually consist of alphabet sounds, books about color, lullabies and nursery rhymes.

Example: Goodnight Moon

Stage 2: Picture Books – Age 4-8

These are hardcover books filled with tons of color and illustrations. The storyline is usually short and simple.

Example: Pinkalicious

Stage 3: Easy Readers – Age 6-8

These are usually paperback books. They are easy to read and for those that are just starting to read paragraphs.

Example: Junie B series

Stage 4: Chapter Books – Age 7-10

These books are normally found in series with very little to no illustrations. These books look and feel just like a normal book, but often times the chapters are shorter and the print is larger than a YA book.

Example: Little Kids, Big Voices series

Stage 5: Middle Grade – Age 8-12

These books have longer chapters and the storyline is more advanced. The overall length of the book is longer and the vocabulary is more complex.

Example: Percy Jackson and the Olympians series

Stage 6: Young Adult – Age 12+

These books address typical teenage problems with multiple characters and themes. The word count for this stage is 40,000+.

Example: Chronicles of Narnia series

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