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This article about how to get a literary agent for children’s books is for writers of all types of kids’ books: board books, picture books, early readers, chapter book, middle grade, and young adult. It’s part of our free 15-Part Guide About How to Get a Publishing Agent.

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HOW to Get a publishing Agent for a Children’s Book

To get a publishing agent for a kids’ book:

  1. Include the correct children’s book genre in your query letter.
  2. Make sure your kids’ book is the correct word count for its category.
  3. Be aware of children’s book author profile/platform requirements.
  4. Follow each children’s book agent’s submission requirements.

Categorize Your Kids’ Book Correctly – How to Get a Literary Agent for Children’s Books

Include the correct book genre label(s) in your query letter for publishing agents. Misunderstanding your genre or category will lead to rejections. Understanding your genre might allow you to query more literary agents, and it will increase your chances of getting a children’s book agent.

Many children’s book authors accidentally categorize their books incorrectly. If your kids’ book is a chapter book and you call it a picture book, the wrong author representatives might ask to look at your book and then reject it. And, equally frustrating, children’s book agents who might want the opportunity to represent you won’t ask to see your book.

Follow the Rules of Your Children’s Book Genre – Get a PUBLISHING Agent for KIDs’ Books

Every type of children’s book–board book, picture book, early reader, chapter book, middle grade, and young adult–has specific requirements. Make sure you’re aware of these expectations and requirements for each kid’s book genre, to increase your chances of getting a children’s book agent.

  • The target age range for your book genre readers
  • The age range of your main characters
  • The number of characters you can include
  • The word count
  • The reading level
  • The topic material and themes
  • The number of pages (picture books and board books)
  • The number of illustrations (for picture books and chapter books)

Kids’ Book Author Platform Requirements – How to Get a Literary Agent for Children’s Books

Kids’ book authors sometimes get confused and discouraged when they see children’s book agents talking about their need for an author “profile” or “platform.” However, most children’s book authors don’t need to be famous or have a following prior to being published.

What do kids’ book authors need to know about how to get a literary agent for children’s books? Literary agents would love every author who queries them to have a million followers on social media or a million people on their email list. But the average children’s book author doesn’t have anything more than their book and a willingness to do all they can to help promote it once it is published. For most author representatives, that is enough.

There is a greater expectation that nonfiction authors be well-known and/or have large followings. So, if you are writing–or you have written–a nonfiction children’s book, author representatives might ask more of you regarding your profile or platform. However, compared to authors of nonfiction books for adults, the profile or platform requirements are generally much lower.

When you see children’s book agents talking about authors needing a big profile or platform, it is usually wishful thinking. Or it is talk from a book agent who represents children’s book authors and nonfiction authors–and the agent hasn’t made it clear that their emphasis on author profile or platform is mainly (or only) for nonfiction author submissions.

Children’s Book Submission Material Expectations – How to Get a Literary Agent for Children’s Books

Getting a children’s book literary agent requires submitting the right material the right way for each type of kids’ book. Follow these guidelines regarding the different submission requirements for the various children’s book genres: board book, picture book, early reader, chapter book, middle grade, and young adult.

What else do kid’s book authors need to know about how to get a literary agent for children’s books? In most cases, your entire manuscript must be complete if you want to query literary agents for a fictional children’s book. It doesn’t matter if it’s a picture book or young adult novel or something in between. If you’ve written a chapter book, middle grade novel, or young adult novel, you’ll also need a book synopsis. One to two double-spaced pages is best.

If you have a nonfiction children’s book, in most cases you won’t need a completed manuscript. You might be able to get a literary agent and book deal with just one, two, or three sample chapters. However, for nonfiction children’s books, as with adult nonfiction books, many or most publishing agents will require you to provide a book proposal as well.

Both fiction and nonfiction children’s book writers must send author representatives a query letter.

Children’s picture book authors, in most cases, are not required to be illustrators–or provide sample illustrations or manuscript mockups or dummies. However, a small number of children’s book literary agents only represent writers who are both authors and illustrators.

If you’re not an author/illustrator, it’s usually best not to pay an illustrator to illustrate your book. Most publishers will pair you with an illustrator. Plus, you should expect your literary agent and/or book publisher to suggest or require changes to your manuscript. Those changes could impact the illustrations. Your literary agent and/or publisher might also require a different number, type, or style of illustrations.

All author representatives outline their specific submission requirements on their websites. Be careful to read their guidelines carefully, and follow them, to increase your odds of getting a children’s book literary agent.

Facts About Children’s Book Literary Agents 2022

  • There are 576 children’s book agents in the U.S.
  • 446 children’s publishing agents are female
  • 127 children’s book literary agents are male
  • 2 kids’ book agents are nonbinary
  • 433 children’s book publishing agents accept email submissions
  • 158 kids’ book literary agents use online website forms
  • 62 children’s book agents accept postal mail submissions
  • 165 kids’ book author representatives are members of the AALA/AAR
  • 408 children’s publishing agents are on LinkedIn
  • 430 children’s book literary agents are on Twitter
  • 109 children’s book agents use FB

List of Top Children’s Publishing Agents 2022

The best children’s book agents, listed here, have the most kids’ book deals reported in the last year, according to

Top 10 Nonfiction Children’s Book Agents

  1. Christy Tugeau Ewers (The CAT Agency)
  2. Ammi-Joan Paquette (Erin Murphy Literary Agency)
  3. Karen Grencik (Red Fox Literary)
  4. Kelly Sonnack (Andrea Brown Literary Agency)
  5. Alexandra Gehringer (The Bright Group)
  6. Caryn Wiseman (Andrea Brown Literary Agency)
  7. Rosemary Stimola (Stimola Literary Studio)
  8. Steven Malk (Writers House)
  9. Anne Moore Armstrong (The Bright Group)
  10. Jim McCarthy (Dystel, Goderich & Bourret)

List of Children’s Book Agents Seeking New Clients 2022

You can find all children’s book agents seeking new writers here. Increase your chances of getting a publishing agent by making sure you only query kids’ book agents looking for new clients who don’t require referrals.

20 Children’s Book Agents Seeking New Writers

  • Melissa Nasson (Rubin Pfeffer Content, LLC)
  • Alexander Field (The Bindery)
  • Max Sinsheimer (Sinsheimer Literary)
  • Molly O’Neill (Root Literary)
  • Margaret Riley King (William Morris Endeavor Entertainment)
  • Richard Henshaw (Richard Henshaw Group)
  • Robert Thixton (Pinder Lane & Garon-Brooke Associates)
  • Tamar Rydzinski (Context Literary Agency)
  • Cecile Barendsma (Cecile B Literary Agency)
  • BJ Robbins (BJ Robbins Literary Agency)
  • Peter Beren (The Peter Beren Agency)
  • Kent Wolf (Neon Literary)
  • Jill Grinberg (Jill Grinberg Literary Management)
  • Ginger Clark (Ginger Clark Literary)
  • Tess Callero (Europa Content Ltd.)
  • Helen Zimmermann (The Helen Zimmermann Literary Agency)
  • Susan Ginsburg (Writers House)
  • Steven Hutson (WordWise Media Services)
  • Emily Mitchell (Wernick & Pratt Agency)
  • Vicky Bijur (Vicky Bijur Literary Agency)

Children’s Book Agents Representing All Kids’ Book Genres 2022

Create your individualized list of children’s book agents using the book agent database in the official Directory of Literary Agents™. In the directory, you’ll find publishing agents representing every kids’ book genre:

  • Picture Book
  • Board Book
  • Early Reader
  • Chapter Book
  • Middle Grade
  • Young Adult

This article about how to get a literary agent for children’s books was written by former publishing agent turned author coach Mark Malatesta, creator of The Directory of Literary Agents, host of Ask a Book Agent, and founder of Literary Agent Undercover and The Bestselling Author.

Mark has helped hundreds of writers get offers from book agents and/or traditional publishers. Authors of all Book Genres have used our Literary Agent Advice coaching/consulting to get the Best Literary Agents at the Top Literary Agencies on our List of Literary Agents.

How to Get a Literary Agent for Children’s Books – Next Steps

Now that you’ve read this guide about how to get a literary agent for children’s books, click here to:

  1. See the next part of this guide to getting an Offer of Representation from a Literary Agent.
  2. Visit our Ask a Book Agent page, where you’ll find a complete list of questions and answers about getting a publishing agent.

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    Photo of Mark Malatesta - Former Literary Agent MARK MALATESTA is a former literary agent turned author coach. Mark now helps authors of all genres (fiction, nonfiction, and children's books) get top literary agents, publishers, and book deals through his company Literary Agent Undercover and The Bestselling Author. Mark's authors have gotten six-figure book deals, been on the NYT bestseller list, and published with houses such as Random House, Scholastic, and Thomas Nelson. Click here to learn more about Mark Malatesta and see Mark Malatesta Reviews.
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