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How I found my literary agent: a guide to taking the next step toward being published

Achieving the milestone of having my very first children's book published, called "Tasty Tales" was a journey almost a decade in the making, and I want to share my story to help aspiring authors or illustrators like you take the next step toward being published.

From my early days as a freelance illustrator and user experience designer to finding my agent at David Higham Associates, this journey has been filled with valuable lessons and insights. Here are some key steps and tips that helped me find my agent and secure a book deal.

Hone your craft

For nearly ten years, I worked as a freelance artist in the Netherlands while also working as a user experience designer. During this time, I dedicated myself to improving my skills and exploring various ways to break into the picture book industry. I drew a lot in my free time, took on diverse projects, and even self-published my first picture book in 2020. Each project was a learning experience that helped me refine my style and build my portfolio.

Develop a unique pitch

The breakthrough moment came when I decided to put together a pitch for a children's book idea that had been brewing in my mind: "Tasty Tales." Inspired by my love of food and storytelling, I created a detailed pitch that included a synopsis, character sketches, and sample illustrations. This pitch showcased my unique art style and the heart of the story, which I believed would resonate with both children and parents. The image below is the before: a screenshot of the pitch I sent to my agent that got me represented.

Research and query agents

Finding the right agent was a critical step. I extensively researched agents who represented children's book authors and had a good track record. I sent out an (I think?!) well-crafted query letter, short but clear, including my pitch for "Tasty Tales," and was thrilled to receive a positive response.

Here are some tips on querying agents:

  • Research: Know the agents you're querying and tailor your pitch to align with their interests.

  • Clarity: Your query letter should be direct and to the point, highlighting the best aspects of your work.

  • Personalize: Make sure your pitch stands out by letting your unique style and voice shine through.

  • Submission guidelines: Follow each agency's specific submission guidelines to the letter.

  • Persistence: The process can take time, and rejections are part of the journey. Keep refining your work and stay persistent.

Polish your pitch

With the support of my agent, we refined the initial pitch for "Tasty Tales," tightening the story and enhancing the illustrations. This collaborative process was incredibly insightful and helped me understand what makes a successful book pitch.

Submit to publishers

After polishing the pitch, my agent submitted "Tasty Tales" to several publishers. It was an anxious but exciting time, and after several interested publishers, UCLan Publishing decided to bring my book to life. The hard work and some revisions had paid off, and I was finally welcomed into the world of author/illustrators!

A note

Though finding a literary agent was the right fit for me, I definitely am not saying it's something everyone should pursue. It really depends on your skill set, goals and personality, and for me it is the right fit. There is plenty of succesful writers and artists that DIY the collaborations with publishers, with great result. You do you.

Join me on Patreon

For a more detailed behind-the-scenes look at my journey, including tips on querying agents and my complete before and after pitch for "Tasty Tales," join me on Patreon for just €3/month. Your support helps me continue creating the picture books of my dreams and allows me to share valuable insights with aspiring authors like you.

Thank you for being part of this amazing adventure!



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