SCWBI Agent and Publisher Top Tips

Society of Children Writers and Book Illustrators – Meet the professionals evening. 

Speakers: Rosie Turner from Hachette Book Group, Tori from Red Lemon Press (Bonnier Publishing) non-fiction imprint, sister to Red Key books, fiction imprint & Jack from Eve White Literary Agency

What are they looking for in a submission?

Publishers look for voice (personality) and freshness

Agents look for a clear and consist voice, good idea, well polished manuscript


Don’t follow trends, you are likely to be late to the party by the time you have written your book.

But do know the market you are writing for.

Get unbiased feedback if you keep getting rejected.

Improve your craft.

Don’t give up.

The process

An agent will typically meet you after they have read the entire manuscript and are interested in taking you on. At that meeting the agent wants to get to know you and how you write, what other ideas you have and what your ambitions are.

They may discuss changes, foreign rights and how and when they envisage submitting to publishers.

Once an editor has read and liked a manuscript (they call the this the pre-acquisition stage)

The editor has to sell the book to her team. She has to sell the author as a package. The author should have a snappy Biog available and consider their selling points and career aspirations.

The character and approach of agents can be very different. Some are very hands on and can act as a mentor, others can be hands off and corporate.

For unbiased advice contact the Society of Authors


Hot Key Books publishes authors writing YA and middle grade fiction. They accept unsolicited manuscripts. Lots of tips on website.

For authors wanting to self promote through public speaking there are specialist speaker agencies who can set you up at literary events etc…

Golden Egg Academy – courses for writers of childrens fiction run by Chicken House Editor at her house in Bath.

Sara O’Connor Bookbound UK –

SCBWI – BI undiscovered voices competition

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