It’s almost April! 2019 Little GOLDen Book members of 12 x 12 will be able to choose one of two agents to submit their manuscript to each month.
Mary Cummings of Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises will be accepting picture book submissions from 12 x 12 GOLD members April 1-15. Maria Vicente of P.S. Literary will be accepting picture book submissions from 12 x 12 GOLD members April 16-30. Mary’s profile appears first, followed by Maria’s. Please read BOTH and then decide who would be the best fit for your work.
A little bit about Mary:
“For fourteen years Mary Cummings was Education Director at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. At the Loft, she curated an annual Festival of Children’s Literature, and hired judges for the McKnight Award in Children’s Literature from among the nation’s top editors of children’s books. On many occasions, she hired Betsy Amster to teach workshops at the Loft and, in 2008, joined Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises to bring contacts and expertise in children’s lit. Many star-reviewed, inspiring books later, and more in the pipeline—she’s still having lots of fun!
Houses she’s sold book projects to include, among others:
Little, Brown; Abrams; Knopf; Henry Holt; Imprint; Holiday House; F,S,G; Viking; David Godine; Walker; and Paula Wiseman Books/Simon & Schuster.”
We asked Mary what she’s looking for in picture books. Here’s what she had to say:
“I prefer non-rhyming texts (this is usually a strong preference). I like work with heart, with warmth, and respond to over-the-top humor as well as to touching or poignant stories. I don’t like clever or ironic (but sometimes I do like quirky). I particularly like friendship stories, or other stories about two or three kids (animals) sorting out their relationship. Meta-narratives are problematic and have become hard to sell. Short is usually better than long. I’m looking for fiction, poetry, and lyrically written nonfiction (such as picture book biographies, social awareness and mindful behavior topics). Be alert to visual variety and illustrative possibilities in your text (because I will be), but don’t use illustration notes unless necessary for text to be comprehensible. Avoid use of a dialogue or narration style that’s best suited to short stories, rather than picture books. Generally speaking, write in present tense and have action take place without reference to time. Don’t send a dog story. No farm animals. Probably not a cat, either. Dragons and dinosaurs are also tough to sell. Check out articles, wish list, etc. on my website (cummingskidlit.com – see also agency website, amsterlit.com).”
- Interview on Duotrope
- Jennifer Broedel tells her story about working with Mary on Jacklyn Kruzie’s blog
- Mary was recently part of Picture Book Party
- Mary will be attending the Northern Colorado Writers Conference May 3-4
A little bit about Maria:
“Maria Vicente is a creative and editorial agent, providing support to her clients through all stages of the writing and publication process. Her publishing career began as an intern with Bree Ogden at D4EO Literary Agency, and she also interned at P.S. Literary before joining the agency as an associate agent. Her reading preferences vary across categories and genres, which is reflected in her client list. Maria holds a B.A. in English Literature from Carleton University and a B.Ed. from the University of Western Ontario. She has affinities for literary prose, strong character development, original storytelling formats, and anything geeky.”
When asked what she was looking, Maria responded:
“I love picture books that have a strong visual component. This absolutely includes stories created by author/illustrators, but also text-only manuscripts that really think about how the illustrations will work alongside the words.
Literary prose will catch my attention (two of my favourite picture books are This is Sadie and Virginia Wolf, if that helps), and I am interested in non-human protagonists that still have child-like qualities. I like nonfiction (whether it’s real-life stories or facts-based) that takes wonderful concepts or narratives and makes them child-friendly.
Some specific topics on my picture book wish list include: unique biographies; the Wheel of the Year; cultural traditions/history; tales of mythology and lore; nature-based nonfiction; outer space; ghosts.
I should also note that I am extremely picky when it comes to rhyming text.”
Please note Little GOLDen Book Members may only submit to ONE of these agents. Please choose the agent who is the best fit for you and your manuscript. GOLD members, please find full guidelines in the Submissions Station.
Submissions will only be accepted for Mary Cumming from April 1st – April 15th at 6pm ET/3pm PT.
Submissions will only be accepted for Maria Vicente from April 16th – April 30th at 6pm ET/3pm PT.
Please double check the times on your submissions. Anything received before or after the submissions window is open will be disqualified and you will not be able to submit again this month.
Want to make sure your submissions are tip-top? Grab this 7-Step Submissions Checklist.