Yes, it was brilliant. And yes, Sue Hyams did an excellent job organising it. Thank you, Sue.
The above picture was lifted from Candy's blog without her permission. As it has got me in it, I am assuming she won't mind. LOL!You can read Candy Gourlay’s notes on the event at: SCBWI's Agents Party ... How Nobody Was Bitten ... Plus Some Monster News. And you can read a blog by Sue Hyams at: Too busy to write?
As Candy mentioned, there were two illustrator agents and two author agents. They gave us a brief run down on their agencies and then there was an open forum of questions.
It was interesting to hear how the different agencies operated. There was a general consensus of opinion that the picture book market was improving for both illustrators and writers. Mark Mills from Plum Pudding Illustration also felt that there was an increased demand for comic style drawings, although Edward Burns from Advocate Art, had not experienced this.
I was also interested to hear that out of the hundreds of submissions they get every week they only take on about six new authors in a year and if their lists are full, they may not take on anyone. Although, Eve White did say if the writing is exceptional she would consider taking them anyway. She also warned not to send in your manuscripts too early. This is sound advice and a pitfall I have fallen into myself.
On the question of representing children's non-fiction, Daniel Neilson from PFD said they do not represent any children's non-fiction authors but, it was an area they were considering branching out to. However, they would not represent only an author's fiction, they would want to represent both. I felt very disappointed to hear this as, knowing the market quite well now, I do not believe publishers of children's non-fiction would be interested in dealing with agents and in fact this may lose an author work. Whereas, it is hard to get your children’s fiction noticed without an agent. This sort of puts me in a dilemma.