I've been illustrating other people's books for a while now. And now I'm getting really excited about the next step in my career which is to (hopefully) become an author/illustrator. I have a story which I've been working on for a loooooonnnng time -- I've sent it through the shredder several times, redone the art here and there, had it dissected by critique groups and reassembled, and I think it's finally ready to go.
So now, I need to find an agent.
It seems to be a really important step here in the US (less so back in Australia). I did actually have an agent for a little while. The courting period was fun, we dated for a little while, but it didn't work out. I've taken a little while to rebound, but am now looking for my next long term relationship.
I've been trying to take advantage of all the opportunities living where I do. New England has a very active SCBWI chapter which is wonderful. I'll be attending their agent/editor day next month, and I'm also travelling to New Jersey this weekend for another similar opportunity to meet with agents face-to-face.
Why get an agent? Well, here in the US, it's pretty much impossible to submit to the bigger publishers without one (whereas in Australia you just pick up the phone). Plus as an author/illustrator, I really feel like I would like someone to guide me down this new road.
It's all about finding the right fit!
If you are an illustrator looking for an agent, you might consider whether you want an illustration rep, or a literary agent. Reps generally take a higher cut, and will have less editorial input into your work. Literary agents tend to prefer author/illustrators, and they will work with you to shape your career.
Here are some good articles to read: