Mary Cummings, Agent and Founder


Backstory to books

Inspiration and tips

Recent and forthcoming titles


Conferences and workshops


Upcoming Events

I gave the Keynote and several breakout sessions and critiques for the SCBWI AZ Regional Conference September 24 - 26, 2021, held virtually. It was fun and I'd love to be able to do a similar session for another conference. 

Creativity: Lovely, Elusive, Essential and Joyous
The pandemic has pounded us all. We've felt boredom, fear, frustration, isolation. And we've suffered losses. We're still not able to gather in person today, but we are able to have this time for celebration of our creative lives. This keynote touches on some insights about the nature of creativity and the need for it, and includes some experiences related to creativity with the development of books by Mary's clients.

Agent - Author session: Mary Cummings and Dawn Young
Our Inside Scoop
It can be mysterious, exciting and intimidating (all at once!) to move to the next level in your writing and seek an agent. In this session, we'll talk about knowing when you're ready (hint: there's no one-size-fits-all answer); tips for your search; how best to prepare for and use time on the call with a potential agent; what to expect in a working relationship; how a book offer comes about, and more. Dawn and Mary will discuss COUNTING ELEPHANTS, the book that began their relationship and will touch on several others, including related communications, editing, brainstorming, submissions, etc. Questions are welcomed! 

The 2022 SCBWI Midsouth Conference was held in Nashville March 25 - 27. I taught two break-out workshops, a "first pages" session and did manuscript critiques. The first break-out was called "The Next Big Step: Reaching Out to Agents" and the second "Is it 'working'?" Here are descriptions:

The Next Big Step: Reaching Out to Agents
Whether you write novels, chapter books or picture books, securing an agent will open doors to publication that you can't open on your own. In this session we'll focus on the following, plus have time for questions: 1) HOW TO KNOW IF YOU ARE READY 2) RESEARCHING POTENTIAL AGENTS 3) DEVELOPING YOUR QUERY AND SUBMISSION LIST  4) PHONE CALL WITH POTENTIAL AGENT  5) REVISING BASED UPON AGENT COMMENTS

Is it "Working"?
In this session, you'll learn ways to step back and objectively see your manuscript from an overall view, then from each major section, and finally from a close-in examination of such things as word choices, sentences and paragraphs. Bring a copy of a polished draft of a picture book or the opening and closing few pages of a novel or chapter book for an exercise. You may conclude in the end that you want to slightly tweak or significantly revise to get from "is it working?" to "I've nailed this!"