What To Ask An Agent, with Mary Cummings, Great River Literary

The Manuscript Academy Podcast


We loved talking with Mary Cummings about so many things—how slush piles looked in the days of paper, how the submission process is like Miracle on 34th Street (and often as divisive as pineapple on pizza), and—more extensively—what you should ask an agent, when given the chance. Tune in also for mentions of opera, Slush Cats, Editorial Boards, and more.


“Great River Literary” was the clear name choice for the new agency established by Mary Cummings in 2021, after thirteen years as an agent for books for children and teens at Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises.

Except in the depths of winter, nearly every evening Mary goes down to the banks of the Mississippi River in St. Paul to see the passing scene of trees and birds, barges and boats, kids and lovers – and always the play of light on the flowing water.

Mary finds great joy in helping her clients polish their stories to stand out for editors and to become books that will make a difference in kids’ lives. Before becoming a literary agent, Mary was Education Director at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis where, among other accomplishments, she curated an annual festival of children’s literature and selected judges for the McKnight Award from leading editors in children’s publishing.

Learn more about Mary here: www.greatriverliterary.com/

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