A Writer's Guide to the Top Literary Agents gives readers the inside story of some of the most respected and influential names in the business today, from Georges Borchardt and Sandra Dijkstra to John Brockman and Molly Friedrich. It helps writers learn the role of agents, understand their importance in book publishing, and identify the characteristics of a good agent/author relationship. No other book gives the in-depth look at agents that this book does.
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In these days of high-stakes publishing mergers and acquisitions, it is the literary agents, not the editors, who seem to be having all the fun. It used to be editors who discovered and nurtured new writers, edited their books, and helped map out their careers; now, as editors have less and less control over their lists and ever-increasing bottom-line pressures, these pleasures fall to the agent. For Literary Agents: A Writer's Introduction, Publishers Weekly editorial director John F. Baker has compiled 44 profiles of agents, many of whom moved to agenting from publishing and editing specifically because they craved closer contact with authors. While editors have to answer to both writers and publishers, says agent Dominick Abel, "I wanted to be answerable to authors alone." Unlike agents, adds Loretta Barrett, "editors these days are often powerless on their [authors'] behalf."
"The fundamental sea-change in publishing in recent years," says Michael Larsen (Literary Agents: What They Do and How They Do It), "is that it has gone from being an editorially driven business to a market-driven one." This means that the types of books being published have changed, as have the types of chances publishers are willing to take. "I once believed all books worth publishing would find a home," says Joy Harris, who represents Whitney Otto and Mark Singer. "I no longer think that's true." Publishing houses, says Barney Karpfinger (Jonathan Kellerman, Michael Winerip), "are far less willing than they used to be to take leaps of faith."
There is hope, though, mostly in the form, according to Carol Mann (Robert Jastrow, Paul Auster), "of small press publishing and the fact that university presses are broadening their coverage." And most agents, unlike most editors, are still willing to wade through the slush pile, though very few, admittedly, add to their lists many writers who don't come with some form of recommendation or invitation. Literary Agents provides a nice sense of the agent's life, as well as a rare glimpse into the minds of a good number of individual agents. The profiles are a bit formulaic--most start with a brief physical description of their subjects, moving on through a discussion of background history and client lists to end with a (usually pessimistic) comment on the state of publishing--but there is much to be gleaned here, nonetheless. --Jane SteinbergFrom Publishers Weekly:
"Literary agents," writes Baker, "are the uncrowned kings and queens of the book publishing business today." In this eminently useful guide to these publishing royalty, PW's editorial director provides the information writers need to determine which agent is right for them, and to gain entree to his or her court. The emphasis is on helping the aspiring author, and so Baker bypasses agents at large firms like ICM or William Morris in favor of independent practitioners, more open to taking on newcomersAbut established writers would do well to heed his findings. For in the 44 profiles, alphabetically arranged, that follow a background introduction, Baker harvests from agents from A-Z (Dominick Abel to Al Zuckerman) wisdom gained from decades upon decades of experience. Even before Baker reports that Don Congdon "began work in 1936 as a teenage messenger at the long-gone Lurton Blassingame agency at $12 a week," it's clear that his book doubles as a history of contemporary publishingAand as an oracle of its future: "The industry's continuing pursuit of a paper-based medium is, he declares, a waste of time," writes Baker of Richard Curtis. But above all this is sourcebook for new writers, and Baker serves them well. The profiles, based on in-person interviews, include data on agents' history, attitudes, genre preferences, author list and means of contact. Abjuring fact-packing, the profiles present elegant, occasionally tart portraiture: Georges Borchardt is "the very model of the dapper Frenchman"; Robert Lescher flashes "a frequent smile that does not always seem to accord with what he is saying." As amenable to being read cover to cover as to being referenced one profile at a time, this unique volume provides the scoop on "the people who make it happen." (The book also includes contact info for 20 agents not profiled.) Agent, Jean Naggar.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Arco, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 1. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0028617401
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Book Description Arco/Macmillan, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0028617401
Book Description Arco/Macmillan, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110028617401
Book Description Arco/Macmillan. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0028617401 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW6.1013804