Sunday, August 03, 2008

All About Agents...

My Sunday morning started out with an agent panel moderated by Mark McVeigh Editorial Director of Simon & Schuster imprint Aladdin. And here's some news--Mark revealed that Aladdin is now a hardcover imprint and will be publishing picture books through novels for teens.

The panelist were Dilys Evans, president of Dilys Evans Fine Illustration; Michael Stearns, editor-turned-agent with Firebrand Literary; Michael Bourret, agent with Dystel & Goderich; and Laura Rennert, senior agent at Andrea Brown Literary.

Mark asked the panel: Why does a creative person need an agent?

Micheal Stearns: He said writers need agents for two reasons. First, to work out deals with the editor so as not to pollute the writer-editor relationship. (Or, as Mark McVeigh put it, "Let the writer make the snowballs and the agents throw them. He is very much a pro-agent editor.) And second, because agents keep on top of the market in ways that a writer cannot.

Michael Bourret: He said a writer need an agent for direction as the writer builds her career.

Laura Rennert: She said agents are the advocates to deal with situations of problems that arise as the industry changes.

More from the panelists:
Michael Bourret: He shared a success story about his author Jill Alexander whom he met at the SCBWI conference last February. (She also met her editor there). He was taken in my her a title A Hood Ornament in the N0-Jesus Christmas Parade and knew he wanted her as a client. Her book will come out next year. (He agents Sara Zarr, a National Book Award finalist.)

Laura Rennert: She describes herself as a "literary omnivore," and says she's looking for a strong voice, a voice she takes pleasure in, a new perspective, a fresh and unusual angle. (She agents NY Times bestselling author Jay Asher; and Kathleen Duey, also a National Book Award finalist.)

Dilys Evans: She says agents must establish great working relationships with their editors--they must find ways to get what they want, smiling. (Mark McVeigh referred to agents as "honest sharks.")

And I wish you all could have been there to here Dilys Evans tell stories--she was terrific.


Stella said...

Thanks so much for your posts! I'm not ready to look for an agent yet, but I'm taking notes and have learned so much from your blog about the publishing industry. I still think acquiring an agent can be harder than getting a book published.

maureen said...

Thanks for all your writings even the 2 am does give you a feel for what the conference must be like....sitting here in NZ
with the green eyed monster of envy

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