Are Literary Scouts to be Envied?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

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In Emily Williams’ continuing series about literary scouting (Part 1 & Part 2), she describes a seemingly mysterious world that seems both quirky and quixotic. As Williams has explained, it is indeed an exotic job, but it is also cut-throat, demanding role that requires constant vigilance over the vagaries of the market.

Perhaps no one has summed up the way people feel about scouts better than Jason Allen Ashlock, contracts manager at the Moveable Type Literary Group, who commented on Part 1 of our series:

There is, I sometimes think, a scout-envy in publishing. They get to travel, engage in kind of international relations, read more (and more widely) than most agents and editors, and get the best news first, before the rest of us hear about it. Of course, they are also expected to keep hours that rival bond traders’, balance interests with the nimbleness of a politician, and know when to keep secrets and when to spill the beans. Most of the scouts I know seem similar to Emily—they may love the rush of discovery and deadline, and enjoy the constant flurry and buzz, but they do what they do for the love of books.

So, tell us, are scouts to be envied…or perhaps pitied…or somewhere in between? What are you experiences with scouts? Positive, negative, indifferent?

Let us know what you think in the comments below or via Twitter using hashtag #ppbonus.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.