French Literary Agents Stage a Quiet Revolution

In Growth Markets by Olivia Snaije

By Olivia Snaije PARIS:  Until very recently, literary agents have been viewed in France with suspicion and the very topic seen as taboo. Traditionally, authors would submit and sell books directly to publishers. Agents were viewed as mere interlopers, interfering with a privileged relationship between author and publisher and introducing a mercenary, Anglo-Saxon element into the closed publishing circuit. But …

Are French Authors Better Off With or Without Agents?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka In today’s feature story about the increasing influence of literary agents in French publishing, author Jonathan Littell is quoted as saying that, as an American (albeit one writing in French), getting an agent was second nature to him. “In the Anglo-Saxon literary world if you want to publish a book, you look for an agent first,” he …

Random Preparing for E-book Rights Fight

In What's the Buzz by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka A pair of articles in the US press—one hitting the front page of the New York Times and another in the Wall Street Journal—cite a letter sent on Friday by Random House to US literary agents restating their assertion that they hold the e-book rights to books they have under contract. In letter, dated Dec. 11, Markus Dohle, …

Inside the Secret World of Literary Scouts

In English Language, Resources by Emily Williams

By Emily Williams Part I: How It Works NEW YORK: For five years I was an international literary scout. That means for five years I groaned inside whenever anyone asked me what I did. Scouting occupies a strange niche in book publishing, itself a rather inscrutable business from the outside, and after a time most scouts resign themselves to working—very hard—at an …

Rob Weisbach on Expanding the Agent’s Role

In Feature Articles by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka Rob Weisbach was just 30 years old when he was named president and publisher of Rob Weisbach Books at William Morrow, landing such celebrity writers as television personality Jon Stewart and comedienne Ellen DeGeneres. He later worked as editor-at-large at Simon & Schuster, and as CEO of Miramax Books—a job he left in April of 2008. In …

Bonus Material: Weisbach Also Offers Illustration and Design Services

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka In addition to providing the traditional services of a literary agency—such as grooming manuscripts and selling rights—Rob Weisbach (read our profile of Weisbach here) plans to incorporate the skills of his clients, people like illustrator John Rocco and designer Beth Middleworth, into the services his firm offers. “Both John and Beth are people I have worked with …

Books to Look For in the LitAg

In Feature Articles by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka All week, LitAg—the center for literary agents and scouts—has been buzzing with activity, while others have been busy at their stands taking meetings with editors and publishers. Here’s a sample of some books being showcased for rights and translation sales throughout the fair—a list that includes a surprising range of topics, from a French cultural history of …

Profile: Transatlantic Literary Agency

In Feature Articles by Emily Williams

By Emily Williams Samantha Haywood, agent and rights director for Transatlantic Literary Agency (TLA), lives out the ocean-straddling name of her agency, splitting her time between Toronto, home to the agency’s headquarters, and Amsterdam, where she now lives with her family. Being part of an eclectic team of agents with footholds in Canada, the US and Europe keeps Haywood sensitized …

Though New to Frankfurt, Iris Mor is No Newbie

In Feature Articles by Chip Rossetti

By Chip Rossetti A newcomer to Frankfurt this year, Iris Mor, editor-in-chief of Israel’s Keter Books, is looking forward to meeting some of her growing list of contacts in person. Mor came to Keter last year from Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, where for fifteen years she had been the arts and culture editor, although she had always hoped to move to …

The Mertin Agency Has the Hometown Advantage

In Feature Articles by Emily Williams

By Emily Williams If you’re involved in Portuguese- and Spanish-language publishing, there’s a good chance your Fair experience started on Monday night at a dinner and reception thrown by the Mertin Agency. For many years, agency founder Ray-Güde Mertin hosted the guests in her home, welcoming them back to Germany with a glass of Riesling and a warm laugh. Since …