Agents: old school to new wave
Update on 11/5/10 – Nathan Bransford sent a message today that he is no longer an agent at Curtis Brown. He will now be working in the technology industry. What a total surprise, disappointing many people, myself included.
Agents, like all other publishing professionals, come in a variety of flavors: sweet to salty and good for you or not. There are lots of useful tools to help writers figure out who to target and how, from books to websites. Some agents are affiliated with big agencies, some are strictly independent; some are in the NYC milieu, some more local or international. There are agents who are trade book focused, and others who zero in on the commercial arena.
One important factor is what that person is like, since connecting with an agent will mean working closely with him/her. Listings in a book will not tell you much about agents as people. Those agents who do not take advantage of digital networking don’t reveal much about themselves to the wider world, although book conferences and other face-to-face events are useful ways to get to know these people.
He is as superhuman as the main character in his book Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow (coming to your local bookstore in May of 2011, published by Dial Books.) Follow his blog and you will come to know a guy who reads, writes, instigates conversations, is a full time agent and has a life. It is mind boggling how much he can pack in. Read his essay “The rejection letter of the future will be silence and why this is a good thing” to get a taste – he mentions that he receives 15,000-20,000 queries a year. His home base is San Francisco (go Giants!) and he is in New York this week, meaning he’s actively bi-coastal. Yesterday he posted this Jay-Z and Alicia Keyes song about this city “of 8 million stories”. My point is, he is fun and zeroed in. His blog is a goldmine of perspectives, interactions and links for children’s book people. Check it out.