Link of the Week: Literary Agents in the Digital Age

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This week on Jane Friedman’s popular book publishing blog she featured a guest post by by Sangeeta Mehta,a former acquiring editor of children’s books at Little, Brown and Simon & Schuster. Mehta interviewed Jessica Fraust, president and literary agent at BookEnds Literary Agency. Fraust also established Beyond the Page Publishing, a digital business where “authors still maintain the control provided by self-publishing, but receive editorial guidance and direction from publishing veterans.”

In the interview they discuss the effect self publishers choosing to bypass literary agents is having on agents and how an agent can assist in a debut or established writer’s self-publishing endeavors. Here is an excerpt:

SANGEETA MEHTA: The constantly shifting digital publishing climate has prompted many literary agents to launch spin-off digital businesses. Is this why you started Beyond the Page Publishing? How does Beyond the Page assist writers with self-publishing? Is it for clients of your literary agency, BookEnds, only?

JESSICA FAUST: Back in 2011 I realized how important self-publishing was becoming and was going to be for authors. I wanted to make sure I had something to offer those clients who might be interested in diving into that world, but didn’t want to do it on their own, so I launched Beyond the Page. We do all editing, and while we say we only offer copyediting, our editorial director Bill Harris is really wonderful and usually works with authors on a much deeper level, providing revision suggestions where needed and doing line edits. We also do formatting, conversion (including adding changed material and reconverting files whenever needed), uploading to all sales sites, marketing help and pitches, copyright filing, and we provide an ISBN and hire a cover designer.

We started working primarily with BookEnds authors, but have expanded well beyond just the BookEnds client list. In fact, I would say that most of the Beyond the Page authors have come from outside BookEnds.

To continue reading the interview click here.

Link of the Week: QueryTracker

link1The role that agents play in the publishing process cannot be understated. They champion books for authors, utilizing their networks to get the word out, using their experience to get the best possible deal. Agents are vital to getting a book sold to a traditional publishing company.

Agents are also important to editors who are looking to expand their publisher’s catalog and establish their viability as editors. An editor who has a solid network of agents who know what the editor likes to acquire is a priceless line of communication.

But how do authors find a good match? And how do editors expand their agent networks when they’re buried under the responsibilities of their role at a publishing house? The first answer is networking. But in a world of internet connectivity, there’s another option to supplement face-to-face networking: QueryTracker (QT).

QueryTracker is a site designed to provide lists of literary agents and publishers, to provide information about them, and to track personal query information. It simplifies the process of tracking down agents who fit your criteria, all while collecting data like average response times, reviews, and comments from authors who’ve found their agents using QT.

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Features of the site include forums for users to post questions and network, lists of top publishers and agents (and who they represent), as well as a place for users to keep track of all their query information.

For those of us looking into a career in publishing, it’s important to develop relationships with agents. QueryTracker is a good place to start becoming familiar with names of agents and smaller publishers.