The latest issue of Poets & Writers has a great, solid, seitan-y* conversation between four agents, “The New Guard,” as they’re deemed: Julie Barer (Barer Literary), Jeff Kleinman (Folio Literary Management), Daniel Lazar (Writers House), and Kelly’s agent, Renee Zuckerbrot (Renee Zuckerbrot Literary Agency) where the four of them were given plenty of space to talk.
It’s like reading the transcript of a focused panel (with a skilled moderator) where everyone got to say everything (or almost everything, no doubt) that they wanted to say. There is a lot of really useful information for writers—and anyone with any interest in the business of publishing:
ZUCKERBROT: The point is, how do we create a new generation of readers? That’s one of the many reasons why Harry Potter has been so fabulous. We have to grow new generations of readers. And technology can help. I’m a dinosaur. I grew up with books and typewriters. But this new generation wants all the gadgets. They want to be able to play with it and they want to be nimble.
BARER: I have to say, I really hate this debate of either/or. That we’re either going to become this electronic world or we’re going to be dinosaurs. Hopefully we will continue to grow readers, and people will read in several mediums, whether it’s on their computers or on their e-book-version whatevers or on the printed page. The goal of agents and publishers is to keep finding ways in which we can reach as many of those readers as possible and provide as many opportunities for them to read our books as we can. Not just one way, but many ways.
KLEINMAN: That’s the problem. I don’t think that’s what publishers are doing now. They are going by the same old Paleolithic ways of doing things. They are translating this ancient technique of reading into the Kindle. But it’s the same thing. And I think it needs to be something different.
And once there, you might dig around, like the other PW, Poets & Writers don’t skimp on the online material. (You know, that stuff you’re skimming instead of reading a book.)
*it’s like meaty without increasing your chance of colorectal cancers.