|The Formidable Four Of Agenting|
They often start out in smaller agencies and move on up to the big time, where the resources are greater and the ability to place manuscripts is smoothed by connections. The rising agent develops a circle of editors who will take their calls, and once they have a posse, they feel comfortable striking out on their own.
Alone, however, the free-standing agency has to meet expenses that are not shared among an office filled with agents. And with book sales declining and editors only interested in the big blockbuster novel, it is getting increasingly difficult to meet those fixed costs and still have enough left over to pay the rent on a small Manhattan studio flat. Then there is the changing landscape in publishing, with digital rights and the power of Amazon and authors doing things themselves so should the agent maybe help with the self-publishing.
Julie Barer, Faye Bender, Brettne Bloom and Elizabeth Weed are names that are well-known to those who have queried a fiction manuscript. They are well established in their industry, with a wealth of experience and a bevy of editors who will consider what they have to offer.
They have gathered together fromt their individual agencies and formed their own, and isn't that the powerful sort of agency that you'd like to be part of.?
The Book Group is open for business.
Is your book comparable to the work of Michael Crummey? Maybe you could compare your novel to an Amy Brill piece. Then you'd want to send your e-query off to Julie Barer, no longer at her own eponymous agency but toiling among three other colleagues who will share expenses like office rent and clerical help. Maybe you're more of an equivalent to Elyssa East, in which case you'd want to attract Brettne Bloom's eye. She's there at The Book Group, pooling resources.
These being important literary agents, however, and quite in tune with the times, they won't respond if they are not interested. So if you don't have a degree in creative writing and a long list of literary awards, you may not stand a chance.
But they will have interns clamoring for entry and access to the inner circle of publishing, and in time possibly a junior agent starting at the bottom where the powerful four began. Maybe one of them might be looking to pick up their first clients and that could be you if your query is there at the right time.
When is the right time? If anyone could predict that they'd have the answer to the question plaguing all unpublished writers: What does it take to get a literary agent to sign you?