Encounters in Publishing

Interview

#SLWC17: Meet the Speakers: An Interview with Literary Agent Saba Sulaiman

by Maria Gagliano

As a writer, it can be nerve-racking to imagine a team of editors talking about your work behind closed doors. You get to hear their final decision, but you’re rarely in the loop on their discussion about what they think of your work. Literary agents often get a detailed account of the conversation if they have a good rapport with the editors, but even they may not get the full story.

We chatted with agent Saba Sulaiman about the mysterious process of submitting work to editors. She also shares powerful insight on what writers can do before editors see their work. We’ll hear more from Saba at the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference in Brooklyn on September 9, when she joins us for our panel, “What We Really Talk About in Editorial Meetings.” Conference attendees can also sign up to pitch their work to Saba in person at a one-on-one meeting.

You’re moderating our panel, “What We Really Talk About in Editorial Meetings.” As an agent, how privy are you to what goes on in those decision-making meetings? And how much do you then share with your clients?

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Interview

#SLWC17: Meet the Speakers: An Interview with Literary Agent Mark Gottlieb

by Bobbie Ford

Book publishing is an industry comprised of connections. Between reader and writer. Publisher and agent. Agent and writer. In the ever-evolving and incredibly competitive book world, the latter has recently become more important and more sacred than ever. It’s often difficult for a novice, aspiring writer to navigate through it all, and the relationship with the right agent can not only make a difference in their trajectory, but their confidence as well–after all, it’s always helpful to have a cheerleader in your corner.

For agent Mark Gottlieb, championing new authors is in his blood. Born into a family of publishing professionals (his father, Robert, founded the very agency where he now works) he’s had a long and unique perspective on how books are made and what makes them successful. And it’s this perspective that’s won him a roster of best-selling clients, plus their affections as well. We had a chance to sit down with Mark to ask him a few questions, including what new writers can do to give themselves the biggest advantage during the querying process in order to establish that important initial connection with an agent.

Mark will be at the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference on September 10 in Brooklyn, where he’ll join a team of agents on the panel “Making a Case for Fiction.” Conference attendees can also sign up to pitch their work to Mark in person at a one-on-one meeting.

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Interview

#SLWC17: Meet the Speakers: An Interview with Literary Agent Kate McKean

by Maria Gagliano

Every year the book world changes all around us. The Big Six shrink to the Big Five, while indie presses claim a bigger stake in the industry. Editors come and go; print books peak, drop, and then make a comeback. Lit trends cycle through the marketplace. But what does it all mean for writers trying to get their work noticed by editors and agents?

Literary agent Kate McKean chatted with us about how she’s seen the business change since she started well over a decade ago, for better or worse. Kate will share more of her wisdom at the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference in Brooklyn on September 10, when she joins us for our panel, “Welcome to the 2017 Book World.” Conference attendees can also sign up to pitch their work to Kate in person at a one-on-one meeting. But note: Kate is not the agent for you if you’re writing about dragons. Don’t even try her, no matter how good your writing may be.

I imagine you have an especially sharp sense of how things have changed over the years since you have a long history of helping people make the leap from online personality (i.e., many bloggers) to published author. Whether online or off, what stands out to you the most in terms of how the industry has changed in recent years?

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Interview

#SLWC17: Meet The Speakers – An Interview With Ayesha Pande Literary Agent Anjali Singh

by Maria Gagliano

Anjali Singh has built her publishing career around championing underrepresented voices. Nearly two decades ago, at her first job as an editor, she pitched the idea of publishing a graphic novel by a debut Iranian author to her new bosses at Random House. More than one million copies later, that book, Persepolis, is one of the most important graphic novels ever published. These days, Anjali is a literary agent and her dedication to advocating for unheard voices only burns brighter.

We chatted with Anjali about her new(ish) role as an agent: how she likes to connect with new writers, her infinite patience when it comes to waiting for an author to finish a manuscript, and how she’s seen diversity in the industry evolve—or not—since she entered the book world.

We’ll hear more from Anjali at the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference on September 10 in Brooklyn, when she joins a team of agents on our panel “Making a Case for Fiction.” Conference attendees can also sign up to pitch their work to Anjali in person at a one-on-one meeting.

Pitching agents can be a discouraging journey for emerging writers. How do you tend to connect with debut authors?

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Interview

#SLWC17: Meet the Speakers – An Interview with Aevitas Creative Management Agent Sarah Bowlin

by Maria Gagliano

Longtime book editor Sarah Bowlin made two epic changes this year: She moved from New York City to Los Angeles after more than a decade cramming her book collection into NYC-sized apartments. She also made the switch from working as an editor (first at Penguin and most recently at Henry Holt & Co.) to becoming an agent with Aevitas Creative Management. Broadly speaking, her work is the same—she is looking for talented debut authors so she can help launch their careers. The similarities end, and somewhat continue, there. We chatted with Sarah about her big changes, her big love for working with writers, and what she’s looking for as she builds her new list as an agent.

Sarah will share her insights on the delicate art of editing on the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference panel “Revise This, But Don’t Lose Your Voice,” on Sunday, September 10th in downtown Brooklyn. Conference attendees can also sign up to pitch their work to Sarah in person at a one-on-one meeting.

You just made the leap to becoming an agent after spending a decade as a book editor at Penguin and Henry Holt. What excites you most about the change?

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Interview

#SLWC17: Meet the Speakers – An Interview with Folio Literary Management Agent Jeff Kleinman

by Maria Gagliano

The 7th annual Slice Literary Writers’ Conference in downtown Brooklyn is four months away, and to kick off the countdown, we’re chatting with some of the agents, editors, authors, and book pros who help make our community such a supportive environment. To start, we spoke with literary agent Jeff Kleinman about how he feels the book world has changed in recent years—and how it’s stayed the same—especially for emerging writers. Jeff will moderate the SLWC panel Welcome to the 2017 Book World on Sunday, September 10. Conference attendees can also sign up to pitch their work to Jeff in person at a one-on-one meeting.

So much has changed in the book industry in the last ten years. How have some of the biggest changes you’ve seen influenced the way emerging authors break into the industry?

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