#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?
#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?
#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?
#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?
A Sneak Peek at the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference: An Interview with literary agent Monica Odom, by Jackie DiCaro
Every agent has their unique way of discovering great new voices. For Monica Odom of the Bradford Literary Agency, connecting with writers includes a blend of seeking out innovators, pushing them to create their best work, and helping them grow each step of the way. But the nuances of how she does this are what set her—and every agent—apart. We chatted with Monica about her favorite parts of agenting, from that first email to the day a book hits the shelves.
You can see Monica on our panel, Innovators In Speculative YA Fiction, at the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference, Sunday, September 11.
#87: A Sneak Peek at the Slice Literary Writers’ Conference: An Interview with Imbolo Mbue, by Celia Johnson
Most people come to New York City clutching their dreams. Some fight to get in and fight even harder to stay. Others have a much easier path. But what happens when the city fails them? Imbolo Mbue’s debut novel, Behold the Dreamers, follows a young Cameroonian couple, Jendi and Neni, who are in New York because they want a better life for themselves and, even more so, for their six-year-old son. Jendi has been working as a chauffeur for Clark, an executive at Lehman Brothers, and his high-society wife, Cindy. And Neni has been toiling away at school, hoping one day to become a pharmacist. The collapse of Lehman Brothers is about to threaten everything these four people have strived to attain. I spoke to Imbolo about her inimitable characters, her creative process, and how rejections helped her improve her manuscript.