Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Thoughts from a literary agent

Andrew Wylie has ruffled a few feathers recently, battling with publishers over digital book rights. You could say he's at the forefront of whatever we're doing in the future, but he's also a solid representative of quality publishing. So the thoughts he shared with Daniel Gross at are worth thinking about.

"So the business we're in is to identify and capture and anticipate the value of books that are inherently classics, future classics. If publishers did the same there would be less of the wild weekend in Las Vegas approach to acquisition that distinguishes the industry and its decline.... We try to avoid people who can't write. You can usually spot them from the first sentence, or from the cover letter. It's a little like sitting in the audience at Carnegie Hall and watching someone walk up to a piano. If you're trained, you can tell the difference between someone who knows how to play and someone who doesn't. Of course, sometimes you want to work with people who have a significant achievement, which is not writing, and so that usually requires closer editing, and ghostwriting. Heads of state are not always the best writers."

Read the article, Andrew Wylie: The superagent on upholding great literature in an e-reading world.

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