Many of the traditional ways literary agents discover talent have changed over the last few years, and many agents spend their time exploring blogs and the Amazon bestseller list.
The Hollywood Reporter recently hosted a panel discussion with major literary agents, offering some invaluable intelligence for aspiring authors. You can watch the entire presentation in the video embedded above. The participating agents included Sloan Harris, the co-head of ICM Partners’ literary department, who offered this advice:
I grew up scouring magazines and literary journals, but that has largely dried up. Most magazines have their writers already under contract, and there’s very little space there. Our younger colleagues are reading blogs, are watching Amazon best-seller lists for books that may be unrepresented but are starting to pop. It’s encouraging to see the business learning how to create new places where writers can actually develop their voice and make money while they’re growing enough of a fan base to potentially jump over and join the commercial trade publishing side.
If you want the same publishing intelligence as these literary agents, be sure to follow our weekly Self-Published Bestsellers lists. To expand on the Amazon idea, Trident chairman Robert Gottlieb added:
Amazon has created an opportunity for authors to be published who under normal circumstances would never be published because of the bottleneck of traditional publishing. We represent a book called The Abbey, a story of a Midwest homicide detective who’s a Muslim American. If I went out with that book to a traditional publisher, I would have a very hard time selling it. The book sold 1 million copies on Amazon, 350,000 copies on Barnes & Noble, and suddenly publishers start to notice.