Meet the A&E Conference Faculty: Andy Ross

“A lot of writers think that the purpose of an agent is to negotiate a contract and disappear. I don’t work that way. I begin by helping the writer define what the real idea is in their project, or in fiction, what the real story is. “

-Andy Ross

Every year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings a faculty of close to thirty agents, editors, and other industry professionals to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 24th Annual A&E Conference, taking place June 30 – July 2, 2017, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.

An Interview with Andy Ross

Andy Ross opened his literary agency in 2008. Prior to becoming an agent, he was the owner of the legendary Cody’s Books in Berkeley. Andy represents books in a wide range of nonfiction genres, including: narrative nonfiction, science, journalism, history, popular culture, memoir, and current events. He also represents literary, commercial, upmarket women’s fiction, and YA fiction. Authors Andy represents include Daniel Ellsberg, Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, Anjanette Delgado Elisa Kleven, Tawni Waters, Randall Platt, Mary Jo McConahay, Gerald Nachman, Paul Krassner, Milton Viorst, and Beth Hensperger. You can read more about Andy on his website at www.anyrossagency.com and on his popular blog “Ask the Agent” at www.andyrossagency.wordpress.com.

andyagency2-1-of-1Scribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?

Andy Ross: A lot of writers think that the purpose of an agent is to negotiate a contract and disappear. I don’t work that way. I begin by helping the writer define what the real idea is in their project; or in fiction, what the real story is. I will often do a full line edit of a novel. I continue to work with the author as her ally and advisor throughout the publishing process.

Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?

AR: In a world dominated by celebrity, debut fiction can be challenging to sell. Even if the writing is superb, publishing decisions usually get made based as much on marketing as on literary merit. But the decision is also highly subjective. If the acquisition editor doesn’t fall in love with the book, they won’t buy it. And it’s hard to know in advance which editors will respond emotionally to the book. The best I can do is find authors with talent telling stories that grab me by the heart.

Scribe: Do you think social media presence is critical for a successful writing career?

AR: It’s important for authors to put themselves out in the world. Books aren’t going to sell just by magic. A lot of writers think that just getting published by a prestigious imprint is going to make the book a success, that these publishers have secret alchemical powers that can promote a book. This isn’t true. For a debut novelist, most of the marketing and promotion will have to come from the author. All that being said, I think social media has been overhyped as a way of selling books. Yes, you should probably be on Facebook. A blog would be nice. But don’t expect miracles.

Scribe: If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

AR: Don’t get discouraged by rejection.

Scribe: Tell us about a project you took on because there was something special or unique about it, even though it wasn’t like projects you usually take on; or tell us about an exciting or proud moment in your career as an agent.

AR: When I was at the San Miguel Writer’s Conference, I met a writer on the faculty, Tawni Waters. She was teaching nonfiction travel writing. She approached me and asked if I would look at her novel that she had written for her MFA. When I saw it, I could tell she had talent, but I didn’t think I could sell the book. She asked me to look at another book, something that had been sitting under her bed for ten years. I graciously agreed. By the time I had finished reading the first paragraph, I was sold. Her YA novel, Beauty of the Broken, was published by Simon/Pulse and was the winner of the International Literacy Association YA Award. I feel pretty good about that.

Scribe: Your biography on your website talks about some of your experiences owning Cody’s Books in Berkeley for 30 years; how do you think your retailer and business-owner positions — as well as the specifics of owning Cody’s, iconic for its cultural and literary importance — have helped you in your career as a literary agent?

AR: When I left Cody’s, I wasn’t sure what I would be doing next. I had been a bookseller all my adult life and didn’t really know much about anything else. One night I woke up and decided rather impetuously that I would become an agent. No one really helped me get started. I was an autodidact. I was familiar with all the publisher imprints (something many experienced agents still don’t know), and I had spent my whole life talking to readers and book lovers. It turned out I knew a lot more than I thought I knew, and it has served me in good stead.

Thanks, Andy!

Click here and here to read our 2017 A&E Conference agent & editor bios.

Click here for more information on the 2017 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 30-July 2) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.

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Meet the A&E Conference Faculty: Allison Devereux

“Even if you never see a word of your writing in print, there is still value in your work if you truly love and take pleasure from writing.”

-Allison Devereux

Every year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings a faculty of close to thirty agents, editors, and other industry professionals to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 24th Annual A&E Conference in June, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here. 

An Interview with Allison Devereux

Allison Devereux is a graduate of UT Austin and has been an agent at Wolf Literary since 2012. She represents up-market and literary fiction and is especially interested in global settings, every-man characters, moral ambiguity, magical realism, underrepresented voices, female protagonists, and stories set firmly in reality but that explore something fantastical or surreal. She’s actively looking for narrative nonfiction that uses a particular niche topic to explore larger truths about our culture; journalistic examinations of progressive politics, pop culture, unique subcultures, and modern feminism; and anything with a convincing narrative voice or a great sense of humor.

ad-wordpressScribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?

Allison Devereux: I tend to be very hands-on with my authors. These days agents need to be more editorially minded than ever, so it’s not uncommon to go through 2 or 3 (or 4 or 5…) rounds of revision together before I send a book out on a submission. I also try to be as accessible, responsive, and straightforward with my clients as possible.

Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?

AD: A distinctive, believable voice; an original or unusual concept; open-mindedness to edits and the unpredictable publishing process more generally; ideas for future books!

Scribe: Do you think social media presence is critical for a successful writing career?

AD: No. Social media can be an incredibly useful tool if you are genuinely active and engaged with it — connecting with readers, other writers, and folks in the industry – but it’s useless if you don’t stay active, or if you’re just sending out the occasional perfunctory tweet or Facebook post. If you enjoy social media, take advantage of these platforms to self-promote and engage with the broader writing & reading communities. Otherwise, I personally don’t think it’s worth the trouble to simply go through the motions. For nonfiction, however, selling books is often platform-driven, and that frequently means an author will have some sort of presence online. I still don’t consider it a strict requirement, but it can be a big help to bring your publisher a built-in audience.

Scribe: If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

AD: Getting published rarely happens quickly or without roadblocks. It often requires years and years of practice to hone your writing skills, and countless rejections before something gets picked up. Your first book — or even second or third — may not be the one to make it across the line with an agent or editor. And even if you never see a word of your writing in print, there is still value in your work if you truly love and take pleasure from writing.

Scribe: Tell us about a project you took on because there was something special or unique about it, even though it wasn’t like projects you usually take on; or tell us about an exciting or proud moment in your career as an agent.

AD: I recently signed up a graphic middle grade series that has been a bestseller in Spain. I represent children’s books only selectively — and I don’t normally sign up untranslated books in languages I don’t speak! — but this series was too clever and fun to pass up.

Scribe: Are there any recent or upcoming releases that you’d like to highlight, to give readers a better sense of what you’re currently looking for?

AD: I’m looking forward to a debut novel called Fingerprints of Previous Owners by Rebecca Entel, which is coming out from Unnamed Press in June. The novel is timely, it takes place in an unique setting, and the voice and plot are original. I’d love more submissions like this.

Thanks, Allison!

Click here and here to read our 2017 A&E Conference agent & editor bios.

Click here for more information on the 2017 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 30-July 2) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.

Meet the A&E Conference Faculty: Mark Falkin

“I really enjoy forming a relationship with authors so that we can talk about books and writers openly and with passion.”

-Mark Falkin

Every year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings a faculty of close to thirty agents, editors, and other industry professionals to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 24th Annual A&E Conference, taking place June 30 – July 2, 2017, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.

An Interview with Mark Falkin

Mark Falkin has represented authors for three years, but has practiced entertainment and intellectual property law for 17 years, representing hundreds of artists (a platinum seller and Grammy® winners among them), entrepreneurs, and businesses. He is licensed in Texas and is based in Austin. Mark is also an author. He’s completed three novels (and a chapbook of poems). One, literary, is long, self-published, and well-reviewed (Days of Grace). Another, an upmarket supernatural thriller, garnered an agent at a venerable NYC agency (Howard Morhaim). The most recent is a dystopian suspense tale called Contract City, published by longstanding Baltimore indie publisher Bancroft Press, and which is currently in screen development with a studio in Los Angeles.

mark-falkinScribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?

Mark Falkin: I’m a writer, so I tend to approach my clients as fellow writers first, “clients” second. I really enjoy forming a relationship with authors so that we can talk about books and writers openly and with passion. I try to be an open book and timely in responding to questions. While I do look for manuscripts to be in really good shape as they are, I do like getting my hands on the work itself, making suggestions, and editing.

Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?

MF: As far as the work goes, a debut author’s work needs to stand up and sing just as a veteran’s. The marketplace doesn’t, and reader’s don’t much care, if the book is a debut as much as they care if it’s any good. I can’t say that I look for or expect anything more or less from a debut writer compared to an experienced one. That said, debut manuscripts that exhibit an uncanny sense of control and great pacing from the start will get me to sit up and pay extra attention. I suppose another way to say this is that I look for writerly confidence and a unique narrative voice.

Scribe: Do you think social media presence is critical for a successful writing career?

MF: I really don’t. It helps, particularly if you’re writing young adult and romance, but critical? No. What’s critical is whether I can put the book down or not.

I believe the internet and social media are great tools but a huge distraction. Writing is hard and takes energy. The time one spends on social media and blogging is time and energy you could and should be spending on your core work. I don’t care that a writer lacks social media presence, feeling that writers ought to, you know, write, and create meaningful, toothsome composition; rather than tweet, Facebook, blog, text, play around with technology. I realize I am very much in the minority.

Scribe: If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

MF: Write like it’s work. Write on the days you really don’t feel like writing. Repeat.

Scribe: Tell us about a project you took on because there was something special or unique about it, even though it wasn’t like projects you usually take on; or tell us about an exciting or proud moment in your career as an agent.

MF: I represent a lesbian romance novel. I specifically do not call for romance novels. The genre simply is not on my manuscript wish list. However, from the strong title and the opening passages, I felt like it was something I wanted to work with. It went on to sell really well in the genre. Another proud moment was selling a debut literary manuscript on its third round of submissions to one of the country’s great independent publishers, written by a person in circa midlife.

Scribe: Are there any recent or upcoming releases that you’d like to highlight, to give readers a better sense of what you’re currently looking for?

MF: Client Louisa Luna has a, what I believe to be certainly an upmarket, if not literary, thriller coming out with Doubleday in early 2018 entitled Two Girls Down. I tend to like dark, taut books with high stakes written in elevated prose. Louisa’s is a good example of that. I love funny stories, and boy are they rare. Those are hard to execute. If you can maintain a comedy for 75,000 words, I’d offer to represent it, no doubt. I’ve said this at other conferences and I’ll said it again here: I’d love to see a horror novel like we’ve not seen before, one that relies on tone and creep more than set pieces; something so simple in concept that we smack our foreheads for not seeing it before, yet so original and well-written that it actually changes the genre. A high bar, I know.

Thanks, Mark!

Click here and here to read our 2017 A&E Conference agent & editor bios.

Click here for more information on the 2017 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 30-July 2) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.

Meet the A&E Conference Faculty: Sara Crowe

“Publishing is waiting. Always be writing!”

-Sara Crowe

Every year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings a faculty of close to thirty agents, editors, and other industry professionals to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 24th Annual A&E Conference, taking place June 30–July 2, 2017, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.

An Interview with Sara Crowe

Sara Crowe is a senior agent at Pippin Properties. She began her career at The Wylie Agency and worked in foreign rights for 8 years. For the last decade she has been at Harvey Kilinger, Inc. building a list of children’s and adult fiction including many New York Times-bestselling and award-winning authors and titles. She loves finding new talent to champion, and nurturing and developing careers.

sara-croweScribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?

Sara Crowe: I have a different relationship with each of my clients, but I strive for open communication with all and for mutual trust and respect.

Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?

SC: When I take on a new client, it is always because I fell in love with the writing and the story. I am looking for stories that feel new to me and different than what I already have on my list—writing that I cannot put down and that stays with me.

Scribe: Do you think social media presence is critical for a successful writing career?

SC: I do not. I think some participation is good, more so for YA than MG, but I also think that if it is not a strength, then less is more–promote others, and be a part of the community.

Scribe: If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

SC: Publishing is waiting. Always be writing! And that goes for when you are sold and waiting on edits or publication.

Scribe: Tell us about a project you took on because there was something special or unique about it, even though it wasn’t like projects you usually take on; or tell us about an exciting or proud moment in your career as an agent.

SC: Every sale is exciting, and I love being able to give an author good news. It’s especially exciting to deliver that news to a debut author. All authors like good news; agents, too. But, most authors do not have an easy road to success–there are many bumps! I am most proud of the times that my clients were able to overcome an obstacle–a book that did not work, an editor leaving, etc., and kept writing so that we could restart their career.

Scribe: Are there any recent or upcoming releases that you’d like to highlight, to give readers a better sense of what you’re currently looking for?

SC: I will focus on a few titles out now and coming very soon:

Nina LaCour’s latest, We are Okay, which has received five starred reviews, is her strongest book to date and unforgettable – it is her favorite that she has written. It is about heartbreak and love and is devastating and beautiful.

Kim Savage’s second YA thriller Beautiful Broken Girls is a gorgeous story about two sisters and the secrets they kept for each other, told from the point of view of a boy who loved one of them.

The second book in Dan Wells’ Mirador series, Ones and Zeroes, is described by Dan as “a cyberpunk sports movie heist novel about awesome ladybros playing video games.” I totally agree.

And, Erin Entrada Kelly’s Hello Universe, her third middle grade and which has four starred reviews so far, is about friendship, bravery, being an outsider, and inner strength.

Thanks, Sara!

Click here and here to read our 2017 A&E Conference agent & editor bios.

Click here for more information on the 2017 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 30-July 2) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.

Meet the A&E Conference Faculty: Dan Kirschen

“In general, my favorite thing is putting the right two people in a room together.”

-Dan Kirschen

Every year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings a faculty of close to thirty agents, editors, and other industry professionals to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 24th Annual A&E Conference, taking place June 30–July 2, 2017, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.

An Interview with Dan Kirschen

Dan Kirschen began his career at ICM Partners in 2010 and has been there since, focusing on literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, current events, and pop culture (music and comedy in particular). He is a graduate of William & Mary, with a degree summa cum laude in philosphy. In his nocturnal life he plays the drums in a band.

Daniel Kirschen posed at the New York ICM Offices on October 29, 2014 in New York City.Scribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?

Dan Kirschen: With regards to the work, I’m as hands-on or hands-off as is required/preferred by the author. In general, my favorite thing is putting the right two people in a room together.

Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?

DK: Of course the work itself is the most important thing, so if the writing grabs me and won’t let go, that’s enough. But naturally I prefer to work with good and likable people. Likewise, with big personalities and extremely hardworking, driven writers.

Scribe: Do you think social media presence is critical for a successful writing career?

DK: Completely depends on the author and book, but generally speaking, no, I don’t think it’s critical.

Scribe: If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

DK: Many come to mind, but I think above all is: Be confident. Almost all instances of self-deprecation, particularly in a query letter, are a turn off.

Scribe: Tell us about a project you took on because there was something special or unique about it, even though it wasn’t like projects you usually take on; or tell us about an exciting or proud moment in your career as an agent.

DK: Getting my first client a very high profile writing gig, and watching as his career changed overnight.

Scribe: Are there any recent publications you’d like to highlight as representative of the kinds of works you’re looking to take on?

DK: Playing Dead by Elizabeth Greenwood and Commonwealth by Ann Patchett.

Thanks, Dan!

Click here and here to read our 2017 A&E Conference agent & editor bios.

Click here for more information on the 2017 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 30-July 2) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.

Meet the A&E Conference Faculty: Annie Hwang

“I don’t see myself as their agent for ‘this’ book or ‘that’ book, but for the entirety of their writing career.”

-Annie Hwang

Every year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings a faculty of close to thirty agents, editors, and other industry professionals to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 24th Annual A&E Conference, taking place June 30–July 2, 2017, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.

An Interview with Annie Hwang

Annie Hwang is an agent at Folio Literary Management where she represents a range of fiction for adults and select nonfiction projects. She gravitates towards literary fiction with commercial appeal, and is particularly drawn to braided narratives and layered plots, especially when populated by complex characters with deep emotional resonance. Commercially, she’s looking for both sweeping historical fiction and visceral literary thrillers that depart from the norm of the genre. The most important thing to her, beyond concept or pitch, is breathtaking storytelling that stretches its genre to new heights. A California native, Annie worked in journalism before joining the publishing world, where she digs for stories that keep her reading late into the night and stay with her long after she puts them down.

Scribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?

Annie Hwang: I’m an editorially rigorous agent, so expect to work, and to be challenged to do your best work. When I decide to represent a client, it’s with a deep sense of responsibility and a passion for their voice, their work, and their career as an author. I don’t see myself as their agent for “this” book or “that” book, but for the entirety of their writing career. I want to know where they want to be in the next year, in five years, in ten years, and beyond; and, ultimately, help them lay out a path that will allow them to accomplish those goals. I’m also a proponent of regular, open communication and I expect the same of my clients to ensure that we’re on the same page every step of the way.

Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?

AH: Any great relationship starts with honesty and communication. Trying to bring a book into the world is hard enough already — if we’re not on the same page, we’re not going to get very far. Beyond that: I am on the hunt for authors who are able to roll with the punches and revise based off of feedback. I look for someone who can and wants to carry more than one book. Because, at the end of the day (to borrow a phrase from the tech world), I invest in people, not (just) products. I want to develop deep, meaningful relationships with authors that go far beyond their debut.

Scribe: Do you think social media presence is critical for a successful writing career?

AH: It really depends on the kind of book we’re talking about. For prescriptive nonfiction, most definitely. For literary fiction, less so. It’s probably more important to have meaningful connections to notable people in the literary world (but, of course, having a presence on social media never hurts). Ultimately, what’s critical is being present where your audience is.

Scribe: If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

AH: Just because it’s good doesn’t mean that other people will want it, so take ownership of your book, be confident in your abilities, but also be open to thinking critically about your book and the kind of guidance that comes your way.

Scribe: Tell us about a project you took on because there was something special or unique about it, even though it wasn’t like projects you usually take on; or tell us about an exciting or proud moment in your career as an agent.

AH: One of the most exciting moments in my career was holding in my hands the very book I’d plucked out of the slush pile. I was an assistant at the time, so seeing my name in the acknowledgements meant the world to me — it still does.

Scribe: You emphasize “gifted storytelling” on your website; can you elaborate on this a little more for our readers?

AH: I’m really looking for the kind of writing that can make me forget the world around me and completely immerse me into the one that the author has created on the page, whether it be a subculture I’ve never experienced or a place I’ve never been or even turning that which I find familiar on its head.

Thanks, Annie!

Click here and here to read our 2017 A&E Conference agent & editor bios.

Click here for more information on the 2017 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 30-July 2) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.

 

Meet the A&E Conference Faculty: Dan Smetanka

“Seek out forms of engagement that you enjoy and feel comfortable with. There are so many now, and it can be a benefit in the often long, lonely slog of becoming a writer.”

-Dan Smetanka

Every year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings a faculty of close to thirty agents, editors, and other industry professionals to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 24th Annual A&E Conference, taking place June 30 – July 2, 2017, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.

An Interview with Dan Smetanka

Dan Smetanka has worked in the publishing industry for over twenty-five years. As an Executive Editor at Ballantine/Random House, Inc., he acquired award-winning books including The Speed of Light by Elizabeth Rosner, Down to the Soundless Sea by Thomas Steinbeck, and Among the Missing by Dan Chaon, a 2001 Finalist for the National Book Award. He is currently Vice President, Executive Editor for Counterpoint Press. He acquires both fiction and nonfiction, and his projects include works by Dana Johnson, Abby Geni, Tod Goldberg, Natashia Deon, and Karen E. Bender, a 2015 Finalist for the National Book Award.

dan-smetanka-newScribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?

Dan Smetanka: Every book is different, and every author needs different things at different times throughout the process. So I don’t think there is just one approach. An editor’s first job is to establish a level of trust with the author; you are for that book the author’s closest reader and confidant. In discussing revisions, no ideas are off the table; it must be a safe zone of collaboration. An editor will be the one to guide the author through the process of revision but also through the entire process of publishing the book, from manuscript to galleys through production, publicity, and marketing. So the job of an editor does not end when the manuscript is finished. The relationship must be strong enough to withstand all aspects of the publishing process.

Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?

DS: Really the same as for any project: an interesting story, well told, in a way I have not seen or thought about before. The magic can come from voice or perspective or language or structure, but it has to be there. There is so much extra work in breaking out a debut author — no awareness of them in the marketplace, or with sales reps, or a history to fall back on — but it is also consistently one of the most exciting aspects of the American publishing scene. Everyone likes to encounter a new and exciting voice. The act of discovery is an impactful and memorable one.

Scribe: Do you think social media presence is critical for a successful writing career?

DS: Yes, it’s important. But I would say this a different way. Any and all forms of engagement are important and necessary. To not have any forms of engagement is a mistake. This is an industry based on relationships and community. So the days when the writer — especially a debut or non-yet-famous writer — can retreat to the fainting couch are long past. Seek out the forms of engagement that you enjoy and feel comfortable with. There are so many now, and it can be a benefit in the often long, lonely slog of becoming a writer.

Scribe: If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

DS: Socially, be polite. Just because you wrote something, do not assume that anyone has any responsibility to you to read it. Editorially, read your pages out loud — to the wall, to the pet, to the plants. You can catch a lot of your own mistakes that way.

Scribe: Are there any recent or upcoming releases that you’d like to highlight, to give readers a better sense of what you’re currently looking for?

DS: I am very proud of the depth and breadth of the Counterpoint list — for both fiction and nonfiction — and for our ability to welcome and publish both new and established voices. A trio of debut novels really connected with readers last year: The Houseguest by Kim Brooks, set just before WWII about the different factions of American Jews and their reactions to the news of atrocities coming out of Europe, that seemed to have direct echoes to the horrible news coming out of Syria; The Lightkeepers by Abby Geni used a nature photographer on the Farralon Island to explore our relationship to the natural world, to memory and loss, and the murky distinctions between animal and human; and Grace by Natashia Deon created a group of outlaw women in the antebellum south to portray the horrors of slavery and the divinity of maternal love. All were very different, all had bold, inventive ideas, all are stunning.

Scribe: In previous interviews, you’ve discussed how the role of the editor has expanded over the years in response to changes and expansions of the industry. How would you recommend debut authors proceed in a market that is in constant flux?

DS: Proceed carefully, of course. Educate yourself on the basics of the industry, since it is one led by idiosyncratic rules. There are ways to approach agents, ways to learn about books, ways to behave on social media as you present yourself as a professional writer. The internet provides a host of information that never was available to me or my ilk coming up in this industry. So while the market is in flux, and very competitive, this is the most knowledgeable generation of writers to exist, ever. Use that. And keep your wits about you.

Thanks, Dan!

Click here and here to read our 2017 A&E Conference agent & editor bios.

Click here for more information on the 2017 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 30-July 2) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.