When Agents Want You, and Vice Versa

May 2007
by Linda Carlson

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“Because large publishers are increasingly interested

When Agents Want You, and Vice


by Linda Carlson


You don’t have to be a
big-name publisher to have respected literary agents knocking on your door
these days.


Often exasperated by the committee
decision-making, lack of personal attention, and focus on the bottom line that
they find at huge publishing companies, agents are more apt to take a second
look at—and send a manuscript to—publishers that issue as few as five or ten
books a year.


“We have that glorious dream that
we will find the qualities that have somehow faded from most of the major
trade-publishing experiences,” says Jean Naggar, a Manhattan agent with three
decades of experience.


And are publishers like some PMA
members a dream come true for agents? “Indeed, we are finding that smaller publishers
are willing to take more risks,” agrees Sandy Dijkstra, who runs the San
Diego–area Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency, which has sold such bestsellers as The Joy Luck Club
and Stellaluna.
“They invest more passion and more energy in each title they take, giving the
author a greater chance to make a dent in today’s market.”


A specialty publisher may also be
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