Literary Agent: We’re in the Artist Management Business

As the publishing landscape shifts, so too is the business of being a literary agent changing.

Authors today have more power than ever before and more options than ever before, leaving some to question why they need agents and, when they have them, what agents can do for them.

In a nod toward the latter, Scott Hoffman, founder of Folio Literary Management, a New York-based literary agency, said, “We don’t look at ourselves as in the book business any more. We’re in the artist management business.”

Hoffman made his comment at the Publishers Launch book conference at Book Expo America in New York.

The ebook era has made book rights a more complex matter; further, online connectivity has made the world a smaller and more accessible place for authors and their works, bringing fresh rights and licensing problems for agents to solve; and, last and not least, technology has precipitated a whole new world of options for monetizing author intellectual property, including apps and transmedia. It all adds up to a new philosophy in agenting that goes beyond getting book deals.

According to a new study, released for pre-order today, hybrid authors — those who have published with a traditional publisher as well as self-published — answer a series of questions about agents, including whether they think agents are useful in their self-publishing businesses and if they have acquired the skills necessary to add value in the ebook era.



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