Role of the Agent in a Changing
BY LORI DEVOTI
Industry Guests: Robert Gottlieb (Trident Media Group), Nita Taublib (G P Putman’s Sons),
Donald Maass (Donald Maass Literary Agency), Jennifer Brehl (William Morrow), Jim McCarthy
(Dystel & Goderich Literary Management), Paige Wheeler (Folio Literary Management)
NINC Authors: Jenny Brown, Vella Munn, Shirley Hailstock, Brenda Hiatt
Moderator: Karen King
If you have heard any chatter about the NINCThink Roundtables, it was probably about this roundtable.
Things here were lively and at times heated, to put it politely. While I think the rumors about this roundtable
have taken things a bit past reality, many an audience member’s mouth was hanging open on more than one
occasion at things said and the passion with which those things were expressed.
The roundtable started out innocently enough with the question of what authors are misunderstanding
regarding the e-book revolution.
Many of the industry guests shared that they see agents as a value added and think authors don’t understand
the partnering; that writers would rather be writing and don’t want to be publishers or know how to
explore other rights; that writers see agents as having the business experience, contacts, and understanding
of the changing market that authors need; that agents are able to help authors realize which projects they
should be pursuing and provide them the ability to sell into formats other than digital that will give those
authors the ability to succeed in a changing market.
Another industry guest, however, disagreed with the term “revolution,” stating that there is a feeling
among authors that they are a new nation being born. He said these writers see a democracy of authors in