Sunday, August 4, 2013

Agent Panel: Mela Bolinao and Jenny Bent

Mela is an artist's rep with her eponymous company, MB Artists.

Changes in publishing world:

"With the consolidation of the Big Six into the Big Five, it's been tough... As illustrators it's gotten so much tougher and at the same time it requires a little bit more introspection on the illustrator's part. You need to give yourself a more signature style or look that makes you stand out among all the illustrators (hundreds!) competing for one picture book."

Digital Age:

In terms of digital age, when publishers require art revisions, traditional artists are at a disadvantage to digital artists in terms of turnaround time for smaller revisions (like changing the facial expression on a donkey, or something).


"In order for me to work with a self-published author I ask a lot of questions about distribution, marketing and publicity. My artists have worked with them, successfully, and it's because these SP authors have established markets and outlets..." and Mela did the research on all of them before agreeing to sign up one of her artists with a self-published author.


Jenny! Is an agent with her eponymous company, The Bent Agency.

Changes in publishing world/Digital Age:

"It is a hard time, the merger was shocking and upsetting, but looking towards other changes—what the digital age means to me, for the first time it means the author is back in control. You can now market your book via social media in ways you never could before. I'm excited about the opportunities available via self-publishing. Look at the deals that came out via Wattpad, for example. I'm looking at this as a moment of huge opportunity for everyone here."


"For my clients with a backlist, I sit them down and ask them what their skill set is. If they are focused, driven, have lots of time to devote to marketing, then the Bent Agency will help facilitate the author with self-publishing. Otherwise we will do other things, like we've sold the backlist to Amazon or Open Road, etc."

Author or Illustrator Marketing: "Creating your brand, especially for your online, social media presence: it should be true, organic, and an extension of the world-building you started in your own book."

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