Sunday, February 8, 2015

Barry Goldblatt: Agents' Panel

Barry Goldblatt is a real piece of work. But one of my most favorite pieces of work! He's an agent at Barry Goldblatt Literary, which is such a strange coincidence—since it's a different Barry Goldblatt that started the company in 2000. That Barry is now in the witness protection program, so we are left with only this Barry, but he's way more fun than that other Barry. Case in point—his fun, good news to share about the last client he signed:

Barry tells us of reading The Carnival at Bray after the Morris committee recognized it, signing Jessie Ann Foley on a Saturday morning, and finding out the following day that it was awarded a Printz Honor.

"You never know how it's going to happen, but we're always looking."

Brenda: Do you help shape career paths? Or just make deals.

BarBar: There's such a wide swath of agent working styles. But much of what we spend our time on is planning out career moves and what the next step is. We talk about what makes the most sense to work on next if they have a lot of ideas. For me as an agent, it's always big picture.

If everything goes right, we're working together for 40 or 50 years.

This is a 24/7 job. It doesn't turn off.

Brenda: A lot of conference talks are about following your bliss and writing what you know, what you want to write. But if people need to pay their heating bill, shouldn't they be concerned with trying to write something marketable?

BarBar: Get a job. This is not something you get into with the intention of supporting your family on. If that's what you're hoping to start out as. This is not an easy place to make a living. Even after you've sold a book, all of you know how many books are on shelves, websites, catalogs, it's a big gamble.

I support this industry at every opportunity, I buy books like a crazy person. But it's still really hard. If you've got a trust fund and don't have kids to worry about, sure, you'll be okay.

Brenda: How do you manage the business of books for an author for the year?

BarBar: It's a constant conversation. Holly Black had a five-year plan form and I've used that with other clients going forward, they fill it out with various goal ideas. It's a good thing to have in my folder, we don't always look at it every year, but we never sit down and go over financial goals or anything like that.

Brenda: How on earth do I stand out from a crowd as an unpublished author?

BarBar: Bottom line, and I know you don't want to hear this again, it's: Make it brilliant.

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