Amidst the continued hand-wringing by many on the state of publishing today, I see a sign that says things are looking up. What is this sign? A number of agents are publicizing their needs:
Several agents from the Dystel and Goderich Agency are putting their wish lists on their blog, joining agents Sarah Davies and Julia Churchill from the Greenhouse Literary Agency, Jill Corcoran, and Elana Roth, who have done the same. You may have come across some others.
I find this trend (I am going to call this a trend, indulge me) heartening. For a long time, rightly or wrongly, I had the impression that agents were getting so many queries they were this close *index finger and thumb almost touching each other, eye squinting* to changing their status on AgentQuery to "This agent is no longer accepting unsolicited queries" and before we knew it, there would be no more agents left to query, and we, the unagented, would have to rely on our hairdresser's boyfriend's dry-cleaner who knew the doorman to the building where an editor lived.
When agents, independently from one another, put their wishes out there where they know hungry authors are sure to pounce on, I mean pay heed, and risking their in-boxes--or maybe just the in-boxes of their assistants--overflowing with queries, it tells me they think the market is viable, editors are acquiring, and publishers are, well, publishing. That calls for a jubilant woo-hoo. Care to join me?
Woo-hoo from Flikr Creative Commons by Jeremy 白杰瑞
One other reason this trend brings such warmth to my heart is that it presupposes that this manner of dispensing information works. It speaks to a certain trust between the agents and the authors; it says that we're all in it together. That makes me glad.
It is a business about communications after all.