Agenting isn’t So Different from Publishing after all

Nov 15, 2013

People often ask us if we’re aspiring writers, or if we ever wanted to be. It always feels like a bit of a shocking question. We understand why people ask: a strong admiration of a craft often leads to a desire to practice it. But our admiration for the work of authors only fuels our desire to support it, to promote it, to champion it. We love to nurture great talent and to play a role in helping our clients achieve their publishing goals. 

Prior to founding Page Two, and prior to becoming agents, we worked “in-house” at publishing companies, in editorial and on the business side. We wondered how it would feel to move to the agency side, where we’d be negotiating with publishers on behalf of authors. It’s still early days for Page Two, but so far we’ve found it to be a smooth transition.

On both sides of the fence, agents and publishers want what’s best for their authors. Both groups strive for excellence in the publishing process as well as the outcome. Both consider themselves to be champions of authors and their books. As agents, we find ourselves to be especially motivated by the following aspects of our work:

1. Sharing knowledge
We never subscribed to the ivory-tower school of publishing, in which only a select few are privy to the industry’s inner workings. We love telling people about what we do and how we do it. And we love to learn from others who work in areas that are less familiar to us. Page Two was founded on the principle of sharing knowledge: we help people navigate the shifting publishing landscape by arming them with the right information and tools they need to make their journey a successful one – whether they’re publishing in traditional or non-traditional ways.

2. Author advocacy
Another cornerstone of our business is author advocacy. In perhaps the same way that a writer is driven by a passion to write and publish, we are driven by a passion to support the work and career of our author-clients. In some cases, we represent their business interests; in others, we’re providing editorial feedback on their work. Often we’re giving recommendations about the specific publishing strategies that will best suit their goals. In every case, we consider ourselves to be advocates.

3. Matchmaking
We find it extremely satisfying to bring good people together, and to match our clients with the publishers and service providers who are best suited to their projects. A good publishing deal is never just about how much money an author can earn for a book; it’s also about setting the scene for great relationships that will lead to great success. For example, matching an author with the right editor at a publishing house sets the stage for a powerful publishing opportunity: that editor will help the author produce the best book possible, and she will become the author’s in-house advocate, championing the book with an enthusiasm that will inspire everyone else at the company who is working on a book. We find that kind of matchmaking irresistible.

We call Page Two a full-service agency because we advocate on behalf of all of our clients, no matter how they intersect with the publishing world. The diversity of our client base allows us to exercise our agency work in a broad capacity. We get to be matchmakers, advocates and sharers of knowledge – in many ways, every day. And it’s a privilege.