Recently, I finished a couple books that I really enjoyed. Their only similarity was that they were both YA novels, and I was reading them.
And then I realized something else they had in common: the authors shared an unexpected connection. Their agent.
I don’t always read the Acknowledgments segment of a novel, but I happened to for Stacey Lee’s Under a Painted Sky and Marie Lu’s The Midnight Star (mostly because I just wanted more of these authors’ words). One of the first people both authors thanked? Kristin Nelson. This is not a name that is unfamiliar to me. I have seen it in acknowledgments before. So I realized something: I don’t think any of the books I have read, in which she is acknowledged, was a book I hated. In fact, I think I really loved all of those books, so much so that I payed attention to the Acknowledgments.
Why hadn’t I made that connection before?!?!
So I went ahead and used my super-advanced librarianing skills: I Googled her.
Looking at her client list, I found other authors I love, authors who have been on my to-read list forever, and a few names that are completely unfamiliar. All of the ones I haven’t yet read have since moved up my TBR, and many books by authors whose books I don’t already have were added to my Buy Soon list. They might not have anything in common in style, genre, or audience, but I do know one thing: K. Nelson and I apparently have very similar reading likes, and I am going to follow her trail.
Agents aren’t the only non-authors to follow in the publishing world that I’ve heard of, either. I know people who follow specific editors, or translators for literature translated into English. There are definitely audiobook narrators that I will follow anywhere, even into a book I never expected I would read. But agents? I totally hadn’t considered it.
Literary agents work in different ways, but many will at least have a website or a subpage on a bigger agency’s website listing their clients. Many are also very well-versed in social media; if you follow one or two that you like on Twitter, you can probably keep up on all the good stuff.
You can also just take the back seat method and wander onto their website every once in awhile to see if they’ve taken on new clients. Then you can pretend to just casually find a new author, who you actually know has been vetted by someone with a similar reading mind to you.
Just know: there are going to be times you just aren’t a fan of what they’re selling; being a literary agent is a job, you know, so personal reading preference isn’t always going to come through. Hell, I don’t even know if the agent I have latched onto is a fan, but she’s got a damn good eye.
Whatever. I’ll take it.