Pitching and selling book projects to editors over lunch in Manhattan dining clubs. If that’s your picture of a literary agent’s life, it’s time for a make-over. A radical make-over, in fact.
Literary agents have long occupied a place on the edge of publishing; essential – somehow – yet rarely visible and only vaguely defined. Still thinking about literary agents in terms fixed by Hollywood in its golden age? You’re forgiven. For a sharp picture of a 21-st century literary agent, CCC’s Chris Kenneally turned to a digital-first advocate of what he calls, “radical mediating.”
The co-founder and President of Movable Type Management, Jason Allen Ashlock says he feels, “the earth beneath our feet is shifting in publishing. Everyone’s roles are being redefined and that easy, linear nature of the publishing value chain – that moved a book from author to publisher to wholesaler to distributor to retailer and then finally to the end user, the consumer – that path is gone now.”
According to Ashlock, Movable Type is a literary management firm that fosters storytelling across platforms, devices, territories and generations. Ashlock develops new books and digital properties with the company’s authors and media clients, and oversees new initiatives such as Movable Type Lab and The Rogue Reader, an online bookseller for suspense fiction. Jason sits on the advisory board of a number of technology start-ups in the publishing space, and teaches digital publishing at City University of New York, City College.