Best of BTB: The “New” Agents

Jason Allen AshlockSteven AxelrodRachelle GardnerRobert GottliebFor the book business in 2014, everything is new – for proof, turn to the news media, which breathlessly covers the breaking stories as if filing dispatches from a war. Self-publishing particularly receives attention, and is often pitched as a David and Goliath tale.

Once the dirty word of the book world, “self-publishing” is transforming – some say, reinvigorating – the book business, mostly by rewriting the relationship rules for authors and publishers. The balance of power has shifted dramatically. So where does this all leave literary agents? What role remains for “authors’ representatives” to manage clients who may one morning strike out on their own? Who are the “new” agents, and what kinds of services are they offering?

At BookExpo America 2014 earlier this year, a panel of agents who have made themselves at home is this new world answered these  and other questions from CCC’s Chris Kenneally, and ponder the implications.

Jason Allen Ashlock manages ambitious and innovative book packaging initiatives for media companies, entrepreneurial authors, brands, start-ups, and organizations of all kinds. He serves as Book Executive at Thought Catalog and Lead Consultant at The Frontier Project, and teaches Digital Publishing at City University of New York, City College. Previously, he co-founded Movable Type Management, a literary management firm that fosters storytelling across platforms, devices, territories, and generations.

Steven Axelrod has been an agent for over 35 years. His present clients include self-published e-book bestsellers Amanda Hocking and Bella Andre, two-time Edgar Award-winning mystery author S.J. Rozan, as well as many top traditionally published women’s fiction authors, including #1 New York Times Bestsellers Christine Feehan, J.R. Ward and Julia Quinn.

Rachelle Gardner represents fiction and nonfiction as an agent with Books & Such Literary Management. She’s passionate about the writing craft and has ghostwritten a dozen books and edited more than 200. She blogs at rachellegardner.com.

Robert Gottlieb is the founder and CEO of the Trident Media Group Agency and is an Author Career Builder, Brand Developer, Passionate Advocate and Innovator. Trident Media Group has earned the rank of the number one literary agency in North America in the number of transactions for Authors based on Publisher’s Marketplace statistics.

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