But in yesterday's Publisher's Lunch, there was this announcement:
San Francisco-based Curtis Brown agent Nathan Bransford announced via his popular writers blog on Friday that he is leaving agenting to work for CNet, where he will help coordinate social media strategy. He says the blog and its forums will continue.
What I find so fascinating is that over the past few years we've seen a lot of Children's book editors move to become Children's book agents. (I won't even attempt a list, but I can think of five off the top of my head.) A lot of incredibly talented, brilliant, and successful editors were let go by their publishing houses and a number of those former editors thought that the best way they could follow their passions to help shape the stories kids and teens read would be to stay working with authors on shaping their stories, only from the literary agency side of things.
And it does seem that as editorial staffs have gotten smaller, editors have less time to work with an author to get the manuscript ready - and that an increasing number of literary agents are "editorial," working with their writing clients to get the manuscripts in top shape before submitting them to editors. So there's been a flow from editor to editorial agent.
Now, with Nathan Bransford leaving literary agenting for a professional social media gig, I'm wondering if this is the beginning of a new shift in the current. Are there now too many literary agents (which of course brings up the question, were there too many editors?) Or is it just that genuine expertise in social media is pretty rare, and Nathan has an incredibly marketable skill set?
After all, Nathan is the second blog- and media-savvy literary agent I know of who has moved from agenting to a social media gig. (Colleen Lindsay is the other former children's literary agent - and she's now working as part of the business development team at Penguin.)
So here's a few questions for my Children's Content Creator peeps - what do you think? Is this a new trend, or just a natural cherry-picking of talented people with social media skills?
Is the job of literary agent going to become as fluid (and musical-chair like) as the job of editor seems to be?
And is there a tension between the idea of a writer trying to find an agent that represents them not just for a book but for their career - and literary agents having careers themselves that might take them away from being agents?
It's a fascinating time in the world of creating content for Children and Teens!
Namaste, and do let me know your thoughts...