As promised, I am sharing my various writings on the Internet here. This particular discussion is an important one, since—as Jason Low so eloquently puts it—agents are now, more than ever, the "gatekeepers" of the publishing industry. Enjoy, comment, and please share and discuss!
Literary Agents Discuss the Diversity Gap in Publishing
Literary agents make up a big part of the publishing machine. Most
publishers no longer consider unsolicited submissions, so an agent is a
must if you even want to get your foot in the door. Each year, agents
review many promising manuscripts and portfolios so it is safe to say
they have a good sense of who makes up the talent pool of children’s
book publishing. So what kind of diversity are agents seeing? Being that
the number of diverse books has not increased in the last eighteen
years, in order to understand why this problem persists we decided to
ask the gatekeepers.
Adriana DomínguezAdriana Domínguez is an agent at Full Circle Literary, a
boutique literary agency based in San Diego and New York City, offering
a unique full circle approach to literary representation. The agency’s
experience in book publishing includes editorial, marketing, publicity,
legal, and rights, and is used to help build authors one step at a time.
Full Circle works with both veteran and debut writers and artists, and
has a knack for finding and developing new and diverse talent.
Karen GrencikAbigail SamounKaren Grencik and Abigail Samoun own Red Fox
Literary, a boutique agency representing children’s book authors and
illustrators. They offer a dazzling array of talents among their roster
of clients, including New York Times and Time magazine Best Book
winners, and some of the most promising up-and-coming talents working in
the field today. The agency is closed to unsolicited submissions but it
does accept queries from attendees at conferences where they present or
through industry referrals.
Lori NowickiLori Nowicki is founder of Painted Words, a literary agency
that represents illustrators and authors in the children’s publishing
marketplace and beyond. Their goal is to provide the utmost in
representation for illustrators and writers while placing a unique
emphasis on developing characters, books, and licensed properties.
Do you receive many submissions from authors and illustrators of color?
Overall, what percentage of authors and illustrators who submit to you
are people of color? Note: Estimations are fine.
AD/Full Circle: I honestly wouldn’t know about percentages, but our
agency receives a good number of submissions from authors of color.
Proportionally, our agency represents more authors of color than most
others. Authors and illustrators who are familiar with our work and/or
visit our website know that we welcome diverse points of view, and see
that diversity represented in our client list. I will say that I have
personally felt for a very long time that there are simply not enough
illustrators of color in the marketplace, and I am not quite sure why
that is. I am usually very enthusiastic when I receive a query from a
talented author/illustrator of color—I wish we received more of those!
As a general rule, our agency represents illustrators who are also
writers, and such people are difficult to find under any circumstances,
as not everyone is equally good at both.
Click here to read the rest of this important discussion.