What are some upcoming trends for the next year?
I foresee a lot of books on civil unrest and disobedience—books I look forward to buying. Also, diverse voices. I sold a middle-grade novel this summer, The Boy in the Wine Cellar by Katherine Marsh, about an American boy in Brussels who harbors a Syrian refugee in his basement. There was a lot of excitement among publishers about that kind of story, about taking events and experiences that sometimes seem distant and unknowable and bringing them into focus for our readers. I think there is going to be even more need now for characters who show the humanity in perspectives that are vastly different from our own. Most trends are over by the time they’re identifiable as trends, and I’ve always felt it’s kind of useless to try to predict or follow them, especially with the long wait in our business between sale and publication. But I do think that most people who work in publishing are rooting for diverse voices and that we’ll see more of them. We have a long way to go, but I think the current political climate has our colleagues excited to make progress.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
I’ve always wanted to do a book of social reportage like Behind the Beautiful Forevers or Random Family. Not the kind of thing that crosses the transom that often, but I have hope. I’d love to do more compelling narrative nonfiction in general. I also represent fiction that pushes the envelope and gets people thinking, like Marcy Dermansky’s and Chad Kultgen’s books, and I’d like to find more work like that. I was a big admirer of Preparation for the Next Life, and I’d love to find a novel concerned with social justice as powerful and immediate as that one.
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
There’s no topic I never want to see again.
What is unique about your corner of the publishing industry?
The relatively rare thing about my business is that I don’t focus on any one particular area. What I love the most about agenting is the opportunity to follow my interests into different areas and the diversity of the books I get to work on. I represent fiction and narrative nonfiction [authors] on the same list as pre-eminent doctors and experts who are helping people better their lives in a variety of ways. I also love working with children’s-book authors and celebrities who are famous for being actors or athletes or chefs and can share their extraordinary experiences or skills. It always keeps it fresh and interesting, and my versatility gives my clients flexibility as far as following their own visions into different categories of publishing. I represent adult novelists who also write for kids, journalists who also write children’s books, memoirists who also write novels. I’ve also brought on a talented agent to work with me, Rick Pascocello, so I have the freedom and agility of being out on my own, but now with great colleagues to collaborate with—the best of all possible worlds.Alex started Glass Literary Management in 2014 after an 18-year career in book publishing. He has represented fourteen New York Timesbestsellers and numerous other national and international bestsellers. His books have been published in over two dozen languages, and many have been optioned for film and television, including Matt Bondurant’s The Wettest County in the World, which became the feature film Lawless, directed by John Hillcoat; and Chad Kultgen’s Men, Women & Children, which became the feature film of the same name, directed by Jason Reitman. He lives in New York City with his wife, Sarah, a book editor, and their daughters, Gabrielle and