What are some upcoming trends for the next year?
So many editors are asking for fantasy right now, which makes me happy because I happen to love fantasy. Game of Thrones has definitely brought the genre back into the mainstream on both the children’s and adult sides. Of course, that can change on a dime, but I plan to enjoy this trend while it lasts. Everyone is looking for the next Kristin Cashore and Tamora Pierce. And, of course, the new title to beat is An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir, which I read and really enjoyed.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
I represent YA, women’s fiction, mystery, and adult fantasy, so I feel like I have a healthy mix of things that I’m looking for. My submissions inbox is always interesting! I was a women’s studies major in college, which definitely informs my sensibilities, so while I do love any novel that is really compelling, I tend to lean toward projects that explore the female experience. I’m also passionate about broadening publishing’s worldview, so I am actively looking for diverse voices to add to my client list.
Ultimately, though, I would never take on a project just because it ticks off certain boxes. There are no sure things in publishing, and my job takes a lot of persistence and heart, so if I choose to champion a manuscript, it is always because I believe in it on a very visceral level. I represent each of my clients because I saw something special in them, and I would go to battle for any of their projects.
What’s unique about your corner of the publishing industry?
In addition to being an agent, I act as HSG’s foreign rights manager. Basically, when we are able to retain translation rights for an author, it is my job to pitch that book to agents and editors in other countries. I work with co-agents all around the world to match our authors with publishers in as many countries as possible. I often find myself working to figure out interesting quirks of U.S. tax treaties with other countries, mailing authors copies of the Japanese translations of their books, or meeting with our German co-agents over coffee. It’s a pretty exciting aspect of my job, and I really love how much I learn while doing it.
Anything else you’d like to add?
A mentor of mine likes to say that to be a successful agent you need good taste, ambition, and luck. Just two of those won’t do the trick. I like to think I have the first two, and I also happen to think there are things we can do to give luck a nudge in the right direction. In addition to knowing which editors love horseback riding or used to teach high school, I also never go out with a project that I don’t believe is ready. I love editing client manuscripts, which is good because it goes a long way in lessening the necessity of luck in the process. If a manuscript is undeniable, it will find a home. So far this philosophy is working for me!
Danielle Burby began working at Hannigan Salky Getzler Agency in 2013. She gravitates toward stories with strong voices and particularly enjoys complex female characters, narratives that explore social issues, and coming-of-age stories. She finds it hard to resist gorgeous writing and is a sucker for romantic plotlines that are an element of the narrative but don’t dominate it. Before finding her home at HSG, she interned at Writer’s House; Clarion Books; Faye Bender Literary Agency; Dunow, Carlson & Lerner; and SquareOne Publishers, along with some freelance copy editing for John Wiley & Sons. You can follow her on Twitter at @danielleburby.