What are some upcoming trends?
I am seeing a lot of book proposals on fake news and the political climate. I have one that I am pitching, and I worry that by the time it is published, people will be sick of reading about what is happening in Washington. It is fascinating to see the collective unconscious at work. We all receive similar queries from many writers within a two-to-four–week span. You know that at least a dozen of them will get published.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
Over the years, my favorite books from my list have been about ordinary people doing extraordinary tasks to make a difference in the world. When [conservationist] Lawrence Anthony’s first manuscript came in, it was rough, and I said no, but then I could not stop thinking about the story. I am glad that I changed my mind. I also enjoy working with health authors who have a hook and a promise. All of my books are meant to inspire and educate the reader. I would like to see more of those.
How are you working with self-published writers?
If an author has created a book that is getting good traction, I am delighted to help them take it to the next level. What I am seeing is a lot of authors writing about their lives. If the story does not move, help, or entertain the reader, it is going to be hard to find an audience. Sometimes the old adage, “write what you know,” does not work out.
What do you want to change about publishing?
It would be nice to not have to worry about Facebook/social media numbers. In my experience, social media sells books for about two weeks and then people are tired of your book being in their face all of the time. I am looking forward to the next great idea on how to market books. With so many books being traditionally and self-published, it has gotten more difficult to stand out.
What is unique about your corner of the industry?
My main focus is on self-help, spirituality, science, and business. Almost every title has to enlighten and educate the reader. Some of my titles are for pure entertainment, and those are great fun, too.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Publishing is a wonderful business to be in. For me, there is nothing more gratifying than discovering a new author and helping them get published. I love every aspect, from reading the query, working with the editors, and marketing the book. This is my dream job.
Lisa Hagan has been a literary agent for over 20 years. She has worked with a varied list of authors that have published a diverse array of books. She continues to build her client list and looks for nonfiction book proposals and manuscripts that have a clear benefit for readers’ lives. Her focus is on the genres of health, spirituality, science, travel, wisdom, and business. She is especially interested in fresh takes on life’s challenges as well as manuscripts on popular culture.