What are some upcoming trends?
Talking about trends often feels reductive and not particularly helpful. By the time a trend has been recognized, it’s almost always too late for an author to capitalize on it. And thinking in trends leads to a glut of books that no one wants or needs—just look at how many coloring books there are this year that no one is buying. Though hopefully not a trend, we’re pleased to see publishers addressing the lack of diversity in the books they publish by seeking out work not just about under-represented groups, but written by under-represented authors.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
As an agency, we represent an amazing variety of authors and genres. We’re particularly on the lookout for women’s commercial fiction, serious narrative nonfiction (especially in the areas of popular science, history and culture), thrillers, and historical fiction (from picture books to YA and through adult). And anything light, funny, or escapist as an antidote to all the negativity and darkness that has characterized 2016.
How are you working with self-published writers?
Our agency was working with self-published authors very early on, initially helping them sell subrights to their self-published books, then representing them for major deals when traditional publishers came calling. Many of those clients—most of whom write category fiction—are now “hybrid” authors, both self-published and traditionally published, and we work with our authors to make those strategic decisions. As with all of our clients, our role is to advise them on how best to achieve their goals.
What don’t you ever want to see again?
Memoir, much as we all like it, is something that has become increasingly difficult unless the author has huge social media numbers or is a big personality (or, of course, the writing is absolutely transcendent). YA dystopian has run its course, possibly several times over. Paranormal is not gaining much traction these days. But trends come and go, and these categories will cycle back into popularity.
What is unique about your corner of the industry?
As agents, we’re in the unique position of shepherding authors through all stages of a book’s life, from inception to publication, and we’re also there for every stage of an author’s career. Editors and publishers often come and go, but the agent-author relationship is one that can last through an author’s entire career. We help our clients weather all the storms of publishing, and in doing so, we adapt what we do to address the changing nature of the business. Every day brings new challenges and new triumphs. What’s unique to our agency is that we consider everything seriously, including unsolicited materials. We spend lots of time working with each client individually to grow their careers as authors and we take great pride in their accomplishments.
Anything else you’d like to add?
We have a great group of agents who are all looking for exciting new authors. If you’d like to find out more, please visit us at www.dystel.com.
Miriam Goderich and Jane Dystel have been partners since 1995 and they work closely as an agenting team to generate book ideas, help create book proposals, place projects with publishing companies, and negotiate all contracts pertaining to publishing and subsidiary rights. In addition, Miriam is an editor who has been responsible for discovering and working on a number of first novels. She is also very involved in developing nonfiction projects and taking them from the conceptual stage to publication. Miriam’s areas of interest include: literary and commercial fiction as well as some genre fiction, narrative nonfiction, pop culture, psychology, history, science, art, business books, and biography/memoir. Miriam received a B.A. in comparative literature and an M.A. in English from Columbia University. She was born in Cuba and, prior to settling in the New York area, lived in Spain and Miami. Currently, she resides just outside the New York City with her husband and son, a dog, and a parrot.