What are some upcoming trends?
Political books are an immediate trend, as the political environment continues to absorb so much attention. Many smart writers have leveraged their media or government experiences here, to present books that explore our current state of affairs thoughtfully. More pointedly, books that explore race, whether fiction or nonfiction, should continue to gain popularity. It’s encouraging to see books like Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance, and The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead sit on bestseller lists for so long. It means these conversations are happening.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
For nonfiction, I’m looking for a seminal book about how commercial journalism in the last 25 years (i.e., cable news channels all the way up to selective internet news websites) have evolved into the dysfunctional powers they are today. I wish David Carr were alive to write it, but I’m sure there is another brilliant writer that can deliver it. In fiction, I still can get behind a great thriller—as can most publishers. It doesn’t need to be a “Girl…” book—anything with tight plotting and surprising characters is intriguing.
How are you working with self-published writers?
With regard to self-publishing, I believe most writers would benefit from a complete professional publishing approach. However, I look at each project individually, whether previously self-published or original, and offer my best advice on how to gain the widest audience. I currently have one client who initially self-published her book, but we’ve done quite a bit of editing before presenting to publishers.
What don’t you ever want to see again?
I hate to say I don’t want to see anything again, because there will always be a book that breaks tropes and redefines a genre. However, I’m happy not to review male literary fiction—i.e., anything compared to Bret Easton Ellis or Jay McInerney.
What is unique about your corner of the industry?
Our agency is unique because we possess extensive marketing experience that we can leverage for our authors. I was a marketing executive on the publishers’ side of the business for more than 20 years, most recently as vice president, [executive] director of marketing, for Penguin Random House, and worked on thousands of bestsellers in every category. Marketing tactics constantly change, so campaigns that helped sell books even a year ago may not work as effectively today. I keep up with trends in book marketing through contacts in publishing and media and recently helped to organize programming for the Digital Book World 2017 conference this past January in New York, bringing together some of the brightest minds in book marketing today. So Glass Literary Management is especially poised to work with authors to develop strategies on how to reach the most readers.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I would add that every author should consider the audience for their own book. Many writers don’t realize the majority of all books are purchased by women. Of course, certain categories skew differently, but if a writer is insistent on writing a noir crime fiction where the only female characters are victims, he needs to understand he’s going after a very slim audience. This rarely is an issue for women writers, but I usually ask my male clients to make sure they’ve gotten a read from their wife, mother, daughter, or another woman they trust to make sure their book has the potential to reach the largest possible audience.
Rick Pascocello, a literary agent at Glass Literary Management, has spent 25 years marketing books, most recently with Penguin Random House, where he was vice president, executive director of marketing. While there, he was given the rare opportunity to work closely with a wonderfully diverse collection of writers, including some of fiction’s premier authors, such as Harlan Coben, Patricia Cornwell, Ken Follett, Charlaine Harris, Khaled Hosseini, Nora Roberts, Patrick Rothfuss, and J.R. Ward, as well as nonfiction bestsellers, such as Steven Johnson, Jen Lancaster, James McBride, Daniel H. Pink, and Joan Rivers. He brings a vast and diverse range of experience and relationships to his role as a literary agent and continues to leverage his broad, insider knowledge of book publishing and media to advocate for his clients.