In Kirkus’ Word on the Street series, we talk weekly with editors, agents, booksellers, and librarians—who collectively represent publishing from manuscript to finished product—about their takes on the industry. Here, we ask several editors and agents to talk about their specific roles within publishing.

What’s unique about your corner of the publishing industry?

Erika Imranyi, executive editor, Park Row Books: Park Row Books just launched in the summer, and our first books go on sale in May 2017, starting with an exceptional debut novel, The Original Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig. A big, bold, heartbreaking, and utterly unforgettable novel told from the perspective of a teenage girl with autism, this book perfectly captures what Park Row strives for as an imprint: fresh voices and important stories that have a lasting impact.

Adriann Ranta Zurhellen, agent, Foundry Literary + Media: The gossip. Agents know which editors loved horses as a child, their marital (and extramarital) status, how many kids they have, how they voted, and, obviously, books. We know who edits nonfiction but holds a flame for epic fantasy, who the underbidder was on something similar to a book we have, who ghosts on auction days, etc. It’s creepy, I suppose, but useful!

Miriam Goderich, agent, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret: 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….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….What’s unique to our agency is that we consider everything seriously, including unsolicited materials.

Karen Schechner is the vice president of Kirkus Indie.