What are some upcoming trends?

If any of us ever had that answer, we’d all be rich! On a serious note, though, in this new and ever changing landscape, it’s so difficult to predict what the next big thing will be. In my experience, popular culture and current events have always informed future bestsellers because many readers are always trying to understand the world around them.

What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?

I am always looking for new voices and fresh concepts in crime fiction and women’s fiction and in the subgenres of cozy mysteries, thrillers, and romance. I am particularly looking for some great nonfiction, especially in the worlds of business, parenting, and women’s issues. 

Please tell me about Agents Round Table and your involvement with the organization. 

The Agents Round Table is a group of literary agents who have banded together to share knowledge and resources in service to their clients. We are not our own agency but rather a collective of agents, each managing our own agencies. We have known each other for a long time now, and we feel that in this new landscape, the best thing we can do for our clients is to pool our experience together to bring success to all of our clients. We all reach out to each other for advice and to share news, insight, and expertise.

What don’t you ever want to see again?

I never say never. 

What is unique about your corner of the industry?

I really feel that agents are in a unique position to serve their clients, since we can become somewhat of a one-stop shop for some authors. I, of course, do the traditional work of a literary agent in reading submissions, pitching editors, selling subsidiary rights, and negotiating contracts, but I also step in on discussions of marketing, copy, titles, and finding the right audience whenever I feel needed. As more of the burden of marketing and publicity is placed on authors, I have become more involved with those sorts of decisions, both on behalf of and in partnership with my clients. The erosion of mass-market books has been particularly daunting in my corner of the industry, but I had anticipated this years ago. Whenever possible, I have guided my clients to be nimble and adapt to this fast-changing industry.

How are you working with self-published writers?

Because we have several clients with backlist titles that have been reverted to them, we launched CMA Digital in late 2015 to get those titles back into readers’ hands. We now also have clients who are publishing frontlist novellas and full-length novels through our program, rather than through traditional publishers, simply because of the ease of getting work out into the world more quickly and driving the marketing and publicity ourselves rather than waiting on various departments. We are always looking to expand our list in that program and plan to expand our client roster even further this year.

Paige Wheeler is the founder of Creative Media Agency and was a founding partner of Folio Literary Management. Through CMA, she manages the intellectual property rights of authors by selling both domestic and foreign rights and co-agenting film and audio rights.