What are some upcoming trends for the next year?
One of the best things about book publishing is that it’s full of surprises! Spotting trends is an unpredictable and often arbitrary pursuit. I tend to avoid looking at them because our business looks so far out that current trends are often past trends by the time any sort of relevant book would come out. I instead tend to focus on authors with strong voices (for fiction) or brands in place (for nonfiction) that have the right combination of elements to support a successful book project. These elements include a strong, multifaceted platform, a unique and marketable book concept that is well-executed, and a solid plan for marketing and publicity to help support the book in the marketplace. I was just talking at lunch about the breakout success of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and at a drinks date about the weak sales for Nicholas Carlson’s very well-publicized narrative nonfiction Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!. I think both of these confirm an unpredictable marketplace.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
I am looking for big-thinking nonfiction; compelling narrative nonfiction with strong voices, including memoir and science; contemporary realistic middle-grade and YA fiction; and new books that transcend the category in food. Recent sales include a narrative nonfiction about the inner lives of fish by a behavioral scientist, a new book about metabolism from a bestselling holistic nutritionist, a cookbook and craft book by a well-known blogger, a couple of YA novels —one an adventure fantasy and the other a look at life and friendship through the lens of a girl dying of progeria—a middle-grade novel, and two very different memoirs: one about a woman addicted to sugar and the other about a woman whose disabled twin, institutionalized for over 30 years, went on to become one of the most important fiber artists of the 20th century. You can see the range in categories and author backgrounds.
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
I tend to be willing to consider across multiple categories, and the diversity of my eclectic list reflects that. It’s hard to know what’s going to grab my interest and stick, but when it happens, it’s usually a project I’ll aim to pursue. When I feel the passion to pitch it well and enthusiastically, I know that it’s something I want to represent. So rather than suggesting there’s something I never want to see again, I’d just say that I’m open to almost anything if it’s original, well-done, and highly marketable! I just signed up a YA novel about Bonnie and Clyde, told from Bonnie’s 16 year-old point of view, before she met Clyde. It’s wonderfully atmospheric and original and paints a lovely picture of the back story and real person behind the image, much like Gregory Maguire did with Wicked so brilliantly.
What is unique about your corner of the publishing industry?
Our agency has had continued success in a changing publishing climate because we consistently go above and beyond for our authors. I recently sold a book by a longtime client that I submitted to 50 publishers before I found it a good home. When we weren’t getting the response we were looking for from the YA market, we tried adult editors. I can’t do that for every project, but I am willing to go the extra mile in the right circumstances. Creative thinking and strategic planning are essential to our business model. That kind of commitment and persistence is something I think makes us unique and stand out in a very competitive marketplace.
Stacey Kendall Glick, vice president, joined Dystel & Goderich Literary Management in 1999 after working in film and television development for five years. She grew up just outside of Manhattan and is a former child actress who appeared on television, in theater, and in feature films. She now lives in New Jersey with her husband and four daughters. She has a wide-ranging and eclectic client list and is interested in many subjects, including (but not limited to) narrative nonfiction, including memoir, parenting, cooking and food, psychology, science, health and wellness, lifestyle, current events, pop culture, and select adult contemporary fiction on the adult side, and YA, middle-grade, nonfiction, and picture books on the children’s side. She is a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives and is a council member of the Rutgers University Council on Children’s Literature.