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18 Feb 2020, 19:37 HRS IST
  • PTI
    • Bookworm
  • Literary agents: Emerging as key ancillary of publishing
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  • "This being the case, publishers have to deal with agents much more frequently than earlier, and because agents usually go in for a bidding process, and offer the manuscript to several publishers simultaneously, we also quite often have to pay a higher advance for a manuscript than we would have, if we really want it," she says.

    For Palimpsest Publishers, which is relatively new on the Indian publishing horizon, submissions inbox remains its primary catchment area.

    "But as our choices get more specific we are increasingly turning to agents to put on our counter what exactly we are looking for. Agents from London and New York are always in conversation with us. They do their research well and send you something keeping your market in mind. We have already picked up a couple of books from their tray," says Palimpsest CEO Bhaskar Roy.

    "Regrettably I have not yet been able to say yes to anything offered by an Indian agent who has always been very supportive. I hope to do that soon," he adds.

    Pan Macmillan says it seeks new talent themselves as well as engages literary agents.

    "It's not a choice or a matter of preference; it depends on the idea, the manuscript, the writer in question," says Pan Macmillan India publisher Diya Kar Hazra.

    According to her, a good agent keeps the author's interest in mind, finds the right home for the book.

    "While it is about getting the best possible deal in terms of the advance offered, it is also about the publisher's vision and ambition for the book," she says.

    Asked about challenges for literary agents, Kapur says, "If it weren't for challenges the joy of surmounting them won't be experienced. We at Siyahi are constantly on the move.

    The challenges are a part of the publishing industry. It's becoming an increasingly genre driven market and we need to be savvy about it."

    According to Gupta, Writer's Side has crossed 170 book deals in 2016 alone with most of these books sold to multinational or mainstream publishers.

    "Even publishing houses with small lists have acquired anywhere between 6-15 books from my agency this year," he says.

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