I’m starting to rethink the whole “literary agents must be in New York” theory.
Yesterday, while I was swerving all over the information superhighway like a kangaroo on magic mushrooms, I came across an agent who I liked the look of. Although their focus seems to be romance, sci-fi/fantasy and children’s books, they also seemed to welcome “literary fiction with a commercial bent” as well as “commercial fiction.” Plus she had a nice smile.
Then I looked up where she is and found, much to my surprise, that she’s in Denver. This is the first agent I’ve come across who didn’t live in New York (and by ‘New York’ I mean any place within a commuter train ride of Manhattan) or Los Angeles. At first I went “Oh. Hmmm.” but then I clicked around her site and found myself on her FAQ page and one of the FAQs she addresses is the fact that she’s in Denver and not New York. She points out that in this age of email and the internet and FedEx Overnight, geography is much less of a factor than it used to be. And she’s quite right. Bob and I could run our Disney collectibles and memorabilia business from the dark side of Kathmandu and it really wouldn’t matter.
A package is a package–who cares where it gets sent from? And all those websites that all of us browse around all day long, do any of us know where they’re really maintained? No, because it does really matter. In this internet age, geography is largely irrelevant…unless of course you really are in Kathmandu and are looking for the bus that takes you to the Vipassana Meditation center in which case it might just be better to go out into the street and ask a real, live person.
At any rate, my point is this woman opened my eyes to the fact that an agent doesn’t HAVE to be in New York in order to be an effective representative of your work. And that is why she’s agent #38.