From Bookseller To Agent In Two Easy Steps

January 25th, 2006 · No Comments
by Booksquare

Julie Barer just celebrated her first anniversary as a solo agent after coming to the business the old-fashioned way: she discovered the power of hand-selling books while working in a bookstore. The principles translated to working with publishers.

“At an independent bookstore, people still come in and ask booksellers for recommendations. I did a tremendous amount of hand selling. That’s what made me want to become an agent. I saw that you could really say, ‘I love this book and here’s why I’m passionate about it and go home and read it.’ If they loved it they’d come back and ask for more. There was nothing better than to stand around all day and convince people to read the books that I loved.”

Though she signs some clients based on queries, the primary way to capture her attention is through a client referral. Of course, after you’ve crossed the threshold, you need a great voice and story to be offered a drink from the bottomless pot of coffee. Short stories capture her heart (though still prove to be a tough sale), great fiction makes her happy, and she’s looking to expand her non-fiction list. No genre fiction. Her big suggestion: a professional query letter pitching something she, well, represents.

Vitals: Barer Literary LLC, 156 Fifth Ave, Ste 1134 New York, NY 10010. No email queries.

File Under: Agents