For most aspiring writers, the dream of writing a book and getting it published only becomes a reality after making considerable number of rounds to various publishing houses. “I always wanted to write a book but didn’t have the contacts to guide me how to go about the process,” says 30-year-old, author of How to become a billionaire by selling Nothing, Aditya Magal.
Magal says, “By chance, I got in touch with someone who introduced himself as a literary or publishing agent.” This agent’s name is Kanishka Gupta, who is the founder of Writer’s Side and claims to be South Asia’s youngest literary agent at the age of 33.
A graduate in business administration, Gupta remained unemployed for five years before making it big in the world of publishing. “I was a typical geek in my college days. But after an accident, I took to writing and a seven months internship with writer-publisher Namita Gokhale changed everything for me,” says Gupta, who today feels proud of every book that he sells to a publishing house.
About the world of literary agents he says, approaching a publisher is not the only way of getting a book published; there are also literary agents and agencies who can help you out. “The concept of literary agencies is fairly common in the West,” says Aanchal Malhotra, who works for Red Ink, a literary agency in the city.
“I studied arts and still dabble in it alongside working for this literary agency,” says 26-year-old Malhotra, who grew up among books since her family owns one of the oldest bookstores in the city. She adds, “I realised there is so much being written about and as an agency, we enjoy working with debutant and young writers. Take for instance Amish Tripathi’s book, which no one wanted to publish until it came out and became a hit.”
Specific literary agents look after specific genres and there are times when agents even pick writers and persuade them to write books – from finding the right publisher to negotiating contracts on the writer’s behalf to managing and planning a writer’s career, a literary agent does it all.
“ It definitely makes the selection process easier for us,” says Milee Ashwarya, editor-in-chief at Penguin Random House India. She adds, “It can also be useful to get an agent sometimes if you are new to publishing and just starting out. Your agent can guide you through the whole process of submitting manuscripts to publishers or getting a book deal.”
So getting a book published is no more a lonesome struggle, aspiring writers now have literary agents to help you find your way.