Someone needs to listen to what authors want, and respond. Someone needs to help them navigate a complex and challenging publishing landscape.
Clare Alexander, Agent, Aitken Alexander Associates, London
Best Fit, The Bookseller Blogs, January 24, 2013
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Do you know the splendid term impresario?
Humor me: say it aloud right now: Em-preh-SAAAAH-ree-o.
You could sing it, an aria in a single word, couldn’t you?
And at the ballet? A danseur noble performs this word in a turning leap, the tour jeté. He ramps up in a springing vault, turning impossibly en l’air—saaaaaah—before landing with spongy precision, retro-hamstrings deployed, somewhere near center stage.
Impresaaaaaario. So Italianate you want another Campari every time someone says it. Thank you for saying it. Cin-cin.
Of whom do you think?
I think of Serge Diaghilev (1872-1929), impresario of the great Ballet Russes. He collaborated with Stravinsky, Debussy, Ravel, Prokofiev, Coco Chanel. He staged Nijinsky, Pavlova, Rambert. He hired Gide, Apollinaire, Cocteau. He worked with Picasso, Braque, Matisse, De Chirico. He slept with some of them. He was tough on a lot of them. He was called “Sergypops” by one of them. He discovered them, cultivated them, trained them, disciplined them, befriended them, presented them, partnered with them, bowed beside them, made them better, made them famous, made them Them.
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing a modern-day impresario, a Brit. You’d know his work. They don’t all sleep with you, you’ll be gratified to learn. Or maybe they just don’t sleep with all of us. Remind me to ask.
Impresario. So much music in the word.
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[pullquote]While corporate publishers become larger, and their search for the latest phenomena encourages many to think only in the short term, then surely more than ever agents should be the ones who promise long-term loyalty to their clients.
Best Fit, The Bookseller Blogs[/pullquote]
Now, of course you know the word agent. Not so musical, maybe. Not so dancerly, either. As words go, it thuds on touchdown, a matinee understudy who needs more time at the barre.
Cin-cin. Oh. Sorry.
But in our digital recitativo—the story told by this chattering village of busybodies who make up publishing’s opera chorus (“the industry! the industry!”)—this stock character, the agent, is morphing in the most interesting way.
Morphing into? A manager. [Read more…]