Literary Agent Joelle Delbourgo on How Publishers Decide What to Pay Authors

Literary Agent Joelle Delbourgo

Literary Agent Joelle Delbourgo

Joelle Delbourgo worked in the executive suites of major publishers before she started Joelle Delbourgo Associates, her own literary agency. Her last in-house job was with HarperCollins.

I’m not sure the skills that make you a good editor-in-chief are the same as those that make you a great literary agent, but unlike most, Delbourgo has managed the transition successfully. Her agency has grown to three people and just celebrated its tenth anniversary.

The authors she represents are extremely lucky to have her. She is incredibly articulate and passionate—not just about the books she represents, but about the publishing industry in general.

Joelle is interested in non-fiction offering groundbreaking new ideas, and research based books that shed new perspectives on issues.

If you want to impress her, here’s what it takes: “I’m really looking for originality, I’m looking for things that are distinctive, I’m looking for people who really created a platform over a long period of time or just absolutely beautiful writing that grabs you from the first page.”

If you’re an expert and/or leader in psychology, business, health, medicine, women’s issues, philosophy, science, or history, she’d be a good agent to approach.

She’s also seeking literary fiction and commercial fiction including women’s fiction, non-category thrillers, and suspense and mysteries.

Joelle is someone, like former Oprah producer Karen Melamed, who is influenced by the visual (http://budurl.com/9567). “When I look at a query letter,” she says, “the way that it looks physically on the page actually influences me to read it or not.”

Delbourgo also let me in on a secret about how book publishers decide how much to pay authors. If you want to find out what it is, click here.

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