The Andrew Wylie Rules How the literary agent still makes millions off highbrow

Gabrielle David

ANDREW-WYLIE-PHOTO
LAURA BENNETT || NEW REPUBLIC || OCTOBER 2013

Among literary agents, Andrew Wylie is as old school as they come. Dubbed “the Jackal” for his aggressive poaching of other people’s clients, his distaste for commercial fiction and his disdain for social media is legendary. He is the reigning king of the backlist, profiting mainly off classic titles rather than taking risky bets on new ones. His only criterion is enduring quality, and his client list is eye-popping: Amis, Nabokov, Bellow, Rushdie, Roth.

It might seem that Wylie’s single-minded emphasis on highbrow literature would have made him an early casualty of the turmoil in book publishing. Instead, he has thrived—throughout the rise of the mega-bookstores, the emergence of Amazon, and the e-book turf war over digital rights and royalties. In 2010, Wylie launched his own publishing initiative, Odyssey Editions, collaborating with Amazon to release digital editions of major books such as Lolita and Midnight’s Children, bypassing publishers entirely. It was an attempt to pressure publishing houses to offer higher e-royalties to his authors, but after Random House refused to do business with the Wylie Agency, he backed down. >>READ MORE

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Source: Gabrielle David

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