04 January 2010

Interview with Literary Agent Ethan Ellenberg

A couple of months ago the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency contacted Electric Spec with an open call for submissions. They believe the newest generation of speculative fiction writers currently live and publish on the Internet. After four years of reading slush, we happen to agree.

We decided that bringing agents and writers together fit with our mission at Electric Spec, especially when it means recognition for the efforts of speculative fiction ezines by established industry specialists. We interviewed Mr. Ellenberg for Electric Spec. What follows is two questions from the interview; the rest will appear in our next issue.

Your agency approached us for networking regarding new writers. This is really exciting because we've long viewed Electric Spec and markets like us as a "feeder team" for the pro league of novelists. We think this is especially true in genres like speculative fiction and romance. But we do hear contrary opinions from others in the industry. What's your opinion regarding writers paying their dues and building a reputation with short story sales? How important are pro sales verses mid-rate sales?

I do believe that publishing in small markets, at whatever length, is a wise thing to do. It’s very hard for writers to find their voice or find their best stories and develop them, so anything that increases their craft and exposure is certainly valuable.

I don’t see a big difference between pro sales and mid-range sales. The important thing is to develop what would be that first novel that is sell-able.

Some newer writers tend to build an online presence not through fiction, but through social networking. Do you have any advice regarding these efforts?

I really don’t believe that social networking is that significant. Ultimately, it’s the quality of the writing and having a special project that will get you going. Writers do some marketing these days based on social networking, and downstream that might have some value though it shouldn’t be exaggerated. Authors have to concentrate on their writing, not their marketing skills.

You can check out the rest of the interview in the February issue of Electric Spec. In the meantime, any comments or questions are welcome.


Anonymous said...

Any idea how credit crunch affected porn?

Betsy Dornbusch said...

Heh. No idea at all. All sales are down across the board, though.

lesleylsmith said...

Interesting interview, Betsy! I can't wait to see the rest of it in the upcoming issue. :)

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