“I always advise writers—and try to remind myself—to avoid chasing trends. The journey from writing a book/proposal to submitting to editors to eventual publication takes years. Marketplace attitudes meanwhile are fickle. There’s no guarantee that what’s hot right now will be hot in three or more years. Better to work on projects that you can see yourself being excited about for a long stretch of time.” –Eloy Bleifuss Prados, Janklow & Nesbit Associates
Every year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings 20-25 literary agents and book editors to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 29th Annual A&E Conference, taking place June 24 – 26, 2022, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our visiting agents and editors here.
An Interview with Eloy Bleifuss Prados
After studying journalism, Eloy Bleifuss began his career in publishing as an assistant at Simon & Schuster during which time he worked for the publisher of first S&S and later Touchstone and Scribner. Eloy switched to the agency side in 2019 when he started at Janklow & Nesbit Associates. He is cultivating a growing list of fiction and nonfiction clients. Eloy is drawn to genre-blurring upmarket and literary fiction. He enjoys plainly told stories of regular people navigating relationships and work, along with character-driven speculative fiction set in alternate worlds or futures. For nonfiction, Eloy likes everything from omnivorous cultural criticism and forgotten histories to big ideas books and relatable self-help. Whether it is fiction or nonfiction, he is a fan of writing that is dark, uncanny, funny, or queer. A graduate of Vassar College, he hails from Chicago and now lives in Brooklyn.
Scribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?
Eloy Bleifuss: One of the most important hats I wear as an agent is that of editor. Before we submit to publishers I always want to be certain that we’re going out with the strongest possible final product—even if it takes months and multiple drafts. Besides, I find the editorial work to be one of the most fulfilling aspects of the job. I learn so much from my conversations with my authors.
Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?
EB: I look for a confident voice on the page, a perspective rooted in real-life experience, and a sense of playfulness with language and genre. The writer doesn’t need the longest CV or the most polished craft, rather I’m more interested in an idiosyncratic worldview and sentences that surprise me.
Scribe: What’s one piece of advice you find yourself giving to others time and time again?
EB: I always advise writers—and try to remind myself—to avoid chasing trends. The journey from writing a book/proposal to submitting to editors to eventual publication takes years. Marketplace attitudes meanwhile are fickle. There’s no guarantee that what’s hot right now will be hot in three or more years. Better to work on projects that you can see yourself being excited about for a long stretch of time.
Scribe: What excites you the most about the publishing industry today?
EB: While it’s easy to be down about the current state of publishing, one thing that excites me is the rising generation of publishing professionals who are bringing fresh perspectives and experiences to an industry that is often so set in its old ways.
Scribe: Tell us about a recent book/project that you worked on that excited you and you want everyone to know about?
EB: A book I’m currently helping to shepherd to publication is E.M. Tran’s debut novel DAUGHTERS OF THE NEW YEAR, out in October from Hanover Square Press. Tran has written a beautiful and aching saga about one Vietnamese-American family in New Orleans. The novel begins in the present day and then cycles backwards in time, tracing the relationships between mothers and daughters across decades and continents. There’s also astrology, ghosts, and reality dating TV. What more could you want?
Click here for more information on the 2022 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 24-26) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.