Literary Scout

Literary Scout


New York, NY

Female, 0

Literary scouts work with foreign publishers to help determine which American books they should acquire. We spend our days (and nights!) reading manuscripts, writing reports, meeting with agents and publishers, and speaking with clients to keep them apprised of developments. Scouts don’t make much money, but the perks and fun help make up for that.

SubscribeGet emails when new questions are answered. Ask Me Anything!Show Bio +


Ask me anything!

Submit Your Question

31 Questions


Last Answer on April 11, 2013

Best Rated

Why is teen fiction - hunger games, twilight, harry potter - so popular all of a sudden?

Asked by mrx about 7 years ago

Publishing houses tend to pay giant advances for the next "it" adult fiction novel these days. As a result they are very careful about what they purchase. Things tend to be safe and follow pretty specific formulas. There's more room for creativity in Young Adult writing and so that's one possible reason there's such an influx of attention to these series. The other possibility is that American adults aren't super smart and are overwhelmed by real literature. I don't mean there's anything wrong with reading YA stuff as part of a mix of books. The issue is when the books that make millions of dollars are primarily YA rather than adult novels.

Who do literary scouts work for? (e.g. publishers, talent agencies, film companies?)

Asked by Mari55a over 7 years ago

Scouts work for foreign publishing houses, but can also work for film companies to assist them in deciding what books might do well as movies.

Can a novelist achieve success through self-publishing, or is a traditional publisher required to really make things happen?

Asked by Mark over 7 years ago

There is the very rare story of a breakout self-publishing hit like The Shack, but it’s atypical. There are so many self-published books out there that it is almost pointless to spend time trying to weed out the good from the bad. This is why we really only work with agents and publishers. For example, scouts started reading The Shack only after it had been acquired by a large publishing house.

Was there ever a book you were REALLY pushing for with your publisher, but the publisher passed on it, and then it went on to become a huge success? (What book was it?)

Asked by Tonja over 7 years ago

The one book that comes immediately to mind is The Shack. It's a super Christian book that sold tons and tons of copies. Few clients bought it because the subject matter didn't appeal to them.

Do you have to run checks for plagarism on manuscripts you review?

Asked by SaltairLA over 7 years ago

Nope. That's the responsibility of the American publishers working directly with the authors.

What recent best-sellers do you think are TOTALLY overrated??

Asked by Tried and Trudy over 7 years ago

I have to say that I really, really disliked Sarah's Key. The Tiger's Wife was pretty good, but didn't blow me away. A Visit from the Goon Squad was terrific, but the last few chapters really disappointed.

Where do scouts look for new material?

Asked by rossina over 7 years ago

We get all of our manuscripts from agents and publishers. Scouts do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Unless it’s definitely being printed in the US, it is not part of our scope.