Abigail Bergstrom, publishing manager at Gleam Futures, tells us about her role representing the books of digital-first talent.
What does your role involve?
The role is much like that of a traditional literary agent: it involves working closely with talent on book-related projects and representing their literary activities. We represent the books of digital-first talent and I help to develop their ideas and pull together a proposal to submit to publishers. A big part of the role is analysing the market to identify trends and opportunities.
How closely do you work with publishers on the content and release of a title?
Very closely. In my experience, the most successful publications are those borne out of collaboration, but more than that I’m there to make the process as smooth and efficient as possible. The business of social media is very different to the business of publishing; both are often aiming for the same outcome, but they might approach things in different ways. I see my role as acting as a bridge between the two in order to facilitate a positive, successful publishing experience for our talent.
What have your successful projects done so well?
Louise Pentland’s books are some of my most successful projects. I’ve had the unique experience of both publishing her as an editor and representing her as an agent. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing both. The brilliant success of her non-fiction paved the way for her fiction series, and it’s been amazing to go on that journey with her. There are a lot of deals that haven’t been announced yet, but I think this is going to be another fantastic year of publishing for Gleam Futures’ talent.
Why are publishing deals important to Gleam?
We represent content creators and a book is another medium through which to share content. Publishing helps our talent build relationships with their audience offline, it’s a way for them to diversify their content and connect with their followers in a tangible way. I think our publishing is important because our talent’s content can span the market, from kids’ picture books to graphic novels and from commercial women’s fiction to cookery.
What would you say to people who criticise YouTubers getting book deals?
I’d quote Alvin Toffler: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”