The power of the backlist proved persuasive to Norman Mailer ’43, who was in the market for a new agent after his representative, Scott Meredith, died in 1993. Wylie approached Mailer with a spreadsheet: 12 of Mailer’s books had fallen out of print, and his works appeared in 12 languages on average—translating into 144 fallow titles. Say the annual royalties for each approximated $1,000; then their inactivity meant Mailer was sacrificing $144,000 or so per year in royalty income. The careful homework and reasoned argument won Mailer as a long-term client, and the Wylie agency represents Mailer’s literary estate today.

Profile of literary agent Andrew Wylie | Harvard Magazine Jul-Aug 2010

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