Doesn’t an agent have to be in New York?

bridgeA writer I work with, when he heard I’d be working out of Brooklyn, asked, “Will you still be getting into New York often enough to meet with editors?” And I chuckled in that annoyingly condescending way that makes anyone outside of New York justifiably hate people in New York, and I said, “Oh, sure. I mean, Brooklyn is New York. It’s just not Manhattan.”

Thing is, I didn’t understand that until I actually moved here in 2001. (Yes, I’m a transplant. Which made that chuckle even more annoying.) I’ve never had a strong grasp of geography, and my impressions of New York city had all been formed by movies and Law & Order. (I expected to bump into Jerry Orbach around every corner and hear a loud chun-chung! overhead whenever I “changed scenes.” Sadly, it wasn’t like that.)

But then I came to discover that most of publishing doesn’t even live in New York City. (It’s too expensive, and too noisy, and just too much muchness.) About half of children’s publishing lives in or around Park Slope in Brooklyn (near Propsect Park), and the other half lives in New Jersey. And the third half (because there are so many of us that two halves aren’t nearly enough) are scattered around in Queens, and Long Island, and even—yes—in Manhattan.

Some agencies prize their New York city addresses and ballyhoo it as though it matters, but let me reassure you: It makes no difference. Except maybe that they can get to a lunch ten minutes faster.

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