Wells Tower, author of the short-story collection Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, has switched literary agents. Mr. Tower, whom The Observer profiled in March, was previously represented by Heather Schroder of ICM. Today he can be found on the client list of the Andrew Wylie Agency.
Mr. Tower received unanimous praise for Everything Ravaged, his debut collection, which was published this spring by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. Before that, Mr. Tower was known primarily for the long-form narrative journalism he had been doing for The Washington Post Magazine and Harper’s.
It was through one of his Harper’s pieces that Mr. Tower met Ms. Schroder, who represented a few other writers—Matt Power and Tom Bissell—who wrote regularly for the magazine.
Initially, Mr. Tower and Ms. Schroder considered trying to sell a book of journalism—one idea was for Mr. Tower to go down to the Mexican border and write about that—but that plan was quickly scrapped as the author realized his heart was in fiction. Within two weeks of sending out some of Mr. Tower’s stories, Ms. Schroder succeeded in getting her client a two-book deal—for the collection and a forthcoming novel—with Courtney Hodell at FSG.
Mr. Tower is not the first young author to align himself with Mr. Wylie in the wake of an early success. The agent is known for his aggressive techniques and the unsentimental manner with which he calls or writes to authors he admires and explains to them why they’d be better off with his representation.
Mr. Wylie is the third literary agent Mr. Tower has worked with over the course of his career. In an interview with the online journal The Wag’s Revue, he said he first signed on with someone after the publication of his first piece for The Washington Post Magazine. That relationship ended when Mr. Tower gave the agent a few of the short stories he’d written during his first semester in the Columbia M.F.A. program, and the agent—whom Mr. Tower did not name in the interview—declined to send them out.
Ms. Schroder and Mr. Wylie both indicated they had no comment. Mr. Tower did not respond to an email.
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