W&A books new agent

Wills to work closely with TV and film divisions

Writers & Artists Agency is expanding its book operations. The agency has hired Lydia Wills, a lit agent at Artists Agency for the last six years, to represent book clients in New York.

Wills, who reps an eclectic array of fiction and nonfiction authors, including Francesca Lia Block, Daniel Mendelsohn, Aaron McGruder and John Dean, will give Writers & Artists its first footprint in the Gotham publishing arena.

The agency, which was founded in 1971, “has always been bicoastal and always will be,” CEO Norman Aladjem told Daily Variety.

Wills’ appointment, Aladjem said, “serves two purposes for us. It allows us to have more books for which to sell subsidiary rights. It also gives us an opportunity for other clients to have a smoother stream into the book publishing world.”

Only a handful of Hollywood agencies represent publishing clients. ICM and WMA are among the few that retain book agents in New York.

Wills, who was an agent at Janklow & Nesbit for five years and a book scout with Maria Campbell Associates, has long repped lit clients for TV, film and other media. In an unusual deal two years ago, she worked with the creators of the NBC soap opera “Passions” to create the HarperCollins spinoff “Hidden Passions,” which was purportedly written by a series character. The publication process, including a meeting with HarperCollins CEO Jane Friedman, was featured in the show.

Wills said she plans to work closely with the TV and film divisions at Writers & Artists, developing properties to sell in tandem.

Wills’ client list includes James Sanders, Steven Johnson, Hilary Liftin and Paul Elie.

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