The Cooke Agency and the McDermid Agency kicked off their first night at the Frankfurt Book Fair with a party celebrating their amalgamation. The newly named CookeMcDermid is co-owned by four partners: Dean Cooke and Sally Harding of the Cooke Agency, and Chris Bucci and Martha Webb of the McDermid Agency.
Webb says, “I think it’s going to be great for our authors. It allows us to have these key partnerships in other markets, and I think it’s going to be great for international sales, and for film and television. It gives us a lot more clout in the marketplace. That’s good for everyone involved.”
All nine agents working for the consolidated company – including McDermid Agency founder Anne McDermid – will continue supporting their current client lists, a roster of more than 300 writers including Deborah Campbell, Michael Crummey, John Irving, Rupi Kaur, Scaachi Koul, Robert Munsch, David Adams Richards, Amy Stuart, Guy Vanderhaeghe, and Sarah Waters. The Cooke Agency International, an independent agency representing foreign rights for a number of publishers and agencies and owned by Cooke agents Ron Eckel and Suzanne Brandreth, is not affected by the amalgamation, and will continue supporting CookeMcDermid’s foreign-rights needs.
Given the already close relationship between the two Toronto companies – the Cooke Agency currently sublets office space to the McDermid Agency – and the ongoing industry trend of consolidating publishers and agencies, Cooke says the news did not come as a surprise to many he spoke to at the fair. “Generally people understand these days, given the publishing environment, that it’s important to have a diverse list,” he says. “It’s a smart business decision to be bigger. We’re extremely proactive in film and television, and now we have someone who specializes in children’s books and YA, and that’s harder to do with a smaller team. We can’t just do business in the old ways anymore. It’s essential to develop expertise in these new markets.”