I'VE FREQUENTLY SAID THAT IN THIS turbulent world of publishing, with its tectonic upheavals and head-spinning personnel changes, the only oases of stability are the literary agencies. "We were here yesterday, we're here today, and we'll be here tomorrow," we like to reassure our clients. But some recent developments have authors, editors, and agents wondering whether destabilization is about to rock the agencies as well.
The merger in the mid-eighties of Sterling Lord's agency with a firm of more recent vintage, Peter Matson's Literistics, was the first of these events. Then, the end of 1988 saw the reorganization of Curtis Brown Ltd.'s New York and London offices and the mega-merger of former ICM superstar agent Lynn Nesbit with Mort ...