Blog

27
Jan 2017

I Was Recently Reminded Why I Like Publishers

I ran an exciting auction this summer. The author and I subwayed up and down Manhattan on an only moderately hot day in July and visited eight publishers in ten hours. We met in small offices and in large conference rooms and in corner offices. In... read more
13
Jan 2017

Query Letters That Worked

Before you get started on the first of fifty drafts of your cover letter, I urge you to look at publishers’ catalogues (which are issued about four months before a book is published and are used by sales reps to pitch their company’s titles to... read more
27
Dec 2016

Take a Field Trip and Get To Know Your Types of Reader

Here’s something else that you should do: Take a field trip and get to know your types of reader. One of the things of which I’m mindful is the process by which Barnes & Noble orders the books they then stock onto their shelves. Each book... read more
21
Dec 2016

Why Do Agents Go To Writers’ Conferences?

A few weekends ago I attended New England Crime Bake, a jolly mystery conference filled with talented published writers, attentive newbies and convivial agents and editors. If it turns out I found a new talent there, I’ll be thrilled.... read more
21
Nov 2016

Here’s How I’m Surviving The Post-Election Season

I’m reading Tim Parks’ WHERE I’M READING FROM: The Changing World of Books. It may be the one of the most accessible, lucid books written by a formidable mind that I’ve read. (Phillip Lopate’s essays are high on that list, as... read more
07
Nov 2016

What Makes Me Wary. What Makes Me Happy.

What makes me wary: * When an author looks me in the eye, holds my hand and says, “I really, really want to be a New York bestseller.” *  When an author says, “My last agent just didn’t know anyone in Hollywood and didn’t know how... read more
24
Oct 2016

Writing a Second Novel (or Third or Fourth) is Notoriously Difficult

Second novel, third novel, fourth novel, the process is the same. A client calls and says, “I have an idea, let me share it with you.” Tell me first about the main character in your novel, I prompt. “He’s a very ordinary... read more
10
Oct 2016

Notes from a Practical Agent

There’s a dark shroud that occasionally unfurls to cloak a subdued conversation an author shares with me when his worries weigh heavily on him: "My publisher won’t want another book from me,” the author moans. “I’m out of ideas. I’m... read more
30
Sep 2016

Notes From a Practical Agent

It takes just as much time to write a book proposal as it does to write the book. Is that what you’re saying?   Yes. It is. You may be a journalist, an academic, an essayist or a novelist. You may have published your memoir, published... read more
26
Sep 2016

Why Is It So Difficult To Get A Literary Agent?

Our agency recently had a bad experience with a writer. He posted a vicious blog after we turned down his work. (Apparently 316 other agents had rejected him which you’d think might have made him more philosophical.) Frankly, he was unhinged.... read more