Algonkian Agent Interviews
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It is our intention with this interview series to deliver valuable and realistic publishing advice to the writer community, and just as importantly, to put a human face on the world of publishing. As you will see below, the best agents possess not only superior market knowledge and business skills, but a true passion for the literary arts.
|On The Literary Coast
Betsy Amster is president of Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises, a literary agency in Los Angeles. Before opening her agency in 1992, she spent ten years as an editor at Pantheon and Vintage and two years as editorial director of the Globe Pequot Press. A frequent instructor in UCLA Extension's Writers Program, Amster also runs publishing workshops at The Loft, the acclaimed literary ... [more]
|Focusing on Franchise Potential
Ken Atchity is a writer, film producer, and literary manager, responsible for launching dozens of films and books. Ken Atchity has produced 28 films, including LIFE OR SOMETHING LIKE IT (Angelina Jolie; Fox), GOSPEL HILL, and HITTING THE BRICKS. Films in development include THREE MEN SEEKING MONSTERS (Universal) and RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT (starring Jim Carrey; Paramount) ... [more]
|Time Enough for Literature
Lisa Bankoff has been a major force on the literary book scene for twenty years as an agent for International Creative Management (ICM), her first four years spent assisting the late, great Jed Mattes. Prior to this she worked for several book publishers that included stints in production ... [more]
|Best In The West
Elise Capron works for the Sandra Dijkstra Agency in California which represents over 100 authors around the world and was proclaimed "the most powerful literary agency on the West Coast" by the LOS ANGELES TIMES. Elise manages agency book sales, handles first serial rights, and works with both unsolicited and solicited project submissions. She specializes in literary fiction, women's fiction, and short stories. [more]
|A View From The Top
Robert Gottlieb started Trident Media Group, LLC, in September, 2000. The organization specializes in all areas of representation in regards to intellectual property. Mr. Gottlieb discovered Tom Clancy and represented the sequel to "Gone With The Wind." Mr. Gottlieb also represents entities such as the Frank Herbert Estate ... [more]
|Poise, Tenacity, and Clancy
Deborah Grosvenor has worked in the book publishing industry for over twenty years, both as an agent and editor. As an editor, she acquired and edited several hundred nonfiction books, although her best-known acquisition was a first work of fiction, THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER by Tom Clancy, when she was director of book acquisitions and subsidiary rights at the Naval Institute Press. [more]
|A Man For All Genres
Jeff Kleinman is a literary agent and attorney with the prestigious east coast agency of Graybill & English in Washington, D.C. His recent sales include THE GROVE to Warner Books for six figures and bonuses, film options pending. Also, Ron McLarty's MEMORY OF RUNNING, was recently sold by Jeff to Viking/Penguin for over $2 million. As an agent, his taste varies widely ...[more]
|Still in His Salad Days
Daniel Lazar is an agent with Writers House Literary Agency, one of the industry's oldest and largest agencies. For over six years, he has been on the lookout for distinct fiction, and lively non-fiction. Daniel represents a broad list: literary and commercial fiction, middle-grade and young adult fiction, narrative nonfiction, parenting, pop culture, and humor ... [more]
|Passion and Class
Ellen Levine began her career with two publishers: New American Library and Harper & Row (now HarperCollins). She then worked at two other agencies before forming the Ellen Levine Literary Agency in 1980. Since then, Ellen has acquired a reputation and a client list second to none in the industry. The authors she represents include Garrison Keillor, Jane Heller, Michael Ondaatje ... [more]
|The First Five and Beyond
Noah Lukeman is President of Lukeman Literary Management Ltd, which he founded in 1996. His clients include multiple winners of the Pulitzer Prize, American Book Award, Pushcart Prize and O. Henry Award, National Book Award finalists, Edgar Award finalists, Pacific Rim finalists, multiple New York Times bestsellers, national journalists, major celebrities, and faculty of universities ranging from Harvard to Stanford. [more]
|Only The Best
Donald Maass is president of the Donald Maass Literary Agency in New York, which he founded in 1980. He represents more than one hundred fiction writers and sells more than one hundred novels per year to top publishers in America and overseas. Recently, he obtained six-and-seven-figure advances from publishers such as Warner, Ballantine, Penguin Putnam and others ... [more]
|A List-Building Star
Maya Rock graduated from Princeton and worked as an assistant to Kathy Anderson and Jill Grinberg at Anderson Grinberg Literary Management before coming to Writers House where she presently assists Al Zuckerman while building her own client list ...[more]
|Looking To Fall In Love
Peter Rubie spent the 1970s and early 1980s as a Fleet Street newspaper reporter, and a TV and radio journalist, first in England and then in the United States. In 1981, he immigrated to America to follow his passion for playing jazz. While living and working in New York City as a professional musician, he was lucky enough to study and play with such musicians as Warne Marsh, George Coleman, Junior Cook, and Jack Wilkins. Peter Rubie's first novel was published in 1988, followed by a second in 1992 ... [more]
|The Voice Needs To Be Alive
Tina Dubois Wexler is actively list building at ICM. Recent sales include the first two books in Susan Runholt's mystery series, THE MYSTERY OF THE THIRD LUCRETIA and RESCUING SENECA CRANE (Viking), and commercial fiction sales including Donna Gephart's AS IF BEING 12 ¾ ISN'T BAD ENOUGH (Delacorte), Robin Friedman's THE GIRLFRIEND PROJECT (Walker), and Sanjay Patel's THE LITTLE BOOK OF HINDU DEITIES (Plume) ...
|Looking For The High Concept
Paige Wheeler is the President of Creative Media Agency and has worked as an agent in both a literary and entertainment capacity over the course of her career. ...[more]
|Wry and Lean Writers Must Apply
Barbara J Zitwer agency specializes in discovering new writers from all over the world. They look for writers with original voices and who have commercial, international appeal, and also for books that have potential to be developed for film and television. Barbara J Zitwer herself specializes in developing books and editing. She has written several books and the play, PAPER DOLL, about Jaqueline Susann, which was produced in regional theaters in the US. She has produced films such as VAMPIRE'S KISS with Nicolas Cage, and was also an Executive Producer on LAZARUS RISING with Columbia Tri-Star and Bernie Sofronski. Currently she is executive producing THE FRIDAY NIGHT KNITTING CLUB that will star Julia Roberts. [more]
Algonkian Novel Workshop in VA -
- A method workshop for writers serious about commercial publication. Plot, voice, pitch and market workshops led by M. Neff, Shannon O'Neill, Mr. Yoon, and R. Bausch.
Algonkian Port Townsend in WA -
- A method workshop for writers serious about commercial publication. Plot, voice, pitch and market workshops led by M. Neff, Andrea Hurst, A. Banerjee, and Melanie B.
It started at Algonkian Park and evolved to "The Fiction Class" by Susan Breen. Going into 2014, Algonkian events have assisted and networked writers into dozens of agent and publishing contracts. More information can be found on our commentary page. |
Interview with Algonkian attendee, author Thierry Sagnier: "I was stuck, hadn't done any serious writing for months, and a friend of mine--also a writer--suggested I attend a workshop to kickstart me. So I looked on the net and found that there were quite a few places that offered what I wanted, but when I researched the Algonkian conference, I recognized the name of a reporter I really respect. He'd been there and was highly complimentary, so that sealed it for me."
WRITERS AND AUTHORS
Interview with Algonkian attendee, Candy Somoza: "The preparation work got us thinking about the book in the store, how it got there, what makes it sell. While we read works and studied the writing, we also focused on the outside, so to speak, the marketing, and that was essential to prepare us."
Interview with Algonkian attendee, Alex Keto: "I've been to handful of other conferences and decided that if you find yourself in a large room with someone almost out of eyesight in the front talking at you, the results are what you would expect: generic advice that doesn't really help."
Interview with Algonkian attendee, author Julie Kaewert: "Because I was changing agents, I knew it was important to learn how to package the MS effectively ... When I saw the Seven Mountains Writers Conference on the website, it looked like just the thing. In fact, it far exceeded my expectations in every way."
Interview with Algonkian attendee, author Kate Gallison: "One way to lengthen your life is to stretch it backwards, and so I read a lot of history. Early movies fascinate me. They were both like and unlike stage plays of the time, borrowing actors and melodramatic plots, but developing entirely new techniques for portraying dramatic action. "