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Literary Agents Roundtable Interview with The Hollywood Reporter – Thanks to Dale Eldon for turning me on to this 1-hour interview a while back with Jodi Reamer (Writers House), Kim Witherspoon (Inkwell Management), Robert Gottlieb (Trident Media), Sloan Harris (ICM), Eric Simonoff (WME), and Christy Fletcher (Fletcher & Company). I’ve participated in many literary agent panel discussions like this, but I’ve never gotten one on video. So I thought you might appreciate seeing this one. It features some of the top literary agents in the industry today.

Scroll below to watch now…

Also, if you want to learn more about these literary agents or find out how to submit your work to them, click here to enter my Directory of Literary Agents. It is the world’s most comprehensive (and accurate) literary agent directory, and it’s free to access.

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Literary Agents Interview
The Hollywood Reporter

Some of the things you’ll discover:

  • What’s the best, or most memorable, opening line from a query or proposal you’ve ever read… that you said, “I know this is a book I want to sign?” What about the worst opening line you’ve ever seen in query or proposal?
  • What is the current state of the film and television adaptation world… the way Hollywood handles books? How much control do authors have over decisions like casting and adaptation when it comes to film or television adaptation? Should an author be personally involved with writing the screenplay or script for their book? What is the best strategy for timing the submission and/or sale of film or television rights for a book to Hollywood?
  • Is television more attractive now to authors than it was a few years ago with HBO, Showtime, and Netflix, etc., investing a lot of money? Is there more opportunity now in television or feature film? How is Hollywood changing due to shifts in the economy? Why are more books than ever (including nonfiction) being adapted for television and feature film? How much does having a television or film deal before shopping a book to publishers impact the potential for a sale?
  • What are the trends with young adult fiction, paranormal fiction, dystopia, and erotic fiction (like 50 Shades of Grey)? Are they past their peak? What is the new hot genre? Should agents and authors follow trends? What makes a good memoir? Who is well-known that hasn’t yet written a memoir, that should? Are there lines you’re not interested in crossing when it comes to who and/or what you represent? For example, would you have represented Casey Anthony?
  • What do you feel are the best outlets for promoting books? How important are Facebook, Twitter, and the blogosphere? Do authors have to Tweet or blog? Can it help get bigger deals? What is the best way to tap into an audience and grow? How important is it for authors to have a relationship with their fans?
  • What’s the most exciting thing about how the publishing business has evolved? Where are you finding new talent? How is Amazon and self-publishing changing publishing? Is there a new and growing marketing for shorter, mid-length books? How much time generally passes between publication of the hardcover and softcover versions of a book?
  • What makes a literary agent valuable? What do authors need to know about writing and publishing sequels? How has James Patterson changed the entire publishing industry?

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Literary Agents Roundtable Interview

The Cast – Literary Agents Interview

Jodi Reamer (Writers House): Jodi is Stephenie Meyer’s agent and she’s an attorney. She’s been with Writers House for 15 years. Jodi handles both children’s books, from young-adult to picture books, and adult books. Her focus is commercial fiction and she would love to represent a legal thriller.

Kim Witherspoon (Inkwell Management): At age 26, Kimberly founded her own literary agency, which quickly became one of the most prestigious and successful agencies in Manhattan, with clients who are frequently published around the world. Over the past 15 years, she has represented critically acclaimed and bestselling authors of both fiction and nonfiction.

Robert Gottlieb (Trident Media): After getting started in the mailroom in 1977, Gottlieb became a department assistant in WMA’s literary department and shortly thereafter began working with the head of the department, Owen Laster. Five years later he became a literary agent, discovered Tom Clancy in the early eighties, and in 1989 was promoted to Senior Vice President, becoming one of the youngest agents to ever head the WMA Literary Department. He was then elected to the Board of Directors and became Executive Vice President in 1992. After 24 years at the William Morris Agency, Gottlieb started Trident Media Group, LLC in September 2000 where he now serves as Chairman. Robert Gottlieb presently represents many best-selling authors.

Sloan Harris (International Creative Management – ICM): Sloan is the co-head of publications at ICM, which in Variety’s words “essentially establishes him as heir apparent to run the agency’s Gotham-based powerhouse book operation in the years to come.”

Eric Simonoff (William Morris Endeavor – WME): Eric graduated from Princeton University in 1989, with a degree in Classics. He began his publishing career at W.W. Norton as an editorial assistant. He joined Janklow and Nesbit 1991 and rose to co-director. He left Janklow & Nesbit for William Morris Endeavor in 2009. His switch in agencies was considered a major event in the publishing industry. He represents three Pulitzer Prize winners, as well as over a dozen New York Times bestselling authors.

Christy Fletcher (Fletcher & Company): Christy began her career at the Carol Mann Agency. After three years, she left to help start Carlisle & Company (now part of Inkwell Management) where she continued to build a strong list of bestselling and award-winning writers. In 2003, Christy left to co-found Fletcher & Parry. She launched the agency’s move into feature film and television production and management in 2006, and acts as producer on several client-based projects.

To learn more about these literary agents or submit your book to them click here to access my Literary Agent Directory. It’s the most comprehensive (and accurate) literary agent directory in the world, and it’s free to access.

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Feedback Questions

I want to know what you think, so share your thoughts below!

  • Did you enjoy this literary agents interview?
  • What was the most valuable insight you gained?
  • What follow-up questions do you have?

I’ll respond personally.

– Mark
How do I get published comments
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