Jennybondurant’s Blog

Interview with a Literary Agent

Posted in Uncategorized,Writing by jennybondurant on September 5, 2009

A common response I’ve had when asking people for connections and help with finding an agent to represent my novel is “Do you know how hard it is to get published today?” and then they start talking statistics on how publishers aren’t printing as many books, people don’t read as much, etc. Of course, I still want the dream, so I resigned myself to the fact that I may be beating my head against a wall in this effort.

When an agent actually e-mailed with an interest in representing my novel, my first instinct was blind joy. Then, cautioned by writer friends to make sure the offer is legit, I crashed – this must be a scam – especially since I couldn’t find much on the Internet about the agent.

After speaking with Paul Zack on Thursday, though, hopes are rising again. His agency is young, even though his entire career has been in publishing, editing, marketing and advertising. No, he doesn’t have a long list of success stories to share, but the most important thing I gleaned from the conversation with him: If the book is good enough, it will sell.

He’s in Illinois, not New York, and when I asked if he uses connections he made in his previous positions in publishing to get his authors in print, he said he doesn’t believe that matters. If the book is not good, it won’t matter who your friends in publishing are – it won’t get published. If it is good, it will. He cautioned that in this publishing climate we have to be patient and there are no promises, but he gave the process a hopeful air – and an authentic one. Yes, publishers’ catalogs have been cut from 1/4 to 1/3 in many cases, but they are still publishing good books. He isn’t jaded about the process.

And since he thinks my book is good enough for him to invest in as an agent, I think we are on a good wavelength.

Waiting for the author-agent agreement from him, so I can review the details, but looking forward …


One Response to 'Interview with a Literary Agent'

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  1. Sally said,

    I am wondering if you signed with Mr. Zack, and how it’s going so far?

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