Agents & Editors: The Complete Series

Jofie Ferrari-Adler, Michael Szczerban, M. Allen Cunningham, and Vivian Lee

Launched in 2008, this series of in-depth interviews with book editors, publishers, and agents offers a unique look at the past, present, and future of the book industry and what writers can do to thrive in today’s publishing world.  

Tanya McKinnon
by Vivian Lee
The principal agent of McKinnon Literary talks about how publishing can be a form of activism, the different ways agents and authors can use comp titles, and how the future of the book business still holds many wonderful possibilities.

Jamia Wilson
by Vivian Lee
Random House executive editor and vice president Jamia Wilson talks about her passion for publishing as a craft, how being a writer informs her work as an editor, and the importance of keeping an expansive interest in books.

Rakia Clark
by Vivian Lee
Mariner Books executive editor Rakia Clark talks about unlocking the full potential of an author, how writers can shine in the query letter, and effecting meaningful change in the publishing industry.

Annie Hwang
by Vivian Lee
Annie Hwang of Ayesha Pande Literary talks about community building, professional burnout, the questions writers should ask when querying agents, and the demanding work of advocating for diversity in publishing.

Sarah McGrath
by M. Allen Cunningham
The editor in chief of Riverhead Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House, talks about her start in publishing, acquiring books, editing as a creative process, and more.

Ben George
by M. Allen Cunningham
Ben George, a senior editor at Little, Brown who works with some of the biggest names in literary fiction and nonfiction, talks about the author-editor relationship, the plight of the midlist writer, and the art of revision. 

Rob Spillman
by Michael Szczerban
Editor Rob Spillman talks Tin House—the magazine, the books, the summer workshop—and the pleasures, perils, and surprises of independent publishing.

The Book Group
by Michael Szczerban
Four veteran agents—Julie Barer, Faye Bender, Brettne Bloom, and Elisabeth Weed—talk about the business of books, the secret to a good pitch, and what authors should do in the lead-up to publication.

Michael Wiegers
by Michael Szczerban
Michael Wiegers, the editor in chief of Copper Canyon Press, talks about how he decides which books to publish (from the two thousand manuscripts the press receives each year) and what it’s like to edit the likes of Pablo Neruda, W. S. Merwin, and C. D. Wright.

Dawn Davis
by Michael Szczerban
Dawn Davis—vice president and publisher of 37 INK, an imprint of Simon & Schuster’s Atria Publishing Group—talks about editing Edward P. Jones, the lack of diversity in publishing, and what some of the most successful authors have in common.

Claudia Ballard, Seth Fishman, Melissa Flashman, and Alia Hanna Habib
by Michael Szczerban
Four young literary agents meet for an evening of food, drink, and conversation about how they find new authors, what they need to see in a query letter, and the common mistakes writers should avoid.

Jennifer Joel
by Michael Szczerban
Jennifer Joel, whose clients include Chris Cleave, Joe McGinniss Jr., Evan Osnos, and Shonda Rhimes, talks about the difference between selling fiction and nonfiction, what inspires her to go the extra mile for her authors, and what writers should really want out of publishing.

Jeff Shotts
by Michael Szczerban
Graywolf Press executive editor Jeff Shotts discusses the power of patience in publishing, editing as an act of empathy, and why it’s an exciting time to be a poet.

PJ Mark
by Michael Szczerban
PJ Mark, whose clients include Samantha Hunt, Wayne Koestenbaum, Dinaw Mengestu, Maggie Nelson, Ed Park, and Josh Weil, talks about what writers can do to improve their chances of success, why fiction is harder to sell than nonfiction, and the importance of trusting your heart.

Susan Golomb
by Michael Szczerban
Susan Golomb, whose clients include Jonathan Franzen, Rachel Kushner, and William T. Vollmann, talks about the ebb and flow of submission season, the art of the preemptive offer, and the gems she finds in her slush pile.

Amy Einhorn
by Michael Szczerban
The publisher of her eponymous imprint at Penguin Random House, Amy Einhorn discusses her early days as an assistant at FSG, the importance of titles, and how she pushes her authors to make their books the best they can be.

David Gernert
by Michael Szczerban
Literary agent David Gernert discusses the bookstore as a key to our culture, what it's like to work with John Grisham, and how big changes in the industry are affecting authors’ incomes.

Jordan Pavlin
by Michael Szczerban
A vice president and executive editor at Knopf, Jordan Pavlin discusses her terror of launch meetings, the particular genius of Sonny Mehta, and her job as a writer’s ideal reader.

Eric Simonoff
by Michael Szczerban
A heavy-hitting agent who for twenty-two years has represented some of the biggest literary writers in the country, Eric Simonoff discusses recent changes in the publishing industry, the pitfalls of self-publishing, and what he's learned about staying creative.

Jonathan Karp
by Jofie Ferrari-Adler
As the editor in chief of Twelve, Jonathan Karp is always looking for good writing. Considering that half of all the books he’s published there have become best-sellers, that should make a lot of writers very, very excited.

Georges Borchardt
by Jofie Ferrari-Adler
Georges Borchardt has been an agent for more than fifty years. He’s seen authors, editors, and other agents come and go, but two things have never changed: his belief that good writing is a gift and his ability to get it published.

Jonathan Galassi
by Jofie Ferrari-Adler
Some publishers may have lost sight of what’s important, but the head of FSG shows his allegiance as he discusses the fallacy of the blockbuster mentality, what writers should look for in agents, and his close bond with authors.

Maria Massie, Jim Rutman, Anna Stein, and Peter Steinberg
by Jofie Ferrari-Adler
Four agents discuss how the economy is affecting their jobs, where they’re finding new writers, and what totally freaks them out about MFA students.

Lee Boudreaux, Eric Chinski, Alexis Gargagliano, and Richard Nash
by Jofie Ferrari-Adler
Four young editors, from big houses and small, take some time off to discuss what makes a good manuscript, what they’ve come to expect from their authors, and how much of their work needs to be done at night and on weekends.

Julie Barer, Jeff Kleinman, Daniel Lazar, and Renee Zuckerbrot
by Jofie Ferrari-Adler
Four young literary agents meet for an evening of food, wine, and conversation about the writing they’re looking for, how they’re finding it, what they love, what they hate, and ten things writers should never ever do.

Chuck Adams
by Jofie Ferrari-Adler
A veteran editor who has worked at publishing houses both large and small, Chuck Adams of Algonquin Books talks about what beginning writers tend to forget, the secret to selling two million copies, and the problem with MFA writing.

Molly Friedrich
by Jofie Ferrari-Adler
Known as a heavy-hitting agent willing to go to bat for her clients, Molly Friedrich discusses how an author should choose an agent, what she looks for in a manuscript, and what separates great agents from merely good ones.

Janet Silver
by Jofie Ferrari-Adler
Having settled into her new role at Nan Talese’s imprint following her ouster from Houghton Mifflin, editor Janet Silver discusses what she looks for in a new writer and what every author should know about agents.

Nat Sobel
by Jofie Ferrari-Adler
Agent Nat Sobel, one of the most forward-thinking and outspoken agents in the business, voices his opinions on what authors should do for themselves, the dangers of MFA programs, and what he finds in literary magazines.

Pat Strachan
by Jofie Ferrari-Adler
With nearly four decades of editing experience, publishing veteran Pat Strachan reveals the qualities she looks for in fiction, her approach to editing, and how writers can help themselves navigate the industry.

Lynn Nesbit
by Jofie Ferrari-Adler
With more than forty years of experience in the business, agent Lynn Nesbit discusses how she signed some of her biggest clients, how a writer can get an agent’s attention, and what’s wrong with the publishing industry.

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