Today I’m chatting with author and literary agent Jeff Herman.
Jeff’s literary agency has ushered nearly one thousand books into print. He’s the coauthor of the acclaimed Write the Perfect Book Proposal and is often featured as an expert in print and broadcast media.
Jeff provides insider insight that will give you hope that it’s possible to see your words in print.
When you get a chance, check out his resource: Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents, 28th edition.
Here’s a taste of what he passed along today:
“The first myth is that just because you’re in New York or the vicinity of New York you have a crucial advantage over someone from Indiana or Alaska. It’s really not true. The walls that publishing creates obstruct everyone equally. It’s not a matter of geography. It’s just a matter of access.”
“Now, of course, with digital communications, which to a great extent has displaced hard copy and to a certain extent has even displaced telephones and in person communications, I think that has done a lot to equalize the playing field.”
“The rules are not really true. They’re really preferences. The walls are porous, if that’s the right word. These walls are not metal plated; it’s more like Swiss cheese. And it’s a big illusion that you can’t get through these walls. The illusion is very useful for agents and editors. It works for us. But it doesn’t work for you, the writer, and ultimately it doesn’t work for the editors or agents because it does in effect lock out a lot of good people. But that’s why we need to be very tenacious and not let the agents or the editors individually or collectively tell you that you are not publishable. Because they don’t know. They think they know—they may know what’s right for them—but nobody can speak for the industry as a whole.”
“What I enjoy is working with the writer to make them as good as they can be and helping them to achieve their goals. I like to see the results of our good work together. I like to see that the book gets acquired by a publisher, that it gets published, and that it sells copies, and all the benefits that accrue to the author. I really feel then that I’m serving a purpose by helping the client and the publisher and the reader get all these beneficial results. And that’s what I see as the dream situation where we’re all working together as a well-oiled machine.”
Jeff Herman is the author of Write the Perfect Book Proposal and Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents, 28th edition.
- Website: jeffherman.com
- Publisher’s Marketplace (Jeff mentioned the subscription you can get through them)
- Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors & Literary Agents, 28th Edition (affiliate link)
- Write the Perfect Book Proposal: 10 That Sold and Why (Third Edition) (affiliate link)
- Jennifer Dukes Lee interview
- Alison Hodgson interview
- Shawn Smucker interview
- Patrice Gopo interview
- Ann’s Patreon account
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