This was posted in the comments section of "Power Reading"
But isn't part of Lobster (Don Imus's name for his agent) Newberg's power the fact that she represents sure things. Editors know they can sell her projects, many of which are celebrity pieces--i.e., el platformo grande. And was she as powerful as Swifty Lazar who regularly made deals for clients he didn't even represent? He'd walk right into the office of the president of major houses, make a pitch, and if they ask just a wee question, he'd say, "Well, I see you're not interested," and walk out.
There are no sure things.
Not even with el platformo grande.
Not even with Esther Newberg as your agent.
Esther would probably be the first to tell you that, too.
Esther represents people editors think will do well, but there's a lot of stuff that can and does go wrong between a pitch meeting and moving books out of the warehouse in Paramus New Jersey.
She's got some war stories too, and she tells them well, and she's got a sense of humor about them, but she's got them, which means: no sure things.
As for Swifty Lazar, those days are pretty much gone forever, at least in publishing. He dealt mostly with movie stars, not writers. His business style, from what I've read, makes me cringe.