Power Reading, part deux

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.


kitty said...

Looks like P.I. Polly has avoided the stomach-churning query process:

Oh, and I was going to keep this hush hush until I actually got a book deal, but...what the hell. I suck at keeping secrets. (Which isn't the greatest quality in a former federal agent.) I just signed a contract with an amazing literary agency in New York City called Trident Media Group! They approached me asking if I would consider them for representation on a book of non-fiction. Can you say, HELL, yes?!

C.E. Petit said...

(1) Be very careful about the Trident Media Group... because there is a scam Trident Media that tries to convince people that it's the one in New York. The legitimate Trident Media can (and does) sell books and media projects; the scammer... does not. If you're being asked for money or expected to pay monthly marketing (or other) fees, it's NOT the legitimate agency!

(2) Old "Lefty" is roundly despised in the publishing law community on both sides. On my side of the v (representing authors), he's an example of everything that is wrong with agents that has made "agented only" a curseword. On the other side of the v, he's an example of everything that is wrong with both agents and authors that makes publishers despise manuscripts from not-previously published authors. And on both sides of the v, he's an object of ridicule because his clients are at the center of six of the nine leading cases on the "satisfactory manuscript" requirement in contracts... and his antics have led to more-convoluted contract language that is less fair to everyone in the transaction.

Paul said...

Totally unrelated story, but I had a friend in middle school who used to call himself "Swiftly Bazaar."

Mind you, he was all about being able to "swiftly" walk into any shopping mall (or bazaar) and get his shopping done faster than any female on the face of the Earth.

I haven't talked to him in ages, but I suspect he still prides himself on his cool nickname.

Richard said...

Speaking of malls, why would publishers store their future shreds of pulp in such a pricey real estate market as Paramus? Or does Sonny Mehta like to visit his warehouse on the way to the nearby IKEA?