Thursday, February 2, 2012

Interview With Literary Agent Jane Dystel

  1. Jane, what do you love about being a literary agent? I love discovering new, talented writers; I love learning about new things; I love meeting a bunch of people who are interested in creative ideas; I love helping prospective authors achieve their goals.

  1. What do you look for in an author? Which genres do you prefer to work in? I look for good writing, first and foremost.  It is also important to me, though, that the writer be flexible, open to new ideas.  He or she must be ethical and honest.  Energy and a sense of responsibility are also important.  I don’t like authors who come to us with a sense of entitlement.  They need to work as hard for themselves as I do for them.

  1. How do you work with your authors to sell their work to a publisher and to be their advocate? I help them develop their ideas into book proposals (in the case of non-fiction) or into full manuscripts in the case of fiction.  I discuss their goals with them and the strategy that I suggest we use to get their books published.  I negotiate the best deals possible for them, stay in close touch as they are writing their manuscripts and follow up with their publishers on all they will do to support the publication of their books.

  1. Any advice for a struggling writer? That’s difficult and easy.  Never, ever give up.  So many times in my career, I have been discouraged, but I simply picked myself up, figured out what went wrong (if something did) and began anew.  Writers who do this will, I am convinced be successful ultimately.

  1. You have been in the publishing industry for several decades. What do you make of all the changes it is undergoing? Wow, you are making me feel so old!  I think the changes going on in the industry are challenging and very exciting.  We all have to keep up with what is currently happening as it is happening very quickly. I am looking forward to being a part of these changes for  more decades to come. 

  1. You also help authors self-publish their books. How do you help them do this? We have a part of the company that helps our clients (and some who come to us specifically for this purpose) self-publish.  We have a project manager who works with them to find cover designers and copy editors for each of the projects they want to self-publish.  When the time comes we actually upload their books for them onto the various e-tailer sites.  We collect their money for them and interpret their sales reports.  Our role here, though is strictly the role of the agent – and for this we charge our normal 15% commission.

For more information, please consult: Dystel & Goderich Literary Management (

Who Will Score On Super Bowl Sunday?

The publicity firm I work for had a fun opportunity to promote a cool survey (ZOOSK’S 2ND ANNUAL FOOTBALL SURVEY). It was created by Zoosk, a romantic social network with tens of millions of singles from around the globe in 70 countries. We did a radio tour, utilizing a Buffalo Bills cheerleader, to deliver the results to dozens of radio shows. I thought you might be entertained by the poll’s findings below, in light of the upcoming Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day:

  1. Tickets may be expensive, but women are all for a date that involves a trip to Indianapolis next weekend.
·         91% of single women think being taken to the game in Indianapolis would make for a dream date!

  1. Will “women’s intuition” predict the winner of this year’s game?
  • 51% of women think the New England Patriots will win.
  • 49% of women think the New York Giants will win.

  1. Single women prefer to watch the actual game over the ads and halftime show.
·         66% of females think that the game is the best part.
·         20% are only watching for the commercial entertainment.
·         14% of women tune in for the halftime show.

  1. The sexiest players tend to share a field position.
  • 60% of single women think that Quarterback, Tom Brady is the sexiest Patriot (with Rob Gronkowski and Chad Ochocinco tying for 2nd place at 13% each).
  • 61% of single women think that Quarterback, Eli Manning is the sexiest Giant (followed by Justin Trattou at 14% and Ahmad Bradshaw at 11%).

  1. Tom vs. Eli…
  • 55% of single women think that Tom Brady has what it takes to get a 4th ring, despite his injuries and lack of defense support.

  1. Football pools aren’t just for guys…
  • 34% of single women plan to participate in a pool this year.

  1. Single ladies want Madonna to “express herself” during the halftime show.
  • The ladies have expressed their own opinion and say they want Madonna to perform her hit song Express Yourself during the halftime show.

The Zoosk ( poll was conducted online in January 2012 and fielded 1,012 responses from single women in the United States who use Zoosk.

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