Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Interview with Literary Agent Ken Sherman

Ken Sherman is the President of Ken Sherman and Associates, a Los Angeles-based literary agency. An agent for more than twenty years, Ken represents screen, television and book writers, and also sells film and television rights to books as well as life rights.

A few of Ken's clients include David Guterson, author of “Snow Falling on Cedars”,Tawni O'Dell, whose first novel, “Back Roads”, became an international best seller and Oprah Book Club selection, Starhawk, considered the best-known witch in the world, Anne Perry, the world's best-known Victorian murder mystery writer and author of 60 books, and the estates of Luis Buñuel, John Hersey, and Simon Wiesenthal.

Ken will be attending the June 22-24, 2012 Crested Butte Writers Conference.

1. Which categories do you currently acquire? Which category has a special/constant place in your heart? 



Answer: My literary agency handles film, tv and book writers and often sells film and tv rights to books. We don't personally acquire but act as the middle man between the writer and any of the people who do buy the areas above. We are open to most adult fiction genres including: Literary, romance, women's fiction, fantasy/SF, suspense/thriller/mystery, memoirs and horror and nonfiction.

2. What length synopsis do you prefer to see with a partial? Single spaced or double?

Answer: Maximum 2 page synopsis and 1.5 spacing.

3. In terms of submissions, what are you sick to death of and what would you like to see more of?

Answer: Like to see well thought out stories with relatable characters with whom we want to spend hours and hours of our lives.

4. What are the most compelling elements you feel are necessary for a good 
 read? What particularly grabs your attention?



Answer: Not being aware of the writer as writer and am totally caught up in the flow of the story telling.

5. For you, which elements in a fiction submission are terminal problems garnering automatic rejections and which are tempting and fixable meriting a look at a revision if a talented author is willing to accept your advice?

a. Answer: It depends on the writer and the work. Too general to react here.

6. Does meeting an author face-to-face at a conference make a difference in your response time, the submission process, or the rejection process (ie. Form letter vs a few sentences of advice)?

Answer: Often, though the writing has to speak for itself, with or without a meeting.

7. Besides the writing, the story and the talent, what are the most important elements you look for in an author, ie. contest wins, cooperativeness, affiliations to writers organizations, knowledge of publishing industry, promotability, etc?

Answer: Simply fine story telling and craft behind it all. And that can take years to develop.

8. Do you have any pet peeves?

Answer: Not really, though saying 'I'm submitting my 9 million word manuscript' can be daunting anticipating reading each word. Suggest not saying how many words are in the manuscript. The writing will have to speak for itself and if it's engaging it won't matter how many words.

9. What are you addicted to?

Answer: Good wine, good food, travel and fine conversation.

10. What have you always wanted to do?

Answer: Live permanently between Paris and New York and paint/draw the whole time while continuing with my clients.

11. Do you have a favorite quote?

Answer: Less is more.

Final words of advice: Quote: 'Do Not Think" (meaning, don't edit yourself as you're creating/writing your first-draft..............just let it happen with all the wrinkles and misspellings and lousy grammar........I find, when I draw, if I quietly say those words, slowly, I open up and do my best work.........we can all go back and edit after the first moments/hours/days of creating).

1 comment:

Helen Hardt said...

I love Starhawk! Great information -- thank you for being here, Ken.