Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Daniel Bial - Literary Agent

How long have you been agent and how did you get your start Daniel?
        I've been an agent for 17 years.  For the first 14 years of my career, I was an editor--at Holt, Harper, and Longmeadow Press (an imprint of WaldenBooks). I then made the switch to being my own boss.

What makes your agency different than any others?
        Not sure. I've only worked at my own agency. 

What are you looking for specifically that you wish you would see more of?
        Well, the obvious answer is big books.  Publishers are less and less keen on mid-list books.  They love the books they know they can sell and distinctly unexcited by books that are iffy sellers, even if the quality of those projects might be high.  So the things I'm looking for especially are books by people who are acknowledged experts in their fields, and who have the wherewithal in order to promote them and get attention paid to them once the book comes out.

Daniel, what are you tired of receiving?
        Books by people who have self-published unsuccessfully. If they couldn't get professionally published to begin with, and if they were only able to sell a few hundred copies, thinking that suddenly someone will come along and give the book the attention it needs is basically delusional.

How can a new writer get your attention in a good way?
        That's not hard. I look at everything that comes my way. It's not necessary to use day-glo color paper or send a cookie with the query. In fact, I don't think I've taken on any author who has used a gimmick in order to get noticed.
        I do appreciate people who've taken the time to learn about the business and know what a professional proposal looks like.  And I'm turned off by people who boast about how little they know.

How can a signed writer stay in your radar without driving you insane?
        I'm pretty even-keeled.  And thankfully, my authors don't seem to try too hard to drive me insane.


What's the best way for a writer to reach you?
        I'm fine with snail mail or email queries.  My email is dbialagency@msn.comSnail mail is Daniel Bial Agency, 41 W. 83rd St., Suite 5C, New York, NY  10024.  Website is