“In general, my favorite thing is putting the right two people in a room together.”
Every year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings a faculty of close to thirty agents, editors, and other industry professionals to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 24th Annual A&E Conference, taking place June 30–July 2, 2017, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.
An Interview with Dan Kirschen
Dan Kirschen began his career at ICM Partners in 2010 and has been there since, focusing on literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, current events, and pop culture (music and comedy in particular). He is a graduate of William & Mary, with a degree summa cum laude in philosphy. In his nocturnal life he plays the drums in a band.
Dan Kirschen: With regards to the work, I’m as hands-on or hands-off as is required/preferred by the author. In general, my favorite thing is putting the right two people in a room together.
Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?
DK: Of course the work itself is the most important thing, so if the writing grabs me and won’t let go, that’s enough. But naturally I prefer to work with good and likable people. Likewise, with big personalities and extremely hardworking, driven writers.
Scribe: Do you think social media presence is critical for a successful writing career?
DK: Completely depends on the author and book, but generally speaking, no, I don’t think it’s critical.
Scribe: If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?
DK: Many come to mind, but I think above all is: Be confident. Almost all instances of self-deprecation, particularly in a query letter, are a turn off.
Scribe: Tell us about a project you took on because there was something special or unique about it, even though it wasn’t like projects you usually take on; or tell us about an exciting or proud moment in your career as an agent.
DK: Getting my first client a very high profile writing gig, and watching as his career changed overnight.
Scribe: Are there any recent publications you’d like to highlight as representative of the kinds of works you’re looking to take on?
DK: Playing Dead by Elizabeth Greenwood and Commonwealth by Ann Patchett.
Click here for more information on the 2017 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 30-July 2) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.