“Even if all you want to do is sit and write, these days you have to be prepared to engage with the public at large, and to take charge of your own book promotion.”
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 25th Annual A&E Conference, taking place June 29–July 1, 2018, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.
An Interview with Eric Myers
Eric Myers entered publishing as an author, with three books published by St. Martin’s Press. He has been an agent since 2002, having worked at The Spieler Agency and Dystel, Goderich, and Bourret before establishing Myers Literary Management. His clients include Chris Grabenstein (Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library), Sam Staggs (All About “All About Eve,” Closeup On “Sunset Boulevard”), Seth Rudetsky (My Awesome/Awful Popularity Plan), Miriam Davis (The Axeman of New Orleans), and Patrice Banks (The Girls’ Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide), among many others. He specializes in YA, Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, Thrillers, and most non-fiction, including memoir that comes with a strong platform.
Scribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?
Eric Myers: As an author myself, I try to be supportive as well as sensitive to an author’s needs. I am constantly attempting to put myself in my client’s place. But a little tough love is sometimes required as well, and it’s important to know when and when not to use it.
Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?
EM: I look for a manuscript that is already at least 95 percent perfect; one which shows me that a writer really knows what he or she is doing and is ready for Prime Time. It helps if the author is social-media savvy, has a feeling for self-promotion, and is willing and able to go out there and do everything possible to get copies of their book sold.
Scribe: If you could give writers one piece of advice, what would it be?
EM: Writing is no longer a solitary profession. Even if all you want to do is sit and write, these days you have to be prepared to engage with the public at large, and to take charge of your own book promotion.
Scribe: Has there been 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?
EM: One of my most unusual projects is a forthcoming memoir called Girl Electric by Alisa Jones, who was diagnosed with adult-onset epilepsy at 40. I’ll bet you don’t think an epilepsy memoir can actually be laugh-out-loud funny. Think again! You can find out this November, when it is published by Imagine/Charlesbridge.
Scribe: Tell us about a recent book that you worked with–you know, brag on one of your writers!
EM: My client Lydia Kang, a physician based in Omaha, has already written several great YA and adult novels. She joined forces with her journalist friend Nate Pedersen to write Quackery, which was published last year by Workman. It’s an amazing compendium of all the horrendous quack cures that have been tried out on patients over the centuries. Darkly funny, it is peppered with great visuals, including outrageous old advertisements for every kind of snake-oil scam you can imagine. It became one of Workman’s biggest hits of the year.
Click here to read our 2018 A&E Conference agent bios.
Click here for more information on the 2018 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 29-July 1) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.