aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,
aprilhenry
aprilhenry

An interview with Molly Friedrich

I’m pretty sure I was rejected several times back in the mid-90’s by Molly Friedrich when she was with the Aaron Priest Literary Agency. She has great authors: Melissa Bank, Sue Grafton, Frank McCourt, Terry McMillan, Jane Smiley, Elizabeth Strout, etc.

Poets & Writers magazine does long, long interviews, and the most recent one is with Molly Friedrich. It covers so a lot of ground – and it’s all fascinating!

Here’s an excerpt:
“How should an author choose which agent to go with?

“First of all, I don't think an author should approach an agent before they have a manuscript. I had an author come to me who didn't think he'd be ready for seven to ten years. He'd had a huge first success and he was leaving his agent and wanted to sign on with somebody new. I asked him why he was leaving his agent. It was clear the agent had done a wonderful job selling the book, a wonderful job on foreign rights. And now the author wanted someone new to exchange letters with him—talk to him, be his friend, be his sponsor—for five years or seven years before his next book was ready? He said, "I've left that agent because I want someone more prestigious." I said, "I don't want you. I don't want to read what you've written. I don't want to read what you will write in seven years. I don't want you. I want you to go back to that first agent and show some loyalty, because you have a really shabby reason for leaving that agent. That agent has done everything possible to secure and establish your career. You've done something too—you've written a good book. You have every reason to write a second good book. But for you to leave because you want someone more prestigious? That sucks. Bye!" He wrote me a letter saying he admired my moxie.

“But you know what's really sad? That author did go with someone else, a very well-known agent, and that very well-known agent sold the book for three hundred thousand dollars. So you know what? I'm sorry to say it, but this author was sort of right. Not right to leave his agent, but right to think that going with an agent who was very well known might have helped him. We'll never know what the poor, sad, sorry, hardworking first agent who would have gone to bat for life for this guy would have done. But would that editor have paid ten times what the first book was sold for? I don't know, but it really stinks.”

Read more here.



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