Daniel Lazar is an agent with the esteemed literary agency Writers House. For five+ years, he’s been building his own list for them, with an emphasis on distinctive, unboxed fiction. We’re thrilled he took the time for a WU Q&A about agenting in general, what it’s taken to hook him in the past and what he’s looking for right now.
Interview with Daniel Lazar
Q: Tell me a little about yourself. What got you interested in the book business in the first place? What was your journey to agenthood like?
DL: I originally wanted to be an architect, but a previous internship at an architecture firm back home helped me realize that wasn’t for me. But I’d always loved books. I came to New York for school and got an internship at Writers House which turned into a full time job after the summer. I started out reading slush on Al Zuckerman’s couch and taking his dictation… I worked my way up, and five years later, I’m still here. (Luckily I graduated from that couch, and I do have my own office now.)
Q: What’s a typical day like for you?
DL: Well, my clients know I’m not generally—cough—a morning person. My day usually starts out on email, lots of phone calls, then more emails. There’s usually lunch with an editor or an author. More emails in the afternoon; more calls to make and return. If I’m selling a book, I’m usually focused on the (fun but stressful!) semantics of an auction or pre-empt. My colleagues and I are often wandering into each others offices to chat about submissions, editors, covers, titles, and on and on. I often like to work late. My authors know they could easily get an email from me at 1 am, but rarely at 9 am.
Q: What’s surprised you the most about this business? [Read more…]