Until now I have been focusing my attentions on New York agents. That’s because most of the publishing industry–namely publishers, editors, agents–are New York based so the thinking goes that if you’re not there, you probably don’t have the contacts necessary to make it.
But then I came across an interview on some writerly website I happened upon. It was with a Los Angeles based agent. This guy got his start working for legendary talent agent “Swifty” Lazar. (He got this nickname after he put together three major deals in one day for Humphrey Bogart who promptly dubbed him “Swifty”.) He went on to represent the likes of Lauren Bacall, Truman Capote, Cher, Joan Collins, Gene Kelly, Cole Porter, Tennessee Williams, Cary Grant, Madonna, and Noel Coward.
This agent in the interview ended up becoming Lazar’s partner and later took over the agency. It sounds like this agency has a long history of representing both Hollywood stars and writers. This guy approached Lauren Bacall with the idea of updating her autobiography “By Myself”; he must have done a good job. “By Myself And Then Some” came out in 2006.
By the time I’d finished reading the article, it had occurred to me that I’m an author who is writing about Hollywood so this might be a very good match for me. It’s because he’s in L.A. that I figure he might more readily “get” the appeal I’m going for in a novel about old Hollywood. However getting my query email to him was another matter. The Jeff Herman guide to literary agents gave an email address: my email bounced back. PublishersMarketplace.com gave a different one. That bounced back too but with a note that gave a whole different email address. It’s hasn’t bounced back so maybe the third time will be a charm.