The Tale Of The Cranky Agent, Or How You Can Avoid Mistakes

March 1st, 2006 · No Comments
by Booksquare

Once upon a time, Betsy Amster was an editor. Then one day, she looked around her office and thought, “Wait! I can be an agent. The hours will be shorter, the pay better, and no marketing meetings.” So she cleared out her desk and hung out a shingle.
At least some of the preceding is at least a little bit untrue. We are not sure that people actually hang shingles in this day and age. But it’s the former editor part that makes a difference:

Before opening her own agency in 1992, Amster worked on the editorial side. She spent 10 years as an editor at Pantheon and Vintage and was editorial director of Globe Pequot for two years. Her big-house background gives her plenty of contacts in New York — something that’s a requirement with an LA-based agency.” A lot of the people I came up with are now heads of houses. We’re veterans. Just knowing how it works and knowing how decisions are made and knowing the pressures editors are under — it’s all really helpful,” Amster says.

Amster’s likes and dislikes (like: plot-driven literary fiction; dislike: straight romance) and style are noted. As is a caution:

Amster requests that authors research her before pitching. “I feel there’s a lot of information available online. You need to do your homework first or you’re going to make me cranky,” she says.

Mmm, cranky.
Vitals: Betsy Amster Literary Enterprises P.O. Box 27788, Los Angeles, CA 90027-0788.

File Under: Agents