THE AGENT: Personalities, Publishing, and Politics

Arthur M. Klebanoff, Author . Texere $27.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-58799-104-2

Following Korda, Epstein, Schiffrin and Curtis, writer's agent Klebanoff presents his autobiography in this compact, slightly wandering and at times tedious volume. The owner of the Scott Meredith Literary Agency has worked in publishing since the late 1970s, before that working as a White House aide. He's done business with Lynn Nesbit, Richard Nixon, Bernard and Marvin Kalb, Bill Bradley, Sidney Sheldon, David McCullough and countless other interesting people, and his anecdotes of working with these folk are usually as interesting. Going for hype, Klebanoff begins with his recent involvement in Rosetta Books, an electronic publisher that made headlines earlier this year when it went to court with Random House over copyright issues and won. His account of that litigation will appeal to those aradently curious about copyright law, but will turn off readers seeking a homey chronicle of old-school publishing (like Epstein's, for example). Unlike other publishing execs turned authors, Klebanoff doesn't present an industry overview, instead commenting indirectly on its current status and future. Throughout, he scatters old-pro adages like "always read the market first" and "not all offers work even if the deal is elegant." Klebanoff is certainly qualified to talk about politics, licensing, author branding and the like, but his yarns lack coherence and are merely tidbits about publishing and its trials. Still, as he accurately states in the preface, "This is not 'how to be a literary agent,' nor is it a publishing memoir. It is a story of transitions and challenges." In that, he succeeds. (Jan. 21)

FYI:Texere makes no mention of this book being available as an e-book, which is surprising, given Klebanoff's ties to e-publishing.

Reviewed on: 12/10/2001
Release date: 01/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
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