Lit Agent Greg Daniel: ‘Platform Has Become More Important Than Ever Before’

By Jeff Rivera Comment

Greg Daniel, President and Literary Agent for the Daniel Literary Group, is passionate about helping his authors succeed. He tells us in this interview, why a platform is important, and the three things that nonfiction editors are always looking for.

What job title do you go by? And why are you the best agent in the universe?
President and Literary Agent, Daniel Literary Group. Best in the universe? Wow, that’s a tall order. I think that I bring my authors an ability to hone book ideas until they’re truly marketable, a great editorial eye, and the wherewithal to help my authors with big-picture career direction. Plus, I have fresh minty breath.

Wow, that sounds great! If a writer reads this interview and thinks “That’s the guy for me!” how should they contact you? Are there any bad ways to contact you? I accept only email queries, so that’s the best way. Biggest pet peeve is ignoring my submission guidelines, which are available on my web site.

What kinds of projects are you looking for right now? And what would you tell aspiring writers about what editors want?
Though I represent a handful of established fiction authors, I tend to specialize in nonfiction, and in nonfiction editors are always looking for a combination of three things: an author with an established platform, a book with a solid media hook that virtually guarantees lots of publicity opportunities, and solid writing. When I find a project with all three of those things going for it, I know I have a big winner.

Do you think that ebooks are a good thing for you and for other people who make a living with words?
I think it’s terrific that books are available in an increasingly wide array of formats and delivery systems to satisfy all types of consumers. I have a Kindle and about to order an iPad and love the convenience of taking a library’s worth of books (and a lot of manuscripts) with me wherever I go. I think the changes in book publishing over the next ten years are going to look a lot like the changes the music industry has encountered the past ten. I just hope we’re more creative and flexible in adjusting our business models than the big record companies were.

What are you and your clients doing to respond to the increasing pressure in the publishing industry today?
With publishers trimming their lists, it’s made me even pickier about the authors I choose to represent. Platform has become more important than ever before, as publishers’ marketing budgets are squeezed. Whatever authors can do to constantly grow their fan base (through speaking, writing magazine articles, blogging, Twitter, Facebook, etc.) will help ensure their success.

Would you mind closing this interview with a little information about yourself?
I competed in the TV game show Merv Griffin’s Crosswords a couple years ago. Came in dead last (despite my love of doing the Times crossword each day). I looked like a deer caught in headlights.