Steve Wasserman on the Qualities of a Good Literary Agent

By Jason Boog Comment

What skills does an agent need in the 21st Century? In today’s installment of Media Beat (’s new video show), Kneerim & Williams agent Steve Wasserman spoke about his evolving role as a literary representative.

Here’s an excerpt: “We as a species, are the storytelling animals. That’s not going to change. So a literary agent–whether working in the vineyard of fiction or the republic of nonfiction–has to have a nose for a good story, for a writer who will know how to tell that story, and for some sense of the commercial prospect of such a story might bear. The trick–if it is a trick–is to discover such stories that might actually sell well in one’s lifetime as well as the author’s lifetime.”

Later in the interview, Wasserman explains how he found his first client. Before working as an agent, Wasserman had served as the editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review and the editorial director of Times Books. He now represents a number of clients, including Christopher Hitchens, Robert Scheer, and Joan Juliet Buck.

Part 2: Steve Wasserman Delivers Agent Advice for Nonfiction Authors

Part 3: Literary Agent Steve Wasserman Delivers Digital Rights Advice for Authors

Media Beat is’s interview series with the movers and shakers of the media world. View all past episodes at