Saturday, November 6, 2010

7 Questions For: Literary Agent John Rudolph

John Rudolph joins Dystel and Goderich after twelve years as an acquiring children’s book editor. He began his career at Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers as an Editorial Assistant, then moved to the G. P. Putnam’s Sons imprint of the Penguin Young Readers Group, where he eventually served as Executive Editor on a wide range of young adult, middle-grade, nonfiction and picture book titles. He graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College with a double major in Classics and Music.

Now that he’s on the other side of the desk, John can’t wait to discover fresh new voices and highly original stories in all genres. He is interested in all areas of middle-grade and young adult fiction, and he would love to find the next great picture book author/illustrator. And he is excited to expand into literary and commercial adult men’s fiction, humor, pop-culture, politics, and the arts, especially music.

A lifelong New Yorker, John currently resides in Manhattan with his wife and son.

And now John Rudolph faces the 7 Questions:

Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?

That’s a tough one… I did re-read two books recently, which I almost never do, so let’s count those: ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac, and M.T. Anderson’s bizarro first novel, THIRSTY. Actually, by that standard, my all-time favorite books would be Robert Christgau’s record guides for the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, which I still reference at least a few times a month.

Question Six: What are your top three favorite movies and television shows?

Wish I could include something artsy and esoteric here, but no: ANIMAL HOUSE, DAZED AND CONFUSED, TRAINING DAY, The Simpsons, The Sopranos and Mad Men.

Question Five: What are the qualities of your ideal client?

Above all else, professionalism and patience: Professionalism in how a client presents her project and how she works with others, and patience with the vicissitudes of the publishing process.

Question Four: What sort of project(s) would you most like to receive a query for?

Right now, I’m especially keen on middle-grade adventure fiction, because I think there’s room out there for a great new middle-grade series. I’m also looking for YA across all genres, and while I’m not actively looking for picture book manuscripts, I would love to find some illustrators who can write.

Question Three: What is your favorite thing about being an agent? What is your least favorite thing?

So far, I’m really loving how basic an agent’s role is—at root, all I’m trying to do is sell your book, and if I do that, I've done my job. It makes me feel like I have a very direct, personal stake in the book, which is great motivation. I’m also loving how, as an agent, you get to work across the entire publishing industry, rather than being tied to just one house. As for downsides, it’s too early to tell, but I’m sure the rejections must be rough!

Question Two: What one bit of wisdom would you impart to an aspiring writer? (feel free to include as many other bits of wisdom as you like)

Read, read, read. Read broadly, deeply, and strategically.

Question One: If you could have lunch with any writer, living or dead, who would it be? Why?

Kerouac could be entertaining, and I’m sure there’d be alcohol involved. But then again, I’d most likely get stuck with the bill…

1 comment:

  1. This guy's going to be inundated with middle grade adventures with series potential. (Go for it, Ninja!)

    I love your "lunch" question. It always reveals a lot about your interviewee.

    Have a great weekend.


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