Monday, July 29, 2013

7 Questions For: Literary Agent Peter Rubie

Peter Rubie specializes in a broad range of high-quality fiction and non-fiction. In non-fiction he specializes in narrative non-fiction, popular science, spirituality, history, biography, pop culture, business and technology, parenting, health, self help, music, and food. He is a “sucker” for outstanding writing.
In fiction he represents literate thrillers, crime fiction, science fiction and fantasy, military fiction and literary fiction, middle grade and some boy oriented young adult fiction.

Rubie is a former BBC Radio and Fleet Street journalist and for several years was the director of the publishing section of the New York University Summer Publishing Institute. He was a member of the NYU faculty for 10 years, and taught the only university-level course in the country on how to become a literary agent.

Prior to becoming an agent he was a publishing house editor for nearly six years, whose authors won prizes and critical acclaim. He has also been the editor-in-chief of a Manhattan local newspaper, and a freelance editor and book doctor for major publishers. He was a regular reviewer for the international trade magazine Publishers Weekly, and is a published author of both fiction and non-fiction. He is a member of AAR, and regularly lectures and writes on publishing and the craft of writing, and was once a professional jazz musician.

For more information, check out my friends Natalie Aguirre and Casey McCormick's wonderful blog, Literary Rambles.

And now Peter Rubie faces the 7 Questions: 

Question Seven: What are your top three favorite books?
Well, it's really so hard to choose given all the books I've read over the years, but the ones that stick in my mind are, in no order of preference, James Clavell's Shogun, Robert Goddard's In Pale Battalions, and James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as Young Man. But there are A LOT of also rans that at different times might well take their place particularly Mark Bowden's Black Hawk Down, and Warhorse and Seabiscuit.

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

Ah, guilty pleasures.  Again, in no order of preference, Breaking Bad, The Wire, and while it was running, Fringe, I think.  But Games of Thrones, The Shield and The Sopranos would be up there as well.
And my favorite movie for pure craft as well as entertainment is likely a toss up between The Fugitive and Unforgiven.

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

A terrific wordsmith, and someone who is ready and eager to work in partnership editorially and in business with me.  It's his or her career, of course, but the whole point of having me available is to define the potential problems coming down the pike, and come up with elegant solutions to them we can both put into operation on his or her behalf. 

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

Look at the books and TV shows. My taste is pretty eclectic.  I do crime novels, thrillers, strong fantasy and SF, middle grade for boys in particular, long for strong narrative nonfiction.

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

My favorite thing I think, is taking a writer and not only setting them on the path to success, but helping to craft that success so they get the most out of a really frustrating business.  My least favorite thing is dealing with the ultra conservative mindset of mainstream publishers these days, and the great frustrations that pop up from all angles unexpectedly.

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)

Writing is two things: it is a craft you have to practice and master, and that can take a long time because however talented you are it's NOT easy to do well; but it is also a business.  And these days, that means among other things being marketing savvy, knowing how to use social media effectively, and realizing despite what you have achieved previously, you're only as good as your last published book.

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

Oh this is just unfair!   Who to choose?  The writers I know, particularly the ones who are successful, are by and large all entertaining, smart, witty people made more so by the social oiling of good food, good company and good drink.  Charles Dickens perhaps, but also Carl Sagan, and perhaps Samuel Becket, though I suspect he would do more listening than talking.  And perhaps Wilfred Owen, Shakespeare or Chaucer, and/or Lord Byron.  Nothing like a supremely talented bad boy for an entertaining meal companion.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by, Esteemed Reader! And thanks for taking the time to comment. You are awesome.