The Birth of an Agency
A Fond Recollection by Doris Michaels
The agency emerged in 1994 in a small office in our New York City apartment high up on the 29th floor with a view looking over Central Park. All was in place: an empty file drawer waiting for contracts, business cards printed and ready to be given out, connections made with editors at the New York University Summer Publishing Program, and my great mentor agent, Sheree Bykofsky, who showed me the ropes and graciously shared her overflow of projects with me. My entry in Jeff Herman’s Guide to Literary Agents originally said that I had no closed deals, but would have many in the future. Luckily that prediction became true much quicker than I thought possible.
One of the very first deals the agency made was the sale of a novel titled All We Know of Heaven to St. Martin’s Press. Tom and Sandra McCormack, as publisher and acquiring editor, were just as passionate about the book as I was and guided the agency through the process of nurturing a big novel. We not only had movie interest, some fabulous reviews, first serial rights sold to Good Housekeeping, a Literary Guild selection, and audio rights sold to Brilliance, but we also had a tremendous interest in the international rights at one of the first Frankfurt Book Fairs I attended. I will be forever grateful for the experience of working with the author through all of the initial ups and downs involved in establishing my network of now over 15 sub-agents, a Hollywood co-agent for movie deals, and other subsidiary rights possibilities in connection with the published book.
Today the agency has expanded into a two room office just off Columbus Circle, only four blocks from my home. We now have over thirty clients, who write both fiction and nonfiction. We are very proud of the success of our published authors and want to continue to encourage them to develop their writing careers. Over the years we hope to add many more International Bestsellers, like How to Become CEO by Jeff Fox.
The main goal of the agency is to continue to find high quality books which make a difference in people’s lives and high quality literary fiction with a commercial appeal.