Miriam Goderich and Jane Dystel have been partners since 1995 and they work closely as an agenting team to generate book ideas, help create book proposals, place projects with publishing companies, and negotiate all contracts pertaining to publishing and subsidiary rights. In addition, Miriam is an insightful editor who has been responsible for discovering and working on a number of first novels. She is also very involved in developing nonfiction projects and taking them from the conceptual stage to publication. Miriam’s areas of interest include: literary and commercial fiction as well as some genre fiction, narrative nonfiction, pop culture, psychology, history, science, art, business books, and biography/memoir.

Miriam received a BA in Comparative Literature and an MA in English from Columbia University. She was born in Cuba and, prior to settling in the New York area, lived in Spain and Miami, Florida. Currently, she resides just outside the City with her husband and son, a dog, and a parrot.

 

What types of books genre(s) do you represent?  Everything except poetry.

 

How many writers do you represent?  DGLM represents over 500 writers.

 

What is the term of your contract?  We represent the rights to a book we’ve sold for the life of that book.  Even if we part ways with the author, which, of course, they are entitled to do, we continue to represent the ancillary and subsidiary rights to the titles we’ve sold.

 

What commission do you take?  15% domestic; 19% foreign.

 

How many sales have you made?  No idea.  DGLM sells over on average 150 books a year.  We’ve been in business for 20 years.

 

What are your submission requirements?  Query letter with a couple of sample chapters (e-mailed or snail mailed).

 

Are you currently accepting submissions? Yes

 

What genre(s) are you most interested in at this time?  Historical, YA, New Adult, Contemporary romance, general women’s fiction, narrative nonfiction.

 

What is your contact information?  What’s the best way to query you (including the URL, email address or postal address an author should use)?   Miriam@dystel.com; www.dystel.com for information on our other agents and their interests.

 

What do you believe is the agent’s role in today’s market?  To provide guidance and expertise in a quickly changing publishing landscape.  To be a constant in the author’s professional life when there is so much turnover in the publishing world.

 

What is your obligation to the author?   To give them the best advice  possible.  To communicate often and clearly about their projects, their options and to help them make good choices.  To help them develop and grow their careers.

 

What services do you provide the author?  Development and editorial, contract negotiations, royalty management, rights sales, advice, hand holding…

 

What do you expect from each author you sign?  That they are honest, straightforward about their needs, good communicators.  We’re not mind readers and we can’t help unless we know what an author’s expectations are.

 

What do you see as current or future trends, and which of those have you or do you intend to implement?  The Indie publishing boom is huge right now and DGLM has done extremely well transitioning a number of successful Indie authors into relationships with traditional publishers.  Our agency has also created a digital publishing program as an adjunct to traditional placement of titles (we help authors self-publish out of print titles, books we were not able to sell traditionally but which we believe have a market as e-books, etc.)
What genres, fads or trends do you see fading, glutted, or up-and-coming? Are your publisher contacts actively looking for a certain type of book?   Self-help and true crime are two categories that have been adversely impacted by competition on the Internet and the collapse of the mass market paperback distribution system.  Publishers are scrambling to redefine themselves and establish their value in the face of the aforementioned Indie publishing boom.  They are looking for category fiction—especially romance and YA.

 

With the prevalence of self-publishing options, have you experienced a decrease in author requests for representation?  Not at all.  Business is booming around here.

 

With large publishers opening their doors to unagented submissions, do you see the number of agents increasing in number, holding steady, or shrinking? Do you believe the open-door submission opportunities will continue?  I think the number of agents will remain more or less constant.  It’s a difficult business to succeed in and requires longterm commitment.  And, yes, I think open-door submissions will continue.  We still find many gems in the unsolicited queries that come to us every day.

 

Do you offer any services that self-published writers can’t purchase for themselves?  Royalty management, rights placement, contract expertise, advice about social media and marketing and publicity (we’ve created a very useful social media guide for our clients) a lot of experience about publishing and what works and doesn’t and a great many intangibles.

 

How much revision/brainstorming/editing, if any, do you do for and with author-clients?  Depends on the author but our agency is big on development and editorial feedback and so we can go through many drafts with someone before we think their project is ready for submission.

 

What conferences do you attend? Have you signed any writers that you’ve met at these conferences?  Many, many conferences over the years.  Aside from local and online events, which I’ve done a number of,  already this year I’ve recently been in Austin, Geneva, Wichita, Richmond….

 

Is there anything else you’d like to tell writers who are contemplating the agent-submission vs. Indie route to publication?  Do your research.  Indie publishing can be very effective but it’s not for everyone.  It requires tremendous work and commitment to marketing and promotion and compromises the author’s writing time.  Traditional publishers have a lot to offer still and are very good at what they do.  Here’s a recent blog post I did on this subject: http://www.dystel.com/2013/05/the-longview/

 

Does your agency offer self-publishing services?  The digital publishing program I mentioned above open to our clients currently.  We help authors self-publish but we do not consider ourselves publishers at all; we continue to be agents and to charge our standard commission (as opposed to some agencies who are doing this and acting as publishers and charging up to 50% of the author’s income).