Tuesday, May 15, 2007
FEATURED AGENT INTERVIEW: Robert Diforio - Agent, Founder Of D4EO Literary Agency
Robert G. Diforio has been in the publishing industry for 40 years, including 17 years at New American Library Dutton\Penguin USA from VP Sales to President and Publisher, Chairman and CEO. He’s the founder and sole owner of D4EO Literary Agency since 1989.
E.I. What qualities must a manuscript possess in order for you to really push to see it published? Do you base it on the query letter?
Robert Diforio: It is the query letter that gets – or doesn’t – my attention in the first place, but it clearly is the ms. or proposal that determines my decision to represent the work or not.
If it is a novel, it is the author’s voice in the ms. that will generate my attention, or not. If the voice is strong and the story compelling, I am apt to say yes. Once I say yes, I do my utmost to find editors who agree with me and strike the best deal, with the right editor, that I can on behalf of the author.
If the work is non-fiction, then it is a combination of the work itself – it has to be compelling – and the author’s ability to help sell his work. Publishers demand that authors, especially first time authors, have a media platform before they will consider publication. In its absence, the proposal or manuscript would have to truly capture my attention for me to take the time to try to find editors who agree.
In both fiction and non-fiction, the work has to excite me. If it doesn’t, I am not the agent to sell it.