Meet the Agent: Mark Gottlieb

Trident Media Group Literary Agency

Here at Jericho Writers, we are constantly striving to provide our writers with as many useful resources as possible. That is why in 2018 we expanded our Agent Match service to includes ALL American literary agents to help all our writers across the pond. The agent-author relationship is an incredibly important one in the process of publishing your book so you really want to make sure you find your perfect match. This is why we began our ‘Meet the Agent’ blog series.

In this blog post we spoke to Mark Gottlieb of Trident Media Group about his favourite authors and book, but also what books he’s looking for in a submission this year.

Have you got any favourite authors or books you can’t resist reading time and time again?

For my reading pleasure, I love to read everything that Tom Robbins writes. I find that I continually come back to his books and I suspect that I will probably continue to reread his books some day after he’s gone. Kurt Vonnegut is a close second. I also enjoy reading literary graphic novels from the likes of Charles Burns and Daniel Clowes. 

What’s been your favourite recent beach read? Your favourite recent heavyweight novel? A recent non-fiction book that you’ve been talking about with friends?

I desperately need to get back to the beach but my last beach read was Fredrik Backman’s A Man Called Ove. Before that I was reading A Confederacy of Dunces. I might like to turn my attention to a Haruki Murakami novel or a classic. 

What interests or passions do you have beyond the world of books? What do you love?

I’ve collected some expensive and time-consuming hobbies over the years, such as photography and kendo/iaido (Japanese fencing). Riding my bike to and from work every day is good exercise but I’d like to get into yoga for the spiritual/meditative aspect.

The secret to getting an agent

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Tell us about a recent deal (or three) that really delighted you.

I recently performed a couple of six-figure deals in the area of historical fiction:

  • Writer for The Bleeding Lion and Larks Fiction Magazine and author of the forthcoming THE LONG FLIGHT HOME Alan Hlad’s two untitled historical fiction novels, pitched in the style of UNBROKEN and WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, to John Scognamiglio at Kensington, in a good deal, in an exclusive submission, in a two-book deal, by Mark Gottlieb at Trident Media Group (world). 
  • Journalist and editor James Wade’s ALL THINGS LEFT WILD, set during the turn of the 20th century, when a botched robbery leaves a young boy dead and sets two men on conflicting journeys across untamed landscape—it is a coming of age for one, a mid-life odyssey for the other, and an illustration of the violence and corruption prevalent in our fast-expanding country, to Rick Bleiweiss at Blackstone Publishing, in a good deal, in a three-book deal, by Mark Gottlieb at Trident Media Group (world).

What do you want to see in a query letter? And what do you hate? 

A well written query letter is the first sign that the manuscript might be good. I also look at the “meat and potatoes” of the story to see if the plot itself is exciting and original. Lastly, I will look at a writer’s relevant writing experience/credentials.  

Same question when it comes to the synopsis. What should writers do? What should they avoid?

A good synopsis ought to fit on one page and cover the entire plot of the novel. The synopsis should be very bare bones and avoid spilling into multiple pages. Authors should not be worried about including spoilers in their synopses, especially if the spoilers are integral to the plot of the novel. 

What are you looking for in the opening pages of a novel? What really excites you?

To read the full interview, as well as many more, head over to Agent Match where members can get access to over 500 agent profiles!

For tonnes of other unmissable resources and opportunities, join Jericho Writers now.

The secret to getting an agent

Free submission pack template