This article was written exclusively for Bookstr by Mark Gottlieb, literary agent at Trident Media Group. Here he discusses some of the major bestselling authors many of us have come to know and love. More importantly, he explains why we know and love these authors.
It always seemed that I was growing up with a prophecy hanging over my head. Both my parents worked in major trade book publishing, my father as a literary agent and my mother in contracts departments at various publishing houses, so it always seemed I was destined to go into book publishing. Or maybe it began with my beatnik grandparents. My grandfather was a poet who founded The Woodstock Times and bought Bob Dylan’s house from him in Woodstock. My grandfather also read Wilhelm Reich and sent his children to Summerhill, considered to be the first alternative “free” school. My grandmother was a practicing socialist, was previously married to Rod Steiger (On the Waterfront and Al Capone) and she taught acting to Sidney Poitier at the Lee Strasberg Actors Studio. They had Mary Travers of the band Peter, Paul and Mary babysit my father.
It was a very colorful way to grow up, surrounded by the vibrancy of literature, authors and other creative types. Along the way, I met many major bestselling & award-winning authors and can recount many fascinating tales, several of which I offer up here. Please allow me to be clear that this not about name-dropping but rather displaying the fireside lives of authors.
In growing up around book publishing, I’m lucky enough to be able to provide a glimpse into what it was like growing up observing writing, literature and book publishing going through their various changes over the couple of decades or so, until now.
The Dean Koontz we know: Dean Koontz is a New York Times bestselling author. His novels are described as suspense thrillers, though they have a lot of fantasy elements to them, in addition to fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and even satire. He has written kids books too. Many of Koontz’s books have been made into movies and TV shows, namely ODD THOMAS. Lots of readers have turned to his books as one of the biggest names next to Stephen King in horror novels.
The Dean Koontz we love: When I was a kid, I recall eating sushi for the first time with Dean Koontz in a washitsu (tatami room) at a Japanese restaurant. We didn’t know he was there at first since he surprised us. It made eating sushi for the first time all the more exciting since eating sushi was still a new thing for many New Yorkers (the thought of raw food, especially fish, was scary). Dean had an amazing home in the California hills with thousands of lights in his home with a loveable golden retriever.
The Tom Clancy we know: Tom Clancy was a #1 New York Times bestselling novelist most known for his techno-thriller espionage and military-science storylines set during and after the Cold War. His novel THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER put him on the map. Many of his novels were bestsellers, and more than 100 million copies of his books were sold. His books have been turned into movies and TV shows, namely THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER and THE SUM OF ALL FEARS. Military leaders and politicians have flocked to his books over the decades, in addition to fans of the Jason Bourne novels.
The Tom Clancy we love: I can recall playing with Tom Clancy and his toy soldiers in the penthouse/60th floor of 3 Lincoln Center. Tom had an exact replica of the building he lived in at the time reconstructed with figurines, trees and birds. It was all encased in plexiglass, almost like a ship in a bottle. Tom would even have his toy soldiers interact with some of the residents. Did I mention that Tom also happened to live in the same apartment building as us? We were on the 49th floor.
The Janet Evanovich we know: Janet Evanovich is a New York Times bestselling writer. Originally, she began by writing short contemporary romance novels under the pen name Steffie Hall, but she later gained fame authoring a series of contemporary mysteries known as the Stephanie Plum mystery series. There are now dozens of books in that series and the first, ONE FOR THE MONEY, was a film. Each of her books are numbered and often carry a clever or humorous title.
The Janet Evanovich we love: I can remember visiting Janet Evanovich, her husband and son at her home in snowy Hanover, NH. We got to tour her home, see the Porsche she owned and to have breakfast together at a favorite neighborhood spot near Dartmouth. We got to see a bit of the campus and town with Janet and her family, too.
R. L. Stine
The R.L. Stine we know: R.L. Stine, sometimes known as Jovial Bob Stine (due to his joking nature) and Eric Affabee, is a New York Times novelist, short story writer, television producer, screenwriter, and executive editor. Stine makes regular appearances at writing conferences such as ThrillerFest. He is most known for having created the Goosebumps franchise of books.
The R.L. Stine we love: The kids in school couldn’t believe that I would get a hold of every Goosebumps book before it would come out. They were even more excited to see that each book was signed and inscribed by R.L., himself. He and his assistant really took the time and care to make sure I got each of his books to keep me avidly reading. The books made for great couch companions to the TV shows.
The Deepak Chopra we know: Deepak Chopra is a New York Times bestselling author, public speaker/thought leader, alternative medicine supporter, and a prominent figure in spirituality and wellness. He has become one of the best-known and wealthiest figures in alternative medicine thanks to his books and videos. Deepak first came to prominence on Oprah’s TV show and he has been a mainstay ever since.
The Deepak Chopra we love: Having Deepak Chopra select a love poem by the ancient Persian poet Rumi for my wife and my wedding was one of the highlights of that evening. Deepak was also kind enough to write us a short introduction to that poem. We will forever remember and cherish that moment.
is a highly ranked literary agent at the Trident Media Group literary agency in New York City where he works within major trade book publishing. He has ranked first across the book publishing industry both in overall volume of deals and other individual categories and genres. Using that same initiative and insight for identifying talented writers, he is actively building his own client list of authors. He is excited to work directly with authors, helping to manage and grow their careers with all of the unique resources that are available at book publishing’s leading literary agency, Trident Media Group. One of his core values is helping writers realize their dream of becoming published authors and in helping published authors become highly successful in their publications. This is all while ensuring their enjoyment of the book publishing experience.
During his time at Trident Media Group as a literary agent, he has represented numerous New York Times bestselling authors, as well as major award-winning authors. He has optioned and sold numerous books to film and TV production companies. Throughout the year, he meets with major studio heads, independent production companies, agencies and managers in pitching the works of his clients for book-to-film/TV adaptation. He previously ran the agency’s Audiobook Department as an Audio Rights Agent. In that role he helped the Audiobook Department more than double its sales revenue in number of audiobook deals and amount of money for audiobook deals. Prior to that position he served as Executive Assistant to the literary agency’s Chairman. His first role within the literary agency was in the Foreign Rights Department, where he worked closely with the Director of the department, in seeing books sold to foreign publishers from around the world. He continues to work in the area of foreign rights on behalf of his clients in continually attending the major international book fairs, such as the London Book Fair and Frankfurt Book Fair. This is in addition to meeting with foreign book publishers throughout the year.
Prior to his time at Trident Media Group, he worked in Production at Penguin Books, handling production for various book imprints. Before his start in book publishing, he attended Emerson College where he obtained a degree in Writing, Literature and Publishing with a minor in Photography. While at Emerson College, he was a founding member of the Undergraduate Students for Publishing and later served as the organization’s President. He also co-founded Emerson College’s Wilde Press. He is also a highly sought-after keynote speaker at writers’ conferences and writers’ workshops. In giving back to the writing community, he has moderated and been a guest on panels, led critique groups, classes and workshops. He has also been deeply involved with charitable and philanthropic organizations such as PEN America, the Housing Works Book donation program and Habitat for Humanity. He is actively seeking submissions in all categories and genres, whether fiction, nonfiction, children’s books or graphic novels. He continues to look forward to bringing authors to the curious minds of their future readers.