Meet the Agents: David Doerrer (The Platform)

“As a writer, you need to cultivate an indomitable spirit.”  David Doerrer, The Platform

Every other year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings 20-25 literary agents and book editors to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 30th A&E Conference, taking place June 21 – 23, 2024, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our visiting agents and editors here.

An Interview with David Doerrer

David Doerrer founded The Platform in 2024 after 13 years at A3 Artists Agency, a full-service talent agency, where he worked his way up from Assistant to Agent to Director of the Book Division. His time at A3 imbued in him a firm belief that a book is never just a book—it’s a platform for a compelling story, a world-changing message, and a multi-faceted career. His hands-on style and extensive relationships in the talent world enable him to help clients craft affecting books and use them as a springboard into other mediums, whether that be podcasting, film and television, or speaking. His clients include pioneering academics, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, New York Times-bestselling novelists, thought leaders in the world of business and medicine, and online influencers of all stripes. David is a true-blue native New Yorker: he grew up in Queens, graduated from NYU with a BA in English and Creative Writing, and lives in Brooklyn with his husband and tabby cat.

Scribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author? 

David Doerrer: I’m very hands-on. Before I was an agent, I was in subsidiary rights at a publisher, which is exclusively a sales position. I transitioned because I wanted to get my hands dirty in the muck of creation.

Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author? 

DD: A commanding voice. It’s something that can’t be taught, and I consider everything else (plot, structure, etc.) fixable. Without a voice that grabs your attention, you’re lost.

Scribe: What’s one piece of advice you find yourself giving to others time and time again?

DD: Keep your head up. Nothing about the writing process is easy. From the act itself, to finding an agent, to finding a publisher, to finding an audience. As a writer, you need to cultivate an indomitable spirit. Part of my philosophy as an agent is to ensure writers celebrate their wins and don’t get caught up in their losses.

Scribe: What excites you the most about the publishing industry today?

DD: The plethora of young editors coming up who are prioritizing underrepresented voices.

Scribe: Tell us about a recent book/project that you worked on that excited you and you want everyone to know about? 

DD: I recently sold a project by Professor Gillian Sandstrom, whose niche is studying the benefits we reap from engaging with “weak ties”, i.e., strangers and people we barely know. Gillian, who’s an introvert, chose that area of study after she realized her daily, seemingly cursory interactions with the hot dog-lady on campus made her feel like she belonged. It’s such an uplifting project. It has made me less cynical about the world and other people.

Thanks, David!

Click here for more information on the 2024 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 21-23) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.