“We still have a lot of work to do, but the increase in visibility and success of voices from underrepresented backgrounds in fiction and nonfiction since I started in publishing has been enormous.” -Ronald Gerber
Every year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings a faculty of close to thirty agents, editors, and other industry professionals to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 28th Annual A&E Conference, taking place September 17-19, 2021, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.
An Interview with Ronald Gerber
Ronald Gerber is a literary agent and manages foreign rights, permissions, and contracts at Lowenstein Associates. Before joining the Lowenstein team in 2019, he spent several years in literary scouting at Sanford J. Greenburger Associates and Maximum Films & Management and supported two agents at Writers House. Ronald is a proud graduate of Bard College at Simon’s Rock and received his B.A., summa cum laude with high honors, from Clark University. Ronald’s clients have books forthcoming with Simon & Schuster, St. Martin’s Press, and more. His focus is on cinematic stories with strong hooks and relatable characters, and he is always looking for projects from queer, BIPOC, and other underrepresented authors. He is actively building his list in thriller/mystery, historical and contemporary fiction, romance, grounded sc-fi, narrative nonfiction, memoir/biography, and middle grade. For more information, see Ronald’s manuscript wish list at https://www.manuscriptwishlist.com/mswl-post/ronald-gerber/. Follow him on Twitter @RGerberAgent.
Scribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author?
Ronald Gerber: Highly individual! I’m extremely responsive and hands-on, but what each project and author needs is different. I usually discuss communication, editing, the submission process, and more with the author before I sign them to get a feel for what works best for them.
Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author?
RG: The ideal debut author knows the market for their book well, is excited and prepared to work to get their book ready for submission, and has ideas for future projects. Most agents, myself included, want to help authors not just with a single book deal but with building a career as a writer.
Scribe: What’s one piece of advice you find yourself giving to others time and time again?
RG: For the writing process, I often advise authors to outline their books before writing or when they have something rough. Not everyone writes this way, but it helps many people with pacing, character development, and plot beats, all things that should flow naturally in the final manuscript. For the querying process, I always say do your research! I get so many queries in genres I don’t represent, or from people who aren’t familiar with the general format of a query. A quick internet search will help you make sure your book isn’t overlooked for something easily avoidable.
Scribe: What excites you the most about the publishing industry today?
RG: Diversity! We still have a lot of work to do, but the increase in visibility and success of voices from underrepresented backgrounds in fiction and nonfiction since I started in publishing has been enormous.
Scribe: Tell us about a recent book/project that you worked on that excited you and want everyone to know about?
RG: My client Sonja Thomas’ adorable middle grade debut, SIR FIG NEWTON AND THE SCIENCE OF PERSISTENCE, is publishing from Aladdin/Simon & Schuster in March 2022! It’s a heartwarming #OwnVoices novel about a 12-year-old’s quest to help her parents out of their funk and raise enough money to treat her cat’s diabetes. Sonja is also contributing to the latest Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls collection: 100 REAL-LIFE TALES OF BLACK GIRL MAGIC. It will publish in September 2021.
Click here for more information on the 2021 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (September 17-19) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.