Episode 126: From Editor to Agent — Interview with Mitch Hoffman

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there word nerds!

Thanks for joining me for DIY MFA Radio. I’m especially excited for this episode because today I get to interview agent Mitch Hoffman.

I first met Mitch at ThrillerFest earlier this year, where I heard him speak on a panel and later got a chance to talk further at one of those conference mix-and-mingle shindigs. Right away, I knew Mitch was someone I wanted to bring on the show, not only because of his unique background both as a former editor at a major publisher and now as an agent, but also because of his measured, thoughtful approach toward publishing.

Given how much has changed (and continues to change) in our industry, I wanted my word nerds to hear from someone who has been on both sides of the agent-editor realm, and also who’s been in the industry long enough to know where the book business has been, where it is now, and where it could be going.

And from getting a chance to chat with him for a bit at ThrillerFest, I happen to know that he’s a pretty cool guy to talk to.

Mitch joined the Aaron Priest Literary Agency as a Senior Agent in 2015. A 20-year veteran of the publishing industry, he was most recently Vice-President, Executive Editor at Grand Central Publishing.  As an editor, Mitch published over 200 books, more than 60 of which were New York Times bestsellers.  Prior to joining Grand Central Publishing in 2007, Mitch held editorial positions at Dutton and Dell Publishing, and began his career as an intern at Farrar, Straus and Giroux (or FSG).  So, basically, he’s worked at three of the “Big Apple Five” publishers.

In this episode Mitch and I discuss:

  • The difference between an agent and an editor, and why he made the switch from the latter to the former.
  • The acquisitions process from a publisher’s perspective, and what really happens after an editor gets a submission letter from an agent.
  • All the different people in a publishing house who help determine whether to acquire a book or not.
  • What an agent can do for an author trying to get published, and how agents can help authors beyond that single book deal.

Plus, Mitch’s #1 tip for writers.

About the Agent

Mitch Hoffman joined the Aaron Priest Literary Agency as a Senior Agent in 2015. A 20-year veteran of the publishing industry, he was most recently Vice-President, Executive Editor at Grand Central Publishing.  As an editor, Mitch published over 200 books, more than 60 of which were New York Times best sellers.  Prior to joining Grand Central Publishing in 2007, Mitch held editorial positions at Dutton and Dell Publishing, and began his career as an intern at Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Mitch is actively building a list of authors writing across the spectrum of fiction and nonfiction, including thrillers, suspense, crime fiction, and literary fiction, as well as narrative nonfiction, politics, popular science, history, memoir, current events, and pop culture.

If you think your book might be a good fit, visit the agency website, read the submission guidelines, and send him a query. Make sure you mention that you heard him speak on DIY MFA Radio!

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Link to Episode 126

(Right-click to download.)

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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome!

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