The Jeff Herman Agency, LLC
PO Box 1522
Stockbridge, MA 01262
413-298-0077 FAX 413-298-8188
Personal website: www.deborah-herman.com
Agent’s name: Deborah Herman Vice President, Editorial Director
Born: Smithtown, New York.
Education: Juris Doctorate (JD) The Ohio State University College of Law in a Dual Degree with the Graduate School of Journalism (MA) ,The Ohio State University (BA) Honors Contract Interdisciplinary with Honors in Liberal Arts.
Career history: Deborah Levine Herman began her career as an Assistant Attorney General in the State of Ohio and then practiced law in the private sector. She left law to pursue her interests in Spirituality and Writing. Herman had begun her writing career while attending Law School. To keep her sanity she often went to a comedy club where her brother was appearing as MC. The owner of the club put her to work writing reviews of the comedians and a love of writing was born. What to do mid first year law? Join forces with the Journalism School to learn her craft. Herman began her writing career writing terrible book proposals. She was rescued by agent Jeff Herman who took pity on her and put her to work screening proposals until she could see how they needed to be written. In 1993 the two collaborated on the first version of “Write the Perfect Book Proposal: ten proposals that sold and why” which was released in second edition in 2003. It is still a perennial classic in the industry. Levine-Herman has written over ten non-fiction books all represented by Jeff Herman including “The Complete Idiots Guide to Motherhood, (Alpha Books) and “Spiritual Writing from Inspiration to Publication (soon to be rereleased for the digital age.)” Levine Herman joined the Agency in 1990 long distance. In 1996 she decided she could save on commission if she married her agent and increase profits if she helped run the business from the same address. The Herman’s merged business and household that year and relocated both to the beautiful Berkshires in Massachusetts in 2002. Levine-Herman has a strong interest in spirituality and mysticism and specializes in books of this nature as well as general non-fiction and memoir. In addition to her work at the agency Levine-Herman is a humanitarian who uses her gifts of intuition and animal communication to help as many fellow travelers on the path as she can. She has a regular radio show on BBSradio.com called Soul-Odyssey. Levine-Herman is a teacher, healer and public speaker as well available to speak at events and workshops.
Categories/subjects that you are most enthusiastic about agenting: American History, Judaica, spirituality, self-help, popular culture, celebrity driven biographies, topical subjects, memoir
If you were not an agent, what might you be doing instead: I do so many things in addition to Agenting. I love to help writers live their dreams. I might want to hide out on the beach in Hawaii making bead jewelry and drinking fresh coconut milk.
What’s the best way for writers to solicit your interest: Please go to our website and send a query submission. Make sure you have a proposal ready to go and give us your phone number along with email. You never know. I might be feeling impulsive if I am really excited about your project and will want to contact you right away. If you send a written query make sure to send a self-addressed stamped envelope if you want to increase chances of a speedy reply.
Do you charge reading or management fees: No.
Can you provide an approximation by percent of what you tend to represent by category: We are 98% non-fiction. At this point we are largely by referral but we do look at our submissions.
What are the most common mistakes writers make when pitching you: They call us and don’t know that I often answer our phones in my professional voice. They try to get past the gatekeeper by being rude. And they also pitch by phone. I am very busy during the day and might get irritable. Write or send an email query from the site and follow the suggestions in the free software of BPwiz of how to write a query and a book proposal. You improve your chances immensely.
How would you describe the perfect client: Probably much differently than Jeff would. I click with some people and their work on a soul –level. I perceive my work as an agent as just that. I am in a position to make things happen. If I feel they are meant to happen and have a strong sense of commitment it becomes a mission. I also love people who try to stretch their knowledge of new technologies and how to use them to maximize the presentation of their message. People over 25 were not born with computers in every house. But we can learn to use this wonderful new technology. This site is a great example. I also love people who are team players and who see this journey as a big picture that can benefit many. If they are too ego- centered and want this for the “wrong” reasons I might help them with their lessons but I don’t often see it going very far.
Please list representative titles you have sold: Please see our website for a complete list. We have sold over 600 titles. Perhaps Jeff will have more energy to include some on his. We have a particular specialty in business books. I am particularly proud of “Atypical: My life with Aspergers in 23 1/3 Chapters” because it was a long process and working with Jesse Saperstein, a young man with Aspergers was a great experience for both of us. It is a great book about Aspergers from the inside out and Jesse works feverishly on promotion. I do a lot of our screening, marketing and project development but to be honest, Jeff does the heavy lifting on book sales. He has an incredible gut instinct and understanding of the industry. I still also consider myself a writer. So I work both sides of the fence. I like to work with writers through coaching and guiding them past blocks. The best way to succeed as a writer is to write.
Favorite books to read: I am a total bibliophile. I have never met a book sale I haven’t loved because I look for things that are odd and often out of print. I have a huge metaphysics library and also have books about classic movies and associated biographies. I collect books on manners and lifestyle from the turn of the century especially if they depict the role of women. As far as current reading for pleasure, it has to strike my fancy. I am fortunate right now to have friends who are not jaded by having to read so much for screening. They keep me apprised of current trends in good books and I try to read them if I have time. I actually like the older books by people like Belva Plain because I hope someday to write a generational memoir/novel. Don’t we all want to write novels? I have been in non-fiction world, but that is still something I would like to try.
Hobbies: I love to be creative. Now that the kids are grown I can no longer hijack their school projects. I miss glue sticks and markers. So I do my own brand of artwork. I call it automatic drawing. I have samples on my personal website. I have created two oracle decks and an adult coloring book. I make jewelry, particularly with animal charms and angels. I like basic stringing so I don’t get too fancy. I want to learn bead weaving like the native Americans do. I love animals and do animal communication. Yes I really do talk to the animals. I even video tape it and write a column called “Animals love to talk.” I have a horse who is fairly old though he doesn’t know it. We walk each other like he is a big dog. Jeff and I love indie movies and we often take drives to know where and I force him to stop at tag sales so I can treasure hunt.
Additional Services: I am the editorial director of the agency which means that I select and develop projects and take on very few of my own. When I select a project it is represented by the agency. I have a separate consultation business where I edit and doctor book proposals and manuscripts. I coach writers through skype or phone consultations using both my experience and education as a writer/journalist and my intuition. I can be reached through my personal website.
I feel oddly connected to Jessica Redfield Ghawi. She is not someone I had ever met. She is not even someone who was in my consciousness until I read a tweet on the early morning of Friday July 20, 2012 that shared one of her last blog posts. Jessica Redfield, who was tragically murdered in what is now being…Continue
It has been a long time since I have attended a writer's conference where I was not teaching a class. As a literary agent and book doctor, I have conducted workshops on book proposal writing, spiritual writing, getting published and every subject related to the business. This past weekend I decided to attend a day of the regional conference for Children's Authors and Illustrators. It was very well attended and I signed up to learn more about this very specialized area of the industry in the…Continue
I am an intuitive with many gifts that move me beyond the 5 senses. I thank God for them. However, these extra senses do not always explain the bigger picture to me. I am satisfied with the understanding I have with the Creator and my Spirit Guides. My awareness unfolds on a “need to know” basis. I am happy not asking too many questions beyond that because I always know I get the information I need at the right time. I try to live in the present. It actually annoys a lot of people, but it…Continue