Lee Sobel Literary Agency
Greetings authors seeking a literary agent!
You're on a mission that is no easier than finding your soulmate - so find the right agent that fits your needs and career goals as a writer. After you speak to an agent to get to know them (I highly recommend zoom calls - don't work with an agent based on an email) and if you feel good about them, ask to speak to some of their clients. Questions you should ask them about their agent are things like: How attentive is your agent to your writing career and do they really care or is it just a business to them? Does your agent offer suggestions that are helpful to your work? How determined is your agent to get the sale for you (or does the agent give up too easily)? Does your agent pitch to the big publishers as well as the independents (I shoot big but at the end of the day I am about getting books published). How is communication with your agent (is your agent available to you when you need him or her, does your agent get right back to you, etc.). You're going to spend a lot of time talking to your agent so it's good if you like them and vice-versa. That may sound dumb but it's all about chemistry. I love my clients and it's the people (and the books they write) that makes agenting so rewarding.
About me: I'm in the book business because I love books. I'm the son of a literary agent and grew up in awe of my father's wonderful nurturing of writers' careers. I tried my hand at agenting books in 1992 and sold the first ever book I represented (a thriller novel called "Kiss Them Goodbye"). I soon learned what a true labor of love the book business is. We agents make 15% of what we make our clients - that means we have to sell a lot to make a living and one book sold was not going to pay the rent. So I stopped agenting after selling that first book and took a 24 year hiatus before starting my current agency in 2016 when I came to the realization that there were books that didn't exist that I wanted to read. So, I decided to try to will them into existence. Once again, first time out of the gate I sold the first book I represented -- this time a rock 'n roll memoir (Sylvain Sylvain of The New York Dolls). If you check the list of books I've sold you will see that my primary focus has been on selling music and pop culture books. I'd love to represent more fiction but my taste in fiction is very focused -- I want to read a great novel that moves me emotionally (regardless of the genre). If I had to describe the kind of novel I truly want I would say, it should be about someone sympathetic who is put through hell -- someone I can relate to and think, "My God, that could be me or someone I love." So if you think that describes the novel you've just finished, I want to read it! I've written an article about how to write a query letter -- please read this before you contact me via email at LeeSobel15@gmail.com: https://www.greasykidstuffmagazine.com/tips-for-authors-1
2022 BOOK SALES BY LEE SOBEL LITERARY AGENCY (SO FAR):
WHEN ROCK MET REGGAE: How the Cultural Crossover of Bob Marley,
The Clash, The Specials and More Changed the Face of Rock Music by Steven Blush (Backbeat Books)
DLR Book: How David Lee Roth Changed The World
by Darren Paltrowitz (Backbeat Books)
Marlon Brando: Hollywood Rebel
by Burt Kearns (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books)
She’s A Badass: Women in Rock Shaping Modern Feminism
by Katherine Yeske Taylor (Backbeat Books)
Radical Dreams: The Life of Alan Vega by Liz Lamere
and Laura Davis-Chanin (Backbeat Books)
Making A Bridge Too Far by Simon Lewis (GoodKnight Books)
How "High Fidelity" Found Its Rhythm & Became a Movie Classic
by Andrew Buss (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books)
I See Dead People: The Making of "The Sixth Sense"
by Mackenzie Nichols (Applause Theatre & Cinema Books)
Retro Active Television: An In-Depth History of Classic TV's Social Circuitry
by Herbie J Pilato (Headline Books)
2021 SALES BY LEE SOBEL LITERARY AGENCY:
KILLIN’ GENERALS: The Making of The Dirty Dozen, the Most Iconic
WWII Movie of All Time by Dwayne Epstein (Kensington Publishing)
VERA MILES: THE HITCHCOCK BLONDE THAT GOT AWAY: The Biography of the Star of Psycho, The Wrong Man, The Searchers, and More by Christopher McKittrick (University Press of Kentucky)
SHARI LEWIS AND LAMB CHOP: THE TEAM THAT CHANGED CHILDREN’S TV
by Nat Segaloff and Mallory Lewis (University Press of Kentucky)
THE WAY THEY WERE: The Real Love Story That Inspired a Movie Classic,
on Its 50th Anniversary by Robert Hofler (Kensington)
UNDER THEIR THUMB: How a Nice Boy from Brooklyn Got Mixed Up with the
Rolling Stones (and Lived to Tell About It) by Bill German (Backbeat Books)
THE TOUGH GUY: Lawrence Tierney’s Hollywood Rampage From Dillinger
to Tarantino by Burt Kearns (University Press of Kentucky)
CONNERY, SEAN CONNERY: Before, During and After JAMES BOND
by Herbie J Pilato (University Press of Kentucky)
50 YEARS OF FEAR: The Legacy of The Exorcist by Nat Segaloff (Kensington)
THE LIFE OF BETTY BOOP by Peter Benjaminson (Rowman & Littlefield)
WHEN ROCK MET DISCO by Steven Blush (Rowman & Littlefield)
ONE TOUGH DAME: The Life and Career of Diana Rigg by Herbie J Pilato
(University Press of Mississippi)
JESSICA LANGE: American Horror Story and Beyond by Anthony Uzarowski
(University Press of Kentucky)
LUCAS/SPIELBERG – THE DIRECTORS’ CUT by Herbie J Pilato
(University Press of Kentucky)
LAUREN BACALL: The Queen of Cool by Anthony Uzarowski
(University Press of Mississippi)
FRIENDS OF DOROTHY: A Celebration of LGBTQ+ Icons
by Anthony Uzarowski (Imagine Books/Charlesbridge)
THE RAMONES AND THE MAKING OF ROCK 'N' ROLL HIGH SCHOOL
by Stephen B. Armstrong (Backbeat Books)
Praise for Lee Sobel Literary Agency:
"Lee Sobel is a thoroughly professional and straightforward agent. He approached me following publication of my first book, Waterloo-Making An Epic, and explained his passion for ‘Making Of’ film books. I had an idea and went away and wrote up a proposal. After suggesting a few sensible enhancements, he diligently set about his job. A week or so later, and after some strong negotiating—he made a deal! Fully recommend!” - Author Simon Lewis
"Man, was I lucky to find Lee Sobel, that rare industry figure who 'gets it,' who understands what’s cool and what fits at the intersection of popular culture and literature. More than a literary agent, he’s a mentor, teacher, editor, coach, and artist. When Lee is enthusiastic about a project, you can be sure he’ll make it happen. I am in his debt." - Author Burt Kearns
"I reached out to Lee based on the recommendation of a publisher I had pitched my book to. Within hours of that we were on the phone. Within hours of that I had a 'how to' of what I should do to create a sellable book. About 2 weeks after that I crafted a suitable pitch, and within days of that, Lee had sold my book to a publisher. I thought this process was supposed to be a lot more complicated and dramatic...?"
- Author Darren Paltrowitz
"When I signed on with Lee, I'd never written a book proposal before, but he was extremely helpful at every step of the process. From coming up with a viable idea through giving excellent feedback on my drafts, Lee was patient, knowledgeable, and encouraging. Within days of sending out that proposal, he got me a contract for my first book deal. Clearly, he knows what he's doing! I can't thank him enough for believing in my work and getting me such an amazing opportunity."
- Author Katherine Yeske Taylor
"Lee Sobel is a literary agent who works minor and major miracles. After my agent Michael Hamilburg passed away I was left in freefall until Lee contacted me. I checked him out and decided to take him up on his offer of representation. In short order we came up with a new book idea, he goaded me into a proposal and the next thing I knew, we got a publisher's offer! Talk about your miracles! I highly endorse Lee as both an agent and a mensch, two things the world is in short supply of having."
- Author Dwayne Epstein
"Lee Sobel's outstanding dedication shines through the persistence, support, and generosity of his time that he has offered me as one of his clients. His thorough knowledge of the publishing industry and his invaluable guidance and suggestions have taken my career to a new height." - Author Christopher McKittrick
"Lee Sobel sold my proposal faster than it will take someone to read the book. My accountant and I are equally impressed." - Author Nat Segaloff
"Lee is highly dedicated to his clients and he has enormous energy. He works tirelessly to make his clients and their books successful." - Author Laura Davis-Chanin
"Lee Sobel is an amazingly creative, intelligent and resourceful agent. I've worked with at least four other agents during my eight-book writing career, but Lee tops them all by a long shot." - Author Peter Benjaminson
"Lee Sobel is an outstanding literary agent and shows tremendous respectand support for his clients that is in a class by itself. If you want a literary agent with an unmatched love for what he does -- he is your guy! I have only positive things to say about working with Lee." - Author Herbie J Pilato
"Lee Sobel is as kind and supportive as he is shrewd. He helps clients shape their book proposals and secures deals with first-rate publishers, maintaining the highest standards of professionalism at all times. He's the best."
- Author Stephen B. Armstrong
"All the deals we’ve done have been refreshingly straightforward and if you get to meet him in person, I guarantee you’ll have a blast. I can’t recommend working with Lee highly enough!" - Book Editor David Barraclough
"Lee is a Renaissance man---truly creative and knowledgeable, great taste,
enthusiastic and driven. It's great to work with someone who has his passion."
- Book Editor Bernadette Malavarca
“Within three months of opening conversations initiated by agent Lee Sobel,
I had a new book deal. The endorsement speaks for itself.”
— Author Steven Blush
“If you are looking for an agent who will champion your work and fight for you, Lee is your man! I’ve worked with agents both in the US and UK, and I never encountered one whose passion, energy and savviness came anywhere close to Lee’s. His enthusiasm and belief in my ideas and my ability as a writer gave me a huge boost, and I will be forever grateful to Lee for letting me realize my long-term passion projects.”
- Author Anthony Uzarowski
Hello! My name is Lee Sobel and I am a literary agent. I am the son of a literary agent and grew up in the New York publishing world. I have books in my blood! It's been my joy to bring a number of great books into the world!
I have had a rich and varied career working in the entertainment business, both with movies and music. I like to think that everything I have done in my life was great preparation for agenting. I started out at age 13 publishing my own sci-fi fanzines and making super 8mm films. I am a graduate of NYU's renowned film school, where my thesis film, a 1940s set parody of movie serials and film noir, Rick Blazen Is In Trouble, was winner of the 1985 Cinemagic Short Film Search award and was excerpted on a home video release, The Fangoria Weekend of Horrors.
I went to work for famed New York television producer Robert Halmi ("Lonesome Dove") as director of development, where I scouted books and screenplays and made contacts in the book publishing world that would serve me well later when I began agenting books. I then moved out to Los Angeles where I worked in the same capacity for producer Nelle Nugent. My working with writers on movie projects was great training for understanding the development process and this bore fruit when I started representing Joseph Eastburn's first novel, Kiss Them Goodbye, which I sold. That was the early 90s and I just was not ready to commit to being an agent full-time so I moved back to New York and continued making films and directing plays. Finding the cost of renting a theater to be too costly, I began showing my films in bars and restaurants, leading up to directing my first feature film and premiering it at a nightclub with seven bands from the soundtrack playing live -- I shot a documentary of that event called Rockabilly '96 Live . The movie, originally titled Burnin' Love, was released to home video by Troma Entertainment under the title Rockabilly Vampire. I soon found myself publishing a retro music and lifestyle magazine called Lo-Fi: Easy Living For Cool Moderns, touting it on MTV, producing and hosting a cable access TV show with live bands called Retro TV, producing and managing bands, DJing, booking tours for bands, and producing thousands of live music events. I also released several CDs on my own record label and I directed a total of seven low budget movies, most of which are listed on IMDB. But it all led me back to what I had set out to do originally -- work with authors to make books come to life. Thus the Lee Sobel Literary Agency was born!
When I started my agency I focused a lot of my energy on music books and I couldn't think of a reason not to since I very luckily sold nearly every proposal I pitched to publishers. But soon the tide turned and finding famous or even semi-famous rock musicians to write their memoirs that publishers were dying to pay good money for became harder to get and one of the American publishers I was selling a lot of books to got sold to another company, preventing them from going through with buying a book I had sold them. Then the pandemic happened and everyone, including book publishing, seemed to go into a limbo state. In the summer of 2020 I decided to start the pop culture website Greasy Kidstuff Magazine and began to think about agenting books about movies, television and comics. This led to signing a number of new clients and suddenly finding myself on a roll. As of right now (November 2021) I've sold 16 books this year. I guess it's true what people have been saying that since the pandemic people have been reading more. I know I have!
How about a good novel, Lee? Yes I am always looking for a great novel, especially suspense thrillers, horror and science fiction -- I like relatable characters that are emotionally complex and unpredictable and stories that takes unexpected twists and turns and keep me on the edge of my seat. My all time favorite TV series is Rod Serling's Twilight Zone and if I could find material like that I would be in heaven. I love my clients and I am all about "doing more" and I try to avoid doing things that I hear other agents do that make either their clients unhappy or annoy publishers. I have no ego about what I do - I love the nurturing of new projects, strategizing selling the books and making the deals. Also, my agency is represented for film and television deals in Hollywood by Intellectual Property Group who recently handled the movie option for the Bill Haley book I agented.
I don't have any special requirements if you would like to contact me and I am always looking for new clients so don't be shy if you need an agent! You can email me at LeeSobel15@gmail.com and please visit my agency page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/leesobelliteraryagency/