Chatting with Luke Janklow, literary agent to the stars

Luke Janklow is in the story-telling business. And the publishing maverick is telling them one author at a time.

The former musician is a literary agent at his father, Morton Janklow’s, literary agency Janklow & Nesbit, and has worked with such celebrity clients as Gwyneth Paltrow, Beastie Boys members Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz, Anderson Cooper and Danielle Steel, to name a few. Even if bookstores are closing daily, Janklow is convinced there is a market for the avid reader. From his Park Avenue office, the native New Yorker clues us in to the inner goings-on of the alluring publishing world.


How did you get into publishing?

I was a musician and making a record. I got sick of it and walked away from a record deal and went to eat pancakes in Los Angeles. I stayed a few months. I then decided to come back to New York and do this with some creativity.


What’s the most difficult part of publishing a great book?

Finding a great book is so hard, and it’s even harder for the mere fact there are no more bookstores except Barnes & Noble and Amazon.


How do people seek books now?

Amazon is an important piece of the puzzle, and the internal enthusiasm creates some kind of explosion out of the gate, which can be the seed upon which people gravitate to.


What’s your favorite book you’ve worked on so far?

I have a special affinity to Austin Grossman, and Dan Harris’ ‘10% Happier.’


Any surprises on how well they do?

I get surprised at how some books do well, like Robert Hilburn’s biography of Johnny Cash. I didn’t know it would do as well as it did.


Does every author need a ghost writer?

No. Ghost writers are for people who have great stories, and who aren’t great writers. Writing takes great practice.


What’s your favorite book you’ve read?

Wow that’s hard. I’m reading an Alan Schom biography [of Napoleon Bonaparte], which I love.


Who are your favorite writers?

Kurt Vonnegut and John Kennedy Toole.


What’s your personal style?

A lot of my style is that I’m 6’6″. I like to wear nice clothes badly. I love custom clothes and I wish I could buy more.


How do you become Luke Janklow?

I can’t answer that question, I’m still becoming myself.