Lord of Publishing
A MemoirA frank and insightful memoir of a life spent in publishing, by one of literature’s most legendary agents
Sterling Lord has led an extraordinary life, from his youth in small-town Iowa to his post-war founding and editing of an English-language magazine in Paris, followed by his move to New York City to become one of the most powerful literary agents in the field. As agent to Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey, and countless others—ranging from Jimmy Breslin and Rocky Graziano to the Berenstains and four US cabinet members—Lord is the decisive influence and authors’ confidant who has engineered some of the most important book deals in literary history. In Lord of Publishing, his memoir of life and work (and tennis), Lord reveals that he is also a consummate storyteller. Witty and wise, he brings to life what was arguably the greatest era of book publishing, and gives a brilliant insider’s scoop on the key figures of the book business—as well as some of the most remarkable books and authors of our time.
- Pub Date
- Open Road Integrated Media
- Biographies and Memoirs
“Sterling Lord has always seemed to me one of the last real gentlemen in the book publishing business, so courtly, gracious and calm that it’s hard to believe that any author ever screamed at him, but this and many other revelations in his book, prove that he is a consummate storyteller as well as a virtual institution after more than sixty years of agenting. Anyone who wants to know how the book business works (or used to work) ought to read this book. I had a great time reading it.” —Michael Korda “Sterling Lord has been giving a masterclass in shepherding authors through the forests of publishing for fifty years. In Lord of Publishing he tells us how he did it. A revelation even for those of us lucky enough to have been with him all those years.” —Nicholas Pileggi “This is a rare—if not unique—in-depth chronicle of a life spent with great determination and success in helping writers chart their often difficult way to publication. Lord of Publishing takes us behind the scenes, unfolding dozens of fascinating stories that reveal the challenges not only of launching a writer’s first book but perhaps as important shepherding his career, sometimes for decades. To my mind there’s nothing else quite like this rewarding chronicle. Writers—and editors too—who came to know Sterling Lord can thank their lucky stars.” —Robert Loomis “Fifty years ago when I was the Articles Editor of Life, I bought a number of properties from Sterling Lord to excerpt in the magazine. I was so impressed by his professional judgment and I so much enjoyed his friendship that I asked him to be my own literary agent, which he has been for many years. Today I am no longer writing books, but as you will see from his delightful and zingy memoir, Sterling is still going as strong as ever.” —Ralph Graves
“Recognizing the merits of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, the first novel submitted to him, Lord shopped the book around for four years until it found the right publisher—and instant literary immortality . . . Any reader interested in American literary culture of the last half-century will find something to savor.” —Publishers Weekly
About the author
Sterling Lord (b. 1920) is the founder and cochairman of Sterling Lord Literistic and has been representing authors such as Jack Kerouac and Ken Kesey for more than half a century. In addition to Kerouac and Kesey, he has represented such authors as Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Dick Francis, Howard Fast, and Stan and Jan Berenstain. Lord lives in New York City.