With Peter Cox, literary agent
June 4, 2007
A few weeks ago, I received a friendly email about Magnatune from Peter Cox, a literary agent in London. We met, and really hit it off, becoming instant friends (he didn’t know I dabbled in the book world with BookMooch). I offered to do a set of portrait photos of Peter, for his own promotional purposes, and because I enjoy playing “amateur photographer” now and then, which is why we met today.
Peter is really Internet savvy, a rarety among book people, and tries all sorts of interesting ideas. He became an agent, because he used to be a writer, most famously writing several of Linda McCartney’s best-selling meat-less cookbooks and was frustrated with the quality of the literary agents in the business available to him as a writer.
His most interesting Internet project is Litopia Writer’s Colony, a web site where talented career-writers read and criticize each other’s works, as well as being able to ask serious business-of-books questions of Peter. You have to submit a writing sample to be let in, and thus the writing caliber is quite high.
Peter launched Litopia five years ago, after he had hired someone to read through a massive stack of unsolicited manuscripts and finding virtually nothing good among them. He thought that there must be a better way to locate great unknown writers, as well as to incubate great-writers-to-be. That’s what drives Litopia.
Some of the best photos I made today of him are on the right. I was especially happy with the two-color wall photos, which Peter said “is an idea that shouldn’t work but does anyway”
Peter took me to lunch at the Reform Club, which is a spectacular setting, next door to the Athenaeum. Those two are the most famous private clubs in London. To be allowed in, I had to drag out the one tie I own, purchased for a dinner-with-Bill-Clinton several years ago, as the Reform Club has a Dress Code that I wouldn’t normally pass.