Michael Larsen’s publishing career began in New York City. After he and his wife, Elizabeth Pomada, moved to San Francisco, they started Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents in 1972.
Michael Larsen, of Larsen-Pomada Literary Agents in San Francisco, likes writers with a seriously good sense of humor.
Larsen represents nonfiction authors and works as a consultant for aspiring writers. He also acts as the co-director of the San Francisco Writers Conference and San Francisco Writing for Change Conference. He says three themes guide his work: “Helping writers, the power of writing for change, and, always, humor.”His books include How to Get a Literary Agent and How to Write a Book Proposal, now in its fourth edition.
Why is writing for change important to you?
Helping bring about change is the noblest goal to which books can aspire. Since I can’t write books that will change the world, I want to help writers [do that]. ... It’s easier than ever to reach more readers in more ways and places. It’s easier than ever for the right book to change the world.
How can a sense of humor help writers in their careers?Problems may arise at any point in the publication process—writing, editing, copy editing, design, promotion, reviews, sales. Being able to respond to them with a sense of humor will help writers endure problems and maintain good relationships with the people they need to help them.
What’s different about this edition of How to Write a Book Proposal?
There’s a new chapter on building an online platform, and I’ve made it easier and faster to write outlines. Outlining may be the most challenging part of writing a proposal, because it requires writers to do enough research to prove there’s a book’s worth of salable information in the subject. This edition is also more concise.What books are you currently looking to represent?
I’m open to most subjects, but I’m especially interested in technology, futurism, international affairs, big-idea books and books about change. What qualities do you look for in writers you’ll take on as clients?
A passionate commitment to their craft and career and, of course, a sense of humor.