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Jane Dystel, President, has been an agent since 1986. Her publishing career began at Bantam Books. She then moved to Grosset & Dunlap, where she was a managing editor and later an acquisitions editor. From there, she went on to become Publisher of World Almanac Publications, where she created her own imprint. When she joined the agency that would soon become Acton and Dystel Inc., she quickly developed a reputation for honesty, forthrightness, hard work, and real commitment to her authors and their writing careers. In 1994, with a growing roster of clients, she founded Jane Dystel Literary Management, which became Dystel & Goderich Literary Management in 2003, and Dystel, Goderich & Bourret in 2016. Born in Chicago, Jane grew up in Rye, New York. She is the daughter of publishing legend Oscar Dystel, who headed Bantam Books for more than a quarter of a century. In her teens, she was an accomplished figure skater. Jane received her BA from New York University and attended Georgetown Law School for one year before leaving for her first job in publishing. She has an abiding interest in legal subjects. She is married to Steven Schwinder and has a daughter, Jessica, and a son, Zachary. She lives in New York City with her husband and two dachshunds, and is a tenacious golfer.


Jane wants to see more

Women’s Commercial Fiction

and Big Think Non-Fiction

Jane says...

The expression “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” certainly applies to me. After leaving Georgetown Law School at the end of my first year, it never occurred to me to do anything but go into publishing. After all, my father had been in the business for his entire career, first on the magazine side (Esquire, Parents) and then as president of Bantam Books for thirty years. And, though I certainly wasn’t an extraordinary English student or even particularly well read, I dove right in.

I spent eighteen years on the publishing side doing everything from editing, to calling on the major chain bookstore accounts and magazine wholesalers, to actually doing the author tours myself. I planned publishing lists, made sales presentations and did annual budgets and five-year projections.

And, then, in 1986, I became an agent, and I have never looked back. I love to read commercial and literary fiction, memoir, biography and history. I am very interested in current events, politics, legal subjects and women’s commercial fiction of all kinds. I find science fascinating and am passionate about science and medical narratives.

The most important thing I have learned from working in the publishing business is that it is full of wonderful new ideas, creative ways of making them work and a group of superb people. I wouldn’t trade what I do for anything!