OF MIRRORS, SENSE AND WONDERMENT
Humans are their own biggest mystery and need mirrors to be able to see themselves. Good stories may act as such mirrors. By entertaining us, they offer a purpose that can cast our existence in this enigmatic world in a new light and connect us with the big questions of life: Where do I come from? Who am I? Where am I going? The more we read about the world and all the strange fates in it, the more we realize the almost endless variety of possibilities. It puts us in a state of deep, healing astonishment. And we come to admit: astonishment is beautiful.
It is stories like these that astonish us after almost forty years of experience as they did on the first day. Stories like the one that makes Michael Ende's character Bastian Balthasar Bux think: I have to have this book, whatever the cost. Stories that seem new and outrageous but give you the strange feeling to always have known them. In short: we look for stories that stay with us, even after we have long turned the page after the last word, be it fiction or non-fiction. With all our experience, industry knowledge and passion we want to help these stories and their authors to receive the attention they deserve.
For us, books are no mass product. They are as unique as the people that create them. This is why it is so important for us to work together with our authors closely, individually and on all levels. We are the first point of contact for our authors, give advice in finding and developing ideas, are actively involved in presenting the projects and negotiating contract, pave ways in the entire media market and are present when the small scale becomes the big scale, when national becomes international and when borders are crossed into the world. We also help our authors by controlling the receipt of royalties and license fees – we want our authors to be able to concentrate on one thing: writing.
Time is irreplaceable and we value it greatly, which is why we waste neither your nor our time by trying to work in fields others are more proficient in. As literary agents we only represent German-speaking authors writing fiction, non-fiction as well as children's and teen's literature.
If you wrote a story that is truly special and you want to apply, please do! We are happy to show you how we work, are unwaveringly curious and looking forward to you and your project! Unfortunately we are able to accept only few new manuscripts and authors. But we do everything we can for the ones we chose to represent.
We are looking forward to a fantastic and successful cooperation, your entire AVA-team, first and foremost the literary agents Markus Michalek and
THE AVA AND ITS HISTORY
The beginning (1978 – 2001)
Founded in 1978, the AVA is one of the most established literary agencies in the German-speaking territory. As a longtime director of the publishing houses Heyne and Goldmann, the founder Reinhold G. Stecher brought his profound experience in the industry, as well as infinitely valuable contacts to publishers, editorial directors and editors with him to the AVA. It thus came as no surprise that the first row of German bestselling authors soon populated the bestseller lists and the legendary AVA summer parties. Hans G. Konsalik, who started everything, was soon joined by Utta Danella, Marie Louise Fischer, Sandra Paretti, A.E. Johann and Dieter Zimmer, to name just a few. The non-fiction sector also did exceedingly well. Reinhold G. Stecher managed to scout top-level talents without being scared of controversy – his portfolio includes names such as Hermann Schreiber and Leni Riefenstahl. But if you had to crown a queen among this high-caliber group, it would undoubtedly have to be Charlotte Link. She is Reinhold G. Stecher's most successful discovery and while she is no longer represented by the AVA, her career is still going from strength to strength.
In 1981, just a few years after the AVA was established swiftly and smoothly at its former head office in Breitbrunn am Ammersee, the young editor Roman Hocke began his career in Stuttgart. He started at the just founded Edition Weitbrecht, the adult imprint of Thienemann. Already the first title he handled reached more than just respectable success, a success that has lasted until today: Hans Bemmann's The Stone and the Flute became a longseller that is still enchanting readers today. The unique profile of the Edition Weitbrecht was characterized by its passion for the magic of literature – Weitbrecht published international acrobats of imagination such as Jorge Louis Borges and the extraordinary Michael Ende, whose books for adults found their home at Weitbrecht. After working as an editor, publishing manager and director at Edition Weitbrecht for 15 years, it was time to take the next step. In 1996, Roman Hocke decided to continue what he appreciated most in his work with authors and publishers independently. He became a literary agent. He started the Hocke Projektagentur with a base of authors that knew him and his way of working from the years at Weitbrecht and whose careers he accompanied from this point on. Many of them, such as Peter Prange, Wolfram Fleischhauer, Andreas Englisch, Ralf Isau and Jörg Kastner are still represented by the AVA.
The next generation (2001 – 2011)
Reinhold Stecher and Roman Hocke met each other in 2001. Soon, both agents realized that they had very similar, even equal, views about their profession and that their ideas complemented the other's well – good conditions to promote and inspire each other. Their meeting was one of those that change the path of life. The decision to work together was quickly made. Roman Hocke established the AVA international GmbH that shared far more than just the offices in Breitbrunn with Reinhold G. Stecher's AVA GmbH. This cooperation paved the way into a new millennium and the doors were wide open for a new generation of authors. Writers such as Wulf Dorn, Sabine Ebert, Sebastian Fitzek, Andreas Gruber, Markus Heitz, Charlotte Lyne and Ursula Poznanski continue Reinhold G. Stecher's tradition while establishing Roman Hocke's new tradition. Find out more here: Portfolio of AVA authors.
The agents' cooperation lasted ten years, in which both partner agencies grew, learned and profited from each other and continued to develop their own style. The cooperation ended when Reinhold G. Stecher retired at the age of 77 in the year 2011. It had always been clear to Roman Hocke that his partner's authors would find their home under his roof. And so the agency with all its new and old authors relocated from the Ammersee to the much more easily accessible Schwabing in the heart of Munich to continue Reinhold G. Stecher's lifework in their own way, with dedication to tradition and courage for innovation. Roman Hocke still works with all authors as closely as possible, motivates them and promotes their creativity, helps them focus on their writing, clears their paths and opens doors. It soon became clear that the workload he was used to could not be handled by just one agent. He was looking for a colleague that would help him continue and develop the AVA-philosophy.
The future (2011 – ...)
Roman Hocke did not have to look very far for a new agent. He found the ideal candidate in Markus Michalek, who had already supported the AVA-team as a working student since 2010 and was the perfect fit for the complex puzzle that makes up the agency. Markus Michalek has been a literary agent since 2014. In his work he continues what authors and partners of the AVA are used to, while adding his own personal touch. He brings a new generation of authors to the agency, authors that really do not have to hide behind the more established writers. This new generation is working hard to build and strengthen their position in the world of books together with the AVA. Classic authors and literary estates from Michael Ende, Max Kruse and Utta Danella, longsellers and current bestsellers, readers' favourites and promising debut authors characterize the multilayered portfolio of the agency. Here, you can find out more about our authors: Portfolio of AVA authors.
Now it is crucial to take on the challenges of the modern, rapidly changing media market, use the chances it is offering and look forward to new ways without forgetting tried and tested traditions, the trust in people's creative power and the irresistible magic of good stories.
WHAT WE WANT
For our authors and their works we want the best publishers, the highest print runs and the most attention possible! To reach this goal, we do everything that is necessary and more: we employ qualified people and stay in close personal contact with publishers, editorial directors, editors, film producers, publishing houses and co-agents on the international book market.
We know that stories are the resource of all our work and that authors create this resource. To allow it to grow and flourish, we provide the necessary foundation – we advise and encourage in the creative process, pave ways in the front and cheer in the back, uncover problems and find solutions. Good stories need more than just good editing, and good authors need partners that do not see them as cash-cows but promote their creative talents for writing, which is ultimately what the whole book and media industry is built upon.
In bringing together authors and publishers, we do not only look for the right economic conditions. We also focus on the whole package, on atmosphere, the intensity of support and sustainable cooperation as well as finances. We seek a partnership that is fair for both sides when negotiating contracts, a partnership from which all parties profit and we always strive for a constructive solution in case of conflict. A trustful cooperation is always the essential foundation of our work. We know from experience that this attitude is worthwhile for our authors, for publishers, readers and in turn for us, the agency. However, no matter how much energy we put into achieving this goal, it does not always work. There is one thing we cannot do, and that is perform magic.
As soon as we find a publishing partner, the contracts are signed and the project is on its course, we take care of the receipt and transfer of payments and royalties. We support the author and the publisher in exploiting the licensing rights and represent the titles of our authors on the entire national and international media market. We work closely with leading commercial publishers nationally and internationally as well as with a worldwide network of co-agencies, partners in film and TV-production, theatre, gaming, merchandising and more. As required, we also cooperate with partners in other fields such as press relations and event management.
As a full-service-agency we want to give you integrated and professional creative, legal and commercial support to provide you with all the space you need for being creative. The kind of agency we operate produces substantial costs. Each and every book project we support thus has to have the potential to reach a bigger audience and at least bring in the costs it created. This is why we are in most cases not the right partner for purely sentimental projects. This is not meant to be a judgment of the value of such projects. Of course a family story that waited a long time to finally be brought to paper, funny holiday experiences or goodnight stories penned for one's own children will be met with great enthusiasm by the audiences they were created for – however this audience is rather small in most cases and even the most intensive efforts will not lead to a noteworthy increase in this audience.
We strive for a longtime cooperation. We want you to have time to develop and we want to have time to build your career solidly and at an appropriate pace. This is how we can achieve what you and we want together – success for your stories.