THE MONSTER MAVEN - 1993-05-28
His foray into literary agenting came after World War II. Fed up with military discipline after serving in the Army, Ackerman was determined "never again to have a boss." He made $1,075 in commissions his first year, though overhead cost him only $50 less than that. But he soon found his footing and started earning a modest living selling foreign rights to the stories of Bradbury and Asimov. Another client was L. Ron Hubbard, who went on to found the Church of Scientology.
Years later, after the two had parted ways, Hubbard returned. "He was a multimillionaire from Scientology, but he began to regret that he was being forgotten as a science fiction author, and he wanted the world also to remember him as that," says Ackerman. "So he came back to me with an offer that nobody could refuse: He said, 'Keep half of anything that you can sell.' So naturally I was quite keen about making sales for him all over the world."
Eventually, however, Ackerman found himself "aced out" by an "octopus outfit" called Author Services. "To his dying day he never dismissed me as an agent, but out of the blue, this powerful outfit came along and kind of squeezed me," Ackerman says. He's vague on the details, claiming to be in the dark about the agency, which continues to handle Hubbard's literary estate on an exclusive basis.