Ep. 40: Byrd Leavell (Literary Agent at United Talent Agency)
In Episode 40, Byrd Leavell (Talent Agent at United Talent Agency) talks about the business of publishing, the truth behind publisher marketing dollars, and shares holiday book recommendations for husbands / dads / sons / boyfriends.
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- How Byrd got into the agency business.
- The differences in working for a bigger (where he is now) vs. smaller agency (where he started).
- Where in the process the marketing budget is decided on.
- The truth about publishers’ marketing budgets.
- How book deals for Internet personalities work.
- The “business” of publishing a book.
- What do you do as an agent when a book is not selling like you hoped?
- How Byrd’s personal reading taste is different from the types of books he’s looking to sign as clients.
- Sarah’s theory of experience living in NYC correlating with liking Fleishman is in Trouble.
- Byrd’s list of books to buy for Dads / husbands / boyfriends / brothers / sons.
- Our views on memoirists using ghostwriters.
- If authors / publishers / agents care what format a book sells in.
Byrd’s Book Recommendations
Two OLD Books He Loves
- Author Herman Wouk (The Winds of War and War and Remembrance) | Buy from Amazon [21:53]
- The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin | Buy from Amazon [23:46]
Two NEW Books He Loves
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fineby Gail Honeyman (My Review) | Buy from Amazon [27:27]
- Cemetery Road by Greg Isles | Buy from Amazon [29:03]
One Book He DIDN’T Love
One NEW RELEASE He’s Excited About
Other Books Mentioned
- Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern | Buy from Amazon [13:12]
- The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek by Rhett McLaughlin & Link Neal | Buy from Amazon [15:02]
- Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by Karen Kilgariff & Georgia Hardstark | Buy from Amazon [16:36]
- Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis | Buy from Amazon [19:40]
- Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?by Alyssa Mastromonaco | Buy from Amazon [19:56]
- Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (My Review) | Buy from Amazon [20:59]
- Fleishman is in Troubleby Taffy Brodesser-Akner (My Review) | Buy from Amazon [20:59]
- Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann | Buy from Amazon [21:10]
- Majorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk | Buy from Amazon [23:17]
- Fleishman is in Troubleby Taffy Brodesser-Akner (My Review) | Buy from Amazon [25:21]
- Natchez Burning by Greg Isles (My Review) | Buy from Amazon [29:36]
- The Bone Tree by Greg Isles (My Review) | Buy from Amazon [29:36]
- Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes | Buy from Amazon [30:38]
- Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell | Buy from Amazon [31:00]
- The North Water by Ian McGuire | Buy from Amazon [31:08]
- The Son by Philipp Meyer | Buy from Amazon [31:29]
- American Rust by Philipp Meyer | Buy from Amazon [31:29]
- The Outsider by Stephen King | Buy from Amazon [32:03]
- American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins | Buy from Amazon [33:23]
- United Talent Agency
- Radcliffe Publishing Program (now “Columbia Publishing Course”)
- Waxman Leavell (Byrd’s former literary agency)
- How Stuff Works Podcast network
- Holly Root (fiction literary agent)
- My Favorite Murder podcast
- Sarah’s Books for Guys List
- Authors Byrd likes: Jonathan Lethem, George Saunders
A literary agent at UTA (United Talent Agency), Byrd Leavell started in book publishing 19 years ago and in that time has overseen major bestsellers across multiple categories.
His clients include Andrew Yang, Guy Raz, Aubrey Marcus, Cat Marnell, Tiffany Haddish, Brian Kilmeade, Matt Taibbi, Drew Magary, Adam Savage, Mat Best, Rich Roll and Julie Piatt, Justin Halpern, Amirah Kassem, and Rob Elliott – whose LOL series has sold more than 2.5 million copies.
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