Have you ever thought about writing a book? During my sold-out book release party with my dear friend and client Grace Kraaijvanger, founder of The Hivery, she asked the room, “How many people want to write a book?” 75% of the people in the room raised their hands.
If you want insight into how the publishing process works, you’re in for a treat because today I talk to my literary agent, David Fugate, who shares advice about what it takes to publish a book.
David Fugate is the President & Founder of LaunchBooks Literary Agency at launchbooks.com. He has represented a wide range of bestselling fiction and nonfiction projects that have generated in excess of $50 Million for their authors, including Andy Weir, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Martian, which was turned into the Golden Globe winning film starring Matt Damon and directed by Ridley Scott, Artemis, and Project Hail Mary, currently in development to become a film starring Ryan Gosling.
He also represents authors Chris Guillebeau, author of the New York Times bestselling The $100 Startup, Side Hustle, and The Happiness of Pursuit; Vanessa Van Edwards, author of the Wall Street Journal bestsellers Captivate and Cues; Megan Devine, author of the 300,000+ copy selling It’s Ok That You’re Not Ok; Jadah Sellner (that’s me!), author of She Builds with Harper Business, and many others.
“What book writing is about is impacting the world. It’s about impacting peoples’ lives, whether you’re writing fiction and trying to bring them a little bit of joy, or a book like yours where you’re trying to help people live a healthier, more balanced, and more rewarding life.”
— DAVID FUGATE
What you'll hear (and don't want to miss!)
How David has found that not all prospective authors are ready to launch a book right away [4:09]
What David sees as being the most challenging parts of the book publishing process for authors launching a book [15:16]
The key characteristics an author needs to manage the book writing journey successfully [21:39]
The good, the bad, and the ugly of publishing a book [15:39]
David’s own story of writing a book and how it looked for him as the author [27:38]
How the clientele he represents has evolved over the years, and why he says that he doesn’t necessarily follow trends [38:39]
What David loves best about getting to represent authors [37:42]
His best advice for someone thinking about publishing a book [47:39]
Tips and strategies for the launch phase of getting a book out into the world [61:51]
“Authors need help with different kinds of things, depending on what they’re doing. That overview is tricky to write no matter who you are, but if you already have a really good sense of what you want to write and why you want to write it, it’s a lot easier.” [David, 16:57]
“I find that the authors who sort of manage [the book writing process] the best, they complete one phase, shut it off for a bit, then they come back to it a little bit rejuvenated. It’s not easy, because it is slow. That is one thing about publishing that drives me completely bonkers still, is how long everything takes.” [David, 21:39]
“I don’t mind explaining how it works, because once you understand why a certain process happens the way it does, it makes sense. I actually enjoy talking about books, I enjoy talking about publishing, and I’m happy to do it.” [David, 35:57]
“Just because I don’t think something is worth representing, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth representing. It doesn’t mean it’s not sellable and it doesn’t mean it’s not going to be a good book, it just means it’s personally not interesting to me, [but] I’m only one perspective.” [David, 43:28]
“One of the things I love about being an agent is that I get a commission, a percentage, of whatever the author gets. The reason I like that is because if the author succeeds and I can help be a part of that, then I succeed.” [David, 46:16]
“We’re always talking about sales and things like that, but really what book writing is about is impacting the world. It’s about impacting peoples’ lives, whether that’s [through] entertainment if you’re writing fiction and you’re just trying to bring them a little bit of joy, or it’s a book like yours where you’re trying to help people live a healthier, more balanced, and more rewarding life, that’s what it’s about.” [David, 63:47]
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