Podcast Episode 40: Byrd Leavell (Literary Agent at United Talent Agency)

Byrd Leavell

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.

This post contains affiliate links (plus: here’s your Amazon Smile-specific affiliate link), through which I make a small commission when you make a purchase (at no cost to you!).

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  • How Byrd got into the agency business.
  • The differences between working for a bigger (where he is now) vs. smaller agency (where he started).
  • Where in the process the marketing budget is decided.
  • The truth about publishers’ marketing budgets.
  • How book deals for Internet personalities work.
  • The “business” of publishing a book.
  • What 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.
  • 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 

Two NEW Books He Loves

One Book He DIDN’T Love

One NEW RELEASE He’s Excited About

Other Books Mentioned

Other Links

About Byrd

Byrd LeavellTwitter

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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The regular podcast will be going on break for the month of December, but you can get bonus episodes next month by supporting the podcast on Patreon

The regular podcast will return on January 8 with the Winter 2020 Book Preview with Catherine from Gilmore Guide to Books!

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  1. susan wrote:

    Hey Sarah: just listened to your podcast with Byrd which was great … I just wanted to let you know …. about your Fleishman Theory …. that I gave it 5 stars and have never lived in New York …. the first half of that novel is priceless and really made me laugh, quite irreverent etc. / the 2nd half with Rachel & Libby’s more serious stuff I didn’t like as much but overall Taffy’s writing is some of the best of the year. I lived in DC for 15 years …. but never NYC. I think I went into the novel pretty blind — not knowing much at all … but then I was pretty taken with it … gawd Toby is just a crazy funny creation. I kept picturing Phillip Seymour Hoffman playing Toby.

    Posted 11.27.19 Reply
  2. Melody McKinley wrote:

    Hi! Just want to say I really enjoyed this episode. Byrd is so interesting. After hearing about his work, I was surprised that he is so into fiction. Loved his insight and choices. I listen to a few book podcasts, and yours is my favorite by far. Thanks!

    Posted 12.5.19 Reply

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