Shawn Coyne, cofounder of the New York indie publisher Rugged Land, has joined Endeavor's New York book division as a literary agent. Coyne was a senior editor at Doubleday before launching Rugged Land, along with Webster Stone, in 2001.
Although Rugged Land had several bestsellers and published books by such high-profile people as Brett Favre, Joe Namath, Judith Belushi Pisano and Chris Wallace, Stone left Rugged Land last year because of “philosophical differences over the direction of the company,” Coyne said. After doing everything “from hiring publicists to signing authors,” Coyne said he grew tired of all the responsibility and began thinking about doing something else.
He had been winding down Rugged Land's operations when he received a call from Endeavor's Richard Abate about becoming an agent. “I decided it was a great opportunity,” Coyne said. “We'd been operating kind of like agents anyway, generating ideas and finding authors to do the projects. I can still do that and not worry about such things as inventory.”
Coyne published the last few Rugged Land books this spring, and the assets of the company were recently sold to a third party that Coyne wouldn't identify. Rights to some of Rugged Land's unpublished works reverted to the authors, including a biography of Chris Farley that was recently sold to Viking's Wendy Wolf in a six-figure deal (PW Daily, Aug. 9). “I wish I was the agent on that one,” Coyne said.