David Hale Smith

David Hale Smith rejects more than three hundred manuscripts each month, but when he accepts one, publishers take note. Since 1994, when he left the tutelage of Dallas superagent Jan Miller and founded his own agency, DHS Literary, the thirty-year-old has established himself as one of the industry’s young lions, regularly landing six-figure deals for his clients. For first-time author Boston Teran of Brooklyn, whose novel God Is a Bullet came out last month, Smith secured $500,000 for the book from publisher Alfred A. Knopf and is negotiating a million-dollar movie deal. He’s also handling Dallas Morning News reporter Bill Minutaglio’s biography of George W. Bush, tentatively titled First Son, which will be published by Random House next year. Like Minutaglio, more than a third of the writers Smith represents are Texans. “Being an agent from Texas gives me an edge when I go to New York or Los Angeles,” he says, “because the state is such a rich field for talent.” But, he insists, talent alone doesn’t make a sale: “You’ve got to have an agent who’s passionate about your material or you’re sunk.”

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