Donald Trump may not be much of a reader (“I don’t have the time,” he once told Megyn Kelly), but he has been a boon to local literary agents. Looking to sell that explosive political tell-all? Here are the powerbrokers to hit up.
1. Robert Barnett
Lawyer, Williams & Connolly
Latest successes: DC’s best-known book dealmaker negotiated Hillary Clinton’s What Happened.
In the works: James Patterson and Bill Clinton’s cowritten thriller, The President Is Missing; CNN anchor Jake Tapper’s debut novel.
Challenges of the job: “Ideas that sound great today may be out of date when the book is published.”
Fave DC book: Ward Just’s The Congressman Who Loved Flaubert.
2. Gail Ross
Agent, Ross Yoon
Latest successes: Joshua Green’s look at Steve Bannon; Van Jones’s bestseller Beyond the Messy Truth.
In the works: James Clapper’s Facts and Fears; Michael Isikoff and David Corn’s investigation of Trump and Russia.
Take on recent events: “I joke that George W. Bush put my kids through college and Donald Trump is paying for my retirement.”
Fave DC book: “I have so many!”
3. Keith Urbahn and Matt Latimer
Latest successes: Donna Brazile’s Hacks; Senator Ben Sasse’s The Vanishing American Adult.
In the works: James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty.
Ideal writers: “People who don’t speak in political-speak and clichés,” says Latimer.
Fave DC books: Mark Leibovich’s This Town (Latimer); Richard Ben Cramer’s What It Takes (Urbahn).
4. Ronald Goldfarb
Lawyer, Goldfarb & Associates
Latest successes: Bernie Sanders’s Our Revolution; Jefferson Morley’s The Ghost, about CIA spymaster James Jesus Angleton.
In the works: Another by Sanders.
Words of encouragement: “This year, maybe more than any other, is so ripe for books about what’s going on. It couldn’t be a more opportune time for writers.”
Fave DC book: Charles McCarry’s spy thriller The Tears of Autumn.
5. Bridget Wagner Matzie
Latest successes: Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes’s Shattered.
In the works: Kate Murphy’s You’re Not Listening.
The Trump effect: “I have had the most successful year of my entire career. Part of it is because of the election—people want to figure out what’s going on.”
Fave DC book: George Crile’s Charlie Wilson’s War.
6. Rafe Sagalyn
Latest successes: David Ignatius’s thriller The Quantum Spy; Robert Wright’s Why Buddhism Is True.
In the works: James and Deborah Fallows’s exploration of middle America, Our Towns.
Advice for authors: “Great ideas, great thinking, and great writing—that’s the combination that we always look for.”
Fave DC book: David Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest.
This article appears in the January 2018 issue of Washingtonian.