Shawn Coyne flips for Endeavor

Publisher leaves for agency's literary division

Shawn Coyne is shuttering his Rugged Land imprint to join Endeavor’s nascent lit division in Gotham.

Coyne, who is developing several films based on Rugged Land tomes, is in the process of dissolving the imprint he and Webster Stone formed six years ago. He starts today as a lit agent.

Coyne said Endeavor lit maestro Richard Abate, a former ICM agent who won a legal battle with the tenpercentery over his March defection, convinced him he would have more chance to work with writers as an agent than as a publisher. Like Coyne, Abate is a former editor.

“Agents have really taken on a lot of editorial work,” Coyne said. “Editors out there just don’t have time to work with writers.”

As a publisher, Coyne points out, he had to worry about the size of pallets and marketing concerns, but now he’ll be able to work with scribes on developing their ideas. And instead of focusing on the eight to 10 tomes Rugged Land published a year, he will be working on 20-30 books a year.

Coyne said he plans to develop lit projects that can turn into “mini-franchises” as film and TV properties. He joins Abate and fellow lit agent Rebecca Oliver in Gotham.

He will continue to develop a trio of film adaptations based on Rugged Land tomes: John Belushi bio “Belushi,” by Judith Belushi Pisano and Tanner Colby; “Mr. Untouchable,” by Leroy “Nicky” Barnes and Tom Folsom; and “Bad Girl: Confessions of a Teenage Delinquent,” by Abigail Vona. Bonnie Timmermann is his producing partner on all three projects, each in early stages of development.

Jane Rosenthal and Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Prods. and Damon Dash are also producing the feature “Mr. Untouchable”; the story of drug king Barnes has already been made into a documentary that has unspooled on the fest circuit.

Rugged Land also published books by Joe Namath and Bret Favre, Chris Wallace’s “Character” and “Steel My Soldiers’ Hearts,” by Col. David H. Hackworth.

As a senior editor at Doubleday, he worked on tomes by Bill Murray and Steven Pressfield. He served earlier stints at St. Martin’s Press and Dell Publishing, where he launched the career of prolific mystery scribe Harlan Coben.

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