February 4, 2023

How Former Gossip Columnist Doug Dechert Became a Can’t-Miss Literary Agent

Doug Dechert is a force of nature. His personality is as loud and bombastic as his blazers. After spending a decade writing for the famed Page Six gossip column of the New York Post, along with other publications such as the Daily Mail, the Star, and the National Enquirer, his personality and devil-may-care attitude are tailored perfectly for what he has candidly termed his “successful side hustle.”

Dechert has been representing literary talent of the conservative persuasion, who would otherwise go unnoticed … or at least unpublished. He makes his home in New York—not the most welcoming of places for conservatives, especially those in the media. But the political climate within the publishing houses and media conglomerates of the Big Apple has been of little deterrence and hasn’t altered his success rate.

“Every single author I’ve worked with has gotten published,” he said. “They’re all unique, but each one has a very strong conservative voice.”

Getting conservative authors published has been easy because he’s well-connected, Dechert said. The 66-year-old has spent his career making connections.

How He Started

It was 2001, and Dechert had been writing as a guest columnist for Page Six since 1992. To know the gossip column was to know Dechert, and New Yorkers knew (still know) the gossip column. During a black-tie affair at the restaurant Tavern on the Green, Dechert made the acquaintance of an 18-year-old girl who had a manuscript that she believed for some reason he could get published.

Over the following six months, her persistence forced him to take a look. The manuscript was about her year in a boot camp for wayward girls. He worked on it, then sent it to a New York Press colleague whose wife edited the manuscript as a personal favor. He then sent the manuscript to several friends who were successful authors, including Bret Easton Ellis and Jay McInerney, who liked the story. After Dechert used several more of his literary connections, the young girl had a publishing contract with Rugged Land. Before the book was even published, he began promoting the new author in the Page Six section. That author was Abigail Vona and the book was “Bad Girl: Confessions of a Teenage Delinquent.”

“Abby was famous before her book was ever published,” Dechert said.

The Man in the Conservatives’ Corner

Dechert maintains that his primary occupation is as a writer and a media consultant; regardless, his work as a literary agent, though limited in scale, has been quite successful. He has helped conservative authors such as Laura Loomer and David Richardson get their work published.

Currently, he’s working with a flurry of writers including Kash Patel, Daniel Olmes, Mike Wilkerson, John O’Sullivan, and Karyn Turk.

“I love helping conservative authors get published,” he said. “I didn’t plan any of this. It just all fell together. All of a sudden, word gets around, and they come to you. Without me, some of my conservative authors wouldn’t get publishing deals, so I feel like I’m getting their valid thoughts and opinions out there.”

That last statement may sound over-the-top, if not pretentious, but it’s not. At least, not according to the authors he has been working with.

Philip Nicozisis, whose memoir “Have Laptop, Will Travel” became a Wall Street Journal bestseller, credits Dechert for getting his book in front of the right people and into the right hands.

“Doug single-handedly was able to place my memoir with a top and extremely prestigious publishing company, Post Hill Press. Without Doug, the project would’ve been nowhere,” Nicozisis said. “While he is a lot of fun, at the same time he is very professional and brings decades of expertise and networking to the table. I wouldn’t think of working with anybody else.”

Michael Wilkerson, a rising voice in the conservative movement and the author of the new book “Why America Matters: The Case for a New Exceptionalism,” said the very idea of getting his book published seemed daunting.

“Doug was able to work quickly to get the attention of key decision-makers, which led to a successful partnership,” he said. “He’s also been instrumental in getting the word out to influencers in the journalistic community.”

Karyn Turk, co-anchor of Real America’s Voice Network’s “American Sunrise” and the author of “Behind the Headlines: How a Conservative Beauty Queen Became a Target of Fake News and Cancel Culture,” said that Dechert is a rare find in the book business. Her sentiment seems to not only fit the narrative that he has a gift for landing book deals for conservative authors, but also that his personality is perfect for the ultra-competitive market of publishing.

“There are few people who speak with conviction and back that up by doing exactly what they say they can or cannot do,” Turk said in a statement. “He has an eclectic style and a very quick wit—he is one of a kind.”

Tony Lyons, president and publisher of Skyhorse Publishing, has noticed much the same from Dechert.

“I haven’t known him long, but it’s obvious that he’s very aggressive, and it should be interesting to see what projects he brings to the table,” Lyons said.

An Untapped Market

Dechert defining his work as a “successful side hustle” may be self-effacing, but it’s accurate.

He stepped into the world of literary representation without a plan, and he admits that there’s no specific plan in place for the future. He said he simply has an eye for talented writers and has always been able to envision what should happen next on a case-by-case basis. That vision culminates with the combination of a writer’s talent and Dechert’s numerous connections within conservative media and publishing houses. Along with talent, vision, and connections, Dechert pointed out the most important aspect: demand.

“There’s a huge demand,” he noted. “The public isn’t getting the truth from the legacy print media. As far as I’m concerned, big media is subsidized by the government and the taxpayer to support its dominance in Washington, D.C. The outlier to the government media is the conservative press.”

Dechert believes that this demand extends from a purposeful lack of awareness from legacy publishing houses. He said that the liberal arts, just as in academia, was overtaken several decades ago by the left and is now fully engaged in “wokeism,” which has trickled down to corporations such as publishing houses. According to Dechert, this wokeism has resulted in legacy press companies engaging in basic economic fallacies, which has led to much of the demand for the truth being unmet. For Dechert, it’s a gaping void that he plans to help fill.

“The liberal media is completely unaware of the microcosm of conservative media,” he said.

If the legacy publishing houses, however, continue to ignore “half the country” and the economic potential that comes with it, Dechert will continue benefiting from their blissful ignorance—and so will the conservative authors he continues to find and represent.

Dustin Bass is the host of EpochTV’s “About the Book,” a show about new books with the authors who wrote them. He is an author and co-host of The Sons of History podcast.

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