Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
I have a book idea. How do I get published?
There are two separate paths that I would recommend. The first is to find a person on Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World list (who is, incidentally, beloved by millions), and simply co-author their autobiography. If they are coming off a Super Bowl victory and you have a clear schedule and can finish the manuscript in twenty-four days so that the book can come out prior to the following season, that’s even better.
That was the path that I took.
There’s another path that is more common and much more difficult. As most publishers won’t accept unsolicited manuscripts or proposals, you’ll need to obtain an agent and then the agent will shop your book proposal. Resources include Writer’s Digest and Guide to Literary Agents, which offer detailed guidance. Be prepared for rejection and disappointment; it’s an arduous journey even at its best. I would suggest that writing is something that you enjoy for its own sake, since even once published the typical book doesn’t sell as many copies as you might think.
How do you know how many copies I think a book would sell?
Fair enough. I was surprised, anyway, even though you might not be. I was told that the average book sells about 5,000 copies in its lifetime. In a country of 300 million, that seems like a really low sell-through rate.
Where do you write? At a desk in the woods?
I do much of my writing in the mountains (more often than not, indoors), but I also write at home, in cars (always as the passenger), and on planes. I can write most anywhere. I have also shown time and again a knack for not writing anywhere as well. I can write or not write at the drop of a hat.
Did I read your bio right? You played football at Duke?
Played is such a strong word, especially out of context. It might be better to say that I played at being a football player. I ended up kicking off a couple of times in my four years and played one season of baseball (I actually did play regularly there, but when you go 10-35 and lose 19 straight, that doesn’t really point to a terrifically high level of athletic prowess, either).
When asked if I played, I prefer to leave it vague. Something along the lines of “I played ball at Duke” usually suffices. Based on my physical build – some have been known to use words like skinny, thin, or I can’t believe how staggeringly weak you are, but I’ve always preferred lithe* – people seem to assume that I played basketball. When they ask what Coach K was like, I simply tell them things that I observed of him from the stands. I can’t help what conclusions people will jump to from a perfectly accurate statement.
*I can also live with wiry if I have to.
Where have you spoken?
I’ve presented at a variety of places, including Duke’s Fuqua School of Business’ Leadership Development Initiative, the National Glass Association’s Glass Management Institute, Asbury College, fundraising events for Abe Brown Ministries, the Veritas Forum, and various Fellowship of Christian Athletes events. I’ve also given sermons – both in formal worship settings as well as impromptu ones to my daughters.
Contact my agent through the “Contact Me” link at the top of the page. They’ll be happy to help, or at the least to steer you to one of their more entertaining or informative clients.
Was being an English major at Duke the key to being a writer?
To be as nice as possible: No, no, a thousand times, no. My first paper at Duke I received this uplifting comment: “Well written. You should submit it to Sports Illustrated. C+” Never daunted, I screwed my courage to the sticking-place, as Lady Macbeth urged, and applied to Duke’s lone Creative Writing class…rejected.
A mere 18 years later, I wrote a book.
How did you get to be so funny, Nathan?
My wife says that a sense of humor is really attractive. Given that we both agree that I’m not otherwise particularly good looking, I’ve worked very hard on my delivery and timing. Unfortunately, in addition to not actually being funny, I ran out of original material sometime around late 2003.
Okay, enough about you. How do I get in touch with Tony…I figure now that he’s retired, he’s just sitting around waiting to speak to my group.
Of course, he’s now busier than ever, but feel free to try. The best way to contact him is through www.coachdungy.com.
Can I purchase signed copies of Quiet Strength or Uncommon?
Yes, go to www.impactforliving.com for copies signed by Coach Dungy (and me).