Ten years ago, celebrity authors negotiated their blockbusters via book-biz power-players. Colin Powell used Marvin Josephson. Jay Leno had Binky Urban. Steve Martin went with Esther Newberg. There's still a lot of that, of course. But as James Patterson parts with Jennifer Rudolph Walsh and the William Morris Agency to go, improbably, with attorney Bob Barnett, we looked at the current NY Times hardcover list and found a surprising number of unorthodox negotiations. A sample:
Bob Dylan(Chronicles: Volume 1; #23on the list): His longtime business manager, Jeff Rosen, did the Simon & Schuster deal, with Rosen reportedly attracted to David Rosenthal's music cred.
Jose Canseco (Juiced; #2); The slugger went with sports agent Doug Ames after a deal that literary agent Ron Laitsch had tried to make fell through.
Sylvia Brown (Secrets & Mysteries of the World; #7):The psychic, church founder and president of the Sylvia Brown Corporation negotiates directly with spirituality publisher Hay House, not even paying a lawyer's hourly fee.
Tori Amos (Piece by Piece; #12): The singer-songwriter came to publishing by chance—Broadway editor Rakesh Satyal shared an elevator with Amos's manager Arthur Spivak, who did the deal. (The house did eventually negotiate with agent Sarah Lazin for the book's co-writer.)
Amber Frey (Witness for the Prosecution #16): The celebrity witness raised conflict-of-interest eyebrows when her celebrity lawyer, Gloria Allred, brokered a book deal right after the trial. But who needs a literary agent when you have Inside Edition?