In the past few weeks, Thomas Nelson has added a bestselling author to its roster, while keeping one of its hottest authors. Nelson signed bestselling business author Marcus Buckingham (First, Break All the Rules; Now, Discover Your Strengths) for two books, a book/DVD combo and several other products including study guides, gift books and children's books. The deal, which extends through 2011 and is estimated to run well into seven figures, was brokered by Jennifer Rudolf Walsh at the William Morris Agency.
According to Nelson senior v-p and publisher Brian Hampton, executive v-p and chief publishing officer Tamara Heim is a longtime friend of Buckingham, and they had talked about working together over the years. When Buckingham's Free Press contract ran out, he decided to go with Nelson for his next project, The Truth About You, which will be released in September. “This is different than his other books,” Hampton said. “It's aimed at a younger demographic—18—28-year-olds—and he calls it a 'toolkit.' There's a book, DVD and 'rememo' pad for recording 'strength statements.' ” This, along with the other books he'll do for Nelson, will take Buckingham's core strengths message beyond the business category and help expand his audience, Hampton added. Walsh said Nelson's “breadth and vision made it an offer we couldn't refuse.” Hampton said Nelson has exclusive rights to the author's next trade books, “though if another kind of project came along, we might release him to do that.”
Nelson also has re-signed Robin McGraw to a new deal for three books and allied products. The first title, What's Age Got to Do With It?, is set for publication in January 2009 and targets the female demographic that is the core audience for McGraw's husband, Dr. Phil McGraw. Robin McGraw's first book, Inside My Heart, published by Nelson in 2006, just reached the one million mark in sales.
To keep new and old authors happy, Nelson is launching its Author Experience Initiative in April. The program will allow authors to evaluate their experience with the company. Authors will be surveyed 90 days after the release of a book and can rate the company's responsiveness, willingness to collaborate, development process, communication and execution of marketing and sales plans. The surveys eventually will be used to evaluate each of Nelson's publishing units.