Atria Buys Book from HarperWave Publisher

Karen Rinaldi, publisher at HarperWave, sold a nonfiction book called (It’s Great to) Suck at Something to Atria. Sarah Pelz bought North American rights to the book, which is based on an essay of the same title that Rinaldi recently wrote for the New York Times, at auction from Richard Pine and Kim Witherspoon at Inkwell Management. The publisher said the book, which is slated for spring 2019, is “a call to action to let go of perfectionism, embrace our shortcomings, and truly suck at something.”

Bloomsbury Buys Public Health Book

In a world English rights acquisition, Bloomsbury’s Ben Hyman bought Dan Werb’s City of Omens. The publisher described the book, which Kirby Kim of Janklow & Nesbit sold, as “a public health true crime narrative.” In the book, Werb, a Canadian National Magazine Award winner, examines the sharply rising murder rate of women in Tijuana; this leads, Bloomsbury said, into a broader investigation of “immigration, the drug war, human trafficking, and the U.S.–Mexico border.” The book is set for a 2019 publication.

YA Designer Becomes YA Author

Hafsah Faizal’s debut novel, We Hunt the Flame, was acquired for six figures at auction by Janine O’Malley at Farrar, Straus and Giroux. John Cusick at Folio Jr. represented Faizal, who has worked with a number of authors in the kid lit community through her company, Icey Designs (which, among other things, has created numerous author websites). Her manuscript caused a stir after being submitted via the Twitter pitchfest #DVPit, a social media event that, according to its creators, highlights manuscripts by “marginalized voices that have been historically underrepresented in publishing.” Cusick said the novel is set in a world “inspired by ancient Arabia” and follows a girl named Zafira, who “must disguise herself as a man to seek a lost artifact that could return magic to her cursed world.”

Laure Causes Mayhem at SMP

For St. Martin’s Press’s new Wednesday Books imprint, Sara Goodman bought North American rights to the YA crime novel Mayhem by Estelle Laure (This Raging Light). The book was sold by Emily van Beek at Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management, who said the 1980s-set work was pitched as “The Lost Boys meets The Craft with a splash of Manson family for good measure.” Mayhem is planned for spring/summer 2019.

Forge Strikes Midnight with Webber

Midnight in the Blackbird Café, a women’s fiction title by Heather Webber, was acquired in a world English rights deal by Amy Stapp at Forge Books. Jessica Faust at BookEnds Literary represented Webber. The publisher said the book is about a woman who, after returning to her small Southern town, searches for answers to her father’s death. While doing so, she seeks to find the truth about the magical café her family owns, where, the publisher went on, “a piece of blackbird pie can reveal the whispers of loved ones.”

Picture Book About Civil Rights Activist to S&S

For Simon & Schuster’s Margaret K. McElderry Books imprint, Karen Wojtyla bought world rights to the picture book Lift as You Climb: The Story of Ella Baker. The book, by Patricia Hruby Powell (Loving vs. Virginia), is about a little-known civil rights activist who worked alongside Martin Luther King Jr. Anna Olswanger at Olswanger Literary represented Powell, who has won numerous awards for her work, including a Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Honor and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. Olswanger said Lift, which will be illustrated by R. Gregory Christie (Freedom in Congo Square), will show how Baker “led grassroots efforts [for civil rights], concentrating on the women of the South and registering voters.” Christie, an award-winning illustrator, did not use an agent. The book is set for fall 2019.

Blakely Lands Six-Figure Audio-First Deal

In a six-figure acquisition, Rose Hilliard and Elizabeth Skoler at Audible Originals bought audio-first rights to two books by bestseller Lauren Blakely. The first book in the deal, Wanderlust, is, Audible said, about a “spirited American woman who relocates to Paris and unexpectedly falls for a charming British man, who also happens to be the one person she needs most to succeed in her new and unconventional job.” Michelle Wolfson at Wolfson Literary Agency handled the sale for Blakely.


Lori Deschene (Tiny Buddha’s 365 Tiny Love Challenges) sold Tiny Buddha’s Anxiety Journal to HarperOne. Kathryn Renz Hamilton took world English rights to the book from Linda Konner at the Linda Konner Literary Agency. Konner described the book as “an interactive journal intended to help readers de-stress, reduce anxiety, and find peace.”