Deal of the Week: Montlake Pays Seven Figures for Sylvia Day

Anh Schluep, editorial director of Amazon Publishing’s Montlake imprint, gave a big welcome to Sylvia Day with a seven-figure deal for Butterfly in Frost, Day’s first new book since 2016. It will be released this August. The deal for world rights was brokered by Kimberly Whalen of the Whalen Agency. Sister imprint Amazon Crossing will publish the book in translation in France, Germany, Italy, and Spain. According to the publisher, the 203-page novella follows Dr. Teagan Ransom and artist Garrett Frost on their passionate journey to find redemption, hope, and, ultimately, each other. “We are so pleased to welcome Sylvia Day into the Montlake Romance family,” Schluep said. “Sylvia is a powerhouse author with legions of worldwide fans, and we’re excited to bring Butterfly in Frost to them.”


Atria Dons Another Pair of Jewells

Atria couldn’t wait for more from Lisa Jewell. Ahead of the August paperback publication of Watching You and the October publication of The Family Upstairs,editorial director Lindsay Sagnette bought Jewell’s next two novels, which are not yet titled. In what the publisher described as a “major” deal, Sagnette picked up U.S., Canada, and open market rights, along with audio and first serial from Deborah Schneider of Gelfman Schneider/ICM Partners.

Public Affairs Buys ‘Impact’

Colleen Lawrie, executive editor at Public Affairs, preempted Impact: What to Do When You Want to Change the World but Don’t Know Where to Start by Christen Brandt and Tammy Tibbetts, founders of the nonprofit She’s the First, which provides scholarships to girls in low-income countries. It is one of the organizations with which Michelle Obama’s Global Girls Alliance collaborates. Kathy Schneider of the Jane Rotrosen Agency sold world rights to the book, which will pub in fall 2020.

Abi Darè’s Debut Goes to Dutton

In her second deal since she joined Dutton earlier this year, executive editor Lindsey Rose preempted Abi Darè’s debut novel, The Girl with the Louding Voice, inspired by the author’s childhood in Lagos. Set for a spring 2020 release, the book follows a Nigerian girl who fights to get an education in the face of many obstacles, according to the publisher. The North American rights were brokered by Felicity Blunt at Curtis Brown.

Post Hill Takes Bill Boggs’s Humor Novel

Anthony Ziccardi, publisher of Post Hill, picked up comic novel The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog from Bill Boggs, a four-time Emmy Award–winning TV host of shows including Midday Live, NBC’s Weekend Today in New York, and the Food Network’s Bill Boggs’s Corner Table. The story, the publisher said, follows the exploits of Spike, an English bull terrier and TV and social media sensation with a heart of gold and a wickedly politically incorrect sense of humor. The deal was unagented. Publication is planned for May 2020.

Atria Battles Fatigue with Amy Shah

In an exclusive submission from Heather Jackson of her eponymous agency, Sarah Peltz at Atria bought world rights to Amy Shah’s Why Am I So F*cking Tired? Shah is a medical doctor who received her training from three of the top schools in the country: Cornell for nutrition,

Harvard for internal medicine, and Columbia for allergy immunology. The publisher said that in Tired, she offers a solution to unexplained fatigue and explores other issues related to women’s health. The book is scheduled for spring 2021.

Citadel Picks Up Fertility Nutrition Title

Denise Silvestro, executive editor at Citadel, won an auction for What to Eat When You Want to Get Pregnant by Nicole Avena, assistant professor of neuroscience at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and visiting professor of health psychology at Princeton. According to Linda Konner, who has an eponymous agency and brokered the deal, Silvestro paid high five figures for U.S., Canada, open market, and audio rights to the book, which offers a four-week science-based program to boost fertility—in women and men—through nutrition.

GCP Signs Feminist Debut

Millicent Bennett at Grand Central preempted North American rights to A.E. Osworth’s 80085, a debut about a self-taught female video game coder who reports a workplace sexual harassment incident only to find herself fighting for her life in a game of cat and mouse against a violent stalker, according to the publisher. Christopher Hermelin of the Fischer-Harbage Agency, who negotiated the deal, described it as “a feminist page-turner—The Virgin Suicides meets Ready Player One.

Behind the Deal

Penguin editor Sam Raim won at auction world English rights to Rollo Romig’s Two or Three Murders in South India, a true crime narrative that Raim said is centered on the 2017 murder of activist/journalist Gauri Lankesh in the South Indian city of Bangalore. Romig also touches upon other murders that share what Raim described as the “irresistible elements of the criminal underworld, corrupt police, political controversy, shadowy religious groups.”

But what is even more compelling, he added, is Romig’s “complex, empathetic portraits of Gauri Lankesh and the way he uses this story to illuminate a larger, urgent question: will India remain a country for all Indians, or will it come to be dominated by Hindu nationalism?” Raim noted that through Lankesh’s story, Romig explores many pressing global issues, including the decline of democracy and the attendant threats journalists face.

Romig is a journalist, critic, and essayist whose works have appeared in New York magazine, the New Yorker, the New York Times magazine, and Travel + Leisure, among other publications. “I’m so excited we could land this brilliant journalist, who has been drawing wide accolades for his reporting on South India,” Raim said. Sarah Burnes of the Gernert Company brokered the deal.


● Netflix has optioned feature rights to Jason Rekulak’s YA novel The Impossible Fortress, according to Deadline. The author will adapt the novel, which was published in 2017 by Simon & Schuster. Aggregate Films and GoldDay will produce.

● TaleFlick, an online service that provides authors with a direct way to showcase their works to movie and television studios, announced two new deals via the platform: Robert Gately’s South of Main Street and Michael Bowker’s French Affair: A Paris Love Story. The former was optioned by the Traveling Picture Show Company, the latter by Passage Pictures.


● According to the Bookseller, Democratic mayor and presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg’s memoir, Shortest Way Home, found a home across the pond at John Murray, where it will be published in June. Joe Zigmond, who acquired the U.K. and

Commonweath rights, told the Bookseller, “At a time when global politics have become so chaotic and negative, this book genuinely appeals to our shared wisdom and humanity.”

● In another deal reported by the Bookseller, Hodder & Stoughton picked up U.K. and Commonwealth rights to Amy Engel’s second adult novel, The Familiar Dark, from Dutton. The book will be published by both houses in March 2020.

For more children’s and YA book deals, see our latest Rights Report.

Correction: This article initially identified Sylvia Day's new book as a novel. It is a novella.