DEAL OF THE WEEK
Putnam Wins ‘Adulting’ Follow-up
In a three-house auction, Putnam executive editor Michelle Howry won North American rights to Easy Crafts for the Insane by Kelly Williams Brown, whose Adulting has sold more than 350,000 copies, according to Howry. Due in spring 2021, Easy Crafts is, Howry said, “a moving and improbably hilarious memoir about what came next for Kelly since Adulting came out.” She added, “Her father was diagnosed with cancer and she fell into a deep depression that eventually required in-patient treatment.” The deal was brokered by Brandi Bowles at UTA.
FROM THE U.S.
Avid Buys ‘Phone Book’
In 2014, Logan Smalley and Stephanie Kent launched the Call Me Ishmael program, in which people are given a phone number and invited to leave anonymous voicemails about favorite books. The voicemails are transcribed using an antique typewriter and the audio is used in videos. Then the duo created an actual rotary phone with an app that allows users to hear those stories about books. Now, the project comes full circle with the Call Me Ishmael Phone Book, which Julianna Haubner at Avid won at auction from Lucy Carson and Molly Friedrich of the Friedrich Agency, who sold the world rights. According to Carson, “It’s designed in homage to the vintage yellow pages that were once in every home.” She added that it’s an interactive directory, with select voicemail transcripts and with “literary Easter eggs” planted along the way.
Barrier-Busting Ali Stroker Goes to Abrams
Ali Stroker, the first wheelchair-bound actor to be nominated for a Tony, for her performance in Oklahoma, has teamed up with Stacy Davidowitz, a Broadway playwright and author, on The Chance to Fly, a middle grade novel about 14-year-old Nat Beacon, a Broadway superfan who uses a wheelchair, and the summer when she overcomes fears to turn her fandom into stardom. Erica Finkel at Abrams won world English rights to Chance at auction, and the book is slated for spring 2021. Hannah Mann at Writers House brokered the deal for world English rights.
Mira Nabs Four from Jude Deveraux
Margaret Marbury at Mira signed a four-book deal with prolific bestselling author Jude Deveraux, whose distinguished 70-plus-book career earned her the Romantic Times Pioneer Award in 2013. Robert Gottlieb at Trident Media Group negotiated the deal for North American English and audio rights. First up is The Cattleman’s Daughters, a standalone novel, followed by an untitled contemporary women’s fiction novel and two more mysteries in Deveraux’s Medlar series.
Bloomsbury Snags a Feminist Western
At auction, Callie Garnett at Bloomsbury scooped up North American rights to Anna North’s Outlawed, which the publisher described as “a cinematic, triumphant feminist western.” North, a Lambda Literary Award winner and senior Vox reporter, was repped by Julie Barer at the Book Group.
HarperOne and HarperCollins Español to Pub Rosie Mercado Simultaneously
The Girl with the Self Esteem Issues by plus-size model, daytime TV host, and life coach Rosie Mercado will be published simultaneously in English by HarperOne and in Spanish by HarperCollins Español in summer 2020. The book was acquired by Sydney Rogers at HarperOne and Edward Benitez at HarperCollins Español, both of whom will edit. Stephany Evans at Ayesha Pande Literary brokered the deal for world rights.
Sourcebooks Snaps Up Fiction and Nonficiton
Shana Drehs at Sourcebooks took North American rights to writer, actor, and musician Pip Drysdale’s debut The Sunday Girl, which was a bestseller in Australia when it was published there in 2017. The publisher described the book as “a chilling tale of love gone horribly wrong and revenge done right.” Amy Fletcher of Simon & Schuster UK handled the sale for Fiona Henderson at Simon & Schuster Australia.
On the nonfiction front, Stacey Glick at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret sold world English rights to Stacey Steinberg’s Growing Up Shared (Aug. 2020) to Sourcebooks’ Anna Michels. According to Glick, Steinberg, a professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law and a children’s privacy expert, explores how parents can best protect their children’s privacy on social media.
Behind the Deal
In June 2016, Brock Turner, a Stanford University student, was convicted of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on campus but was sentenced to only six months in county jail. In response to the sentencing, the woman, known to the public as Emily Doe, read a 12-page statement in court. Santa Clara County DA Jeff Rosen said that it was “the most eloquent, powerful and compelling piece of victim advocacy that I’ve seen in my 20 years as a prosecutor,” according to Palo Alto Online.
Doe’s statement was widely circulated, read in Congress, and translated into more than five languages. Afterward, the judge who presided over the trial was removed from the bench, and California sexual assault laws were amended.
Now, Doe has written a memoir, due out in September, about her assault, trial, and recovery, for which Viking editor-in-chief Andrea Schulz bought North American rights from Philippa Brophy, president of Sterling Lord Literistic. U.K. and Commonwealth rights were acquired by Venetia Butterfield, publisher of Viking UK, from Felicity Rubinstein of Lutyens & Rubinstein.
“Emily Doe’s experience illuminates a culture built to protect perpetrators and a criminal justice system designed to fail the most vulnerable,” Schulz said. “The book will introduce readers to the writer, whose words have already changed their world, and move them with its account of her courage and resilience.”
● Sarah Hogles’s debut romantic comedy, You Deserve Each Other, due out from Putnam in April 2020, has been optioned for development as a feature film by Endeavor Content with Picture Start and Lucky Chap to produce. Alice Lawson at the Gersh Agency brokered the deal on behalf of Jennifer Grimaldi at Chalberg & Sussman.
● Toronto-based production company Pier 21 Films has optioned the film/TV rights to Samra Zafar’s A Good Wife. Samantha Haywood of the Transatlantic Agency brokered the deal for Zafar with Melissa Williamson, president, and Nicole Butler, COO, of Pier 21.
● The Bookseller reported that PRH imprint Hamish Hamilton will publish Jonathan Safran Foer’s nonfiction We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast later this year. Simon Prosser bought British and Commonwealth rights from Caspian Dennis at Abner Stein, on behalf of Nicole Aragi. We Are the Weather will publish October 10. “Few books could be more urgent than this one,” Prosser told the Bookseller. “And because it is written by Jonathan, it has an emotional depth and resonance that moves us—to feel, to believe, and, crucially, to act. It is a unique combination of head and heart, of thinking and feeling—expressed in language that consistently surprises, delights, and rings true.”
For more children’s and YA book deals, see our latest Rights Report.
Correction: This article initially misspelled Stacey Glick's name.