Koontz Finds a New Home at Amazon

Bestselling author Dean Koontz inked a multibook deal with Amazon Publishing’s Thomas & Mercer imprint to write five standalones. As part of the deal, he will also pen a collection of six short thrillers for Amazon Original Short Stories. Grace Doyle at Thomas & Mercer took North American rights to the standalones, while Julia Sommerfeld at Amazon Original Stories took world English rights to the thriller collection. This deal, for an undisclosed sum, follows a string of seven-figure agreements that Amazon Publishing has recently struck with major bestsellers, including Patricia Cornwell, Sylvia Day, Barry Eisler, and T.R. Ragan, who all have multibook agreements. Richard Pine and Kimberly Witherspoon at Inkwell Management, along with Richard Heller at Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz, represented Koontz, whose most recent book was published by Bantam.

Photo: Douglas Sonders.


Lippman Re-ups at Morrow for Seven Figures

Laura Lippman inked a seven-figure, five-book agreement with William Morrow. The deal, for North American rights, will see her pen three novels, a short story collection, and a personal essay collection. Lippman’s longtime editor Carrie Feron brokered the agreement with Vicky Bijur, who has an eponymous shingle. In a release about the agreement, Morrow said that the author, a reporter turned novelist who is best known for her popular Tess Monaghan series, has “won more awards than almost any living crime writer.” The essay collection in the deal, the publisher also noted, will be Lippman’s first nonfiction book.

Barnett, Robinson Do ‘20’ for Candlewick

For Candlewick, Liz Bicknell nabbed world rights to Mac Barnett’s picture book 20 Questions. The book, Candlewick said, will present 20 “fanciful, answerless questions.” Caldecott Honoree Christian Robinson is illustrating the title, which is set for spring 2023. Both Bennett and Robinson were represented by Steven Malk at Writers House.

Rapinoe Scores Double at Penguin

World Cup–winning hero Megan Rapinoe signed a two-book, world rights deal at Penguin to write an adult title and a middle grade one. The co-captain of the U.S. women’s soccer team will focus on social justice issues in both books, which do not yet have titles. The adult book is set for fall 2020, while the MG title does not yet have a firm release date. After preemptively declining a potential White House invitation during the World Cup, Rapinoe became a target of President Trump on Twitter. The attention prompted her to espouse some of the issues she has championed throughout her career, such as gay rights and equal pay for women athletes. To that end, the adult book, Penguin said, will be “a perfect vehicle for an honest, thoughtful, unapologetic, idealistic discussion of women, social justice, role models, gay issues, nationalism, and even a little soccer.” Ann Godoff at Penguin Press struck the agreement with Dan Levy at Wasserman. The children’s title will be published by Razorbill.

Mah’s ‘NYT’ Travel Piece Becomes a Jackie O. Novel

William Morrow’s Kate Nintzel acquired North American rights to Ann Mah’s Jacqueline in Paris. The novel is expanded from “A Year in Paris That Transformed Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis,” an article by the author that ran in the Travel section of the New York Times on June 23. The piece focuses on 1949, when a 20-year-old Jacqueline Bouvier was simply “a college student boarding a ship to spend her junior year abroad.” The new novel by the author of The Lost Vintage will, Morrow said, be a “coming-of-age story” about a city that “would offer Jackie inspiration and intellectual refuge for the rest of her life.” Mah was represented by Deborah Schneider at Gelfman Schneider/ICM Partners.

HarperTeen Hears Medema’s ‘Truth’

After a four-house auction, Jessica MacLeish at HarperTeen won world English rights to Dante Medema’s debut novel, The Truth Project. The YA work, acquired for six figures, is set for summer 2020. Louise Fury at the Bent Agency represented Medema and said Truth follows the rupture that occurs after an Alaska high schooler discovers, via a genealogy project, that her biological father is not the man who raised her. Fury said that the “coming-of-age romance tackles the popular trend of DNA testing and eternal questions about family.” The author, who lives in Alaska and is on the board of the Alaska Writers Guild, wrote the book, Fury noted, “in a combined epistolary and verse format.”

Ballantine Nabs Buzzy U.K. Romance

Following a string of international sales, including a six-figure preempt in Germany, Hilary Rubin Teeman at Ballantine preempted Eva Carter’s How to Save a Life. The contemporary romance by the British author, who was represented by Hellie Ogden at Janklow & Nesbit UK, is about, Ballantine said, “an aspiring doctor, her long-besotted best friend, and a local soccer player whose life she saves by performing CPR when he goes into cardiac arrest at a party.” Teeman took North American rights in a two-book deal.


● The just-released thriller by Michele Campbell, A Stranger on the Beach (St. Martin’s), has been optioned by Anonymous Content. The publisher said that the production/management firm “outbid multiple players in a competitive situation.” PW, in its review, called the novel an “engrossing, if flawed, thriller.”

Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women (released by Avid Reader earlier this month) has been optioned by Showtime after a bidding war. The nonfiction book, which follows three women and their desires and relationships, will be adapted and executive produced by Taddeo.


● Egypt-based Al Arabi Publishing bought Arabic world rights to two novels by Basque author Harakaitz Cano. Twist (2011) and Blade of Light (2004) were acquired in the deal, which was brokered by Spain-based SalmaiaLit. (Twist was published in the U.S. in 2018 by Archipelago Books; Blade of Light is available in the U.S. from University of Nebraska Press.)

● The Finnish novel My Friend Natalia by Laura Lindstedt has been acquired in Holland by De Bezige Bij. The deal follows a number of international sales for the title, with deals having closed in (among other territories) Hungary, Italy, and Sweden. The Elina Ahlbäck Literary Agency handles foreign rights.

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