DEAL OF THE WEEK
Chakras (Not Yoga!) to St. Martin’s for Six Figures
In a preempt, Daniella Rapp at St. Martin’s paid six figures for world rights from Gareth Esersky of the Carol Mann Agency to Chakra Rituals: Releasing the Wild Woman Within, by yoga instructor Christi Christensen—because “it’s not a yoga book,” Rapp says. Rapp believes the yoga category is full and done but that there is tremendous mainstream interest in other areas of the rituals of spirituality such as witchcraft, moonwork, crystals, and the ancient Hindu meditative practice of chakras. “I want to publish the essential book on chakras and how they can empower women,” Rapp says. Planned for release in winter 2021, the illustrated book offers a seven-week program for a contemporary spiritually conscious and curious audience to tap into the ancient science of chakras, according to Esersky.
FROM THE U.S.
Scholastic Pays Up for a Graphic Series
Mark Gottlieb at Trident Media sealed a six-figure deal for City of Dragons, a new graphic novel series by Jaimal Yogis and illustrated by Vivian Truong, with David Saylor, v-p and editorial director of Scholastic’s Graphix imprint. The middle grade series is scheduled for publication in 2021. “I was immediately intrigued by the story, which is set in Hong Kong and has contemporary kids interacting with dragons in a high-stakes, brilliantly visual fantasy,” Saylor says. “The story and artwork captivated my imagination, and the creators bring unique perspectives to this exciting adventure series.” Gottlieb described it as “a fantastical coming-of-age adventure that proves monster-size problems can be solved if you have friendship, courage, and compassion.” Yogis lives in San Francisco and is the author of Saltwater Buddha, which became a feature-length documentary film. Truong is a London comics artist who created the interactive comic I Fell in Love with Evil.
Ballantine Bags ‘Fleabag’ Book
On November 15, Ballantine will publish the complete scripts of the BBC/Amazon hit comedy series Fleabag, which received 11 Emmy nominations for its second season. Executive editor Sara Weiss bought North American rights from United Talent Agency and Independent Talent Group. Sceptre, an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton, will publish simultaneously in the U.K. Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the writer, creator, and star of Fleabag, will provide an afterword touching on the process of making the book, and the scripts will be accompanied by stage directions, according to the publisher.
Norton Flys with ‘The Insect Crisis’
Norton’s Qyynh Do jumped on an exclusive submission and bought North American rights to Oliver Milman’s The Insect Crisis: The Fall of the Tiny Empires That Run the World from Zoë Pagnamenta, who has an eponymous agency. According to the agent, Milman, the Guardian’s environmental correspondent for the U.S., imagines a dire world without insects, reports on the man-made causes of the catastrophic decline of insect populations, and presents the surprising global consequences of losing those small things that crawl, scurry, and fly.
David Bell Re-ups with Berkley
In what the publisher calls a “significant investment,” Berkley editor Danielle Perez snapped up world rights for two more thrillers from David Bell. The deal was brokered by Laney Katz Becker at Massie & McQuilkin. The new deal marks the 11th and 12th novels from Bell, all edited by Perez and all agented by Becker. Perez said, “To see the incredible trajectory of David’s career after I acquired and edited his first suspense novel, Cemetery Girl, in 2011 gives all of us at Berkley an immense amount of pride. We’re so happy and excited to be continuing our partnership with David long into the future.” Cemetery Girl has sold more than 150,000 units in all formats. Bell’s most recent book, Layover, was published by Berkley in July. Speaking to Bell’s success, Perez added, “I think David’s books resonate so strongly with readers because he writes about an everyman/everywoman we can relate to who gets caught up in extraordinary circumstances.”
Little, Brown Preempts a Sweet Debut
Senior editor Ben George snapped up world English rights to 27-year-old Michener Center fellow Nathan Harris’s debut novel, The Sweetness of Water, set in the South during the dwindling days of the Civil War. In the wake of the Emancipation Proclamation, a pair of brothers who are freed slaves seek refuge in the woods of a white landowner, whose subsequent friendship with them inspires a violent reaction from local townsfolk. Emily Forland at Brandt & Hochman brokered the deal.
Stay-at-Home Dads Book to Penguin
Chris Kepner, who has an eponymous agency, sold world rights for The Ultimate Stay-at-Home Dad: Your Essential Manual for Being an Awesome Full-Time Father by Shannon Carpenter to James Jayo at Penguin Books, for publication in fall 2021. According to Kepner, the book is a comprehensive, fun-filled field guide that shows dads how to thrive at home with activity ideas and battle-proven advice on cleaning, meal planning, and making amazing memories.
Behind the Deal
Two years ago, literary agent Stacey Glick of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret stepped out of the New York City subway and into a colorful Munchkin Land landscape—sort of. On her way to work, she noticed what she called an “amazing” mural on 16th Street in Manhattan and felt compelled to track down the artist, Jason Naylor, to see whether he was interested in developing a book.
The quest took some time, but, Glick said, “we got there, and we’re excited to partner with Cara Bedick at Chronicle Prism [who also, serendipitously was familiar with Naylor’s work] to bring his book to life.” Bedick bought world rights to Live Life Colorfully: 99 Ways to Bring More Joy, Creativity, and Positivity into Your Every Day, to be released in January 2021.
Naylor is an artist, designer, and creative director who has worked with Coach, MAC Cosmetics, Jo Malone London, and other major brands. Glick said that he “spreads joy and kindness around the globe using his signature bright colors and even brighter messages in typography, illustration, and large-scale murals.” The book, Glick added, is a quirky mix of upbeat words of wisdom, tips and tricks, challenges, and colorful illustrations that will inspire and motivate everyone who picks it up.
● Deadline announced that ABC Signature Studios has acquired television rights to Megan McCafferty’s bestselling Jessica Darling series. Ready Player One producer Dan Farah and author and screenwriter Rebecca Serle secured the book rights. The series spans the life and romances of the title character spanning her teen, college, and postcollege years.
● Greg Silverman’s Stampede and Vertigo Entertainment are teaming up to adapt Australian writer Gabriel Bergmoser’s gritty novel Sunburnt Country for a feature film, according to Deadline.
● In the U.K., Bloomsbury won a 15-house bidding war for a book about grief by podcaster Cariad Lloyd in what PFD’s Nelle Andrew, the agent who ran the auction, called “one of the fiercest auctions” she has been a part of. Publishing director Alexis Kirschbaum won You Are Not Alone for what Andrew called a “significant” six figures. Lloyd’s Griefcast podcasts have been downloaded more than 3.7 million times since the initial episodes were launched in 2016.
● Piatkus picked up U.K. and Commonwealth rights to journalist Gabrielle Jackson’s Pain and Prejudice: A Call to Arms for Women and Their Bodies from Maggie Thompson at Allen & Unwin. Called a “groundbreaking polemic on the state of women’s health care” by the publisher, it will be released on November 14.
For more children’s and YA book deals, see our latest Rights Report.