In a major pre-Frankfurt deal, Peter McGuigan at Ultra Literary closed a two-book, seven-figure agreement for Jennette McCurdy with Ballantine that will see the former iCarly star and surprise bestseller write her debut novel.
McGuigan, who said the advance is for “several million dollars,” sold North American rights to the currently untitled works to Sara Weiss. He also confirmed that international offers have started coming in for the titles, though, at press time, he could not confirm details.
McCurdy, a former child actress, has become one of this year's biggest bestselling authors after publishing her memoir, I’m Glad My Mom Died, in August. The Simon & Schuster title, which details the author’s relationship with her abusive stage mother and her struggles with addiction, has been a revelation, sales-wise. McGuigan said the book had sold out of stores two days after publication—it bowed August 9—and that, currently, there are roughly 500,000 hardcovers in print (in addition to sales of 400,000 audiobooks and 200,000 e-books). According to NPD BookScan, I’m Glad My Mom Died has sold 281,000 copies to date at the outlets that report to the service.
“We were number one for eight weeks straight,” McGuigan said, referring to the title’s perch atop the New York Times bestseller list. I'm Glad My Mom Died has consistently ranked high on the PW adult nonfiction bestsellers list and is currently #3.
The memoir has also been racking up foreign rights sales with McGuigan confirming that it has sold in 14 countries to date, including Italy, England, and Brazil.
This new deal, the agent added, marks a step McCurdy has long wanted to take. “Jennette wants to write fiction,” McGuigan said. “Being a novelist is her dream job.”
Correction: This piece originally mistitled McCurdy's memoir.