New Morrow editor-in-chief Betty Nichols Kelly has acquired her first book with a reported $500,000 preemptive bid to agent Alex Smithline to publish Link, a first novel by 28-year-old screenwriter Walt William Becker. Previously a mid-six-figure deal for film rights to the story -- about a scientist who discovers that the "missing link" in evolution was an extraterrestrial -- was sold via treatment by Phil Raskin of the Beverly Hills, Calif.-based talent firm Endeavor to Live Entertainment, with Wesley Snipes and Gregg Davis set as producers. A fall 1998 publication is planned.