DIET DOC FOR SMP
Dr. Robert C. Atkins, whose diet books have sold millions over the years and whose New Diet Revolution is a long-running bestseller in both hardcover and paperback, is taking his nostrums to St. Martin's Press. In a seven-figure hard-soft world rights deal negotiated by SMP president and publisher Sally Richardson with agent Sterling Lord, the house bought Dr. Atkins' Age-Defying Revolution, set for publication in winter 2000. SMP's Heather Jackson, who will edit the book, said a number of diet specialists had already moved into the field of diet and aging, adding that "it's time the biggest expert was heard from." As for Lord, he spoke to several interested publishers, but St. Martin's "came through with the strongest offer." Foreign sales have already been made to publishers in Germany, France, Spain and Brazil. Trade and mass editions of Dr. Atkins's last book were done by Avon and the hardcover by M. Evans at National Book Network.
Wes Craven is best known as a Hollywood writer/director whose creations (the Scream movies, Nightmare on Elm Street) make teenagers shriek. He is also a debut novelist; his Fount Society was snapped up at S&S a while back without a word on paper. Now comes news that his various agents have put together a deal with Image Makers, a subsidiary of Dreamworks, that calls for Craven to direct and produce the movie of his first book (which appears this fall), an unusual circumstance if ever we saw one. The hope is to get the film into production for next year, around the time the paperback of the novel comes out. The various deals, which come to a mid-seven-figure total for all three, were put together by what seems to be a cast of thousands: Craven's literary agents, Ellen Geiger and Ed Wintle at Curtis Brown; Amanda Eastman and Robert Newman at ICM, his movie agents; and Jack Rapke and Robert Zemickis at the movie company -- the whole shebang orchestrated by Craven's Los Angeles lawyer, Sam Fischer.
ON THE FAST TRACK
A recent PW feature on how books about stock car racing are moving up in the sports field seems to have helped spur an ace NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) writer into action and led ultimately to a big book deal. The writer in question is Ed Hinton at Sports Illustrated; he was sent the piece by his Dallas agent Jim Donovan, who had been trying for some time to interest Hinton in doing a racing book. The result, three days later, was an outline for a book Hinton called Daytona: Whiskey Trippers, Shitboxes and the Quest for Speed (alas, the full title may not survive), which was e-mailed to sports editors at 11 houses. Warner's Rob McMahon made a floor offer, and the bidding concluded with a $210,000 clincher from St. Martin's. McMahon then exercised his 10% topping privilege, and the result, according to Donovan, is a record for a motor racing title.
A QUEEN RETURNS
There was a time when the name of Rosemary Rogers was all over paperback bestseller lists as the so-called Queen of Historical Romance (Sweet Savage Love, anyone?). Her discoverer, and her first editor 25 years ago at Avon, was Nancy Coffey. Nancy is still attached, now as Rogers's agent at Pinder Lane &Garon-Brooke, and she has just made a high-six-figure, three-book deal for Rogers with Dianne Moggy at Canada's MIRA Books, the mainstream commercial imprint of Harlequin. The first of the books, all still untitled, will probably be out before the end of 2000.
THEY STILL COME TRUE
Marcia Wieder is a highly skilled motivational speaker who published a book, Making Your Dreams Come True, six years ago with a small company called MasterMedia that eventually went broke -- though it did succeed in getting her on Oprah. The rights -- and plates -- reverted to Wieder, who reprinted the book herself and continued to sell thousands of copies until she linked up with Bonnie Solow of the Coast's New Media Marketing, who suggested it was time to get a big publisher behind it. Solow sent it to three editors in New York, and it was Patricia Guest at Harmony who took it off the table with what Solow described as a substantial six-figure offer for world rights. Wieder, who is launching her own show at a Sacramento PBS station and will be part of a national PBS pledge drive at the end of the year (to which publication will be timed to coincide), will write a new introduction describing how her book was reborn.
Kevin Baker, whose Dreamland did well for HarperCollins (and has now been optioned for a movie for Leonardo DiCaprio), will do another two books in what is turning out to be a saga of New York immigration for Harper's Dan Conaway. His agent, Henry Dunow, made a substantial world rights deal for Baker's Locofoco, about the Irish invasion in the mid-19th century, and Strivers Row, about the black movement northward.... Harlan Coben, whose One False Move, his first hardcover after a low-profile mass market existence, did well for Delacorte last year, has a new substantial six-figure hard-soft deal in place with Delacorte/Dell editor Jacob Hoye, negotiated by Lisa Erbach Vance at the Aaron Priest agency. Meanwhile, his wiseass detective Myron Bolitar may make it into a TV series, via a deal with Fox through J l Gotler at Renaissance.... In our April 12 item about the Arturo Patten/Russell Banks book, we omitted to mention that the deal was put together by agent Ellen Levine.