PERILS OF THE WEB
Katie Tarbox is only 17 years old, but has a considerable story to tell, and she plans to tell it in a book just sold to Laurie Chittenden at Dutton after a heated three-day auction conducted by her Coast agent, B.J. Robbins. Girl.com is the story of how, when she was only 13, Katie began to be pursued, via Internet chat rooms, by "Mark," a man who was eventually prosecuted for sexual harassment of a minor arising from a Web contact. "It's something many young girls can identify with, a search for someone who understands them and gives them affection, but it can also lead them into some dark, scary places," noted Chittenden, who said she was "really knocked out" by Tarbox's 75-page proposal. Tarbox, who is still in high school in Connecticut, is writing the book herself, and Chittenden, who bought world rights, hopes to publish next spring.
In a story that could be subtitled "Dog Bites Workman," the publisher of that name has bought Saving Gracie: A Dog's Tale, and thereby hangs one. Mark Beckloff and Dan Dye run Three Dog Bakery, which, as canine fanciers know, is one of the hottest names in pet food, with nearly 30 bakeries around the country. The book is the story of how Dye befriended Gracie, a deaf Great Dane puppy, while he was still in mourning for a dog he had known since childhood, and how Gracie gave him and Beckloff the inspiration for their business. The two (and the dog) have become media darlings, and they have already done two dog cookbooks for Andrews & McMeel. Agent Tanya McKinnon at the Mary Evans agency disclosed that she received many pre-emptive bids during the four days their proposal was in submission, but that Peter Workman's, for world rights, was "irresistible."
Bestselling authors continue to move to new houses in a steady stream, partly, no doubt, in search of bigger paydays, but just as often, it seems, in search of the greater enthusiasm a new publisher can sometimes bring. The latest such move is that of Phillip Margolin, author of bestselling legal thrillers, who is taking his act from Doubleday to HarperCollins in a two-book deal brokered by his agent, Jean Naggar. Margolin said he had been particularly struck by the "energy" of Harper's marketing and editorial people, and Naggar also cited their "excellent reputation for nurturing authors and guiding their careers." Margolin broke through with his third book, Gone but Not Forgotten, and has been a stellar performer since, most recently with The Undertaker's Widow. No titles yet on either of the new books, but Harper executive editor Dan Conaway, who will be Margolin's editor, hopes to publish the first of them next year.
Simon & Schuster's David Rosenthal has acquired a book called People of the Century, an illustrated volume of profiles based on a series that occupied five special issues of Time magazine and was the subject of a series of CBS prime-time specials. It will be out in November.... John Sterling, president of Henry Holt, has acquired a new novel by former Houghton Mifflin publisher J Kanon (Los Alamos), whom he had first published at Broadway. It is Holt's first hard-soft deal in association with St. Martin's, agented by Amanda Urban at ICM.... For the first time in its history, the FBI has agreed to let an active agent write about the bureau, and Little, Brown's Michael Pietsch has the book. He pre-empted Christopher Whitcomb's Cold Zero, heading off a planned auction by ICM's Suzanne Gluck.... Several people have reminded us that Bob Spitz wrote a major biography of Bob Dylan 10 years ago for Norton that is still in print (Hot Deals, June 14).