Hot Deals

Hot Deals
John F. Baker -- 8/28/00

To the Rescue of Peter Pan | Chicken Soup a Universal Taste
Berra, Hernandez Up for Hyperion | A Rabbi on Trial
Short Takes

To the Rescue of Peter Pan

Magida: Penning
true-crime tale.
Authors become accustomed to losing their editor, but what about losing their entire publisher? That's what happened to publishing insider Raquel Jaramillo, creative director at Henry Holt and noted book jacket designer, who had put together her own elaborately illustrated version of the Peter Pan story for Stewart, Tabori & Chang, only to have the publisher's owners, U.S. Media Holdings, declare bankruptcy. Since her book had already been prepared for the Christmas list, where it was an obvious gift offering, what to do? A friend, Brenda Bowen at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, showed the layouts to David Rosenthal, S&S publisher, who was eager to take over the project. But how to get it out of the hands of the bankruptcy lawyers? Another friend, author/illustrator Lee Wade, introduced Jaramillo to her own agent, Sam Pincus at McIntosh & Otis, who is a lawyer himself, and negotiations began. It took four months, but Pincus finally managed to extricate the rights for S&S, which paid six figures for the project, including a sizable advance to Jaramillo, and will launch the book with a first printing of 75,000 copies in a couple of months--still in time for Christmas. About the book: Jaramillo and her husband invested their own money to photograph the classic story themselves, with neighbors and friends, in their Brooklyn apartment and neighborhood, as a gift to their three-year-old son, Caleb.

Chicken Soup a Universal TastePublishers in many countries have bought no fewer than 400 contracts to do books in the Chicken Soup for the Soulseries published by Florida's Health Communications Inc., according to general manager Tom Sand, who handles foreign rights sales. The company's foreign sales now represent about 30% of revenues, Sand says, and because so many of the series titles still remain to be done abroad, "the best is yet to come." Chinese publishers have bought rights in both Chinese and English (for schools), as well as book club, and there are separate deals in Taiwan. India's Westland has committed to doing all books in the series published until 2001 and is already up to 17 titles. Two titles by Dave Pelzer, which most English publishers passed on, have become bestsellers for Orion.

Berra, Hernandez Up for HyperionTwo notable New York Yankees of past and present have signed with Hyperion editors for books to appear next year. First up is veteran Yogi Berra, no stranger to print, who will have one of his cunningly titled books ready for next Father's Day. It'll be called When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It!,and Hyperion executive editor Leslie Wells paid a "significant" six figures to Michael Harriot of Vigiliano Associates for North American, audio and first serial rights. The book by pitching ace Orlando (El Duque) Hernandez will be an altogether darker affair, telling of his arrest in his native Cuba four years ago for "conspiring to defect," which involved the loss of his life savings and a ban on playing ball in Cuba. He finally reached American shores after a harrowing boat journey and eventually joined the Yankees. His story, negotiated by sports agent Jimmy Tiberia at Ph nix's Player's Choice International, was bought by senior editor Gretchen Young, world rights, for publication in October next year.

A Rabbi on TrialA trial will begin next spring for Rabbi Fred Neulander, believed to be the first rabbi ever to be charged with murder, and author Arthur Magida will be there in the front row. Magida, who has been a PBS TV religion correspondent and has written on religion topics for many newspapers and magazines, is planning a book on the Neulander case, currently called Fatal Faith, and his agent, the Bay Area's Amy Rennert, sold it swiftly after offering it exclusively to HarperCollins executive editor David Hirshey. He paid what she called a significant six figures for world rights. Author and agent both feel that this is a true crime story--Neulander is accused of murdering his wife in suburban Philadelphia--with a distinctive extra element. Magida adds that the book will pose the question, "What happens when we deify the men and women in the pulpit and are betrayed?" Film rights are being handled by Howard Sanders and Richard Green at United Talent Agency in L.A.

Short TakesThe Warner novel A Little Love by the husband-and-wife team of Carlos and Carolina Medina has been bought for six figures for a movie by Alcon Entertainment, in the hope it could become a Latino Waiting to Exhale; the deal was put together by Endeavor and the authors' agent, Miami-based Janell Agyeman at Marie Brown Associates.... Jody Hotchkiss at Sterling Lord Literistic has sold TV movie rights of The Sinatra Files by Wall Street Journal reporters Phil and Tom Kuntz to Team Entertainment.... Astronomer David Levy, who helped discover the Sh maker-Levy comet, is doing a short book for Byron Preiss's ibooks imprint titled Eclipse: Journey to Darkness and Light, for which the publisher secured world rights from the Scott Meredith agency. The book, in the Longitude format and tradition, is being distributed by Simon & Schuster.

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