Hot Deals

Hot Deals
John F. Baker -- 9/11/00

Mafia on Wall Street? | Big PB Sale for Small-Press Title
South Vietnam's Ky Memoir to SMP
Coming Up Latin | Short Takes

Mafia on Wall Street?
That's the thesis of a book proposal just snapped up by executive editor Rick Horgan at Warner Books, who laid out a "significant" six figures for what he says could be described as "Wiseguys meets Liar's Poker." It's by Gary Weiss, an investigative journalist at Business Week who has been tracking a massive infiltration by the Mob into the Street's financial dealings, and he plans to call it Born to Steal: A Life Inside the Wall Street Mafia.The book concentrates on one character at the heart of these devious doings, which are said to skim billions of dollars each year, but he is not being identified at this stage. What we do know is that Warner Bros. has also optioned the planned book, in a show of synergy, and that Mark Wahlberg is under discussion for the lead. The book, for which Horgan bought world rights, was purchased from Mort and Luke Janklow at Janklow & Nesbit, and publication is planned for some time in 2002.

Big PB Sale for Small-Press TitleLast month we wrote about the sale of a nonfiction book called Infidelity by Anne Pearlman to a small San Francisco publisher by agent Jodie Rhodes after she had made literally dozens of submissions to larger houses. Now, as often happens, those larger houses realize later what they missed. A strong PW review helped get buzz going, and when San Francisco publisher MacAdam/ Cage auctioned paperback rights recently, it was barraged with preemptive bids by four big houses. Gerry Howard at Broadway eventually bore off the prize for a cool quarter-million in the auction conducted for the publisher by Michele Rubin at Writer's House. The book tells of the impact several generations of infidelity had on relationships within the author's family.

South Vietnam's Ky Memoir to SMP
Nguyen Cao Ky
was an obscure Air Force officer when he was thrust into the leadership of South Vietnam at a crucial point of the war in 1965, and much to everyone's amazement, he survived for three years before passing power along peacefully to a civilian government. With the help of journalist/author Marvin Wolf, who met him as a U.S. Army photographer way back when, he is writing a memoir, Buddha's Child, for editor-in-chief George Witte at St. Martin's Press. Witte bought North American volume rights only, from agent Peter Miller at PMLA, and hopes to publish late next fall or the following winter. Ky frankly describes American actions in the war from a Vietnamese point of view and will be, said Miller, blunt about the mistakes that were made. Ky has been living in retirement in the U.S. for the past 25 years.

Coming Up Latin

There's increasing interest these days in publishing for the Latino market, as evidenced by a book deal and a new imprint. The book is Shakira,a study of the Latin singing sensation of that name, and agent Laura Dail sold it to Marcela Landres at S&S for a Touchstone/ Fireside trade paperback that will be published in both Spanish and English language editions. Both will be by bilingual Ximena Diego, who covers the Latin music world in her role as entertainment editor for, and will appear next summer.

Short TakesHoughton Mifflin's Eric Chinski has signed two new books by Garry Wills: the first is on the papacy, and follows up on his PapalSin; it's about the Church's future, and it will be called Papal Rebirth. The other is a study of late 19th-century literature and politics, called Henry Adams and the American Paradox. The seven-figure deal, signed with agent Z Pagnamenta at the Wylie Agency, also calls for the paperback reissue of five earlier Wills titles. Chinski fought off considerable competition to keep the prolific author.... It's not such hot news now, since "Deals" was on vacation when it happened, but for the record, Jennifer Weis at SMP finally landed the book by Survivor million-dollar winner Richard Hatch,for a sum reported as just under half a million, after several houses had passed on it. The sale was made by Eric Simonoff at Janklow & Nesbit, and it will be interesting to see how soon they can get it out, since Survivor 2 begins shooting in January. Meanwhile, little TV Books scored the coup for the book about the show, and got out 200,000 copies last week on the
basis of a deal signed by president Peter Kaufman with CBS last November for a sum quite incommensurate with the show's ultimate huge success.... Michael Sims, whose Darwin's Orchestra was much admired when published by Holt a few years ago, has a new book proposal, for Adam's Navel: A Natural and Cultural History of the Human Body, for which Molly Stern at Viking came up with a six-figure preempt, North American only. The sale was made by Heide Lange at Sanford Greenburger, whose Peter McGuinan will be handling foreign sales--except the U.K., which is sold already to Penguin.