Free Press Preempts 'Stuff'

Wylie O'Sullivan at the Free Press preempted world rights to Annie Leonard's The Story of Stuff via Linda Loewenthal at David Black, who had four preemptive offers and 15 publishers interested. Leonard, the creator of the Internet short film phenomenon The Story of Stuff, which has gotten almost four million full views, will expand on the life of the stuff we use every day to transform how we think about our patterns of consumption, our relationship to the planet and what we can do to achieve real and lasting change. She'll include tales of her almost 20 years as a toxics traveler, visiting dumps and factories around the world. Loewenthal says Free Press's presentation of a green production plan for the book helped win the day; tentative pub date is fall 2010.

Futter's First

Grand Central editor-in-chief Deb Futter has made her first acquisition since joining the company at the end of last year, preempting a debut novel, Roses, by Leila Meacham. David McCormick sold world English rights. Spanning the 20th century, the novel follows three generations in a small Texas town dominated by founding families who control the timber and cotton industries and whose deceits and tragedies are a part of the town's history. The day after Futter's preempt, German rights went in a preempt for significant six figures, and other foreign deals are pending. Meacham, a former teacher, lives in San Antonio, Tex.

Elsewhere at Grand Central, Springboard editorial director Karen Murgolo won an auction for Lisa Johnson Mandell's Career Facelift: How to Stage Your Own Comeback and Revamp Your Professional Image After the Big 4-0; Eileen Cope at Trident sold world rights in this six-figure deal. Based on a June Wall Street Journal article profiling Mandell and how she transformed her image to advance her career, the book will offer advice to professional women over 40 on how to look younger on paper, on the Web and in person. Pub date is early 2010.

Life's Soundtrack

Three Rivers senior editor Carrie Thornton bought North American rights for Crown to a new book by Rob Sheffield to be called 13 Ways of Looking at a Pop Song; Daniel Greenberg made the sale. The book is a collection of essays on some of the songs—from David Bowie's “Space Oddity” to Irish folk songs to Prince's “Purple Rain”—that would feature on the soundtrack of Sheffield's own life, those that recall important events, relationships, moments of sorrow, times of discovery and everyday pleasures. Sheffield, whose Love Is a Mix Tape (Crown, 2007) was a New York Times bestseller, recently moved from Rolling Stone to Blender.

Reinterpreting Lawrence

Bantam's John Flicker preempted North American rights to James Schneider's Lawrence in Arabia: A Story of Leadership via E.J. McCarthy. This nonfiction account of T.E. Lawrence's odyssey as a guerrilla leader during WWI will reconsider his role in the early transformation of the Middle East through a post-9/11, post-Iraq lens. Schneider, an army tank commander during Vietnam, is currently professor emeritus at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. Fiasco author Thomas E. Ricks will write a foreword. Endeavor is handling U.K./foreign rights.

Beier Goes Shopping

Elizabeth Beier at St. Martin's Press bought world rights to Janice Lieberman's How to Shop for a Husband in a deal with Karen Gantz Zahler. Today Show consumer correspondent Lieberman, with Bonnie Teller, will offer rules based on techniques used by consumer experts to help readers close the deal when it comes to picking a mate. Lieberman is the coauthor of Tricks of the Trade, published by Dell. SMP plans a spring 2009 publication.