Patrick Melton & Marcus Dunstan, whose credits include the fourth through seven Saw installments as well as the upcoming Hellraiser remake and the sequel Piranha 3 Double D, are moving into publishing with a Little Brown deal for their first novel, Blacklight. The book is the story of a ghost hunter private eye with psychic abilities who is hired to take the inaugural ride on the new bullet train that goes directly from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. His job is to figure out if the train’s haunted, but each case he takes on fuels his own lifelong obsession: to locate the spirits of his parents who were the victims of an unsolved murder when he was a child. The scribes intend for this to be the start of a series surrounding the private eye, Buck Carlsbad. Melton & Dunstan’s reps at Underground and APA will shop the feature rights.
AOL Inc., Mark Burnett, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and Coalition Films have entered a digital production agreement to co-develop a series of comedic video shorts based on CliffsNotes Literature Guides, published by Wiley. Showcased on AOL.com this year will be the works of Mark Twain, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, and others in humorous, irreverent, animated shorts that still present the plots, characters, and themes.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, out on bail after an arrest for an alleged sex crime, has made a deal to write his memoirs for Random House’s Alfred A. Knopf label, and UK’s Canongate Books. More territorial sales will bring in additional revenue for a guy who has become a world famous figure reviled on Capitol Hill. Assange told Britain’s Sunday Times he’ll get $800,000 from Knopf, and slightly more than $500,000 from Canongate. He’ll use the money to pay legal bills and keep afloat his WikiLeaks website which this fall leaked 250,000 State Department documents that bared frank opinions on world leaders and foreign policy that were considered highly sensitive and embarrassing to the White House. Assange has denied the sex crime allegation and has implied he’s the victim of a smear campaign because of his truth-telling campaign. Most authors don’t disclose their advances, but Assange has made full disclosure of his, even though his publishers would not confirm the amount, according to the Wall Street Journal.
EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures acquired screen rights to Out of Range, a book proposal for a two-book mystery that will be written by Hank Steinberg, the creator of the CBS series Without A Trace. The movie sale came after the novel was set up in a high six-figure deal at Harper Collins on the basis of the proposal and a few sample chapters. The film option deal was also in the six-figures and it closed late last night. Steinberg will write the script and Erwin Stoff will produce. While studios have been slow to jump on pitches lately, the movie deal made by WME definitely found momentum after 3 Arts’ Richard Abate made the publishing deal and created a demand. The book will be published in 2011.
The 80s punk rock singer’s autobiography is under offer in France, Germany and Finland, having sold already to Simon & Schuster in the US and UK in a high six-figure deal. Dancing With Myself – the title comes from his early hit single — is being repped by Cathryn Summerhayes at William Morris Endeavor in London. The 54-year-old singer is promising a story of sex and drugs and 24-hour madness and says he’s “going out on a limb here – so watch my back”. Simon & Schuster’s imprint Touchstone will publish in the US late 2011 or 2012. Let’s hope Idol sits down and finishes writing it. Mick Jagger returned his $4 million advance because he got so bored penning his memoirs.
And the autobiography of George Lazenby, the man who had the unenviable task of inheriting James Bond’s shoes after Sean Connery, has been taken off the table by Century. John Elek of AP Watt sold the book by Lazenby, who was working as a car salesman and model before playing 007 in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Century will publish the book in spring 2012. Sure, Lazenby was a bit wooden but OHMSS is still, to my mind, the best of the non-Connery Bonds. At least it doesn’t have the safari-suit tackiness of the Roger Moore years.
Other titles that have been selling strongly at Frankfurt, which ends today, …
I’ve been looking into what are the hottest overseas titles being sold at this week’s Frankfurt Book Fair. David Bowie is due to deliver his illustrated book Bowie: Object to his agent Andrew Wylie in December. So Wylie is telling publishers at Frankfurt that it’s the first in a series of books by Bowie and I’m told there’s lots of interest. Why the title? Because the rock legend has assembled 100 objects from his personal archive and has written captions for them exploring his creative process. That, apparently, qualifies as a book these days.
Other titles packing heat at Frankfurt this year include:
Breaking News… Random House Publishing Group chief Gina Centrello and Ballantine publisher Libby McGuire and editor in chief Jennifer Hershey have won an auction for the next six books to be written by Debbie Macomber, the prolific romance novelist who is leaving a run at Harlequin. Deal was seven-figures for each book, and came after an auction that brought Macomber in from her Washington home and pitted Random House against Grand Central and Simon & Schuster, the latter of which publishes Macomber’s non-fiction Christian-themed titles. It’s the second significant female author that Centrello, McGuire and Hershey have brought into the Ballantine fold, after they landed Janet Evanovich earlier this year.
EXCLUSIVE: The deals are popping this week, and publishing is not immune. On the basis of a 4-page proposal, Alfred Knopf’s Sonny Mehta has paid $2.5 million for The Loneliness of Sonia and Sunny, the new novel by Kiran Desai. She’s the Booker Prize-winning author of The Inheritance of Loss. Robin Desser is the acquiring editor. This is the time for big book deals in the run up to the Frankfurt Book Fair, which gets underway in Germany next week. The publishing crowd was also buzzing over the fact that the deal was brokered by Andrew Wylie, who signed her 2 weeks ago from Inkwell Management. She left to join Wylie because he reps her partner, the Nobel Prize-winning novelist Orhan Pamuk.
Bestselling author Daniel Silva has left a long run at Putnam and made a 3-book deal at HarperCollins. I toldja that Silva left ICM to sign with D.C. attorney Robert Barnett at Williams & Connolly, in anticipation of shopping for the new deal. Silva was locked in by Harper senior vice president Jonathan Burnham and the books will be edited by executive editor Jennifer Barth. Not sure how much the deal was worth, but it is the latest in what will likely be a growing number of established authors leaving houses because those publishers are unwilling to pay the high advances their authors were accustomed to receiving. That happened with Janet Evanovich, who left St. Martin’s Press after the publisher nixed an ask for $50 million for her next four books, even though she was the house’s top fiction author. She moved to Random House’s Ballantine Bantam Dell imprint, but word in publishing circles is it was for a lot less than she originally asked.
HarperCollins confirmed the move, with Silva’s first book under the new deal to be published in summer, 2011. Silva was a journalist when he began writing novels with The Unlikely Spy. He’s best known for the popular series revolving around Gabriel Allon, an art restorer/Israeli spy. He most recently hit the bestseller lists earlier this summer with The Rembrandt Affair.