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Posts Tagged ‘Ballantine’

Quick News Roundup

Over at DK Publishing, there are two promotions in their publicity department: Mindy Fichter to Senior Publicist and Susan Stockman to Publicist.

For Ballantine Trade Paperbacks, Jill Schwartzman has acquired family therapist (and Millionaire Matchmaker regular) Dr. Shannon Fox and divorce attorney Celeste Liversedge’s Back Away From That Bouquet: 10 Keys to Getting a Life Before Saying I Do, encouraging women to not marry before they’re truly ready and showing them how to reach their own greatest potential. The North American rights deal was made, at auction, by Daniel Lazar at Writers House.

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Justin Cronin Bloodsucks Big Money from Ballantine

New York Magazine’s Vulture blog scooped up quite the deal story yesterday afternoon involving PEN/Hemingway award winner Justin Cronin. In a major change of direction – also involving a pseudonym, Jordan Ainsley – Cronin is working on a postapocalyptic vampire trilogy set in 2016. He’s already completed the first 400 pages of volume one, which was sold by Trident Media‘s Ellen Levine as a partial manuscript for what Vulture reports to be a whopping $3.75 million, 3-book deal to Ballantine‘s Mark Tavani. Vulture seems surprised that there could be very strong in-house reaction (“Usually I hate this stuff, and I love it!” we hear one scout told her colleagues. Another publishing insider gushed to Vulture, “It is totally awesome,” while a third suggested that comparisons to Michael Crichton and Stephen King were appropriate, given the likelihood of this book being “a big best-seller”) but when there’s that much money involved, it’s pretty easy to find a few folks to say nice things about the deal…

Still, on balance it might not seem to be as crazy a bet as it seems, especially if the deal is for world rights (which we’re in the process of finding out) and sells to a bunch of different countries. Plus Tavani’s had some experience in the vampire realm with Charlie Huston‘s ALREADY DEAD and NO DOMINION, starring Joe Pitt, vampire PI. And if CAA can get a movie made, well, then this gamble really pays off.

Who Spiked the Water at 1745 Broadway?

It’s been a very strange week for the world’s largest publishing company. First we had Wednesday’s surprise announcement that Crown svp and publisher Steve Ross would be moving to Collins, with Tina Constable stepping in to take his place. Now comes last night’s announcement that Daniel Menaker was jumping ship from Random House‘s eponymous imprint, though it remains to be seen if the party line that the decision was “absolutely mutual” will hold up under scrutiny.

Maybe it’s because the current edition of Publishing Revolving Door takes me on a time warp all the way back to 2003 – ancient history for some, but important history nonetheless. Menaker, after 26 years at the New Yorker, first joined Random House in 1995 and continued uninterrupted there save for a sixteen-month stint at HarperCollins, which ended in 2003. The company he returned to was not the company he left behind. They had moved to sleek new offices in an office condominium between 55th and 56th streets; Ann Godoff was gone in one of the most publicized oustings in recent memory; Little Random had been absorbed in the same umbrella containing Ballantine and its holdings; and at the center of the new-look imprint was, and still is, president and publisher Gina Centrello. Taken together, these were clear signs of the company’s increasingly commercial shift that would play out in a major way over the next four-plus years. And yet Menaker was hired to give Little Random a distinct literary bent, which he did in the form of novelists Benjamin Kunkel, Arthur Phillips, Gary Shteyngart and Jon Clinch as well as former poet laureate Billy Collins, even if said acquisitions didn’t necessarily pay off in terms of sales.

No matter how much Menaker, Centrello and the Random House brass want to downplay the bottom line, it’s difficult to play by their rules in light of the company’s most recent shakeups – not to mention their gutting of the sales force, Bertelsmann‘s attempts to patch up the mothership after getting scared straight by former minority shareholder GBL’s threats to take their holdings public (Bookspan, anyone?) and a downturn in profits. All of which has to make one wonder about the overall health of Random House – and if more “unexpected” news is just lurking around the corner.