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Likely Stories

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Keir Graff and editors from Booklist's adult and youth departments write candidly about books, book reviewing, and the publishing industry

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Thursday, February 8, 2007 11:53 am
48 Hours? Puh-leeze!
Posted by: Keir Graff

From Galleycat (“From Arrest to Book Deal: 48 Hours“):

Be careful what you wish for. That’s the line in my head after an early morning conversation with a friend musing about whether someone would be snapping up fallen NASA astronaut Lisa Marie Nowak to a book deal for her recent 1000-mile trek to attempt kidnapping and murder upon her perceived rival for a fellow astronaut’s affections. “Wanna bet the story will end up as a St. Martin’s paperback with Jane Dystel doing the deal?” I quipped. “Charlie Spicer is prepping the deal memo as we speak,” was the instant reply.

And lo, that’s exactly what happened, according to a deal just posted on Publishers Marketplace this afternoon. Dystel’s the agent, Spicer’s the editor, and the author will be Diane Fanning, whose previous true crime efforts have garnered her an Edgar Award nomination. It goes without saying the book sold on proposal – or maybe a one-page sheet, if that…

Okay, sure, that seems fast today — but I predict that, in the future, agents will be writing speculative proposals based on meltdowns that haven’t happened yet. Just as newspapers keep obituaries of famous folks on hand even before they’re dead, ambitious assistants will anticipate scandals based on high-risk personalities — conveniently, many of these people are already famous — outlining ahead of time the disastrous event for which they’re acquiring the rights.

(This leaves room for anyone who feels they got left out of O.J.’s last book deal.)

If you want to get to the front of the line and make the deal, you don’t want to waste valuable time composing one or two whole pages — or even waiting for the event to occur. You want to get the signature on the dotted line.

So, in the future, fast will mean getting the deal done before O.J.’s next arrest — and having the book on shelves the same day the story hits the headlines.


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