New Info: Touchstone Will Pay for Sobol Winners

By Neal Comment

Since we told you this morning about the deal Touchstone Fireside cut with Sobol Literary Enterprises, the AP has issued a revised version of Hillel Italie’s article, in which Sobol editorial director Brigitte Weeks (formerly of Bookspan) is quoted as saying that the winners of the top three prizes in the contest would get $100,000 advances from Simon & Schuster (Touchstone’s parent publisher) for world rights, or $50,000 for U.S. rights only. According to the article, “she acknowledged that committing to one publisher could limit the advance for a promising manuscript, but said she still believes winners will be better off.” As she put it, “For most people, the certainty of being published by an established major publishing house is a much better trade-off than holding out for a million dollar auction, which is incredibly rare.”

One might just as easily say that “most people” aren’t talented enough to win the contest anyway, and that any author good enough to get what Publishers Marketplace would call “a very nice deal” out of Simon & Schuster after being discovered in the slush pile is probably good enough to get a “good deal,” maybe even “a significant deal,” from any major publisher with the help of a reputable literary agent who takes a vested interest in the ongoing success of his or her client’s career as a writer, rather than getting them a one-off trade paperback original and saying they should be happy to be published. Then again, one could say a lot of things. What do you say?

Sarah adds: It’s worth pointing out the last time Touchstone/Fireside’s Mark Gompertz was last in the trade news: when he signed disgraced gossip columnist Jared Paul Stern to write his memoirs. Not exactly a fabulous recent track record, is it?