EXCLUSIVE: We all grew up reading the books. Now Little, Brown Books For Young Readers — a leading publisher of children’s books — is pacting with The Gotham Group to develop original IP properties for film and TV. The partnership will actually launch next spring with the paperback publication of the YA thriller Phantom Wheel from NY Times bestselling author Tracy Deebs (Ruined, Addicted, Exposed).
Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, founder and CEO of The Gotham Group and Gotham’s Eddie Gamarra, who is co-head of the literary department, will spearhead the effort from the entertainment industry side while the publishing program will be overseen by Kara Sargent who is editor-in-chief of licensing and IP at Little, Brown. Goldsmith-Vein and Gotham are known around town for being able to find quality literary material.
Together Little, Brown and The Gotham Group will work together to conceive, develop, publish, and produce content across a wide array of traditional and evolving entertainment media. “Years ago we recognized that client Tony DiTerlizzi’s The Spiderwick Chronicles concept was inherently cinematic as well as having the potential for an extraordinary book series, so we sold the movie first and then the books,” says Goldsmith-Vein. “We are excited to work with the team at Little, Brown to similarly create IP across all platforms and to provide great content to the studios and networks in the traditional and digital spaces in both animation and live action.”
Likewise, Little, Brown has had great success with The Twilight Saga, How to Train Your Dragon, The 100, Beautiful Creatures, and The Duff.
The first up, Phantom Wheel, follows what happens when a group of diverse teens with astute hacking and coding abilities is brought together in a race against time to right a wrong they were manipulated into committing by a powerful organization. So goes the storyline: “If they are to fix what they have unwittingly done, their actions will have devastating consequences for each of them—and on the country.”
The idea was conceived in a development meeting between the two companies and they quickly set on Deebs who has written eight YA novels, including Doomed, which was a YALSA finalist and has been on numerous state reading lists.
For Little, Brown, they are tapping into a philosophy to what The Gotham Group is already doing. Gotham is in the process now of creating multiple revenue streams with The Big Game by Albert Chen, the brainchild of The Gotham Group’s Jeremy Bell, for which they partnered with Waxman Leavell Agency and Diversion Books to broker a book deal with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and then set up a film deal with TriStar Pictures and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way to produce.
Deebs is represented by Emily Sylvan Kim at Prospect Agency.