Let me put it this way: when I spoke to CAA about what’s new the other day, the agency never even bothered to mention it hired former POM book agent Simon Green to bring in publishing projects for its existing clients along thelines of the book deal he made for the Jonas Brothers which sold through the roof. But today’s daily version of Publishers Weekly is splashing the news. So there must be something to the emails I’m getting that Green is no big deal. To PW, this is a signal that CAA is “entrenching itself a bit more deeply in the New York literary world” although CAA denies that Green’s hiring “marks any kind of effort to launch a full-fledged book operation in New York”. But PW found that the book agents CAA regularly works with “question the motive behind the expansion”. WMA and ICM have heavyweight book departments that are hugely prestigious and profitable. UTA has a solid unit, too. Endeavor got into the business only recently when it hired away ICM’s Richard Abate and just added Dutton editor-in-chief Trena Keating. But CAA’s history includes positioning itself as a pal to independent book agents who could work to develop projects for TV and movies with a Hollywood tenpercentery and not have to worry about losing clients to a bigger competitor. Then there were CAA’s special relationships with book agencies like Janklow Nesbit and Sterling Lord. So if CAA suddenly decides to represent authors as clients, it’s because the agency can’t keep ignoring this lucrative revenue stream. (Even Endeavor’s still new department sold Kathy Griffin’s memoir and Tina Fey’s forthcoming essay collection for major coin.) But it’s also gonna fuck-up a lot of CAA’s long-time publishing relationships. PW quoted two book agents as pledging that “if CAA seems to be making an Endeavor-like expansion, they would stop sending their film business the agency’s way”. As for Simon Green, I’m assured that his bread and butter won’t be stealing away authors and making ther book deals but rather making more deals like he did for the Jonas Brothers.
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