EXCLUSIVE: Bestselling author Janet Evanovich has pacted to write her next four novels for the Simon & Schuster imprint Atria Books. Deal is substantial eight-figures for world rights. Evanovich’s books had been published by Penguin Random House for years. This is a significant publishing industry move, as she is one of the biggest selling authors in the world with 25 #1 New York Times bestsellers and nearly 100 million books sold.
Two of the books to be published by Atria will feature Evanovich’s hugely popular series character, Stephanie Plum. The first, titled Fortune and Glory, is the 27th book in the Stephanie Plum series. It will be published November 10. The third book in the deal will be the start of a new spin-off series written solely by Evanovich that will be shopped as a film and TV franchise. The final book in the deal, The Bounty, will be the seventh installment in Evanovich’s bestselling Fox & O’Hare series and will be co-written with New York Times bestselling author Peter Evanovich, who is her son.
Deal marks a return to S&S for Evanovich, who wrote the first three books in her Stephanie Plum series for Scribner/S&S, starting with One for the Money, in 1994.
“I am excited to be joining Atria and returning to Simon & Schuster where Stephanie Plum got her start,” Evanovich said. “I’m also delighted to be working again with Libby McGuire, and to have my new editor, Peter Borland, and a terrific sales team.”
Libby McGuire, SVP and Publisher of the Atria Publishing Group, said, “It’s a thrill to be reunited with Janet Evanovich, whose brilliant and entertaining books have earned her millions of devoted fans. The entire Atria team has Plum fever!”
The megadeal comes six months after Evanovich signed with Shane Salerno at The Story Factory and comes at a time when demand for her work continues to soar. Her latest Plum adventure, Twisted Twenty-Six, published in November 2019, opened at #1 on the NYT Hardcover Fiction bestseller list, #1 on the Times combined Print and Ebook Fiction list, and #1 on Publisher’s Weekly, USA Today, Apple, B&N and Audible. That is for the 26th book in the series.
The continued success has made Evanovich a perennial target for major publishers. Diverting from the traditional path, Salerno chose not to conduct an auction for Evanovich’s next four books, preferring instead to have private conversations with the heads of several major publishing houses, and laying out detailed plan for the series, including a new cover direction, removing the numbers from the titles, expanding film and television opportunities, growing the co-author program to create new properties and franchise book series, and a new strategic outreach to booksellers. All of the houses that were approached submitted significant offers on a four-book package, including Penguin Random House. Evanovich chose Atria/Simon & Schuster.
Evanovich has landed a total of 39 novels on the NYT bestseller list and her books have been translated into 40 languages. She started with a series of romance novels, but her career took off when she introduced the bounty hunter Stephanie Plum character in 1994. She first hit #1 with Hot Six in 2000, and has topped the list with all subsequent installments.
For Atria and Simon & Schuster, the negotiations were conducted by McGuire, Borland and Lourdes Lopez for Atria; for Evanovich, it was Salerno and attorneys Richard Heller and Mark Merriman.