Wednesday, July 14, 2010

SMP Shoots Down Evanovich's $50 Million "Idea"

This just in...

St. Martin's Press has just let their biggest fiction author become a free agent--Janet Evanovich.

According to, Evanovich's requested $50 million advance was just too steep for the last privately owned major trade publisher to accept:

In a shocking development, bestselling author Janet Evanovich is leaving St. Martin's Press after 15 years. The publisher refused to pay her request for $50 million for her next four books -- so now her son/agent Peter Evanovich is
expected to shop the deal to other publishers shortly. I'm told Evanovich is St. Martin's biggest fiction author, best known for her novel series about bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. Katherine Heigl will play her in One for the Money, a Julie Anne Robinson-directed film for Sidney Kimmel Entertainment and Lakeshore that Lionsgate will distribute.

The St. Martin's Press decision is the way that publishing business is going these days, with houses crunching the bottom line and not giving the kind of advances to franchise authors that were commonplace five years ago. Still, publishing industry insiders said Evanovich's ask was on the high side, despite her bestselling track record. Her latest novel, Sizzling Sixteen, has been near the top of the bestseller lists since its publication earlier this summer. Evanovich's longtime St. Martin's editor, Jennifer Enderlin, said, "I'm not
commenting on anything."

See the article HERE

I don't blame SMP for a second for not acquiescing to Evanovich's request. Word on the street is her last contract, with previous representation at Trident Media Group, ended up at $13 mil. Quite the jump she wants there! Sure, she's a bestselling author time and time again, but if the numbers don't work and they don't meet their margins with that hefty of an advance, they should let her go. I sure would've loved to get a look at those P&Ls though...


  1. 50!?! Wow. That's mind-bogglingly high. I don't know any house that could pay that in this economy. Was it for a Stephanie Plum novel, do we know? Because I thought the Barnaby series didn't do as well as they had hoped.

    --Emily (again)

  2. I know! It's insanity!

    To my knowledge, the proposed deal was for four Stephanie Plum books...still an awful lot of cash per book...

    I also found out tonight that once upon a time (1997, I believe), Putnam/Penguin dropped Stephen King, because he wanted an advance of $17 million. But soon after, the publisher picked up Tom Clancy in a whopping $100 million contract (for a total of something like 6 books plus the use of his big name on some previously published titles. Though don't quote me on that!)

  3. I'm pretty sure the last deal Trident negotiated for Evanovich was for $40M (for four books--2 Plums and 2 Diesel books). But that was before the economy went down the crapper. $40M four years ago was outrageous; $50M today is greedy to the point of insulting.

    I used to be a huge Evanovich fan, but the books went sour after 13 and Evanovich's attitude went south soon after. Reviews on her latest books have not been favorable, and I wonder if perhaps she's not selling as well as she used to.

    She'd have to sell a LOT of books to earn back $50M, and I don't see that happening, not the way the series is being written these days. Once upon a time, maybe. But now? Not a chance. SMP is right to protect their interests, especially if it isn't likely they'll earn that money back.