Back when the writers’ strike was keeping him out of work, actor Rob Lowe decided it’d be fun to write a book about his life. And so he wrote up a proposal, and with the help of Richard Abate of the Endeavor Talent Agency, submitted it in early February to publishers all over town. Mr. Lowe was a big hit, according to Mr. Abate, impressing editors with his insistence on writing the book himself instead of hiring a ghostwriter like most celebrities do for their memoirs.
After an intense auction, the book had a buyer in Jonathan Karp, publisher of the upstart Hachette Book Group imprint Twelve. Mr. Karp, who publishes just one book every month, beat out formidable bids from several other major houses, agreeing to pay Mr. Lowe what several knowledgeable sources said was about a million dollars.
The deal was just about ready to go—Mr. Abate had informed Mr. Karp that he had prevailed in the auction and contract negotiations were under way—when, on Wednesday the 13th, the writers’ strike up and ended, and Mr. Lowe suddenly became an actor again.
Over the course of the next few days, as Hollywood rose from its three-month slumber and everybody went back to work, Mr. Lowe’s schedule filled up quickly. First, according to Mr. Abate, ABC ordered something like 30 new episodes of Mr. Lowe’s TV show, Brothers & Sisters. Then two major film projects emerged. Suddenly the next year was looking pretty busy, and Mr. Lowe had to face the fact that he just wouldn’t have time to write his book.
"He is just booked for at least the next year straight," Mr. Abate said. "We’re going to come back to Karp when he’s done shooting all these things, if there’s time then to do it. He doesn’t want to commit to it because he doesn’t know what he’s going to be offered between now and then."
"We talked to Jon for a good week after the auction was settled," Mr. Abate said. "We were excited to go forward, but we couldn’t figure out how we were going to do it timewise."
If and when Mr. Lowe does decide to take a break from his acting career for long enough to write the book, Mr. Abate said, he is going directly to Mr. Karp.
"Jon won the auction," Mr. Abate said. "If Rob does the book, we’re gonna do it with Jon."
Mr. Karp would not comment on the status of the book beyond confirming that Mr. Abate’s account was accurate.