This morning we noted that Rob Weisbach, who’s been off the grid since leaving Weinstein Books in April, had brokered a book deal for an intruiging memoirist named Norman Ollestad. Mr. Weisbach had never worked as an agent before, and the question on everybody’s lips–O.K., the question that would have been on everybody’s lips if all of publishing wasn’t at the beach today–was whether this deal was Mr. Weisbach’s way of telling the world that he was starting a second career as a literary agent.
The answer is no. In a phone interview this afternoon, Mr. Weisbach told Media Mob that the Ollestad book was a one-off project and that he doesn’t expect to be selling any more books. This one came to him by way of a friend, former Disney Channel exec Fonda Snydor.
"She called me up and said, ‘I have this incredible story–would you like to work with me on it?’ And I said no at first. I had not intended to become an agent," Mr. Weisbach said. "But she said, ‘This is an amazing story, would you read it?’ So I got it, read it all the way through, and it was just so unusual and of such high quality that I thought, ‘How could I not be a part of this?’ So I agreed to help Norman and Fonda find a good publisher, and I know some good people."
Mr. Weisbach said publishers–including Judy Hottensen, who replaced him at the top of Weinstein Books–expressed great interest in the book, and that he fielded several preempt offers before going with Ecco.
Apparently, all that was not enough to convince Mr. Weisbach to take up agenting on a permanent basis. "I’m going to be something else," he said. What exactly that is, he’s not ready to talk about yet.