The week before Labor Day tends to be a quiet one for book publishing, as agents and editors head for the hills in preparation for the rush of big-ticket book proposals that inevitably come flooding in during the weeks leading up to the Frankfurt Book Fair. Sometimes it pays to get a jump on the action, though—or at least that’s what Janklow & Nesbit agent Tina Bennett seems to have figured when she sent out a proposal last Wednesday for a book by journalist Sheri Fink, author of the recent New York Times Magazine cover story on the Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans and what happened there in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Ms. Fink’s 13,000-word piece, which was funded in part by the nonprofit ProPublica, told the story of the nightmarish events that led to the deaths of 45 patients at the hospital in the days after the hurricane hit. The proposal Ms. Bennett sent around to editors describes a much expanded version of the piece. “There is much, much more to say,” Ms. Bennett said in an email Tuesday, noting that while her client has “a few additional lines of inquiry that she will want to pursue” as well as some new sources to talk to who have come forward since the Times Magazine piece ran, “most of her research” is already done. Ms. Bennett said Ms. Fink will meet with publishers this week.