Here’s a rare, happy story from the book world to start the weekend off.
American Rose author Karen Abbott has left Random House and will return to her first editor, Julia Cheiffetz, who is now at the Harper imprint of HarperCollins.
Random House published Abbott’s first two books, Sin in the Second City and American Rose, both narrative nonfiction about sexually powerful historical female figures–and both New York Times bestsellers. Abbott’s next book, still a detailed proposal, will follow the lives of four different courageous women during the American Civil War.
After Abbott turned down Random House’s offer, her agent Simon Lipskar submitted it exclusively to Cheiffetz.
Lipskar told The Observer that there are people who are passionate about Karen Abbott at Random House, but no one as passionate as Cheiffetz.
And for good reason. Cheiffetz acquired Abbott’s first book, Sin in the Second City, as a young twenty-something editor at Random House, for a very modest advance.
“It was a very formative editorial experience,” Cheiffetz told The Observer. Editing narrative nonfiction involves a lot of construction work, she explained, and by the end it was clear that the two had a special connection.
By the book party, held at the Museum of Sex in the Flatiron district, they were thick as thieves. Gawker reported:
Karen said a few words, including about how great her editor, Julia Cheiffetz, is, because Julia was more than an editor, she was also a friend and, it seems, a sort of remote therapist, and would advise Karen to sleep, go to yoga, and take a Xanax when she felt stressed out, which sounds like a smart combination.
“In a way Sin in the Second City was their joint coming out party. Julia made her bones as a big time editor with Karen’s debut nonfiction bestseller,” Lipskar added. Now that they’ve both arrived, Lipskar said he looks forward to seeing what happens when they have the resources of a flagship imprint behind them.
What kind of “resources” are we talking about?
Neither would say exactly how much the advance is, but both say it’s almost exactly an order of magnitude larger than her first.
“Karen is being compensated at the level of a major nonfiction author,” Cheiffetz said. “This is the best kind of reunion.”
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