Author parts with longtime publisher

Bestselling scribe Tom Wolfe has left the nest of longtime publisher Farrar, Straus & Giroux after the two sides were unable to agree on a price for his next book, “Back to Blood.”

Wolfe is best known for chart-toppers “Bonfire of the Vanities” and “A Man in Full,” and “The Right Stuff.” But in 2004, his novel “I Am Charlotte Simmons” was drubbed by many critics and yielded comparatively lower sales.

On the heels of “Man in Full” which sold $1.1 million in hardcover and “Bonfire” which sold three quarters of a million (plus film rights that were reportedly $5 million), “Simmons” was a disappointment. Its film rights were bought in October 2005 by Trilogy Entertainment and Syntax Entertainment.

The initial print run of “Simmons” had been set at 1.5 million but in its first three months it sold less than a quarter of that amount; it hit the third spot on the New York Times bestseller list.

Wolfe’s agent and editor could not be reached for comment. Pat Strachan, who previously edited several of Wolfe’s titles at Farrar, Straus, is now a senior editor at Little, Brown and will edit “Back to Blood.”

“We read the proposal, we liked the book a lot but we couldn’t agree on the price,” said Jonathan Galassi, prexy of Farrar, Straus. “It was as simple as that.”

“Back to Blood” will combine elements of corruption, sex, ambition and crime with Miami as a backdrop is skedded for publication in 2009.

“It’s sad, we published all of Tom’s books up to now,” Galassi said. “We love Tom he’s a great writer, we’ll miss him a lot. It’s business.”

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