CAA has made its first foray into the publishing biz, hiring Simon Green to broker book deals for its celebrity clients from the agency’s Gotham office.
Green recently worked with CAA to broker a seven-figure deal for a photo book involving the Jonas Brothers. He worked for POM, a lit agency started by his father, Dan, the former Simon & Schuster publisher best known for publishing the bestselling Jane Fonda workout book line. Green won’t bring any clients with him to CAA, according to the agency.
Gotham lit agents’ reactions ranged from fear the agency would try to become a publishing player to acceptance of CAA’s pledge that Green will limit himself to marrying CAA clients to book deals.
The distinction is significant: While WMA, ICM and, most recently, Endeavor have publishing divisions that compete against indie book agents, CAA has thrived in making book-to-movie deals with tomes brought to it by indie lit agencies such as Janklow & Nesbit and Trident Media Group.
“If they build this department to five agents in the next two years, none of us will submit our books to them,” said one heavyweight agent.
Endeavor’s decision to start its own book division under former ICM agent Richard Abate has reduced the volume of outside submissions there despite a pledge by Endeavor that it would not raid rival lit clients.
CAA’s top book agents spent last week calling indies to allay such fears. The most immediate blow will be felt by agents who broker celeb books, because those commissions will now stay within CAA. Celeb books can still mean big money, as evidenced by the $6 million deal that Endeavor’s Abate made for Tina Fey.
Prominent lit agents would not comment on the record but said they will be watching closely to see if CAA begins adding agents.