NEW YORK — Tom Clancy, godfather of the techno thriller and intermittent ruler of bestseller lists nationwide, has left his long-standing William Morris lit agent, Robert Gottlieb, to be represented in all business areas by Michael Ovitz and AMG.
Gottlieb has repped Clancy since coming upon the galleys of his first novel, “The Hunt for Red October,” 18 years ago. The Maryland-based Naval Institute Press paid Clancy $5,000 for the book.
Gottlieb has since helped build Clancy into one of publishing’s most recognizable brand names, landing him a $40 million contract for his last two novels, 1998’s “Rainbow Six” and “The Bear and the Dragon,” out later this month from Penguin Putnam. His paperbacks are published by Berkley.
Gottlieb also negotiated a $25 million deal with Pearson in 1997 for Clancy’s Red Storm Entertainment, a book, multimedia and computer gaming company.
Publishing sources said Gottlieb was surprised by Clancy’s decision.
“Mike Ovitz and AMG have a long-standing relationship with Tom Clancy,” a source at AMG said, confirming that AMG will be repping him in all areas.
AMG has repped the scribe’s film interests for more than a year, and its movie arm APG will be making “Rainbow Six” at Paramount.
The new arrangement brings Clancy’s immensely lucrative book interests, which include nonfiction, under the same roof as his film deals. Clancy’s fiction, thus far, has been gold dust to Hollywood. The latest of his books to be adapted for the screen, “The Sum of All Fears,” will feature Ben Affleck as repeat Clancy protagonist Jack Ryan.
The author’s defection is only the latest evidence of the migratory habits of hugely successful writers. A few years back, Stephen King left his long-standing publisher, Viking, for a more lucrative profit-sharing contract with Scribner.
Recently, King surprised Scribner by choosing to publish his latest book, “The Plant,” online without the benefit of a publisher.