Thursday, October 14, 2010

That Was Fast

All that talk by the talking news heads about the rescued Chilean miners getting book deals and movie treatments? It's already in the works.

You can bet that George Lucas at Inkwell was sending out feelers on behalf of Guardian reporter Jonathan Franklin within hours of the rescue operation getting underway.

Mr. Franklin has a proposal already making the rounds in New York, and yes, the last of the miners was hauled out of a hole in the ground only a few hours ago. His potential manuscript has already sold to Transworld in England.

There'll be competition for book buyers, however. The New York Time's man on the spot, Alexei Barrionuevo, is being represented by super-agent Esther Newberg of powerhouse agency ICM.This manuscript not being ready yet, it's suggested that Mr. Barrionuevo may lean more heavily on the aftermath which is just now coming into being.

One book of before, and one of after. Will the public wish to purchase them both for a full and complete telling?

First out of the gate is Mr. Franklin, who saw the potential of the story and lined up representation early on. Non-fiction needing nothing more than a proposal and a few sample chapters, he may have begun his manuscript from the minute the rescue team contacted the miners back in August.

Before publishers hand out big advance checks, however, they have to decide if the public has had its fill of Chilean miners, thanks to the 24/7 news coverage. Or do the gentlemen have compelling stories to tell that would flesh out an entire book and make it interesting?

Certainly the player whose wife met his mistress at a prayer vigil has a compelling tale to tell. Sitting in the dark, waiting for help, did he suffer the pangs of guilt and apprehension over the unavoidable confrontation?

What of the man who could only watch on a video feed as his daughter was born? Did he suffer untold misery because the moment was meant to be witnessed with a degree of privacy that was unavailable in an emergency shelter?

Are there enough readers out there who simply have to know how the shift foreman held it together and kept his underlings fit both mentally and physically?

Guess right, and the publisher will turn a tidy profit on holiday sales. Guess wrong, and it's a lot of pulp and newly signed authors getting tiny advances to compensate for the loss.

It is indeed a highly subjective business, isn't it?

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