Sakey Moves to Dutton

The subject header pretty much tells the tale, but here’s the deal memo:

Author of The Blade Itself Marcus Sakey’s four books, following Ben

Sevier to Dutton, for publication beginning in 2009, by Scott Miller at

Trident Media Group (world).

It’s a deal for what PW reports is in the “major deal” neighborhood, which kicks in after the second of Sakey’s two-book contract with St. Martin’s finishes up next year. So why, when I first heard the news earlier this week, did my jaw drop? Because there’s a great deal of money involved for an author still considered to be unproven, Sakey follows Ben Sevier (who originally acquired THE BLADE ITSELF and its follow-up for SMP) and I really wonder what incentive Minotaur really has to promote next year’s book when an author they once had plans to break out in a big way is leaving.

And if that happens and sales on book 2 aren’t to expectations,  where does that leave the four books on the new contract with Dutton?

As should be obvious from anyone reading this site for a relatively extended period of time, I’m a huge fan of THE BLADE ITSELF as well as of Sakey as both a writer and a person. But this deal troubles me because even though the money sounds great (and is almost 100% impossible for an author to turn down in this situation) it could also be a serious handicap  – not just in the long run but in the middle-to-short term run. Which then underscores what was discussed in the NYT business section yesterday about how publishing’s business sense is a big mystery.

My fingers are crossed, of course, that everything works out. But I can’t seem to get some particular musical strains out of my head…