Best-selling crime novelist Patricia Cornwell’s eight-figure, two-book deal underscores the continued appeal of major brand-name authors at a time when discovering new writers online and digitally remains difficult for consumer

August 6, 2013

Patricia Cornwell Leaves Publisher, Strikes Deal With William Morrow

Crime Novelist Strikes Eight-Figure Deal with Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

JEFFREY A. TRACHTENBERG

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Patricia Cornwell has struck an eight-figure deal with William Morrow. Best-selling crime novelist Patricia Cornwell has left her longtime publisher and struck an eight-figure, two-book deal for world English rights with William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. The move underscores the continued appeal of major brand-name authors at a time when discovering new writers online and digitally remains difficult for consumers. Ms. Cornwell is best-known for her long-running series featuring medical examiner Kay Scarpetta, but she has also written two other series, a nonfiction work about the identity of Jack the Ripper, and two cookbooks, including “Food to Die For.”On her website, Ms. Cornwell says her works have sold 100 million copies in more than 120 countries.

A spokeswoman for Penguin Group (USA), which includes Putnam, confirmed that Ms. Cornwell has ended her 18-year relationship with the publishing house. Putnam, however, will publish Ms. Cornwell’s next Kay Scarpetta novel, “Dust,” in November.

During a weeklong bidding process, Putnam was outbid by two publishers including William Morrow, said Esther Newberg, an agent at ICM Partners who represents Ms. Cornwell.

Ms. Cornwell’s first Kay Scarpetta novel for William Morrow will be published in the fall of 2014. She will be edited by David Highfill, William Morrow’s executive editor, who worked with her earlier in both their careers. HarperCollins Publishers and The Wall Street Journal are both owned by News Corp NWSA -1.42% .

Brian Murray, chief executive of HarperCollins Publishers, noted that the deal means that Ms. Cornwell will “have a global English-language publisher for the first time.”

Last month Penguin merged with former rival Random House to form Penguin Random House, a company majority-owned by Bertelsmann SE & Co. Ms. Cornwell is the first big-name author to defect since the merger.

Ms. Newberg played down the impact of the merger on Ms. Cornwell’s decision to leave Putnam, adding, “She’ll be the biggest writer Morrow has. It’s energizing.”

Ms. Cornwell’s last Kay Scarpetta novel, 2012’s “The Bone Bed,” sold 145,000 hardcover copies, or 40,000 fewer copies than “Red Mist,” a Kay Scarpetta novel published in 2011, according to Nielsen BookScan.

Ms. Newberg said sales of Ms. Cornwell’s physical books have been in decline but said the author’s e-book sales are increasing.

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Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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