'Exponential' growth for international rights
Publishers are maximising i...
LBF: The Ones to Watch: Part One
Janklow & Nesbit is off...
New Miranda Hart to Hodder
Hodder & Stoughton has ...
Faber buys Reynolds on glam rock
Faber's Lee ...
The winner's curse
Frankfurt is next week and ...
Race is on for sporting hopes
13.07.07 | Katherine Rushton
Publishers are chasing British Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton following a stunning start to his début season. Hamilton is expected to earn an advance of up to £1m for a two-book deal including a photographic memoir and an autobiography. All the major houses are thought to have at least one bid in with Hamilton's literary agent, David Luxton at Luxton Harris. Sports agents have also been contacting editors claiming to represent the driver.
"It will be one of the most hotly contested sporting auctions of recent years," said one sports publisher. But another said that even if a deal was signed soon, a full autobiography was unlikely to appear for several years: "His father doesn't want him to 'do a Wayne Rooney'." The McLaren driver has so far achieved nine consecutive podium positions and is widely tipped to win this year's drivers' championship.
Century publishing director Mark Booth said: "Not many people have been interested in Formula 1 recently, but Lewis Hamilton's success is going to change that." Giles Elliott, senior sports editor at Transworld, added: "Motorsports books tend to do really, really well. With a potential first British Formula 1 champion since Damon Hill in 1996, the potential is absolutely huge."
Meanwhile, Century is preparing to launch the autobiography of another rising star, tennis player Andy Murray, who was forced to drop out of this year's Wimbledon owing to a wrist injury. Hitting Back was acquired from Murray's sports agent in 2006 and originally scheduled for publication this summer, before a series of delays unrelated to his injury forced it back to June 2008.
"Andy ticks all the boxes and although he was not able to compete on grass this year, we are hoping for another fantastic performance from him at the US Open," said editor Tim Andrews. "Century believes that sports fans want to read about real winners and passionate competitors with a genuine story to tell. Last year's World Cup book flops tell their own story . . . with the football and rugby teams in decline, Andy is one of the best hopes for British sporting success for the next decade."
But publishers are less keen to sign his brother Jamie at this stage, even after he won the mixed doubles at this year's Wimbledon. "I don't imagine anyone would go for Jamie," said one sports publisher. "He's nice and jocular, but he's Andy's brother."