Kindle chart-topper Rachel Abbott, one of the UK’s bestselling self-published authors, has signed a two-book deal with Headline to become a “hybrid author”, published by Wildfire and Kindle Direct Publishing in tandem.
The deal followed a “closely-fought” five-way auction ahead of this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair.
Senior commissioning editor Kate Stephenson, who acquired UK and Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) from Lizzy Kremer at David Higham, said: “[Abbott] has established one of the strongest brands in the psychological suspense market. It is our firm belief that she deserves to be as successful in print as she is in the digital world.”
According to Headline, Abbott has sold 2.75 million copies in the past six years, and has been translated into 21 languages. Her move to traditional publishing will see her published by Wildfire while continuing to publish separately through Kindle Direct Publishing.
The first book in the deal is And So It Begins, a psychological thriller that asks if there can ever be a proper defence for murder. It introduces a new character, Sergeant Stephanie King, and will be published as a lead hardback in spring 2019. Abbott said: “I love sharing my books via self-publishing and will continue to do so as a hybrid author, but I’m always searching for ways to engage with readers. This is an incredibly exciting opportunity - one I couldn’t be happier about.”
Internationally, Wiebke Rossa at Blanvalet snapped up German rights in a two-book deal, while Spanish rights were pre-empted by Penguin Random House. Danish rights were pre-empted by Gad, also in a two-book deal. Auctions are under way in Italy and the Czech Republic, French rights are under offer, and David Higham expects to close more translation deals during the fair.