Patricia Cornwell signs world English language rights deal for series with Amazon Publishing

Patricia Cornwell signs world English language rights deal for series with Amazon Publishing

Patricia Cornwell has signed a deal to release a new series exclusively with Amazon Publishing.

The e-commerce giant's Thomas & Mercer imprint signed world English rights in a two-book deal for print and e-book, with the first, Quantum, being released in 2019 and a second planned for 2020.

Cornwell released Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert through Thomas & Mercer in 2017, which went on to become a bestseller through the retailer, its website says. She has also previously published a Kindle Single in 2014, an essay called Chasing the Ripper, based on her investigations of Jack the Ripper.

Cornwell's move to sign a series with Amazon Publishing follows her world English language rights deal with HarperCollins for two books in 2015. She has also published with Little, Brown in the UK and Penguin in the US.

On signing with the e-commerce giant's publishing arm, Cornwell said: "I wanted the very best publisher in the galaxy to launch Captain Chase. I couldn’t be more excited about taking this journey with Amazon Publishing.”

Her agent is Jeremy Barber, partner at the United Talent Agency.

In total, Cornwell has sold 9.2 million print books for £60.9m through Nielsen BookScan in the UK. Her last Amazon-published title, Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert, sold 3,519 hardback print copies through Nielsen BookScan in the UK, suggesting the bulk was sold in digital. By contrast the 2016 hardback release of Chaos, published by HarperCollins, notched up 46,487 print copies sold, with the paperback release selling a further 78,150 units.

Quantum is currently listed for pre-order on Amazon with a price of £7.99 for the e-book. Thomas & Mercer editorial director Grace Doyle will be Cornwell’s editor.

The signing is the latest in a ramping up of activity for Amazon Publishing in the UK. Earlier this month the business revealed plans to launch a non-fiction imprint, with Eoin Purcell, head of Amazon Publishing UK, saying at the time that “growing the UK division of Amazon Publishing is something we are really happy to do".

According to the blurb, Quantum weaves military action, espionage, and space age technology into the story of a young NASA test pilot and aerospace engineer, Captain Calli Chase, whose quest to uncover the secrets behind her fighter pilot twin sister’s murder takes her to the highest echelons of power: from NASA’s Langley Research Center to the White House to Scotland Yard to Interpol headquarters in Lyon, France.

“Patricia Cornwell’s all-in approach to writing her iconic Dr Scarpetta series catapulted forensic science into pop culture, paving the way for an explosion of entertainment featuring all things forensic across film, television, and literature, and if her current adventures at NASA are any indication—she’s learning to spacewalk—we’ll all be experts on space science and exploration very soon,” Mikyla Bruder, publisher at Amazon Publishing, said.

“Patricia is a groundbreaking author and a leader in her field. The emergence of Amazon Publishing as a global presence marks a significant shift within the publishing landscape,” Jeremy Barber, partner at United Talent Agency, said. “I'm excited by the potential this relationship has to reach readers worldwide.”

Cornwell sold her debut, Postmortem, in 1990, while working at the Office of the chief medical examiner in Richmond, Virginia. It went on to win the Edgar, Creasey, Anthony, and Macavity awards as well as the French Prix du Roman d'Aventure prize—the first book to claim all of these distinctions in a single year.