THE LITERATOR: INSIDE PUBLISHING

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The Independent Online
Get a hairdo, get ahead

The occasional Bad Hair Day reportedly led the Queen to decide to change hairdressers, so HM will doubtless soon be popping down to Hatchards to buy Hair Power by Nicky Clarke. The Knightsbridge crimper has tended the locks of the likes of Brad Pitt, Liz Hurley, Linda and Paul McCartney, Naomi Campbell and the late Princess of Wales. Clarke, himself lavishly coiffed, is also hair advisor to ITV's This Morning, has made appearances on Ab Fab and EastEnders and has his own range of hair products, Hairomatherapy. Now he is to be an author, and the amount paid for his "aspirational" book by Transworld was pounds 120,000 - scarcely more than the cost of a Nicky Clarke perm. Publisher Francesca Liversidge says that anyone who reads the book, due for publication next spring, "need never have a bad hair day again". According to Clarke's agent Luigi Bonomi, Liversidge won the book following "a beauty parade" of publishers because of - you've guessed it - her hair.

A high-class madam

More news on Lucianne Goldberg, currently America's most talked-of literary agent. She is the author of Madame Cleo's Girls, a novel about a trio of high-class prostitutes which made her a fair bit of dosh when it was published some six years ago. She has also ghost-written a number of celebrity memoirs. As an agent, one of her better-known clients was Kitty Kelley, who sued her for "fraud and other infractions" following the writing of her biography of Elizabeth Taylor. The jury did not accept the fraud charges but nevertheless awarded Kelley $41,000 in damages and costs.

If at first you don't succeed... you will

Another first-time novelist has this week struck it rich: Irish Times journalist John Connolly, whose "literary crime novel" Every Dead Thing has just been sold for pounds 350,000. Connolly, a baby-faced 29-year-old, sent a few chapters to Anderson last year, by which time he'd been turned down by six London publishers. Anderson, who talent-spotted such writers as Martina Cole, Lee Childs and Paul Carson, turned down a pounds 100,000 pre-empt from Hodder & Stoughton and went to auction. The result? Hodder publisher Sue Fletcher coughed up more than three times as much.

Frankly we'd rather not know

Here's some cheery bedtime reading: When We Die by Cedric Mims, former Professor of Microbiology at Guy's Hospital and published by Robinson. The book explains what becomes of the body after death - looking "unflinchingly at what death really entails... the biological decomposition, embalming, mummification. A definitive book on the definitive subject". Shouldn't it be published around Halloween?

Publishing on the slabs

Still with death, some news which could explain HarperCollins' troubled history. The west London offices of the Murdoch-owned publishing empire are built on the site of a former mortuary. The grisly truth was revealed when Bill Spear, the American author of Feng Shui Made Easy, visited and felt some distinctly bad vibes. Spear, whose has advised various Hollywood stars, was apparently "not at all happy" about the pillars in the office of Michelle Pilley, editor of of the Mind, Body and Spirit list. Perhaps he will advise them to have the whole building relocated? Still, there is good news for the publishers, and I'm not just talking about John Major's memoirs: operating profits are up 44 per cent.

Thompson climbs aboard the promotional roundabout

Long before Emma Thompson graced our screens and tabloids, her father Eric was celebrated as the voice of The Magic Roundabout, giving life to Florence and Zebedee and of course, dear old Dougal, whose doggie doings were chronicled in a delightful book, The Adventures of Dougal. Surprisingly, it has been out of print for some time. But not for much longer. Bloomsbury are shortly to reissue it with a new introduction by Emma, who'll be taking to the road for a series of signings. Time for bed, said Zebedee.

Pat publisher pursues Pooh

One of publishing's long-running sagas, the sale of Reed Children's Books, has taken a new turn. For months, it has been widely assumed that Penguin would be the buyers and, indeed, there were reports that office space was being cleared in their Kensington HQ. Now, it appears, they have pulled out and it is looking increasingly as if World International, publishers of Postman Pat and Mr Men among other books, could shortly be adding Thomas the Tank Engine and Pooh to their cast of characters. It is believed that deal will eventually be concluded for a figure well below the pounds 45m asking price.

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