Daniel Silva Switches Agents, Publishers, and Here’s Why

You may have seen that Daniel Silva, author of the popular Gabriel Allon series published by Putnam, has just signed with HarperCollins for a three-book deal. Other than continuing to demonstrate that in this market, even well-known authors have to shop for the best deal from publishers, the deal is significant, as explained by Nikki Finke in her post at Deadline, because Silva was formerly represented by ICM, but switched to D.C. lawyer Robert Barnett for this deal. 

(PublishersMarketplace (subscription required) reported yesterday that Barnett sold the books at an auction with eight bidders in a “major deal,” which, in PM parlance, means $500,000 and up.) 

Barnett is probably the best-known author’s representative in the country, and includes among his clients, Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Tony Blair, Sarah Palin, and James Patterson. In addition to Barnett’s connections and negotiating ability, his fee structure is unique in that he doesn’t represent an agent’s standard 15%, but charges by the hour. His hourly rate is approximately $950 per hour, but with the size of the advances his clients typically receive, a substantial hourly rate is a lot cheaper than, for instance, 15% of a $7 million advance, which is what Sarah Palin received for Going Rogue

Finke discusses Barnett’s billing arrangement, and agrees that it’s a good deal for his big-name clients, but that he doesn’t provide the same services as a typical agent. 

One other aspect  of Barnett’s representation that Finke noted in a post earlier this month is that Silva is married to NBC News correspondent Jamie Gangel, and that Gangel will play a large role in Silva’s next deal. Perhaps that’s because Gangel herself is a Barnett client, as he also represents several hundred of the best-known anchors and correspondents in the country, including most of those you see on the broadcast and cable networks every night and on the Sunday news shows.


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