You knows they’s rich ’cause they’s always wearing them tuxedos, wot? Penguin AU is throwing the cash around like coked-up pimps and it’s got the rest of the industry a little hot under the old oilskin.
It began in November 2005 when Ben Ball, 34, an Australian who had worked in British publishing for eight years, beat many local applicants to a coveted job, Penguin Australia’s publisher of adult books. Rival publishers waited to see which authors he would set his sights on.
It was almost a year before Ball announced his first piece of literary fiction: a 700-page first novel by Steve Toltz, a Sydney screenwriter. Most first-time novelists are happy to get an advance of $5000 to $10,000, so eyebrows were raised by Toltz’s advance, which was said to be more than $100,000.
Since then Ball has really been “splashing the cash”, to quote one rival. Kristin Williamson, wife of the playwright David Williamson, has apparently been given $150,000 to write about their lives together.
Please see my open letter below:
Dear Penguin Canada…