It seems Chris Masters is very close to a decision as to which publisher will be entrusted to take his literary hot potato, Jonestown, to the marketplace.

Three of Australian publishing’s heavyweights are slugging it out –
Penguin, Allen & Unwin and HarperCollins – reportedly offering him
an advance somewhere in the region of $170,000. On that basis, it is
clear that they anticipate the possibility of making around $300,000
profit from this book – money which, under other circumstances, might
have been used by the ABC to invest in future programming.

Instead, the government enterprise will wear a $100,000 loss. It’s
lucky that the ABC’s board members aren’t involved in anything serious
like directing the fortunes of a public media company. Otherwise they
would be facing a very hostile AGM in the next few months.

Bizarrely,
the Parrot’s friends on the ABC board have done him no favours.
Whichever publisher picks it up will market it more aggressively than
ABC Books would have, and to a market now salivating at the prospect of
getting their hands on it.

CRIKEY: We also hear that Melbourne University Press, fresh from its success with TheLatham Diaries, is very much in the race to publish Jonestown.

Peter Fray

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