Hannah Horvath would be seething with jealousy right now.
Lena Dunham, the 26-year-old star and creator of the hit HBO series Girls, has landed a book deal at Random House for a massive $3.5 million. That’s more than the $2 million Dick Cheney received for his memoir In My Time and short of Amanda Knox’s $4 million and Tina Fey’s $5 million for Bossypants.
Bidding for the debut essay collection — titled Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s Learned — started at $1 million and quickly climbed as publishers pursued the hot property. The 66-page book proposal contained “color, illustrations and a humor that publishing executives predicted could produce another bestseller like Tina Fey’s blockbuster memoir,” according to the New York Times.
It might come as a surprise that Dunham, whose TV show and debut film Tiny Furniture has attracted a large amount of media attention but a relatively small, rarefied audience, can draw such a hefty book deal. But according to my contact at a major literary agency who reviewed the proposal for Not That Kind of Girl, what really drove up the bids from publishers was the clever content of the proposal itself rather than Dunham’s name recognition alone.
In a statement, Random House described the book as following “the tradition of Helen Gurley Brown, David Sedaris, and Nora Ephron,” and doling out “frank and funny advice on everything from sex to eating to traveling to work.”
Follow @EWStephanLee on Twitter.