Should We Celebrate the Blockbuster Leigh Bardugo Deal?

Anne Marble
5 min readMar 17

This week, social media became all a-twitter after Macmillan announced a blockbuster deal for author Leigh Bardugo. But some reactions were negative.

A colorful photograph of confetti falling on an excited audience. The people in the audience are visible at the bottom of the image, with their hands reaching up to grasp the falling confetti.
(Source: Photo by Keith Luke on Unsplash.)

How Big Is This Deal?

This was an eight-figure deal. That was newsworthy enough to hit news sources ranging from AP News to Fox News. Not to mention websites devoted to books and media, such as LitHub and Tor Books.

Macmillan Publishers stated in a press release that they signed Leigh Bardugo in a deal encompassing 12 books in a “variety of formats, age categories and genres.” In the press release, Leigh Bardugo praised Macmillan for taking chances on her since her debut.

Leigh Bardugo had to work for her success — and fight osteonecrosis along the way. She debuted with Shadow and Bone in 2012, a young adult (YA) fantasy novel that launched the Grisha trilogy — and what would become known as the Grishaverse. It would also be adapted as the Shadow and Bone series on Netflix (which debuted in 2019).

A trade paperback copy of “Shadow and Bone” by Leigh Bardugo sitting on a colorful patchwork fake fur blanket. The image shows a young woman casting a magic spell so that something glows bright between her outstretched hands. There is a Netflix logo above and to the right of the title.
The Netflix Tie-in Edition of Shadow and Bone. (Source: Photo by the author.)

Before the Netflix series came out, Leigh Bardugo also published the Six of Crows duology (a popular fantasy heist novel) and had been working on the King of Scars duology. The year the Netflix show debuted, she published a dark academia fantasy, Ninth House, her first book for adults. The sequel, Hell Bent, came out this year to great reviews. There are also plans for a Six of Crows spin-off on Netflix and for a Ninth House series on Amazon.

Most People Celebrated This Blockbuster Deal

Most fans and fellow writers rejoiced in the good news. YA author Dahlia Adler called it “badass.”

Bookseller @abitkales also praised the deal because she is a huge fan and understands the impulse to give Leigh Bardugo more money so that she can write more books.

Author Leslie Lehr praised the deal because she was thrilled a real writer was getting the money instead of yet another celebrity.

And SF author John Scalzi (famous for both his books and the Whatever blog) also praised the deal in a thread where he

Anne Marble

I’m a writer and a copy editor with experience in editing science and engineering articles. Click Lists to find my most popular articles. And hidden gems.