The inside scoop on the book world

Hello, Yellow Brick Road After years of saying no to a book project, Elton John is finally ready to write his memoirs, publishing sources report. The book would touch on the singer’s friendships with Princess Diana and Gianni Versace. Also in the works: Fidel, as in the autobiography of Fidel Castro. Agent Sandra Dijkstra says she has been authorized by the Cuban government to shop the Cuban leader’s memoirs, to be written with journalist Louis Nevaer.

A Horse of a Different Color? In the fall’s hottest auction, 10 publishers battled for the U.S. rights to Robert Mawson’s The Lazarus Child. Though naysayers are calling it a pale copy of The Horse Whisperer, the novel — about a comatose child and her family’s efforts to revive her — first sold in Britain for £400,000 before Bantam execs snapped up the U.S. rights with a $1.42 million bid. They’ll publish it next year.

Getting Even She prevailed after Random House sued to recover a $1 million advance from her, but that wasn’t enough vindication for Joan Collins, who devotes a full chapter in her new memoir, Second Act (St. Martin’s) — for which she received six figures — to meow-meow score settling. Alberto Vitale is Random House’s ”vertically challenged chief executive officer” (hey, what does that make Si Newhouse?). Former editor Joni Evans is ”this bottle blonde … with her leathery orange skin … ” Collins reports that her lawyer, Ken Burrows, who happens to be Erica Jong‘s husband, sympathetically whispered, ”At least Alexis had a sense of humour and bags of style … [Evans’] only bags are under her eyes.” Despite partying away with Ivana Trump the night before at Mortimer’s to celebrate the book’s publication, Collins looked fresh at a midtown Manhattan Barnes & Noble book signing the next morning, where she lashed out at hapless publicists who’d failed to meet her limo and then could not adjust the air-conditioning to her liking.

Alexandra Jacobs and Matthew Flamm