Q11: Offer Logistics

(This post is part of a larger subseries entitled Perpetual WIPs: Pre-Pub Authors. To see the rest of the questions posed, click here.)

If your book was bought in a pre-empt, how did you decide on your magic number? If your book went to auction, what factors ultimately made your decision about which publisher to choose? If neither, how did the advance/royalties line up with your expectations?

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We did go to auction and the decision was clear after talking to my editor on the phone about my book. She so totally GOT it in every way. For the advance, I had very low expectations. It’s my first novel, so really I’m a huge risk. They made an initial offer which was in the “very nice” range (which I was thrilled with!), then when it went to auction, they almost doubled it so that it went into the “good” range. I was floored. I’m told my publisher does not like to lose bidding wars, so that plus the fact that my editor is perfect for my book and interested in keeping authors for careers, made the decision an easy one.

*

Don’t go into your debut deal expecting to be able to quit your day job. It’s just not realistic. It does happen every once in a while (Stephenie Meyer, anyone?), but most of the time the number will be lower than you thought. Especially if you don’t have an agent, you have to be careful to keep your expectations and your standards in check. Don’t jump at an incredibly low offer just to take it and be published and don’t hold out for a six-figure deal you might never see. Also, keep in mind the pro and the con of a large advance:

Pro – No matter how well the book does, you’ve got this nice chunk of change to show for your work

Con – Even if the book does do well, it’ll take you that much longer to earn out your advance and ever see a royalty check.

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My book went to auction, and I decided mostly based on which editor I clicked with the most–who I felt had the best ideas for the book and would give it the best chance it could have, and whose ideas I felt comfortable implementing.

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Nope~ no pre-empt~ I didn’t expect much, this being my debut, but my agent wrangled me a great deal that I’m super satisfied with.

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My book had interest from a couple imprints of a big publisher, but we ended up with only one actual offer. The advance/royalties weren’t insane or anything, but they were quite nice for me!

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I actually rejected a pre-emptive offer, then the book didn’t go to auction, but we still had a nice offer from the publisher who offered the pre-empt. The advance was a lot more than I was expecting, but still not quite enough to live off alone just yet.

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My book went to auction. I spoke on the phone with each editor involved as well as reading over their preliminary editorial notes. I also received preliminary Marketing/Publicity ideas from each house. All those factors, along with the advance/royalties/rights info became part of deciphering the best offer!

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(Blogger’s Note: Due to the total giveaway nature of this hilarious story, I’m just going to say on behalf of the writer that the advance exceeded expectations.)

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I ended up with two offers, and not only were they quite far apart from one another, I had the opportunity to speak to and completely fall in love with the editor we ended up going with. It was a perfect alignment of conditions. The offer was far, far, far outside of what I’d even daydreamed.

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My advance exceeded my expectations, but my expectations weren’t all that high to begin with.

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One of the reasons I’m so excited about the publisher I signed with is that they’re approaching revenue in an entirely different way. I did not receive an advance, but with how my deal is structured, if my novel has even a modicum of success, it’s very likely I’ll easily make up whatever that advance would have been through royalties and more.

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My book didn’t go to auction because the first editor expressed interest before my agent had even sent it out to other editors. But the offer was excellent, not enough to quit the day job, but very good for a contemporary AND a two book deal. That combined with an amazing house made it a YES!

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