Book Deals are Boring Affairs

MNM got back in touch today about an advance for the Gordon Highlanders book, and they made an offer which (according to the records I’ve found on the shared drive) seems in line with other similar books. In fact, it was what I was hoping for. However, they did make a snippy comment suggesting that they ‘accidently’ left out the advance and that reminding them about it was uncalled for. I say bollocks on that, I wan’t NOT going to mention it.

I emailed Paris to check that their advance offer was a realistic amount, and she got back fairly quickly saying that if they went straight to that number then they’ll be low-balling us. However, they did come in right at a number we were expecting, so it’s up to me if I want to continue to negotiate or not.

I decided to leave it up to the author. I rang him and asked if he was happy with the advance or if he wanted me to try and go higher. He said he was happy with their offer, so I rang MNM to accept and ask them to send over the contract.

So, that’s that. My first deal done. It was pretty anticlimactic to be honest. I always thought my first book sale would have more dazzle and glamour. I imagined that I would walk into this big board room, where stuffy men were sitting around a long table. I’d be dressed in a crisp black suit with a pencil skirt, fitted jacket, and tailored black shirt with French cuffs. I’d also have on a pair of red stiletto heals. Everyone would gasp as I walked in to the room because they were so impressed with my prowess. I’d sit down and say, ‘Right boys, who wants to start the bidding?’ Then after some fierce negotiations which ends with them sweating but me looking as cool and pristine as ever, I stand up, say ‘Nice doing business with you’, and then walk out the door having orchestrated the largest advance ever for a first book.

The reality was a few emails and a phone call. Yeah, totally anti-climactic, and very unglam.

Plus, once I started doing a bit of division, I realised that despite this being a sale, the Agency isn’t making a lot of money out of it. The advance will come in three instalments: a third now, another third on delivery of the manuscript, and a final third on publication. And we’re only getting 12% of this. It’s hardly anything. And it could be years before we see any royalties. 

This deal certainly won’t save the Agency, so I need to come up with a bigger plan. And fast.

PS-I truly have no idea why I feel like I have to be Agency superhero and rescuse the day. Maybe it’s because I’m terrified of being unemployed, or worse…an intern again. Or maybe I just like the thought of being the Publishing Avenger. When I get angry lines from disguarded slush pile manuscripts come up on my skin like tatoos (in homage to the Hulk’s greenness) and my costume of choice would be an arty pashmina and a business suit. My weapon would be Kindle that deflects bad reviews.


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