Auction Day

Today was auction day. I had an idea this morning to Tweet or post as it went along, recording the excitement. But I kind of got caught up in it all, and forgot. I also thought it was going to be emails and phone calls flying back and forth. I thought there’d be battles and editors fighting. I thought there would be tension, tension, tension.

There was tension, but it was mostly on my end. Otherwise, it was all pretty organized and civilised.

This is how it worked. London opened this morning bids. We received all of the first bids fairly straight away from all the interested parties by email, then the four of us (London, Paris, Loraine and myself) looked over them and conference called about our next step. The conference call was fairly quick as we all decided to go down the normal path (starting bidding, as opposed to just taking the highest bid), so we gave the lowest bidder the chance to out bid the highest. They took it, then we gave the second lowest bidder the chance to bid and so on. We had five publishers interested in total, and they all participated in the first round.

We had two drop out in the third round of bidding and another drop out in the forth. This left two publishers to battle it out.

It was so exciting, watching the bids come in, waiting to see who would drop. How high the next publisher would go, waiting to see if someone wanted it bad enough to put more on the table. But, as I stated, it was all very civilized, although I do wonder if these auctions would be more heated if it were a room full of publishers as opposed to a series of emails.

After another two more sets of bids, the final publisher dropped out. The ‘winner’ happens to be Fife’s publisher, which is really funny as they passed on Conspiracy’s first book when Fife first brought it to them. And now, three years later, they’ve bought the rights to the blog/book for a nice tidy sum.

I won’t say how much they bought the book for, incase anyone ever does figure out who I am and suss out who the publishers actually are*, but it’s a really nice figure. I can’t believe how good this advance is. I was happy.

As soon as the last bid was sorted and an agreement was made, I rang Conspiracy. He didn’t seem too interested, so I spoke with Saint. My ears are still ringing from her almighty scream into the phone. And, I think, she even started to cry a little. I know they don’t have a lot of money, and this very well may change their life. Despite, Conspiracy’s inability to be excited for his own writing career, Saint’s exuberance well makes up for it.

Then, I rang PoshMum to tell her that the book was sold. I left a message with her PA, and emailed RRManager as well. I casually reminded them that PoshMum said to contact her once the book was published, and told them to please contact me as soon as they could regarding a film deal.

Suddenly, what had been excitement and relief that we sold the book was replaced with nerves. What if PoshMum has gotten bored with the book and doesn’t want to buy the rights now? What if PoshMum wants to but RRManager advises against it? What if the film deal completely falls flat, and this does something to fuck up the deal we just made.

And Loraine didn’t help matters. Loraine suggested that she take me out to dinner to ‘celebrate’. I texted HP and told him the great news, but he already knew that MNM had lost the bid, which he thought was kind of funny. Then I texted Fife about the sale, but he’d already heard about it from Saint. He suggested that I come home so that he and I could celebrate my ‘first deal’ (although it wasn’t my deal, asLondon really brokered it all), but Loraine and I already had plans.

She and I went over to this little Italian place on the Perth Road. I was still a mixture of fear and relief, and I looked to Loraine to squelch those fears. I asked, ‘What happens if the film deal doesn’t go through.’

Loraine, casually, said she didn’t know. She’s never been in that situation before. The Agency NEVER said that the film was going through, it was assumed. And even if film rights are sold, rarely does the film actually get made. And sometimes, if it does, it could be up to five years later that it actually hits the cinemas. So, therefore, if the film deal falls flat, no one would be too surprised. HOWEVER, because we sold the book knowing that the publishers assumed it would be turned into a film – and we never set them straight – they may have legal grounds to back out because we sold it using false information. Although, Loraine said, ‘I wouldn’t worry too much about that.’

Despite her suggestion to not worry, I was worried. I never thought of legalities.

Trying to move away from the subject of a busted film-rights deal, over dinner I talked about the agent fees we’d get out of this. How, it must be a help to the financial situation of the Agency. Then I hinted that maybe this would mean that Loraine could keep the business going.

We were eating by this point. She put down her fork and knife, and said, ‘It’s not that simple.’

I argued that the sales on Conspiracy’s first book were through the roof, and we were about to go to auction in the US. So maybe, we could start looking at other foreign rights, and this wasn’t even including the other books we’ve been selling, and we’re really creating a ‘buzz’ at the moment, so who knows what…

She cut me off. ‘I’m not going to get into the company’s financial predicament just now, but it’s more complicated than that. Plus,’ she added, ‘my reasons to shut down are not just financial. [Philip] is retired and it won’t be long before we have grandchildren. I want to enjoy these things before it’s too late.’

I told her I understood, but I was disappointed.

She could see that ‘what about me’ expression on my face, so she added, ‘With all that’s going on, I won’t close shop over night, or even in a month like I had originally planned. I will make sure everyone is taken care of.’

I asked what that means, and she said that I shouldn’t worry about it just now. Instead I should enjoy my ravioli.

But I can’t help but worry about it. If the film deal falls through, and the publishers who just bought the blog/book decide to renig on the deal, it won’t just be problematic on a financial level, but because the industry is so small it could tarnish my name. It’s one thing to get a reputation for sleeping with your boss (Goatee, not Loraine obviously), it’s another thing to put together a bad deal and ruin a company. And yes, the Agency was going to close anyway, but I don’t think it would look too good if I botch a deal then the Agency closes. No one would believe it wasn’t my fault.

I’m home just now. Fife’s gone out to pick us up a bottle of champers. I thought he was really mad that I didn’t come home to celebrate with him, but he was actually okay about it. Although, I don’t know if I feel like drinking. My stomach is turning somersaults and probably will be until I hear back from PoshMum.

*A few of you have confided that you’ve tried to figure out which book is Conspiracy’s. I, my dear bloggy woggy followers, am not that daft. I’ve kept a few things secret and changed a bit of information. Please do forgive me, as I don’t mean to deceive. I’m just being precautious, because I want to keep up my blog and I like the anonymity. If I gave too much away, I’d probably have to stop blogging.

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