Blogger: Rachel Kent
A couple of us at the agency have sold books this week after receiving multiple offers for the projects. It’s always very exciting to receive a lot of interest for a project and getting more than one offer does allow us to ask the publishers to up their offers to “win” the book from the other bidder. We like to get the best deal for our clients and working multiple offers allows us to get a better deal in one way or another. We also always try our best to make the entire process fair for all publishers involved because we care about keeping our relationship strong with them. A good relationship means we can continue to bring book proposals to them in the future.
In situations with a lot of offers for one book project we host a formal auction–one of our agents did that this week. Thankfully, I was only balancing two offers so my week wasn’t quite as stressful.
While getting multiple offers is exciting, it’s often emotional for those involved. The publishers really want the project which is why they took the time to put the offers together in the first place. The agent wants the author to be well taken care of, but also wants all of the publishers to “win” when in reality only one publisher can get the book. The author is almost always excited and nervous–selling a book is a big deal and getting more than one offer is an even bigger deal!
Let me illustrate how emotional things can be with the way my client’s sale went this week:
I received an offer from a publishing house on a project that had been out with multiple publishers for a very long time. I kept checking in, but no one had had a chance to look at it yet. The first publishing house that brought me an offer was a publisher that had just recently requested to see the proposal. The editor had heard about it from another editor who had looked at it a long time ago and passed because the timing wasn’t right. To be fair to all of the publishing houses who still had the proposal, I wrote to inform them of the offer I’d received. This prompted the second offer to come in and the second offer was better than the one the first house gave. After some back and forth with both houses, the second publishing house ended up getting the book.
You can see how as an agent I felt bad about this. It was because of the first publishing house’s offer that the second offer came to me at all. Ultimately, for all involved, it’s a business deal so letting emotions in doesn’t help. I’m a human though, so I still feel for the first publisher. I’m hoping now to bring a great project to Publisher #1 so their need for a new project can be met.
Keeping emotions in check is very important in the world of publishing. It’s so easy to get upset with rejection, or with the amount of time everything takes, or with any part of the often-frustrating publishing process. And it’s easy to let feeling sorry for someone control our decisions as well. But if we let our emotions get the best of us in the business world, we might not make the best long-term decisions. Communicating in anger or without thinking burns bridges that might have been important down the road.
What tricks do you use to keep your emotions in check when working in the publishing world?
Do you let your emotions get the best of you in business? Talk business and emotions here with lit agent @rachellkent Click to tweet.
Lit. agent @rachellkent asks, “What tricks do you use to keep your emotions in check in the publishing world?” Click to tweet.