Pub Rants

Do You Deal Lunch?

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STATUS: Crunch time! I have three client manuscripts I must read by the end of this weekend and two submissions to get out before the holiday dead zone.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? HOLD ME by Fleetwood Mac
(Is it oldies week or what? And yes, I need to download some new tunes but since the new network went up, my tech person is having trouble transferring the library. 1000 songs just keep disappearing.)

Some agents don’t post deals on Deal Lunch. But I do and here’s why.

Thousands and thousands of industry insiders read Deal Lunch every day. There is no better way to get the word out about a project, start the buzz, sell some foreign rights, or just give Hollywood a heads up then posting the news in Deal Lunch.

Mari Mancusi’s deal in Today’s Lunch is case in point.

Here’s the deal for those of you who don’t subscribe (and may I ask why you don’t? After all, you can get Deal Lunch Weekly—a summary of the week’s deals—for free. Sounds like an offer you shouldn’t refuse if you want to keep current on the market):

Mari Mancusi’s YA novel THE CAMELOT CODE, in which Merlin sends a sophomore girl back in time to meet the teen once-and-future-pre-King Arthur and have him spend a week with her in the 21st century only to have him Google himself, discover his fate and refuse to return, to Sarah Shumway at Dutton, in a very nice two-book deal, by Kristin Nelson at Nelson Literary Agency

Not 30 minutes after the deal hit the web I was contacted by two production companies inquiring about the status of the film rights.

Sounds exciting, right? Sure. Film interest is always nice but you gotta remember my Hollywood mantra, they want to look at everything but rarely buy anything so I don’t get excited until they show me the money via a signed contract.

Still, generating interest can be an important first step to getting material optioned.

And yet a lot of agents don’t post their deals. Why not? Well, only they can answer that question but sometimes you don’t want to announce. Perhaps the client wants to keep it private. Sometimes you’d rather keep the sale under your hat so as to do an exclusive film or foreign rights submission. Maybe you don’t want the Scouts bribing people to get a hold of it (which is what happened with I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU. Within a day of the sale, every film producer and scout had a copy of that proposal—a proposal which only I and a select handful of editors had a copy of…)

For some established agencies it’s policy not to post—sometimes to the frustration of their younger and newer agents who want to build a list and name recognition in the publishing world. It’s one of the main reasons I posted on Deal Lunch from the very beginning. I mean, “who in the heck is Kristin Nelson” was quite a valid question in 2002. And maybe it still is!

One agent friend who handles foreign rights for her agency mentioned that it actually would be easier to sell those rights if her agency would post the deals so the foreign publishers will have heard of the title before London or Frankfurt. She still does just fine without the announcements but she thinks it might facilitate more sales and if it’s a tool they could use…

Some agents only post the bigger deals.

Some clients ask me if I could please post it since a lot of writers read Deal Lunch too. Most clients are pretty darn tickled to see the deal out there.

And for those of you who can’t wait to get a hold of this new Mari title but have to because it’s not going to be published for over a year, never fear.

Her next book in the Boys That Bite YA vampire series hits shelves next week.

20 Responses

  1. Sara Dennis said:

    Okay, that’s possibly the cutest book idea I’ve seen in a while. Why didn’t I think of that? 😉

    Congrats to Mari and you, Kristin. 🙂

  2. Virginia Miss said:

    The camelot code sounds cute.

    At a conference earlier this year, Sara Shumway said in the panel discussion not to send her YA fantasy because it wasn’t something that would interest her. I love it when a manuscript change someone’s mind like this.

  3. katiesandwich said:

    I clicked on the link just to see if you’re talking about the same Publisher’s Lunch I’m already signed up for. I’m not sure if it’s the same thing. I get the stories and stuff daily, then a big summary of some deals about once a week. Sounds like I’m missing something. Can anybody help me out? I’m sorry, but I’m just too stupid to figure this out on my own!

  4. Lynne Simpson said:

    Katie, I probably receive similar daily emails and weekly summaries. I think that’s what’s included in a free membership. For $20 a month, I also get access to the web site features, such as being able to search their database for the latest deals.

  5. Anonymous said:


    You’re obviously not a teenager. Storylines like this are what kids want and will buy. That’s partly why the author got a “very good deal”.

  6. Heather Brewer said:

    Way to go, Mari and Kristin!!!

    I’m actually signed up for Lunch, but no matter what I do, they won’t deliver it to me *sigh* Luckily, friends keep me up to date.

  7. Anonymous said:

    I think it sounds like a fun story. I look forward to my teenager asking for it so I can read it too! lol

  8. Anonymous said:

    I love The Camelot Code idea.

    Of course, anything with swords and King Arthur can’t go wrong.

    (ok, so it might now and then, but this one still sounds cute anyway)

    -Miss Java

    My Blog

  9. Anonymous said:

    You’re right about some agencies not posting. My agent doesn’t post because they’re not actively seeking clients. They still take writers on if a good one comes recommended by a client, but aren’t out there beating the bushes.

  10. Anonymous said:

    Yeah, but a lot of agents completely exaggerate their sales (like this one, I suppose) to boost their clients, garner interest in film rights and to make the agent look better so they’ll get more queries. I know for a fact that this happens on a daily basis. You have to take Publishers Lunch with a grain of salt.

  11. Anonymous said:

    Didn’t Mari Mancusi already write a time travel Camelot book?? Maybe it was under her adult pen name…

  12. Mari Mancusi said:

    Yes, I did write an adult time travel book called “A Connecticut Fashionista in King Arthur’s Court.” Totally different story though – adult romance of 21st century fashion editor and Lancelot. This book takes place way earlier – before Arthur pulls the sword from the stone and is a bit…sweeter. 😉

    What can I say? I just love Arthurian legend!! I’d write 100 books set in that time period if they’d let me!

    Thanks for the congrats everyone! Kristin is truly a super agent and I’m very lucky she took me on.


  13. litagent said:


    Your email provider (and I’m sure that’s not the technical term, but I’m a tech idiot) may be blocking Publisher’s Lunch. I got it for years, and then suddenly DIDN’T get it. I wrote and begged Michael Cader to try to figure it out, and he insisted that they send it out, but that there is nothing they can do to guarantee that I receive it. You may have to set up another email address to receive it. I have Publisher’s Lunch delivered to another address altogether that then forwards it to my regular address. Frustrating, but the only way I’ve managed to guarantee that I get it. The other alternative is to just check Publisher’s Marketplace every day. Good luck.

  14. Anonymous said:

    As for emails not coming through from Publisher’s Lunch, it may be a spam-blocking thing. Some of the more common web-based email systems like gmail and yahoo use very sophisticated spam blockers, but they aren’t perfect and so sometimes pull out mass mailings that you actually *want*. The easy fix for both of those is to add the email address that is in the “from” field of emails that you would get from them to your address book. I think in both of them now, you can go into your spam folder, locate the email, and click something like “not spam” or “add sender to contacts.” Usually that fixes it.

  15. Anonymous said:

    Camelot Code sounds like a hoot. My husband even chuckled aloud when I read the premise to him.
    What’s with all the nastiness? Sour grapes, maybe?

  16. Anonymous said:

    What even is sour grapes? Can’t people just not like something because they don’t like it without being labeled with sour grapes?

  17. stephhale said:

    Chiming in a little late here due to FIVE days with NO power! Anyhoo, major congrats to the uber-fab Mari and her wonderful agent, Kristin. I absolutely love the premise of the new book. He googles himself, just brilliant! 🙂