Pub Rants

Prelude to An Auction

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STATUS: It is really freakin’ cold here in New York City. They think we have winter in Denver. Oh please. It’s six degrees. Wet. And the wind is blowing like 30 knots or something crazy like that. It’s never that cold in Denver or if it is, the sun is shining and everyone is happy. Although we went on a walk today, Chutney was unwilling to pose.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? DANCING WITH MYSELF by Billy Idol
(uh, I actually don’t own this song but the radio is playing at the moment…)

I know that blog readers love to hear the inside skinny on agent stuff. So how does an agent know that an auction might potentially unfold?

Easy. When a manuscript is sent out, some editors will take a look right away (especially those editors who know me and have had the experience of submissions from me moving fast). They tend to get on it quickly.

And if they like what they see, they email or call almost immediately to say that they love what they are reading and that they are either going to finish soon (like over the weekend) and get second reads or they are already doing so. They want me to keep them abreast of any new information regarding the project (as in other interest, an impending offer, etc.)

When this kind of communication happens from more than one house (and it has to be different houses because in-house imprints can’t bid against each other), then the agent knows it’s shaking. The project has it going on and an auction might unfold.

Now, that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes multiple editors from different houses show interest and those editors aren’t able to get the support to buy (support being other readers who love it as much as they do or an editorial director or publisher on board). And yes, I have had that happen.

But when there is a lot of interest early on, it usually means multiple offers and the agent has time to get her deal game plan in place.

20 Responses

  1. karen wester newton said:

    Thanks for the info on how auctions happen. I always wondered.

    My college roommate was from Denver, and when she came east for a visit, she swore Maryland was colder than Colorado. She said she felt it in her bones. The temperature was the same, but I think it was the damp that got to her.

    I hope Chutney has a sweater.

  2. Anonymous said:


    I read your blog every day, and just want to thank you for giving us information on every aspect of the publishing process. I read several blogs, but yours are the most informative. So, thanks.

    And good luck adapting to the east coast weather… we definitely don’t get the lovely, powdery snow that you get in Denver 🙂 It’s heavy and wet… and well, really really cold…

  3. JenWriter said:

    I only moved to NYC about two and half years ago. From the South. So, this bizarro thing called six degrees outside right now is keeping me indoors where there is heat!

  4. Stephanie Feagan said:

    I remember NYC last year in March – wind chill was 15 below 0 and my husband and I elected to WALK to the restaurant where we had our 25th anniversary dinner. It wasn’t that far – it felt silly to take a cab.
    You know how your mom used to say, Don’t make that face, it might freeze that way? As I was berating both of us for being morons, my husband said…well, you get the idea. HaHa! It was a romantic evening, even if I did have Popsicle toes. Certainly memorable.

    I hope you enjoy NY! I’ve always wanted to go and stay a while, longer than a week at a time. Take care! And may many auctions come your way.

  5. Getting There With A Passion! said:

    Gad zooks,

    That DOES sound cold. Well, just be glad you aren’t auctioning in China – it’s even colder there!

    I’d like to say thank you as well; after reading your blogs and suggestions for the last several weeks, it’s been getting me on the right track as I close up editing my manuscript, and has given me a realistic viewpoint of what to expect and what is expected when submitting.

    And come on, it’s okay to fess up to liking Billy Idol. Or in the words of Amy Whinehouse, “This is for ‘Landan’, ’cause Camden town is burnin’ down!” 😀

    -Rachel Glass

  6. Jackie L. said:

    Today, Tuesday, it is a balmy 40 degrees, blue sky and thin wispy clouds in Denver.

    Just thought I’d rub it in.

  7. Anonymous said:

    Of all the months to come to NY, you picked Feb? Masochist! 🙂 But for real, enjoy your time on EST!

  8. Deanna Manzo said:

    Hello there. Just want to say I’m a writer, and I love your blog. I write everything from romance, to suspence, to bubblegum-YA- material. Currently I am editing Will You Still Love Me? and I am working on The Goddesses of Willow’s Creek. I am always probing for insider tips into how the publishing world work. Thanks a bunch.

  9. booklady said:

    That was great to know. Thanks!

    As for the weather, humidity makes a huge difference, too. It makes plain, old regular cold seem really bitter.

  10. Anonymous said:

    Where’s the new blog for today (Tuesday)? I fear NYC may be too distracting for our good….

    A Faithful Reader

  11. Tawna Fenske said:

    Can’t wait to see photos of little Chutney in the Big Apple.

    I second the person who asked “and then what?” about the auction. Thanks so much for providing us all with these fabulous details!


  12. M. Alexander Austin said:

    It got so cold here in Montana a few weeks ago that I couldn’t walk the dogs – after about twenty steps they’d start wimpering and trying to stand on two paws.

    Only thing worse than trying to duct-tape rags to two dogs feet without sticking any tape to their hair and trying to get them to not shake their “booties” off is having those booties come off on the far side of the lake and having to carry a round 30 lb. terrier under one arm and a squirming pomeranian under the other through a foot of snow at -20.

    Well, aside from trying to write a good query letter.

  13. Jenn said:

    Discovered this blog via Intersection, and I would love to have something witty and literary and intelligent to say, but all I can think of to ask right now is:

    Denver doesn’t have weather? Were you THERE in 2003?

  14. Jackie L. said:

    2003 was nothing. I was here in 83, 2 feet of snow, 15 below, snowed in with my brother-in-law for about a week. 2003 was a bump in the road.

    –Denver native

    PS. 63 and sunny right now, but they’re predicting 3-9 inches of snow tonite and tomorrow. We shall see.

  15. Anonymous said:

    I’m so glad there are people like you out there, Kristin, who love to do what you do. I could never make heads nor tails of an agent’s work!