STATUS: Today was basically a day of working on negotiations. Fun.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? PARADISE BY THE DASHBOARD LIGHT by Meatloaf
Whenever I have multiple negotiations going on, I take extensive notes on each offer. What has been covered, what’s resolved, what’s outstanding. It’s too easy to think an issue has been handled because you’re remembering the conversation you had with the editor who was on the phone 10 minutes ago and is not the editor for the deal you are currently discussing.
This is why I also like to confirm everything by email as well. Then there is a written record of everything discussed.
So some interesting stats on Negotiations
1. Agents rarely negotiate on the same day an offer is made (unless it’s a pre-empt).
2. Negotiations rarely conclude in one day. I would say the average length to negotiate a deal (as in the deal points—not the actual final contract) is 4 or 5 days—and that depends on if an auction is going to unfold or a pre-empt offered. Mostly is just takes that long to work out the language if there are special instances that need to be handled in the contract or just general questions that need to be answered before the real negotiation can even begin.
3. Negotiation can be involved but they are rarely contentious. Truly, it’s usually about two people discussing solutions on how both parties can get what they need. Usually that’s resolvable but not always. I’ve only ever had one editor yell at me during a negotiation and quite simply, I won’t deal with that person anymore.
4. The heart of the negotiation isn’t always about the advance. Trust me, it’s always about the money to some extent but there are certain contract elements that are more important to have (or not have) in the contract.
5. When to start a negotiation may actually be the most important factor to consider. Does one negotiate for a new project before the numbers are in for the current book or does one wait until those numbers are available?
And that’s a whole other discussion for another day.