I learned about the phenomenon of preempting and auctions this week. It’s easier to talk about auctions first. Options are obviously went a book deal is in a bidding war. This is when the agent, in this case Emily, has sent out a manuscript to a bunch of different publishing houses, and they are fighting over the book. So what happens in this case is the agent and facilitate an auction, typically over the phone, and the senior editor at each publishing house will phone in their offer. Not just money is being offered in the auction, and sometimes publishers will offer up exclusive world rights or the fact that they will have first or second serial rights. Sometimes publishers will even go out and buy the rights and advance for your book in case it’s turned into a movie or TV show. Are all things that make one publishing house the most attractive offer an auction.
Often, in order to prevent an option from happening, which can drive up the cost of a book that editors a publishing houses don’t necessarily want to pay, they will preempt an auction with a super high offer that is basically very attractive to the author and will effectively shut an auction down.
Another fun week in the publishing industry!