I ended my last Publishing Journey post about going on submission to publishers on an annoying cliffhanger, in part because the post was getting a bit long, but also because I wanted this post, about selling the book, to be the last one before the book comes out in the US. Never let it be said that I have not been straight-up with you!
As I mentioned at the end of my last post, at the end of the six-week period my agent had set, I got an email from her mentioning almost quite casually that an editor had confirmed that they were going to offer for the book. Whatever happened, the book was going to have a home. That was when I knew it was going to be published after all and I had not lived and fought in vain.
It felt weird, to be honest. I suffer from “feelings never match up to occasion”itis (there must be some clever German word for this), which means that I’m perpetually bored, distracted or hungry at significant emotional moments. I always admire people who cry at weddings: so clever of them to know to have the right feelings at the right time. One of the reasons I like books so much is that they tell you what feelings to have when. Also if you don’t cry at a sad or touching scene, it’s the author’s fault, not yours!
So I read the email a few times, felt a bit worried for no real reason, and went on with my day.
A few days later Caitlin emailed again to say that she had set an auction date and would I like to have a call, because surely I must have questions by then. (Maybe I was a bit too effective at appearing to be ignoring that the book was on submission, even if my VERY DREAMS were not cooperating.)
We had the call to talk about the auction process, and we also had a couple of calls to discuss the offers once they were in. I never really had The Call, the one that tells you your book is going to be published. For me it was The Email(s).
I forgot to say what an auction is! If you’re reading this, you probably already know. But in case you don’t, if multiple publishers are interested in buying your book, your agent will get them to bid against each other. There are different ways of doing this, but the way my agent did it was to ask each interested editor to make their best offer. Once we had received these, there was one further round of negotiations with the editors and then it was just for us to decide which offer to accept.
We went with Ace, who bought World English rights (i.e. the right to publish the book in English around the world), and Ace later sold the UK and Commonwealth rights to Pan Macmillan. The deal announcement is here.
You will say, “My god, you must have been delighted beyond belief! It was only your lifelong dream that had been fulfilled, not to mention you were going to be published by Penguin Random House of all publishers. That’s super legit!”
But you forget my condition of “always having inappropriate feelings”itis! Of course I was pleased. But actually my chief emotion when it was all confirmed is best described so: @_@. On a call with my agent during the auction process, I said anxiously, “Is there anything I should be doing?” and she said, “Just be happy. You were right about your book.”
But be happy was just what I couldn’t do. I was excited, sure, but I also felt like maybe somebody was going to jump out of a box and scream “April fools!” even though it was November. I almost felt it would be a relief if that happened, even. I was going to have to deliver edits to Sorcerer to the Crown by a contractual deadline! I’d just promised actual real publishers that I’d write two more books! Surely everything was going to go horribly wrong!
I don’t think my shoulders came down from around my ears till we announced the deal. My phone started buzzing with congratulations and good wishes, and that made it feel like a real thing, a thing to be glad about. It still took me a while to relax into it, and I don’t think I started really enjoying the fact that the book had sold till, say, February, after I’d turned in my substantive edits.
So that is the story! One last detail people might find interesting: three editors had expressed interest in the book by the time it went on submission. (One knew me through my short fiction; I met another at a con; etc.) Of these three, only one editor made an offer for the book. It’s a funny old world.
And of course, the book comes out in the US next week on Tuesday, 1 September, and in the UK the week after, on Thursday, 10 September. You can find out more about it here: The Sorcerer Royal trilogy. If it sounds interesting, you can pre-order it at the links below! Or you can sign up to my new release mailing list if you prefer to buy books once they’re out. It’s not a proper newsletter — I just send out an email when I have a new story or book out that you can read or buy.
I hope you enjoyed reading these posts! This isn’t going to be the last ever because this is just the beginning, and I’m hoping to have lots more publishing journey left to recount. But I’ve run out of ideas for now, so won’t necessarily be doing them every Friday, as I have been — just whenever inspiration strikes.
If you have questions or topics you’d like me to post about, let me know! You can leave a comment below, fill out the contact form to email me, tweet me, or leave a comment on Facebook. Thanks for reading along!
Previous Publishing Journey posts
Mission statement: Ten things I believe about writing
Breaking through writer’s block, or, how I started writing and publishing short stories
How I published a short story collection
Writing with a day job, part 1: Why I don’t write full-time
Writing with a day job, part 2: Work/work balance
Networking, part 1: Social media and connection
Networking, part 2: Thoughts on conventions
How I wrote three novels and binned two of them
Signing with a literary agent
My query letter for Sorcerer to the Crown
Revising the novel (again and again and again)
Going on submission