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Thread: In A Pre-empt ??

  1. #1

    In A Pre-empt ??

    I keep seeing the phrase "in a pre-empt" in the "Deals" section on Publishers Marketplace. For example, a book was sold "to Stephen Morrow at Dutton, for publication in early 2009, in a pre-empt, by Ted Weinstein."

    What does it mean when a book is sold "in a pre-empt?"

    What is being pre-empted?

  2. #2
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    As far as I understand it this happens when several editors are interested in acquiring a book and so the agent is either considering setting up an auction or has one running. One editor convinces their publishing house that they have to have to book and asks the agent 'how much to stop the auction and buy it now'. The agent names a sum, the editor pays up, the agent stops the auction and tells the other folk 'better luck next time'.
    That's a pre-empt.
    A bit like the 'Buy it Now' option on E-Bay

  3. #3
    Procrastinating, clearly Carrie R.'s Avatar
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    It can also mean (a) that an editor thinks the book will go to auction and wants to stop if from doing so, so they offer as much as they think it will take to take the book off the table or (b) the agent doesn't say how much it will take but the editor throws out a number that is enough to get the agent and author to walk away from the auction.

    Essentially, a pre-empt pays to stop an auction from taking place.
    Carrie Ryan
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  4. #4
    Everything is what it seems. Will Lavender's Avatar
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    Yeah, the first two answers are right. It's just a "Buy it Now" in publishing. Good analogy.

    In my situation, we turned down the pre-empt because the publisher wanted foreign rights. We held on to foreign rights, went to auction -- and it turned out to be the best decision.

  5. #5
    Sailed away years ago ORION's Avatar
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    Same here. We went to auction because there are a lot more things to consider than money. I interviewed all the editors before the auction and had a feel for whose vision was closest to mine for LOTTERY
    Patricia Wood
    http://pkwood.blogspot.com
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    Patricia Wood's debut novel LOTTERY is available for sale at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Borders and your local independent book store.
    http://search.barnesandnoble.com//e/9780425222201

  6. #6
    folly is such fun
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    How exactly does the auction work?
    do editors/publishers call in with their bid? seems a bit fishy...
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  7. #7
    Everything is what it seems. Will Lavender's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LordDelusions View Post
    How exactly does the auction work?
    do editors/publishers call in with their bid? seems a bit fishy...
    In my case, they called in or e-mailed their bids to the agent, and then the agent passed the offers on to me to decide.

    The bids aren't just money-related. There are incentives within the deals offerred. I get a bonus if I sell 40,000 copies in a year, for example; another house was offering a 25K bonus for becoming an NYT bestseller. Stuff like that.

    Why would it be fishy? It's only been done this way for a hundred years.

  8. #8
    THE EXPLORERS out April 2017!! Toothpaste's Avatar
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    Exactly. My situation was the same. For me I was interested in each publisher's marketing campaign. That isn't to say that the money isn't an issue either. What often happens with auctions is that publishers will place an initial bid, then others will as well. Then if there is a higher bid, the agent will go back to the other publishers and see if they want to bid more. It's a tricky situation, because there is only so far a publisher will go, and the agent doesn't want to get them frustrated.

    At any rate I don't envy my agent who had to do all that! But I am very grateful for it!

    And yeah, why is it fishy exactly? It's a very open process.

  9. #9
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LordDelusions View Post
    How exactly does the auction work?
    do editors/publishers call in with their bid? seems a bit fishy...
    Fishy how? That's how lots of things get sold.

  10. #10
    Sockpuppet
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    Interesting. I hadn't noticed the pre-empts in PM before it was mentioned here. I could only wish for one of those "fishy" sales.

  11. #11
    Sailed away years ago ORION's Avatar
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    yup...it bought me a lot of fish...
    Patricia Wood
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    Patricia Wood's debut novel LOTTERY is available for sale at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Borders and your local independent book store.
    http://search.barnesandnoble.com//e/9780425222201

  12. #12
    She of Many Names Irysangel's Avatar
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    Also, on a pre-empt, the offer is in place but money doesn't actually MOVE until much much later, I believe.
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  13. #13
    Sailed away years ago ORION's Avatar
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    What do you mean Irysangel?
    It takes months to iron out the details of the contract in either case...my deal was accepted Dec 6, 2006 my contracts signed approx. March 1 and my advance on signing money was wired approx April 1...
    Patricia Wood
    http://pkwood.blogspot.com
    http://patriciawoodauthor.com

    Patricia Wood's debut novel LOTTERY is available for sale at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Borders and your local independent book store.
    http://search.barnesandnoble.com//e/9780425222201

  14. #14
    It sounds like any book that is sold in a pre-empt is a hot product and the publisher will offer what is necessary to get it.

  15. #15
    Sailed away years ago ORION's Avatar
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    Not necessarily. I know of pre-empts that were only nice or very nice deals - sometimes an agent prefers to call it a pre-empt so others assume that...
    Patricia Wood
    http://pkwood.blogspot.com
    http://patriciawoodauthor.com

    Patricia Wood's debut novel LOTTERY is available for sale at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Borders and your local independent book store.
    http://search.barnesandnoble.com//e/9780425222201

  16. #16
    She of Many Names Irysangel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waylander View Post
    The agent names a sum, the editor pays up, the agent stops the auction and tells the other folk 'better luck next time'.
    That's a pre-empt.
    A bit like the 'Buy it Now' option on E-Bay
    Orion, this is the quote I was referring to. The editor may name a sum, but between the actual 'naming' of the amount accepted and the time that the money hits your bank, it could be several months.

    (Mine was 6+)
    The Girl's Guide to (Man)Hunting - Available May 1, 2012. Amazon | B&N |Goodreads

    www.jessica-sims.com
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    http://jessica-clare.com

  17. #17
    Sailed away years ago ORION's Avatar
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    Okay then...We are saying the same thing LOL
    Patricia Wood
    http://pkwood.blogspot.com
    http://patriciawoodauthor.com

    Patricia Wood's debut novel LOTTERY is available for sale at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Borders and your local independent book store.
    http://search.barnesandnoble.com//e/9780425222201

  18. #18
    Author Nathan Bransford's Avatar
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    Pre-empt -- essentially the editor is making a bid to close the deal before it goes to auction. It might have an expiration date or the editor might want to "floor" the offer in case there is an auction, which means the offer might be lower if it actually does go to auction. Pre-empts are usually pretty attractive offers because the editor/publisher is establishing a firm commitment, are showing they know it's a hot commodity, and are trying to head off a bidding war. The agent and the author have to decide 1) if they are comfortable/happy with the offering editor/house and 2) do they think it's a fair offer or can they get a better deal if it goes to auction.

    Auction -- the agent will set the "rules" for the auction, meaning they will establish what rights/territories the editors are bidding on, by what method the auction will be held, and the agent will often give a sense of what criteria (such as marketing, in Adrienne's case) are important to the author. Auctions can, for instance, be a "best offer" auction, which means editors have to submit their best offers blind, or it can be sequential, which means the lowest bidder has to bid higher the current highest bidder, and so on, until houses drop out and the highest bidder emerges.

  19. #19
    Author Waiting in the Wings Maprilynne's Avatar
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    What's a pre-empt?

    It freakin' awesome!!!

    Although that may not have been quite what you were asking . . . .
    Wings: the first of four from Harper Teen debuting May 5th, 2009.


    You can Pre-Order my book from Amazon!
    (Come on, you know you want to.)


  20. #20
    folly is such fun
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    Oo...makes sense...
    In my case, they called in or e-mailed their bids to the agent, and then the agent passed the offers on to me to decide.
    I was talking about that. I wasn't sure how publisher A knew of what publisher B was offering the agent/author.
    We Are The World...

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