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bookishjen
08-17-2013, 01:15 AM
In my quest to better understand the world of publishing, I've been taking a look at various industry websites. I was wondering if anyone could share the meanings of what appear to be terms of the trade.

what does it mean when a book is sold at auction? how is this is different from a book being submitted to different publishers (or is this what being sold at auction means?)

what does it mean when a book is sold in a preempt?

when an author sells a work in a multi-book deal does this mean that the book is one in a series or that the author simply has several different books in mind and the publisher would like to publish them all? (or both?) (or neither?)

BTW, none of these apply to me personally, I am just naturally curious. :)

Old Hack
08-17-2013, 01:47 AM
In my quest to better understand the world of publishing, I've been taking a look at various industry websites. I was wondering if anyone could share the meanings of what appear to be terms of the trade.

what does it mean when a book is sold at auction? how is this is different from a book being submitted to different publishers (or is this what being sold at auction means?)

An auction happens when lots of publishers want the same book. The agent lets all of the interested parties know that the book is going to auction; then the agent gives those publishers or editors an end-date for the auction (which is usually within a few days), and waits for the bids to come in. Which they might or might not.

It has been known for auctions to end with no bids at all (please don't ask me how I know...), and for authors to sign with publishers which made the bid they thought was the best, rather than the highest.


what does it mean when a book is sold in a preempt?

It means that the agent told publishers the book was going to auction but one publisher wasn't prepared to take part in the bidding war, and made a "take it or leave it" offer. Such offers are usually high, but they have been known to depend on a specific marketing point or contractual issue.


when an author sells a work in a multi-book deal does this mean that the book is one in a series or that the author simply has several different books in mind and the publisher would like to publish them all? (or both?) (or neither?)

BTW, none of these apply to me personally, I am just naturally curious. :)

Quite often multi-book deals involve two or more standalone titles. They don't always, though. Sometimes a multi-book deal involves forthcoming books which the writer has pitched to the publisher; sometimes the publisher just wants the current book and whatever the author comes up with next, and the only stipulation about the next book is that it must be of "publishable standard". Much depends on the writers, agents, publishers and contracts concerned.

bookishjen
08-17-2013, 02:46 AM
Thank you, Old Hack, this is just great!