I thought a thread about *how* a book deal happens, and what comes after that, might be useful and hopeful for authors looking to trade publish. I had so very little information, and I've been learning about all this on the fly, functioning on instinct and the advice of my agent. It would've been great to have one place/resource where people talked a bit about their own journeys to book deal and publication. Now I'm starting one! I hope others will add their stories, or ask questions. Knowledge is power.

The short version is -- My debut adult historical/mainstream suspense went on submission Sept 20, 2018. It had a preempt offer Oct 3, and a final deal with a Big 5 house (UK market) October 8.

That looks like an overnight success, but noooooo. It was very long in coming.

I signed with my agent in 2014. She went on maternity leave shortly after, so nothing much got done the rest of the year. All in all, I revised this book for about 3 and half years (and that counts only the time *after* I had an agent. I'd been writing the book for several years *before* I got her!). During revisions, I wanted to burn all versions of the book. I wanted to throw myself in front of a bus rather than revise it again. I thought the book was dead. I couldn't possibly get anything else out of it. But then I did. My agent read it front to back so many times, I thought she'd run away in disgust. But she didn't.

Fast forward to Sept 20 of this year. Submission day! I honestly thought it would never come.

My agent had drawn up a pitch (that I reviewed), and a bio based on info about me that I sent her. She hit the phones and pitched to UK editors on her sub list. Most said to send them the full manuscript. About 5 days later, a literary agency in New York enthusiastically agreed to handle pitches to the US market. They started a few days later.

That first week, I got at least 3 rejections from the UK market, mostly from more literary imprints. My book straddles commercial and literary, and it wasn't clear where the book might land. Otherwise, my agent started to tell me that there appeared to be "strong interest" in the market. She asked me for a summary of my second book (standalones) so she could follow up with interested editors and "keep the momentum going."

On the evening of Oct 3 I was sitting on the couch watching TV with my kids when I got an email labeled "Good news." I thought the book had gone to acquisitions somewhere. But my agent had texted that a preempt had come in from a major imprint. I think I screamed and jumped around for about 2 hours. (and maybe had a wine or two...) The offer was for World Rights. I received an offer letter that outlined basic terms and percentages according to the standard contracts of the house. So now it was time to discuss whether I wanted to sell World rights, or keep territorial rights. In other words, did I want to give one imprint a percentage of all deals made on the book around the world, or did I want to try to make those deals myself? We decided to try for territorial, turned down the preempt and asked the publisher to offer for UK rights only.

The next day, they raised their offer. My agent was hearing very definite "strong interest" from other publishers in the UK and US. The issue was -- should I turn down the preempt and let the UK rights go to auction? A big risk. We decided to go to auction. Two other imprints were telling us they wanted to bid, but when the deadline came, they asked us for more time to get their bids in. By then, I was a nervous wreck. I wasn't willing to wait another day or two for the others when I had a great imprint offering a good deal, even if it was World Rights. So I basically ended up taking the preempt. I'm glad I did, because the imprint has been awesome ever since.

(end part 1)