I can’t believe I’m writing this, but last week I found myself in the middle of an auction for ANZ rights to my new YA fantasy series!!!
I still feel like I’m living in a dream, so let me rewind and tell the story from the beginning.
About six weeks ago, I finished writing a new book called The Prison Healer. (Wow, it is SUCH a relief to finally be able to say the name!) I’d recently signed on with a new agent (which you can read all about here), so the following weeks after finishing the draft, I worked with her on a few rounds of revisions. The turnaround was really fast, and suddenly TPH was in submission shape, and my agent — Danielle — and sub rights agent — Jenny — said it was time to start sending it out into the world.
Cue me rocking in the corner, especially when, within a week, I found myself in an 8-house auction.
As in, ALL THE EEEKs.
Out of nowhere, I had people from each of the publishing houses wanting to jump on the phone/Skype with me (and even an in-person meeting) to share their vision for what they could do with the series, while trying to convince me of why I should go with them.
Honestly, it was the most amazing (but also the most stressful) week of my life.
As far as the actual process goes, all it took was one offer to come in before Jenny was able to go back to the other ANZ houses she’d submitted to, telling them they had 24 hours to offer a counter bid. Every single house came back with their own offer within that time (preliminary bids to get them into the auction), and that’s when things started to get really crazy.
Over the next few days, I spoke with a heap of people, and every time I got off the phone/Skype, I’m not kidding that, without fail, I sighed happily and said, “I LOVE THEM!”
This, obviously, made it an IMPOSSIBLE decision.
While all this was happening — the calls, I mean — the publishers had just under a week to send Jenny their “best and final” bids (ie. the highest $ amount they could/would offer) along with a rough marketing plan and, in some cases, a written pitch document as to why I should go with them over the others.
All of this information — the best/final bids, pitches, and marketing details — came to me in the early hours of last Thursday morning. So, a week ago today. And then, I had to decide.
One thing that kind of threw me for a loop was that the highest bidder ended up being someone that, until that point, I hadn’t spoken with. (And I’d spoken with most of them during the week.) So that day, I jumped on the phone with that publisher to get a sense of what their thinking was, which again, just made everything even harder, since like all the others, I LOVED THEM.
This was clearly a problem for me.
Since Danielle and Jenny are both based in NYC, we set up a Skype call for that night, because there was no way I could make this decision without help. During the day, Jenny had gone back to two of my “favourites” to see if they wanted to offer counter bids to the new highest bidder, and both of them did just that… so now I was down to three that I had to decide between. (Hey, give me some credit, at least I’d managed that much!)
I should also mention in here that I had breakfast with my author friend, Jessica Townsend (if you haven’t read her Nevermoor series, stop reading this right now and go grab a copy!), and I was also emailing back and forth with Sarah J. Maas, who is my go-to person when it comes to big decisions like this, and both where insanely helpful and I’m so grateful to them. (BUT it’s also worth mentioning that they were gleefully like, “Ha! Sucks to be you!” — as in, they knew how hard the decision was and were glad that they weren’t the ones in my position. Great friends, they are. *Eye roll*)
After speaking with everyone and Skyping with Danielle/Jenny, I had to confirm who I wanted to go with. The truth is, any one of the eight publishers in the auction would have been brilliant, including my current publishers who I’ve been with since the start of my career. That was why I struggled so much to choose — because there was no wrong decision. So it was a matter of who I/we thought was the best match going forward in regards to passion and enthusiasm and author care, but also for really important things like strategy and marketing/publicity and audience reach.
*Drum roll please*
I’m absolutely DELIGHTED to share that I’ve accepted an offer from Penguin Random House for ANZ rights to The Prison Healer series! I’m so, so, SO excited for all that’s ahead in my new partnership with them!!! Plus, I’m flying to Sydney to meet the team tomorrow (or, the Sydney-based team, at least), and I can’t WAIT!!! (I hear there’s going to be cake, and we all know that cake is the BEST!!!)
I’m including the official press release below to finish off this super exciting post, and I can’t wait to share more about TPH and my experiences with PRH as things continue to develop!
OH! And you’ll see in the press release that while all of this was happening, auctions and deals for other territories were also going on during the week, which is insane. My mind is officially blown!!