Friday, September 07, 2007

The Early Bird Gets the Book

Question of the week: Congrats on your sale! Um, not to sound like an idiot, but what's a pre-empt?

You're not an idiot! A few people wrote me to ask this very question, and when I was starting out, I didn't know the answer either.

A pre-empt is when one publishers jumps in before all of the others and says, "I'll give you X amount of money to take this off the table and refuse other offers." The publisher thus "pre-empts" the other bidders.

I asked my agent all about accepting a pre-empt vs. going to auction, and she explained it thusly: with a pre-empt, the publisher will usually come in with close-to-their highest possible bid, let's say, for simple numbers purposes, 50k. If you were to hold an auction, the bids would start much lower, let's say, 10k. As people bid up and up, you may or may not reach the original pre-empt offer. You can also conduct a "best bids" auction, in which publishers don't necessarily bid "against" each other in the traditional sense, rather they all toss in their highest possible bids and hope that they come out on top. In our case, my new publisher came to us and said, we'll pay X, to which my agent said, "how about you pay X+Y and we'll take it off the table." (This was an editor I was dying to work with, and both my agent and I agreed it was worth it to take our chances.) The editor called back, and the deal was sealed.

So that is a pre-empt. Remember that I'm not an agent and this is just the best that I can figure it all out - I might have gotten some of the details wrong!

Anyone else out there gotten a pre-empt? If you have, why did you decide to go with it? And for those of you shopping around your ms or hoping to one day be published, which would you rather: a pre-empt or an auction? (You know, in a dream world! I should note, to for disclosure, that most books sell on one offer, not at auctions or pre-empts...I don't want to pass along misinformation here.)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Contests Here, Contests There...

Contests, contests everywhere!

Okay, so clearly, I'm reading a bit too much Dr. Seuss with my son, but you get the point.

Writer Unboxed is giving away a full set of Writer's Market guides worth over $150.00. As if the wonderful advice and prose isn't enough over there, so go check it out!

And the lovely Sara Hantz, whose YA debut The Second Virginity of Suzy Green was just released is throwing a blog party this week. Head over there to win free books, among other things, from a variety of guest bloggers. Ooh, and here's a little info on Suzy Green, which sounds hilarious!

"Suzy Green used to be one of the coolest nonconformist "almost-Goth" party girls in Australia. That was before her older sister Rosie died and her family moved to a new town. Not even her best friend would recognize her now. Gone are the Doc Martens and the attitude. All she wants is to be like Rosie—perfect. The new Suzy Green makes straight As, hangs with the in-crowd at her new school, and dates the hottest guy around. And since all her new friends belong to a virginity club, she joins, too. So what if she's not technically qualified? Nobody in town knows . . . until Ryan, Suzy's ex, turns up."

Hope some of you guys win!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

So Here's Something Interesting

(Quick note: the Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit (GCC) was mentioned in Sunday's New York Times! Check out the article on author tours.)

So, as I noted last week, I'm back in the swing of writing my manuscript. I took a few months off as we shopped it around - I was able to sell it on the first 100 pages and a synopsis - and I dove back in about two weeks ago. And here's something I've discovered: I'm not so sure how much I actually like writing. Hmmm, interesting isn't it? :)

Let me clarify. I LOVE spending time with the characters in my head. I LOVE crafting obstacles and dialogue and all of that. But for some reason, even as my brain spins in the story - which these days, is almost a constant - I DREAD sitting down and writing. Weird, right??? I mean, I will do just about anything to procrastinate. I get into my office, so full of enthusiasm and ideas and bursting to put them on to the page, and then I open up the document, and I'm just sort of like, "ugh." So I surf every last gossip blog, and I check in on all of my writing forums, and if there's even a teeny-tiny thing that I need to buy, I'll cruise from website to website browsing.

The only way that I get anything done is that I set time deadlines for myself. I nervously eye the clock on the lower-right hand corner, and know that say, as soon as it flips to 10:30, I have to focus, come hell or high water. Once I start writing, I accelerate and all of the ideas snowball, and I'm always glad to have done it (and enjoy doing it too), but for me, I think it's the anticipation of the work ahead that I dread. Sort of like how some people can't stand to think of going to the gym, but once they're there, they dig it.

I actually recently interviewed Peter Hedges, the author of What's Eating Gilbert Grape and the director of the soon-to-be released movie, Dan in Real Life (so good, go see it when it comes out in Oct), and he said something similar. He was trying to wrap up his new novel and had taken a lot of time away from the book to work on the movie. And he said something like, (I'm paraphrasing here), "I always kick myself when I take time off from a manuscript because it's so hard to get back into it. I stare and it and wish that I could get back those months when I did nothing."

So hey, if an incredible writer like Hedges feels the way I do, I can't be that off my rocker, but tell me, do any of you guys feel the way I do? That sometimes, writing is a battle, albeit a necessary and even enjoyable one, but a battle all the same. Am I making sense? Or am I just weird and alone in this? :)