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When last we left Cerebus creator Dave Sim, he was contemplating a grim existence as his declining productivity and shrinking market place left him few recourses to make a living. Fortunately for all, he was saved from a life of dining on Fancy Feast by a Kickstarter campaign, the arrival of cover work from IDW and an agreement to publish a print version of the digital High Society, whatever that is. And now, as he discusses in a post at A MOMENT OF CEREBUS, he's found a new way to make money: selling artwork.
Well, you’ve probably heard about the recent record breaking sale of Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man cover, which sold for $657,250.00 . Now, that’s interesting, in and of itself, as that cover was published in January 1990, and isn’t considered as iconic as some of his other Spider-Man or Hulk covers. (His Spider-Man #1 cover recently sold for $358,500.00 at the same auction.)
But here’s where it gets really interesting… from the auction description:
Todd McFarlane The Amazing Spider-Man #328 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1990). Spidey demonstrates his awesome new powers on the Hulk, in this earth-trembling cover illustration by Todd McFarlane. Brimming with the raw energy that sky-rocketed McFarlane to the top of the industry, this cover illustration includes its original logo and masthead paste-up copy. The art has an image area of 10″ x 15″ and, aside from some light glue staining, it is in Excellent condition. Signed by the artist at the bottom. From the Shamus Modern Masterworks Collection.
According to the press release announcing the record sale:
“The auction is on track to break $9 million and become the single highest grossing comic and comic art auction in history,” said [Todd] Hignite [Vice President of Heritage Auctions]. “We’re thrilled with the results and especially thrilled for Martin Shamus, who had the foresight and good taste to acquire these pieces more than two decades ago.”
Martin Shamus operated [operates? No business name is mentioned.] a comics shop on Long Island, New York, and is the father of Gareb and Steven Shamus.
But… how many pieces has he recently placed for auction, and how much was realized? Thankfully, a quick search on the phrase “From the Shamus Modern Masterworks Collection” lists 109 references on the Heritage Auction website.
- Glenn Fabry Batman: Vengeance of Bane II Painted Cover Original Art (DC, 1995) $7,767.50
- Carl Potts and Jim Lee Punisher War Journal #7 Wolverine Page 15 Original Art (Marvel, 1989). $1,613.25
- Todd McFarlane The Amazing Spider-Man #319 Page 19 Original Art (Marvel, 1989). $28,680.00
- Todd McFarlane The Amazing Spider-Man #319 Splash Page 1 Original Art (Marvel, 1989). $28,680.00 [sic]
- Dale Keown The Incredible Hulk #388 Cover Original Art (Marvel, 1991). $11,352.50
- Glenn Fabry Batman: Vengeance of Bane Special <
Richard Thompson and his charming Cul de Sac
comic strip have numerous fans in the comics community. So, when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, his personal friend Chris Sparks started educating himself on the disease and the best ways to help. His research lead him to create Team Cul de Sac, a division of Team Fox and The Micheal J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
Many of you have heard about and seen Bill Watterson’s painting of Petey Otterloop (scroll down if you haven’t). What many have overlooked is that numerous cartoonists, both from comic strips and comic books, have created original artwork to benefit Team Cul de Sac.
A benefit book (seen above) will be published by Andrews McMeel in June, and the art is currently being auctioned by Heritage Auctions, with final bidding Sunday, June 10 in Dallas. All 148 lots can be viewed online, and if you register, you can bid on the artwork.
This is an incredible auction! Not only is it for a great cause, but you’ll find original artwork here from many artists! Yes, Bill Watterson is known for being a recluse, never showing his paintings to anyone, but many other comic strip creators rarely attend comics conventions or do sketches. I’ve selected some of the more interesting pieces and posted them below, but please visit the Heritage Auctions website and place a bid! If you can’t afford the original artwork, click on the book link above and order a copy of the hardcover. There’s a Google Preview available, which shows the artwork in color, along with the a foreword from Richard Thompson, and a profile reprinted from the Washington Post.
Go read the comic strip for free! It’s as good as Calvin & Hobbes, but different. Or, if you like your comics the old fashioned way, buy the books!
By: Claudette Young
Blog: Claudsy's Blog
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, C.S. Lewis
, Hardy Boys
, Nancy Drew
, William Shakespeare
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To all intents and purposes I never belonged where I began. Not as a full-time adult, I mean. I learned more than I can remember about too many things to count while growing up. I’ve used that learning numerous times as well. I enjoyed the wave-like movement of all that education and wish that I could recall it all clearly.
But, I never really fit that mold. I was the one who loved classical music and opera. Somehow, I was the one who introduced me to it. I was the one who taught myself about ballet and other dance forms and watched it whenever I could. I also read Shakespeare and Tennyson in upper elementary and middle school when others my age were devouring Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. I never heard of those books until I was an adult.
I didn’t see anything by C.S. Lewis until in my late 30’s. All I had was adult reading material, and I learned to suck it in like a vacuum.
My family listened to early Country music much of the time that I didn’t tolerate very well. None of them could tolerate my preferences either. We accommodated the differences.
We attended great auctions back then. They were better and cheaper than going to the Drive-In theatre. Dad didn’t have to spend more than a few bucks for a hot dog and drink for each of us, and we could spend an entire evening watching people go frantic with bidding paddles and someone else’s junk. Learning how the operation worked was an education in itself. I especially learned to watch the auctioneers.
We all loved going to them.
Yet, when I was in eighth grade, my dad went to an auction without the rest of us. He returned with many things, plus a box specifically for me.
Inside it were books. The box was filled with books. The pièce de résistance nearly floored me. Nestled among the novels by Faulkner and Updike and English books, to the side of those volumes on history, was a complete set of Shakespeare bound in moss green fabric and gilt lettering (pub. England, 1863), including his sonnets and other poetry.
I knew I’d died and ascended to Heaven without realizing it. That’s when I saw the tiny tomes. Hawthorne, Melville, Whitman, Thoreau, etc. (pub. NY 1909 approx.,) each bound in exquisite jacquard fabric, small enough to fit inside a pocket, huddled behind Shakespeare like so many children behind their mother’s apron.
That one act of consideration on Dad’s part sealed my fate. I was a classicist and would never truly fit into my birth family completely. I would always love them and honor them, but never be one of them. I’d been set free with that box of books and the knowledge that my father had unwittingly given me the ticket on the train to a literary career somewhere in my future.
Looking back on that moment, I can relax now. I understand that the family that I love don’t have to understand why I do what I do, or even how I do it. It’s enough to know that they acknowledge that that’s who I am and that they accept the fact that I can’t be
Terri Windling is facing health and financial problems right now, and so a bunch of folks have banded together to create a giant auction of stuffs to raise money for her. If her name is unfamiliar to you, check out her Wikipedia page for a quick summary.
I don't know Terri Windling, but she has been a great help to many of my friends in their lives and careers, so I am distressed to hear of her distress. I've got dozens of books in the house with her name on them, and far more with her name on the acknowledgments page.
Therefore, I decided to contribute an item to the auction, something I've had for a while and have been looking for a good cause to which to donate it. This seems perfect.
Thus, if you would like to bid on a copy of Startling Mystery Stories with Stephen King's second professionally-published story in it, follow this link.
This issue of Startling Mystery
was the first magazine where King's name appeared on the cover.
There are all sorts of other items offered in the auction, of every size, shape, purpose, and price, with more added frequently. Keep your eyes on it -- treasures and wonders await you, and your money will go to a good cause!
STATUS: This week was defined but what wasn't on fire with gasoline explosions. Seriously, I was coming to work each day with the thought: "Can just one thing not be an issue today? Just one."
What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? WE GET TO FEEL IT ALL by Indigo Girls
But I can also define this week by some really cool things.
1. Got a revised cover for an author who had a hideous cover just last week. New cover is awesome! I'm so pleased and relieved.
2. My colleague Sara held a big big auction for a middle grade boy fantasy novel that went in a major deal (THE PECULIAR by Stefan Bachmann). Squee.
And the best thing ever? Today my author's editor had her baby and get this, she named the baby boy after a character in my author's novel for whom she is the editor.
Okay, nothing beats that. That is just "Yes Way" cool.
And because it's Friday, how can I not share with you www.awkwardfamilypetphotos.com? I read the article in PW, had to check it out. Huge Beverage alert. The below photo was hands down my favorite. Oi!
STATUS: I've had many rounds of civilized tea this morning.
What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? BEDS ARE BURNING by Midnight Oil
The worst thing you an do when traveling abroad is to succumb to the desire to go to sleep right away on arrival.
The trick to acclimating is to suck it up, stay awake, and try not to hit the pillow until about 7:30 or 8 pm. Then go to sleep and you are, more or less, on schedule for the rest of the trip.
Easier said than done really.
So I rang up Kelley Armstrong who had been on our same flight down. I figured she was valiantly doing the same thing and we could combine forces by going out to dinner.
Can't say I was the liveliest conversationalist but I think she'll forgive me. We talked about giving workshops. I'm doing the Agent Reads The Slush Pile workshop tomorrow. As you blog readers know, I always start with a big disclaimer. That 99.9% of what I see during the workshop will not be ready for an agent to see.
Never stops folks though. I think deep down in writers' hearts, they are hoping to be discovered.
Kelley mentioned the same happens to her when she gives writing workshops. She always begins with her disclaimer that she can't get any of her writer students published. They are hopeful all the same.
She also mentioned that beginning writers will often suppress their natural voices as they become so focused on the mechanics of writing. In short, one's voice can be critique workshopped out of them if the writer has a quirky style etc. Often times her job is to allow new writers permission to discover their voice again. (Now it's not to say you ignore craft mechanics, any good writer is going to figure out how to manage both.)
But since I don't ever teach writing per se, I thought that was pretty interesting and something new writers need to be aware of.
Since the only authenticated photograph of Billy the Kid was recently auctioned off for $2.3 million, Tonto Fielding has decided to put a family relic on the block also, in hopes making some quick cash. My great-great-great grandfather, Silas Fielding sketched the last known image of HRH Wilhelm Lustgarden of the Castell-Rudenhausen ducal house, on a cocktail napkin before the duke disappeared on a hunting trip deep into indian territory. Rumor has it that he went native. One of Crazy Horses’ braves, at the Fetterman Massacre, was reported to be wearing a monocle.
I’m starting the bidding at one million.
As you’ve probably heard elsewhere, Heritage Auction recently sold a piece of original comics artwork for $448,125.00 . That piece of paper? The iconic image from issue #3 of Batman: The Dark Knight, showing Batman and the new Robin swinging over Gotham.
Congratulations on whomever won this amazing piece! Here it is in color.
Of course, there were many other items for sale at the auction, including some nice Miller/Janson pages from Daredevil, and two other pages from The Dark Knight Returns. (Death of the Joker, $41,825.00; Batman in Disguise, $13,145.00).
So, what was the #2 item sold at the auction? Oh, just a painting of some ducks in the wild. Carl Barks’ oil painting of Donald and his nephews on vacation (CB Oil 37) sold for $179,250.00 . Inspired by Walt Disney’s Vacation Parade #1, this large format painting was produced in 1972. There were 24 other Barks items in the auction, with seven pieces in the top 24 items sold. There were actual art pages from the comics (rare, given that Disney retained ownership of most of the artwork). The best deal, of which I bid, was the Celestial Arts “Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck” hardcover, which included a lithograph. It sold, to someone else, for the bargain price of $388.38 . Scroll down to see a rare Carl Barks Mickey Mouse!
#3 on the hit parade was a curiosity, but WOW! what a find! Someone paid $131,450.00 for two bound volumes of the first twenty-four issues of Action Comics. Heritage Auctions hypothesizes that the issues were bound in the 1960s, given the penciled prices (!!) on the covers, and the fact that the individual issues would have been worth more in later decades. HA values the entire set at “Overstreet 2010 VG 4.0 value for group = $231,758.” So the winning bidder got a bargain! The consignor set a challenge of collecting Action Comics #1-200, and having accomplished his goal, sold the entire collection at this auction. There was even a coverless copy of Action #1 which sold for $33,460.00!
The most affordable item? A copy of A Fighting Man of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs – Western Penn Copy (Canaveral Press, 1962), which sold for $21.00 .
I’ll let Beat readers peruse the auction results at their leisure, but I’ll include some of the more interesting items below. Click on the pictures to go to the catalog. HA requires a free registration to view the final prices, but you can browse without it. F
By: Maryann Yin,
Blog: Galley Cat (Mediabistro)
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, Dr. Seuss
, Geraldine Ferraro
, industry practices
, James Michener
, Peter Osnos
, Tip O' Neill
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In The Atlantic, PublicAffairs Books founder Peter Osnos wrote an essay about working as a young nonfiction editor 1984–shedding light on how advances used to work.
The article spotlighted bestselling Random House authors Dr. Seuss and James Michener: “Neither author took advances. Their revenues were so large and steady that they had a permanent drawing account and relied on the publisher and their financial advisers to see that the money was properly invested.”
When former-vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro auctioned her manuscript, it sold for $1 million; prior to auction, Osnos was told to offer $50,000. One year later, Osnos paid $1 million to publish politician Tip O’Neill’s memoir Man of the House. Now politicians and celebrities enjoy much larger advances. (via Jose Alfonso Furtado)
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
Status: Doing Client reading.
What’s Playing on the XM or iPod right now? IS THIS LOVE by Bob Marley
1) What happens if you can’t sell a book to a publisher?
If we have exhausted all possibilities, I’ll put aside and concentrate on the author’s next work. If the next sells, that always allows us to revisit the prior novel. Sometimes the decision is made to let the past be the past and simply move forward.
2) How do you know if a writer’s idea is a good one?
Not a clue really. All I know is what I like and what really resonates with me. I’ve had the good fortune of having what I like generally match up with what editors like and are willing to buy. Just like every other agent in the world, I’m not 100% right all the time. Sometimes I love a book and can’t sell it.
3) If Hollywood has bought the film rights, does the author get a share in the profit?
The sad news is that in general, the author does not get a share in the profit. Although all film deals will have the standard “5% of 100% of net,” most Hollywood films will never show a profit because of how studios manipulate the accounting. It’s worse than the mafia. So agents often build in a lot of ways for the author to make money on the film deal that aren’t tied to “profit” so loosely defined. The option price, the purchase price, bestseller bonuses, box office bonuses etc. These are payments that are not contingent on the film making money.
However, some authors do get a share in the profit. That is not a percentage based on net but a percentage based on a cashbreak point on gross.
A very different thing. Also, it is possible to put merchandizing in a separate pool with a separate percentage. Good money to potentially be made there as well.
4) Can you publish your book yourself or do you have to have a publisher?
Of course you can publish a book yourself! That’s not the right question though. Anyone can self publish; the question is distribution and how to get folks to read what you self publish.
5) How do you decide if the cover art is good?
I have to say that cover art is not my strength as an agent. I have no background in art and not much of a creative vision. However, I do know what I like and what I don’t like. If I don’t like it and neither does the author, I fight like crazy to get it changed.
6) Do publishers show animation for cover concepts?
No. But wouldn’t that be cool?
7) What happens if more than one publisher wants the book?
Then you have an auction my friend! As an author, it’s always the best place to be. However, I do think that writers have a misconception that all auctions equal big money. That is not necessarily true. You can have modest auctions that are in low five figures.
STATUS: I got one major contract off my desk and on to somebody else’s at the publishing house. Always a great feeling.
What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? SOMETIMES YOU CAN'T MAKE IT ON YOUR OWN by U2
Yesterday I was explaining that agents don’t often have time to give detailed feedback because that would entail a critique of the manuscript and doing so is time-consuming.
Well, I should have clarified. Once a year, I always take the time to do exactly that for one lucky auction winner.
I read the 30 pages twice. First read to familiarize myself with the submission and the second read to actually write in-depth critique feedback in track changes of the Word doc. Just like I do for my clients when I read before submitting their material.
So if you want in on that action, it’s time to head over to Brenda Novak’s yearly auction to raise money for diabetes research. My critique page is here. Since I have a good friend plus a brother–in-law with diabetes, this auction is close to my heart.
And don’t forget to check out some other great items like a read/critique from Sara Megibow, lunch with Jamie Ford, and if you are a Nathan Bransford fan, he’s offering a critique with a follow up consultation.
From AmericanaWeek 2007:
The folk art collection of Marc and Laurie Krasny Brown will be sold on Sunday, January 21, beginning at 11 a.m. Marc Brown, the creator of Arthur, a character of children’s books and television, collected some notable painted furniture, boxes, and game boards, as well as watercolor and oil portraits of children. The Browns have also consigned 30 original drawings, which will be sold to benefit children’s cancer care at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Following the Brown sale is various-owners’ folk art and furniture.
This beautiful collection can be seen at the Sotheby's website
. You do have to register in order to view the catalog. Brown has collected exquisite game boards, windsor chairs, watercolors, baskets, whimsical signs and other beautiful things. His Arthur artwork is at the very end of the catalog.
Never assume that your blog readers aren't just ah-hankering to buy up kidlit related original art.
First and foremost, y'all are familiar with the work of Jim Flora, yes? A children's illustrator and truly mod fellow he created images like this:
In other news, and as applying to the whole Winnie-the-Pooh flavor of my place of employment, there are two original Pooh prints by E.H. Shepard up for auction
at Bonhams in London.
Two rare illustrations featuring the adventures of A.A. Milne's much-loved creation, Winnie-the-Pooh by Ernest H. Shepard (1879 - 1976), are to go under the hammer at Bonhams in London later this month. 'Tigers don't like honey' and 'Pooh visiting in Owl's parlour' are expected to fetch between £20,000 - 30,000 each at Bonhams' Sale of Modern Pictures and Illustrations at Knightsbridge on 22 May 2007.
Aw. Look at the cute little guys.
Thanks to Children's Picturebook Collecting
for the Pooh link and Irwin Chusid for the Flora.
By: Kristin Nelson,
Blog: Pub Rants
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STATUS: I’m feeling good because I’m actually tackling the big items on my TO DO list.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? THE CHRISTMAS SONG by The Carpenters
I can finally talk about my big day from last week or should I say my big days since the auction lasted for two days.
Here’s the announcement from Deal Lunch:
FICTION: MIDDLE GRADE
Helen Stringer’s debut HOUSE OF MISTS, about a girl who lives with the ghosts of her parents in the north of England and when they disappear, along with all the ghosts in the world, it’s up to her, an always-in-trouble classmate named Steve, and the one remaining ghost (from 1912) to find out why, to Jean Feiwel at Feiwel & Friends, in a significant deal for two books, at auction, by Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency (NA).
This is the very first middle-grade project I’ve ever taken on so I was rather heartened that it caused quite a stir and lots of interest. As an agent I probably shouldn’t admit this but because it was my first middle-grade ever, I was kind of nervous when I submitted it. I obviously feel quite confident about my YA abilities but middle-grade is a whole other ball of wax so to speak. Now I can rest easy. At least in this case, I got what it takes!
So here’s how the auction went down.
1. Project was sent out on Wednesday. The first offer came a week and a day later.
2. All editors were notified of the offer on the table.
3. Several editors expressed serious interest, which signals that an auction might be imminent.
4. Another house makes an offer (but not a pre-empt), so now there are two offers on the table. Auction date is scheduled and that information is sent to all editors interested in participating.
5. A house with an offer already on the table attempts to pre-empt with a new offer. The Interest at this point is too high, the pre-empt is declined.
6. Agent sets auction rules and asks all interested parties to declare if they plan to attend or not. The rules are emailed to all auction participants.
7. Auction day comes and it’s a round robin one (which means participants can bid in subsequent rounds). Four participants are bidding. Auction continues until there is a winner but in this case, it came down two main bidders. As the auction continued on Friday, the publishers were asked if they wanted the option to put their best offer forward instead of doing subsequent round robin bidding that might last several more hours. Participants preferred that. Final offers were presented to the author and ultimately a final choice was made.
There can only be one publisher after all. Although I have to say, when all parties are excellent, it’s tough to call the “losing” publisher and potentially break that editor’s heart when he/she obviously has tons of enthusiasm for the project.
Amazon won the auction at Sotheby's for the only copy available to the public of J. K. Rowling's The Tales of Beedle the Bard. They paid £1,950,000.
The Telegraph reports:
Bidding for "The Tales of Beedle the Bard", of which there are only seven copies in existence, was frenetic at Sotheby's on Thursday and experts were shocked at the huge winning bid for the book, which had been expected to sell for £50,000.
Amazon has already posted
pictures and a review, with spoilers. I didn't read it in hopes that someday, I will get to read the stories. The book is just beautiful to behold. I chuckled when I read the book was decorated with moonstones. Several years ago Rowling posted a note on her site about having just read The Moonstone
by Wilke Collins for the first time. She described it as a "cracking read."
Don't you love the white gloves? It is a rare book, indeed.
By: Kristin Nelson,
Blog: Pub Rants
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STATUS: It is really freakin’ cold here in New York City. They think we have winter in Denver. Oh please. It’s six degrees. Wet. And the wind is blowing like 30 knots or something crazy like that. It’s never that cold in Denver or if it is, the sun is shining and everyone is happy. Although we went on a walk today, Chutney was unwilling to pose.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? DANCING WITH MYSELF by Billy Idol
(uh, I actually don’t own this song but the radio is playing at the moment…)
I know that blog readers love to hear the inside skinny on agent stuff. So how does an agent know that an auction might potentially unfold?
Easy. When a manuscript is sent out, some editors will take a look right away (especially those editors who know me and have had the experience of submissions from me moving fast). They tend to get on it quickly.
And if they like what they see, they email or call almost immediately to say that they love what they are reading and that they are either going to finish soon (like over the weekend) and get second reads or they are already doing so. They want me to keep them abreast of any new information regarding the project (as in other interest, an impending offer, etc.)
When this kind of communication happens from more than one house (and it has to be different houses because in-house imprints can’t bid against each other), then the agent knows it’s shaking. The project has it going on and an auction might unfold.
Now, that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes multiple editors from different houses show interest and those editors aren’t able to get the support to buy (support being other readers who love it as much as they do or an editorial director or publisher on board). And yes, I have had that happen.
But when there is a lot of interest early on, it usually means multiple offers and the agent has time to get her deal game plan in place.
Some time ago I wrote about the nonfiction submission process, and in my example I gave a respond-by date, letting editors know that I was hoping to hear of their interest by a certain date. Well, one wise reader asked what happens next. What do you do when you have more than one publisher interested, or worse, what happens if no one is interested?
First let me clarify that every agent is different and every agent’s response will be different. Some feel no need to ever set such deadlines, not wanting to rush editors, while others think every project they have is worth setting a respond-by date for; it rushes the submission process and moves things along more quickly for them. I tend to fall in the middle. If I have a project that I am 100% confident will be hot I will set a respond-by date, but often I like to give editors time to explore something new at their leisure and let it grow on them if necessary. Why? I know I for one don’t always like to be rushed. Sometimes it’s good to have time to process and slowly fall in love rather than be pushed into it.
But when I do use a respond-by date, what might I expect?
After having worked on both sides of the submission process, I can honestly tell you that most respond-by dates go by unnoticed. The truth is that people are going to offer if they’re going to offer and the only thing that’s going to make them move faster is a bona fide offer from another publisher. One of the reasons a respond-by date can backfire is because it also shows your hand. If no one comes in and offers, all other publishers will know this and they’ll know where they stand. If SuperBooks was interested and planning to make a $50,000 offer, the lack of interest from others could quickly drop that to $25,000. Why not? They suspect that no one else is out there to raise their price.
But what if no one offers at all? Do you then submit around to other publishers and set a new respond-by date? I don’t. I think a respond-by date is a one-shot deal. If no one responds it is definitely time to go to your second-tier group, but I wouldn’t set another respond-by date. I would simply submit the old-fashioned way . . . send to my group of editors and bug the heck out of them until they respond.
And what if everyone (or at least two or three people) call to tell you that they’ll definitely be making offers? Again, this is a situation where every agent is different, but my strategy is to set an auction date. I like to give everyone a day or two to put their offers together, so let’s say two days after the respond-by date I’ll hold the auction. In this case I set guidelines. If one publisher came in before the respond-by date with a decent offer, but not as high as I would like, I’ll often use that as my basis. Let’s say we’re starting all bids at $5,000. I then give a time. All bids need to be presented before a certain time, let’s say noon. If by 12:30 I haven’t heard from some publishers who mentioned that they would be biddin,g I will call and remind them as well as let them know where the price stands. You would be surprised at how things can play out from respond-by date to auction. Some publishers will drop out and others will suddenly show up. You never know what’s going to happen until the bids come in.
There are different ways to hold an auction too. Some can do final and best, which means everyone simply comes in with their very best bid the first time around and winner takes all. Another technique is a round robin. You keep calling all bidding editors to let them know what the current high bid is until the last man is standing. A round robin auction can take days, or even weeks.
I’m sure I’m missing something. An auction can be as complicated or as simple as an agent wants and each one is different depending on the editors involved, the agent, and the project, but I think this gives you, in a nutshell, an idea of what you might expect if an agent tells you that she’s asking for a respond-by date and hoping to go to auction.
By: Kristin Nelson,
Blog: Pub Rants
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STATUS: Today I analyzed specifically how I spend my time (mainly because I believe I’m not quite getting enough done during the day). I realized that this morning alone, I spent over 2 hours simply answering emails, handling questions, issues, etc. It might have been closer to three. I wonder if I should start in on my first task in the early morning and then wait until noon to start in on the emails. It will still take me 2 hours but maybe I’ll feel like I accomplished more if I reverse the order.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? BELIEVE by Cher
Today I promised to tackle character elements but I’m actually going to grapple with that tomorrow. I also have a task for you readers. In the next day or so, I want you to read some of your favorite back-cover copy from already published books in a variety of genres. Recently published preferred. I think it would be fun to analyze them together. So, if the copy is available online (such as at Amazon or B&N.com), provide the link and I’ll go give them a look and choose some examples for possible discussion on the blog.
Here’s why I’ve pre-empted today’s entry. You readers need to get ready. Why? Because Brenda Novak is just about to open her yearly auction for Diabetes research. There are some amazing items to bid on—including a “respond in 24 hours” read and critique of sample pages by yours truly.
Ack. It’s probably going to kill me to meet that deadline but I am determined because it’s all about raising lots of dollars for this charity event.
Bids begin May 1, 2008 (only a day and a half away) so bookmark the page and mark you calendars.
Just to give you a sampling of some of the great items that are available.
A weekend getaway with Susan Wiggs
An Amazon Kindle (squeak!) plus $100.00 gift certificate
If you are interested in agent evaluation stuff, here are just a few agents who have contributed read & critiques that you could bid on.
And the list goes on…
There is even a breakfast with Deidre Knight. I haven’t even mentioned the editor evaluations that are available.
I, myself, might go after the “Day of Bridge with a World Class Player.” I’m a bridge fanatic but alas, not a master level player. Not even close actually. I might be too scared to actually play with this person in a tournament but I wouldn’t mind spending a couple hours in a tutorial!
So get ready…
The Waterstones auction happened. The J.K. Rowling Harry Potter un-prequel card went for a bit less than the $10 million that some newspapers were predicting (about $9,951,000 less), but I don't think the auction was really being run to raise money as much as to raise awareness -- of the charities and PEN and of (most importantly) the existence of the upcoming all-profits-to-charity-and-PEN 5 pound-a-pop postcard book, and I think it did that and did it well...
Read the stories at http://www.waterstoneswys.com/
(You can pre-order the postcard book here -- limit of 2 per person.)
And the answer to my puzzled wondering of how on earth did Ms Rowling squeeze a reported 800 words onto that card? I was pushing to write a legible short story in about 300 words... was revealed. She turned it over. Fair enough. (Richard Ford also cheated and used two cards.)
There's a full report over at The Guardian:
As I said, you can read all the stories at http://www.waterstoneswys.com/. I've not read them all yet, but my favourite of the ones I've read so far was the Tom Stoppard "Idiomatic Farm" one. I was interested in the Atwood one when I read that,
Margaret Atwood appeared at the ceremony via videolink from Paris, wielding her celebrated LongPen - which reproduces handwriting remotely via sophisticated electronics - to handwrite her card "live". Her story, which she said she had struggled to condense into a form barely more capacious than a simple joke, provides a fresh spin on the Canute story, working in both domestic and ecological politics.
Which it may well do, but I found it more or less unreadable and cannot tell if this is because of her handwriting or the way the LongPen reproduces it.
Mine went for about $2500 to someone who really wanted it and was thrilled to get it, so I am happy, and most of all I like the idea of people actually sending the stories to each other through the post. (Using, I hope, classic Hammer Horror stamps. Or better still, the Carry on Screaming stamp
I'm at Clarion. Which is in San Diego, about ten miles from where Comic-con will be. I don't have any plans to be at Comic-con, my plate is pretty full here. I also won't be blogging -- I want to give teaching my full attention. I haven't done this before.
But Charles Brownstein from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund asked me to get the word out on a couple of things:
1) Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab have done a limited edition of their amazing "Snow, Glass, Apples" scent. It smells like green apples and like sex and vampires, all at the same time. It's coming out with a limited edition illustrated chapbook of the story, with art by Julie Dillon. There are going to be a few signed ones, and some unsigned. The donation for the unsigned ones will be $50. As they say:
The long-awaited Snow, Glass, Apples perfume will be making its debut at San Diego Comic Con! The SGA package includes Neil Gaiman’s short story in chapbook format, beautifully illustrated by Julie Dillon, and a 5ml bottle of perfume inspired by the tale. This set is a limited run of 1000. 250 will be sold by CBLDF at Comic Con 2008, and the remainder will go on sale July 30, 2008 on the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab web site and will be available as long as supplies last. All proceeds from this project go to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund!
(I just want to say that Beth at Black Phoenix has proved herself an amazingly staunch supporter of the CBLDF, and has been a complete joy to deal with in all this.)
2) You remember I signed a hundred tee shirts for the fund? (I signed them in thick fabric paint.) They will have some of them for sale at San Diego. Probably $50 each, with a few of the rarer tee shirts going for more.
3) and then there's the auction on Saturday night. As Charles said in his letter,
In our Saturday night auction, we have a number of tremendous items. The coolest is Ryan Graff's Endless Reflections, offered here to commemorate Sandman's 20th. Serious bidders should come by the CBLDF booth (1831) to learn more about this book, which is probably the rarest of all Sandman items. We also have some other cool items including:
1) Dave Sim, Neil Gaiman, "Lithograph 1: Neil Gaiman," signed by Sim, collage retouch by Gaiman (prints/original art)
2) Neil Gaiman, The Dangerous Alphabet #260/400 (prints)
3) Neil Gaiman, Murder Mysteries HC, #122/250 (book arts)
4) Neil Gaiman, The Sky At Night broadsheet #1/5 (prints)
5) Neil Gaiman, Stardust Movie Premiere ticket, signed (ephemera)
6) Cerebus #147, featuring Neil Gaiman's 24 Hour Comic, signed with sketch by Sim (comics)
The full list is terrific, and has some other great pieces, including work by Jack Kirby, Jeff Smith, Matt Wagner, and many more. Full list is here: http://www.cbldf.org/pr/archives/000365.shtml
The auction is Saturday at 7:00 in Room 2 of the convention center
The Lithograph #1, is the third of these, and the second to go on sale. (The second one we did was lost by the post office between my house and the CBLDF, and despite being insured for $1000, the Post Office declined to pay. Sigh.
Anyway, I took Dave's original multiple portrait of me, and then painted it, attacked it with a knife, and collaged strange machines onto it. It's one of a kind...Hi Neil! I greatly enjoyed the story and photos of all the signed black t-shirts, and of your first black t-shirt. But something's been bothering me ever since, and I only just managed to put it into words. My brain can't quite cope with the thought of you having a *first* black t-shirt, in much the same it struggles to cope with the Big Bang. What came before?
Grey. But it didn't work, because, I discovered, there are brown greys and blue greys and greenish greys and they don't really match, and if you want to dress in grey you have to work at it. Black is so much easier...Who do I have to approach to get you for a UK bookshop event? How small a shop are you willing to do?
You talk to the publisher. In the case of The Graveyard Book
, you'd talk to Bloomsbury. And I go where I'm sent, but try and do shops that are big enough that the people who've come for a reading or a signing fit inside the shop and don't have to stand outside in the rain.
STATUS: Manic Monday. I should be playing the Bangles.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? RESPECT by Aretha Franklin
Ever wondered about “the Call” or how it all works? My author Kristina Riggle shares the moment she heard her book was going to sell and she has given me permission to share the story.
I’d dreamed of The Call, as I suppose all aspiring writers do. I programmed into my mobile phone the office and cell phone numbers of my agent (the very talented Kristin Nelson), and gave those numbers their very own ringtone. I was sure that’s how the call would come. I’d be out and about somewhere, and I’d hear that special ring, and I’d know right then my dream had come true.
As with every step on my publishing path, reality had little to do with my fantasy. In this case, however, it was even better.
“The Call” turned out to be a series of calls and e-mails. First, there was the innocuous subject line in my e-mail from Kristin inquiring about my next project. No big deal, right? Then I opened the e-mail. She was asking so she could prepare for a potential two-book deal, because the book was already being passed around for “second reads” at one publishing house. This was six days after the book went on submission.
The next “Call” was Kristin telling me…
Have I got you hooked? Then click on the link for The Debutante Ball blog to hear the rest of the story.
STATUS: Getting ready to head out the office door. I do plan to do reading tonight from home.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? LUSH LIFE by Natalie Cole
It’s that time of year again! Time for the Annual Online Auction to Benefit Diabetes Research by the indomitable force of nature and wonderful author, Brenda Novak.
And I’m here to highlight that Nelson Literary Agency really stepped up to the plate this year and is offering a WHOLE page of items to be auctioned off.
Just to whet your appetite, I’m giving away breakfast with me at RWA and a writing critique with a 24-hour turnaround time. I will spend several hours on this critique—editing it just like I would a client’s manuscript.
Sara is offering a query-free submission.
NYT Bestselling author Jamie Ford is answering 10 Questions.
Sherry Thomas, query writer extraordinaire, is offering to help you whip your query into shape.
Mari Mancusi and Courtney Milan are offering opening chapters critiques.
Hank Ryan has her own page of good stuff!
And that’s just a brief glimpse of what is available. You might want to check it out.
But back to my London list as promised. I’m skimming through my notes and typing up what I see.
Looking for upmarket commercial fiction—not too literary
Exotic and/or generational saga
Boy meets Girl with a literary voice
Commercial historical fiction
Literary fic as the market is strong
Science fiction is working
Romantic comedy with lit voice
Jackie Collins type novel
Literary vampires—like the Abraham Lincoln Vampire hunter or literary zombies
Books good for reading groups
Commercial women’s fiction
Mystery that is slightly cozy but has a dark edge
Horror (must be sophisticated)
Big historical fiction
That’s all else she wrote.
By: Kristin Nelson,
Blog: Pub Rants
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STATUS: Finishing up a client manuscript tonight.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? ME AND BOBBY MCGEE by Janis Joplin
Truly a scintillating topic. Kind of like watching golf. Earlier this week, one of my agent friends was conducting an auction so of course that got the whole discussion going about what we preferred—round robin or best bids auctions?
Funny enough, it’s not an either/or question because what is preferred (or what is conducted) always depends on the situation that is unfolding around any given project.
Now what I can say to you for sure is that most editors hate best bid auctions.
Why? Because there is only one round of bidding. That’s it. And if your bid doesn’t come in the ballpark of what other houses are bidding, then you’re knocked out of the running early. I can see why that would be frustrating for editors if they are really keen on a book.
So why do them? It’s a great way to shorten up an auction when the agent has already done a lot of talking to the various editors interested in the work. In other words, a lot of the pre-auction elements are already clear (like the level of excitement, the anticipated advance, what the agent’s expectation is). Then the best bid auction is to simply see all offers at once and then allow the author to choose the best house (and not necessarily a winner based on something like advance alone). Saves a lot of time and energy. Best bids can also work effectively if there is uncertainty on how many houses might participate in the auction. Everyone who attends is supposedly putting best offer forward. Can save a lot of headache if a publisher doesn’t show up to the auction.
Most auctions are probably round robins. This is an auction with subsequent rounds of bidding by multiple publishers until either a clear winner is declared or all houses hit their bid ceiling and only one publisher is still willing to go forward. Round robins work most effectively when there are numerous houses bidding. Not as great a structure if the auction is small—like with only 2 houses bidding. Still, it can be done.
Not to mention round robin auctions can last for days (which is exhausting for everyone involved as nothing else can really be accomplished if an auction is going on). Also, if an author has a clear choice for the editor he/she wants to work with, round robin might knock out the favored house too early in the process. That wouldn’t be good.
Interestingly enough, I have done round robin auctions that then evolved into a final round best bid. Basically when the auction had gone on and on, I let all the editors know that I’m only going to entertain one more round of bids so make it your best and final offer. I think my Grandmother would call that **** or get off the pot bid.
For the most part, I like to negotiate elements of an offer even within an auction and that’s hard to do in a best bid situation so I don’t tend to favor that auction approach. I think a better idea is what I call a two-round best bids. Each house involved in the auction knows it will get 2 rounds of bidding. The first round is for everyone to feel out the field (and it also allows me to say where I think their offer might be lacking). The second round is for everyone to truly get serious about the next offer as this will be the final round of the auction. It feels more effective to me.
And here I’m just touching on the tip of the iceberg but all these different strategies is what we agents talk about when we talk auctions.
Are you still awake? Didn’t think so but if you want to see a group of agents get lively, this is a good topic.
posted by Neil
So about 40 bookshops had Graveyard Book
parties in the Hallowe'en period. The grand prize was to be a signing by me, in the Winter Holiday Season. One. One signing.
The people at Harper Collins winnowed it down to the final eleven stores -- it would be one grand winner and ten runners up -- and sent me eleven reports on eleven parties. Some of these were videos, some were photos and descriptions. There were big bookshops and small, and all sorts of different kinds of parties.
(And it can't have been easy getting it down to those eleven. I'd read on the web a description of 13 Graveyard Book Parties
, all of which looked like they could have been finalists.)
I looked at the videos and read the reports and looked at the photos. The parties were amazing. I watched them again. And again. They got no less amazing. Still, two were ever-so-slightly out in the lead. I watched their videos over and over, trying to decide. I wondered if I could legitimately award points for climate, or for whether I actually wanted to go there or not, (suddenly throwing Octavia Books in New Orleans into the lead), or deduct points for it being probably rather cold in, say, Winnipeg, in the winter. No, I couldn't. It was all about the parties.
Then I called Elyse Marshall at Harper Childrens. "Look," I said. "I can't in all conscience pick one of these over the other. If you're willing to give two grand prizes, and fly me to two bookshops, I'm willing to give up another day to do another signing."
She said she'd check.
She checked, and reported back. They were willing. And so was I.
So here is the official announcement, along with the second and third prize winners. (And, truthfully, the 28-odd runners up were good enough that I need to figure out something nice for them too.)
I'll sign in Decatur on Monday the 14th at 6.00pm, and in Winnipeg on Tuesday the 15th at 6.00pm.
I spent the last few days on the road with Amanda. It was mostly fun. I loved visiting Northhampton Ma - my first chance to wander the streets since I lived in The Old Bank on Main Street, writing the last two parts of A Game of You
en route to Tucson, in 1991.
The venue, on Pearl Stree
t, was run by the kind of people who save money and lose goodwill by not turning on the heat in the winter. Ever. There were two dressing rooms backstage, but only one had a little heater, so everyone crammed into that room (which did not ever make it to warm. It just wasn't cold) and read the sad graffiti from bands not (as is usual in these cases) bragging about their sexual conquests or drawing bits of their anatomy, or just writing the name of their band (size of band-name graffito is always in inverse proportion to whether you will ever have heard of them). No, the Pearl Street Ballroom dressing room wall was covered with mournful comments from bands about how much they hate the venue and the people who own it and how much they wish they could turn on the heating.
It was a wonderful gig, although I wore a sweater and a coat to watch it. We signed for people afterwards.
On Saturday Amanda and I drove through the rain to Brooklyn, which went fine until the car in front of us stopped suddenly, and we stopped suddenly, and the moment of triump