Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Shown The Money?

STATUS: I’m starting to, gasp, feel normal. Surely this is the end of bad cold?

What’s playing on the iPod right now? YOU BELONG TO ME by Anita Baker

I just read on Galley Cat that Audrey Niffenegger, author of the very wonderful TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE, just sold her next novel for 4.8 million.

Sources close to the negotiation say….

This cracks me up. If the publisher or the agent really didn’t want the public to know what a book sold for, trust me, the word would not get out. Unless a leak happened of course. (There are many tales of editorial assistants being bribed for info but I have to say, I never could confirm any of these tales. And I imagine all the EAs out there are wondering how to get that gig!) Regardless, either a leak happened or the parties involved wanted it to be known.

Now my blog is not about whether Audrey deserves said advance. That’s really not the point. Her first novel did well; based on sales numbers alone I’d say that advance is commensurate* with performance. Now it didn’t state this in the article but I’m sensing this was a complete manuscript she sold (as it’s been six years since the release of her prior novel).

[side story: I was at the 2003 BEA in LA when I happened by the MacAdam/Cage booth to talk to an editor friend of mine. She mentioned this debut author of hers so I wanted to stop in and lend support. There in the booth was the editor, the author, a large stack of galleys, and not too much traffic. I sat down and had a cup of tea and some lively conversation. I took a plain blue cover galley home with me. Yep, you guessed it. I have an original galley of THE TIME TRAVELER’S WIFE—which I read and loved.]

But that’s off topic. Basically, and here’s the point to my blog entry, wait for it, I want to say that I think Audrey was smart. She wrote her next novel and then sold it. Actually this is all speculation as I certainly don’t know if that’s what she did but it sounds like it from the article.

Talk about significantly alleviating the pressure of performance for a sophomore effort.

We don’t talk about it much in publishing but I do think it can be rough on an author to do really well with book 1, do a big deal for a next book, and then have the pressure on for the writing of said second novel.

I know what you’re thinking. Cry me a river. You’d like to have such a problem.

[*thanks for the typo catch! I laughed when I reread my entry this morning.]