Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Scoop on Literary Auctions!

I recently did a post about the submission process. However, I don't know much about the excitement of literary auctions, so I've asked Clelia Gore of Martin Literary Management to explain how they work.

Thanks, Clelia! I'm wishing this on all my friends!  

If you have reached the auction stage of publishing your book, then congratulations are in order – that means you have successfully finished your manuscript, impressed an agent enough to represent you, successfully made it through the submissions process, and have multiple publishers interested in purchasing your book for publication who are prepared to vie against each other for your work! An auction also happens if your agent has deemed your work a particularly hot commodity and knows many will be interested. Obviously, auctions don’t happen to every author and it is a wonderful situation, indeed.
The agent manages the auction which will have at least two participating publishers. At Martin Literary Management, we have an auction form that we have the publishers fill out that includes information like the advance offer, royalty rates, subsidiary rights, marketing and publicity plan, option clause, print run, etc. We want to know as much information as possible, because it is not just the advance offer that is important—there are many other factors that can help an author make their final decision.
The agent sets a date and time by which offers must be submitted. The auction is blind so the publishers do not know what the other publishers’ offers are. Once the agent has all of the offers, there can be a winner, or the auction could go another round if the offers are similar or if another publisher is willing to match the highest bidder.

Ultimately, choosing a publisher is the author’s decision. The author may want to go with the publisher offering the highest advance, but other important factors have been laid out that help inform the author which publisher may be the best fit for them.


It was when Clelia first read Charlotte's Web in the first grade that she got hooked by the magic of books. Her love of children's books carried through adulthood and she is delighted to dedicate her life to bringing quality books and stories to young (and whimsical adult!) readers.

Clelia is originally from New Jersey. She currently divides her time between Seattle and New York. She has a bachelor's degree in English from Boston College. She received her J.D. from American University, Washington College of Law and practiced law as a corporate litigator in New York City.

In 2011, she decided to dedicate her career to books and reentered graduate school at Emerson College. In 2013, she received her master's degree in Publishing and Writing. While she was studying publishing and taking creative writing courses at Emerson, Clelia worked as a managing editorial intern in the children's book division at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Clelia also honed her editorial skills as an editorial intern at Oxford University Press. She also taught academic writing and research courses to freshman students at Emerson College. 

1 comment:

  1. This is great to know, thanks! Much different from what I imagine when I hear 'auction'. Doesn't sound like there's any loud fast talk going on at all! ;)