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How do auctions work?

Manuscripts are sometimes put up for auction. 

So what does that mean?

Well, the traditional auction is one held by an agent who is asking publishing houses to compete for the right to publish the manuscript.

Sometimes it's about the money; and when a book goes to auction like this, it's normally something that's getting a lot of interest. But it can also be about what the publisher can offer the agent – such as marketing or publicity commitments, an ongoing relationship or the publisher's enthusiasm for the book or idea.

These factors give rise to some quite amusing auctions – such as entire editorial teams dressing up as a favourite character from the book, or wooing the author with themed cocktails and limousines!

An agent who can run a hotly contested and successful auction is a huge asset to an author. A recent example is when Hodder and Stoughton won the rights to Daughter of Smoke and Boneby Laini Taylor – their imaginative approach can't have hurt!


If you found this article useful, then you might like to try:

Choose Your Agent Wisely

When Should You Send Your Manuscript?

How To Get Your Foot In The Literary Agent's Door