An actual auction for audio rights

Listen up, friends! As you know, I was already feeling extremely thankful to have a publishing deal that would see my novel brought to the world via Amazon paperback and e-book. And now I have even more good news!

Those of you who read my last post will know that my publisher’s sub-agent Lorella Belli was pitching The Love of My Other Life to audiobook and foreign-language publishers at the recent London Book Fair. I had heard from Lorella that my book generated a lot of interest, but I wasn’t sure if that would necessarily convert to real offers. To be honest, I wasn’t really expecting anything.

Then, last Sunday, while lying under a blankie on my couch, I read the email. Lorella had that week been fielding multiple offers for the audiobook publishing rights for my book! She had been going back and forth with them in a mini-auction to get each publisher up to their best and final offer, and she presented the four standing offers in the email. My jaw just about dropped as I read it.

Then, of course, I had the delightful problem of deciding which offer to go with. Lorella had recommended the one that offered the second-largest advance, given that this publisher had a large audiobook market in Europe. But my agent in New York, Victoria, had her team’s audio specialist take a look at the offers, and they recommended going with the highest offer, which also had the largest distribution network in the US. Naturally, I was torn with all this conflicting advice. But what a good problem to have!

Eventually, after a number of questions from me and my agent to clarify several points, we picked the one with the bigger US reach, and formally accepted the offer. (And sure, it doesn’t hurt that it was the largest advance, but that certainly wasn’t the reason!) I won’t reveal who the publisher is yet, in case we stall at contract stage, but hopefully that won’t be the case.

Now, we will likely have to do some back and forth over the contract before that’s signed, and then the publisher can cast and record the audiobook! This particular publisher can’t get it done by our slated paperback/e-book publication in late June, but aims to get it out in August, assuming the contract is signed soon.

My main publisher and agent are both as thrilled as I am, as this is not only great in its own right, but also really bodes well for the regular paperback and e-book sales, too. Having another publisher promoting and marketing the book in a different format creates an exponential buzz-boosting effect that should see the book do better all around.

Since I told some people about this last weekend, I’ve been inundated with questions from friends and family about the recording. Mostly to each question, the answer is that I don’t know yet! But I do know some things:

a) I won’t narrate it myself. Even though I am a confident speaker and former radio show host, it needs a trained professional. It will be cast (like a movie) from the publisher’s roster of professional audiobook narrators. And no, not someone famous! I wish… maybe one day.

b) I will get some approval rights over the narrator selection, but TBD how that works. I’m hopeful they’ll pick someone they think can do it well, and I get to hear a sample and approve them before recording is done. I also get to approve the cover image, which I assume will match the e-book/paperback cover, but again that’s TBD.

c) It’s a tricky book to narrate, because the story is from the POV of a British woman in New York. So I’m hoping the narration will be in a British accent, and a female-sounding voice, but also that the narrator can pull off a decent American accent for the dialogue of all the American characters. We’ll see!

I’ll keep you updated with the contractual negotiations and the process that follows. In the meantime, I’m doing some more celebrating!