How I Got My Book Deal - Disney (YA)

My sixteen-year-old self is screaming, dancing, and crying happy tears.


So is my now self, and even as I type all this out, I don't know where to begin.


First and foremost, my literary agent is a powerhouse. BIG thanks to her for believing in my twisty YA book. Read about our story here.


Now for the GOOD stuff - because that's why you're here, right?


I signed with Katelyn on a Friday, and by Monday (June 22nd, to be exact), we hopped into edits. We were both excited to dive in, and by July 8th, we'd sped through three rounds of edits (I said she was a powerhouse, right????)!


On this same day, my agent also sent me the pitch letter she'd put together to send to editors - which was glorious. She used a bit of my own query, her synopsis of the story, and my bio.


". . . is a wildly immersive read. Britney has created a radiant world bursting with color and light, a delightfully intoxicating amalgam of the real and the spectacular, a unique and deeply moving coming of age story that asks important questions, and refuses to give all the answers. It is a gorgeous surrealist journey through grief and fear and hope and, most importantly, love. Love at its best, and love at its worst—as it eats up every last bit of your body and brain and heart."

Then, July 9th, she sent the pitch letter, along with the full manuscript to our first round of editors. Our list was pretty big, consisting of about a little over twenty editors from the Top Five (eh, 4 now?), Major, and Indie publishing houses. Every agent tackles submissions differently, but our specific goal was to sell on the first round.


I asked Katelyn to send me all things - good news, bad news, general comments - and she did! We had a few people respond with excitement or letting us know they received the manuscript.


Then, it was time to wait because that's what traditional publishing is - a BIG waiting game.


But, on July 24th, we got our first email with REAL interest from a major house.


It was from the HEAD publisher. They said:


"I wanted to let you know that we are really excited by this submission and we are bringing it to our editorial meeting next Tuesday! Let me know if you have any questions, and I’ll be sure to keep you posted. :)"

Insert SQUEAL HERE.





Four days later, on July 28th, another email from the SAME team:


" . . . I’m excited to tell you we will be bringing it to acquisitions next week! Very excited about this one."






Of course, I fell out. Died a little, because this was happening so fast. And if you know, you know, but publishing is SO SLOW.


That, and acquisition meetings are a big deal. In traditional publishing, an acquisition meeting is when senior editors (at a publishing house), marketing, publicity, and sales people get together to discuss projects they're interested in. During these meetings, someone puts together a P&L statement (profit and loss), and they analyze how they think your book might do in the market.


Generally, these meetings bring a lot of anxiety to authors because acquisition meetings are where a lot of books go to die. Not to be dramatic, but this happens often. The entire team has to agree to move forward with your book, and if they can't, the entire publishing house passes. And once that house (or imprint, usually) passes, you don't get a second chance with them.


With this in mind, my agent and I knew the acquisitions meeting would be sometime on Wednesday, August 5th . . . enough time to for me to freak the freak out.


However, on July 31st, we received more serious interest from ANOTHER house. A much smaller house, but a house with a seriously good track record. The editor said they'd read the book in one sitting and wanted to chat with me right away! They said they were pitching it to their head publisher and would be in touch soon.


Now we have Publisher A and Publisher B.





Back to publisher A. August 8th had come, but our inboxes were empty, and we were both chewing at our nails. My agent reached out at the end of the day (because patience is key), and they got back to us within ten minutes!


And guess what? They were out of power due to hurricane Isaias!





At this point, I couldn't even be surprised because 2020 was a complete shit-show, anyway. Thankfully, Publisher A was still excited, and they informed us that the meeting would be pushed back to August 12th.


So, more waiting.


AND more rejections from other houses, but it was nice to have something in my inbox. Plus, a lot of those rejections were incredibly sweet. (weird, right?)


Okay, so it's August 12th. The entire work day, I COULD NOT focus. Because how could one focus when there was a meeting happening in New FREAKING York that could potentially change MY life???


Kept my phone with me. Refreshed my email. Went on walks. Could barely even eat lunch.

4:50 p.m. came and NOTHING.


Ten minutes later, it was time to leave work, so I took a few parting pictures that pretty much summed up my day.


Doubted I'd hear from them at this point because they were already an hour ahead of us, and I figured dinner time was happening, family things were happening, and book stuff was probably NOT happening.


Checked my email after dinner,


and then . . . there IT was.



"We did discuss {title of book} at Acquisitions, and I’m so happy to tell you that the team loved Britney’s writing and also this project, and we will be sending you an offer soon! :)"




I had to lie down. On the floor. In my living room, nose pressed to rug. Just so shocked.


And I had to ask my agent if this was a real, REAL thing, and she was like, "YES! It's a real, REAL thing. YOU HAVE AN OFFER!!!"


So, I died again.


BUT that's not the end of the story because then Tuesday, August 18th happened.


During lunch, I got an email from Katelyn, saying that Publisher B wanted to talk to me on the phone.


Squeal.


Phone calls in publishing are *usually* (NOT ALWAYS) a good thing. So we set the call up for 1pm the next day.


Then, an hour later, I get this email from my agent. Girl so silly:


If I had very good news, is a call better, or do you want me to forward along that hypothetical very good news?

And I was like, "CALL MEEE!!!!!!!"


On the phone, Katelyn was really excited and she tells me that she OFFICIALLY received an offer from Publisher A.


We discussed the offer, that it would be a two book deal, that they loved my story, that they couldn't wait to work with me - you know, all the things you want a publishing house to say!


And Publisher A wanted to set up a Zoom call for Friday - THEY WANTED TO SEE MY FACE!


*DEEP BREATH*!


But the story continues because the next day, I had the chance to speak with Publisher B, (remember them?) and let me tell you, we connected, and they were so kind. We talked for almost an hour about what their hopes were and what they loved about my story.


Later that day, they sent their formal offer to Katelyn, and I screamed. I had TWO offers.





I had to ask, "Was this an auction?"


An auction in publishing is when more than one publishing house wants to buy your book. Auctions are crazy because all of a sudden that "original" offer can double or triple.


This wasn't an auction, but my agent said it could be.


So listen, she contacts that last ten houses that had the book, lets them know there are two offers, and . . .


THEY ALL BACKED OUT.


*slow laugh*


I mean, don't get me wrong. They had GREAT THINGS TO SAY, but a rejection is a rejection as a rejection is a rejection.


So it's back to Publisher A and Publisher B.


BUT - Publisher B could not compete with Publisher A, and because of that, it wouldn't be an auction.


Yet, I still had to make a choice.


On August 21st, I had my Zoom meeting with Publisher A, and it was what dreams were made of. WE FIT - LIKE HOW PUZZLE PIECES FIT - and I was kinda sad we couldn't talk longer.


And I knew - just knew - we'd make a great team, so I decided to partner with Publisher A.


After a few weeks of negotiations, it was OFFICIAL! I had a two-book deal with Disney!


FREAKING DISNEY!


And my editors are just so lovely. Seriously. <3


My first Young Adult book is set for August 2022. It feels so far and so close all at the same time.





Alright, fun, fast facts, let's go!

  • Revision timeline with my agent: 16 days!

  • Submission Rounds: 1

  • Submission Size: 26 houses/imprints

  • Total offers: 2!

  • Days it took for Disney to express interest: 15 days!

  • Days it took for Disney to make an offer: 25 days! (after expressing interest)

  • Days it took to negotiate: 29 days!

  • Time it took before I could announce deal: 5 months (or blank days)!

  • Book 1 (tentative) release date: August, 2022

  • Book 2 (tentative) release date: August, 2023


So what's next???????


Edits! I just finished the first round, and if you're interested to know how that's been, you can follow my story here and subscribe to my Youtube channel! First vlog will be up THIS WEEK!


https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDwIjiPUhErZL-DqUrTKmGw



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Till next time blog world!

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