"very nice deal"

Dear Miss Snark,

Could you please explain the terminology "nice deal" or "very nice deal" when describing book deals? Are these just polite words or do they have monetary value associated with them?

They are categories established by Michael Cader for reporting deals on Publishers Marketplace. The monetary value is listed on his website.


Anonymous said...

And here I thought my agent was just being coy when she did the listings for the two non-fiction books she just sold for me!

There is always something to learn at Snark Central, even for those of us who are not novelists.

Maya Reynolds said...

Here's the breakdown of those deals:

Nice deal is $1 to $49,000
Very nice deal is $50K to $99K
Good deal is $100K to $250
Significant deal is $250K to $499K
Major deal is $500K and up

I love my Publishers Marketplace subscription. I began subscribing about six months before I was ready to find an agent.

Each week, I would take notes on the deals made in my genre. I set up index cards for the agents working in my genre.

By the time I was ready to begin querying, I had a box of index cards containing the names of the agents actually making deals in my genre, including the names of their clients.

I divided that list into "A" agents (those with lots of deals with lots of publishers), "B" agents (those with just a few deals, or deals with only one publisher) and "C" agents (those who claimed to be working in my genre according to available resources like Writer's Guide but with no record of deals on PM).

It wasn't foolproof because reporting to Publishers Marketplace is a completely voluntary system. However, it DID work for me.

One of the keys was NOT to query all my "A" agents immediately. I queried from all three lists while I refined my letter and manuscript based on the feedback I received. Obviously, this means I did not send out fifty query letters at a time (my usual mailing was about six letters).

Because of Miss Snark's good advice, I did include a few pages with every query. It was the only time I ignored guidelines.

I also did not spend ANY time following up by asking if my queries were received, or when I could expect an answer. I assumed no answer meant no interest. That way, I didn't aggravate either the agents or myself. While there were agents who did not respond for six or nine months (my record was a year), there was only a very small percentage who did not respond at all.

Initial responses were all form letter rejections. I made adjustments to my letter and my pages. Gradually, I began to receive requests for fulls until one glorious day when I got a phone call asking for an exclusive. I knew I was getting close then and began to query only my "A" list agents.

Yes, it took time. Yes, it was often frustrating. Yes, I got dejected, but I never gave up AND I KEPT WRITING throughout.

The day I read my name in Publishers Marketplace with a deal listing was one of the sweetest moments of my life.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info, Maya! I don't have a sub there yet. Your system sounds good too! How fun to read your name there!

Anonymous said...

*feverishly takes notes from Maya*

HawkOwl said...

Maya: how methodical. You're my new hero. :)

Anonymous said...

Maya, thanks for sharing your method and your well-deserved success. A rising tide lifts all ships.

Very good luck to you.

Anonymous said...

And here is a link to "Real World Book Deal Descriptions" for the great midlist:



Virginia Miss said...

Thanks, Kathy!

ORION said...

Maya that's exactly how I did it!
I cannot emphasize enough to not agonize over rejections (what they mean) or hassle agents about when a query/partial/full was read.
I see so much wasted effort with this on message boards/comments
When I got my agent I was euphoric. I still am - even though now I am faced with the next step of the process (publisher acceptance/rejection).
The best thing? Keep writing. Start the next book...and the next...and the next...

Anonymous said...

LMAO at the "Real World Book Deal Descriptions," Kathy!


Anonymous said...

Imagine the consternation out here in SmallPressVille when a publisher who "could not" pay advances was reported to buy a book in an agented "nice deal." Man, there are some of us really honked off at this time. Needless to say, the Honked among us will not be submitting to THAT publisher anymore.

Verification word: ruhykkvh, which was the cuss word that came out of my mouth when I read the above...