Monday, May 19, 2014

Publishers Marketplace's Little Code

For those of you who aren't familiar with it, Publishers Marketplace is an online hub for publishing professionals - agents, publishers, editors, etc. And one of the many services offered is the "Deals" section, which is just what it sounds like: a place for people to report deals. Now, it's locked behind a login screen and meant for paying members only (and a subscription costs about $20/month), but every so often you'll see deals quoted on peoples' websites, blogs, and social media platforms, mostly when they're whooping for joy because someone bought their story. 

I've seen a few of these little posts around, and they always seem so polite... "Agent A sold Novel B by Author C to Publisher D in a pretty little deal." Well, actually they'd say something like "nice" or "good," rather than "pretty little" (although maybe that should be a new one!). 

But they aren't just being nice to each other. That's actually code for how big the advance is. And here's the key, in case you're curious:

Nice deal = $1 - $49,000
Very nice deal = $50,000 - $99,000
Good deal = $100,000 - $250,000
Significant deal = $251,000 - $499,000
Major deal = $500,000 + 

See, I'm not making it up!

Just a little tidbit for fellow industry stalkers...


  1. Very interesting!

    But I don't get the purpose of these code phrases. Wouldn't it be simpler to just directly report the amounts of the advances?

    I'm also wondering what happens if someone makes a mistake, using the wrong code phrase. Do they then post a correction, saying something like "The report of a very nice deal was mistaken, it was in fact a good deal"?

  2. I guess some agents/publishers want to keep the exact amount hush-hush, but give some idea about the range? I find it odd too.

  3. These amounts are ALWAYS secret, unless you're one of the higher-ups 'in the know.' This is b/c if one author knows another author's deal, they get upset that theirs isn't as good, etc. Think about how managers at work keep salaries a secret, and you get the idea. =)