A good deal? Or a nice deal?

If you're on the hunt for an agent, you may have come across this terminology on agency sales updates and/or publishing reports:

X agent sells Y author's manuscript to Z publisher in a "nice deal."

Spilled nickels

What the heck? This oddly veiled language is meant to indicate, very approximately, the value of the signed contract. Here's the breakdown, according to Publishers Marketplace:

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

So which deal is your super awesome novel going to land? Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of manuscripts sell for less than $50,000, with the average for debut authors between $5,000 and $25,000.

Your advance will be affected by a number of factors, says literary agent Kate McKean, "the total advance depends on so many things, including the quality of the work, the sales potential of the work (not the same thing!), the author’s platform and/or previous sales, the zeitgeist, the market, how many other editors are interested (if any), how similar books have performed for the publisher and/or other publishers, and many, many other things."


Want some feedback on your query letter, synopsis, or writing sample? Check out our query critique services.

Query critique services—helping you land a nice deal, very nice deal, good deal, significant deal, or major deal (publishing terminology/jargon)


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