Auction is when literary agents submit titles to several select publishers to secure the highest offer or price; sometimes, this involves multiple rounds and could end in topping rights being exercised.
An auction is a practice of purchasing and selling goods and services by offering them up for bid, taking bids, and then selling the item at auction to the highest bidder. Auctions can be seen across various industries but perhaps most often associated with selling antiques, art, or collectibles.
Publishers may sometimes utilize publishing events to sell rights for an unpublished book at auction, known as a manuscript auction. An effective way for an author to find their publisher through such circumstances, an author submits synopses and sample chapters of their book with various publishers who bid on them until one wins with their highest offer; ultimately, this process allows only one bidder the rights for publication of that particular manuscript.
An auction may also be used to sell rights for published books – this process is known as a rights auction. It is often employed when publishers wish to liquidate certain books they no longer want to publish, such as when one publisher acquires rights. Still, they no longer sell well and want them passed onto another publisher who could utilize those books more successfully.
Auctions can be invaluable tools for authors and publishers looking for ways to bring books out there that otherwise wouldn’t get published.