More details to follow when I really believe it.
On Wednesday we heard from the agent that the proposal was out and that people seemed excited to read it. The next day she called to say, "I've just received a pre-empt offer of (insert obscenely high sum here), but I think we should turn it down because I think we can do better."
I said, "OK." What else is there to say? I know nothing of these things.
Six hours later she called and said, "I've just turned down a second pre-empt offer of (insert sum that is 50% higher than aforementioned obscenity)."
I said, "OK." At that moment, I was herding Sammie from the car to the house and already late to finalize something in Boston on the bowling story and drop off a memoir project book to a reporter and get to class to teach. Perhaps I wasn't listening.
Next day she called late in the day and offered up a third number, one that can't be categorized, or even contemplated for very long. "I think we should take this one," she said.
I said, "OK." And then she continued to talk for another five minutes as though she hadn't heard me. She told me that we shouldn't be greedy. I agreed. She told me that anything higher than this would be really hard to earn out and it would make any subsequent book difficult to sell. I agreed. She said there would already be enough pressure on us to make this book really good an successful. I agreed. She said two of the other editors who had read the proposal and liked it had already told her that the book wasn't really worth that second number in the first place. And this third number is, you know, higher. Right, I said. I can see that.
I'm actually a little scared right now.