The last debut novel to generate as much excitement among fiction editors as Tom Rachman’s The Imperfectionists did this week was Reif Larsen’s The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet, which made the rounds back in June. Susan Kamil, the editorial director of Dial Press, tried to preempt Mr. Larsen’s book for half a million dollars, but his agent took it to auction instead and ended up selling it to Penguin Press for just under $1 million.
Ms. Kamil had a better day today, as she prevailed over seven other publishers for the North American rights to The Imperfectionists after an intense two-day auction. The book went for a sum in the six figures, somewhere between a quarter million and half a million dollars.
Susan Golomb, the literary agent who represented Mr. Rachman, said she called Ms. Kamil this morning, and after initially letting her think she’d lost, told her happily that the book was hers. Ms. Golomb said she and Ms. Kamil have been trying to work on a book together for a long time, but had so far been thwarted by circumstances.
Ms. Kamil, who currently has a runaway best seller on The New York Times‘ list with Mary Ann Shaffer’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, has not yet decided whether she will publish the book next fall or the following January, according to Ms. Golomb.
Ms. Golomb said she expects foreign publishers, all of whom are clustered up right now in Germany at the Frankfurt Book Fair, to start submitting bids for translation rights tomorrow.