A new mission for literary agents

You might have heard this week that the Ed Victor Literary Agency has started its own ebook and print-on-demand venture, initially to republish clients’ books that have fallen out of circulation.

I said in a comment on my recent post Should You Hit Self-Publish that this was disappointing. Because what I’d really like to see is agents using a model like this to showcase the work of original new writers.

As I said in my post, publishers were once allowed to acquire books purely because they were good, but now they have to worry about selling sure-fire winners to book chains and supermarkets. This means the original, the unusual, the unknown, the pesky cross-genre novelists are not getting publication deals. And yet these books were considered brilliant enough for agents to take them on.

There can’t be an agent in the world who doesn’t have a few titles they’re 100% passionate about but can’t sell.

This is bad for our art form. It’s bad for authors. It’s bad for everyone who likes a good read. It’s ghettoising our next generation of original authors, who ten years ago would have had a chance to build a career.

So what I’d really like to see is this. Agents should start their own ‘discovery’ imprints on POD and ebook. They should showcase, say, six titles every few months that they passionately believe deserve to be read.

The major reviewers would take notice, because the titles would have been stringently picked with the seal of approval of a legitimate agent. It would be another way to encourage publishers to have confidence in these new authors. And even if the showcased titles were too kooky for the mainstream, the publishers might want to know about the author’s other work.

It used to be that if you self-published a book, you’d scuppered all chances of it appearing in print conventionally. Even that’s changing. Kindle Direct Publishing’s latest newsletter features the story of Nancy Johnson, who published her novel on Kindle and has had offers of representation and publishers wanting to buy foreign rights.

All in favour, say aye

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  1. #1 by Matt Kelland on May 11, 2011 - 4:42 pm

    Aye!

  2. #3 by Victoria Mixon on May 11, 2011 - 5:09 pm

    I’m here to say I think ‘ghettoizing’ is a great Shakespeareanism, and if you didn’t make it up don’t tell me.

    You know I rant about this trend on my blog all the time. Even worse in private emails!🙂

    • #4 by rozmorris on May 11, 2011 - 5:12 pm

      Of course I made it up. Making things up is what fiction writers do.

      Keep ranting. You do it magnificently.

  3. #5 by Ollin on May 11, 2011 - 5:13 pm

    Thanks for pointing this out Roz!

    • #6 by rozmorris on May 11, 2011 - 5:28 pm

      Thanks, Ollin. Onwards and upwards! If anybody influential is reading…

  4. #7 by YKG on May 11, 2011 - 5:21 pm

    Aye, though I suspect that the accent you really need to move the idea forward would be that of an experienced agent with a backlog of original and ‘unprintable’ works that they believe in. Of course, if agents start epublishing work from new authors that they believe in – that would put even more of a hurt on the publishing industry as more authors looking for ‘legitimacy’ would be scooped up by their agents and potentially not passed on to the big six.

    • #8 by rozmorris on May 11, 2011 - 5:32 pm

      You’re quite right. All the agents I know have stacks of titles like this – it’s not an unusual scenario. And that’s a crying shame. Yes, it would hurt major publishers, but they seem to be taking care of themselves anyway. So they won’t worry – and they might discover some authors they do want to offer on.

  5. #9 by Dave Morris on May 11, 2011 - 6:01 pm

    Publishers could do with getting a little more into the bookstore business, via apps that get their digital offerings direct to the customer, but most of the publishers I talked to at the LBF didn’t get that at all. “Bookselling isn’t our business,” they said. And in the old world that was true. Not any more.

    Agents, though, seem to have been far quicker to realize there’s a role for them in publishing now. There is about to be an explosion of available content and most of it will be unmoderated rubbish. The reading public need reliable gatekeepers and brands of quality. Agents can join in alongside traditional publishers there, especially in the role of nurturing new talent that publishers have largely abdicated.

    Hopefully publishers will recognize that this isn’t so much a threat as it is an opportunity. But with their track record on responding to any other change in the business, I wouldn’t put money on that.

  6. #10 by Zelah on May 11, 2011 - 6:26 pm

    I think that it is a good idea because it would help both authors and agents. The authors would get the approval of the ‘gatekeeper’ agents & as you say, reviewers might take notice. Plus, the agents would get a cut of the sales of those titles.

    • #11 by rozmorris on May 11, 2011 - 6:39 pm

      Absolutely, Zelah – I think it’s good for all parties. Including readers who love interesting books!

  7. #12 by Laura Pauling on May 11, 2011 - 6:29 pm

    Great point and I totally agree. Though P.J. Hoover just self published with the backing of Andrea Brown Lit. and it is a new title. so that’s cool. I think some agencies will do that. For the books that couldn’t land a home but are worthy to be published.

    • #13 by rozmorris on May 11, 2011 - 6:40 pm

      Laura, that’s really interesting about PJ Hoover. I shall have to check that out.

  8. #14 by Susan Kaye Quinn on May 11, 2011 - 6:33 pm

    Aye.

  9. #16 by Jeffrey Russell on May 11, 2011 - 7:31 pm

    Aye!

    Though I do wonder if, from an agent’s POV, he/she wouldn’t be concerned about the impact on future business with publishers. The agent would be, in effect, a competitor, albeit in a very small, probably insignificant way. But still…

    • #17 by rozmorris on May 11, 2011 - 7:35 pm

      Fair point, Jeffrey, but I don’t think it would upset the publishing economy.

      For one thing, these are titles that publishers are claiming they don’t want.

      For another, a publisher would have to make a good offer that was worth everybody’s while – and was more rewarding than self-publishing. Which they have to do at the moment anyway (and aren’t, always).

      If publishers get sniffy about it, tough. All parties here are trying to make an honest living.

    • #18 by Victoria Mixon on May 11, 2011 - 8:48 pm

      Agents are already in opposition to publishers. That’s their job. Publishers want everything they can get out of writers for the least expense & trouble, and writers want the same thing back. The problem is writers have far, far, far less clout in the negotiations, so agents handle the writers’ end on their behalf (for a cut of the result).

      I had lunch with the Executive Director of a major imprint once in which he told me he hates acquisitions—just hates it—because of the adversarial relationship he’s forced to have with agents and their writers.

      Publishers fight with the gloves off. It’s just business. And it would be quite a performance if they rolled over & got all weepy because they thought agents were doing the same.

      • #19 by rozmorris on May 11, 2011 - 8:57 pm

        Ab-so-lute-ly. Fabulous comment. It is not a gentlemanly game – far from it. I see things all the time in publishers’ dealings that would make your hair curl.

  10. #20 by Dave Morris on May 11, 2011 - 8:52 pm

    Publishers could see this as the agents providing a useful service, in developing new work (which agents do already – publishers rarely polish those rough diamonds like they used to) and in getting it to market in digital form under a reliable aegis so that it gets the attention of respected reviewers. And then the publishers can come in and cherry-pick the print rights.

  11. #21 by Madame Paradox on May 11, 2011 - 11:21 pm

    This sounds like a great idea to me. I don’t presume to know all that much other than what I’ve read. But it seems to me it will be a long wait before publishers, who move as slowly as every other kind of large corporation, figure out a new system. But the times they are a changin’ whether the industry wants them to or not. Someone needs to come up with a new model. Agents have the ability to be more nimble. So your suggestion makes so much sense. If they are able to give us talented newbie authors a leg up, it seems like it would benefit all parties. Thanks for wise post.

  12. #23 by Marcia on May 12, 2011 - 2:47 am

    I agree also. Great idea!

  13. #25 by jjdebenedictis on May 12, 2011 - 2:52 am

    I am sorry, but a resounding NAY!

    It is absolutely a conflict of interest for a writer’s agent to become their publisher. Part of the reason writers need agents is to protect them from predatory business practices on the part of publishers.

    The publisher makes more money if they can convince the writer to accept less. The agent makes more money when they prevent this from happening. If you make it possible for agents to make more money by representing the writer’s interests less well, then relationship stops being symbiotic and starts being parasitic. The writer will be taken advantage of.

    Put bluntly, it is staggeringly unethical for an agent to step into the role of publisher for their clients.

    • #26 by Victoria Mixon on May 12, 2011 - 4:56 am

      :)) “Staggeringly unethical.”

      What was that quote from Broadcast News? “It’d be a lot easier to avoid crossing the line if they didn’t keep moving the little bugger.”

    • #27 by rozmorris on May 12, 2011 - 9:03 am

      It’s interesting to hear the opposing view – especially as many of us might well be voting with our hearts as much as our heads. But I think your fears are unfounded.

      Until a short time ago, it certainly would have been very dodgy indeed for an agent to blur these boundaries – and I believe the professional associations forbade it in their code of practice. Those rules were to protect authors from agents who had no intention of trying to sell works to publishers at all.

      This wouldn’t be the case. I was envisaging that the agent would only put the author on the ‘Discovery’ imprint when despite their most genuine efforts, the book remained unsold.

      I don’t know how much you know about publishing, but this happens A LOT. Excellent books never find a publisher, even with an agent behind them. (Which is what makes me thump the desk and demand that something is done.)

      It’s not stopping the author getting a better deal – because they’re not going to get a deal anyway. It’s giving them a lifeline. And the agent too, because they get to establish the author.

      You might ask, when does the agent decide the only hope is the Discovery imprint? Actually agents and authors have to make a similar decision already. When a book fails to sell, they have to decide whether to keep actively marketing it. At the moment, the author has two options – go to another agent and start again, or agree that they’ve given up on the book and cease showcasing it.

      Re the money: if the agent were to make more money by publishing the author on the Discovery imprint, the author would be making more money too – even more than the agent would (that being the nature of commission).

      Although at the moment, the agent always gets more if they can sell the book in the traditional way. So it would always be more risky to put a book on the Discovery imprint – and therefore a last resort. If the reputation of the Discovery imprint grows, then the major reviewers would be reading everything on the list and publicising it and publishers would take notice of it.

      I can’t see how that amounts to taking advantage of the author in any way.

      • #28 by Evil Genius on May 12, 2011 - 4:03 pm

        I’m sorry, but I also have to take the opposing view here. While your perception of how all this would go is very optimistic, it flies in the face of how ANY business actually works.

        When the literary agent is in a position to make money directly from the author, it then serve the agent, and her agency, to negotiate a deal for more of the revenues, more control, fewer advantages to the writer. The literary agency, in effect, becomes the employer of the writer. In any employment negotiation, the employee’s concern is to get paid as much as possible, while the employer’s concern is to pay as little as possible.

        You can not rely on the benevolence of an employer… this is why you have an agent, who makes more money when he gets you a better deal, and less money when the deal is less favorable to his client. By becoming the publisher, the agent is now in the position of negotiating against the client’s best interests.

        How could you then trust your agent to make the most “genuine effort”.

        While I love the idea for a “Discovery Imprint”, I can’t see that the agent is the institution to do it. The only way I could see this working is if the author retains all rights to the book, and the agency takes a smaller commission on each book sold, with the deal being terminated at any time either party wishes… which would hardly make it profitable for the agent/publisher, so why would they put any money into promoting the author’s work?

        The potential for abuse is huge. The agent’s job now is to negotiate rights. If she is negotiating the rights for her own agency’s benefit, the author has lost the only advocate he currently has in the process.

        Conflict of interest.

        • #29 by rozmorris on May 12, 2011 - 6:20 pm

          Some very thought-provoking points there, er Evil.

          One of the assumptions I’m making is that the agent would get a better outcome for everyone if the book is sold conventionally, therefore a book would only be put on the Discovery Imprint if selling it proved impossible.

          I was also thinking that the author wouldn’t sell the rights to the agent, but would pay them a commission for copies sold – much as Kindle authors pay a commission to Amazon. Thinking further, this would probably mean the author would bear the cost of formatting and making a cover etc – but for fiction on Kindle this is not terribly expensive.

          Does that get perilously close to some of the crook agents who charge reading fees and other horrors? Times have changed, but I can certainly see that a lot of conversations would have to be had about what was ethical and what was not. And as you say, conflicts of interest are not going to be good news. It might be that the only way to do this is for Discovery Imprints to be separate businesses.

          The aim is ultimately to build the writer’s career so that both writer and agent benefit. At the moment these books are not getting a chance at all. My solution probably requires a lot more tyre kicking, but it’s a problem that needs to be solved.

          Do come back and be evil again😉

          • #30 by Evil Genius on May 12, 2011 - 10:31 pm

            will do!

  14. #31 by Michelle MacEwan on May 12, 2011 - 9:52 am

    The Discovery Imprint sounds like a great idea to me – for readers & writers, and as someone mentioned in the comments, good for the agents too. It has great potential to develop. I say Yay!

  15. #33 by Dom Camus on May 12, 2011 - 11:20 am

    I’m cautiously in favour, but my question would be: Why agents?

    With my reader hat on, I definitely do want to read books that publishers aren’t interested in. However, I don’t see why it would take an agent to publish those books. To my way of thinking that’s like inventing the DVD and then proposing that VCRs could be designed to play them.

    My problem is always content discovery and since agents don’t have marketing budgets they’re not really in a good position to fix that.

    • #34 by rozmorris on May 12, 2011 - 11:29 am

      Fair point, Dom. And you’re right – agents don’t have marketing budgets. But what they do have is clout – they are known by the gatekeepers (such as reviewers) as professionals who have sifted through the new writers and taken on only those who are worthwhile.

      What self-published authors lack if they go it alone is a way to make readers take them seriously.

  16. #35 by Tracey on May 12, 2011 - 1:55 pm

    Aye! As a self-publishing option, this is a good one because agents provide a reliable filter, and they still get 15%, which is far less than a traditional publisher, so the financial conflict that some have mentioned would not be as much of an issue. (Not that it would entirely disappear) Plus it puts more power in the hands of the authors who would have an opportunity to build the kind of clientele they want, and readers would be exposed to a wider variety of books. If publishers have a problem with it, they can just start accepting more books, that’s all.

    • #36 by rozmorris on May 12, 2011 - 2:13 pm

      ‘If publishers have a problem with it, they can start accepting more books…’

      Precisely.
      And aye to your other points too, Tracey.

  17. #37 by Sally on May 13, 2011 - 4:16 pm

    Aye! Gosh, yes, that’s an absolutely brilliant idea. Roz, you should patent this!😉

    That said, I do hear what Dom above is saying. I myself suggested here recently that aspiring authors can always self-publish can hire a PR agent (after all, a literary agent’s primary job is getting you published. A PR agent’s primary job is getting you promoted). Not that I’ve done this myself – yet!🙂

    • #38 by rozmorris on May 13, 2011 - 7:17 pm

      Hi Sally! You’re right that a PR agent is an option, although not for those who can’t afford one. And there are still some areas where reputation is what speaks, not publicity – the respected reviewers.

      • #39 by Sally on May 13, 2011 - 7:44 pm

        Yes, as far as reputaion goes, I agree with that.

        Plus, I can’t afford a PR agent anyway.🙂

  18. #40 by David Brown on May 13, 2011 - 4:17 pm

    Hmmm. This does sound like a good idea to me… up to a point. It is inspiring to think that quality literature would be given a better shake rather than just the commercial trend of the day. But I would have to agree with some of the naysayers that it also feels like some agents could take on the role of the “helper to the self-published” sort of industry that is popping up everywhere.
    As a self-publishing author, I can see the temptation to have the “approval” and the visibility provided by a professional agent. Even if they can’t land me a traditional contract they could “highlight” me on their agency label. But then I might as well have gone with an indie press and settled for some notoriety with no money.
    If an agent can do this with my fiction, I can do it myself. It will be harder to develop the initial reader base, but it will also pay better. (At least these last two things are the hope:)
    For now (even if I had another agent approach me, one with an offer to be able to do just what you are saying) I will stick to going it alone. For now.

    • #41 by rozmorris on May 13, 2011 - 7:24 pm

      Good point, David – and there is a growing industry in helping the self-published. Self-published authors are going to have to be very wary over the next few years as sneakier and sneakier services will be offered to them.
      But there have always been prestigious agents and less prestigious. What I was thinking was that the prestigious agents would have these labels – and they would be conducted in such a way that there was no question of selling out. If they are prominent enough, I would choose that over, say, a micro publisher – because I would feel it was better for my career, long term.
      It all depends on what offers you have and your reader base, as you say. If you are already geared up to sell enough copies to keep you happy, then you can always say no and go it alone.

  19. #42 by tahliaN on May 14, 2011 - 2:48 am

    I figure that agents need to expand their role in some way or they’ll be out of business and this is the sort of thing they need to do, but I agree with you, they should be showcasing the new writers. Using their credentials as an arbiter of quality to sell the books that they loved but couldn’t sell on. It makes sense to me. They can do out of print ones too, but the focus should be on new titles.

    • #43 by rozmorris on May 14, 2011 - 3:23 pm

      I don’t think agents will ever be out of business, because there will always be rights to sell. But this is a way they can champion deserving new writers.

  20. #44 by Zelah on May 14, 2011 - 9:51 am

    I can understand the arguments about conflict of interest. However, this could be worked around if it were done on a not-for-profit basis. Maybe with the writer paying the costs. So, very much like self-publishing only a self-publishing that isn’t open to everyone. What would be in it for the agents would be the ability to show publishers for the next book that the author’s work has merit/sales & also the ability to sell the foreign & movie rights for the current book.

    On that subject – even though I’m now passionate about the idea of self publishing (but paying an editor/designer to ensure a quality product), I would still consider looking for an agent if my books sold well, so that the agent could sell the foreign/movie rights. There is still a need for agents as I see it, it’s the publishers who are going to need to step up their game & offer better rates of commission (at least on ebooks) in order to avoid losing money if authors turn to self-publishing.

    • #45 by rozmorris on May 14, 2011 - 3:21 pm

      That’s it entirely, Zelah – only those writers who had been invited by agents would have access.

      And I agree with you that agents have a lot to contribute in publishing, but publishers are having to do far more adapting.

  21. #46 by kevinonpaper on May 14, 2011 - 9:19 pm

    From my standpoint (as an Indie), I would need someone who could both help with contracts and was versed in bookselling/print distribution. While that is not the duty of an agent, this seems to be the missing link for me. As it stands, I do not need help with formatting. Between my illustrator, his experience with InDesign and Book Baby (www.bookbaby.com), all that can be taken care of. Yes, finding a suitable editor is a challenge, but they are not far from reach. Regarding P.O.D., I would be inclined to use Amazon’s services or Lulu (though Roz might have something to say about that) instead of going with a startup, because I trust that everything is streamline.
    I can see how these services would be of help for someone, but with a little time and energy, you can handle them yourself. My prediction in the long term is that the “linchpin” industry will help indies get into the brick and mortar and help with the scary, legal stuff (much like agents and trad. publishers do today). I could see indie author and her team focusing mainly on the creative development. Layout, book design, app development, and even marketing development. Then again, I have a streak of entrepreneurial in me, so I enjoy that part of publishing.

    • #47 by rozmorris on May 15, 2011 - 8:16 am

      Hi Kevin! You’re right that indies have expertise at different levels – some of us have the editorial skills, for instance, from their other jobs. I imagine that fewer indies have expertise in selling and distribution and need more help with that. (In fact, I know some start-up publishers who have no idea about that either.)
      Contracts – with who, as no rights are being sold? In fact, you don’t need an agent, necessarily, as a media lawyer can handle anything an agent does – although you’ll pay.
      But while all these skills can be sourced by the entrepreneurial indie, what they can’t buy is certain kinds of exposure – ie the high-profile reviews that simply aren’t open to self-published books.
      Arguably that may not be necessary if you’ve got enough of a publicity machine, of course, but few people have!

  22. #48 by SL Clark on May 15, 2011 - 7:10 pm

    The is a HUGE conflict of interest. Here is the problem from a legal point of view:

    http://www.thepassivevoice.com/05/2011/agents-in-conflict/

    In fact, agents are now in the buggy whip business, with a musical bent:

    http://kriswrites.com/2011/05/11/the-business-rusch-writing-like-its-1999/

    Authors need to learn they are in business.
    -Steve

    • #49 by rozmorris on May 15, 2011 - 7:42 pm

      Interesting links, Steve. As you say, we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. I still maintain that something is needed to break the deadlock for authors who deserve to be published and aren’t. If agents making them sign an agency publishing deal creates too many problems, perhaps the answer would be for the author to self-publish and the agent to send the resulting books to reviewers, under a curating imprint. All terms as before.

      But I’m a writer (in business), not a lawyer…

      • #50 by SL Clark on May 15, 2011 - 8:09 pm

        Dean Wesley Smith says EVERY writer should be publishing themselves. Period. The days of gatekeepers are over and the irony is I run a small publishing company – and FULLY agree with him.

        Copyright is the author’s life plus 70 years, a very long time for an audience to find a book. Agents are no longer needed, much less desired. NEVER give away a percentage of your efforts, hire out the parts you don’t want to do, for a fee, not a percentage.
        -Steve

        • #51 by rozmorris on May 15, 2011 - 11:26 pm

          Steve, agents are needed if you’re selling rights. If you’re not, then they serve no purpose. But authors trying to sell rights without an agent protecting them can get royally ripped off.

          For most people, if they hired out agents for a fee that would be much more expensive. So a percentage makes sense.

          I disagree about gatekeepers. I think we do need them. We need ways to find the quality fiction that is to our taste. Of course that role could be taken by a number of people, not just publishers. Reviews, for instance. I use agents as an example because they get the biggest pool to draw on – all the new work by new authors and by established ones.

          It is absolutely impossible to search through all the books that are published, even if you wanted to. You always need search terms to help you find something you’re likely to want. That’s what gatekeepers do.

          And if a reader only finds you in the 70 years after your death, what good does that do you?

  23. #52 by SL Clark on May 15, 2011 - 11:55 pm

    >”…agents are needed if you’re selling rights.

    No, many of us disagree completely. You believe a myth. Authors need IP lawyers, working for a fee, not an agent taking a percentage and the rights forever.

    >”…I disagree about gatekeepers.”

    Crowd sourcing works most everything else and given time, will work *exceedingly* well for books too. This is one reason publishers are fighting Google.

    >”…a reader only finds you in the 70 years after your death.”

    Ask your heirs. The thing is, signing off on a percentage forever deal is a nightmare. Read everything Dean Wesley Smith has posted in “Think Like A Publisher”. He’s been exceedingly articulate on the mechanisms and mess created when authors sign these deals.
    -Steve

    • #53 by Dom Camus on May 16, 2011 - 6:49 am

      Crowd sourcing works most everything else and given time, will work *exceedingly* well for books too.

      I don’t know much about the world of books, but in video games (my field) it’s definitely not the case that the community can get this job done. There are two main problems:

      1) You need a certain critical mass for the effect to work. A game with an audience in the millions can find it via word of mouth (Twitter, FaceBook, blogs and so on). A game with an audience of ten thousand cannot.

      2) Something is only news once. If I publish a game today and it gets retweeted extensively then I might sell a few hundred copies in the first few hours after launch, but after two weeks I’ll get no further publicity from the community and by game will effectively vanish.

      Now actually the games community does have “gatekeepers” in the form of reviewers and news sites. In that industry at least, their role is essential to developers (and pretty good for gamers too).

      • #54 by SL Clark on May 16, 2011 - 7:12 am

        Books have been marketed as produce as well, but this is one thing the infinite shelf space of digital changes. They don’t rot like they did on bookstore shelves.

        Also, gaming evolves -> Atari -> Wii -> ?

        Pride and Prejudice is still a number one selling book for $$, and you can download a public domain version for free. Great books will sell long into the future, word of mouth is everything. An example, shunned by “gatekeepers”, word of mouth sold millions:
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shack
        Not like gaming at all, -Steve

      • #55 by rozmorris on May 16, 2011 - 7:14 am

        Hi Dom! It’s necessary in books, too. A pretty accurate analogy.

        Steve, I don’t believe a myth. I do know there are such things as media lawyers – I’m close friends with one of the top UK media lawyers, in fact. I’d rather have an agent than a media lawyer because I like the ongoing relationship with a professional who has sound editorial judgement as well as legal judgement and industry connections. I know from first-hand experience that I need them very much, because I have also battled along for many years with no agent at all.

        We do need professionals in this brave new world of publishing, and not all percentage deals are selling your soul.

        Also, as to everyone being found eventually: that is the myth. They are not. Crowd sourcing is simply not enough if creative people are to earn a living. Ask anyone in any creative industry.

    • #56 by Jayz on May 16, 2011 - 8:11 am

      The wisdom of crowds can work for solving some decision-based problems. Applied to matters of taste it’s just our old friend fashion. It’s what made The Da Vinci Code a bestseller and got Firefly canceled. And as Dom points out, most books don’t have the critical mass of potential readers to break out virally anyway.

      Moreover, while I might agree with a group on matters of politics, for example, taste in fiction is not a problem in search of a solution. De gustibus non est disputandum.

      As for paying a fee rather than giving up a percentage – that’s a calculation that each author has to make based on their own circumstances, finances and attitude to risk. These questions really aren’t as simple as Dean Wesley Smith, whoever he may be, seems to think. – which is what makes this such an interesting topic for discussion right now.

      • #57 by rozmorris on May 16, 2011 - 3:05 pm

        Jayz – a wise and considered response. These questions aren’t simple. Recent develoments in the industry have thrown up a huge number of problems and opportunities – and we need to find the right way to put them together.

  24. #58 by Kevin McGill on May 16, 2011 - 2:01 am

    Just for clarification, I liked your idea. I was actually responding to Ed Victor’s new business model.

  25. #60 by Stationery Explorer on July 11, 2011 - 8:29 pm

    Aye!

    Self publishing really seems to be coming into its own just now – the guy who just sold his millionth copy for one – and the idea really appeals to me.

    But I would still like to have a novel published traditionally; I like the idea of the validation that brings. However, I was talking to someone about this recently and the more I talked, the more I started to wonder if this wasn’t just vanity.

    Surely a punter parting with their hard-earned money is at least equal validation for one’s efforts?

    Anyhow, this idea just sounds like the best of both worlds.

    So, aye again.

    • #61 by rozmorris on July 11, 2011 - 8:43 pm

      Thanks, Chris! And that’s an interesting viewpoint – that holding out for a trad deal is perhaps vanity of sorts.

      It’s a tricky area. On the one hand, traditional publishing – if it’s right for your kind of book – does bring a certain quality control. Publishers have editors who can help you get the best out of your book. (Mind you, agents are pretty darn good at that too.) On the other hand, your book has to be right for the economics of their market. Not all good books are – and even though your book may be worthwhile, it may not find a publisher.

      Interestingly, when I published this post nearly 2 months ago the discovery imprint looked an unlikely proposition. But the debate has moved on considerably.

      Thanks for dropping by – and for your ‘aye’.

  1. Inspired Links – May 15, 2011 | Inspired by Real Life
  2. Last resort to new career – how I self-published and how it’s changed my outlook as a writer: speech for the Society of Young Publishers, Oxford « Nail Your Novel
  3. Solo self-publish, seek a book deal, something in the middle? Advice for the 2016 writer | Nail Your Novel

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