Why Everyone in Publishing–Authors, Agents, Publishers–Feels Disenfranchised

Janet Grant

Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant

The other day I was talking with an editor about digital rights the publisher wanted back even though those rights had reverted to my client. I was surprised to hear her say: “We have ended up promoting authors’ books that are published by other publishers when we offered titles for free. That offer cost us, but other publishers benefited.”

I found myself thinking: “Welcome to the new world of publishing. Why are you surprised by that?” Neat lines of loyalty to publishers have melted away. But even so, doesn’t it benefit each publisher if all of an author’s titles sell well? When the water rises, it raises the entire boat. Yet the editor clearly thought of her publishing house as being in competition with other publishers, and she couldn’t imagine why she should help another publisher. That’s kind of an old-fashioned thought. While publishers might end up competing for a certain title or author, generally publishers are in competition with self-publishing, not each other. Which leads me to my next point of surprise in that conversation.

The editor went on to say that she found it disturbing that I had pointed out to her that my client could make more money by self-publishing her digital titles rather than returning them to the publisher, who intended to use those titles to promote my client’s other titles. In other words, those digital rights were useful to the publisher to make money off of other titles. But I have to weigh how much money my client could lose by reassigning those digital rights to the publisher. Why should the publisher be offended? It’s my job to think about all the angles of such a decision.

That exchange with the editor was one of several instances I’ve experienced that demonstrates publishers, agents, and authors all feel disenfranchised. The publishers feel wronged and wonder what happened to loyalty. The authors wonder what happened to publishers who worked hard and over the long-term to build careers. And agents wonder what happened to a world in which their major job was to place clients’ work with publishing houses.

That’s my point: Everyone feels disenfranchised and disrespected. Feelings run strong and deep on every side. Publishers feel as if their backs are to the wall, and that authors aren’t as supportive as they should be because, after all, publishers do much to make authors successful. Authors feel that publishers are kicking writers to the curb if their books don’t sell quickly. Agents feel as though they spend most of their time not selling new projects but protecting authors’ backlist rights.

Most of us want our old job descriptions back. We understood how to operate in that world. This new-fangled wide world of opportunities is far more complex and ever-shifting. And we think the “other guys” don’t get what this new world order looks like from our POV. We’re probably right.

How are we to maintain our publishing relationships during a time that feels as if we’re in a dryer being tumbled around? It’s hard to get a “fix” on each other when the situation looks one way one minute, and then the dryer tosses us so that circumstances look just the opposite a minute later.

Take, for example authors. Are published authors more valuable to the industry than ever? Yes and no. It depends on where the dryer throws that author in a given minute. Of course authors are the creators of what publishing sells. So writing is integral to what we all do. Content is king. With no writers, we have nothing.

On the other hand, except for regular-selling authors with momentum building, authors can be replaced. And crowds of new writers are working hard to do just that. So, really, how valuable is an author?

Are publishers necessary? Yes and no. Publishers have the best track record of all the entities available of delivering content to readers. But self-publishing is an option that sometimes makes more sense for a writer.

What about agents? From the blogs I read, writers seem to think that agents have developed furrowed brows because they aren’t making as much money. After all, the size of advances is down and it’s harder than ever to make a sale. On the other hand, agents who are guiding careers rather than concentrating on making the next sale are doing fine financially because they’ve adapted to the latest dryer tumble. I’m spending vast amounts of time reconfiguring my clients’ backlist. A world of opportunities exist for backlist, as never before. And there’s plenty of money to be made in doing so. Plus traditional publishing is still functioning just fine; so current projects are being sold. And when publishers are excited about projects, they’re paying to get them. Nowadays our job is to find the right venue for our clients’ creative work, wherever that might be.

Here are some important points for us to remember as the dryer turns:

Talk to each other. We can’t envision what the latest changes mean to everyone else unless we give each party the chance to articulate the affect. And we need to listen.

As we listen, we’ll all hear, behind the words, a sense of being disenfranchised. Let’s remember that and act toward each other like we remember it.

Be civil with each other. If ever there were a time we needed civility, this is it, when the comfortable walls of our publishing world have crumbled, and we’re all wondering how we fit into this strange new terrain.

So I repeat, above all, let’s be civil.

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57 Comments

  • Seems like everyone talks “win-win” but maneuvers to get their win first.

    I’m currently in Ningguo, China, and much of the posturing and maneuvering violating the civility request seems small and petty after spending time in a country where freedoms of speech, press, and religion do not exist.

    I’m so thankful to be from a country where we are free to speak and write what we believe – published or not those rights are a blessing in themselves!

  • One of the coolest things I’m experiencing as a debut novelist is this online launch party Rel Mollet and Kelli Standish are throwing me and three other debut novelist. What is so cool about it is all four of us are published by different publishers. Yet all four publishing houses are working together to promote the event. I think that’s pretty darn cool. Publishers working together to support their authors. That’s beyond civil. :)

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Yes, Katie, this is way cool. Even if publishers want to cooperate, working out the details can cause a jumble. So to pull off the snazzy event planned for you is, unfortunately, not the norm. Want to provide us with a link to the invitation so everyone can see what you’re talking about?

    • So, Katie, how did it happen that the four publishers came together? Are Rel and Kelli completely behind that? It’s a fabulous idea, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it works.

      • Good question, Sally. I have one of the best marketing directors on the face of the planet. I told her about the party. She said she’d be willing to help. So I contacted the other three authors, who then contacted their publishing people, who also were awesome and willing to help. So I sent the contact info to my marketing director and she took the promotional stuff from there. Here’s a link to my pub’s website. The banner ad is right up top: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/

  • Brad Huebert says:

    Janet, I’m encouraged by your willingness to embrace the frontier with all its wildness and opportunity. That’s particularly difficult when colleagues around you are still defending the ranch that used to be on the edge, but is now crumbling in the ghetto.

  • Tiana Smith says:

    This is all very interesting, though I have to admit, I was confused by your second example (where the publisher wanted the digital titles to promote the other works, and the author wanted them in order to make more money). How would the publisher only use those rights to promote the other titles? And why wouldn’t that also promote those digital titles? Maybe I misread something …

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Tiana, thanks for pointing out that I needed to add some crucial details. The publisher will be using the digital rights they are asking to have back not to make money on those rights but to use those titles to make money on other titles my client has published at that house. So these digital titles will be used as loss leaders rather than as money makers. Does that make sense?
      So what the author and I have to figure out is if she’ll make enough additional money on increased sales for her other titles to make up for what she could receive if she self-pubbed these digital titles. Also hanging in the balance is her relationship with her publisher, whom we want to continue to publish with.

      • This issue were irrelevant 15 years ago, now it is very much a concrete issue. And obviously very delicate. Talk about having to learn on the fly!

  • Jeanne says:

    Janet, such a good reminder to have a willingness to extend grace (civility) to those who work in other areas of publishing. I appreciate that you work hard to help your clients make wise decisions in this “brave new world” called publishing. It seems like when people really communicate with each other and seek to help each other, the sense of disenfranchisement could be reduced.

    Thanks for sharing this perspective. It helps me gain a better understanding of what’s happening in the publishing world.

  • What an informative post, Janet! I had no idea about a lot of this. I suppose it makes sense that publishers would see each other as “competition,” although what you said about self-publishing being the real competition makes sense as well. It’s interesting how much has changed and will change in this industry. I suppose those who adapt quickly will be those who do the best.

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Lindsay, yes, those who can move their ships to align with the changing currents will do the best–provided they move wisely. This is such a complex publishing world that a wrong move can cost you a great deal. Some people, writers especially, are exhibiting knee-jerk reactions and whipping out old manuscripts, backlist titles and rapidly written new creations to self-pub. It hasn’t occurred to them that a publishing plan would be a good idea. Some literary agencies have slap-dashed ways to facilitate their clients’ desire to self-publish, but the venues aren’t necessarily the best ones. And some publishers are simply trying a wide variety of experiments with authors’ titles, knowing the publishers have lots of content to play with. Sometimes that means the publisher came out of the experiment making money but individual authors, whose works were the loss leaders, didn’t gain anything tangible.

  • Mira says:

    This is a great post. It makes sense that there is tension between people since the landscape is changing. People get scared for their livelihood, and it can be hard not to get intense about it with other people.

    I also suspect that agents will begin to feel more torn between the publisher and the author, and there will be increasing pressure on agents from both sides. What’s best for the publisher vs. what’s best for the writer may not always align, and that’s something new to bring to the table.

    I do want to address what you said about writers being interchangable. I think that belief premeates publishing, and it’s very problemactic.

    First, if the writer feels there is no real loyalty coming toward them and they are seen as disposable, they will likely not have much loyalty back. Guilt is not the same as real loyalty.

    Second: it’s not actually true that writers are easily replacable. Every writer is completely unique. Throwing away one writer for an up and coming new one is a waste of human resources. All of the older writer’s experience and honing of skill is now wasted.

    It’s also a brutal thing to do to someone. And the way it’s done, without much conversation, is potentially bad karma. I don’t know why publishing isn’t more worried about the fact that it has made many, many writers angry by treating them as interchangable. If I were in their shoes, I would be very worried about that.

    The thing is, if someone is really, really angry at you, has access other writers, and access to the internet, and there is a way that writers can publish without you, you would be very wise to think about why they are angry at you and try to fix it.

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Mira, I hear you! I have clients who have been writing for decades and doing a good job at it. But I’m increasingly seeing publishers decide not to continue to work with these mid-list authors. Publishers would rather start fresh with a debut author.
      The pain and heartache this causes is something I have to watch–and I have to figure out what to do next for that client. It’s heart-rending.
      I’m trying to understand this from the publisher’s POV to help me know how to address it. I get it that the publisher’s distribution channels have decided these authors are poor performers and therefore are ordering fewer, if any, of the authors’ new releases. That means the publisher has to offer smaller advances, have smaller expectations of sales, and yet continue to incur the production and publicity expenses. The numbers are spiraling down.
      Can you see why they would decide to put their energies into someone new? It makes a sad kind of sense to me.
      So the issue isn’t whether an author is unique but rather is sales momentum consistently up or down? It’s a business question that unfortunately crushes individual careers in its path.

      • Mira says:

        Thanks for your response, Janet. I believe it is very painful to watch this happening!

        On the one hand, I can see why this might make sense on a purely financial level. But businesses can make business decisions for alot of reasons. I would hold the stance that crushing multiple individual careers fairly casually is a very bad business decision.

        For one thing, creating that amount of ill will is dangerous for any business that isn’t a monopoly. And publishing is no longer a monopoly.

        This doesn’t only affect mid-list. The bread and butter authors, the best sellers, may look at the bigger picture, see the way their fellow authors are treated, and not be happy with what they see. Best selling can become mid-list, after all.

        Again, I also see it as a waste of human resources. If you’ve invested time and energy in an author, it makes sense to continue to develop that author. Authors sometimes don’t hit their stride right away. There are many creative things publishers can do with mid-list authors. They need to think outside the box alittle here, I think.

        The other thing is – it’s just not neccessary. If publishers don’t want to go to the expense of a print book for a mid-list author, try e-book release only.

        Publishers could benefit from being a bit more nimble and less casual about their primary labor force. They need to develop more loyalty in their author. Or authors might leave, saying: It’s just a business decision.

  • I agree with Brad’s descriptive phrase (above): “embrace the frontier.” An apt description of you, Janet, and of Books and Such Lit Agency.

    Perhaps a measure of clarity is found in a return to our original mission.

    What is the mission of a [Christian] publisher, agent, and author? Why did we get into this ministry? Do we even see it as a ministry any longer?

    Without being self-righteous or ultra-spiritual, I think it’s good to occasionally remember what drives us, especially those of us who write for Christian publishing houses. That’s first.

    The second set of questions would revolve around the first. What structures best serve the mission? No easy answers, to be sure, especially when we also need to put food on the table for our families, but we always need to return to our mission.

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Thanks for this insight, Bill. Returning to what initially motivated us to write is an important decision-driver for all of us. Why did the publishers first crank up their printing machines? Why did agents decide to help to advance writers careers? These are all core questions that bring us back to the basics.
      And once we’re there, the path forward for each of us is likely to be a lot clearer.

  • Janet, your post was helpful, as always. Is it okay to ask about Alive’s new program Bondfire? They’re the first Christian agency I’ve heard of who’s created their own self-pubbing line.

    Do you think others will follow in their footsteps? I’ve wondered how an agent can make a living if a number of clients take their books directly at Amazon as you’ve shared in this scenario.

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Sally, Alive is, I believe, the first Christian agency to formally establish a publishing arm that’s open not only to their clients but also to other authors.
      Most agents have developed some method to assist clients to self-pub. What that looks like differs from agency to agency. But these agencies are not moving in the direction of becoming a publisher or of opening up their services to any author.
      One of the aspects of helping clients to have their books available digitally that our agency kept uppermost in mind is that we didn’t want to play the role of publisher, who picks and chooses what gets published and what doesn’t. We wanted to create an opportunity for our clients that kept us in the roles of career planners and publication facilitators.
      Each agency has created a plan that involves the agent receiving pay/commission for whatever part he or she played in getting the project produced.

  • Very interesting post and comments.

    There’s something in the air today. Steve Laube and Rachelle Gardner also posted on some heavy stuff.

    I’m going back to my WIP now, where all the conflicts and money troubles happen to other people.

  • LOL! Sally, you gave me a great chuckle for the day. Between that and Janet’s Star Trek comment, I should smile for entire afternoon.

    Janet, this is such a fabulous post. I thank you for it, as the topic of civility–or lack there of–has been on my mind today. It’s not just publishing, it’s everywhere. Even though this new frontier of publishing is changing with the speed of light lately, I’m sure if we try we can all get along.

  • I remember civil! I think it bumped up the endangered species list – right below Thank You notes. Thanks for the reminder, Janet.

  • Great post. The world of books and publishing is changing quickly and until the dryer stops spinning who knows where we’ll all end up.
    I chose to put my novella up on Amazon as sort of a test to see what happens. Some authors applaud it, others think its a big no-no. I know writers who go one way and believe their way is the correct way whether that be indy or traditional.
    Then there’s Amanda Hocking who made a name for herself on Amazon but then accepted a three book deal from a major house. When interviewed she said she took the deal, in spite of making a million on her own, because it was what she always wanted. Her indy books led the way to an agent and publishing house so that path worked for her.
    Who knows where we’ll go next, but it is an interesting ride.
    Me? I just want to write.

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Aimless writer, it’s that desire to “just write” that tends to put many creative types in the camp of going with a traditional publisher. But good for you for experimenting. How can we know what self-pubbing looks like if we don’t try it. Some folks just know it’s not for them; but others find out by trying.

  • Yvette Carol says:

    Yeah thanks for this post Janet. I’ve read so many different views of the publishing situation, and I found your view to be a fresh, new insight into what’s happening. It’s discombobulating for everyone! There’s something kind of comforting in that. I wonder whether the dryer will ever stop spinning? Hope things start to settle soon! It’s real hard to keep up with it….
    Yvette Carol

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Yvette, don’t I know. It’s my job to keep up with all the changes, but a few weeks ago I took a vacation and tried to stay unplugged. When I returned, I discovered Microsoft had made some big-deal connection with B&N. Wait. Doesn’t everyone know that, when I go on vacation, no big deals are supposed to occur? How am I to stay caught up!?

  • It seems in the last few weeks that my cranial matter has had to squeeze out such intellectual pursuits as “Survivor” and make room for the uphill climb of the publishing learning curve. Sally Apokedak is right, there s something in the air.
    This discussion brought a memory back that I hadn’t thought of in decades. I had never rock climbed before and was expected, yes, expected to learn on an underhang and then up through a crack. That’s when you go UP under an overhang and then climb up through a crack using only your hands and feet. My instructor had done El Capitan (Yosemite Park) countless times. He gave me some very wise advice. I remembered the advice all these years, just not the climb.
    What did he say?

    “Trust your guide, trust your belay and don’t look down.”

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Ooh, I love that “don’t look down” part. I’ll work at employing it as publishing continues to take us to unimagined heights…or is that depths?

    • Peter Dudley says:

      That is great advice from your instructor for climbing. But it highlights today’s problems when it’s applied to traditional publishing.

      Let’s explore: The climber is the author. The guide would be the publisher (yes?) leading the climber to the top. The belay would be the agent, watching out for the climber’s well being.

      Loyalty is eroding in publishing, as Janet aptly points out in the post. Once that climb has started, you have to have complete, unconditional trust in your belay and guide. You have to know they are totally loyal to you. And you trust them because you know they take your life seriously.

      As an author who’s watched a lot of people try to climb that rock, I lost trust in the guides and the belays. I decided instead I’d take the long way round and hike to the top, enjoying the scenery and leisurely pace along the way. (i.e. self publish)

      You do know there’s a hiking trail to the top of El Capitan, right?
      :-)

      • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

        I want to be sure to state clearly that I’m not against self-publishing. I just see a lot of authors not being smart about how to do it. Many authors are in the process of self-destructing as a result of the decisions they’re making as they hike the trail. Some authors are being masterful at it, either because they have the just-right mix of personality characteristics + platform or sufficient money to hire out what they can’t do to people truly talented at those other publishing aspects. I’m not seeing a ton of people who fit in either category. But that means self-publishing is self-selective, just as, in many ways, is traditional publishing.
        It’s true that publishers and agents fail authors. Sometimes the fail rate is high because of neglect or indifference. But in what ways does that make publishing different from any other business? Every business is a team “sport,” and team members can fail to do their part for a variety of reasons.
        If only we could all find a sure bet…

  • Ann Bracken says:

    It makes sense to me that each group feels this way. Publishing is going through the same changes that the music industry did. I’m sure there will be some who are lost, just like the record labels of old. For those working in the industry, that’s plain scary, and a natural reaction to fear is to protect all you’ve got while looking to hoarde more.

    Publishing could take a lesson from the music industry. Each group, artists, labels, and stores, had to adjust to the new reality. I’m sure we’ll have a Napster of our own to deal with in the future (can’t tell you how many people have offered me ‘free’ books – ones they’ve converted to pdf from the digital file). I’m also sure the equivalent of iTunes will spring up (if it hasn’t already in the form of Amazon). Who knows, maybe we’ll get television shows. We can call it American Writer, where people read their material and America votes on their favorites.

    The ones who survived in the music industry were those who got rid of the ‘us versus them’ attitude, banded together, and embraced the bold, new world. I think being civil to each other and trying to hear the other side’s POV is the least we can do.

  • Alton Gansky says:

    Nice piece, Janet. Well said. Learning the new twists in the business is like drinking from a fire hose. Thanks for the observations.

  • Bob Mayer says:

    I feel better than ever after 20 years in legacy publishing. Just passed seven figures earned in 18 months as an indie author. Make a “very nice deal” every month. Except it’s never posted in Publishers Lunch.

    That’s the future.

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Congratulations, Bob, that’s a fabulous feat, and you deserve tons of accolades for having achieved that goal. Bet you’re happy and feeling not one bit disenfranchised!

    • Way to go, Bob!

      As you and I’ve discussed in person and on author forums, Bob, is that it doesn’t make good business sense for an author (trad or indie) to leave money on the table, or to sign over rights to an entity that isn’t going to add more money/value to the equation. No one on Wall Street would operate that way. But authors have been doing this for decades.

      How many bestselling authors are on our indie forums now, and growing everyday? I want them and the newbies to make a “very nice deal” so they can support their families without working 3 jobs. But I want them to have mentorship too, such as in your classes/books and here on Janet’s blog.

      best,
      Christine M. Fairchild

  • Janet, you hit a rather large nail on the noggin. EVERYONE needs to be more graceful.

    I can’t tell you how disturbing it is to follow agents/editors on Twitter and listen to them be publicly petty about authors/queries/etc. and make a sport out of making fun of writers. Between this, the dismal pay, the lack of marketing support, and general lack of loyalty from publishing traditionally, it’s no wonder that authors are, for lack of a better term, giving NY the finger. But I do want to address a few points.

    AGENT LOYALTY BELONGS TO WRITER/CLIENT NOT NY/BUYER:
    First, agents are supposed to rep their client, not publishers. ALWAYS. There’s a lot of grumbling how agents have gotten their alliances mixed up. Some really ugly stories, which I’m sure you’ve heard and hopefully don’t participate in.

    ‘DISPENSIBILITY’ ATTITUDE GOT NY IN TROUBLE:
    Second, I don’t agree with your comments that authors are replaceable–I do agree with the commenter who said that attitude has create a backlash for publishing right now, because authors are dishing amongst themselves about the history of treatment. And it’s not pretty.

    AUTHORS LOVE THE NEW MODEL:
    Neither do I agree with your comment “Most of us want our old job descriptions back.” Uh, no, not authors! NY bestsellers are quietly saying they are jumping ship and making more money in one year than double decades with a NY house. We can finally make a living. And in this industry, money is power. Power to hire our own PR/marketing specialists, our own editors, our own tours. Why would we go back?

    As much as I loved this post, and even advertised it to others, I think there is still the missing point: Authors are disenfranchised by how things WERE, but are happy with how things are GOING TO BE.

    NY didn’t have loyalty as much as they had ownership. Authors are no longer in bondage by the system. They have more freedom and power and SAY SO than ever before. Why exactly would we be disenfranchised by that?

    Thank you again for the enlightening conversation. I really appreciate your frankness and boldness in an industry that has brown-beaten folks for speaking the truth!

    Warm regards,
    Christine M. Fairchild, a proud indie author
    http://EditorDevil.blogspot.com
    The Editor Devil’s Guide to DIALOGUE (http://amzn.com/B007K1PZZC)
    The Editor Devil’s Guide to CHARACTERS (http://amzn.com/B007PTQKXA)

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Christine, thanks for your thoughtful comments. In terms of loyalty, most agents I know are loyal to their clients. For me, I don’t feel as though I’m serving two masters. I do always keep in mind, when I have conversations with publishers, that part of serving my clients is being diplomatic. What help am I providing my clients if publishers view me as an agent they’ll only work with if they have to? A diplomat has the tough job of explaining what the party they represent needs yet knowing how to keep the conversation going with the person he or she is trying to get to act differently.
      Regarding dispensability as one of the things publishing got wrong, I agree/disagree. I represent authors whom I care deeply about but for whom I’m struggling to come up with their next contracts because their long-time publishers decided it was easier to replace these authors than to figure out how to get more momentum for them. That grieves me. I lose sleep over this kind of thing.
      On the other hand, I understand why, as a business decision, the publisher made that choice. My job is to help the author to figure out what to do now…and I’m looking at all kinds of options. But, you see how, from the publisher’s POV, authors are dispensable. I don’t like that, I don’t want that to be true, but to the publisher it is true. Traditionally published authors and agents have to live with this reality. It’s not a new mindset; but publishers reach this decision much more quickly today than they did in the past.
      Regarding authors loving the new model: Not so much with my clients. They really do wish we could go back to the day that they were publishing regularly, making a modest living and having a contract waiting for them as they finished the current one. You and I travel in different circles, I’m pretty sure, so the authors we know see the world differently. That’s why we need to be civil with each other. Paths are diverging and decisions have to be made by each author. There’s no wrong and no right; there’s just different.

  • Wonderful “civil” post! Excellent attitude.
    Like always, for people who are willing to work hard and smart, there’s opportunity in this new “gold rush” age of publishing. You’re right about needing to have the right attitude–positive and civil.
    Stephanie Queen

  • How nice to read a post with both good thoughts and a reasonable attitude. It does seem at times as if the changing world is not only making folks crazy, but also making some dig in their heels, others freeze with the inability to act, and others lash out at whoever is placed into the camp of “the opposition”.

    And I think it’s only going to get worse. New tech has created new opportunities. Which is wonderful but it also requires a greater faith in one’s own work. When you can no longer blame a publisher for bad marketing, you have to look to your own efforts and figure out ways to make your own work better.

  • Interesting that my comment on May 16 is still “awaiting moderation” when others have entered comments since then. I posted my remarks to my local RWA yahoo group, and they are also interested why my comments went unnaccepted.

    I personally think it was operator error? Certainly don’t want to think it was a bias issues, but that opinion is brewing with others… please advise :)

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Christine, at last, your initial comment popped up for me to respond to. I have no idea why the delay, but I assure you, I found nothing so off-putting in your comment that I thought we couldn’t have a discourse about it.

  • Thanks, Janet, for your kind response. It was very odd indeed that my post “dissapeared”, but all’s well now.

    I want to add that I read your reply to Bob and I appreciate your balanced approach to this quagmire of a topic.

    A lot of indie authors are definitely shooting themselves in the foot, making poor or uneducated decisions. That being said, I also help trad published authors who are left to their own devices (and money) to do the marketing/promos/tours because their houses only $support big name authors. Likewise, their agents are not going to pay for anything or spend much time. I’m sure you’ll agree this is not the sign of a good partner/agent.

    So the industry is not what it used to be on many levels, especially the support, but what seems trad authors and indie authors have in common is that I DO agree with is that they need to take full responsibility for their craft AND their career/marketing and look to agents/editors as advisors only, not biz partners. I’m so happy to see many agencies take on this role for indie authors as well as their trad authors (who are often going indie too). What I don’t want to see is for any of us to lose the quality mentorship, from agents and editors and publishers alike, that has existed for decades in our field.

    The greedy, irresponsible, lazy agents and editors who’ve taken their power and authors for granted, well… that’s true of any industry and I think they are getting sifted out of the sandbox now. And that’s better for the honest, loyal agents right?

    thanks again for your honesty and well-rounded perspective!
    Christine M. Fairchild
    http://EditorDevil.blogspot.com
    The Editor Devil’s Guide to DIALOGUE (http://amzn.com/B007K1PZZC)
    The Editor Devil’s Guide to CHARACTERS (http://amzn.com/B007PTQKXA)

  • Tim Greaton says:

    All great observations, Janet. We are functioning in a convoluted and wildly changing industry. Pitfalls abound but so do opportunities. Communicating and learning from players in every facet of our field, I believe will best position us to find successful paths to the future.

    Thanks for an informative and thought-provoking post :-)

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