Monday, October 25, 2010

Agents and eBooks

Things they are a-changing, and nothing is changing as fast it seems as the face of publishing these days.

I was over on the Smashwords site while ago. I have the rights back now to my Mysterious Ways series and I am looking to put them out for the Kindle. This site had a paragraph addressed to literary agents that intrigued me. It said:

"The next chapter of the indie ebook revolution may very well be written by literary agents.  Literary agents are trusted business advisors to the world's most commercially successful authors.  As a business advisor and
author advocate, the agent's role is to help the author maximize the commercial potential of their work.  Indie ebook publishing via Smashwords represents an exciting complement and/or alternative to traditional
publishing.  Agents can help authors bring their reverted-rights works back to life as ebooks, or can publish an author's unpublished works that for one reason or another cannot be sold to a commercial publisher."

Now, I don't know that this is the route that I want to go, but the concept of what they are talking about interests me. It isn't the first that I've heard of it. Historically, any agent that charged for other services was in violation of the basic tenents of being an agent, particularly if they happen to be an AAR member. But I keep hearing that this may be changing in regards to select options that agents may be doing for their clients and this is one option I hear brought up a lot.

I know a number of agents that are holding back ebook rights and trying to negotiate them separately to someone set up to get them to market on the new e-readers. This market is exploding, and can no longer be considered just something we throw in the deal for a publisher. Is the next logical step to actually be involved in the upload of the books themselves?

What do you think? 


Karen said...

I was just involved in a discussion of ebooks on a travel forum for those who love to cruise. While a few are still holdouts for the printed page, the majority loves the option of downloading a small library and sticking it in a carry-on. The technology is also moving along and more and more versions--some by lesser known companies, are coming out. E-rights for periodicals and e-rights for books are going to have to be more well defined in contracts. Absolutely.

Timothy Fish said...

To me, that seems like the agent is becoming the publisher.

Jeanette Levellie said...

We can't move backwards, Terry. If riding the wave to publication means I pay my agent for a contract to an ebook, then show me where to buy a wetsuit, please. Today.

Terry Burns said...

Timothy, Bill Jensen has responded by forming Eagle Rock Publications in addition to being an agent and is doing precisely that. We're still looking at what our response to this should be.

Cheryl Linn Martin said...

Interesting and exciting "stuff of the future--Now!" Keep us posted on your journey with your books.

Me, I'd just like to get published any ole way! : )

Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

I know that my Kindle is the new "crack". I am so hooked on it that it is unbelievable! I'm presently reading a 16 book series and I downloaded them all from Kindle.