Pub Rants

Weight Of An E-Credit?

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STATUS: Today I got a first look at our new sample pages upload database. Totally cool but it won’t be live until January 2007. We still need to work out a few kinks. The idea of going completely paperless is pretty exciting!

What’s playing on the iPod right now? ALL MY LOVE by Led Zeppelin

Speaking of paperless, I’ve been fielding a lot of questions about e-publishing while doing internet interviews and chat loops lately. The biggest question seems to be whether an
e-publishing credit carries any weight with agents.

As always, this is going to vary depending on the agent. I tend to note them but the truth is they don’t impress very much. For some agents, not at all.

The only exception currently seems to be in the field of erotica where a lot of the erotic
e-publishers really paved the way for the genre to go more mainstream. A lot of e-authors are getting agents for the first time and deals with traditional publishers.

For erotica, it can carry some heft.

Does it hurt your chances? I don’t think so but as I like to remind writers, if you sell the e-rights to your project it can preclude a later print rights sale since most publishers often want to buy the print and electronic rights at the same time and if the electronic rights are tied up…

If you go the e-publishing route, be sure to get a reversion clause in your contract so the rights will revert back to you after a certain amount of time or volume of sales etc. You don’t want the e-rights held into forever. In a phrase, that would be bad.

6 Responses

  1. Sherry Thomas said:

    I first fell in love with you, Kristin, when I got to send in my full ms via e-mail. 🙂

    Just imagine all the trees and print cartridges that will be saved now that partials can also be submitted paperless. Ahhh. I’m going to have good dreams tonight.

  2. Anonymous said:

    What about being published in a university magazine (actual not virtual)? Also, does the prestige of the university matter carry any weight?

  3. Anonymous said:

    Two of my writing friends have been published with new or small publishers who offer their novels as e-books first, then move them into print. They both seem very happy with the arrangement.

  4. Catja (green_knight) said:

    When evaluating any publisher, there is a simple question to ask: what are their submission and editing procedures? A site that takes all manuscripts and spits them out as e-books will carry as much credit as putting it up on your own blog, while one that uses a traditional method for picking only the best and editing might carry more weight.

  5. Anonymous said:

    Can you elaborate with reference to Southern Writer’s comments. When small publishers offer this type of arrangement, is it likely to hold more weight?

  6. Cindy Procter-King said:

    I’ve heard the royalties for trad house e-rights suck, 6% and the like, compared to 35%-40% for small press epublishing. Of course the big houses have the distribution, so in the end the author usually makes out way better than if she goes epub/trade PoD paperback, but I wonder about the future of publishing… As more and more big, traditional publishing houses begin to really exploit/expand their epublishing division/options, the trad authors will be left with the same measly 6% when the overhead isn’t anywhere the same for the house as it is for print publishing. Maybe the idea is that the publishing houses can take a bit of a kick on the print side if and when the electronic versions ever start picking up in sales. Or maybe the idea is just to get the e-rights for as cheap as possible, because if an author isn’t going to barter for a higher percentage, the trad pub house is happy, right? So now I’m wondering if, as an agent, you feel authors going to contract with trad houses can and should have their agents strike that e-pub rights clause (if it exists) out of the contract? If a big house ISN’T currently putting out e-editions, are they amenable to striking the clause?

    It might take a few years, heck, maybe a few decades, but sooner or later epublishing will become much more the norm, IMO. And those poor authors stuck with the low royalties will suffer.