STATUS: I think my phone receiver might be permanently glued to my left ear. For the last two days, I’ve literally averaged about 6 hours on the phone.
What’s playing on the XM or iPod right now? ANTARCTICA ECHOS by Vangelis
If you haven’t read the conversation between Mr. Eisler and Mr. Konrath that might be posted everywhere by now, I highly recommend it. It’s long but it’s also a very interesting read regardless of your own personal sentiments on the subject of self-publishing and Eisler’s decision. There is also another interview up on The Daily Beast that sheds a bit more light on his decision.
As I know both Barry and Joe, they probably won’t mind my pulling out an excerpt from their conversation and resposting it here. This section touches on what they see as the potential evolving role of the literary agent:
Barry: To turn a manuscript into an actual book and get it into the hands of a reader, we still need an editor, line editor, copyeditor, proofreader, jacket copy writer, bio writer, cover art designer, and digital formatter. Plus there are various marketing and sales elements, too. You manage all these functions yourself, and this is one way in which I’d argue that you really are, if not exceptional, then at least unusual.
Joe: I wouldn’t disagree with that.
Barry: So as legacy publishing dies out, where will other writers turn to for assistance with the critical functions I mention above?
Joe: We’ve talked about this before.
Barry: I know. I was trying to prompt you in an unobtrusive way.
Joe: Right. Okay, unobtrusively, I think agencies will morph into what I call E-stributors.
Barry: I agree with the concept, even if I don’t like the nomenclature.
Joe: You don’t like “print,” either.
Barry: Not when you’re talking about paper. There’s paper print and digital print. I think the better distinction is between paper and digital.
Joe: I know, I know. Anyway, E-stributors will be a combination of publisher and manager, handling all the elements you mention above for authors who don’t want to manage those elements themselves. The ones that do it well will probably be able to make a good case for keeping their 15% cut.
Barry: As opposed to legacy publishers, which are keeping 52.5%.
Joe: Yes. Hard to see how legacy publishers will be able to compete with the digital model being adopted by agencies. They’d have to morph into E-stributors themselves, which would be a huge challenge given their attachment to a paper infrastructure. More likely, you’ll see the most entrepreneurial editors jumping ship and joining agencies.
Given my current job *grin *, I wanted to spotlight it and ask, what else do you think would make an agent worth their 15% in a model like this? I have a feeling I’m going to find the answers very fascinating.