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The Questionable Future of Agents And Publishers

The Questionable Future of Agents And Publishers

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Published by JM Murray
At a recent writer’s conference I attended, EVERYONE was excited about digital books except the agents. They tried to ignore them—had no answers to counter the real issue that publishing digitally gives writers the power, tried to ignore places like Amazon Kindle, Google ebooks and Scribd. They continued that tired refrain that they were so very busy and it was up to writers to break through that malaise.
At a recent writer’s conference I attended, EVERYONE was excited about digital books except the agents. They tried to ignore them—had no answers to counter the real issue that publishing digitally gives writers the power, tried to ignore places like Amazon Kindle, Google ebooks and Scribd. They continued that tired refrain that they were so very busy and it was up to writers to break through that malaise.

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Published by: JM Murray on Aug 09, 2011
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05/12/2014

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The Questionable Future of Agents and Publishers
 By Jacqui Murray
At a recent writer’s conference I attended, EVERYONE was excited about digital
books except the agents. They tried to ignorethem
 — 
had no answers to counter thereal issue that publishing digitallygives writers the power, tried toignore places like Amazon Kindle,Google ebooks and Scribd. Theycontinued that tired refrain that theywere so very busy and it was up towriters to break through that malaise.In truth, I expected a better responsefrom them. Ebooks and self-publishing is a paradigm shift in their world and totheir livelihood, yet when asked what an agent broughtto the publishing party, they had no real answer.
We can talk to publishers
 
We know who to contact for you
 What I wanted to hear was why I still need them. There are reasons I can think of, reasons why
I’m still interested in signing on with an agent, if/when my book sparks their passion (they
admit: to attra
ct an agent isn’t as much about good writing as it is about striking that chordwithin the agent, grabbing a topic they are passionate about. I believe that and it’s fair. That’s
why we-all send out so many queries. We hope to find one that resonates to our song). Here are afew:
 
I don’t have the ear of publishers as they do, though this is becoming less important
 
 
I don’t know the legal minefields of publishing– 
is the contract fair?
 
an advocate, someone who stands up for what I need to thrive
 
I want to write, not market and sell
Here’s what I had hoped for from an agent which few get anymore:
 
 
help with editing my novel
 – 
telling me how to morph it from great to blockbuster
 
help spreading the good word. You know, marketing. Even traditionally-publishedauthors
say it’s up to them
 
 
an advocate to stand up for me when a publisher isn’t sure I’m good enough
 My takeway from this conference
 — 
besides that I have to get my act in gear even more about mydigital presence
 —is agents don’t get it. A paradigm shift occurred i
n their industry, not unlikethe days when buggy whips went from ubiquitous to unnecessary thanks to Henry Ford. Amazon

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ohheyjude liked this
Carl F Maulbeck added this note
Indeed, the hierarchal, patriarchal paradigm does not work anymore - "My takeway from this conference — besides that I have to get my act in gear even more about my digital presence —is agents don’t get it" - excellent, jacqui
kara_duckworth added this note
That's a very interesting take-away from a writers'conference. Thanks for sharing this.
Jed Diamond added this note
I'm with you on the change. As the world gets more complex and old systems continue to collapse, we writers need to be flexible and ready to guide our own futures. I've been published by major publishers, mid-size publishers, and have published myself. I've worked with agents and made contact myself. I'm doing more myself and with others and bypassing the old system of agents and publishers.
Mary Yuhas added this note
Great information, Jacqui! I've wondered if lit agents are the horse and buggy of our age. Time will tell! Like yourself I think one of their most important functions is to guide the writer and market the book, but I'm not sure that's what they think.
JM Murray liked this
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