Buggered Mind of Neale Sourna, The

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Future Role of Agents

September 29, 2009
by Jane Friedman

[more before]

1. KEEPING PACE WITH DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES AND BUILDING NEW CONTRACTS AND RIGHTS STRUCTURES

...today’s boilerplate contract is inflexible and outdated. One idea put forth by Nash is that contracts become time-based, with potential for renewal, which dodges the sticky “in print” or “out of print” question that now determines the termination of most book contracts.

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2. ESTABLISHING AND GROWING EMPOWERING PARTNERSHIPS AND ONLINE PRESENCES FAR BEYOND BOOK PUBLICATION

...For anyone in this publishing game for the long run, it can’t be about the sale of one book—and this is where sometimes I see a lack of vision across the board. People get so focused on selling a title or in how that title is (or isn’t) supported by a publisher, that they lose sight of the much larger goal of an author’s career.

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...publishers aren’t in the business of producing books, but in the business of building authors’ careers—and connecting writers to readers.

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3. DEVELOPING NEW BUSINESS MODELS FOR HOW AUTHORS PAY AGENTS FOR THEIR EXPERTISE AND PARTNERSHIP

...One agency has quietly come out with a new model that requires authors to pay a minimum commission—i.e., the agent must earn a minimum amount on a sale no matter what advance the publisher pays, which means authors would “share” a larger part of the advance upfront (or even pay out of pocket in the case of very low advances).

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But, Agents may take projects knowing they will ultimately be paid by authors rather than by publishers.

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...agents, like publishers, will have to survive by specializing, by being distinctive in some way.

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Well, if it's specialization, niche craft is right for writers then it's right for agents, too.

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