From author, Dr. Debra Holland:
Over the weekend, I attended a wonderful conference on story mastery, which was fun, inspirational, and chock full of interesting attendees. I had a marvelous time–with one exception–the agent who was a guest speaker. It wasn’t the first time I’ve heard agents bash self-publishing and Amazon, but since it’s important to me to educate authors about self-publishing, I wanted to write out some of what the agent said, and my opinion of his opinion.
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First of all, I want to be clear. I am NOT bashing agents.
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Someone in the audience asked his opinion of self-publishing. The agent responded by giving the audience opinionated, misleading, and sometimes false information, some of which I will detail here.
The agent was obviously against self-publishing, quoting the old statistic that 97% of authors sell less than 100 books. I know there are more recent surveys, and I also know that these surveys don’t tap into much of the self-publishing community. I know a LOT of self-publishers who sell more than 100 books. They sell more than 100 books a year, a month, a week, a day, or an hour. Granted I hang out in the romance author circles, and romance fiction is a big percentage of the market, but I also know authors of other genres who have sold more than 100 books.
I spoke up, not to challenge the guy, but to educate the audience. I stated that I was a successful self-published author who had made the USA Today list and sold almost 100,000 books in a year. The speaker then made his point by saying that I was obviously one of the 3%.
The agent stated that with self-publishing you have to be your own editor and do your own marketing. He said that you want to go with a traditional publisher because they have wider distribution and can get you into brick and mortar stores. All true. But he didn’t present the complete picture–that with self-publishing, you pay others to edit your work, and that no matter how you are published, you have to do promotion. Also most new or midlist authors don’t receive a lot of promotion from their traditional publisher–so it doesn’t matter if the possibility exists for wider distribution and promotion.
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The agent did grudging admit that a self-published author could receive higher royalties, but he mentioned that you could make 70% on a $10.00 book. (Untrue, you make 35% on a $10.00 book. You make 70% on a $9.99 book.) Granted, I’m being picky here. But if you are educating your audience, you have to give them the correct information.
Someone asked the agent more about Amazon. The audience member seemed to be asking about Amazon’s traditional imprints, but the agent kept referring to Amazon’s self-publishing platform. I spoke up and said that Amazon has traditional imprints. The agent responded by saying, “I would never submit to them because Amazon is destroying publishing. And I don’t know any other agent who submits to them either.”
Wow, really? No other agents submit to Amazon imprints?
I knew some of my fellow Montlakers had their books submitted by agents. Today, I took a survey of my Montlake friends and found a large percentage of authors had their books submitted by their agents.
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Here is a guy who may be acting to detriment of his clients due to his own ideology. This agent is denying his clients the opportunity to have offers from the Amazon imprints, which may be much better than traditional publishing offers–or at the least spark some kind of bidding war. In my case, I had a big six editor approach me for my Montana Sky series. Her terms weren’t as good as Montlake’s, so I declined her offer. I know several other Montlake authors who had offers from big six publishers, and they, too, went with Amazon’s better offers.
Then there is the potential for promotion and generating sales (and thus making money) that Amazon imprints offer. For example, my two Montlake books have sold about 100,000 in four months and a week.
Link to the rest at Dr. Debra Holland and thanks to Barb for the tip.