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Jane Dystel: Agents Unwilling to Adapt Won’t Last

4 January 2013

From Digital Book World:

One of the hottest new places for agents to find clients and for publishers to find their next best-selling authors is the self-published best-seller list. As opposed to wading through a slush pile or searching endless Tumblrs and Twitter feeds for talent, looking at a list of self-published hits and choosing one sounds easy.

It’s not.

The competition for the authors is fierce – between the agents themselves and the idea that an agent and a publisher isn’t needed in the ebook era. Many self-published authors are going it alone. Some, like Hugh Howey, author of Wool, are crafting bespoke deals with publishers that underscore just how power has shifted to authors.

One agent in particular, however, has shown a talent for finding self-published authors who could benefit from her management and landing them big deals with publishers: Jane Dystel.

. . . .

JG: Prescient words. Back to ebooks. A lot has changed since then in book publishing. How has your business changed?

JD: It’s changed a whole lot, as has everyone’s. I am personally really excited about the ebook revolution. I think we’re at the forefront. We have a digital publishing program that we began in April 2011. We help authors put their books up online. There’s books of course where the books go out of print and the author gets the rights back and they want to see them have a new life. And sometimes people come to us out of the blue, people who we haven’t represented before and if we think we can help we add them to the list.

JG: How is that different from being a publisher?

JD: We’re not acting as a publisher; we’re acting as an agent. Our commission is 15% on all those books as it is across the board.

We are not publishers. We don’t take 50% as some of my colleagues do. I think those agents, in my opinion, who have separate ebook publishing entities, I think it’s a conflict of interest for them.

What we do is we help them [the authors] put their books up. They pay for the cover, the copy edit. We actually put the books up for them and we have accounts with all the retailers and we collect the money and pay them. Publishers actually invest in the property as a publisher would. They [the author] get the copyright [when working with us].

. . . .

JG: That’s a familiar trend today: indie authors wary of publishers.

JD: I think that this whole thing is a very exciting time in publishing but we don’t know what’s going to happen. The indie authors don’t know what’s going to happen and the publishers don’t know what’s going to happen. The publishers spending a lot of money on these indie authors have every reason to want what they’re buying to be successful. On the other hand, it’s a whole new ballgame here. If it doesn’t work out for the indie authors who are making these deals, they can go back to self-publishing. They have great followings, they know how to do social media very effectively. It’s very early days. There are some people who you see on the best-seller list who used to be self-published and are now on best-seller lists and who have done well but there are others who have not. It’s so early and everybody is trying something new. That makes what we’re doing very exciting. And we’ll see if it works. If it doesn’t work, we’ll do something else.

. . . .

JG: What made you start looking at self-published authors? What are some things you look for?

JD: I’m always looking for new things — everywhere.

The thing that’s happened is that as the mass market publishing industry is going into the toilet: the books that were selling 100,000-to-200,000 copies ten years ago are selling 10,000 today. And that’s because the distributor system has collapsed. So, I asked myself what’s going to replace it. And what’s replacing it is the digital publishing world. This all happened of course as the technology of the e-readers developed.

I look for good writing. I look for a good storyline. Somebody who can tell a really good story. I look for somebody who is very active in social media, very open in that world, a platform, a willingness to engage in self-promotion.

JG: What’s the biggest challenge you have today when looking for your next author?

JD: That we can help then do better than they’re doing themselves and that is a huge challenge because many of these self-published authors are doing phenomenally well.

Probably the majority don’t have a choice [between publishers and self-publishing] but the ones who are doing very well do have a choice and they will continue to have a choice as time goes on. I don’t agree with the traditional people who say they are making a mistake. They are operating in their own world and very successfully. They are making lots of money.

. . . .

JG: What do you think is a fair royalty for ebook sales?

JD: I don’t know, but I think it’s more than 25% of net [proceeds]. Would I like to see it at 50% of net? I would love that. Do I think that’s realistic in the near future? No. Especially as we have this consolidation that’s going on.

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

Agents

104 Comments to “Jane Dystel: Agents Unwilling to Adapt Won’t Last”

  1. Nice article. It’s very, VERY refresahing to hear an agent A) not plug themselves as your only choice for an e-publisher, something you can do on your own or B) not decry and condescend self-pubbing indies altogther while trying to validate and schill the old way of doing business. IE, the way that’s always benefited them most and is now vanishing.

  2. “What we do is we help them [the authors] put their books up. They pay for the cover, the copy edit. We actually put the books up for them and we have accounts with all the retailers and we collect the money and pay them.”

    Wait, what?

    • Lynn, my thoughts exactly! They’re getting 15% for what?

      • It *may* be valuable to some if she offers substantial content/dev editing since that can be really expensive, and some authors just can’t afford to pay for it themselves.

        • I doubt very much that she is interested in representing those authors. 15% of not-enough-money-to-pay-an-editor is not much of an inducement.

      • The agency also handles all of the project management. With a few exceptions, the D&G authors for whom we’ve made books do not work with us directly. The authors tell their agents what they want, their agents work with us. The authors have sign off authority. And, if changes to the work need to be made, they come back to us via the agency. When the work’s done, we get paid by the author. I presume the agency does the same with other vendors. For some authors, not having to find production vendors for themselves, negotiate pricing, scheduling releases/marketing/etc—time they could be doing something else, like writing—is well worth the 15 percent.

    • That part bothered me too.

    • This becomes much more a “wait, what?” comment when you include the immediately preceding assertion that she is not a publisher. What is she doing that a publisher doesn’t/not doing that a publisher does???

      • The easiest part of self-publishing is uploading. I can do that myself. I can see paying an agent for marketing, release media, press releases, networking, and so forth.

        But in no world is an agent going to control all my accounts and then pay me.

        • If you’ve already had a longstanding publishing career and this is what you know (ie. the publisher sends checks to your agent, your agent pays you after taking their cut), then nothing really changes for you. A couple of the authors we’ve made books for via D&G have been paid that way for more than three decades. One author’s debut novel was released in the early-70s. For him, I presume, getting a check from his agency is nearly as certain as death and taxes.

          • Rob, you’re walking into a long-standing conversation on this blog about agents and money, so some of the objections here may seem rather confusing to you.

            You might read this article, it would explain what the concern is:

            http://kriswrites.com/2012/11/14/the-business-rusch-agents-and-money/

            In a nutshell, if agent recieve the money, they can (and many have) cheat the author, and the author has little recourse. That’s not accusing this particular agent of anything; it’s just not a good idea for authors to turn over their finances to anyone where they are not able to double-check the books.

            • I’m not confused at all, and I know the background quite well: the ratio of pro authors on our roster who have at least one bad agency story is probably 1:1 (a fair number of them are listed there in the sidebar to the right). A closer read of my post would’ve revealed that I was referring to specific authors represented by D&G (albeit without leaving many clues as to who they might be). As another author on our roster says, “publishing isn’t an ideology… it’s a business.” Understanding this, saying things like “I’d never …,” as long as it’s not illegal/immoral/offensive/etc, may not always be best for your business. In the link you provided, Kris Rusch cautions not against signing all agency agreements, just certain types of them. In other words, she’s instructing writers to make business decisions.

              The point I was trying to make is that the authors with whom we’ve worked at D&G (as well as a couple of other agencies) are smart, have been been in publishing long enough to be able to look after their interests (a la Kris’s post) and have determined that the points they give up are worth not having to do a lot of things themselves. For them, getting paid by their agent is SOP.

  3. “I’ve had authors for whose books I’ve tried to sell and have failed and I’ve said okay, let’s publish the book digitally, see how it does and then if we have a story to tell in terms of sales in terms of the electronic self-published version, we go back out.”

    What we do is we help them [the authors] put their books up. They pay for the cover, the copy edit. We actually put the books up for them and we have accounts with all the retailers and we collect the money and pay them. Publishers actually invest in the property as a publisher would. They [the author] get the copyright [when working with us].”

    The above paragraphs tells me she is a very smart lady who knows how to present herself to her future clients. Is it smart to have her as your agent? Well, considering the second paragraph, I wouldn’t, but that’s just me.

  4. She does seem smart, and fairly tuned into the reality of the changing landscape. One thing that other agents would be very wise to do, but most are refusing: she agrees to negotiate foreign right and movie negotition deals only. Smart. That way, she can form a relationship with them, and possibly gain them as a full client.

    I also liked, very much, that she was able to advocate with a Publisher to have a book’s price lowered.

    However, like Lynn, I did NOT feel comfortable with the idea that they get the money and pay the author. There’s an element of control here that feels uncomfortable, although I will acknowledge that some authors probably prefer to not worry about the money at all (and lack education about how important it is for them to be paid directly), so it’s probably seen as an additional service.

    This still raise the issue for me – what exactly is she doing that justifies a 15% lifetime commission?

    • One more comment about something.

      I taken aback at the insider information that Publishers are calling authors who choose to publish: stupid. Really?

      Really????

      • Whoops, left out an important word:

        I taken aback at the insider information that Publishers are calling authors who choose to SELF-publish: stupid.

        Really???????

        • Shaming is a powerful technique to stay in charge. The writing community is where I learned early on that self-publishing was bad–no matter that it allowed me to continue to read my favorite authors who had had their series canceled before they finished out if they chose to self-publish.

          When techniques like shaming are involved, it’s always a good idea to analyze who benefits from the belief that people who choose to self-publish are *all* impatient, delusional, think they know better than the professionals, stupid, not good enough, unprofessional, people who gave up and didn’t have the ability and determination to stick with it, write poor, unedited drivel, and are a thorn in the side of authors who worked hard to get where they are with trade publishers. I’ve heard all of these things, and more, from industry professionals ranging from editors, agents, and to trade published authors themselves. However, and this is the good thing, many are coming around to see that those things don’t describe all self-publishers, and certainly not the ones to treat self-publishing as a profession, but there are some who will never come around and will cling to ideas that aren’t necessarily true.

          Self-publishing and trade publishing are two very different types of businesses. So, if one only pays attention to one type and surrounds themselves by people who share the same opinions, one isn’t going to have a balanced opinion of what’s going on, but that doesn’t stop people from presenting their beliefs as facts.

          I think it’s interesting that so many in the industry look down on self-publishers, and yet some of them are first in line to try to snap up self-publishers that are selling well. It’s also interesting that there’s been a marked change last year in the tenor of comments in writing forums and on agent blogs. On the latter, there are still fawning comments, but more and more, the comment section isn’t just a place to agree with the agent. There have been a number of (usually) respectful disagreements going on. Also of interest, before last year, industry professionals insisted that they were there to preserve Literature and publish only the finest. Now, more and more are acknowledging that the bottom line really is the bottom line.

          • Danyelle – I completely agree with the shaming aspect. Nicely said. I also think this is a natural reflection of the general disdain the Industry has for authors.

            But I also wonder if calling indie authors “stupid” is hostility covering an underlying fear.

            I’m also seeing alot of the changes you mentioned – I think it’s a very positive sign!

            • Fear is usually the basis of superiority complexes. That and ignorance.

              To be fair, I’m pretty ignorant about trade publishing as I don’t have any personal experience beyond the query-go-round, so I have to rely on what other, more seasoned people have to say about it. Just as industry professionals who have never really tried self-publishing are largely ignorant of how it works and have to rely on the reports of others. Confirmation bias is alive and well. :)

              And yes, those changes that are happening are definitely a very positive sign!

          • +10

          • Shaming requires people have respect for the shamers. i don’t think it works too well here.

            • True. :D

              Although, when I first began publishing, the reaction from some authors that I considered to be colleagues was a rude awakening. Happily, I’m learning not to take as much stock in what other people think about me or the choices I make. :)

    • There is one way that having the money go thru the agent works: if the agent has set up a “lock-box” account with a dedicated commercial account. What this does is provide a record of all the money coming in, & sets up a barrier to commingling of personal & trust funds.

      It’s not invulnerable against an unscrupulous agent who wants to steal their client’s money, but it does provide some protection. And then there’s the question of how many agents actually use some kind of setup — whether this, or something like it — to make an audit possible.

      All that said, it appears that D & G is one of the better literary agencies at present. (I can only think of one other agency that appears to be able to do a better job of representing me than myself.) So if D & G sounds a bit sketchy, the others are doubtlessly even moreso.

  5. We make ebooks and print-ready for a few of D&G authors, and everyone at the agency gets it. Everyone we’ve worked with there is as sharp as tacks and has laser focus on their authors’ best interests.

  6. “As opposed to wading through a slush pile or searching endless Tumblrs and Twitter feeds for talent…”

    What a chore! We have to deal with all those boring submissions, the mail, the paper, the emails. This is SO MUCH BETTER. Let the audience vet the properties out for us! Why didn’t we think of this long ago?–almost any agent

  7. Sorry. The author is still giving over control of their earnings, plus 15% of those earnings, to an agent for the job of publishing the book. The agent is publishing the book and paying out to the author. How is this not mixing the roles of agent and publisher?

    On the plus side, I’m glad D&G don’t think this is an excuse to take another 50%, but seriously: authors can’t deal with Rob at 52Ebooks or another cover/formatting service themselves, and click on a few choices at Amazon or B&N or Kobo, etc. and let the payments come into their bank accounts without help? I suppose for those who think themselves incapable, this is a better deal than they’ll get elsewhere. They’re still paying out 15% in perpetuity (which for an e-book is a very long time indeed). And I’d be curious to see the hybrid agent-publisher contract they’re offered.

    • “authors can’t deal with Rob at 52Ebooks or another cover/formatting service themselves, and click on a few choices at Amazon or B&N or Kobo, etc.”

      Sure they can. But not everyone wants to and what they give up is worth what they get. Taking your question a step further back:

      “authors can’t make their own ebooks and covers themselves, and click on a few choices at Amazon or B&N or Kobo, etc.”

      Second verse same as the first. I have a rather nice business because not everyone wants to.

  8. Make no mistake, Rob, I like what you’re doing for authors. You charge a flat fee. Authors who need your service get good value for money. I’m totally cool with that. I just wish more authors would stop giving over control of their writing finances to agencies and hire you directly.

    • Fair enough. Their business model might not be to your liking, but I can tell you without reservation that D&G are the good guys.

      And thanks for your kind words about us.

      • Rob, I believe you. They sounded reasonable, and I can see even why I would publish an e-book through them. I need to develop such a relationship in the future. Do you know Yassine Belkacemi? Have you worked with him in the past?

  9. What I don’t get is if you pay a flat fee for a cover and editing, why can’t you pay a flat fee for your book to be uploaded if you don’t want to do it yourself? Why should they charge 15% for the lifetime of your book?

    • Paul, exactly. The services they are describing would justify a flat fee, but not a lifetime commission in my opinion.

      • I agree. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. I can see authors who have been in the industry longer relying on agents for this service, but I’m not sure the newer authors would find giving up 15% in perpetuity for these services quite as tenable. A flat fee, for the services described, would be fair.

  10. I found the article very interesting. I can see under many circumstances now where a relationship with an agent could not only serve me, but be a requirement. After Self Publishing just one title, ( Rob, I love you guys by the way) I am not sure I can ballance both writing, my day job and self publishing all at once. Yes, I make more self publishing in %, but I spend way more time too. But, just the movie rights thing could be huge. So, this article did a lot to sell me on the idea.

    • Thanks, David. I’ll pass along the kudos to Jennifer.

      • Jennifer was great to work with. I will be sending more work your way this year, and continue to speak highly of your shop. It it a treasure to find people to work with who are professional and dependable.

        • Thank you. It’s appreciated. Not sure if you’re aware, but Jennifer is leaving us at the end of the month. She and her husband bought a small, organic products company. Bittersweet for us all, as her authors do enjoy working with her and like her design. I don’t know yet how we’ll redistribute her list, but we’ll make sure you get paired up well.

  11. “What we do is we help them [the authors] put their books up. They pay for the cover, the copy edit. We actually put the books up for them and we have accounts with all the retailers and we collect the money and pay them.”

    If the author is already paying for the cover and copy edit, why is an agent only uploading to online retailers? Amazon, BN and Smashwords only require a doc file in order to publish. I dont’ see the value-added service that the agent in this case is providing. If you’re file/cover are ready to go, publishing online takes 5 minutes, seriously.

    • You’d be surprised at the number of people who have either have no interest in doing this or who are afraid (yes, afraid) of doing this or who just want someone to handle this soup-to-nuts. Changing the oil in my car is easy and takes just a little amount of time, yet gladly I pay someone to do it for me.

      • I agree that many people have a fear or lack of tech savvy to upload… but I don’t agree that service is worth 15% for life. If it were a flat fee service, then yes. 15%? Sounds more like a bit of fear-mongering to me. Besides the copy-edit and cover are the more time-consuming aspects, yet the author pays for those too? If the agent is get 15% then those should be included.

        And what about this last Q/A?

        JG: What do you think is a fair royalty for ebook sales?

        JD: I don’t know, but I think it’s more than 25% of net [proceeds]. Would I like to see it at 50% of net? I would love that. Do I think that’s realistic in the near future? No. Especially as we have this consolidation that’s going on.

        If I’m understanding this correctly, she thinks the 15% should be higher? Closer to 25 or 50% WTH? Is this for the same services listed above? Oh hell no.

        • I think her comment is not in reference to the 15% commission for uploading an e-book, but to the royalty rates from traditional publishers for e-books.

          I can see why someone would gladly upload an ebook through this agent for 15%/85% split. Relationships are another form of currency, and in the world of publishing, my hunch is that relationships are everything. 50 Shades of Gray was succesful as self-published, but it becamse the mega success due to traditional publishing. That required a relationship at some point, likely with an agent. So, not everyone would balk at that 15%, most of all if the agent has very developed and key relationships.

        • @H.G.: Read upthread. Uploading isn’t the the only thing a D&G author gets in exchange for the 15 percent. And what David says about relationships is key. Several of our authors have agents and deals with publishers and they also put things out on their own free and apart from the other two. A few, in fact, put out things on their own and have book deals with Thomas & Mercer. Sure, their royalty drops for those books versus if they put them out on their own, but then they’re trading those points for something they believe is more valuable (in this case its Amazon’s marketing reach and expertise, and the relationship with them). The same is true for authors who have their agency facilitate their self-publishing endeavors: what they get in return has more value to them than what they give up, whether that’s not having to deal with lining up vendors, or negotiating other media rights, or being able to spend more time writing, or being able to enjoy semi-retirement, or not having to manage a payroll, or a combination of things. You get enough things to line up on your own value chart, then 15 grand on a hundred might be worth every penny and then some.

      • That’s why these threads are so valuable. Authors can learn it is easy to upload that file. Thousands have done it.

    • One thought — offered as an explanation, not as a defense — is that a lot of authors come to the challenge of self-publishing as total newbies, & have no idea whom to use to edit, to format the text, to create a cover. (I’m finding it a challenge to nailing down a friend to create one for me who is a skilled professional — & I’ve repeatedly told him I’m willing to pay him for his work.)

      Having someone like D&G vet those people may be worth the 15% to some people.

      • I agree, Geoff, but such milquetoasts make me throw up in my mouth a little.

        Jesus, this is a BUSINESS. Nobody should be whimpering in bed because they’re afraid to type mediabistro.com into a web browser to find a cover artist. (Which is what I did, to great success, and it took me all of ninety seconds to find her. Same for formatter.)

  12. I meant to add- Seems like she’s going to way of most other agents and becoming a small press/agent/publisher in order to stay relevant in this world where authors don’t ‘need’ agents anymore. Adapt indeed.

  13. Amend above royalties should be at least 50%… Still WTH? I’m getting that and higher already through all my digital channels. Why should I give up royalties to allow her to be my agent? Or any agent/publisher when I have 70% and 80% (Kobo specials) especially in light of Hugh’s breaking the seal with S&S.

  14. I know folks who will do the whole upload thing for you for a reasonably low flat fee and that’s the end of it. No royalites, just a one time fee. And folks who create covers and do editing (and you say authors have to pay for their own–do you steer them to specific providers of art and editing services or do they choose their own?) I can see an agent to negotiate foreign and film rights, but uploading for a perpetual fee? I think it’s a matter of education. There are those who will always prefer to remain in the same relationship sometimes, even if that might not be the healthiest. This is why there are options, I guess.

  15. “We are not publishers. We don’t take 50% as some of my colleagues do. I think those agents, in my opinion, who have separate ebook publishing entities, I think it’s a conflict of interest for them.”

    Anyone know the percentage where an agent tips over into being a publisher? At what percentage point does the conflict of interest kick in?

    • It’s interesting to note that every single agent turned publisher (or acting as a publisher in all but the name) I’ve come across has made a point to state that there is no conflict of interest. Most of them have also denied being publishers, even though they are pretty much fulfilling the role of publisher from the duties they outline in their announcements.

  16. If your book is selling well enough to be noticed and offered an advance by a traditional publisher, what can an agent do for you that an intellectual property attorney can’t?

  17. I missed it in the original article that she charges 15% for life to hire a subcontractor to do a couple hours of work for an author. WHAT A JOKE! WHAT A RIPOFF! A flat fee is fair. 15% for life is … ugh. Who falls for this crap?

    • Who falls for it are authors to whom this is the normal way of doing publishing business and who do not want to change that for whatever reasons. Some, as Rob pointed out, have been in publisher / agent / author relations for years, and this seems to them to be the way professionals do business. Others are new authors who think they have to sign away a portion of their royalties for a portion of the work that needs to be done in order to be published.

      In fairness to that view, the job of creating and publishing an ebook may be easy, but the job of creating a professional-looking cover and ebook is somewhat harder. Some people want to do that work themselves, but many do not.

      Most of us here know that there are people like Rob who will do the technical heavy lifting for a flat fee (and excellent editors whose services you can buy likewise), and that those things accomplished, “publishing” is checking a few choices at e-book distributor sites. Hard as it may be to believe for die-hard indies, the majority of hopeful authors still think it’s normal, right, and even intelligent to give someone a cut of their future earnings rather than hiring professionals by the job.

      My view is that I don’t like to change my oil either, but I don’t give my mechanic 15% of my car for doing that job.

      • I don’t think what Jiffy Lube does and what an agency does are valid comparisons. The fact is, while you’re not actually changing your oil by going to Jiffy Lube, you’re still the one who’s taking the time out of your weekend to schlep the car to the garage and hang around while the work is done. The magazines are awful, the coffee is worse, and it always takes longer than you expected. What’s more is that if they determine you need to change your air filter, then you have to hit the auto parts store on the way home because Jiffy Lube is all but certain to not have the air filter you need. No, the more apt comparison is hiring a personal assistant to handle these sorts of things on your behalf.

        Of course, there are drawbacks to hiring an assistant, as well. There’s the actual interviewing and hiring part, but once you’re beyond that point you’re now in charge of a payroll, arranging benefits, paying taxes, filing paperwork and reporting to local, state and federal governments, and all of the other stuff that takes time away from your job (ie. working novelist). Or, in lieu of doing THAT yourself, you hire someone else—likely a service—to manage it for you. So, in addition to paying someone a salary, you’re also paying a service to be your HR operation.

        But what if you had an existing relationship with a service that could provide you with an assistant (who sets up your production, marketing, etc), manage and pay that assistant, and that also had its own HR back office? And because the fee you pay to that service is performance-based, the service has a built-in incentive to help you produce better results for your product.

        The value assessments with this go beyond just dollars-in minus dollars-out over time. If you’re making your own books and covers or changing your own oil in the driveway, what else could you be doing with that time? Whether you’re working with separate vendors to handle your book production or going to Jiffy Lube for the oil change, what else could you be doing with that time?

        The fact is, in our experience, the people who are having their agents handle this for them can’t be so easily be pigeon-holed as newbies or Luddites or milquetoasts or simply accustomed to doing things a certain way. They’re smart, seasoned authors who are capable of evaluating the terms of this deal and making decisions according to what works and makes sense for their businesses. The ones we’ve made books for like this haven’t been people that make me say, “Who?” They’re ones that make me say, “What?! We get to make so-and-so’s books?” And then I Snoopy dance.

        • For The Siren of Paris, I got my cover through Carl Groves and my formatting was done through 52 Novels and the editor was Tom Lemons. I could have made my own cover, messed with formatting until I go mad, and have my english lit friend do the editing. I decided to pay more for every single one of these services because of the professional service and relationships. Now, six months ago, I published direct because that seemed at the time like a smart decision. Next book, not so sure.

          CreateSpace does not have the ability to pitch and represent movie rights. Smashwords can’t pitch international rights. Everyone wants to have a deal with Amazon Publishing, but have you tried pitching it on your own? Amazon Studios now accepts direct pitches for screen plays, but who can reach out to them about a book? Who has those relationships? I know it is not self-published authors, and the ones who do, are very tight lipped.

          Rob, I am really shocked by the tone of the remarks here, and glad you decided to keep bring the conversation back to some reality. Would I publish a book through an agent like Michael Bourret, who has an office in Los Angeles and exposure to the movie industry for 15% of share on an e-book? Why would I not? Seriously, are indie authors that crazy? A movie deal leads to more sales and this furthers your career. People here are screaming over 15%, and that is all they can see? How much more short sighted can you get?

          And this is not a no-name agency. Has anyone looked at the client list? Did anyone bother to look up the list of agents? I don’t think so given the comments, because there seems to be this attitude that this is some fly by night backwoods barn party.

          Jon Clinch decided to self-publish his book “The Thief of Auschwitz”. I just noticed he has not published the kindle version yet. Interesting. He hired Kelly and Hall to do publicity. I actually got a quote from them for PR work. They make no promises, and trust me, it is pricey. He is working the social media platform, but how did he get his article in The Washington Post? Anyone here just been randomly picked up by The Washington Post?

          So, gosh, could it be a good idea to at least have a relationship with an agent, and even publish a few titles through that agent? Can anyone else see how maybe a modest 15% could net a PR relationship which could never happen in a million years through Kindle Direct Publishing? There is nothing certain about that, and no one can make any promises, but I am positive that it would be far cheaper than Kelly and Hall. If readers here doubt that, just go get a quote.

          • You are reading too much into the comments. You assume because someone says, “You shouldn’t pay 15% to have someone format an ebook and upload it to a website” it’s the same thing as saying, “You don’t need an agent to sell movie or foreign rights.” Nobody said that. I know I certainly didn’t. And FYI, just because you hire that agency (and pay them 15%) to format and upload your books, it doesn’t mean they’re EVER going to get movie or foreign rights sold. Probably the majority of their authors will have nothing but that ebook up there. Not only that, but you can do the formatting and uploading yourself or pay someone a fixed fee to do it AND get an agent who will only get 15% of what they can get for you themselves, by marketing your work and selling rights. Why give them 15% of something you’ve done and can easily do without their help?

            • Elle, Have you looked at their website? There is nothing certain in the world of entertainment except that there are no rules, and they are strictly enforced. In the world of e-publishing, I can see how an agent might seem to be a waist, but in the world of entertainment transactions, well, that is a different world.

          • @ David LeRoy

            You said:

            “Seriously, are indie authors that crazy?”

            Well, David, they are indie authors, which means that they are usually not interested in traditional publishing deals. Some are, but most aren’t. They have either been there, and been treated badly and refuse to go back, or they look at the horrible contracts, the total lack of marketing support, the overall disdain with which they would be treated, and decide that there is little reason to take that route.

            Or – for those who do want publishing deals, they are going after them without looking into agents. Agents are not necessary to make publishing deals, and many question what agents bring to the table to justify the lifetime commission they charge. Thus the comments on this thread.

            Going back to indie publishing, I don’t know if you read it, but there was an article posted here a few weeks back about how the Author of 50 Shades would have made more money if she had remained self-published.

            I believe it’s a very insidious myth that publishing traditionally will bring you more exposure. The reality is that if you publish traditionally, your book will be in bookstores for about 6 weeks. It will be given no marketing support. And if it doesn’t start selling in that time, it will be pulled from the shelves permanently. In the meantime, you will have signed over almost all of your rights, and a huge percentage of the income, as well as control over whether your book is listed anywhere.

            As for contacts, Publishers do not want to hear from authors unless they are best sellers. Trying to get a great movie deal through contacts is very iffy and would require enormous amounts of networking, and most debut authors would find it impossible to break in with a hughly successful book already in stores.

            Much better idea to work on the quality of your writing and try to build an audience.

            Anyway, the point is, an agent is optional to indies, whether or not the indie wants a traditional deal eventually. So, the question is – why get an agent, and why pay so much for one?

            • Whoops. The sentence is this:

              “most debut authors would find it impossible to break in withOUT a hugely successful book already in stores”

          • Jon has a friend at the Washington Post. He’s mentioned this at Backspace. He was not a proponent of self publishing over there, believe me. I suspect this wasn’t so much a ‘decision’ as an alternative to not landing another lucrative contract.

        • It’s not the same as hiring a personal assistant. If I hire a personal assistant, I assume that assistant will be doing work I need done every workday, 5 days a week, for as long as I pay her/him. And once I no longer need her/him to do the work, I end the relationship and stop the paychecks.

          But once you format and upload an ebook, there’s little to no work to be done, other than promotion (and agents don’t do that, to readers, anyway … the author does it.)

          So, if I use your personal assistant comparison, here’s what we get: I hire a personal assistant to do a few hours of work. She finds me a sub contractor who I pay to do that work. Then she sits on her butt all day filing her nails (or doing work for other employers), while I continue to pay her 15% of my income for the rest of my life. Even if she never lifts a finger to do another ounce of work for me, I still pay her that 15%. Gee. What a great idea … for the agency! Mmmmm, not so much for the author, though.

          I would argue that the majority of people who pay for this “service” from this agency just don’t know that they can do it for a fixed fee elsewhere. But soon enough everyone will figure it out and this baloney will disappear.

          • “… while I continue to pay her 15% of my income for the rest of my life.”
            Meanwhile, you pay Amazon 30 percent of your income for the rest of your life for doing what, exactly? A bunch of stuff that’s hands off once you click the Publish button. Heck, even the price Amazon charges you to use their servers is marked up 129,000 percent (http://bit.ly/113Cvbx) versus using their cloud hosting service (it costs about a penny per 100 megabtyes to download from S3 but you’re being charged $.15 for every 1 megabyte). You could pay a Web development firm once to build you an ecommerce site—with the files hosted at Amazon S3!—to sell your books directly. And then you’d get to keep everything. So, clearly, Amazon and their 30 percent… what a rip off.

            “I would argue that the majority of people who pay for this “service” from this agency just don’t know that they can do it for a fixed fee elsewhere…”
            In every case where my shop has been a subcontractor hired by an author’s agent, which includes the agent in PG’s post, the author has known full well that they can do on their own what their agent does for them. In fact, some of them hired me directly before they asked their agency to hire me. Some of them have their agent do this for some books, but not for others (usually because of a strategic choice they’ve made based on the business objectives they’re trying achieve).

            Look, I’m not arguing that D&G’s service is for everyone the agency represents (it’s not). Or that it’s better than what you’ve chosen, if for no other reason than I believe that running a business based on ideology isn’t a wise choice in the long term. But for some authors—and most certainly the ones for whom we’ve made books using this arrangement—the arrangement works well for them because it satisfies their unique personal and/or business requirements.

            • I can take my books off Amazon with the click of a button. Even with Smashwords, I take out two words and get a new ISBN and we’re quits with no hard feelings. You have that option on your service?

            • Rob Siders, I do think you’re alittle confused here.

              Paying an agent 15% is not comparable to having Amazon take 30%.

              You are comparing an agent fees with royalties. They are different.

              The agent’s 15% is on top of royalties. It is optional. Authors still need Amazon or a publisher, so those royalty percentages are not optional. And Amazon’s 30% is in a different world than Publishers, who take up to 95% of print, and 78% of e-books.

              So, you’re talking apples and oranges.

              • I’m not confused at all. I was being a tiny bit facetious to make a point. The argument time and again in this thread is “you can pay someone once to do all of the stuff that D&G does in exchange for 15 percent forever.” Yet, every single indie author gladly gives over 30 percent to Amazon to do what they can also pay someone once to do, as well.

                A fee, royalty, commission … whatever you call it you’re giving a percentage-based slice of your income for work that’s done once and quite likely never touched again.

                • Paying a distributor, which is what Amazon is, who provides ongoing virtual space is very different than paying someone 15% in perpetuity for taking five minutes to upload something.

                  I look at the percentage Amazon and other retailers take kind of like rent. They do provide ongoing service in making sure their websites are up and running, providing good customer service, and sometimes, if you’re lucky, featuring your book without requiring anything from the author. If I were to rent a physical space, even though the signing of the initial rental agreement might only happen once, that doesn’t mean I’m not continuing to receive something of value (building, etc.), especially since I would need a space to act as a storefront.

                  I don’t begrudge D&G for offering the services they offer, but I do think they are getting the better end of the deal. While there will always be authors who want to be taken care of so they can just write (which isn’t a reality anymore, for the most part, if it ever was), more and more newer authors will come into the industry who will not be trained to expect to be taken care of. As this happens, agents will have to continue to evolve and adapt. Just as authors are evolving and adapting now–many of them, anyway. :)

                  • “Paying a distributor, which is what Amazon is, who provides ongoing virtual space is very different than paying someone 15% in perpetuity for taking five minutes to upload something.”

                    Why does most everyone here assume that the only thing that D&G does is take five minutes to upload something? Isn’t there more to all of this than clicking the Publish button? And doesn’t that “more” have a value?

                    • Paying 30% to Amazon is the same as paying 40% to the book-store and isn’t even close to paying 15% in perpetuity.
                      I can’t talk for most people here, but I assume that the only thing that D&G does is take five minutes to upload something is because that’s what I read from the interview. Publishing means filling the form and pressing the publish button, all self-published writer know that from their personal experience.
                      The main problem here I see in the paragraphs that I have quoted in my comment above.
                      Writers write queries in hope that would bring them a deal with a traditional publisher, when they won’t, they would be offered a self-publishing deal with agent’s cut. So the worry for me is, how much effort will agents (I’m talking here on general, not only about D&G) put in pursuing a deal when they can earn their 15% without lifting a finger, specially when we all heard about agents who blocked foreign deal because the sum was too little and they didn’t want to be bothered, or sabotage deals with editors because they didn’t like them. Of course, there are also the contracts. What do the clauses say? Do they tie the book to the agency even in the case of self-publishing? (I also think that even if they don’t, most naïve authors in want of traditional deal and possibility of foreign deals and movie rights will still going along with it.) Because lets not forget, the agent who was doing a good job for the author today, it might not do so tomorrow or maybe he or she would be even there tomorrow while the author will still be tied to the agency.

                    • Rob, we can only go off of what was stated explicitly in the article. If D&G does more, then good for them, but a lot of people are talking in general about agents who are acting as publishers–but don’t want to be called publishers–and not specifically about D&G.

                      If agents-turned-publishers–no matter how they term themselves–are bringing something of value to the table, then that’s good. I do have to wonder what they are bringing, though, that would be worth 15% forever. Agents are trained to negotiate contracts, but the distributors don’t negotiate. They also sell manuscripts to editors, but the distributors don’t require a sell, and they don’t do lunch.

                      I’ve seen some agents claim that they will do PR and publicity. I’m skeptical about this, because they aren’t necessarily trained to do either one. If I’m going to be paying someone something, it will be for their skills. It will also not be a percentage into forever.

                      As for actually uploading books to places like Amazon, no, there isn’t much more to this than filling out a form and clicking on the publish button. Honestly, the only more that I can see from the post itself is that authors don’t have to trouble themselves in filling out a short form, clicking publish, or getting a remittance email from Amazon. Definitely not worth 15% in my opinion.

                      Also, why 15%? It wasn’t all that long ago that agents charged 10%.

                    • I am not among those who believe that is all they do. I have been a little busy over at their website, looking at the agents, emailing people I know in L.A., and trying to figure out who knows who. It is an obscure world of mystery down there, and I can see exactly why I would gladly agree to a 15% for life, but I have a different point of view than others. Michael Bourret has an impressive position and must have some track record given he has been on the west coast for 12 years. Do you know him?

                • Rob,

                  I’m sorry, but this:

                  “Yet, every single indie author gladly gives over 30 percent to Amazon to do what they can also pay someone once to do, as well”.

                  Just leaves me scratching my head. I’m sorry, but what are you talking about? Authors upload their books to Amazon, so they can SELL them.

                  Amazon doesn’t provide a service that authors can pay someone to provide for them once. Amazon sells their books. It’s not an optional, one time service. And 30% is an amazing deal for doing that.

                  Also, I want to encourage you to think about what you are doing here on this thread. I assume you deal directly with authors, so you are actually arguing quite vehemently and rather abrasively with a potential customer base. People who might choose to hire you, or refer others to you.

                  The majority of the people here are not looking for an agent, and probably never will. So defending Jane is not really going to make any difference – most people here are talking more in generalities. I could be wrong, but the way I see it – they are talking more about system problems, than a particular agency issue, when it really comes right down to it.

                  But they might deal with an upload service like yours, or refer other authors there. So, you may have a stake here. Just something to consider.

                  • My thoughts exactly.

                    There is nothing wrong with opposing viewpoints. In fact, having differing opinions is a very healthy thing. But “being a tiny bit facetious to make a point” isn’t going to help anyone. If anything, it *will* turn people away–especially if we’re not quite having the same conversation. Online professionalism is an important thing–especially as that is sometimes the first impression a person will have of you.

                    Do the authors that sign up with D&G’s service find enough value to pay 15% forever? Yes. No one’s arguing that. The people who tend to come here don’t have the same views as those authors, necessarily. I think most of us would agree that if the agent is getting foreign deals or selling movie rights, THAT is worth the 15%. So that’s what I would pay an agent for, not for uploading my book.

                    What we’re arguing is whether or not the services rendered are worth 15% forever. Most of us are saying no and explaining why we don’t feel that way. I don’t have a dog in this race, as I would never hire an agent for this service. I really don’t care what D&G does in general, but what does bother me are agencies that set themselves up as publishers in all but name and who get upset when you question their business approach. (I am not speaking specifically about D&G here. There was an agency last year that threatened to sue one of their former clients for daring to call them a publisher on the client’s blog.)

                    From the article, the only thing D&G isn’t doing that a real publisher would do is paying for the cover art and the copyediting.

                    Agents are going to have to evolve to survive, but they’re not always going to get an automatic pass on how they evolve, and I’m sure D&G has been around long enough to realize that. :)

                    • I correct myself: they (agent publishers) also don’t get books into libraries, negotiate with booksellers to get them on the shelf, or send out ARCs. So, yes, if I wanted help publishing, I’d definitely go with a trade publisher before I’d ever go with an agent publisher.

                      (The percentages of money the author receives will be higher with agent publishers, but an author would get more value, in my opinion, from going with a trade publisher instead.)

                  • “Just leaves me scratching my head. I’m sorry, but what are you talking about? Authors upload their books to Amazon, so they can SELL them.”

                    Here are some of the arguments from this very thread about why D&G’s deal is bad for authors:

                    1. They can search the Internet to find services you pay one time to handle your production. They don’t need an agent for this.
                    2. Once the production is done, an agency shouldn’t take 15 points.
                    3. Authors do this because they need their hands held or are milquetoasts or are uninformed about points 1 and 2.

                    I was turning the argument around to try to illustrate a point:

                    1. Authors can search the Internet to find services they pay one time to handle setting up an ecommerce Web site to sell your ebooks. They don’t need Amazon for this.
                    2. Once the uploading is done, Amazon shouldn’t take 30 points plus $0.15 per megabyte to distribute your ebooks as the actual costs to do this are a fraction of what they charge.
                    3. Authors pay Amazon’s steep premium (and it is) because they’re uninformed about points 1 and 2.

                    The point: as a small business person, you look at how your relationships with your business associates benefit you both based on any number of factors (many of them unique). If you perceive it to be a good deal then you’re likely to take it. In terms of dollars and cents, Amazon is pocketing a lot of your revenue ($30 on $100 in gross sales). For an independent author, this will be probably be your business’ single largest expense (while there may or may not be a tax treatment for this, the royalty split is an operating cost to consider when determining whether the deal is a good one for your business). What’s more is that the rate is fixed… you can’t go to Amazon and say “I think my royalty should be 75 percent and I’d like you to mark up the distribution fee by 20,000 percent instead of 129,000 percent” and expect them to keep a straight face. Examining these cold, hard facts—without any other exploration—this looks to be a seriously crappy deal. You can build a sharp ecommerce Web site, hire a PR/marketing firm, and distribute your own ebooks for a lot less than $30 on $100 in gross sales.

                    Yet Amazon remains a good deal—a very good deal, actually—for many authors because the value in exchange for those 30 points is worth more to them. So, why oh why oh why, are folks so quick to dismiss out-of-hand that there may be something in D&G’s deal with authors that’s worth more to them than just the 15 points? Shouldn’t there be further exploration about these facts before deciding that D&G is ripping off their authors (who mustn’t at all be very savvy)?

                    I’ve never met Jane Dystel. Wouldn’t know her if she walked into my office and sang “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” But I have met and know a few authors she represents and people she employs. The assumptions people here are making when describing both doesn’t line up with the reality I know… something I’ve written several times now in different ways, but that few seem to bother to read (ironic, really, given the audience).

                    • Rob, I will repeat two of my points:

                      a. Comparing an agent’s optional 15% with Amazon’s non-optional 30% is a nonsensical argument.

                      b. You are losing business through your tone on this thread. You have lost mine and any person I might have referred to your service. I don’t even want to continue a conversation with you here, much less engage your services.

                      I am losing my temper, so I am going to stop.

                    • @Mira: I apologize that you’ve perceived my tone to be something other than what I’ve intended. I must admit I’m unsure what that tone might be because the truth is that I’ve not called anyone confused, uninformed, or a milquetoast; I have attempted at every turn to answer questions, clarify my meaning or restate my points in other ways. I haven’t impugned anyone’s business motives for charging authors a premium for a service, nor have I maligned authors who choose to use those services. I’ve also not piled on someone whose perspective and experience doesn’t precisely jibe with the prevailing opinion or mood.

                      While it’s well within your prerogative to tell or not tell others to use my services, I should hope you’re honest enough with them and fair enough with me to send them to the discussion so they can determine for themselves how my tone has been.

                    • Well, I don’t want to be mean about this. I don’t really know anyone, so you’re not going to lose much business because of me.

                      But you may want to think over what happened here. To clarify, I didn’t say I had an issue with your content, I said I had an issue with your tone.

                      I’m sorry if you found my saying you were confused to be offensive, it was meant to be helpful. But I can see how someone might feel critiqued by that comment. Sorry about that.

                    • If my tone is “tired man, positioning himself right out there in the middle, who feels like he’s having a conversation in a Kafka novel,” then guilty as charged. Failing that, I remain puzzled.

                    • Rob, I suspect I’m not the right person to answer this; I don’t think you’ll hear it from me.

                      If you’re curious, you might ask a friend to look the thread over. That way you’ll get an objective opinion.

                      Good luck!

              • Yeah, he’s confused. @Rob, your position is admirable. You realize who’s buttering your bread right now, and you’re defending her (Jane) and her practices, all while you do your Snoopy dance. What great connections she’s making for your business! But the reality is, when all the authors who signed with her realize she took advantage of them by overcharging for a bogus “service”, they’ll all come to you or someone like you for their next books as they should have in the beginning. So don’t worry so much. You’re golden. But you really should check your facts and consider what you’re saying more carefully because a lot of what you’re writing here doesn’t make sense. You’re consistently comparing apples to oranges which only hurts the person you claim to support. Amazon is a distribution service and a retailer. I am a producer of a product, like a manufacturer. I need Amazon to distribute my book, to be my retailer. I pay them 30% for their services and access to their HUGE client base. Do I agree to pay Amazon 30% even after I remove my book from their service? No, of course not. Don’t be ridiculous. Is Jane a distributor? A retailer? No. She’s an agent. She does nothing to distribute or deliver an ebook. So why would you compare her work to Amazons? Because you’re grasping at straws, that’s why. Just give it up. There’s nothing you can do to save her. She’s going to alienate and anger a lot of authors with this “service” eventually, that’s my prediction. Stupid move in my opinion when you keep trying to brand yourself as “indie friendly”.

                • Before, you were being rude to people I know, implying they’re stupid or deceitful because in your expansive two-year self-publishing history you most certainly know best how they should run their businesses. Now you’re being rude to me, as well. What you don’t know about my business, including where my bread is buttered, would fill the Grand Canyon.

                  • Sorry, Rob, that you were offended by what I said. I’m not implying people are stupid. Uninformed? Yes. Definitely. Deceitful? No. Shortsighted, yes. I see the aim, it’s admirable; but the execution is poor and will ultimately harm the agency’s reputation in the end. That’s my prediction, anyway. I might end up wrong, but is it worth the risk? I guess at Dystel they feel it is. I think they’re victims of past-thinking just like a lot of authors and publishers are. But we’ll see! What I know about your business is what you’ve posted here and online. It’s enough for me to see you’re in a great spot. You’re the guy all these authors who’ve had their hands held, who like that, will need to go to. It’s a great business model. I even think it could work with Dystel’s agency if she did it as like a marked up fixed fee arrangment, where she’s the general contractor and you’re the subcontractor. But to take 15% for life for general contracting? It’s ridiculous. I stand by that opinion. You and I don’t agree, that’s okay. Regardless, congrats on the business idea. You’re perfectly positioned to take full advantage of the ebook revolution. I wish you the best.

                    • You continue to reveal how little you know about my business. You should stop making assumptions. And you should do so not only about my business but also about the authors who have done this work via their agencies. To call them uninformed or claiming they need to have their hands held is insulting, and in more than one case with which I have first-hand experience it was so completely and utterly off the mark that it made me laugh.

                      About two percent of my business comes from agency work (we work with a couple others, as well). From purely a dollars and cents point of view, if it vanished tomorrow, we’d be fine and I’d fill those newly-open spots on my schedule rather quickly. But our business isn’t simply dollars and cents. Our business is also the relationships we develop with authors, small presses, and, yes, even literary agents. I realize that for someone who’s bypassed a relationship with an agent—therefore having no experience (good, bad or otherwise) with one—the notion that a few of them might actually be doing right by their clients might sound a bit fishy. Yes, there are a lot of s***** agents out there. No one disputes this. And, on its face, the service that D&G is selling might even be a s***** deal. The devil, as they say, is in the details, no? But if an author takes them up on it—making individual decisions about what’s best for their own business, presumably informed by the quality of the relationship they share with their agency—then I say “Congratulations to you, indie publisher. I hope you sell a crap ton of books.” After all, publishing isn’t ideology.

                    • “The devil, as they say, is in the details, no? But if an author takes them up on it—making individual decisions about what’s best for their own business, presumably informed by the quality of the relationship they share with their agency—then I say “Congratulations to you, indie publisher. I hope you sell a crap ton of books.” After all, publishing isn’t ideology.”

                      I agree with you 100% here, Rob.

                      The great thing that’s happening with the publishing industry shake up is that now, more than ever, authors have more choices. So while some (me being one) would not likely ever pursue a deal like this, there are some for who this arrangement would work.

                      The devil is, indeed, in the details. That’s why it’s important to have these conversations and to have opposing viewpoints. For me, anyway, these help me stay better informed about what’s out there, the pros and cons, and about why I feel the way I do about things. This same conversation is happening elsewhere on the web, and it has helped me see why some might consider this an advantageous deal. Not for me, but as you say, we are business people and need to do what works best for our individual business. :)

  18. Ms Dystel is indeed a very smart lady if she can find a significant number of authors willing to hand over 15% for doing so little, and surrendering so much control over their income stream to boot.
    If I were her I would make hay while the sun shines because this is not going to continue for long. Small astute ePublishers will be doing a lot more for their 15% within two or three years.

  19. Agents typically receive the royalties from the publisher and then turn it over to the author, minutes commission. In this case, D&G is the one getting the money from the vendor. There’s a line somewhere in this mess, and I’m not sure which side they’re sitting on.

    As for Rob’s Jiffy Lube analogy, they change your oil for a flat rate, which might be fair for the half hour it takes to upload an ebook. I’m not sure it’s worth a long term cut of royalties, though…

    I think this might tarnish D&G’s good name.

    • The Jiffy Lube analogy wasn’t mine. In fact, I said it wasn’t an apt comparison to what the agency is doing for the author for exactly the same reason you point out.

      • I’ve been reading this on my phone and must have missed the origin of the Jiffy Lube analogy. My apologies for the miss-attribution.

        Rob, you work closely with the team at D&G, do you know if they do more than just upload the eBook? If there was some sort of continuing support from their end, it might still merit an agency percentage.

        I suppose they watch the sales, and take the more promising titles to publishers. That won’t be worth anything to a diehard indie, but it may be worth 15% to someone looking for a contract.

  20. Do we know that Dystel takes 15% forever? Or does she put a time-limit on this commission. Because that would be a different deal altogether in my opinion, depending on the timeframe. Someone raised this point in another conversation and I couldn’t find the answer, other than her interview saying she gets 15% for the digital just like does for all other books “across the board.”

    • The article was vague, so we don’t really know. I do agree that the deal would be completely different if the timeframe was different.

      From what I’ve seen–keep in mind I am not privy to actual contracts, only what the agents themselves post publicly–Kristin Nelson is the only agent whose self-publishing help strategy seems like a good deal and a win-win for both agent and client. I can’t remember exactly, but I believe she mentioned on her blog that the timeframe for her commission is 3-5 years, but I’m thinking 3.

      The other point in favor for Kristin Nelson is that when she announced that she would be doing this, she laid it out in clear, concise terms that were very specific to what she would be bringing to the table. Her post wasn’t sales pitchy, but straightforward, and the terms sold themselves. :)

      • I would suggest that the article is crystal clear. It is just hard to believe :)

        “JD: We’re not acting as a publisher; we’re acting as an agent. Our commission is 15% on all those books as it is across the board.”

    • You can look them up on the internet. They have a very detailed website. It includes a large list of their clients, and profiles of their agents. The article is just an interview but jumping over to the website gives a fuller picture of who they are.

  21. I went to their website but couldn’t find much of anything on the digital publishing program. Just that they have it. I’m not anti-agent. I agree agents are great for negotiating paperback rights, movie options, and foreign rights. I just don’t agree we need them for ebooks, nor do we need to pay them 15% for simple project management.

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