From Paranormal Point of View:
For me personally, when someone says “rapidly changing market” my thoughts go to electronic book sales and subsidiary rights.
What does “rapidly changing market” mean in terms of ebook sales? Growth. We’ve seen huge growth in the ebook market since I started working in publishing in 2006. The impact of that growth affects my job in many ways – this won’t be an all-inclusive list, but here’s an overview:
In 2012, Stefan Bachmann’s book sales (remember – he writes middle grade fantasy) broke down to 94% print sales and 6% ebook sales. Conversely, Roni Loren’s book sales (for contemporary erotic romance) were 33% print book and 67% ebook sales. How does this affect my job? Well, I need to know this stuff. It’s important to know the numbers, the trends and the impact for my clients and their books. We see ebook sales growing tremendously, but it’s also important to know in which genres that growth occurs and in which segments growth is perhaps plateauing.
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What does “rapidly changing market” mean to subsidiary rights? Opportunity. Subsidiary rights (to an agent) means film, foreign rights, audio rights, gaming, merchandise, etc. Possibly as a side result of the growth in ebook sales (or possibly due to the gigantic increase in pop cultural success coming from books like HARRY POTTER, TWILIGHT and HUNGER GAMES) – I’ve seen tremendous increase in opportunities for my authors to make money on subsidiary rights. I have more interest from Hollywood for film and TV sales than ever before and for a wider range of books (romance, erotica, New Adult, middle grade – etc.).
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As a side note, many times when writers ask agents about the “rapidly changing marketplace” they are asking about self-publishing. Self publishing is a wonderful trend that has seen tremendous success in the past few years. This trend doesn’t affect me much though as I don’t tend to represent previously self-published titles. My inbox is still stuffed full of authors looking for traditional publishing deals and that’s the model I, personally, tend to prefer. For example, Jaleigh Johnson came to me via the traditional email query letter in December and we sold her debut middle grade fantasy in 12 days in a significant deal to Random House. So, self publishing works for a lot of authors, but it’s not a trend that’s affecting me much right now as the traditional model is still working for me very very very well.
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As an agency, we provide serious and thorough contract negotiation. However, anyone can hire an entertainment lawyer (just make sure to hire one that specializes in publishing contracts). If you are self-publishing, then there are fewer contractual issues to worry about. But if you are print and/or e-book publishing with any publishing house – big or small – then the contract is a complicated document that most people need explained and/or negotiated for them.
I provide editorial feedback, career planning and publicity/promotions help – but an author can hire an editor, make their own career plans and pay for a publicity team.
Link to the rest at Paranormal Point of View and thanks to Abel for the tip.