Most writers are lousy at business. (Me included; I can do business, and I do do it, but I’d rather eat glass and I fob it off to people I pay to do it for me, whenever possible.)
This means that while self-publishing your books on platforms like the Kindle is a boon for you if you’re writing a book, it’s also a major pain in the rear.
Fear not — here come the agents. (Literary agents.) 🙂
Read Lee Goldberg’s post on what agents are doing to stay in business as book publishing morphs into the electronic age, Literary Agents Reinventing Themselves – A Writer’s Life:
“One way is to reinvent themselves. Instead of just finding clients publishers and negotiating the deals, they are now branching out into publishing books themselves… or helping their clients self-publish by taking on the management and business side of the business (finding cover artists, copyeditors, tracking royalties, etc) …in exchange for a 15% commission on books sold.”
Is this a good deal for YOU? Should you consider getting an agent now that self-publishing’s de rigueur?
I think it’s an excellent deal.
* You learn from the pros. I learned more from my first agent and editor than I’ve ever learned about writing since. A good agent’s like a car detailer. They take your manuscript and add give it a good scrub (YOU apply the elbow grease, of course) so that it shines with a yummy professional gloss;
* An agent helps you to think long-term. If you’re a new writer, you’ll see your career as an agent sees it — five and ten books from now. (Having said this, remember that you’re the one who knows YOU best. Never let an agent steer you into a swamp. Could happen. You’re not your agent’s sole client.);
* They take the “business” (shudder) stuff off your shoulders;
* Agents ensure that your book’s edited and copyedited. Good editors are pearls beyond price. Copyeditors ditto. (Bad editors and copyeditors can inspire thoughts of murder on the other hand. So be aware that your editor and copyeditor can be wrong about specifics. It’s YOUR book…).
All in all, 15 per cent’s well worth it for a good agent.
The operative word is “good”.
How do you get a good agent?
It starts with you. Write a good book — the best book you’re capable of writing at this stage in your career. Just do your best.
If you can’t get a good agent, that’s fine. Self-publish on the Kindle, or wherever.
Write another book, and another. The more books you produce, the better your writing becomes. Sooner or later, you’ll get a good agent because you’re writing good books.
I’m pleased that agents are getting their acts together and are shaping the new world of books and publishing. We need agents, so that we can focus less on business, and more on writing.
Turn Your Words Into Gold: Write and Sell An Ebook In Just Eight Hours
Here’s what I love about writing ebooks: you write them once, and they keep on selling forever.
I know several writers who’ve taken to the Kindle platform like the proverbial ducks to water. One writer friend turns out a new Kindle ebook every month, like clockwork. The last time we spoke, she had 11 ebooks selling — and her income is rising month by month.
Another writer friend mixes writing her own ebooks, with writing ebooks for others. Currently she’s been commissioned to write a biography, and a family history, for the same client. She’s finding it huge fun, and she’s making more money than she’s ever made.
The benefit of writing and selling ebooks is that once written, they can keep on selling forever. Would you trade eight hours for an income stream?
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