Earlier this week the NY Times had an article about "Self-Publishing" eBooks. However, in reading the article, it certainly sounds more like the idea that the agencies that the authors in question have representing them will be doing the publishing. At least that's whatI take out of:
ICM, which will announce its new self-publishing service on Wednesday, is one of the biggest and most powerful agencies to offer the option. But others are doing the same as they seek to provide additional value to their writers while also extending their reach in the industry.
Since last fall, Trident Media Group, which represents 800 authors, has been offering its clients self-publishing possibilities through deals negotiated though online publishers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, in a system very similar to the one ICM is setting up. Robert Gottleib, chairman of Trident, says that 200 authors have taken advantage of the service, though mostly for reissuing older titles, the backlist.
If this is the case, I'm lost as to where the "self" aspect comes into play. And I would wonder, were I such an author, if I'm getting the best information possible from my agent. Full disclosure--I write this as one who is rather heavily involved with a publishing house, one that has published many, and will be publishing many more, eBooks (as well as print books). I imagine there are quite a few fantastic books being represented by the agencies mentioned in the article. In fact, I don't need to imagine, I know there are.
Where my real wondering would come from,
were I such an author, would be the fact that my agent, the person I've
entrusted to help me find the best possible deals and scenarios for my
art, is now one of those scenarios. Is my agent still considering the
other publishing possibilities out in the world? Are they stacking up
three to five various options and then suggesting to me that option a,
or c, or d is best? Or are they simply suggesting that option b
(surprise, their program) is the best one for each and every client?
If agencies started to publish print copies of their clients' new works would this be seen in the same light? What if my agent was also say the film rights agent for a production company and every single time one of my works was optioned, that production company was always the one that had the "best" program for my work? Would I still feel comfortable that they were really looking out for me? Is this any different?
However, I'm not an author. I don't have an agent that I have some level of trust in at all. I just wonder if I did, how much this type of news would harm that trust. I know for me it would certainly cause me to think about it quite hard.