So, I am lurking around various author sites on the web and Facebook and I have found common questions among many of them…Literary Agents. Where are they? Are they part of the groups? Do they have their own FB pages? Well, like me, I am pretty sure that many of them are lurking our pages, blogs, and sites. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are the main group that is downloading free samples of our work to their kindle, iphone, ipad, or pc. But then what? Do they mark those they like and watch them, to see their progress? How well they do? The reviews, the rankings? I bet they do! And then, just like Ebay, right before the auction ends, there they are making a bid for it.
And why not? At this stage, all the major work has been done for them: sales, trends, target audience, reviews and rankings, cover art, etc. All they now need to do is gather that data and use it as mere backup for an easy sale to one of the Big 6 Publishers, that is, if one of their agents didn’t come in first and “steal” that bid away. So, if that is the case and the ebooks out there become the new “slush” pile of agents and publishers, then can we finally say Farewell to that dreaded Query letter? That 250 word essay that can make or break a life? In hindsight, how crazy are we to rely on the opinion of someone who may prefer sci fi to romance or romance to mystery or nonfiction to paranormal, and etc. Why do we kill ourselves to impress someone whom we have never met and keeps a carrot dangling over us simply because they have “connections”? I say with smiling sarcasm, so what. We are slowly moving to an era of the death of the literary agent. Take Amanda Hocking, for example; I admire what she has done. She loves to write and she did. She loved to tell stories and she did. So, she put it out there for anyone to come and enjoy her work and boy, did they ever! Over a million of them did! And then, with an ironic twist, Amanda’s agent found her AFTER her readers found her. Am I impressed with that agent? NO! Why should that impress me? That agent did nothing to merit being part of Amanda’s success; this agent nor any others that rejected her previously had any cojones. Instead, I’m impressed with Stephanie Meyer’s agent who gave her a shot even if it was against the rules of YA novels of that day; I’m impressed with JK Rowling’s agent who saw something in a children’s book and gave it a shot…those are the agents that deserve kudos and should relish in the success of those books but definitely, not the agents of today. Today, they are all running scared as they sell out to the Big 6. They see it- their slush piles are getting smaller, their query letters are decreasing and writers are no longer bowing and rewriting their novels as per their demands. Writers, like true artists that they are, are taking their works into their own hands and controlling the outputs themselves. Just look at Fantasy Island Book Publishing for example. A co-op group made up of not just a publisher but also editors, illustrators and writers who collaborate with each other in complete support for the success of the books in the group. And this model has proved successful with the international best sellers currently in their lineup.
So, is epublishing the new slush pile? Well of course it is…that is, for the new readers out there. Those with whom we want to share our stories as they patiently wait for us to get them out via the new wonderful world of the internet. Publishing will become digitally commercial with the populus controlling the outputs and success, not a select few with huge egos and small minds.