Blog of Pulitzer Prize Nominated Author, Jory Sherman. Get the latest information on his books, appearances and his candid reflections on writing.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Electronic publishing is moving at an accelerated pace. This is a sure sign that ebooks are the wave of the future. Amazon’s sales figures beat this out, with ebooks selling more than hardcover books and paperbacks combined.

And legacy publishers are no longer promoting either midlist books or their authors. So, the writer must promote and publicize their books in order to compete in today’s highly competitive market.

The ebook revolution has generated an increase in literary publicists, who for fees ranging from $500 to $1500 and more will publicize a writer’s book. This involves some effort on the part of the writer, because most of these publicists will insist that the writer engage in writing blogs designed to promote both writer and book.

The publicist, however, does the difficult work of placing the books with online reviewers and setting up virtual tours for the writer.

These virtual tours mean that the writer will be contacted by several interviewers via email who will offer a series of questions regarding the writer’s book, which will then be posted online for the world to read. Many writers are doing this on their own, which is a daunting and time-consuming task.

Literary agents are becoming obsolete, since the writer can now publish his or her own book or find an ebook publisher who will take him or her on, put out the book on any number of platforms including trade paperback. So, the writer no longer has to pay an agent 15% for selling the writer’s work.

It occurred to me that a new kind of agent is called for in this fast-moving new way of publishing. The new agent would, in fact, set up all the virtual tours, arrange interviews, and post notices on social networks including Facebook, Twitter, and a host of others which have sprung up recently. The agent would of course, be entitled to a percentage of sales just as if he or she had sold the book to a legacy publisher.

But, the writer would no longer haee to hire a literary publicist which would demand and upfront outlay of cash. Having such an agent would also free up the writer to produce more books and stories since the agent would be doing all the online work of setting up interviews and posting notices on the various social networks.

I foresee a shakeup in both camps, with the publicists having to rethink their approach to handling writers and the agents having to shift gears and learn how to promote books that the writer has sold.

It’s coming. But, it can all be worked out. The new entrepreneurs will find a way to streamline the promotion of electronic books and the writers and new agents will benefit from the transition.

Epublishing is a new field and it calls for a new approach to the entire structure of author/agent/editor/publisher relationship and interaction.

Meanwhile, we writers do what we can to publish our books electronically so that they are available worldwide on, kindle, nook, ipad, ipod, droid, and other reading devices. The writer’s production will be curtailed, of course, because promotion takes up an enormous amount of time.

That’s why we need a new kind of agent who will free the writer up to write instead of seeking out places to publicize their ebooks.


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