Starting this new series as I promised. This will be made up of short, sometimes very short questions and puzzlements about publishing.
For any of you who missed my last post about agents, just remember I told you to wait two years before hiring any agent. Imagine last week when I did that post you had hired an agent at Trident Agency. Then you woke up this morning and realized that the Trident Agency had just this morning (Monday morning, September 26th, 2011) stepped over the ethical line and became a publisher.
Now Trident has never been known for ethical behavior in publishing, but they are large, which is why this is surprising.
My handy Oxford American Dictionary defines publisher as “A person or firm that issues copies of a book to the public.”
Yet Trident is claiming they will not be a publisher, even though they will, for their clients, both front list and backlist, issue books to the public by launching them on Kindle, B&N, Smashwords, and into print form. Also, they will handle all the money.
Not a publisher? Uhh, how stupid do they think writers are?
Actually, they think and know for a fact that as a class, writers are as stupid as it goes.
Which is why they can become a publisher, do all the things a publisher will do, exactly, and yet say to their writers, “Oh, we are not a publisher.”
And writers will believe them.
Why? Because, as a class, a writer can’t open the dictionary and look up the word. And then think.
So now writers will be hiring a stranger to sell their books to publishers, get all the money and the paperwork, and at the same time be hiring a stranger to publisher their book, get all the money and the paperwork.
So a writer has a book, gives the book to their agent to sell.
Agent has two options: 1) Agent can make 15% by selling book to Pocket Books. Or 2) agent firm can make 15% PLUS publishing fees by publishing it themselves and make a ton more money (and have more opportunity to keep some of the money that the author doesn’t pay attention to). Hmmmmmm……… Which way will the agent go????
Oh, yeah, to the money. Duh….
They certainly won’t care anymore about selling your book to a traditional publisher. Not when they can simple tell the stupid writer “You book isn’t sellable to New York, why not let us publish it?”
In no other industry, to no other group of humans, would such behavior be allowed. Yet I have zero doubt that stupid writer after stupid writer will go for this.
So my basic question is very, very simple. Why would any writer hire their agent as their publisher?
Instead of giving an agent 15% plus other fees, why not just do it yourself? Or hire flat fee services to do your cover or proofing or what you need?
My suggestion on this:
Simple. If you do not have an agent, just keep doing the work yourself, keep learning, and stay away from agents for at least two years until all this settles and these agents get put out of business by the court system. (Courts can read dictionaries and do know agency law…honest…)
Second, if you have an agent who is becoming a publisher, FIRE THEM!! They no longer can represent your interests in a clear fashion. And you do not want your books tied up in their mess and coming legal struggles.
Go without an agent for a couple of years until this settles.