I headed over to Kristin Nelson's blog today. She's a literary agent that I've submitted to in the past. I like her, even though she doesn't even send out form rejections, just never replies if she doesn't want to represent you. Bah! Still, in a dying industry, with far more authors than contracts, who can blame her?
Anyway, I was shocked to see this on her blog:
"1. In general, I have no problem with writers giving out material for free to build a following. I’m a little bit leery about having an entire novel out there for everybody to read but it’s not going to destroy your chances of doing traditional publishing later. In fact, if you can track the number of downloads and can prove that thousands of people have voluntarily downloaded and read your novel, well, that just might be an interesting way to catch an editor’s attention. It would probably catch my attention. However, it would have to be verifiable—as in we can’t just take your word for it.
2. Another possibility is to have the writer serialize the work (as in only give portions of the work at a time to a subscription list) if intending to pursue traditional publishing later for that same work. That way the work in its entirety isn’t easily available online.
3. Along the same line of thought, a writer might put a novel out there that will always be available for free and use it to platform a totally different second novel that the writer plans to use to explore the more traditional publishing route.
The above discussion led (as you can imagine) into what we thought about self-publishing a work to build a similar audience. As self- publishing becomes more professional, accessible, and easy to manipulate, it certainly wouldn’t surprise us if writers were to explore this as a possibility."
Crazy, right? The times, they are a changin' people! If you'd told me six months ago that I'd see a statement like, It wouldn't surprise agents if authors explored self-publishing as a possibility, I would have freaked out.
It's just a matter of time before agents switch tactics. Rather than getting publishing contracts, agents are going to switch to being marketeers for authors. The publishing industry is dying, dying, dying. There's no other way to explain this kind of crazy about-face from an agent like Kristin Nelson.
Huzzah! Viva la revolucion!