by Tamela Hancock Murray
How are the revolutionary changes in the publishing industry affecting your effectiveness as an agent?
I believe literary agents are needed more than ever because the landscape has become increasingly bumpy for writers. For example, we have been working with publishing house contracts regarding digital issues, how they affect the definition of out-of-print and how authors will be compensated for digital rights. Clauses that might have generated yawns five years ago, today are scrutinized and reworked with new technology and formats in mind. These are not simple issues and having a skilled literary agent negotiating your contract is critical. In addition we have clients at the forefront in digital-first publishing, with contracts from Zondervan, Cook and Tyndale, to name three. This model is being heavily scrutinized on both sides of the table.
Where do you see these changes taking you in your personal career, and in the careers of those whom you represent?
I anticipate new opportunities for publishers, authors, and agents as we move forward to be sure our readers are able to obtain quality content in whatever format they wish to read. Authors will need to know more about marketing their own books effectively and work with their publishers to maximize opportunities for both print as well as e-book formats. For instance, I perused the catalog of my local library this past week in search of a certain title released by a traditional publisher. This book is available on the market in both print and e-book. However, the library only carries this particular book in e-book format at present. This means the next time I work with that publisher I will ask about this situation and see if there is way we can help influence the publisher’s sales efforts. I expect more of the same in the coming months and years. Every day has a new challenge. We are prepared to face each and every one!
What changes in publishing concern you the most?
What changes do you find most exciting?
Do you see the role of your agent changing in any way?