There’s been a new controversy brewing lately in the publishing world — literary agencies taking on the role of e-publisher.
For those of you who don’t know, an agent is a writer’s best friend. They’re your advocate when dealing with publishers. They negotiate with publishers in order to get the best deal and the most money for the writer. They are also the mediator when things aren’t going so well between writer and publisher.
This, obviously creates a conflict of interest when that agent puts on a publisher’s hat. Where does the line get drawn between an agent’s duty to get the best deal for his/her client and the publisher’s duty to make money? How hard is that agent going to work for his/her client at getting those good deals when they can simply steer them towards e-publishing through their company?
My personal feelings about this match those of many other agents and writers. I have no problem with agents opening up their own publishing arm AS LONG AS their clients don’t overlap.
Actually, I lie, I do have a problem with it. And that problem lies in the area of time management. As it stands now with agents simply being agents, they’re pressed for time to get everything done. Where is the extra time going to come from? Who is going to get skimped for attention? The agent’s clients? The publisher’s clients? Those poor, desperate souls hopelessly querying trying to snag an agent?
Romance author Courtney Milan has a fabulous post on her blog about this whole fiasco. Go check it out and give her some love because she is one intelligent, classy lady.