The publishing industry is going through a much-needed change. Much has been said about indie publishing as being one of its major disrupters, and also about the agents-as-gatekeepers structure that is crumbling down fast as we speak. Much of that breakdown is because writers are choosing to take their work directly to their audience, because they like the creative freedom, the shorter turnaround time, and better royalties.
Over the years I have noticed the agents’ approach to writers change considerably. They have warmed up, so to speak, to the general population of us. Some have, over the years, realized that this day would come sooner than expected. So, instead of turning up their noses at the self-pubbed authors, they have decided to offer agency services to the indies. Good for them. Because, it seems that its not just the authors that have turned away from the agency structure, but also the publishers.
I came across this article on “The Guardian” titled “Publishers bypass literary agents to discover bestseller talent.” The whole article is linked above, but I will quote a few snippets.
“Publishers are playing literary agents at their own game, seeking out new talent for themselves and cutting out the industry’s powerful middlemen.
Executives within HarperCollins, Jonathan Cape, Little, Brown, and Tinder Press are inviting “un-agented submissions”, marking a dramatic cultural shift for an industry having to readjust to developments such as self-publishing, as well as the often huge advances demanded by agents for coveted titles.”
Seems like the publishers are busy reinventing themselves and reworking their processes already. The literary agencies are getting creative as well. While still being skeptical.
“Literary agents are also becoming more creative in seeking new writers. The Curtis Brown agency has a creative writing course that has found 15 debut novelists in two and a half years.
But Jonathan Lloyd, the agency’s chairman, is sceptical about the new publishers’ trend. “They don’t have the resources, time and energy to deal with the flood of manuscripts that they’re going to get. And they won’t be filtered.”
But, one thing, in my opinion, is a given–this is barely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the changes we are seeing in the publishing industry. There’s much more to come and it won’t be smooth sailing for everyone in it. The quicker and smarter will accept change and reinvent themselves, the slower and the ones in denial will be staring at a not-so-pretty future.
Link to the full article on The Guardian