Sun 22 Feb 2015
Dear readers and authors everywhere – Shall we break out the champagne? The royals have thrown open the castle gates to admit within the sacred walls the indie authors who dared to take their work directly to the people. Post Indie Revolution the eyes of at least some of the royals are opening to realize that in depriving writers of a chance, the gatekeepers also deprived the royals of a choice. It’s a new day, and in the dawn of the light of freedom and possibility, the crown lies where it has always belonged — upon the head of the reader whose finger hovers over the buy button.
Yes, publishers are blinking and as their eyes adjust to the blinding light of the new dawn, they are seizing some of the control they formerly ceded to literary agents. Check this out:
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.
“Publishers Bypass Literary Agents To Discover New Talent”, The Guardian, Dalya Alberge.
I’m not a’tall surprised to find that one of the leaders of the new movement in publishing shares the name of a certain duck lady. Mary Anne Harrington of Tinder Press, Headline publishing’s literary imprint noted that in relying upon gatekeeping literary agents, perhaps publishers have been “drowning out other, fresher voices.” You think? It figures that one of the first publishers to get a clue would be blessed with a duckly moniker. Quack back at’cha Mary Anne Harrington.
Another ‘got a clue’ lady has a different name – but hey, we can’t ALL be named Mary Anne, can we? Katie Espiner, a publisher at HarperCollins imprint, Borough Press, awoke in the bright sunlight to an epiphany – she was allowing other people to make her decisions. She promptly held an open submission that discovered a promising new author because: she wouldn’t allow other people to make her choices for her in any other area of her life.
The gate-opening trend among publishers has prompted some literary agencies to cast a wider net – but at least one is doing it with a Jekyll and Hyde mentality. Agency Curtis Brown is holding a writing course that has discovered 15 debut novelists over the last 2.5 years. Yet the chairman of that very same agency, Jonathan Lloyd, retains enough of the royal mentality he acquired working at HarperCollins during the Castle era to remain skeptical of publishers actually making their own choices. Lloyd said, publishers “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.”
I’m happy that publishers are finally descending from their ivory towers to seize their companies’ destinies in their own hands. And I’m delighted that literary agencies are awakening to discover that they have to get out and find the talent because writers no longer crawl to their doors in such great numbers. But I’m still one of those writers who left the beggars’ line at the dawn of the indie revolution. I don’t even own a hat and groveling on bended knees gives me leg cramps.
If a literary agent, publisher or big shot movie producer is insane enough to take a flier on romance or erotic romance by a crazy duck lady who publishes as Mary Anne Graham and Olivia Outlaw — I’m easy enough to contact. This blog has a “contact me” link in the upper right corner and I bet Amazon or D2D would be glad to steer any legitimate inquiries my way. Otherwise, I’ll continue to write my stories where lovers get the happy ending that reality too often denies.
Y’all keep reading and I’ll keep writing.