How Not to Submit to an Agent (via @caroleagent, HT: @joelnaoum)

Carole Blake lists 29 different ways to screw up the process of submitting something to an agent. The list is both informative and entertaining in the exasperation that sneaks through at times. Some of the activities she lists are mindboggling, but my favourite is the most tragic:

I once received a large parcel that weighed almost nothing. Inside was a rubbish bin and a letter saying the writer assumed the submission would end up there so was sending me one to speed up the process. The partial for a crime novel that was attached looked rather good. I left the bin, letter & ms on my desk. Next morning our office cleaner had removed the contents and put the rubbish bin neatly next to my desk. There was no way to contact the author despite a story on our website and some tweets … That was the end of that.

There are 28 other things to avoid at the original article here, as well as a letter sent to Carole raging against the damnable cabal of editors who refuse to accept the author's submissions:

Agents and Publishers - a Changing Relationship (via @mikeshatzkin)

Mike Shatzkin details the traditional Agent/Publisher symbiotic relationship:

Agents work for authors and sell books (mostly) to big general trade publishers, but there’s really a partnership at work there. Nearly all the books big publishers buy, and almost without exception those for which big money is paid, come to them from agents. There’s a symbiotic dependency between them.

He then deconstructs it and builds a new picture of how this relationship is changing.

But times have changed. A quick check of recent news and announcements in our office turned up nine agencies with announced digital propositions.

Some of the offerings from agencies (ostensibly to their 'existing authors') are very impressive. Mike speculates about how viable they are, and how (if they are successful) they will start to push boundaries that might step on the publishing houses' toes.

Have a here:

Have I mentioned before that we're in interesting times?

What are the publishers doing for us? via @pubperspectives

This is an article from Publishing Perspectives covering the inaugural Publishers Launch London conference recently. One of the quotes that stood out to me is relevant to last week's discussion about cover design. Jonny Geller of Curtis Brown says:

“The reason we have so many jackets looking the same is that publishers will say 'oh, we can’t choose that one because Tesco won’t like it'”

It's easy to wave at the rebirth of self-publishing in this digital era and dismiss the traditional publishing industry's contributions, but:

Stephen Page, Chief Executive of Faber, suggested that publishers perhaps don’t do as good a job as they could of communicating to authors the value publishers offer. “We forget the difficulty of the remote position that writers occupy.”

This hearkens back to the discussions we've had here about the perceived value of the digital container, and so highlights a deficiency in the publishing industry - communications. I'd hazard a guess that traditional publishing houses have not had a requirement to explain themselves for decades, nor any dearth of quality submissions. It seems to me that in a world where authors have increasingly varied avenues to publishing, they really need to improve this aspect if they want to continue to attract the best talent.

The article also contains some perspectives from both sides regarding territorial rights and the place of digital formats.

Read the rest of the article here: