Thursday, July 28, 2011

Things on My Mind

Whoa... it is possible? Two blog posts in as many days? Lately, if I'm lucky, I manage two blog posts in a month.

Then again, who am I to argue with inspiration?

I've started this post three times already, and each time, it just didn't seem right. Hopefully the fourth time is the charm. Mostly, what's been on my mind is BookEnds LLC's announcement this week that they are opening an Self-epublishing company. That set off a firestorm of discussion about whether this is a good thing or not, or if it's a conflict of interest to have an agent with a financial stake in a publisher.

Now, there's been a ton of discussion over at Absolute Write (you have to start on page 13) about BookEnds' self-epublishing company, Beyond the Page. And historical romance author Courtney Milan has done two blog posts about about agents acting as publishers (not specifically BookEnds/Beyond the Page, but agents acting as publishers in general. Just for clarification purposes) - the first one is here and the second half is here.

Frankly, I think it's a terrible idea. An agent is supposed to watch out for his/her clients' best interest. How am I supposed to trust that this is actually happening, if the agent stands to make (possibly) more money by steering me toward his/her publishing company instead of a commercial publisher?

Now, remember, I don't have an agent, so I really have no dog in this fight. I've done all right without one (but that's not to say I won't ever try for one, but for now, it's non-issue for me.) That said, I still don't agree with the practice. It seems unethical to me, even if there is nothing legally wrong with it. I don't know that I would be comfortable with it querying that agent (although to be fair, I have no evidence to suggest rejected manuscripts are being steered toward the self-publishing arm. If they were, then that would be wrong. Just. Wrong. Kind of like the Harlequin Horizons/DellArte Press fracas during the winter of 2010.) And if I was one of that agent's authors, I think I'd be equally uncomfortable with the situation as well.

And that leads me to my next rambling. Please, please, please, don't confuse self-publishing with epublishing. They are not the same thing. Not even close. Those authors with well-respected epublishers (such as Samhain) have had enough trouble being seen as "real" writers with "real" publishers. Attitudes regarding epublishing have come a long way, but there is still a bit of a divide amongst authors and associations where epubs are concerned. Self publishing is a completely different animal.

ETA - I just wanted to clarify that epublishing is a method of publishing (like print or POD). You can be commercially published through an epub.And you can be self-published through an epub. But being epubbed does not automatically make you self-published. Yikes, I hope that makes sense. :D


I promise my next post will be on the lighter side. It might even have an LOLcat or two. But even if it doesn't, it won't be a rant.

Promise. :D


Maria Zannini said...

Courtney wrote an excellent post.

Ref: please, don't confuse self-publishing with epublishing

Actually, self-publishing can be either print or digital so it's perfectly correct to call it e-publishing if they are published digitally.

Maybe you meant small press?

The only major thing that distinguishes self-publishing from small or large presses is distribution. And people like Courtney Milan, Amanda Hocking, and JA Konrath are doing all right even without an organization pushing their self-published works.

A lot of people complain that self-published authors don't use editors and that's a blanket statement that can't be used categorically.

I used two editors on my latest, and one of those editors was my editor from Carina.

So I would say the lines between small press and self-publishing are beginning to blur quite a bit.

Kim said...

No, I wasn't referring to small presses, I've just seen instances of people who assume that if you're epubbed, you must be self-pubbed (or vanity pubbed).

Those authors are doing well, but they are the exception rather than the rule (at least for now.) And I've never read a self-pubbed book - but I'd probably choose one by a name I know over someone I've never heard of before. :D

Anonymous said...

Great post, Kim.

Did you see this blog post and discussion on the Passive Voice blog ("Your Agent Isn't Your Mommy")? I didn't understand why some authors were so willing to blindly trust their agents until I read this post. Authors have to remember that no one cares about their careers (and money) as much as they do.