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Old 11-15-2009, 12:04 AM   #1
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Exclamation Why Don't Agents Want to Play? Amazon Flies Agents to Seattle to Find Out

A NYC literary agent and ebook pioneer publiishing maverick explains it all from the POV of a seasoned book agent.

http://www.ereads.com/richard_curtis...ay-amazon.html


Last week Amazon flew a dozen top New York book agents to Seattle. The purpose was to debrief their attitudes towards e-books in general and Kindle in particular. ....

I could have saved Amazon all that money. I've known for 10 years what's been holding agents back from plunging into e-book pool, and in fact I can tell it to you in one word: ...........advances.


The agents have been waiting for something they can identify with the traditional business model. And advances are as traditional as Thanksgiving turkeys.

Who can blame the agents for being standoffish? Picture a agent like Lynn Nesbit or Bob Gottlieb calling an author to say "I have great news for you! I've made a deal for e-book rights to your new book plus half a dozen of your old ones!" And you say "Great! What are they paying?" And they say "Um, nothing, actually." Oh, that's really going to bind them to their clients!

MORE at link:
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Old 11-15-2009, 01:29 AM   #2
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What does Amazon have to do with advances? In the current paradigm, Amazon is the retailer. Retailers don't pay advances or royalties, publishers do.

Amazon is trying to get the agents on their side to play hardball with the publishers, I suspect. They want the agents to treat ebooks like real books, which they are.

Last edited by MaggieScratch; 11-15-2009 at 01:35 AM. Reason: dumb mistake
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Old 11-15-2009, 05:05 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taglines View Post
A NYC literary agent and ebook pioneer publiishing maverick explains it all from the POV of a seasoned book agent.

http://www.ereads.com/richard_curtis...ay-amazon.html

Who can blame the agents for being standoffish? Picture a agent like Lynn Nesbit or Bob Gottlieb calling an author to say "I have great news for you! I've made a deal for e-book rights to your new book plus half a dozen of your old ones!" And you say "Great! What are they paying?" And they say "Um, nothing, actually." Oh, that's really going to bind them to their clients!

MORE at link:
Agents wouldn't do that, and Kristin Nelson explains why at her blog
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Old 11-15-2009, 06:15 AM   #4
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Agents; as useful as a concrete hat.
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Old 11-15-2009, 08:55 PM   #5
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Maybe I'm just out of the loop, but I don't see a specific connection between ebooks and advances.

At the moment, it seems that ebook rights are part and parcel with the rest of the contract. You get signed, the publisher says "we'll do paper and ebooks," and the author gets the same advance. Or is Curtis (or the authors) expecting an additional advance for ebook rights?
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Old 11-15-2009, 09:02 PM   #6
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Yep, I've refused to sell two short stories now because of overbroad clutching at the rights. The confusion when I didn't blindly sign my rights over was amusing, especially since we were talking very small amounts.

(They're out there now, but I won't link em because they're tied to my RL identity, which I keep seperate for a reason)
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:54 AM   #7
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(They're out there now, but I won't link em because they're tied to my RL identity, which I keep seperate for a reason)
International spy? MI5 Whistleblower? MP?
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:56 AM   #8
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Paranoia.
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:58 AM   #9
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Paranoia.
One of my multiple personalities is paranoid...or am I?
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Old 11-16-2009, 10:50 AM   #10
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Old 11-16-2009, 11:42 AM   #11
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Especially on the internets.
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Old 11-16-2009, 01:10 PM   #12
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:40 PM   #13
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So is Amazon trying to drag the neanderthals out of the cave? (well in all fairness neanderthals didn't have printing presses).

Good luck with that!
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:48 PM   #14
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Please pardon my ignorance but do authors typically get advances for every printing of their books? e.g. From hardback to paperback or additional paperback printings of back catalog titles.
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:33 PM   #15
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No. I think what he is saying is that authors need to be compensated for their ebooks in the initial advance if the publishers want electronic rights included in the deal (which it seems they do now).

Previously, agents saw that not a lot of revenue was being generated from ebooks and allowed it to be a throw-in on the deal. Richard Curtis is warning that agents need to understand that in the future, ebooks will generate a larger percentage of the money in the deal and agents need to structure the book deal to reflect that, whether on the front end (the advance) or the back end (ebook-specific royalty rates). Most agents will agitate for the money upfront as they make a percentage.

I know this kind of goes against what I wrote previously, but I've thought on it further now. I do wish Mr. Curtis had been clearer in his post.
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