There was one thing that stuck out like a sore thumb amidst all the huffing and puffing surrounding Barry Eisler’s decision to sign with Amazon’s new imprint, Thomas & Mercer. Some people (both indie evangelists and arch-defenders of trade publishing), think that self-publishing and trade publishing are mutually exclusive paths. This nonsense needs to be dealt with right away. First off, there are many, many people who have trade deals who are also self-publishing other titles.
In a move announced yesterday at BookExpo America, Barry Eisler has signed a trade deal with Amazon’s newest imprint Thomas & Mercer. Full details of the deal have yet to emerge, but Eisler stated that the advance was “comparable” to the trade deal he walked away from. He also stated that print royalty terms will be similar, but that he will receive “close to” 70% e-book royalties and retain creative control. He also stated that the contract was the most “author friendly” he had ever seen and that he signed straight away.
There was some interesting news in The Bookseller yesterday. Ed Victor, one of the top UK agents, has announced he is setting up his own publishing division – Bedford Square Books. We have talked on this blog before about The Digital Revolution and what the future will hold for agents. I predicted a split in the agent community as some morph into publishers and others re-focus into being authors’ advocates. I also talked about how there was some tension already. Andrew Wylie made waves last year when he announced Odyssey Editions – his own imprint to publish his authors’ backlists (including Roth, Bellow, and Updike) – rights which had reverted from trade deals. Scott Waxman has set up his own publishing company Read More…
In the last couple of months, self-publishing has really broken out into the mainstream. It’s not unusual now to see a television news report or an article in the Financial Times on an indie bestseller who has just snagged an agent or signed a trade deal, or coverage of the self-publishing scene in general. Even so, some self-publishers complain that they don’t get respect from the trade publishing community, that they are treated with disdain or condescension.