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One Optimistic Literary Agent

MeghnaK, who turns out to be a 13 year old girl from India and way more social media savvy than I’ll ever be, tweeted (?) about a post by San Francisco Literary Agent Nathan Bransford called Why I’m Optimistic About the Future of Books. Isn’t it lovely to have someone be optimistic about books and publishing?

His post is a worthy read and so are many of the 100+ comments that follow. Briefly stated, his theory, and I think he’s partially right, is that as books go more and more digital and as decent ebook readers like the Kindle 2: Amazon’s New Wireless Reading Device (Latest Generation) become available, the author’s barriers to distribution are disolved. The implication is that decent books will be able to find their market.

While it’s true even today there are fewer barriers to distribution – you can create a book, set it up as a .pdf or other format and offer it through the web to, in theory, the whole world. 

Book Distribution is Less Than Half the Battle

But, and it’s a huge but, if the potential reader doesn’t know about your book, your chances of selling it to her are nil. As I say over and over again, you’ve got to market your book. It’s true with a traditional publisher and even more true when you market it yourself.

I suspect we’ll be seeing more and more people offering book marketing services. Maybe they will eventually come to be paid like agents, on performance only. I certainly would be willing to share 15% of my profits with someone who could successfully market my book; I’m loathe to put money up front because I have no way of evaluating how effective they might be.

A New Career?

Hmmm. Maybe we’re seeing the beginning of another career category in publishing. Do you know anyone marketing books for a percentage only? Is it something you think you’d like to do? Let us know.


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