Sunday, July 26, 2009

Here's Part Three.

Now if I'm correct with all the above. What I believe will result is the death of ALL publishers. Every single one of them. There's no need for them. You can convert your e-book manuscript into an e-book-reader-ready/cellphone-ready format with little trouble and possibly with a mere click of a button. No printing needed. No forest need die for you to read your romance novel.

But I do NOT think this evolution of the written word will spell the death of agents. Agents will "simply" operate differently in the future. Today, agents pitch novels and non-fiction books to publishers. In the future, agents will pitch novels and non-fiction books to advertising firms and possibly directly to major advertisers. In the future, the most sought-after agents will be those with established relationships with major ad agencies, major advertisers, and countless minor ones.

So as publishers die off and leave the scene, they will be replaced with advertisers coming onto the book scene. Writers and agents will remain. The change is only in who pays them and the final introduction of ad pages in books ... as has been done for centuries with magazines.

This will not mean that if you get accepted by an agent that you're assured a fat check every month. Not at all. Just as they do today with publishers, your agent will still have to pitch your novel to ad firms. Convince them that your novel is the right one for their clients' products and/or services. And just like today, the hardest novelists to pitch will be the first-time novelists. Agents will have an easier time pitching established novelists since they can point to download numbers of their previous books.

Anyway, the above is what I think will be the future of writing. Publishing will be dead but writing will continue on and I believe be an even greater success than it has ever been in history.

Unfortunately, no agent is doing the above. Due to this, I think I'll have to be the one to do the pitching of my e-novel to advertisers. Someone has to blaze the first trail. Being a marketer myself, I'm probably the right one to do it. On the bright side, not having an agent will enable me to do barter deals with advertisers that agents might not be so interested in procuring since many barter deals don’t lend themselves easily to an agent’s cut.

Now I'm sure that if I succeed, all but the most resistant-to-change agents will follow suit and eventually I will be able to turn over the pitching of my novels to ad firms to one of them. :-) I’ll then do what I hope I do best and that’s work on my next novel, do mindless banter with talk show hosts about my current novel, and feed my ego by meeting fans at conventions. ;-)

Wish me luck!

Humbly yours,

Scott Jensen

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mr. Jensen,

How soon are you going to attempt to do what you propose? I am sure where you're currently at with your novel will play a big part so please tell where it currently stands.

Anonymous said...

Scott, great posts! I hope you will take the time to answer my questions as you have the others. Please, though, reply as you did to the second anonymous poster for Part I and not as you did with the third. I had a hard time figuring out what the other poster said and you said.

Here's my questions:

A) What will happen to public libraries?
B) If you allow people to download your novel off of peer-to-peer networks, won't you under cut the download numbers you can report to advertisers?
C) How do you format a novel for ebook readers and cellphones?
D) What do you mean by "barter" deals?
E) Isn't what you're talking about -- at least in some measure -- self-publishing?
F) Won't children books have to wait until color ebook readers are more widespread?

Again, thank you for your great series of posts!

Wylie Merrick Literary said...

First of all, if you're going to post anonymously please identify yourself because referring to anonymous #1 and #2 is apparently offensive to some. which, by-the- way, is way off subject.

Tracy said...

Thank you, Scott. I remember your guest blog here about how authors can get publicity on the radio. That one was great and this series of guest blogs is fantastic. Thank you ever so much for writing them and then taking the time to reply to our questions.

In addition to all the questions asked above, I have a few more I would enjoy you answering.

1 - Exactly how are you going to pitch the ad firms and advertisers?

2 - Are you looking to become a full-time novelist or will this just be a hobby or sideline income for you?

3 - Have you ever thought of starting up your own blog? You seems like a very smart person with a lot of good things to say. That and it would be great is you were to tell us how you were doing as you implement your plans to get your novel done the way you're saying you're going to do it.

Scott Jensen said...

A) What will happen to public libraries?

Like the rest of the printed world, public libraries are dying. Many are reducing their hours and even days of operations. But perhaps they will find a new role in society. However, if they are mainly just a public depository for books, ebooks will probably send them to the grave.

B) If you allow people to download your novel off of peer-to-peer networks, won't you under cut the download numbers you can report to advertisers?

You can currently track downloads off of peer-to-peer networks. The company Big Champagne presently does this for the music industry. Nielsen does it for the TV industry.

C) How do you format a novel for ebook readers and cellphones?

Google it. There are many websites that tell how to do so.

D) What do you mean by "barter" deals?

Barter is trading something for something without cash being involved. It predates cash. With ebooks, an author could barter advertising in their ebook for something from an advertiser instead of or in addition to cash.

For example, if your story has a chapter or two (or the entire story) at a campground, a real life campground might trade you free nights with them for making your fictional campground, their campground. The ad that would then proceed that chapter would be an ad for their campground. By it including photographs of it, your readers can at a glance get an idea of what its like. This will help your story as you're not wasting narration telling what a glance could tell.

Now if you are a wise trader, you would have the campground give you more free nights with the more downloads that are done of your novel. If you want to make the trade easy to swallow, you'd ask for no free nights until your download numbers hit a certain mark. The campground owner then feels they're initially risking nothing. They only pay when your book performs.

E) Isn't what you're talking about -- at least in some measure -- self-publishing?

It can be. You can also be represented by someone as well.

F) Won't children books have to wait until color ebook readers are more widespread?

No, ebook readers might never become the way the vast majority of people read ebooks. Personally, I think cellphones will be more popular as nearly everyone has one, they're light weight, and are already multi-taskers. Cellphones already enable people to do away with their PDAs, wrist watches, dayplanners, and their functionality is increasing everyday. Merely watch the ads for the iPhone and you'll see the innovation that is going on with cellphones. In fact, they are now becoming the primary digital still cameras for young people and are quickly becoming the primary video cameras for young people as well.

Scott Jensen said...

1 - Exactly how are you going to pitch the ad firms and advertisers?

This is presently evolving. However, I will be telling about its evolution in a reply to "Agents Respond" post so I will refrain from repeating my answer here.

2 - Are you looking to become a full-time novelist or will this just be a hobby or sideline income for you?

I would love to become a very successful novelist (who wouldn't?), but I am not pinning all my hopes and dreams on becoming such. If it happens, it happens. I will be trying to maximize how much I can earn from my books, but that's about all I think I can do. The rest will be up to things largely beyond my control. Do people like my style of writing? Do people connect with my characters and stories? Do people think I'm a great writer? Do I gain a following? Do I gain great representation in one form or another? Do advertisers jump on board? Will Hollywood become interested in making a theater movie, TV movie, TV mini-series, HBO series, or whatever out of my story?

What the answers to the above questions will be is something I presently don't know. However, I do plan to soon find out. ;-)

3 - Have you ever thought of starting up your own blog?

No, this is about it for blogging for me. I would rather spend my time working on a novel than constantly pumping out new blog posts.

A Fellow Pen said...

Mr. Jensen,

I see you have answered questions to the poster after me and then Tracy, but not to mine. I was the poster at the top of this comment section. Are you not going to answer my question? If I am asking something that you do not want to publicly reveal, I can understand that. If so, please tell what you feel you can safely publicly reveal.

I am a fellow author with a respectable number of titles to my name. My royalties are enough to enable me to do this profession full-time. Like many published authors, I am concerned about the future of my chosen profession. I am presently not happy with my current agent and am thinking of switching to another. Part of the reason (though not the only reason) for the desire to switch is my current agent is like Robert and not willing to change until he's forced to change. I feel that such a strategy will leave me on the sinking ship with all the lifeboats gone. I do love this profession and don't want to go down with the old ship.

I would very much like to hear your progress with your attempt at ebooks. Also, if you find a lit agent that is willing to represent you in your attempt, I hope you will tell us here and that WM will let you do so. I will then contact them and see if they would represent me as well.

I am a risk-taker. Always have been. If I wasn't, I wouldn't now be a full-time author. I think you're onto something. Don't listen to the nay-sayers. Go for it and best of luck!

A Fan said...

Fantastic series of posts, Scott! Thank you for sharing!

Your Future Client said...

Scott, why don't you become an agent yourself? I'm dead serious.

Not like Robert and Sharene. They're part of the old. Their world is full of editors and publishers. All their contacts are in the publishing world. They are Ahab tied to Moby Dick. Doomed.

What you're talking about is totally new territory and one that you (and not Robert and Sharene) understand, have dealt with, and probably have lots of contacts in. You have said you're a marketer. You're going to pitch advertising agencies and directly big advertisers. I bet that if an ad agency bit Robert on the behind, he wouldn't know what it is.

If you go ahead with your plans for your ebook, you will be establishing relations with ad agencies. Why let that go to waste? If you can sell them once, you can sell them again. Right?

There are authors out here that also know that the publishing world has to change and that print is doomed. We're all trying to figure out how to make the transition. You sound like you have the answer.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not suggesting you take on other authors while you pitch your own book. What I am, though, suggesting is that after you succeed with your book, you will have the attention of every single author in the world. At that time, I suggest you become an agent. If you do, you'll be flooded with authors seeking representation.

I recommend you then only take on us authors that have been published and if you really are flooded, you take on only authors who have had bestsellers. And by "bestseller", I would appreciate if you would define that as having had a book make the Top 20 on the NYT Bestseller list. That's meaning if they held the #20 spot once, they be counted as a bestselling author. -- That would enable me to squeak in. lol --

Best of luck and keep us posted!

Wylie Merrick Literary said...

Dear Your Future Client--

While I have no problem with you lumping me as part of the old regime even though my last post made it pretty obvious I am anything but, I do not take kindly to the Ahab analogy. Use a different one. Anyone who knows me knows that I was so totally for the whale. I also rooted for King Kong and Godzilla. So, for future reference, please refrain from analogies with animals in them, unless I'm on the animal side. Thanks! Sharene

Scott Jensen said...

Your Future Client,

Thanks for the suggestion, but I don't think I will become an agent. I have been an account executive before which is sort of like an agent in the advertising world. I much prefer to be a marketing strategist, which is what I currently am. I am also waiting on a choice chief marketing officer job that will be paying me extremely well.

However, I don't like shutting doors that don't need to be shut or burning perfectly good bridges. We'll see. For now, I'll just focus on seeing where I can go with my novel in an ebook format.

Again, thanks for the suggestion and writing.

Scott Jensen said...

A Fellow Pen,

I did reply to your question. Why it hasn't appeared, I don't know.

As for keeping you informed of my progress with my novel here in this blog, I'm sorry but this isn't my blog. It is the blog of the Wylie-Merrick Literary Agency. Not only that, but I'm not even represented by them.

Now others have suggested I start up my own blog to tell of my efforts with my plan, but I don't see the point of doing that. I'd rather spend that energy either polishing my novel, pitching it to advertisers, or working on my next novel. Sorry.

The Underground said...

Watch it, Scott! The big publishers are probably right at this moment putting out a contract on your head.

The funny thing is the best way they could prevent you from burning down their house of cards is by offering you an insanely fat advance for that science fiction novel you're writing. You know you'd sell out for the right price. I would! Don't sell out for anything less than $10 million!

A Fellow Pen said...

Robert, Scott says he replied to my question. Did you get his reply? If so, please post it. If not, perhaps Scott can send it again so you can post it.