Amazon Publishing. What Does it Mean to You?

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Amazon Publishing. What Does it Mean to You?

So. The new Amazon publishing program.

Lots of folks are taking about this article in the New York Times.

I can see why it’s a very exciting prospect for new writers, or for writers with a lot of talent who have had trouble getting their work noticed under the more traditional model. Heck, it’s obviously exciting for the established–and bestselling–authors who are now publishing with Amazon.

I can’t see why this would make the need for an agent any less important. But obviously I’m quite biased in favor of agents.

I want to write more about it, but in the meantime, I’d like to hear from you.

Writers, both published and unpublished: How do you feel about the new publishing venture from Amazon? Does it change your view of what it means to “get published”? Is it more alluring than the “traditional model” to you, in terms of getting your work out there?  Does it make you feel like you need an agent any less than you would with a more traditional publisher? Discuss!

  1. I appologize in advance if this is a long winded response. I’m an aspiring author and librarian, and I’m all for making the publishing process simpler for writers to reach their readers, but I found the article a little disturbing. It’s another issue, but I felt the same way when I read that Barnes and Noble pulled 100 DC comics titles off their shelves last week (see: http://www.bostonherald.com/entertainment/books/view.bg?articleid=1373102&srvc=rss ).
    I’m worried because Amazon seems to have its fingers in too many pies. Will there come a day when Amazon stops selling books that aren’t also published by Amazon? Are they building up for an offensive against traditional publishers? The article makes it apparent that some traditional publishers are already intimidated by Amazon’s new venture.
    As for me, the unpublished, aspiring author, I still think I need a literary agent, if only for experience alone, (an agent knows the process where as I don’t). Authors still need advocates outside of publishing companies. I still want my book to be published by a traditional publisher. It has more prestige. I’m still in my twenties, and maybe someday in the future, if I’ve exhausted all of my other avenues, Amazon publishing might look more appealing, but at present, I’m going the traditional route, the long and difficult road rather than what might be the faster, easier option.
    I also find it worrisome that the article made it seem that Amazon was secretive about their publishing venture. The article implied that Amazon scouts for authors/ projects rather than accept submissions. I’d be interested to know if this is, in fact the case.

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  2. Going to wait it out a while, I think, stick with the usual queries to agents. I want to see what kind of animal Amazon turns out to be.

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  3. Psst! You linked to page 2 of the article. Careful with that. ~_^

    On the article: well, I see a lot of potential, but also the potential for abuse. If I’m reading correctly, Amazon basically has no stake in what they’re publishing. Their only investment is the server space to store and deliver the book, a tiny expense. Which means the “throw everything on the shelves and see what sticks” approach is likely. If your book sells, good, but if it flops, eh, plenty more where that came from. They have no real motivation to care about your book.

    I dunno, to register a more concrete opinion I’d have to know exactly what services they’re offering the writer.

    -LupLun
    Shooting for the Moon

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  4. Absolutely an agent is still necessary, but as someone who has queried the same novel for six months and have seen many rejections, agents are hard to come by. This type of publishing may actually help new writers get an agent and thus begin on the path of traditional publishing.

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  5. I can only speak for myself, but I would still prefer to be published traditionally, and with the help of an agent. It’s not about money for me, it’s about telling great stories, and getting them to people who want to read them. I still feel that working with an agent and an editor at a traditional house is the best way to make sure the story (and the product) is the highest quality it can be.

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  6. As a general proposition, e-books are an interesting development. We writers spend significant portions of our lives and emotions hunched over keyboards because we have stories to tell—stories we need to have read. With the cost of producing hard-copies ever increasing, and with it the cost to the reader (some paperbacks now cost $15 and up), fewer traditional books are purchased. E-books, available at a far lower price, could result in larger readership; might eventually result in the survival of literacy in this world of 30-second sound-bites and video game distraction. But, the present literature threatens that the author of e-books must assume a greater burden for promotion. Few of us have the knowledge of how to most effectively and efficiently promote our work, while leaving sufficient time to write our next creative piece. Given that, a good agent, one available to truly guide an author’s career—from determining whether traditional publishing or e-publishing would more efficacious, to planning promotional strategies—becomes more important than ever.

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  7. I wrote this on my blog just the other day.
    “I’ve been wondering about the role of literary agents in this age of eBooks. I read somewhere that agents are now using Amazon.com as their new slush pile. That is, they are checking out the indie books. Whether or not this is true, what is true is that self-publishing is growing. If I self-publish, both ebooks and print, why do I need an agent?
    Their roles and priorities are going to have to change. Movie, TV rights; foreign rights; translations, but most of all finding effective means of publicizing books.
    Because of my poor eyesight, I do more and more of my reading on Kindles or Nooks. I have also published 4 novels on Amazon. The results have been mixed.
    Several years ago a traditional publisher published one of my books. The cover was puke pink and ridiculous, the editing was painful ( a huge mistake, which I did not make) on the first page. They put it out there and that was that. Painful.
    With amazon, I’ve chosen the covers,I’ve gotten my own editor (some results were so-so) and I’ve tried to get them out and noticed in the market place.
    The results are sketchy, but I do get a check every month. Do I want an agent? Do I want to be traditionally published? Maybe, but the contract would not be what is standard today.
    Sorry I got so long-winded but it’s a fascinating topic.

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