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  • ebook publishing deal - better than nothing or not worth it at all?
    by Livi at 20:31 on 10 May 2016
    Hello all,

    After sulking around in the Getting Published forum some years ago, I eventually abandoned my almost-agented first attempt at a novel and wrote another, which got a contract with an agent (supposedly a good one - in WAYB, won agent of the year a few years back, celebrity clients (although most were already celebrities before they bothered putting pen to paper!)).

    Months passed, and the agent forwarded a string of rejections and I gave up hope. Now the agent says they have some interest from a publisher, but it is not exactly what I dreamt of – the publisher is small, new, works on ‘higher royalties’ rather than advances and produces ebooks only (the agent initially said that they would only target ’16 major publishers’).

    Also, I’m not sure of how the publisher would treat the book – they seem only to deal with what I think is called ‘middle-grade women’s’ – the covers have fuzzy pictures of beautiful heroines (my agent initially said that my writing was literary/high-end women’s (‘Victoria Hislop level’) and would never have a pink cover)).

    I’m a little bit unsure what to make of it all. It was never about the money, but I would have loved to see a physical copy of my book in a bookshop.

    Additionally, another agent who requested the full ms (once I had already signed with the first agent) said I should give them a call ‘if things didn’t work out’ – could this be an option? (even if the main publishers have already been targeted?)

    (Don’t have full contract or details yet as I am to speak with the agent tomorrow but wanted to go into the discussion with a bit of knowledge about it)

    It would be great to get some views on this – chiefly, I know nothing about these types of publishers and whether they are worth signing with.


  • Re: ebook publishing deal - better than nothing or not worth it at all?
    by Annecdotist at 14:19 on 20 May 2016
    Firstly, congratulations – I think it’s getting progressively harder to get published so it’s great that you have an offer. However, I think you’re wise to consider carefully whether this is right for you.
    With a small publisher, it’s really difficult to get your book into bookshops so, if that was your main rationale for wanting a physical book, you might be equally disappointed even with a bigger small publisher. I suppose it depends on your overall view of ebooks – some people prefer them, others don’t like them. And, even if you don’t manage to get your books into a bookshop, there’s still the pleasure of signing with the physical book.
    I’ve written a few articles about my experiences negotiating with a small publisher without an agent – the latest is here
    I’d say try to be clear about what you want and negotiate on this basis rather than assuming you have to take the whole package as offered.
    Good luck – I appreciate that you and your agent might now have settled this between you but thought it wouldn’t harm to add my perspective.
  • Re: ebook publishing deal - better than nothing or not worth it at all?
    by Livi at 20:15 on 23 May 2016
    Thanks for your thoughts, Anne. And thanks for sharing all your experiences on your blogs - you've certainly got a lot of experience and information to share! I've now met the publisher face-to-face and had lots more explained and I'm coming round to it. Honestly, I don't think the deal is perfect for me, but it is a genuine one (my agent actually thinks it isn't too bad at all) but it is all there is on the table, so I think I will take it and take a leap out of my comfort zone! - I will let you know how I get on!
  • Re: ebook publishing deal - better than nothing or not worth it at all?
    by Annecdotist at 09:32 on 24 May 2016
    I’m glad it helped and also glad you’re making progress with your publisher. Another blogger whose posts might be worth following is Isabel Costello
    She’s pretty canny about this publishing malarkey and her own debut novel is about to be published as an e-book.
  • Re: ebook publishing deal - better than nothing or not worth it at all?
    by Terry Edge at 11:46 on 24 May 2016
    It very much depends on what you want. Very roughly, publishing now splits into four categories (which I've just made up!): mainstream/traditional - small press - small publisher - self-publisher.

    Looking at SF/Fantasy, as with any other genre, it's very difficult to get a deal with traditional publishers. And even if you do, it's most likely to be at a creative not to say financial cost (unless you're very lucky). In SF/Fantasy there are some very good small presses, like PS Publishing. PS produce proper hard copy books that will get reviewed and build your career. They won't make you much money, however.

    Then you get a whole raft of small publishers where their value varies. These sit somewhere between small press and self-publishing. Doesn't mean they're bad by any means. A friend of mine had his first SF novel published by a small publisher, not quite a small press, and he was very happy with it, even though he made next to nothing from it.

    Where it gets a little murky is when agents get involved with small publishers (in my view anyway). The most obvious question is why go with one just because your agent recommends it? Is he/she getting a cut? Another friend of mine accepted a contract with a small publisher via his agent and, frankly, I think it was through desperation as much as anything else. Although he made a big noise about getting a 'deal' no one was fooled as to its nature.

    Self-publishing can be more satisfying than going with a small publisher. You have total artistic control and bag all the royalties (how much is this publisher taking? 30%?). Yes, you'll have to pay for a cover artist, editor, etc but they're one-off costs, not forever royalties that you'd be sharing with the publisher.