What is the evolution of a Rights Agent, or Literary Agent? How are we doing?

Digital Book World is a GREAT newsletter: 4210 &rid=240997522 Here is an article from an obviously qualified gentleman, Jason Allen Ashlock. I have placed a comment about what our company is doing just to see how we fare using his criteria. J: This fall I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with dozens of agents and author management firms-and dozens of the authors they represent-to get a sense of what large- and small-scale adjustments are happening behind the scenes of the author representation business. What I found shouldn’t be surprising: agents are adapting swiftly and creatively to the fluctuating literary marketplace. In addition to their traditional work of finding buyers for intellectual property, agents are experimenting widely and expanding thoughtfully. Though the taste for and ambition toward change is unevenly distributed across agencies, here are six general trends in agent expansion and evolution. We’ll be exploring these and many more trends-and hearing from leading voices from a variety of firms-in our pre-DBW workshop Driving Agency Growth: Fresh Case Studies, Models and Tools for Agent and Managers on January 13th. J: Independent Publishing: Until recently, agents providing support and oversight of clients self-publishing ventures was a rare phenomenon. These efforts, once ad hoc, have now been standardized and built into the structure of agencies large and small. R: Yes! Having the ability to move clients into and out of self-publishing to show sales is something we do constantly. J: Creative Management: From architecting Kickstarter campaigns to overseeing Etsy sales, from treating print as a sub-right to ramping up speaking representation, agents are looking to new platforms and rights arenas for revenue opportunities and author brand development. R: How about adding Chinese and other countries for complexity? Yes, on finding new ways to market. We are not sold on Kickstarter for books because so many books will never pay their investors back. Etsy.. for authors.. not sure about that one either. But overall, yes, one MUST stay alert for breaking trends such as Pintrest, Linked In, Smashwords, Scribd, Oyster.. yikes the list goes on! J: Digital Infrastructure: With new rights categories and more complex workflows, agents are adopting new technology tools to power more efficient project design, accounting, sales cycle management, and client communications. R: When one adds “global distribution” to the mix, it really gets interesting. J: Marketing Capacity: As agents expand their services, they’re embedding themselves at new locations in the value chain, staffing up in marketing know-how and brand development expertise. R: Being able to market for an author is of paramount importance, and that is why we formed a complete company to do so, J: Industry Surveillance: New publishing startups launch with dizzying regularity, while legacy publishing solutions companies announce new services to sustain market position. Agents are becoming the filters and translators of new opportunities for their authors, assessing the opportunities in an innovation-rich climate, and sorting good ideas from bad ones, investment opportunities from time-sucks R: Reading, education, and keeping up is very important. Being able to communicate these trends to authors is something we do in these blog posts. J: Reverse Mentorship: Still an apprenticeship profession, agencies continue to train the next generation of author representatives. But in this climate of rapid technological change, agencies are also listening to their younger members, turning to junior associates for insight on new platforms and hiring younger agents specifically for their understanding of developing trends. R: We are hiring younger people aggressively to help us with the Social Media landscape. It is always great to take a look at how we fare using other people’s criteria (within reason). The biggest trend I think is the first one, Independent Publishing. We believe that Agents can help authors rise through the ranks by showing sales and eventually end up with that big fat contract (or check from staying Indie)! Best! Robert Fletcher – CEO Linked In: Twitter: @Robert_CEO, CEO Blog:

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