... because I should be working on getting proposals out and answering phone calls and emails. But, here I am instead. Wondering why on earth I threw my opinions out there in there in the first place.
First, let me say I realize we need to change our blog setup so people realize when it's me, SANDRA writing. I'll work on that. For now, you get to read my words in orange.
Regarding yesterday's blog, I began posting comment replies but they got too long, so consider this a group reply.
I want to clarify that expressing whether or not I approve of TN's decision was not the intention of my post yesterday. Who really cares whether I approve or not? I certainly wasn't trying to shake my finger at Michael Hyatt. Frankly, I don't know the man, but I do respect his position, and I'm smart enough to know (and humble enough to admit) that he's someone with a lot of influence who has the capacity to make or break careers. Or at least bend them.
My pointing out "what's behind the curtain" had more to do with my frustration about the whole farm team analogy. It just didn't fly for me.
Thomas Nelson's decision to add self publishing to their product line was their choice to make. It's a business model which is different from what's always been done. Does the fact that Nelson and other traditional publishers are stepping into this ring threaten the status quo? Absolutely. Do I respect their courage to at least step out and try something new? Yes, as a matter of fact I do. Am I jumping up and down in excitement about it? Uh, no.
sure this decision wasn't considered lightly. Business ideas are
sometimes conceived in a vacuum, but rarely carried out in one. My
that the seed of this idea started with a simple question like "how can we
continue to move forward and mitigate risk?" For Nelson, this was their
answer. Is it the right answer? That's the million dollar question, isn't it?
I realize from Thomas Nelson's perspective, this new division simply offers
authors a new choice to make in regard to how they pursue publication. It's a service in exchange for a fee. And it's not like TN is going to go out and hang authors upside down to
shake spare change from their pockets. Whether authors choose
to buy this service is their choice.
Still, it's needs to be said that good authors work and sacrifice long and hard on their product before presenting it for consideration and this move doesn't make the road to publishing shorter or easier for them. It makes it steeper, bumpier, and harder to navigate.
For most authors, traditional publishing is still the end goal. In
CBA, Thomas Nelson has long been considered the brass ring. The stamp
of approval. Validation and evidence that an author has
earned their way to the top and is deserving of respect as a Christian
author. And I believe that respect is something which should be earned. Not available for purchase.
Face it, there is the potential for folks to let
their desire to see their name on the spine of a Thomas Nelson book override their
motivation to do the work. And, conversely, there is also the potential for TN to let their desire to make money override their motivation to hold to their standards. I'm not accusing. I'm just saying this looks like it has the potential to be a slippery slope and this concerns me.
Obviously I wasn't asked for my opinion on any of this. And as I was talking with another agent this morning, we agreed that it's easy to criticize and point fingers at other people's solutions without offering suggestions or alternatives, so here's mine:
Want a farm team? Go for it. I think it's a great idea. Start a new non-advance, higher royalty division - and perhaps use the Westbow imprint for just such a thing. This would still raise the commitment required from authors without lowering the bar. Help authors who are willing to commit to making the product a success, then spend the money that would have gone into an advance to help the author with marketing. I've done a couple deals this way with other publishers recently, and I have to say, I feel fine about it. There was nothing in it for me upfront as an agent, but in both cases, they are projects I believe have the capacity to not only make money down the road, but also make a difference in the long run.
Just an idea. Conceived in bit of a vacuum, I'll admit. Feel free to discuss. I've got work to do.