Now, I'm all for traditional publishers giving un-agented manuscripts a chance. Of course! What bothers me about this solicitation is the fact that the manuscripts will only be published in e-book format. Don't get me wrong, I think houses opening themselves up to a digitally-published-only catalog can be a great thing for publishers and authors alike.
But it does lead to some questions.
With free publishing options like amazon’s createspace for kindle, lulu, barnes & noble free publishing for nook, and smashwords, I have to wonder what a traditional publisher could possibly bring to the table for authors publishing digitally?
A few things to consider:
Free editing, formatting and book cover.
With a traditional publisher, at least you can be sure your book will be clean and well presented. But, this could also be a drawback. What if you don’t like the cover they’ve chosen? Would they be willing to change it? With self-publishing, if sales are low or your cover seems outdated you have the freedom to do something about it.
I assume, if the book will be listed with a traditional publisher, it would receive the same publicity as agented and hard copy books from their catalog- a listing on publisher’s marketplace, epublicities on major book sites, entry into coveted reviewer blogs, swag, invitations to book conventions, etc…But something tells me a traditional publisher isn’t going to spend the same amount of time or money on a book that’s only coming out in ebook format. In any case, it’s something I’d be curious about.
Would the contract be standard?
How would the royalty rights be split? If the contract is at industry standards, why the solicitation for un-agented authors? Once the contract acquired, would the publishing house object to the author having an agent or legal professional take a look? Would they agree to negociations if the contract is found subpar?
It’s every author’s dream to see their book on a shelf somewhere. Would hard copy sales be an option if the ebook sold well?
It would seem a shame, to me, to be signing over the chance to ever hold your book in your hands when you sign a digital publishing contract.
What are your thoughts on traditional publishers opening themselves up to a digitally-published-only catalog? When weighing the options, do you think un-agented authors would be in a better place career-wise to go with a traditional publisher or head out on their own indie-stye?