With that said, I think it is important that we are all very careful, especially in publishing.
Earlier, I made a comment about people just selling out and going with e-pubs and self-pubs. Let me address that. First of all, I am not saying to not do either. All I am saying is that the business takes time and we are all too anxious to make money too fast. There is a definite place for both of these forms of publishing and if people are successful with this model, then I am 100% backing you.
But with that said, I think there is another element of caution when it comes to this shift. That would simply be doing things for the immediate financial concern and not for the long term stability of the author. I am reminded here of a comment that I have heard Deb Werksman from Sourcebooks say time and time again. "I do not buy books, I buy authors." (or something to that effect).
The reason I bring all of this up is I am concerned about many in the publishing industry that are not thinking about the actions they do today and how those actions lead to the things that will occur in the long run. Will pushing for higher rates with some publisher burn a bridge later on when you might need the negotiating room? Will moving to a different business model become a conflict of interest later on when the model or market shifts?
Although (here comes the political side of things) I am a liberal in many things, when it comes to business models, I am a hard core conservative. I believe in the status quo and I believe in making changes only when there is a need.
I will admit, I can see things I do at Greyhaus and see many ways that I can bring in an immediate cash flow. Will I do it? No. Even when I first started the agency, I was thinking about offering (as a side-line) critique services, but I chose not to. Why? Because there were authors that saw this as a conflict of interest. Even though I had a clause in my contract, it wasn't enough. So I didn't run with that plan. The same goes for my Alien Vampire Bunny Contest and my work with the Brenda Novak Auction. This is to help a craft, and not to "make money for Greyhaus."
So with that said, let me re-state the things I believe in here at Greyhaus.
- I believe there should be no conflict of interest for the agent. It is for this reason I am looking for an agent to publish my own writing.
- I believe that the agent's prime concern is for the authors they represent.
- I am firm that I will stick to representing only romance and women's fiction.
- I believe, as an agent, I will represent only stories I believe in.
- I believe an that an agent can be a writer, and an agent can do editing, but those lines cannot ever be crossed and there needs to be a clause written into every contract stating those two lines can never be crossed.
- I believe in the author and I want to do the best for the author. This does not mean I will push for things unrealistic, but I will push for the best in the long run.
- I believe in my authors and when they want to do projects outside of our agreement, I am 100% backing them but will not be entering into a contractual obligation with the author. This allows Greyhaus authors to write in projects outside of romance and women's fiction as well as writing in the self-publishing market.