Just a fascinating piece, well written, considered and also in a sense really critical to understanding the developments in the industry over the last few years and in the next few decades:
If authors are closer to their agents, how does this affect the workings between editor, agent and author? Most editors I spoke with had good relationships with most agents, and they particularly appreciated having an agent around in times of dispute—as a mediator between themselves and the author. Rachel Kahan, senior editor at GP Putnam’s Sons, said, ‘Most agents are pretty good at coming to your aid when you have someone unreasonable.’ Julie Grau told of the time when she had developed such a close relationship with Irish writer Nuala O’Faolain that the author fired her agent. ‘What do I need an agent for?’ O’Faolain had said. Grau told me it was the worst thing that could have happened. ‘The agent was a buffer, she allowed the boundaries to be kept.’ None the less it’s worth nothing that the editor-author relationship continued between Grau and O’Faolain until the writer’s death last year.
What is it?
The bookseller news item has the full breakdown (see below) but you can read some more here on MSN and a bit of analysis here:
Authonomy, at www.authonomy.com, will initially be rolled out by HCUK in early 2008, with the intention of it becoming a global programme in the future. The site will connect unpublished authors with readers, and will allow anyone to participate. Readers will be able to support their favourite manuscripts, with HC guaranteeing to consider the most popular for publication. HC anticipates that many of the readers will be industry professionals looking for new talent.
What is going on?
Seems to me that HC are quite cleverly using the web at its best to do the same job that usually gets dumped on the junior editor (not at Mercier I should add. I review nearly very script that comes in). But will it work in their favour? It is a hard call, it may be that the site will become a destination for good writers with talent (it s difficult to tell without seeing how exactly they intend to execute the task they have set themselves) but if, as HC suggest themselves, the site is also a magnet for publishing professionals from beyond HC there is no guarantee that they will take the cream. In fact they could well forced the price of the cream up and simply improve the scrum for talent while costing themselves quite a bit in hosting and marketing.