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Thread: [Agency] BookEnds, LLC / Beyond the Page Publishing

  1. #326
    Cluck that. Twizzle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post

    The 15% offer starts only when the book is completely finished and digital bookshelf ready. It is for distribution and promotion of that finished book.
    Did they ever clarify what promotion, if any, they'd be doing? Last I'd seen they hadn't-she stated that editorial quality was more important than marketing for a book's success?

    I think the part that did get to me was the comment:

    "Will BookEnds offer representation to Beyond the Page authors. Possibly?"

    *sigh*
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  2. #327
    L'Oreal. He's worth it. SafetyDance's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Twizzle View Post
    Did they ever clarify what promotion, if any, they'd be doing? Last I'd seen they hadn't-she stated that editorial quality was more important than marketing for a book's success?

    I think the part that did get to me was the comment:

    "Will BookEnds offer representation to Beyond the Page authors. Possibly?"

    *sigh*
    I wonder if they are worried about the growing number of authors bypassing agents completely and going straight to self-pub? (I don't know many, admittedly, but I read about them a lot). Perhaps this is their way of "catching" said clients, and of trying to create a hierarchy within self-pub--with them at the top.

    I am uncomfortable about it either way, mind. I actually think agents assisting authors in publishing their backlists is ok--both parties need to make money, and formatting a whole backlist of ebooks is a job a busy author can do without (assuming the agent is capable, and can provide a better service and margin than an epub. Possible?)--but taking on new clients to do this? No, no.

  3. #328
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Again, that assumes the agents are in a position to assist and have the skill set.

  4. #329
    practical experience, FTW MysteryScribe's Avatar
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    I really, REALLY want to believe their ethics won't be an issue...BUT...that's the first thing that crossed my mind. How is this good for the author? No matter how you slice, dice, or fry it--it's not digesting.

    Personally, I would never trust my agent 100%. It's sad, because I really admired BookEnds. The market may be changing, but there's got to be a better way for agents to adjust. This unfortunately, just. isn't. it. (IMHO)
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  5. #330
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Maybe BTP needs a plain ol' publisher thread to continue this discussion? Their best selling kindle edition is currently at #3,603.

  6. #331
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    Courtney Milan's latest blog post explains why this is a bad idea in so many ways. http://www.courtneymilan.com/ramblin...s-of-interest/

    I hope BookEnds reads this and takes it to heart.

  7. #332
    Quote Originally Posted by DeadlyAccurate View Post
    Courtney Milan's latest blog post explains why this is a bad idea in so many ways. http://www.courtneymilan.com/ramblin...s-of-interest/

    I hope BookEnds reads this and takes it to heart.
    This is such a fantastic and thorough analysis of the problem. Thanks for linking to this.

    This quote stuck out for me:

    It’s the agent’s job to remain free of conflicts, not the author’s job to police them.

    A conflict of interest is not something that is decided by the author and the agent. It’s decided by common law. There are real legal principles at issue here. You can’t just make up an answer and think that’s good enough.

    If you’re an agent and you want to start a publishing arm, you need to talk to a lawyer who specializes in agency law.

    Do I need to say any more? A lawyer who specializes in agency law will be a billion times better to talk to than reading this blog post, and then you can explain to everyone how you set up your in-agency publishing house with an appropriate firewall in a way that avoids conflicts. That’s fine.

    But do take it seriously. I’m hearing too many people say things that are too blithely dismissive of the notion of conflict of interest for me to feel easy about this.
    Bingo.
    Last edited by Bubastes; 07-27-2011 at 09:56 PM.
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  8. #333
    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    I, personally, get the feeling they don't think 'epublishing' is even a distinct skill set. Like there is no real difference between what Samhain does and what the estate of Catherine Cookson are doing....

    Time will tell, I guess.
    That was my feeling as well. It's like they think "oh, anyone can e-publish" and "how hard could it be?" They look like dabblers, and it smacks of disrespect for the e-publishers in the industry who've been doing this for years.
    Last edited by Bubastes; 07-28-2011 at 12:10 AM.
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  9. #334
    Author of Fragment alvin123's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thewriterslife View Post
    I'm not sure about quick. They've had mine for about two years now. I think it got lost...


    Dorothy
    Ouch... D:

  10. #335
    A post from an author published by both Berkley and Beyond the Page:

    http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.co...ublishing.html

    I'm disappointed that this post muddles self-publishing and e-publishing. It doesn't answer why an author should e-publish through them.
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  11. #336
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    Yeah. That post made me uncomfortable.
    "You will experience a tingling sensation and then death."

    And just because it's still awesome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSgiXGELjbc

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  12. #337
    I love mysterious projects! djherren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubastes View Post
    A post from an author published by both Berkley and Beyond the Page:

    http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.co...ublishing.html
    "No, the Kool-Aid's fine, REALLY. I'm drinking it--see??"

    If she thinks beginning to ponder epublishing is particularly cutting edge, I weep for her. Then again, I'm not surprised. I mean, her agent apparently thinks she's discovered something new and sparkly.

    the Donna half of Moira Rogers and Kit Rocha

  13. #338
    Quote Originally Posted by djherren View Post
    "No, the Kool-Aid's fine, REALLY. I'm drinking it--see??"

    If she thinks beginning to ponder epublishing is particularly cutting edge, I weep for her. Then again, I'm not surprised. I mean, her agent apparently thinks she's discovered something new and sparkly.
    Her post makes no sense since all of her Berkley books have Kindle editions already. It's not like the BTP book is her first e-published book. Talk about muddying the water. E-published =/= self-published. It's like they've never heard of Carina, Samhain, Ellora's Cave, Aspen Mountain, Lyrical, etc.
    Last edited by Bubastes; 07-28-2011 at 10:10 PM.
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  14. #339
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    Hi,

    First of all, I should say that I have a lot of respect for Jessica Faust as an agent. I think I queried her last year, and I'm pretty sure I got a form rejection. None of that affected the esteem with which I held her in.

    I admire many of the authors she represents and the books she has championed. I've also been an on-off reader of her blog for quite some time.

    However, I have concerns about Beyond the Page.

    I think there are a few things tangled up here.

    #1 BookEnds have clients which are self-publishing without their assistance. BookEnds do none of the work, and their clients pay them nothing. BookEnds say they are fine with this as long as they are kept in the loop. That's fine. Great even.

    #2 BookEnds are proposing assisting clients with certain aspects of their self-publishing ventures for their standard 15% fee. This is similar (as outlined, they are a little short on details) to what DGLM have proposed (as well as a number of other agencies). I don't have a problem with this on principle. Some very valid questions could be asked of any agency offering what I would classify as a "project management" service like this, about how whether they have the core competencies, what resources they are going to put behind it, whether they would be any good at it, and so on. For me, the agent's financial interests are still aligned with the author, as they will be motivated to advise on the approach they feel will make the author the most money - whether that's a publishing deal or self-publishing. If I was an author considering this service I would have a string of questions about how it would work in practical terms, and whether the contract was term-limited, whether I had an "out" if I was unhappy or they were under-performing. But, on principle, I would have no objection.

    #3 BookEnds have set up an e-publishing arm called Beyond The Page. They will be controlling the rights. There will be a publishing contract. The authors will receive royalties. I'm not sure why this is being labelled as self-publishing of any kind. To me it's quite clear, it's not self-publishing. They are setting up a publishing company.

    I have no problem with #1 and #2 (with the above caveats). #3 is where the major issue lies .

    There are potential conflict of interest issues here. Courtney Milan's response in the initial comments following the announcement gives a quick summary of the potential issues. As does Lisa Hendrix.

    Courtney Milan expanded on the conflict of interest issue in particular in the second part of her "open letter" to agents, which I highly recommend reading.

    Passive Guy (another lawyer) has been excellent on this issue too. I recommend reading his take here, and his suggested ways that publishing agents may avoid many potential conflict of interest issues here.

    The FAQ for Beyond The Page is pretty sparse, but BookEnds have said that they will be updating it in the coming week.

    I hope they deal with some of the unanswered questions on that thread. Some people were unnecessarily insulting and aggressive, but there were others with valid concerns.

    I asked what the royalty split would be, but they said they didn't want to disclose that to protect the privacy of the authors. One commenter said it was a 50/50 split of "net", but that hasn't been confirmed or denied, and that would itself would invite questions about the definition of "net".

    It appears, from the answers in the comments, that BookEnds will continue to represent authors they publish through Beyond The Page, and will extend offers of representation to non-client authors they publish.

    I think this is where the core problem lies. Who advises BookEnds clients to take the Beyond The Page deal? Who advises them on the contract? Who advises them when they have some issue with their publisher?

    As noted in the original announcement thread, the AAR code of ethics states quite clearly that "Members shall not represent both buyer and seller in the same transaction." (Link - No. 5. - http://aaronline.org/canon)

    Victoria made the point on her blog about DGLM that the agent's organizations would do well to get some kind of guidelines in place to cover all of this. I agree. Passive Guy also suggested that any agency considering a publishing venture retain the services of a lawyer that specializes in Agency Law, which would also seem prudent.

    As for us writers, I would suggest that we come up with some classification for all this different approaches that agents are talking towards e-publishing and self-publishing, so that we know where we stand.

    For me (and you may very well be different), I would use a classification like the one at the top of my post, and this is how I would feel (if I was still querying):

    #1 Acceptable.
    #2 Acceptable, but with certain caveats.
    #3 Unacceptable, strike from query list.

    You may feel differently.

    I would suggest deciding where you stand on agents assisting in self-publishing ventures and decide where you stand on agents with full-blown publishing ventures, but try not to confuse the two - there are very different issues with each.

  15. #340
    Filled with optimism. And scotch. Miguelito's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dgaughran View Post
    There are potential conflict of interest issues here. Courtney Milan's response in the initial comments following the announcement gives a quick summary of the potential issues.
    I remember seeing the first Bookends post on the subject and thought, WTF?

    Amongst other things, Courtney sums up one very important detail perfectly: "Who on earth do I go to if I don't like what you're doing?"

    There are fewer protections for the author. You don't know how hard they're selling you're book to publishers if, in the end, there's a subconscious thought in the agent to publish it in-house because there's more money in it for them.

    The only way I can see this Beyond the Page venture avoid conflicts of interest is to make them two completely separate arms AND Bookends literary agents can never represent somebody publishing with Beyond the Page, even as a last resort when the manuscript has been turned down by everybody else.

    I work at a regulatory agency where even an appearance of conflict of interest in a person's activities, whether apparent or real, is considered improper and the public interest isn't necessarily being served, but potentially your personal interest. And when Bookends says they can keep the two activities separate, I think it's wishful thinking because they're already used their agency blog twice to promote it.

    As it looks now, I'd almost want an agent to submit to Bookends to make sure they performed to their ethical obligations.
    Last edited by Miguelito; 07-30-2011 at 07:06 PM. Reason: Removed something because it wasn't strictly true; edited again to keep it from drifting too much

  16. #341
    I posted an interview with Lauren Ruth, the newest agent at Bookends, on my blog this morning. Here's the link:

    http://motherwrite.blogspot.com/2011...uren-ruth.html

    We did this interview before the whole Beyond the Page Publishing story broke. (I was scheduled far enough out that I haven't posted it until now.) Now I wish I'd had a chance to ask her about it.
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  17. #342
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    Didn't Bookends mention two or three weeks ago that they were working on a blog post to address the concerns? Because I never saw anything come of that. It makes me wonder if they just haven't gotten around to it yet or if they're hoping people just forget and the whole thing blows over.
    "You will experience a tingling sensation and then death."

    And just because it's still awesome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSgiXGELjbc

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  18. #343
    practical experience, FTW A.P.M.'s Avatar
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    Anyone have any experience with Kim Lionetti? She's had my partial since May, and I've nudged twice after the three months were up-nothing.
    Author of M/M fiction. Check out my blog

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  19. #344
    smooshed alias octavia's Avatar
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    Kim has had my partial since June 1. I sent one nudge and never got a response either. Maybe she is turning into no response = no on partials?

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  20. #345
    figuring it all out JulianaHaygert's Avatar
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    Lauren Ruth posted what she is looking for on the agency blog today.

  21. #346
    practical experience, FTW
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    For those who are waiting, I wanted to let you know that I just got a partial request from Lauren Ruth for a query sent in September.
    So don't give up.
    It seems she's a bit backed up.

  22. #347
    figuring it all out JulianaHaygert's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happywritermom View Post
    For those who are waiting, I wanted to let you know that I just got a partial request from Lauren Ruth for a query sent in September.
    So don't give up.
    It seems she's a bit backed up.
    She is. You can see it on her blog post here. She said she still has about 800 queries from 2011 to get to.

    And congrats to you! Good luck!

  23. #348
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    Just for curiosity sake, did we ever find out more about their publishing expedition? I know that soon after it was announced they said they'd do a blog post addressing concerns. I'm a regular reader, and I never saw a post. Did I just miss it or did they just let it sink into the background?
    "You will experience a tingling sensation and then death."

    And just because it's still awesome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSgiXGELjbc

    Take two: 90,008
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  24. #349
    figuring it all out JulianaHaygert's Avatar
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    As far as I know, it is still alive. Here is the link. But I know they insist is two different companies and that they don't mix their business. If that's true or not, Idk. I hope it is, though.

  25. #350
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    It's hard to believe it's not mixed when it was introduced as a way for clients to self-publish. I'm interested to know more, and they've been up to this long enough that there should be some information out there about it. I just wish they had addressed it themselves.
    "You will experience a tingling sensation and then death."

    And just because it's still awesome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSgiXGELjbc

    Take two: 90,008
    Current: 7,680



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