Books are widgets?

Junger posted “Books are widgets:” how to get published at Pop goes the library. It’s a report on a conference session at which “Pamela Redmond Satran, author and contributing editor at Parenting magazine, gave us the real deal on publishing fiction and non-fiction.”

The problem with “the real deal” is when it gets cast as universal. Take this section:

To publish non-fiction, you need to approach an agent with a proposal (and it is nearly impossible to get published without an agent). Your proposal should be written in the style in which you intend to write your book and should contain an introduction and a sample chapter. You should include an outline or plan for the entire book and explain why you are especially suited to write it. And a great title is key.

Consider that parenthetical clause: (and it is nearly impossible to get published without an agent).

I’ve never had an agent. To the best of my knowledge, ALA Editions not only doesn’t require an agent, I think they prefer not working through one. I suspect the same is true for most other library publishers–and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s true for most niche publishers.

After all, an agent normally gets paid by taking a slice of those huge advances you’re going to get for your book. You’re not going to get a huge advance from a library publisher, or at least I never have.

Would I be rolling in dough if I’d hired an “independent agent,” presumably one who gets paid up front instead of taking a percentage? I’m guessing not.

One Response to “Books are widgets?”

  1. Bill Drew says:

    I have never had an agent either. I have had two chapters published as parts of books from Libraries Unlimited and one book published by Information Today. All three were written as “works for hire.” I never have submitted a manuscript hoping for it to get printed. All of my submissions even to journals were all in response to a query from a publisher or editor.