Some agents are turning to consulting, acting as expert advisors for writers who might not have been able to get a traditional book deal (and it seems like only celebrities and people with hilarious tumblrs are getting book deals these days).
PBS Mediashift talked to three agents who are making the transition:
Ted Weinstein, an agent who reps mostly nonfiction, said that self-publishing “has added one more serious option for my clients when we are looking at all their possible opportunities.” He said that “big publishing” has never been set up to publish anything but books, but authors have always had to turn supplemental material into articles (to promote the book), create worksheets (to promote the book), etc…self-publishing allows all that stuff to be “published” along with the book.
Laurie McLean is “incorporating self-publishing into every one of my clients’ career plans for backlist titles, experimental fiction, shorter works, and more,” and helps her clients learn to do their own social media and marketing.
Laura Rennert is an agent with Andrea Brown Literary Agency, and she’s started a program where the agency will actually act as the publisher. They handle formatting, conversion, cover design, jacket copy, editing and proofreading. Unlike a self-publishing company, the agency doesn’t charge fees other than the 15 percent commission after recouping costs.