Friday, July 29, 2011

Our Digital Letter to Clients

Since the inception of our agency in 1996, we have taken every step possible to ensure that we advocate for our clients by offering a broad spectrum of services. For instance, we were one of the first pioneering agencies to hire a full-time marketing director and have maintained that position for the past six years. We take our position as advocates for our clients very seriously, and so it was only after six months of intense research and planning, involving conversations amongst ourselves and with our clients that we decided to start an assisted self-publishing program. Additionally, we've brought in outside consultants and developed strong relationships with representatives from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony and Kobo; we also continue to reach out to and develop relationships with others.

We did not enter into this lightly, but felt that is was necessary to create this service as an option for our clients. This program is an extension of our current services meant only for current clientele, not a publishing arm. We are taking our standard 15%, and will pay all upfront costs with the exception of copyediting. This is in no way a mandate or a requirement for those wanting to self-publish. They can take advantage of our program or choose to handle the self-publishing portion of their career alone;  regardless of their choice, we fully support their decision. But we felt that in the current climate, we’d be remiss to not supply an option in this arena, for those clients wishing to self-publish without handling the details, marketing, publicity, social media, content editing, and such on their own.

Our clients are fully aware of our plans. We surveyed them to gauge their interests in such a program because we treasure their input and want to make sure we are giving them the best and most comprehensive representation possible. Many of them have lined up to participate in the initial launch this coming September, and we are thrilled to be able to assist them in this way.

Today an author stated on a blog that we are “becoming publishers,” which is wholly untrue.  In light of that miscommunication about our plans for the future, we felt it was critical that we post the letter sent to all Knight Agency clients to further clarify our position.  You can view the letter below.

Dear Authors:
As you know, The Knight Agency has been working on a very exciting assisted self-publishing initiative that will aid authors in digitally republishing backlist titles, as well as allow clients to publish select front list titles which the author and agency will hand-pick together.   For example, clients and agents may select novels, collections, or shorts that mainstream publishers may not consider remunerative enough for acquisition, or that the authors and agents believe would be better served by our sleek new system, which will allow us to monitor and act quickly in terms of pricing, promotion, bundling, etc.
We’ll be taking our standard agency commission of fifteen percent (15%), absorbing all costs except those associated with copy editing. As always in our work as your agents, our objective is to allow you as the author to focus on what you do best, which is writing the most wonderful books possible while we take the time-consuming and tedious business elements off your shoulders. For our fifteen percent commission, we will provide self-publishing assistance in the following areas:
●Content editing – the agents will act, as we regularly do, as editors, reading material and offering suggestions for revision.
●Line and copyeditor referrals – since none of us are copyeditors ourselves, we’re creating a database of quality freelance editors who can provide line and copyediting services.
●ISBN Number assignment – we’ll take care of the cost and work of getting an ISBN assigned to your work. Not all venues require an ISBN, but many do, and of course you’ll want the widest possible distribution for your work.
●Copyright registration – in the event that a book is backlisted, this may already be taken care of, but if a work predates automatic extension or is a new work that requires initial registration, we’ll have it covered and absorb the cost.
●Cover copy – although previously published titles will have cover copy, it will be proprietary to the publisher of that edition, and new copy will have to be written.  We’ll handle writing or provide feedback on author-written copy.
●Cover design and consultation – we’re well aware that it takes good, professional quality covers to indicate high quality works, and can handle cover design in consultation with the author.
●File conversions to ePub and mobi – this is where a good deal of the work comes in, and it’s something we’re equipped to handle.
●Uploading files to major retailers – there are many places self-published authors can’t reach on their own, but we’re establishing relationships with e-tailers to make works widely available.
●Dynamic pricing – as mentioned above, we’ll have detailed pricing plans and will be able to move quickly to change pricing to build sales momentum.
●Metadata – the agents, in conjunction with the authors, will develop a list of key phrases to serve as tags to increase title visibility on various retailer sites and search engines.
●Search engine optimization When promoting e-book titles, TKA will employ the latest techniques in SEO to maximize search rank visibility
●Marketing plan – one of the advantages to the assisted self-publishing program is that The Knight Agency will help promote the works in various formats, including a digital newsletter, a new digital showcase area on, on Twitter, in blogs, etc.
●Subsidiary rights – as with all titles we represent, we’ll work on the subrights for these books, including film, foreign, audio, etc. at our standard commission rates.
●Royalty tracking and payments—collecting and tracking revenue with a variety of digital outlets will require vigilance.  If any problems arise, authors will have TKA as their advocates.
●Oversight of existing contracts and obligations—non-compete and option clause language will become even more important in existing print contracts. TKA will have full career oversight, making sure that authors are covered and clear to enter into digital self-pub arrangements.
●Down the road, TKA has long-range plans to help clients arrange for print publication of these titles via print-on-demand or other avenues.
We’re developing a simple agreement that states our terms in writing so that our responsibilities and yours are clear.  We have our first wave of titles in the works and anticipate launching the first books in September.  Please let us know if you have any material you’d like to discuss putting into this program and also, of course, if you have any questions.

Labels: ,


Blogger Steena Holmes said...

Your clients must be thrilled that you are offering this option to them.

Friday, July 29, 2011 at 1:47:00 PM EDT  

Post a Comment

<< Home