I had an interesting thought regarding Erik’s comments considering this is an agent’s blog. The hype machine costs money, yes. Didn’t Trump just pay out something like $25K to about 1,000 people standing in line waiting to buy his book and have it autographed? Who bears the cost of promotion? Authors and, sometimes, publishers.
Do agents pick up the promotion tab, or do they simply reap the benefit of author and publisher promo? If the latter, then those NYT Bestseller spikes don’t cost agents anything, and, in the long run, it’s the agents that net out better than either the author or the publisher.
Interesting thought that at a 15% commission the agents ever net out better than anyone. No, agents don’t typically pick up a tab for promotion. That’s really up to the people who are making the money—the publishers and the authors. The agent, however, will often do her best to eliminate as much of that tab from the author’s own pockets as possible. In other words, the agent will do her best to get the publisher to pay.
Any author will always bear the cost of some promotion, even if it’s the cost of attending a conference, but the more successful an author becomes the more the publisher should and will bear those costs. And the publisher absolutely should. It’s part of the cost of doing business in the first place. Should an agent bear the cost of building an author’s brand? I’m not sure and I’d be interested to hear what others say about this. I do know that some of the larger agencies now are bringing on publicists. I don’t know how well that’s working or how much they are actually spending. BookEnds has started this blog, which we see as a promotional opportunity for our authors should they choose to use it. We also have a Web site where we heavily promote our authors. It only makes sense. Successful authors = successful agents.
BookEnds did briefly toy with the thought of hiring an agency publicist, but in the end we weren’t sure a publicist for the agency would do any more than a publisher’s publicity department does (or that we can get them to do). I guess I’m not convinced it makes sense.
Okay, that was not much of an answer, but I think this is worthy of more of a discussion than just one woman’s answer. Thoughts?