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Anne R. Allen's Blog


My Photo

Anne writes funny mysteries and how-to-books for writers. She also writes poetry and short stories on occasion. Oh, yes, and she blogs. She's a contributor to Writer's Digest and the Novel and Short Story Writer's Market for 2016. 

Her bestselling Camilla Randall Mystery Series features perennially down-on-her-luck former socialite Camilla Randall—who is a magnet for murder, mayhem and Mr. Wrong, but always solves the mystery in her quirky, but oh-so-polite way.

Anne lives on the Central Coast of California, near San Luis Obispo, the town Oprah called "The Happiest City in America."

Anne blogs at Anne R. Allen's Blog...with Ruth Harris 
and at Anne R. Allen's Books

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Agent Jenny Bent Says the Ebook is the New Query

I don't usually post mid-week, but I had to share this quote from agent Jenny Bent's blog, Bent on Books today.

"Unpublished authors, do you have a great book but can't find an agent? There's no excuse not to get that book out there independently and prove to yourself and to the world that there is an audience for your writing." --Agent Jenny Bent

So when I said the ebook is the new query last May, I guess my crystal ball was working pretty well.

But don't just jump in without a lot of prep. For some words to the wise on the subject, read  Meghan Ward's blog, Writerland, today. She tells you how to be a successful ebook publisher.  It involves having INVENTORY.

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Blogger Anne Gallagher said...

I knew you were right last May, which is why I decided to e-pub. Thanks for making me not feel so crazy.

September 7, 2011 at 5:06 PM  
OpenID jenniecoughlin said...

Ditto. It made so much logical sense - glad to see people in the industry are agreeing with it. Reading your post shifted me in a new direction, and my first e-book came out yesterday. Now to see where this path leads...

September 7, 2011 at 5:20 PM  
Blogger funny in the 'hood said...

That's a refreshing attitude. As a self-published author, it's nice to know that some agents are acknowledging that writers ultimately have a choice on how they choose to get their work out there.

That was a great prediction Anne. Do you have any more? :)

September 7, 2011 at 5:42 PM  
Blogger E.J. Wesley said...

Great point/find, Anne! Not sure why any agent would ignore self-pubbed success.

I really do think ePubbing is going to be the first choice for 95% of authors over the next few years. It'll be very important to do it correctly (i.e. polished) or you might tarnish your good name, but overall it seems to be a very logical way to get into the business. And more profitable than querying. :-)

September 7, 2011 at 6:34 PM  
Blogger Stina Lindenblatt said...

I've noticed more and more agents are pitching to epublishers. Times are definitely changing. One day those formats will only be open to agented writers, like with traditionals publishers now. :P

September 7, 2011 at 7:36 PM  
Blogger Meghan Ward said...

Thanks so much for the mention, Anne! I'm going to head on over to Jenny's blog now to read the rest of her post.

One thing, though, Jenny did say, "If you can't find an agent," which I think is very different from "Instead of querying agents" or "Before you query an agent."

September 7, 2011 at 11:54 PM  
Blogger Spook said...

I have a wonderful little bubble of hope inside me now. Now let's finish and edit that cursed book! I wanna be a proper author! xD

September 8, 2011 at 12:11 AM  
Blogger Neil Vogler said...

Hi Anne. You should have just called this article "I TOLD YOU SO"!

While I'm here, I don't suppose you'd care to take a guess at the UK Lottery numbers for Saturday by any chance?

September 8, 2011 at 1:07 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

So we should epub and use that as our query? I'm completely against self epub because I thought that made you less desirable to 'traditional' publishing houses?

You wouldn't mind writing a book on this would you?!

September 8, 2011 at 5:29 AM  
Blogger Susan Kaye Quinn said...

It's cool when those predictions come true! :) Yet there's something about this that doesn't quite sit with me (and I'm contemplating e-pub, so it's not that). I think self-pubbing to prove your book has merit is an end in itself. Not (necessarily) the route to getting an agent/trad publisher. In a way, it's trying to make the new paradigm fit the old paradigm, when in fact the new paradigm doesn't care and is moving forward on it's own.


September 8, 2011 at 6:26 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

Makes sense to me, Ann. John Rector is a midlist crime writer, but he re-released his first novel THE GROVE on Kindle and look what happened? He kicked Kathryn Stockett's ass on top ofthe best-seller list (and THE HELP is RAGING in cinemas). Makes you think that what might keep Rector where he is, is a lack of faith from publishers. What's great about Kindle is that it's democratizing literature again. No more bs, the best writing goes on top.

September 8, 2011 at 7:18 AM  
Blogger dirtywhitecandy said...

Great line, Anne, and so wise. My agent encouraged me to self-publish my novel (which I've just done) and he's also got another client who's doing very well with a self-published book.

September 8, 2011 at 9:47 AM  
Blogger jennybent said...

Hi Anne, thanks for the nice plug. In response to some of the comments here, in my business I deal a lot with authors who are frustrated because they find agents. So I'm telling them not to be discouraged because there's a great alternative. But if someone wants to e-pub or independently pub or self pub (whatever you want to call it) for the sake of it, and not as plan B, I have nothing against that either. The point is to get your work out there and writers should do that in any way they think is most effective. I don't judge when it comes to format--good writing is good writing. What's exciting for me, as an agent who has repped a great many self-published authors, is that self-publishing is really losing the silly stigma it once carried.

September 8, 2011 at 9:48 AM  
Anonymous mark williams international said...

Not one but two scoops here, Anne!

Not just Jenny's original post - in itself worth it's weight in gold.

But her comment "self-publishing is really losing the silly stigma it once carried" has got to join it as one of the pivotal moments of the digital revolution.

September 8, 2011 at 10:37 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Wow. Jenny was here :-) With a lot of very helpful things to say. She's repping self-pubishers! I know Jenny once repped a lot of chick lit. Then Big 6 stopped pubbing chick lit--although it has a huge audience. I'll bet that's when she started helping her chick lit clients to self-pub.

Mark--You're right. This is two scoops in one.

Anne and Jennie--I'm so glad I helped your decision making!

Funny and Neil--I do have some more predictions, but not about the lottery, sorry. :-)

EJ--Your crystal ball sounds pretty accurate, too.

Stina--I have no doubt corporate publishing will find a way to thwart the indies eventually.

Meghan--GREAT point. Everybody should read your post.

Spook--If I can create some bubbles of hope, I feel pretty good about what I'm doing here.

Andrea--read Jenny's comment. Those days are behind us. Self-pubbers are getting the biggest book deals these days.

Susan--I think Jenny clarified in her comment here. BOTH are excellent choices.

Ben--I didn't know that about John Rector kicking K. Stockett off the #1 spot. Awesome.

dirty--thanks for more evidence that agents and self-pubbing can work together.

September 8, 2011 at 11:41 AM  
Blogger Susan Kaye Quinn said...

@Anna I agree, and it's awesome that Jenny stopped by to clarify. I think Jenny totally "gets it" - and as she says, in time, more people will understand why the stigma of self-publishing is falling away.

September 8, 2011 at 11:53 AM  
Blogger Cathryn Leigh said...

I'm up tehre with Spook. We both have Novels that need finishing and polishing... By golly I will be published in some manner, someday... *grin*

September 8, 2011 at 1:49 PM  
Blogger Ed Pilolla said...

very interesting that agents are pushing ebooks. the new query, huh? we are in such a major transition of media the last several years and it continues. it will be fascinating (or maybe not at all:) where it leads.

September 9, 2011 at 6:40 AM  
Anonymous Pamela Beason said...

Aha! Agents and publisher are coming around. Sorta. It was only after I self-published my first mystery that I got a deal from Berkley Prime Crime. My attitude is: Traditional publishing still moves at glacial speed; why not make some money while you're waiting for them to make decisions? Now I'm going both routes--indie publishing AND traditional. Ask me six months from now how it's all working out.

September 9, 2011 at 10:31 AM  
Blogger Anne R. Allen said...

Susan-I'm really impressed with Jenny's savvy. And it was awfully classy of her to stop by.

Cathryn-You don't have to rush. Indie publishing shouldn't be about throwing your first novel up there to see what happens. You probably won't sell if you don't have two or three up there. People will figure you're still practicing and give your book a pass. You want to give yourself time to learn and grow as an artist before you become a business person. But it sure is nice to know you have that option now.

Ed--You're so right. Things are happening so fast that everything that's right now may be wrong tomorrow.

Pamela--Love, love, LOVE to hear about success like yours. And you're so right. As long as the Big Six is still living in the horse and buggy era, it makes sense to get out there and do 21st cent stuff by yourself. IF you've got inventory. I don't recommend it for a first time novelist. Technology doesn't change the length of time it takes to learn to write good fiction.

September 10, 2011 at 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Diana Stevan said...

Love this post as I'm sitting on a couple of novellas, which might work well as e-books. It'd be nice to get something out there while I'm querying agents about my novel. Thanks Anne.

September 11, 2011 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger Julie Musil said...

Holy cow, I remember when you said this! You are so wise, Anne R. Allen :D

September 12, 2011 at 6:51 PM  
Blogger The Prodigal Housekeeper said...

Thanks for your help
I am trying to find out all about ebooks.

October 5, 2011 at 12:37 AM  

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