A letter from Lucienne Diver

Dear Sarah,
Per the comment I just left on your blog:

“I want to clarify something here.  The Knight Agency is not becoming a digital publisher.  We’re helping those authors who want to publish their backlist but not do all the legwork themselves and taking only the agency commission, while we pay various expenses, like covers and ISBN registration.  We’re also doing this for some original fiction authors have requested we do that has not been picked up by major publishers.  We =are not= taking submissions or facilitating publication of works by authors we do not represent.”

You have stated various things that have misrepresented what we’re doing with our digital program at The Knight Agency.  We’re not starting a digital publishing house.  We’re not behaving like a publisher or taking a publisher’s cut.  We’re not taking submissions or insisting that our authors take advantage, nor do we think that traditional publishing is no longer viable.  This is an option that we’re providing for our authors, and many have been very excited to take advantage because they want to get their works into e-book form but don’t want to do all the legwork themselves.  I’m very disappointed that you’ve said something very publicly that I feel damages my reputation and that of the agency.  I do hope you will print a retraction. 



PS – As I’ve said it before, I like and respect Lucienne and I accept what she said, however the letter from the company which I will be glad to post left me with the impression that they were in fact opening a digital publisher.   I know at any rate that they are taking a 15% cut for “assisting authors with their electronic publishing” — which is far, far too close to a conflict of interest for my taste, whether or not they take a publisher’ cut.  And the fact that they are “facilitating” clients’ digital publishing means that the business is changing completely and this is in fact the new game.  One in which agencies cannot do much.

PPS — I will be out of the house the rest of the day at the office – ish, finishng DSR.  However, when I return, I will do a more in-depth, point by point of what I said and why.  I do want you to know, however, that what I wrote in my blog was not meant to damage the Knight Agency or Lucienne.  It was merely meant to be an explanation of my thought process in coming to the deicsion to move forward without an agent.  Watch this spot.

10 thoughts on “A letter from Lucienne Diver

  1. I received that same letter and was startled by your interpretation. I am profoundly relieved at the direction the Knight Agency has taken with this step, as I’ve seen other agencies tackle the same process in a way that does indeed make me…well, want to take a shower.

    I’ve been involved with self-pubbing my backlist (and have co-started a collection of Backlist eBooks authors doing the same), and I’m intimately involved with the whole process; I know what it takes, and I know exactly what TKA is offering to take on. Because I’ve already developed the knowledge/resources to get my backlist up there, TKA actually offers me less than many authors with this program–but I was delighted recently to discuss the self-publication of an original via their program. In fact, I’ll probably still be handling much of the process, because I’m a control freak and it will please me. What I’ll get is the benefit of TKA’s publicity efforts, and their position as a third-party filter for readers.

    I’ve been working on writer awareness of scams and conflicts of interest since I was SFWA linksmaster (9 years of that) for the first SFWA site. I’m fully immersed in the world of digital self-publishing, as well as a working with a small (digital/hardcopy) press that has offered for a couple of my backlist books. I’ve been published across genres by the big guys since ’94, and have over 35 books on the shelves/about to land there…and yeah, I’m on my fourth agent, too (disclaimer–yes! Lucienne!). The point being, it’s a roundhouse of experience that not only makes me fully comfortable in assessing the new TKA services from all angles, it put me in the position to see the care that went into developing a service that avoids crossing the very line your initial post blames them for crossing.

    This industry is difficult enough right now; opinions will always vary, and everyone’s personal decisions will be based on what’s right for them. But we can have all that and still stick to the facts in the process–starting with the ones where TKA not only isn’t acting as a digital publisher, they’ve bent backwards to avoid it while still offering a service that will help authors navigate the changing publishing landscape.

  2. Well, I see that the Knight Agency doesn’t see what they’re doing as ‘becoming a publisher’, but when I read their explanation it sounds a lot like publishing to me.

  3. As is often the case, I suspect there’s a germ of truth in each side’s story. The business is changing. Everyone is uncertain about what will happen next. Everyone has to look out for their own interests without showing the world their plans. Let’s hope we can all hold hands and sing kumbaya after all the misunderstandings have been ironed out.

    Fistfights and gun play belong in another post.

    1. …then it’s obviously not a publisher. Ducks are not publishers.

      *double facepalm*

  4. “We =are not= taking submissions or facilitating publication of works by authors we do not represent”

    But you will be accepting submissions from authors wishing to be represented by your agency, whom if you choose to represent presumably you will then facilitate the publication of. So totally unlike publishing. No one could ever take that as being de facto indistinguishable from the above, could they?

  5. Everett said: “If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…”

    …then double check Occam’s Razor is in force before asserting a duck.

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