Author Rants at Agent

I’m still not sure if this is serious or a joke. I mean, it can’t be serious. Can it?

If you missed the open letter Sebastian Marshall sent to the Simon and Schuster CEO back in November, read it here. It’s pretty confrontational and downright crackers. Someone proclaiming themselves a business man and then demonstrating that he fundamentally doesn’t understand business at all. He abuses a publishing company who employ experts (or “artists” if you like) to help edit, copy-edit and market books, investing the large sums that authors simply couldn’t in developing a finished product that people will be willing to spend money on (that doesn’t come out all Jacqueline Howlett). He suggests that to drum up publicity the book should be free or have a money back guarantee… what business in their right mind would put themselves at risk of losing those sums of money in the current climate?

As if that wasn’t bad enough he then went to release the following video, demonstrating that he doesn’t understand that publishers deal in both print and ebooks, and that to produce a quality product, both require investment.

He thinks that he’s been blacklisted by the industry? I don’t know whether such a blacklist exists, but I can see why people would be unwilling to work with him. I can only imagine that he plans to release whatever it is as a self published eBook and this is some stupid publicity stunt.

Oh and put some clothes on.

2 thoughts on “Author Rants at Agent

  1. Sebastian

    Hey Siohban, thanks for covering this. I don’t answer most feedback (no time) but you seem like really just an exceptional person doing good things here.

    About me, I want to really clear the air that I’m not against anyone involved that actually works in publishing honestly – editors, copy-editors, and so on. But the higher-ups don’t care about the people who actually do things.

    A number of editors wrote to me and thanked for writing that. One said I’m a hero to him. These are the people that actually make the books, and they get treated like dirt. I know I’m confrontational, but they’ve been ignoring all the nice people who have tried to fix things in a nice way. So, I’m putting myself out there and being a little tougher. It’s scary, I’m actually naturally quite shy, but I think it’s the right thing to do.

    Anyways – thank you for covering this, and best wishes.

    1. Siobhan

      Thanks Sebastian, good of you to stop buy. I don’t know how things work at all other publishers, but the idea of the higher ups not caring didn’t really ring true for my experience. I work in publishing, in editorial, and for us the author’s experience is incredibly important, partly because word of mouth is so important to a company’s reputation. Oh and I don’t get treated like dirt! I’m not a higher-up, I’m pretty lowly in fact, but I love my job and a huge part of that is because my colleagues are amazing and supportive- there is no sense of a top down hierarchy.

      It was hard to pin point in your letter and video just where you felt things had gone wrong from your point of view, but for me some of the expectations seemed a little unrealistic. Publishing is a business as well as being a means for creating and circulating (hopefully high quality) art, which means that there are costs for edtitors, copy-editors, designers, marketers, marketing etc. Of course the author does a lot of the initial work, and they could always self publish, but in my opinion a lot of the material which is churned out by the vanity press or released straight to eBook is inferior so it’s likely to be more profitable for the author in the long run to go with a publishing house. That’s not just for the gold seal of quality, but for the finishing touches and sheer marketing clout that someone who self publishes can’t hope to achieve.

      All the best for your future endeavours, and I hope that you’ll keep us up to date on them.


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