By Noel Griese
Andrew Wylie isn’t the only agent moving into publishing e-books. Now Seattle-based agent Sharlene Martin, has also become a publisher as well as a literary agent. Her agency, Martin Literary Management, represents mostly inspirational memoirs, celebrity biographies, true crime and commercial nonfiction.
Martin’s agency published Cirque Du Salahi: Be Careful Who You Trust on September 15. It’s the story of Tareq and Michaele Salahi, who Martin represents along with the book’s author, investigative journalist Diane Dimond.
The Salahis are the Washington D.C. couple who made headlines in November 2009 when they got past the Secret Service to crash Barack Obama’s first White House state dinner. Of late, Michaele Salahi has been on the reality TV show The Real Housewives of D.C.
Martin decided to publish the Salahi story on her own, in cooperation with Amazon.com, because she wanted the book to come out in time to capitalize on the latest notoriety for the Salahis. In particular, she wanted a product ready to buy before the Real Housewives TV series ended on Oct. 7.
“It’s a decision I consciously made. I did not shop this to traditional New York publishers,” Martin told Jim Thomsen, who covers the book beat for the local Kitsap Sun.
“There was no way traditional publishing could accommodate the window of sales opportunity for this book – it would have been obsolete by the time they could have gotten it ready,” Martin told Thomsen.
Martin decided to get the book out quickly, short-circuiting the normal one — year publishing process, by publishing it through Amazon.com’s CreateSpace program. Not coincidentally, Amazon.com is headquartered in Seattle.
CreateSpace took care of preparing and distributing print and electronic versions of the book. Everything else fell to Martin and her crew. Her literary agency had to develop new skills. CreateSpace took care of distribution of p-book and e-book versions, but Martin had to handle editing, legal vetting, proofing, cover and interior design, marketing and other tasks. Flacco edited the book’s content.
Everybody involved in the book is taking whatever financial rewards may result on the back end of the book’s release, in lieu of the advance-money arrangements usually made in traditional book deals.
The Kindle and trade paperback version of Cirque Du Salahi became available Sept. 15. In lieu of a traditional book tour with on-site signings in bookstores, Martin arranged virtual book chats through Book Candy Studios in which, at scheduled times, people could log on for a live chat with Dimond and the Salahis.
Martin had her own first book published in November 2009. She co-wrote Publish Your Nonfiction Book with Flacco. The book was published by Writer’s Digest Books.