Bonus Material: Comments and Letters on Author Pay, Lecture Agents, Venezuela’s Troubles

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

From our readers

Last week’s stories on Publishing Perspectives generated dozens of comments, tweets, links and letters to the editor, including some from a few bold-faced names.

Friday’s editorial by M.J. Rose about author pay and who takes responsibility for marketing sparked some of the most hotly contested debate we’ve seen on our site. In addition to Robert Miller’s response, published today, among those offering comment was Robert Gottlieb, chairman of The Trident Media Group, LLC, literary agents who represent numerous bestselling authors, from Deepak Chopra to Marilyn Robinson.

Gottlieb wrote:

Agents too frequently leave the publishing process entirely up to the publishing house and only like to get involved if there is some problem that needs fixing.

I strongly feel that an absent agent in the discussions concerning marketing and promotion lowers the odds of an author’s success in the market place significantly.

In response to Wednesday’s Bonus Material about the Steven Barclay Agency, author Amy Tan offered a perspective  that only a client could have:

Steven Barclay and his associates are indeed the best, and I speak from experience having been with other lecture agencies.

I appreciate also that he and his associates specify exactly what the event entails, so that past problems I have had with other lecture agencies do not happen, including being booked at a airport hotel directly over a flight path, not having anyone to pick me up at the airport, finding I am staying at a donor’s home, being a guest of honor at an unscheduled dinner where I am expected to speak, being embarrassed when I am not able to eat the special steak dinner prepared for me because no one informed the host that I am a vegetarian, being told at the last minute that I am also going to teach a class, being told at the last minute that the hotel where I was supposed to stay does not allow dogs, and so on.

Steven and his associates have also handled all sorts of emergencies such as last-minute cancellations due to a broken leg, finding veterinary care for my sick dog, finding an ophthalmologist when I damaged my eye, rerouting and working with the hosts when planes are delayed, and much more.

Finally, last Monday’s piece “Venezuela Strangles Book Imports, Bankrupting Bookstores and Publishers” elicited this response from Berynes Sosa, a Venezuelan teacher studying in London:

I am writing not only to back up what was reported in your article, but also to thank you for taking the time to undertake the study and explain it in plain English.

I am aware that many of the social, economical and political struggles that the Venezuelan society has been facing for the last eleven years seems hard to explain to citizens of any other country, as the regulations, restrictions and general affairs may seem absurd and many times simply impossible to be true.

However, Emily Williams not only understands the facts of issues as complicated as the ‘currency exchange control’ and ideologizing ‘revolutionary reading plan’ recently announced by Hugo Chávez, but also works hard to make the information comprehensible for those living in a real democracy.

Many thanks for your efforts in making this severe problem known and understood.

And thank you for reading and don’t forget add your comments to our articles or send your letters to me anytime.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.