Opportunities for Writers on the Internet Continue to Evolve

swmirskyswmirsky Publisher
edited January 23 in General Discussions
Here's an interesting development vis a vis the agenting end of the process:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/hayleycuccinello/2018/09/24/400m-fiction-giant-wattpad-wants-to-be-your-literary-agent/#7bbf71722aae

"Wattpad gets a taste of the earnings while keeping authors close. Authors get a chance to earn real money. As for the publisher, 'our sales prove that once a work on Wattpad has been transformed into a book, the community of readers will go and buy it,' says Cécile Térouanne, managing director of Hachette Romans, a Wattpad Studios partner. This proved to be the case with French author Mathilde Aloha’s 'Another Story of Bad Boys,' which received 3.2 million reads on Wattpad and averaged 65,000 views per chapter. Hachette Romans published the story in two parts in 2017 with a third in 2018, and each novel was a bestseller, moving more than 60,000 copies in total, incredibly strong figures for the French market."
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Comments

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    Strange, I have just looked at the actual Wattpad site, and there's no prices on the books, but one I am looking at says 'Completed', and apparently if you register they will email you of updates to it. Huh? Example >>  https://www.wattpad.com/story/91348994-upon-wings-of-change

    But it seems to be app driven, I have not looked deeply, but it is a Spotify for self-published fiction? I am always wary of things that sound too good to be true.
  • swmirskyswmirsky Publisher
    edited February 1
    If you read the article through it shows that writers aren't making a lot of money this way but that the idea is to get a following and thus find a traditional publisher OR a production company interested in the property. This company is portrayed as trying to leverage their online platform into the agenting modality (something I've talked about here on and off for a while now). The company's two owners hope to make their money by taking an agent's cut of any deal and assume that most of the writing they highlight isn't going to go anywhere. They (and presumably writers who use them) are betting on a big deal developing over time, given the exposure.

    This is not unlike what we saw previously when I posted a link to a site (VoyageMedia, I think they called themselves) which claimed to be acting in an agenting role, too, and sought their real return by brokering deals with producers. In their case, though, you are asked to pay an upfront participation fee and got, in return, their active involvement in connecting you with film production representatives they claimed to be partnering with, i.e., they had developed a  list of names of production people and their interests and the company said it worked to match writers (and their pitches and properties) with those individuals -- but only once you paid the upfront fee. Then they said they got involved in any deals that developed and might also become involved in the screenwriting or other elements that might follow.

    Theirs was a more activist model while this company is more passive, just providing a platform for writers and allowing the writers to try to use their platform to develop a following which, if large enough, they hope will attract filmmakers hungry for stories that could convert to film. I think this is an interesting development though I don't think it's right for me . . . not now anyway.

    By the way, I have recently gotten involved in actively searching for an agent again (basically to represent my first historical novel, The King of Vinland's Saga, to the film industry -- while I work on my new one). No success to date but then again I've just gotten started. (The last time I tried it was around 2001.) But one thing I've noticed as I pursue this path is that it is much easier to reach and query agents today than it was back then. They are far more Internet savvy. Indeed, one agent I submitted to is using an online submission service which appears to be very efficient. Another has its own system on its own website which allows for speedy and effective submissions electronically transmitted. Back in the early 2000s when I was doing this (for a second time after I had done it by mail in the nineties) it was very hard to get to agents by the Internet. You could use their email addresses (which were easy to discover in those days though not so easy now!). But you still had to do any real submissions by so-called snail mail. Now it looks like much of it, in the case of many agenting firms, can be done via the Internet!

    So things have changed and, I think, for the better. 
  • "If you read the article through it shows that writers aren't making a lot of money this way but that the idea is to get a following and thus find a traditional publisher OR a production company interested in the property."

    You probably hit the nail on the head there.

    What is unfortunate is that so many writers may be trying something like this instead of approaching an agent or publisher directly. I think that if a writer's goal is to be published by a traditional publisher they are better off in the long run by sticking to traditional channels. This will surely change in the future and probably near future.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Good luck with The King of Vinland's Saga! I am sure you are already doing this, so the following advice is really just for anyone following this discussion...

    There are 1.2 zillion literary agents out there. Many if not most specialize in certain types of books. For instance, there are large, well-established, respected and successful agencies that deal only with science fiction and fantasy. To save a lot of time, trouble and aggravation, consulting a resource like Writer's Market is a really good idea. It publishes a reference guide to literary agents and agencies that, for one thing, tells you exactly what kinds of books they are interested in seeing, including  what books and authors they have recently represented.. In addition, it tells you what their submission requirements are.

    While Writer's Market is available online as a paid service, their reference books can be found in most public libraries. Just try to find the most recent editions (they are updated yearly).
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    this way but that the idea is to get a following and thus find a traditional publisher OR a production company interested in the property.

    Unless Wattpad are actively attempting to draw commissioners to their content, I really doubt that will happen. Commissioners are not going to wade through the 1000s of books there in the hope of finding a gem, they don't need to.
  • swmirskyswmirsky Publisher
    edited January 24
    Ron, surprisingly you can now get a lot of the kind of stuff you need to assess an agent's proclivity for your work on their websites which are way more sophisticated than they used to be. The Internet evolves and so do we apparently, right along with it. Still am only dipping a toe in for now (when I am too distracted to work effectively on the new one or without enough focus time).

    Kevin, from what I can see in the Forbes article, their modus operandi is to provide a free platform for writers and allow them to use it to build a following. The draw for filmmakers comes when there is a growing following visible for a particular work which then, I take it, can prompt many of them to take a look for themselves. So unlike VoyageMedia (the guys who charge you -- there's another out there following a similar game plan, it's called TaleFlicks), this platform is more passive in one sense. The deal for them seems to be your agreement that, if you use them to highlight your work, they get an agent's sized cut (15%) of any ultimate deal with a publisher or filmmaker should it happen because your material was discovered on their site. So, in essence, they are looking to serve as a kind of online agenting platform without the proactive stuff agents generally do. I don't know if it'll work out but it strikes me as an interesting model.    
  • swmirskyswmirsky Publisher
    edited January 24
    Hmmm, hadn't looked in a long time but boy have things changed since I wrote The King of Vinland's Saga! Back then in 1996-1998 novels focused on the viking world were few and far between. You could count them on one hand, maybe two if you were looking in esoteric enough niches. But somehow, in the past decade, the viking genre has exploded. Just happened to go to a "page" on amazon to view a novel by Eric Schumacher who got his start using a small English publisher start up, Paul Mould Publisher, in which you basically had to fund the costs of the printing yourself though Paul (I got to know him by phone over time) took care of things like editing, layout, book and cover design as well as distribution. Paul got his start when he wanted to publish his own book about the movies (he is a cine-o-phile) and realized that he could offer the same for others like himself. He and I discussed shifting The King of Vinland's Saga to his imprint but I decided not to proceed in the end.

    But Schumacher was one of his authors and he sent me the guy's first book to review for him. About the early days of the formation of modern Norway in the aftermath of Harald Fairhair, the first king of a united Norway, It wasn't bad albeit a little rough, I thought. But not to my taste as it was too modern in tone. I prefer a more authentic sounding archaic voice when writing novels about the Norse. But it seems Schumacher has discovered that the modern Internet enabled world makes folks like Paul Mould obsolete. It seems Schumacher has taken to publishing using print-on-demand, something I had tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to convince Paul to use back in the early 2000s. I even pushed Lulu with him at the time but he was stuck in the idea that you had to contract directly with printers and take delivery on boxes and boxes of hard copies and then ship them to bookstores.

    He and I did collaborate on my second novel (really a novelized memoir which I did under contract for the woman whose experiences were captured in the book). I used Lulu to print an American edition but he insisted on contracting separately for the main, English edition. He used his cover design and layout person for his edition while I did the American version here on Lulu. In the end I think Paul was stuck with 150 or so books which he ended up giving away on the cheap. Meanwhile, although the English edition probably looks better (or looked better since I suppose it is out of print now) than my Lulu version, the Lulu book is still around and still sells (though I don't get any royalties since those go to the son of the woman who contracted with me to write it, given that they paid me up front for the work involved). Anyway, speaking of Schumacher's book about a Christian viking named Haakon, it seems that he has morphed it into a series. From the looks of it, he seems to have found a nice niche because the book is selling pretty well as per the Amazon sales ranking (while mine has long since stopped selling, but then I didn't want to write a blood and guts adventure tale but a saga pastiche which, alas, seems to have less appeal to present day viking-o-philes)!

    The other thing I noticed on Schumacher's book's amazon page is just how many books about vikings are out there these days. In my day, as I said, you had to work hard to scare 'em up. Now, however, it seems to be a lively genre although my book isn't participating in the fun.

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GT3DB13/ref=sspa_dk_detail_0?psc=1
  • swmirskyswmirsky Publisher
    Just checking on his original book, this was it though it is now offered through CreateSpace. I guess Paul Mould is out of the picture now. Haven't spoken with him in years. I wonder if he's still around and if he regrets not going POD as I had tried to urge him to do.

    https://www.amazon.com/Gods-Hammer-Hakons-Saga-1/dp/1545201161/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    Kevin, from what I can see in the Forbes article, their modus operandi is to provide a free platform for writers and allow them to use it to build a following.

    I don't see how unless those who wish to follow are enticed there by some form of marketing, just as it is with any website.
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    In all honesty, unless the sites you mention are marketed in some way, rather than being hit on via chance, then what film producers and traditional publishers are even going to know they are there to browse through? They could just as well search through Facebook. The sites seem to be a bit cheeky "stick your stuff on here and if anyone happens to get interest in it, we will take a cut of what you earn (for doing nothing.) Sorry, but unless they are actively seeking interested parties in the way real agents do, then they just sound like a scam set up by chancers. (Or to sell the site if it gets many hits.)

    But I know that once you get a bee in your bonnet nothing will shift it. :(
  • I have to second what Kevin has just said.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • swmirskyswmirsky Publisher
    edited January 25
    Kevin, the issue with this company is not whether I think that they actually have a good idea but whether it might work. I make no representations on that score but I think it's a promising idea. If the article is accurate, it's already worked for a few writers though no big windfall has been delivered to the owners of Wattpad yet. The magazine in which the article appears is a financial investment magazine so their interest is in the possibility that the model being explored will lead to a change in the way stories are sold and money is generated for their authors. It is an exploration of whether or not the business of agenting is in for a paradigm shift just as bookselling and publishing were transformed with the rise of digital printing and online bookselling platforms. Or other fields have changed, e.g., retailing, the movie and television industries, etc.

    For writers like us, who are primarily content creators, this is an interesting and potentially useful process. But no platform is guaranteed, at least we don't know if it will work out or not until the evidence is in. I bought amazon stock very early but sold it in disgust when they persisted in doing business at a loss. I knew their model hinged on building a sizeable presence and following but I was too concerned about the old paradigm, that you just couldn't keep running deficits and still build a successful company.

    I was utterly wrong, of course. That's exactly what they did, developing a very robust website/sales platform (it was much better than the Barnes & Noble or Borders competition, companies that remained focused on their big box stores while trying to compete with Amazon on the Web). Amazon successfully branched out in all directions beyond their original bookselling model and delivery businesses like UPS and FedEx and even the U.S. Post Office saw the opportunity and developed to serve and support their new online retail model. Amazon built an unparalleled presence and the money kept rolling in and now the stock I sold way back when is worth a thousand times what I sold it for. Ah well. But the point is not that I sold too early for lack of an understanding that they were breaking the old paradigm. It's that this kind of thing is still going on.

    When I began exploring the agenting process for my old book again a few weeks back, I was surprised at how much the agenting business seems to have changed. There are still agents, of course, but they seem so much more sophisticated vis a vis the online world now. Wattpad, as well as those other companies we spoke about (VoyageMedia, Taleflicks) are trying to build new models for getting story material to movie makers. And the reason they are able to do that, the reason it makes sense, is because the film making industry has also been disrupted. My wife and I no longer go to movies for a night out (she says she prefers to watch movies via streaming and cable on our large screen digital TV in the comfort of our own home). That's why there has been an explosion of competition in that area: Netflix, Disney, Hulu, Amazon, etc., not to mention all the cable channels, e.g., STARZ, HBO, etc.). And these outfits all want content as the competition for viewers heats up.

    So agents are apparently going digital (like that agent I submitted to via an online agent submitting service they subscribe to) and companies like Wattpad are looking for ways to remake the agenting model using the new capabilities enabled by modern digital technology.

    But, of course, if you think this is about nothing more than bees and bonnets I don't expect to be able to disabuse you of that notion. 
  • SeamusSeamus Creator
    Wattpad sort of looks like another version of Inkitt, https://www.inkitt.com/
    writers put stuff up for free and people read it and maybe generate a little buzz among the free content readers. 
    Tim Reinholt Author of Pow, a ski bum heist adventure
  • swmirskyswmirsky Publisher
    Hmmm, never heard of Inkitt but you're right. It sounds like the same kind of deal. Another outfit trying to leverage the Web and digital technology into a new model of an old business. I'm not really sure if it can work but it sure looks interesting (and I was certainly dead wrong about Amazon . . . and also Netflix by the way which I thought was a flash in the pan but so far turns out not to be).

    Still it seems to me that most people who buy books still adhere to the old model (preferring to buy and read them in paper rather than bytes) although book selling certainly has changed since I turned back to seriously trying to write in the mid 1990s. And the changes still seem to be proceeding a pace though I don't know who competitive the digital book format really is. For business reading and scholarship I think digital books have a real place but I don't know anyone who does his or her pleasure reading on kindles or other similar devices. So it seems to me there are some limitations here to these new models.

    But agenting and such is something different and companies in the streaming business like Hulu, Netflix, Disney and Amazon have really increased the hunger for content which ought to redound to the benefit of writers like us I should think. Whether agenting will be changed by platforms like Wattpad or InkItt is a different matter though. Still it does look as if many traditional agents have really become more digital savvy. I will look more closely at InkItt. Thanks.  
  • I think that Kevin is right. 

    I know and work with both agents and editors and I don’t see any of them so desperate for material that they feel the need to graze among thousands of novels on the internet. They are more likely to be already overwhelmed by submissions received through normal channels. Besides, their job is to find publishers for books, not spend their time looking for books to take on.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • The first two links are pretty much focused on authors who simply want to share their work while the third sounds more like a genuine review.

    There is no question that sites like Wattpad are great for sharing stories but if your intention is to attract professional attention to your book, you would be much better off going through traditional routes. Even the first link includes this caveat: "...there is no guarantee of success or increased sales. There is no harm in putting you and your book out there, as long as you are realistic about the response that you are after."
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • swmirskyswmirsky Publisher
    Indeed, traditional routes offer the better, as in more lucrative, alternative. The question though is whether the Internet is making other models possible which will disrupt the existing systems and methods the way Amazon disrupted the retail world (starting with books) or P.O.D. disrupted publishing. And, of course, whether any of these current efforts are among those which will be in the vanguard of such disruption.

    Whether one chooses a path such as the one WattPad offers is a matter of individual circumstances and choices. For my part, I don't see it as a useful way to go but others may feel differently and, certainly, I have guessed wrong before, in particular with Amazon.
  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor
    edited January 27
    I agree with you in that Wattpad (et al) is probably not going to be useful if one's goal is to bring one's book to the attention of agents and traditional publishers.

    There really is no 1:1 analogy between, say, Amazon selling books to customers and agents/publishers finding books. They are really two very different processes. For one thing, it is not really the job of the agent/publisher to search out and find books---and it is certainly not their job to wade through tens of thousands of books scattered among a dozen websites like Wattpad. 

    It may be a lack of imagination on my part, but it is hard to see how anyone is doing their book any favors, or increasing its chances of getting published, by throwing it into a corral with thousands of other books and then sitting back and hoping someone will notice it.

    (By the bye, POD publishing turned out to be only a statistical bump in the road so far as traditional publishing is concerned. Indeed, unit sales of traditionally published print books were 1.9% higher in 2017 than in 2016. The best-selling new book of 2017, The Getaway, sold over 900,000 copies. The only major category that had a unit sales decline last year was adult fiction, where the number of books sold fell by less than 1%—which was a smaller decline than the category underwent in 2016. Mass market paperbacks were down by more than 6%. Since self-publishing via POD is ideal for fiction, these two decreases are probably no surprise. Otherwise, adult and juvenile non-fiction saw increases of nearly 3% and 8%, respectively.)
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    Not only that Ron, but Wattpad also allows people to upload stories in progress. Is that what readers wish to see?
  • Not only that Ron, but Wattpad also allows people to upload stories in progress. Is that what readers wish to see?
    Probably not. I would rather read something finished. I can’t think of many stories so compelling or fascinating that I would want to follow them through all their stages of progress. 
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • swmirskyswmirsky Publisher
    Not everyone agrees with that, Ron. See George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire (now HBO's Game of Thrones).
  • It's a series of novels, but are they published in various stages of completion from, say, rough draft onward, with the books being continually rewritten and improved? That's the sort of thing I was referring to, and what I think Kevin meant when he referred to "stories in progress," not a story that is published in serial form.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • swmirskyswmirsky Publisher
    I kind of figured but I just wanted to note that books in progress are not always a no-no!

  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    Yes they are SW. Some people post bits in here, but not to be read by potentially 1000s of people.  Lulu is a self-publishing site so one can expect people asking for opinions here before a story is let in to the wild. It's a shame more don't. As to Song of Ice and Fire. I don't know why you misunderstood me. Mr Martin always frustrated the fans of it (and his publishers) by dragging his feet over the continuation of the story. They started to make it in to a TV series before he'd actually finished the series of books. The last in the book series is not even out yet, but the final series is due to be aired soon. No doubt the books are being created in reverse. TV script first, book after. But does he let the general public see bit of the scripts first. good god no, even the actors don't see it all.
  • swmirsky said:
    I kind of figured but I just wanted to note that books in progress are not always a no-no!

    Not as such...but given that I can read only so many books in my lifetime I would rather read a book that an author has finished than a work in progress.
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • swmirskyswmirsky Publisher
    edited January 29
    I agree Ron. However what interests me are the different models that pop up and how any of them may affect the overall field in which they are entered. I have little interest in reading works in progress myself. I've got too much of my own to make progress on. But I find it intriguing that some feel differently and that there is, apparently, a developing platform or platforms online that change the reading habits (and maybe the writing habits) of some. Like you, I don't have a lot of faith in the idea that people will give up reading books (completed books!) for stuff in progress online. I don't even have a lot of faith in the online reading model for completed works. But the world is always changing and modern digital technology and the Internet drive a lot of that. It's interesting to see what happens and is happening. Maybe even useful for more traditional writers.

    Anyway, the point of my original post above was to note how the agenting world seems to be changing with the increasing development and possibilities introduced by the Internet. Back in the nineties, agents already had websites and email addresses but they still wanted snail mail submissions. Now I am finding online submissions are accepted by many agents. More some of them use submission websites (either their own proprietary sites or independent sites they contract with to provide them a ready avenue). WattPad, according to the writer in that Forbes article, has also had some modest success (nothing major yet) trying to turn their platform for fan fiction writers into a kind of online agenting service.

    Of course, agents succeed by cultivating and growing relationships with publishers and producers while WattPad is more passive, depending on the ability of its mostly amateur authors to find and build a following (which WattPad apparently hopes will attract the attention of film makers and give WattPad the opportunity to participate as de facto agent -- something that, according to the article, hasn't happened yet). That other site I wrote about, VoyageMedia, is working a more activist model. They claim to actively connect writers with a story to sell to producers looking for a good story to buy for film making purposes. But unlike WattPad, we have seen that they require a membership fee but still see themselves as a kind of de facto agent but also, per what their guy told me, as part of a screenwriting team (to be paid that way, too) should one of their story products find a buyer. They also told me they reserve the right to participate on the production side, too, and that their role is flexible and will depend on where any particular story sale (if and when successful) may go. It seems TaleFlicks is trying to build a similar platform.

    I have declined to participate on any platform where I would have to pay a fee (because I know that such fees are unlikely to result in much). It's the same reason I chose to work with Lulu rather than Xlibris or other full service POD companies after my initial book (published through Xlibris). For self-publishing authors, keeping costs down is critical unless you have money to burn. (I have, for instance, been more than willing to keep spending on Lulu proofs to get my philosophy book right but I would not do that for a work of fiction.) Nevertheless, and despite my lack of interest in paying for added services (though sometimes that isn't a bad idea), I continue to think it worthwhile monitoring developments in the industry of books and stories and such. Things ARE changing and I'm sure they will continue to do so.
  • swmirsky said:

    Anyway, the point of my original post above was to note how the agenting world seems to be changing with the increasing development and possibilities introduced by the Internet. Back in the nineties, agents already had websites and email addresses but they still wanted snail mail submissions. Now I am finding online submissions are accepted by many agents. More some of them use submission websites (either their own proprietary sites or independent sites they contract with to provide them a ready avenue).

    This is all true...but you still have to go to the agent. The agent doesn't come to you.

    WattPad, according to the writer in that Forbes article, has also had some modest success (nothing major yet) trying to turn their platform for fan fiction writers into a kind of online agenting service.

    I am in wait and see mode so far as WattPad and its ilk are concerned. See next comment.

    Of course, agents succeed by cultivating and growing relationships with publishers and producers while WattPad is more passive, depending on the ability of its mostly amateur authors to find and build a following (which WattPad apparently hopes will attract the attention of film makers and give WattPad the opportunity to participate as de facto agent -- something that, according to the article, hasn't happened yet).

    Indeed. I think it behooves an author to be proactive when it comes to getting their book published. Simply putting it up somewhere and then sitting back to wait for someone to notice it is too passive. Especially when your book might be sitting in the middle of a field with 100,000 other books. The WattPad model also depends on agents, producers and the like continually cruising the site looking for potential material. Again, this puts all the effort on the part of the agents and producers. As I mentioned before, agents get more than enough potential material through regular channels, which are largely in place to act as a kind of pre-screening process.

    That other site I wrote about, VoyageMedia, is working a more activist model. They claim to actively connect writers with a story to sell to producers looking for a good story to buy for film making purposes. But unlike WattPad, we have seen that they require a membership fee but still see themselves as a kind of de facto agent but also, per what their guy told me, as part of a screenwriting team (to be paid that way, too) should one of their story products find a buyer.

    The fees are what makes VoyageMedia et al sound so iffy. No legitimate agency charges an author or artist anything up front.

    They also told me they reserve the right to participate on the production side, too, and that their role is flexible and will depend on where any particular story sale (if and when successful) may go. It seems TaleFlicks is trying to build a similar platform.

    I have declined to participate on any platform where I would have to pay a fee (because I know that such fees are unlikely to result in much).

    A wise decision.

     
    __________________________________________
    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Just KevinJust Kevin Lulu Genius
    swmirsky said:
    I agree Ron. However what interests me are the different models that pop up and how any of them may affect the overall field in which they are entered.

    They may only seem new to those who have not read many books, and they are going to change anything.

     I have little interest in reading works in progress myself. I've got too much of my own to make progress on.

    Indeed, and the same applies to all the 1000s of things on that site. Who on earth has the time to browse though them all? Life is too short. They prefer to look at funny cats.

     But I find it intriguing that some feel differently

    Differently to what? Placing things on line never means anyone is going to read them. That's always been the case, and how many people would read them if it charged a subscription? How many would upload stuff to it is if cost to do so?

    and that there is, apparently, a developing platform or platforms online that change the reading habits (and maybe the writing habits) of some.

    These are nothing new, or unique.

     Like you, I don't have a lot of faith in the idea that people will give up reading books (completed books!) for stuff in progress online.


    Does the service not download the works when Read is clicked?

     I don't even have a lot of faith in the online reading model for completed works.

    I don't even like reading stories on my 10" tablet, never mind my 28" monitor. I prefer real books.

     But the world is always changing and modern digital technology and the Internet drive a lot of that.

    Only the media changes, not the content.

     It's interesting to see what happens and is happening. Maybe even useful for more traditional writers.

    What will happen is when they get a lot of total hits to the site, Google or Facebook will buy it and make whoever set it up very rich. (It's called the five year Get Out principle. What can it be sold for in five years time.) Hit counts make money and attract companies who like to hide tracking cookies in the content.

    Anyway, the point of my original post above was to note how the agenting world seems to be changing with the increasing development and possibilities introduced by the Internet.

    No it's not, you only hope that it is, and nothing can persuade you otherwise. What you hope is that agents and publishers will find you, rather than vice versa. They have no need to search for new clients.

     Back in the nineties, agents already had websites

    Late 1900s perhaps, and with very little content. The Internet may be old, but the WWW wasn't really in action until around 1994, and it did not take off greatly until Flat Rate was introduced and PCs and Hosts became much cheaper. Much.

     and email addresses but they still wanted snail mail submissions.

    Many still do. Perhaps they hope it puts people off, posting costing what it does.

     Now I am finding online submissions are accepted by many agents. More some of them use submission websites (either their own proprietary sites or independent sites they contract with to provide them a ready avenue).

    Via a very small 'window' each year. Then the doors are closed.

     WattPad, according to the writer in that Forbes article, has also had some modest success (nothing major yet) trying to turn their platform for fan fiction writers into a kind of online agenting service.

    Unless Wattpad themselves act as agents, then nothing will happen.

    Of course, agents succeed by cultivating and growing relationships with publishers and producers while WattPad is more passive, depending on the ability of its mostly amateur authors to find and build a following

    No change there then …

     (which WattPad apparently hopes will attract the attention of film makers and give WattPad the opportunity to participate as de facto agent -- something that, according to the article, hasn't happened yet). 

    That if any one accidently gets a contract then Wattpad takes a cut? But how do they prove it was due to being seen on Wattpad?

    That other site I wrote about, VoyageMedia, is working a more activist model. They claim to actively connect writers with a story to sell to producers looking for a good story to buy for film making purposes.

    All it seems to be is a very short list of what some producers want, then it just becomes very 'traditional.'

     But unlike WattPad, we have seen that they require a membership fee but still see themselves as a kind of de facto agent but also, per what their guy told me, as part of a screenwriting team (to be paid that way, too) should one of their story products find a buyer. They also told me they reserve the right to participate on the production side, too, and that their role is flexible and will depend on where any particular story sale (if and when successful) may go. It seems TaleFlicks is trying to build a similar platform.

    So still very 'traditional.' then?

    I have declined to participate on any platform where I would have to pay a fee (because I know that such fees are unlikely to result in much).

    They result in the fees to the owners of the sites, and is why most such sites are set up.

     It's the same reason I chose to work with Lulu rather than Xlibris or other full service POD companies after my initial book (published through Xlibris). For self-publishing authors, keeping costs down is critical unless you have money to burn. (I have, for instance, been more than willing to keep spending on Lulu proofs to get my philosophy book right but I would not do that for a work of fiction.)

    Well as I have kept saying to you. It would be even less expensive if you got the manuscript right before you turned it in to a book.

     Nevertheless, and despite my lack of interest in paying for added services (though sometimes that isn't a bad idea), I continue to think it worthwhile monitoring developments in the industry of books and stories and such. Things ARE changing and I'm sure they will continue to do so.

    Sorry, but they are not. All the internet allowed was people to put things on line for people to read, they have been able to do that for decades, but that has never meant that people will read them, or even know they are there to read.

  • swmirskyswmirsky Publisher
    So Amazon changed nothing Kevin? The advent of POD publishing changed nothing? My main point in this thread is that changes have happened thanks to the appearance of digital technologies and are likely to continue to though perhaps you are likely to continue to deny that.
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