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Lit Agents Are Taking On The Role Of Publishers

The role of the literary agent is beginning to blur now that eBook retailers are offering their own self-publishing channels.

Agent Andrew Wylie shocked the literary world this summer when he made an Amazon exclusive deal on backlist titles from some very big name authors. Now Sharlene Martin, a Seattle-based literary agent, is following in Wylie’s footsteps with her agency Martin Literary Management.

Publishing Perspectives reports: “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. 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.”

While CreateSpace took care of distribution and formatting print and eBook versions of the tell-all, Martin had to get hands on and handle editing, design and marketing. Will the digital channels change the traditional agent/publisher relationship? What do you think?

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