Big names switch to self-publishing

Playwright David Mamet is the latest big-name writer to turn to self-publishing.

Pulitzer Prize winner Mamet plans to self-publish a novella and two short stories and “market the hell out of them”. But Mamet isn’t really doing it all himself as he will be publishing through a service offered by his literary agency, ICM Partners.

The firm is following a trail that’s been blazed by several other lit agents which are keen to get a hold in the booming self-publishing sector. ICM’s cut has not been revealed but some agencies charge 30% commission. Amazon takes 35% or 70% commission, according to the price of an ebook, so an author isn’t left with a lot after paying the agent and Amazon, although it’s still more than the 10% or so an author gets from a publishing deal.

Mamet’s personal marketing efforts might well  lift sales well above what could be achieved by a traditional publisher and could boost sales if the book is also available in print, although it is difficult to make much money in print on demand. I’ll be interested to see just how much literary agents are bringing to the sales and marketing table for their 30%.

You can read about Mamet’s move at www.nytimes.com.

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