Yesterday’s post about the success of indie writer Amanda Hocking brought my attention to a new indie book publishing site called Manfred Macx. The site, and innovative business model, are the creation of Jon Renaut in Washington DC. I love the idea, and I love his enthusiasm.
What I don’t know is what makes some writers, like Amanda Hocking and many others, choose to distribute their work directly through existing online publishers like Smashwords instead of other services like Manfred Macx. What drives their choices? Further, what are the choices? Can you distribute through multiple channels or do you get locked into one single distribution point?
Much of this is a mystery to me. What is yet clear, though, is that having an agent is still important. What might be more important, however, is having an agent who is aware of all of these choices and will advise you fairly.
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3 Responses to “Manfred Macx Indie Publishing”
- Jon Renaut says (March 2nd, 2011 at 20:44:44 )
Thanks for the plug. I can answer some of your questions.
First, writers like Amanda Hocking don’t publish with Manfred Macx because they don’t know we exist. We’re working on that.
Second, getting locked into a single distribution channel is not at all what we’re about. Traditional publishing is risky. A lot of money goes out the door before the book is even available to be purchased. If you’ve overestimated how popular the book will be, a lot of that money is just gone forever.
But everything is cheaper now. You can get your book available for sale on Amazon for nearly nothing these days. POD companies like Lulu or Lightning Source are easy and inexpensive. Marketing is still hard, but it’s not impossible to do it without spending a fortune.
This means that smart and agile publishers can make a living wage without treating authors like indentured servants – handing out advances that probably won’t be recouped, and taking all the profits in the meantime.
This is a good thing for both authors and readers. It means that a lot more authors are viable investments, and that means more books available to read, and more people making a living by writing.
Finally, you’re absolutely right that an agent is still valuable. So is an editor, so is a marketer, and so are all the people that provide services that traditional publishers have always provided. The difference now is that all these people are available without signing a contract with a traditional publisher. You can just find them on your own.
It’s a brave new world out there in publishing, and we’re thrilled to be a part of it.
- douglas says (March 3rd, 2011 at 12:39:14 )
Thanks for the explanation, Jon! I’m curious how you approach the difference between a living wage (and what that definition is) and gluttonous success which is, after all, what some people are really after.
Do you see Manfred Macx courting writers who have agents (after all, an agent is after his own wages, too) or purely solo writers going it on their own?
- Jon Renaut says (March 3rd, 2011 at 14:31:30 )
I don’t think about it in those terms much. Our goal is to help authors live comfortably, by their own definition of comfort, through writing and connecting with their fans.
I think models like ours will help more people make a living, but won’t generate as many Dan Browns and J.K. Rowlings as traditional publishing does. Models like ours also don’t generate nearly as many authors who don’t “earn out”. And I think that, for the most part, this is better for authors, better for readers, and even better for publishers who can adapt (or new ones who never did the traditional route at all).
I’m not sure that answers your question at all.
We want all authors. Agent, no agent, previous experience, first novel, whatever. Come one, come all. I think too often people think that self-publishing means you don’t need an agent, you don’t need an editor, you don’t need a marketer. That’s not true. Good editing, marketing, and representation will always be valuable.