When the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and author David Mamet released his last book, “The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture,” with the Sentinel publishing house in 2011, it sold well enough to make the New York Times best-seller list.
So runs the first sentence of an interesting New York Times front-page story by Leslie Kaufman.
This year, Mr. Mamet is taking a different route. He is taking advantage of a new service being offered by his literary agency, ICM Partners, as a way to assume more control over the way his book is promoted. He is publishing his next work himself.
As Kaufman observes, the digital revolution is reshaping the whole publishing business. As self-publishing takes on momentum, it offers an increasing array of options for anyone with an idea and a keyboard.
Most of the attention so far has focused on unknown and unsigned authors who storm onto the best-seller lists through their own ingenuity. But now we see the so-called hybrid author, the writer who has been traditionally published, and may still have strong connections with a traditional publisher, but is also publishing work him- or herself.
Bringing out a backlist after regaining the rights is an option that many authors are taking, often with lucrative results. Because the percentage the author gets is much greater than a traditional publisher can offer (as much as 70%), self-publishing can be a money-spinner.
ICM, which will announce its new self-publishing service on Wednesday, is one of the biggest and most powerful agencies to offer the option. But others are doing the same as they seek to provide additional value to their writers while also extending their reach in the industry.
One is Trident Media Group. Another is Inkwell Management.
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