While a number of literary agencies have announced plans to self-publish books by clients, others have taken the tack of offering ancillary publishing (and agenting) services. The Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency is taking the latter approach, and has launched a program to represent other agencies looking to republish their clients' backlist titles.
The new venture will be overseen by agent Jennifer Weltz, working with royalties manager Tara Hart. Speaking to this new side of thebusiness, Weltz said it came about "organically" after she began talking to others in the industry about striking deals, with emerging e-book and POD publishers, for JVNLA's clients. Noting that there is a growing number of publishers eager to buy backlist works, Weltz said there is now a "middle world" between self-publishing and traditional publishing that remains unfamiliar to some in the business.
Because many small agencies will have only a handful of titles ripe for this kind of republication, Weltz said it can make more economic sense to outsource the deal-making. As she explained in an announcement about the new service, JVNLA has already cultivated and established relationships with various e-book and POD publishers and can now leverage those relationships by parnering with other agencies. In the letter, Weltz said JVNLA is looking to work with agencies "managing a backlist where original publication rights or e-rights were either clearly reserved by the author, or have reverted back to the author."
JVNLA has already closed deals for more than 70 backlist titles by its own authors, with publishers in that aforementioned middle world. (Weltz said she's struck deals with companies like E-Reads, Arc Manor and Untreed Reads, among others.) The agency also believes that the hunger for these backlist titles will make for a potentially steady stream of business. Weltz explained that for many of these emerging publishers (some of which have been in existence for years now) backlist titles represent "vetted books, which have been tested in the market, and come from an agency that is well respected."
For its co-agenting work, JVNLA will take a commission on any advance and a percentage of royalties earned.