Saturday, August 27, 2011

Interview With Literary Agent Lisa Ekus

Lisa Ekus has been in book publishing for 33 years. —before faxes or email! She is now the founder of The Lisa Ekus Group, LLC. Here is what she shared with Book Marketing Buzz Blog:

1.      How is the publishing industry changing? How much time do you have? In house publishing staffs are seriously diminished, so old-time editing has pretty much vanished; PR has changed 180 degrees. Authors MUST be partners with publishers, not expect them to lead the way selling or marketing your book. The onus is fully on the author (like it or not). E-books, digitization, on-line everything has changed the industry. Advances and publisher risk have plummeted.  It is still wildly in flux. Here’s the thing: every blogger wants a book deal and a book in hard copy; give-aways at BEA were all real books, not codes for e-books, or free APPS. There is massive change in the HOW of the dissemination of information, but the NEED and DESIRE for information is greater than ever. Bloggers have leveled the playing field—anyone can be a writer. How you succeed is still based on talent.
  1. How are you, as a literary agent, responding to these new changes, challenges and opportunities?   Every industry changes—it keeps us healthy and challenges us to stretch and evolve. We are keeping abreast of the current industry standards for things like e-book rights; we are going to blogger and digital conferences; we are reading and learning and collaborating with other agents issues around photography rights; payout of advances, e-books and apps. We ask as many questions as we answer and are trying to shape some of the direction through our contracts, looking ahead. This is challenging because the industry has not settled into a norm yet, and I think it will be a number of years before things really shake out. That means covering our clients for as many possibilities as we are able.
  2. What are you looking for in an author – aside from a great book!? Passion. Commitment. Partnership.
  3. What do you love about being a part of the book publishing industry? Discovering, nurturing and building new creative voices in the industry. We always have at least a handful of first time authors on our list of clients. I love the words, the intent, the creativity of so many talented writers
  4. What advice can you offer to a struggling writer? You only need one “yes”,  so don’t lose hope or faith when looking for an agent and/or publisher. Follow your passion. Ask for help. Learn from your rejection letters. Don’t give up your day job!
Are Smartphones Dumb? 

USA Today shared poll results the other day to the question of whether having a smartphone makes it easier to relax or harder to relax.  Not surprisingly the response was 50% for each side.  That’s because, like every other service, gadget or invention, there are positives and negatives attached..

For instance, the smartphone means you can be in touch 24/7 from anywhere so you won’t miss anything important.  Great.  But it also means you’re always connected and are never removed from work, news, obligations and needy people.

Smartphones make a ton of information available to you for free.  Great.  But you also don’t know if the source is trustworthy or if the search was complete.

Smartphones have their pros and cons and millions have determined they want or need one.  Maybe over time we’ll see improvements not only in what the phone can offer but in how we find a balance interacting with our palm-sized computer gateway to the world.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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