The Association of Authors’ Agents (AAA) is to create a code of practice around agent-assisted self-publishing programmes like White Glove, after “concerns” were raised by the Society of Authors (SoA).
Amazon’s White Glove enables agents to publish their authors’ work digitally directly with Amazon.
With the role of the agent evolving, Lizzy Kremer, committee member of the AAA and agent at David Higham Associates, said that the group’s code of practice also needed to evolve.
In the latest issue of its magazine for members the SoA said that in a few cases writers had encountered problems with agent-assisted self-publishing, “particularly where the commitments the authors make under the White Glove deal are at odds with the terms of their agency agreement and the author/agent relationship has broken down”.
The AAA and the SoA are now in the early stages of drawing guidelines up. Kremer said: “As the business [of publishing] is changing and evolving, agents are taking on other jobs and roles for authors, and it’s sensible to evolve the code of practice.
“We are aware of the concerns of the Society of Authors and we are keen to promote best practice amongst members and the wider agenting community.”
It is not yet known whether the guidelines will be part of the AAA’s wider code of conduct or be separate, but Kremer said they would “need to be broad” as the industry was changing so quickly and agencies were finding “their own ways to do things”.
Kremer said: “We do feel that agents can add to and enhance the [self-publishing] process. We do think they can have a role for self-published authors, whether it’s selling translation rights, or helping with the decision making process when it comes to cover design or title.”
In its magazine, the SoA warned authors to check on a number of things before committing to a White Glove deal, including checking that an agent will “terminate the contract with Amazon at any time on your request”.