by Lori M. Myers, Interviews Editor
I met April Eberhardt this past June while I was at Chautauqua Institution in New York teaching a memoir writing workshop. The Chautauqua Writers’ Center was hosting her. During our one-on-one conversation and her presentation to a full house, I was struck by not only her approachability, but also her vast knowledge and insight into today’s ever-changing publishing landscape. She was honest and insightful, but most of all, she loves books and authors – good books and committed authors.
After 25 years as a corporate strategist and consultant, April entered the literary world as head reader for Zoetrope: All-Story followed by five years as an agent with two San Francisco-based literary agencies. She divides her time between San Francisco, New York and Paris. And did I mention that she loves books and authors?
Lori: I’ll never forget what you said during your presentation at Chautauqua. It went something like “Traditional publishers aren’t failing, but they’re flailing.”
April: Big publishers continue to believe they’re the arbiters of taste, and the most desirable gateway to being published. That’s all changing–the internet has opened a multitude of possibilities. Most importantly, readers and authors can connect directly without middlemen, and readers decide what’s worth reading and recommending.
So should writers steer away from “Big Pub?”
While some authors do desire traditional publication, its value proposition to authors is weakening. Until Big Pub figures out a way to give more to authors (which involves a complete overhaul of their financial and operational model,) other new, profitable and more satisfying ways of being published will continue to lure authors away from traditional publishing.
Rejoice! There are many wonderful ways to be published now.
Having options is good, but there seems to be so many!
There’s partner publishing, assisted publishing and hybrid publishing, along with self-publishing. As one attractive new option, partner publishing offers high-quality services from publishing professionals, along with curation and distribution, enabling authors to pay for selected services and receive a top-quality book.
From what you’re saying, April, it sounds like it’s good to be an author in today’s publishing climate. True?
Rejoice! There are many wonderful ways to be published now. With a focus on quality, along with perseverance and determination, authors can see success in ways that just a few years ago weren’t available.
I know readers are wondering what sort of manuscripts you represent.
My focus is on women’s book club fiction, loosely defined as books for, by and about women. I also consider selected creative nonfiction and memoir. If it’s a great story, one that gives readers a glimpse into another life and leaves them with much to reflect on, then I’m interested.
So telling a great story is most important to you as a literary agent.
Whether creative nonfiction, memoir or fiction, a successful story is told in a unique and compelling way that enlightens and entertains readers. Write the story that would keep you turning the pages late into the night.
Both as an agent and a reader, I have a passion for good books. As an agent, I also see how hard authors work to bring their books into the world. I want to do all I can to help authors achieve their dreams and goals, and see a steady stream of wonderful work find its way into readers’ hands![boxer set=”lori-myers”]