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Posts Tagged ‘Jason Allen Ashlock’

Flexible eBook Price Advice for Authors

Many writers struggle to find the best price point as they enter the crowded and confusing digital book marketplace.
Movable Type Management president Jason Allen Ashlock helped found the The Rogue Reader imprint this month, a new “digital publishing channel for outstanding suspense fiction.”
We caught up with Ashlock (one of our many Media App Summit guests) to get some advice about how to price a digital book. His long and thoughtful answer follows below. UPDATE: Ashlock also shared his thoughts about the PressBooks platform and publishing online.
Because The Rogue Reader publishes only one breakout author a month, we have the time to really drill down on the data we’re compiling and make the most of it by experimenting often. And we have great analytics partners helping us read the data we’re getting. Pricing is, of course, a major factor for readers who are considering whether to take a chance on a new author, and when you’re just starting to build an author brand, and the author is really good and the work is really good, the most important thing is that readers actually read the books. You have to price to make that as likely as possible. But pricing as low as possible isn’t always the right way to do that. It used to be that pricing really low was a distinctive. It separated you from the big publishers’ high priced ebooks and gave you a competitive advantage. Those days may be over. Because now pricing too low just places you in an even more competitive segment. And if you follow that strategy to its natural conclusion–pricing lower and lower to distinguish yourself–you end up giving away your book for free.
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Artists and Artisans & Movable Type Literary Group Merge

Artists and Artisans and Movable Type Literary Group have merged into a new “bicoastal management company” called Movable Type Management (MTM). The combined company counts more than 200 authors and maintain offices in New York and Los Angeles.

MTM will also work on in-house film, television, and digital development. Movable Type Literary Group principle Jason Allen Ashlock will serve as president of Movable Type Management, focused on books and digital. Artists and Artisans founder Adam Chromy will be president of the company’s performance division, Movable Type Media.

Ashlock had this statement: “This is a move that accelerates our strategy to offer authors inventive and expansive management, and to offer publishers properties of utmost value … Combining two successful and highly complementary companies allows us to focus the efforts of each of our members, and create customized strategies for each of our authors. At a particularly challenging and exciting time for the publishing industry, this combination vaults us into a leadership role with our clients and our partners.”

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Can Agent-Publishers Fairly Represent Authors?

Over the past year, literary agencies have been embracing digital publishing technologies and taking on the role of the publisher.

For example, literary agent Scott Waxman is publishing eBooks through Diversion Books and Dystel & Goderich will help clients navigate eBook and print-on-demand options. Movable Type Literary Group literary agent Jason Allen Ashlock argued in a recent editorial that this approach is not fair for the author. What do you think?

Here is more from Ashlock in Publishing Perspectives: “Though some agents come to representation from publishing houses, without significant internal reorganization, few agencies could publish efficiently: workflow restraints, small staffs, capital concerns, and the modest revenues generated by most digital properties will prevent most Agent-Publishers from adequately managing and effectively publishing more than a few titles.”

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How an Agent Works with a Self-Published Author

Author Victorine Lieske has sold 100,000 copies of her self-published eBook, Not What She Seems. Despite this milestone, she is now working with Movable Type Literary Group agent Rachel Vogel to sell her work to a traditional publisher.

We caught up with Movable Type principal Jason Allen Ashlock to find out what a traditional book deal could offer a self-published author.

Ashlock explained: “Ebooks, despite their incredible rate of growth, aren’t the preferred medium for a majority of readers, so having a print deal with wide distribution is important … And having a publisher relaunching the book in print and electronic form a few months from now gives the property another opportunity to succeed in a big way.”

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Rachel Vogel Joins Movable Type Literary Group

mtlg.pngAgent Rachel Vogel has joined Movable Type Literary Group as an associate agent and international rights manager.

In her new post, she will manage a client list of “upmarket fiction and narrative non-fiction.” Previously, Vogel worked at Lippincott Massie McQuilken representing authors like Gina Shaw (Cancer, Baby: You Can Have Children After Cancer) and Rebecca Dana (Jujitsu Rabbi and the Godless Blonde). In addition, she worked as a junior scout at Maria B Campbell Associates and a production assistant at Henry Holt & Company.

Movable Type co-founder Jason Allen Ashlock had this statement: “Rachel’s going to be a major asset for us, and we’re particularly thrilled with her extensive experience in international rights … Her energy and optimism about the future of books are a perfect match for us. We’re confident that our authors will benefit from Rachel’s intelligence and that editors will be impressed with her excellent taste.”

Literary Agent Confidential: What It Means to be an Agent

twitterlogo2323.jpgToday Movable Type Literary Group agent Jason Allen Ashlock invited Twitter-based agents to contribute 140-character dispatches about their lives to the Twitter thread #whatitmeanstobeanagent.

The thread generated 300 responses in 90 minutes. Ashlock opened with this happy post about what it means to be an agent: “Waking up in the morning unspeakably excited about somebody else’s genius.”

Upstart Crow Literary agent Danielle Chiotti had this thought: “Saying ‘no’ to a talented author because their project isn’t right for your list.”

Caren Johnson Literary Agency agent Elana Roth cheered a recent literary trend: “Getting to put work events on your calendar called ‘Zombies and Cupcakes.’”

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Book Deal for “Stuff Hipsters Hate”


Yesterday two blogging journalists, Andrea Bartz and Brenna Ehrlich, landed a book deal for their satirical Tumblr page, “Stuff Hipsters Hate.”

After reading the news, this GalleyCat editor contacted the bloggers’ agent, Jason Allen Ashlock from Movable Type Literary Group. We asked one burning question: What do these authors bring to the jaded world of blog-to-book deals that we haven’t seen before?

Ashlock responded: “The blog to book projects seem tired because so many of them have been one-trick ponies. They’re based around a gimmick: They tell a joke and then they tell it again and again. Image, caption, laugh. Image, caption, laugh. Their concepts are thin. The ones that have been really successful, and have a chance of making the backlist, have had a clear editorial voice: there’s an honest critique or cultural observation built into the ostensibly humorous project.”

He continued: “Stuff Hipsters Hate appealed to me for two reasons. First, it was a Tumblr site, so it had already been formed in a community and so wasn’t just being read, but was part of a subculture’s conversation about itself. I really think Tumblr is far superior in many ways to other blogging platforms because of this community dynamic.”

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The Quotable Steve Wasserman

speaker_stevewasserman_100x100.jpg“The irony of our age that it is the smallest folk who have the most to lose, who take the most risks,” said Steve Wasserman, the managing director of the New York office of literary agency Kneerim & Williams–defending the small presses and indie booksellers who are pioneering in this digital world.

During a panel entitled “Writer, Agent, Publisher” (hosted by this GalleyCat editor at the eBook Summit), Wasserman stirred up Twitter with his sharp commentary about publishing. Read more about the panel at eBookNewser.

Wasserman was the editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review, and now serves as books editor of the award-winning online magazine Truthdig. He once worked as editorial director of Times Books and Hill & Wang. Here are a few of his greatest hits, curated from the busy feed. “Publishing was never a business based on Wharton standards. It was a rich boy’s hobby,” he said, talking about diminishing advances.

When agent Jason Allen Ashlock told him: “I think we fundamentally agree” about eBook delays, Wasserman replied: “Probably, but we’re on a panel. We need a little bit of faux drama.”

He also pondered the excessive pondering of the future of eBooks. “I suppose we could sum up this entire two-day conference under the headline ‘too early to tell.’”

Scenes from the eBook Summit Preview Party

interview1.jpgLast night a crowd of readers, writers, and publishing types mingled at the Bubble Lounge in New York City, previewing’s eBook Summit.

Among the Summit speakers at the party was Movable Type Literary Group agent Jason Allen Ashlock (pictured), sharing some digital publishing wisdom. At the event, education director Carmen Scheidel and this GalleyCat editor introduced the industry leaders who will ponder the future of this crazy profession at the conference.

More party photos follow after the jump. Stay tuned over the next few months–we hope to organize more of these informal, publishing-centered meet-ups following the eBook Summit.

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Book Publicity Tips: Real Conversations Vs. Shameless Promotion

robertrave.jpgMost literary types are shy, solitary, and isolated–traits developed through the obsessive craft of writing. However, in this world of shrinking book reviews and disappearing publicity budgets, writers are being forced to break these habits.

Today’s guest on the Morning Media Menu was former publicist and debut novelist Robert Rave. Rave introduced his new novel “Spin,” an insider’s look at the world of high-class publicity in New York City. Meet Rave’s agent, Jason Allen Ashlock at FishbowlNY’s Lunch this week.

Here is Rave’s advice for aspiring writers: “I met my [literary] contacts because I was a publicist out networking and socializing with people. And when I say ‘networking,’ I don’t mean the cheesy, going out every night to hand out business cards. I mean making real contacts, having real conversations with people–not being in their faces saying, ‘Hey! I’ve got this new book!’ I think it’s really important that you do go out to mixers and events. You never know when you might meet somebody down the road.”