1.) What’s a fair ebook royalty rate? Is 50% a more acceptable industry standard or should it be subject to negotiation deal to deal?
2.) Can a book deal be done where an author retains ebook rights to be leveraged by an agent? Would 15% agent fee be warranted then?
3.) When can an author get rights back in a digital world—from a publisher or an agent?
4.) Should any publisher get only a limited time period to said rights? If so, what royalty value would that have and is the term of the arrangement variable and negotiable?
"The AAR believes that the practice of literary agents charging clients or potential clients for reading and evaluating literary works (including outlines, proposals, and partial or complete manuscripts) is subject to serious abuse that reflects adversely on our profession. For that reason, members may not charge clients or potential clients for reading and evaluating literary works and may not benefit, directly or indirectly, from the charging for such services by any other person or entity. The term ‘charge’ in the previous sentence includes any request for payment other than to cover the actual cost of returning materials."
Bookends and DGLM’s announcements justify their 15% agent fee with a list of services that can easily be obtained elsewhere by third parties who aren’t also charged with advocacy on the author’s behalf. In an effort to sound forward thinking, these agencies are ignoring the potential for conflict of interest and undermining the relationships they already have with publishers by competing with them.