Knight: Agents Need to Become Marketers (Video)

Evolution: From caveman to agent to marketer.

As the tectonic plates of publishing continue to shift in the e-book era, one common theme is marketing. How does it look today? Who is responsible for marketing? What results can be expected?

The Atlanta-based Knight Agency has jumped in to the marketing pool by hiring a director of marketing.

“It was very obvious to me by 2005 that we were going to really have to take on the bull by the horns when it comes to marketing and I have brought on a full-time marketing director,” said Deidre Knight, president of the Knight Agency.

According to Knight, who spoke with us at the Digital Book World Conference in January, she would like to hire more people in marketing:

A joint production of Digital Book World and Astral Road Media: http://www.astralroad.com/. Founded by Rich Fahle, Astral Road Media is a full-service digital media agency, providing content strategy, design, video production, and other creative forms of social outreach for authors and content creators of all types.

Evolution image via Shutterstock

4 thoughts on “Knight: Agents Need to Become Marketers (Video)

  1. Linton Robinson (@LintonRobinson)

    I never watch videos of material better presented in text and graphics, but I really question why agents would become marketers. Or why writers would want that. Why not just skip the agents and go straight to marketers.
    I realize agents are probably going to start needing new job skills, but this seems a poor match.

    Reply
      1. Linton Robinson (@LintonRobinson)

        I have been thinking about this a little today and it makes no sense.
        What are they going to market, and to whom?
        Market MS to publishers? That’s not their skill… the supposedly offer contacts, are supposed to be able to call up and have lunch. What is a marketer going to do?

        Market books to the public? Why would they know how to do that? They have already gotten stuck with the publishers’ search and development chores, and a lot of the editing/cleanup, and now they are going to spring for MARKETING?

        This makes zero sense except as panic.

        Reply
  2. Rich Fahle

    Linton and Pam – Thanks for your respective comments. I’m interested to better understand your point of view. What Deidre Knight suggests in this interview, and what I have heard other agents explain also, is that the authors they represent are finding themselves in need of services that today they are not as likely to receive from the publishing companies. Marketing services, editorial guidance and overall brand development, among other things, are increasingly being pushed to the author’s plate to the degree that publishers now expect an author to come to front door with an audience, a website, a social platform in tow, along with other elements that mitigate risk for the publisher. It seems only natural then, that the role of many agents (not all) would naturally evolve and grow more expansive. In another interview I did for DBW, the agent Jason Ashlock referred to this evolution as \radical mediation\; the process of standing with the author along every point in the value chain to help them succeed. That definition necessarily requires extending an agent’s services to whatever areas are necessary to best serve their author’s career. And to your point Linton, it’s true that many agents are not equipped or staffed internally to handle all marketing for their authors, and so in many cases, they reach out to partners to provide these needed services to the authors they represent. In Ms. Knight’s case, she points out in this interview that she understood this need a long time ago and has taken steps to add marketing support and expertise to her in-house staff. Personally, I’m fascinated by this development. From my perspective, the expanded agent relationship – whether from partner marketing agencies or in-house — can only benefit the longer-term author development needs that have largely been abandoned by larger publishers. That said, I’d be very curious to hear additional comments and your thoughts about why this is a problematic development for aspiring authors.

    Reply

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