Mercy Pilkington, CEO and founder editor of Author Options, reporting for Good Ereader:
News came this week that Bloomsbury UK was the most recent publisher to realize that authors are tiring of the hoop-jumping, as the announcement that its new YA and New Adult imprint Bloomsbury Spark would accept submissions from unagented authors. But is this too little, too late for an industry in which authors are routinely thumbing their noses at giving up as much as 85% of their royalties for the privilege of being “accepted” by the traditional industry?
Some publishers, such as the ultra-disruptive Sourcebooks, have been accepting unagented submissions for some time, and have even welcomed the opportunity for authors to win the right to submit a manuscript as part of a writing contest. Tor UK, an imprint of Pan Macmillan SFF, announced its own policy earlier this year, encouraging authors to think that they have options besides self-publishing.
What is interesting to see in this new shift is that Bloomsbury’s submission guidelines for this new imprint include the requirement that authors provide information on their social media standings, meaning the publisher wants to see how much reach and influence (re: built-in consumer base) the author has before agreeing to publish the work. This is similar to the publishing houses who join sites like Wattpad, sweeping up authors whose books have a significant following on the free reading and sharing platform.