Jennifer Armentrout has secured a sizable advance/book deal thingie after a combination of small press and "self-publishing". In a recent interview, she remarks:
Jeremy Greenfield: You’ve seen a lot of success very quickly. How long have you been writing?
Jennifer L. Armentrout: I started writing seriously in 2007 with my first book, a young adult paranormal romance, and I got a contract on that in 2010 through a small press, Spencer Hill Press. They published it in October 2011.
I started out like most authors do looking for an agent but I couldn’t get one. Once my book came out I was able to get one.
Since 2011, I’ve had 13 books come out. All the books that have come out are with Entangled Publishing and Spencer Hill. My Harlequin Teen book doesn’t come out until the end of this year and my Disney Hyperion books are scheduled to come out in 2014.
JG: What made you decide to self-publish in the first place?
JLA: Came up with the idea in the shower and wrote the book in 20 days in January. I can write pretty fast. I sent a partial to my agent and she loved it. She said, “we can definitely sell this.” We targeted about four-to-five publishers and it was really well-received and all the editors loved it but it got turned down at every publisher because the new adult market is very risky. It’s hard to get it into bookstores. And the market is getting flooded. So, we had this book we thought would sell it but couldn’t.
When we found out we couldn’t sell it Kevan and I had a serious conversation – neither of us had done anything with self-publishing before but I knew some authors who had done it and had some help getting copy editors and cover designers and other people to help. We formed a marketing plan that we thought would work. I have a platform but we wanted to reach beyond my readership so that’s when we decided to do the three-day $0.99 deal and it worked.
It has all happened so quickly. I wrote the book in January, we published it in February. It’s been an insane couple of months.
So it seems if I understand the background to this correctly that in reality she collaborated with her agent, brought her manuscripts out via Kindle, sold many copies, then signed a deal with Avon. All this begs a couple of questions: is it really self-publishing when one collaborates with a publishing professional? Or is it simply that agents are becoming publishers themselves? (The Wylie Agency threatened to do this some time ago with its backlist, then, I believe, for whatever set of reasons, backed off.)