Saturday’s session at The Literary Consultancy annual conference on author services proved once again what an incendiary subject it can be. Place a successful self-published DIY writer and a writing services platform of any scale on the same stage and the sparks start to fly. How much money is the platform taking for what seems to be the simplest of offers? Is there transparency? What represents value for money? What do you really need help with and what is being bought and sold through basic misrepresentation?
We’ve spoken before at whitefox about the commercial challenge of delivering scale and maintaining levels of quality. Investors want you to be able to illustrate exponential growth that almost by definition threatens your ability to deliver a bespoke, hand-holding, value-added service of sufficient quality to justify your fee. It is in some ways the essence of creative tension.
Here is our take on the issue some days after the flashpoint at the Conference. Writers are sentient beings and we should treat them as such. It does whitefox no harm whatsoever to hear the big writing services machines being labelled as disreputable. But our view remains the same since we opened up our operation. If we are clear and open and transparent and represent fairly the skills and specialisms of individuals who make a direct, material difference to content creation, then we are happy to be labelled an author services network. Even if right now that seems like a bloody battleground for the future soul of publishing.