Monday, July 8, 2013

Guest Post: Amazon's White Glove Publishing Service

by Andrew Crofts

There are any number of ways that a book can stumble on its journey from your brain to your readers’. One of the most common blockages is with the literary agent. Your agent loves your book and is confident she can sell it—but six months later she has failed to get a publisher on board.

But what if an agent who is keen on a book were in a position to “publish” it herself? Amazon has spotted this niche, and is now offering a service called White Glove. In this arrangement, the agent does all the liaising with Amazon and helps with the publishing process, and then she gets her standard 15 percent of anything the author earns from the deal.

Why partner with an agent when it’s not hard to do the self-publishing thing yourself? For one thing, it is so much better to have someone else who believes in your book, agrees to put time and effort into its publication, and generally shares the ride. In addition, a book’s chances of success are vastly improved if someone other than the author is behind it. If an agent does this for you, you have already gotten your first endorsement.

Last year I wrote a novel called Secrets of the Italian Gardener, set inside the palace of a dictator about to be overthrown in the Arab Spring. The narrator is a ghostwriter who, while writing a book for the dictator, meets a wise, elderly Italian gardener who gradually unravels the story of who really holds the power and wealth in this world. As the rebels draw closer to breaching the palace walls, the ghostwriter is also struggling with his own breaking heart.

I sent the manuscript to someone at United Agents, one of the biggest agencies in London, whom I have known for many years, and he came back brimming with enthusiasm. He wanted no rewrites, and he was sure he could sell the project.

Six months later, he had failed to convince any publishers. In the old days, that would have been the end of the story. But we turned instead to Amazon’s White Glove service.

Highly skilled Amazon staff did all the heavy lifting to get the book up onto the site, ready for print-on-demand as well electronic publication. It became a team effort rather than a lone author’s voice in the crowd, and should the book start to gain traction in the marketplace, the agency is already fully engaged and ready to handle the business side of taking it to the next level.

The book is now available on Amazon, and it has been a terrific experience all around. I am keen to see where things will go from here.

Andrew Crofts is a ghostwriter and author who has published more than eighty books, many of which were Sunday Times bestsellers, and has guided a number of international clients through the minefield of independent publishing. He has spent much of his career among dictators, politicians, arms dealers, and billionaires, passing time in their lavish palaces and heavily guarded compounds in the wildest parts of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, as well as in tax havens like Monaco, Bermuda and the Caribbean. He lectures about making a living from writing at Kingston University and frequently guests at writing workshops, literary festivals, and in the media. He blogs regularly on matters pertaining to publishing, self-publishing and writing. Find him at

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