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Ebooks and most especially indie e-book authors were the teenagers of the publishing family – young, brash, unpredictable and misunderstood.  They have grown up in a brave new online world defined by consumption.   It is literally a 24/7 reality, freeing the reader to buy whatever, whenever and wherever he/she wants  – with next day delivery.  The “click click buy next!” culture of the 21st century is here to stay and increasingly dominates the way we live our lives.

This purchasing power and independence has created a voracious appetite for content and therefore in the ebook environment, inevitably genre fiction has been the most successful to date. But surely it is only a matter of time before this changes to embrace all forms of fiction and non-fiction equally?

Ebooks have forced traditional Publishers to rethink their publication timelines and conventional models. Not recognised for its love of change, Publishing has had to adapt with an alacrity that at times has felt forced but, nonetheless, adapt it has.

The impact of ebooks and indie authors has been enormous.  There has been a seismic shift – ebooks were Initially regarded as inferior, rogue, and, in many cases, not fully understood.  By sheer force of success they have managed to gain the attention and eventually the respect of the publishing community (which was lagging behind the clever consumer…)

Publishing as an Independent author offers a direct Author to Reader relationship.  This has defiantly challenged the need for Agents and/or Publishers.  However, time has led to an understanding that a more symbiotic relationship is possible and this has further developed with the emergence of the independent digital publisher.  It is a New Age of Publishing and so all participants adapt and change to continue to exist

Therefore, at this point, we have decided that now is the time to shine a light on ebooks and indie  authors.  The Sunday Times / Peters Fraser & Dunlop Award celebrates them alongside conventionally published authors and hard copy books.  We judge them equally.  It’s time for us to listen to the teenage rebels as they join the grown ups of the Publishing world.

Robert Caskie is a Senior Agent at PFD and was appointed COO in December 2012, four years after he joined the company. Previously, he was an agent at Macfarlane Chard Associates and Capel & Land Ltd

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