That’s Carlton Sedgeley, founder of the Royce Carlton lecture agency, quoted in the International Herald Tribune dismissing the notion of midlist authors supplementing their incomes with the assistance of speakers bureaus associated with publishing houses. Such bureaus attempt to find paying gigs for the authors, in exchange for a 20 percent commission.
Mr. Sedgeley is not the only skeptic. Sara Nelson, editor-in-chief of Publishers Weekly, patronizingly worries that such arrangements put too much pressure on authors to hone their presentation skills at the expense of their literary development. Do editors worry that their speaking gigs will retard their editing skills? Writing is an extremely tough business. If this can help, I’m for it. But I’m not sure how much of a market exists, once you get beyond the top tier authors.