Is there an agent role in the disintermediated future of publishing?

· The Power of Many

In his Fresh Books Blog (Do you need an agent in the tech book market?), literary agent Matt Wagner points to a discussion about agents, how they earn their 15% and how useful they are in today’s business climate, taking place on the weblog of Joe Wikert, an editor at Wiley (Agents: Do You Need One?.
It’s a fascinating discussion and well worth having. The living web is clearly disrupting hidebound traditional publishing infrastructure and while there may always be a role for go-betweens, it would seem obvious that literary agents are themselves due for a reassessment of their role and how they can best give value to the publishing process and be compensated for their skills, contacts, and advice.
Disclosure: Matt Wagner is a former agent with Waterside Productions, Inc. and I am currently associated with that agency, both as an agent and as a writer. (My agent at Waterside is Margot Maley.)