Steven AxelrodArielle EckstutWhat does it mean to an author that he or she needs to become a “brand”? It’s a commitment to readers, agree a panel of agents and publishing executives who spoke at the recent Digital Book World Conference in New York City.

“The assumption used to be for many authors – and still is – that they produce a book, they hand it off, and then they get to stop doing whatever they’re doing. The publisher takes over, the media takes over, etc.,” agent and author Arielle Eckstut tells moderator Chris Kenneally. “And as we know today, the resources are so limited within publishing houses that if people don’t take the initiative themselves, then they’re really left – unless they have a very big stroke of luck – with a book that is not going to find its place in the world.”

Joining Eckstut on the panel were Steven Axelrod, an agent who has represented two-time Edgar Award-winning mystery author S.J. Rozan, as well as many top women’s fiction authors, including #1 New York Times bestsellers Christine Feehan; and Judith Haut, Sr. Vice President of Communications and Marketing at Random House Children’s Books.

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