Here are his rules as he sees them:
1. The estributor covers all costs of book production. Artwork, editing, proofing, formatting, layout, everything.
2. The estributor does all of the uploading to various sites (Kindle, B&N, Kobo, Apple, Smashwords, Createspace, etc.)
3. The estributor pays immediately after she receives money, and her accounting is transparent.
4. The estributor gets a cut of no more than 15%, equal to her agency commission.
5. When the estributor gets big enough, she facilitates translations and the uploading to foreign ebook sites. For this she can receive a larger royalty share.
6. The estributor markets the ebooks above and beyond what an author can do on her own.
7. The author retains the rights to the work, and sets the price of the work.
8. If the estributor is an agent, she will also continue to exploit the subsidiary rights of the work.
9. The author or estributor can dissolve the relationship at any time. That brings into question who owns the artwork/formatting etc. That should be resolved on a case by case basis in a way that is fair to both parties.
For the most, I agree with what he has to say. The only sticking point is the money going to the estributor and then being paid to the author. Only bc this is such a new industry (ebooks, I mean) that there isn't a company out there with the decades in business experience that I would require before I fork over my money and essentially my business.
Also, by keeping the money in the author's hands (and having them pay it out to the estributor), you can cut down the risks that come with the conflict of interest.
And yes, there is a conflict of interest there. But it can be mitigated by the service being provided as well as the money staying in the author's hands.
Personally, I don't recommend getting an agent until you need one for subsidiary rights (print, audio, foreign, film/tv, etc). But I recognize that some writers might want to have this type of person on their team to help guide their career. The majority will, actually, bc of fear. I just hope that the readers of this blog happen to see that they don't need to give away percentages of their proceeds, that they can make these decisions on their own.
That's all for now. Just wanted to put in a quick comment about that.
Happy writing, y'all.