"Editorial development is increasingly taking place outside publishing houses." This is a quote from the website of namelos, a new firm formed by a respected group of children's book professionals including Stephen Roxburgh, Carolyn Coman, and Joy Neaves, many if not most of them with ties to Boyds Mills/Front Street, especially the now-shuttered NC Front Street office. Altogether, the staff has a host of experience in editing, art direction, publicity, agenting, teaching, and writing. They offer development services to authors and illustrators, even editors, agents, and publishers, to make a book everything it can be. The advantages, they say, are that the writer gets editorial guidance (and honesty, if they feel the project isn't marketable); agents and editors get more fully developed, high-quality submissions; and the writer/artist receives the company's help with submitting to agents and editors "with a few well-placed emails and phone calls." Alternatively, namelos can and will guide you toward the goal of successful self-publishing, offering their "editorial, design, production, subsidiary rights, sales, and marketing support."
Outside editorial development, they say, is "evolutionary and inevitable" in these times when publishers must cut the costs associated with getting books in print. The concept is certainly interesting, and the idea that these reputable people are in your corner with ongoing editorial help (to the extent that you want to purchase it) and networking -- networking! -- is more than a little appealing. So -- what do you think? Would you welcome the chance to get this kind of editorial help before you ever submit to agents or editors, and then get help with submission too? Would you balk at paying a fee for such services? Could this be the first step in a major change in how the industry works? Will namelos become overworked and then copycat companies spring up whose credentials will be harder to assess? Are the higher costs of publishing being passed along to the arguably poorest people in the chain -- writers and artists? Do chime in!