Author Topic: Agents that offer other services  (Read 5323 times)

Offline TerryRodgers

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Agents that offer other services
« on: November 22, 2013, 08:11:43 AM »
I have noticed a few reputable agencies starting to offer other services on their websites such as editing, marketing, etc. In the past, this was shouted out as a big no-no. In my work with AgentFest, we have been very careful not to invite agents that have been known to charge fees. But, with the changes to the publishing industry over the last several years, I have seen a few agencies offering these services to their non-clients. I want to emphasize--NON-CLIENTS. The agencies represents their authors, they do not charge fees to those authors, and provide their help and guidance to the author's writing careers. Then they offer to authors they do not represent, services to help those individuals sharpen their skills and or edit their novels for self-publishing. I do not want to name the one agency I was researching, but they are widely known and even voted a top website by Writers Digest. So what are your feelings about this? Is it an absolutely not or all depends or somewhere in between? And I'm asking for a very good reason. ;D

Offline Pandean

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Re: Agents that offer other services
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2013, 08:19:57 AM »
I honestly don't know. There were certain agencies that I really wanted to query but then I found out about the Non-Client help thing. And if you're ever on Absolute Write the members there will pitch a fit about it.

I think that it goes a little like this...

I see it somewhat as an editor of a small press also doing freelance editing.

Like the editor who read a part of my novel.

If I ever submitted my novel to the small press she was a part of, she said to avoid conflicts of interest, she'd send it to someone else to read and say if they were going to take it on.

I think that if an agency offers a thing for non-clients, it depends on how they choose to avoid conflicts of interest.

I mean--just in these past years, Random House, Penguin, and S&S have all been making these self-publishing imprint/package things that are basically vanity presses, and they get away with it.

And most of the agencies that do this are reputable agencies with good agents.

But again, I think that it depends on how they avoid conflicts of interest.

Would they direct a client to these services? Would they take on a non-client? Etc. Etc.
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Offline TerryRodgers

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Re: Agents that offer other services
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2013, 08:26:41 AM »
Good points Kodi. I looked up the agency on Absolute Write and P&E. P&E says editing advisory, but does not list them as not recommended. Absolute Write has a good thread about them and everyone on there has said they never had the agency recommend their editing services if the author sent a query.

Offline Pandean

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Re: Agents that offer other services
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2013, 08:29:53 AM »
Good points Kodi. I looked up the agency on Absolute Write and P&E. P&E says editing advisory, but does not list them as not recommended. Absolute Write has a good thread about them and everyone on there has said they never had the agency recommend their editing services if the author sent a query.

Well, if these guys offer to you and schedule a call, you could perhaps ask them about it? I'm sure any reputable agency will be out and open about anything.
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Offline Sarah Ahiers (Falen)

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Re: Agents that offer other services
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2013, 10:35:05 AM »
As long as the editing service is kept separate from their agenting sides of things, it should be fine.

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Offline TerryRodgers

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Re: Agents that offer other services
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2013, 01:45:44 PM »
Thank you Kodi and Falen. I'm still in my let's see if an agent bites at my current query phase and low and behold an agent ask for a full. I went on querytracker and noticed the agency had the services offer.

Offline catsandstuff

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Re: Agents that offer other services
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2013, 02:43:32 PM »
I'm suspicious by nature...I blame it on growing up in NY. I wouldn't disregard someone who offered those services, but I would want a damn good reason why. I think this could be easily solved in a convo with the agent.  ;D
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Offline Sarah Ahiers (Falen)

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Re: Agents that offer other services
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2013, 10:24:34 AM »
Congrats on the full, terry!

And yeah, if you're worried, it's just a conversation away if the agent offers
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Brachistochrone

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Re: Agents that offer other services
« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2013, 09:40:47 PM »
It seems to me that it's not appropriate for an agent to offer a fee-based editing service to a writer the agent has no intention of representing.

If the purpose of the editing is to improve a manuscript to a good-enough shape to be publishable/marketable, isn't that what agents do, or spell out points for a client to do, en route to getting a client's manuscript in shape for submission to publishers?

It sounds like a mixed message:
I'm not interested in representing you because I don't see your work as something I can market, even with revisions I'd normally ask my clients to make, or help my clients make; however, I'll take your money to "improve" it, knowing it will never be improved enough for me to take you on.

Years ago, I queried a manuscript and paid a fee for an agent to edit it.

I was really annoyed when I got the result. My book was a dark story about a character who starts out on a hopeful path with good intentions, but becomes progressively awful as he succumbs to madness. I said this upfront in my query, giving some details about how he becomes nasty. He doesn't simply become nasty without a thought for how it hurts anyone. He earnestly struggles to carry out the good intentions he started out with.

What annoyed me most was her chief complaint:
"What happened to that nice boy? I liked him so much in the beginning!"

Well, yeah, so did the people he eventually came to hurt.  I told her I was clear up front that he changes in the ways I described. I said it was obvious from my query that this was not "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm," and if she didn't think the book should be about the subject I intended to write about, she should not have taken the editing job and my money. Nothing but keeping him a "nice boy" would have gotten the green light from her.

I demanded my money back and, believe it or not, she sent me a check with no comment.



« Last Edit: December 24, 2013, 09:44:54 PM by Pup-Tent »

Offline Sarah Ahiers (Falen)

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Re: Agents that offer other services
« Reply #9 on: December 26, 2013, 07:56:26 AM »
It seems to me that it's not appropriate for an agent to offer a fee-based editing service to a writer the agent has no intention of representing.

Ah, but that's the only way there's no conflict of interest. If they're going to charge for editing services, they can't then offer to rep them (or they can, but then that breaks a bunch of rules)
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Offline MookyMcD

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Re: Agents that offer other services
« Reply #10 on: December 26, 2013, 09:49:00 AM »
It seems to me that it's not appropriate for an agent to offer a fee-based editing service to a writer the agent has no intention of representing.

Ah, but that's the only way there's no conflict of interest. If they're going to charge for editing services, they can't then offer to rep them (or they can, but then that breaks a bunch of rules)

Which is why, IMO, they should choose between being agents and being freelance editors or, at a minimum, consider any MS they were queried with off limits as a potential client for editing services and any MS they edited off limits from possible representation, with both facts clearly stated on their web pages.
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Brachistochrone

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Re: Agents that offer other services
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2013, 10:57:52 AM »
I deleted this topic from the "publishers" thread and pasted it in here.

It's a question of whether agents should also function as publishers.

The example here is Touch Point Press, which is run by literary agent Sheri Ables.

See discussion on Absolute Write forum:

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=275090


It seems to me that an agent should be submitting manuscripts to publishers outside of her own office.
Or maybe this one does, fails to sell anything, and then offers the writer a deal, which does not include an advance.

Most of the books seem to be published on Amazon's Kindle and B& N's Nook, something authors can do for themselves without paying a cut to a literary agent turned publisher. There are a few paperbacks listed for this "publisher." I don't know how those get done.



Offline Sarah Ahiers (Falen)

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Re: Agents that offer other services
« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2013, 12:09:13 PM »
Which is why, IMO, they should choose between being agents and being freelance editors or, at a minimum, consider any MS they were queried with off limits as a potential client for editing services and any MS they edited off limits from possible representation, with both facts clearly stated on their web pages.

Exactly. The only way to be free from that conflict of interest is to completely seperate the two businesses, which means if you use the editing service, you don't get to query them, and if you've queried them, you can't then use the editing service. It's one or the other.

I've seen agents who have made that clear. But i've also seen some who don't, and those are the ones people should avoid.


I deleted this topic from the "publishers" thread and pasted it in here.

It's a question of whether agents should also function as publishers.

The example here is Touch Point Press, which is run by literary agent Sheri Ables.

See discussion on Absolute Write forum:

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=275090

Well, Sheri Ables is a huge conflict of interest and no one should be querying her or using her services.
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