Author Topic: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question  (Read 4355 times)  

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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #25 on: October 12, 2017, 11:15:51 AM »
Let's just say I'll consider this a learning experience. Then I can share that with you guys.

It doesn't hurt to talk. This might be a discussion you want to take to Absolute Write. People here are a little more hostile to trad publishing than over there, so if going that route is what you want, getting some trad route thoughts might not hurt.

Offline Puddleduck

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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #26 on: October 12, 2017, 11:19:50 AM »
I think the thing is that if she's a disreputable type (as she seems), then she'll just BS you and come up with what she makes sound like reasonable reasons for those charges. It's hardly as if she's going to admit to being not a real agent and just wanting to get money from you. And there's really no point in talking to BS-ers, other than giving them the opportunity to convince you they're not with their smooth talk and get money from you. Which is, I'm guessing, why people here are advising you cut off communication. We can't really see any good coming from it.

Offline RichardDenoncourt

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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #27 on: October 12, 2017, 11:21:22 AM »
It doesn't hurt to talk. This might be a discussion you want to take to Absolute Write. People here are a little more hostile to trad publishing than over there, so if going that route is what you want, getting some trad route thoughts might not hurt.

I've heard good things about going the hybrid route. That's my goal eventually - to partner with a publisher, but retain as many of my rights as possible. I know I'll have to show success self-publishing first. That's why I'm curious what he approach would be, even if just to hear what someone in the industry thinks.
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Offline RichardDenoncourt

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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #28 on: October 12, 2017, 11:25:05 AM »
I think the thing is that if she's a disreputable type (as she seems), then she'll just BS you and come up with what she makes sound like reasonable reasons for those charges. It's hardly as if she's going to admit to being not a real agent and just wanting to get money from you. And there's really no point in talking to BS-ers, other than giving them the opportunity to convince you they're not with their smooth talk and get money from you. Which is, I'm guessing, why people here are advising you cut off communication. We can't really see any good coming from it.

My difficulty with some of the advice in this board is that, if she was just looking to get money from me, I imagine she would ask for fees up front or something shady like that. But asking the author to pay for promotional copies of books - that seems like a long-shot as a profit scheme. How much would they really expect us to cough up for copies of books before it becomes obvious they're milking us?

I would strike that from the contract before signing it. That's why I want to speak with her. If she resists the idea, I'll know something's up.

Again, I'm not getting too excited here because she's a "Literary Agent interested in a poor, struggling indie like myself." More of this is curiosity. I want to learn how to spot the disreputable ones.

It's like when you get an IRS scammer on the phone and you're curious what they want you to do - if only to make sense of how the scam works. Know what I mean?
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Offline Puddleduck

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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #29 on: October 12, 2017, 11:32:28 AM »
You're right that she doesn't sound like a straight-up scammer. From the sound of things, she's probably a small-time agent trying to get a footing and build her career. But the question you have to ask yourself is: if she's so small that she can't afford basic things like her own copying, how much is she likely able to do for your career?

Then again, I've read that even bigger agencies are pulling stuff like this because of the tough times in the publishing industry, so it may not be as much a mark of illegitimacy as it may once have been.

Which all comes around to the question of why you'd want an agent that tried to nickel-and-dime you like that. If she's that strapped for cash, how good a business partner would she be to you? In how many other ways would she try to get money from you later? This is the kind of thing that makes a lot of us simply choose not to get an agent at all.

It's also true that a lot of people will put things in contracts on a "it doesn't hurt to ask" basis, trying to get as much in their favor as they can but willing to negotiate those things away. Personally, I don't have time for people who play games like that. But it's pretty common in contract negotiations, so opinions will differ.

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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #30 on: October 12, 2017, 11:38:28 AM »
You're right that she doesn't sound like a straight-up scammer. From the sound of things, she's probably a small-time agent trying to get a footing and build her career. But the question you have to ask yourself is: if she's so small that she can't afford basic things like her own copying, how much is she likely able to do for your career?

Then again, I've read that even bigger agencies are pulling stuff like this because of the tough times in the publishing industry, so it may not be as much a mark of illegitimacy as it may once have been.

Which all comes around to the question of why you'd want an agent that tried to nickel-and-dime you like that. If she's that strapped for cash, how good a business partner would she be to you? In how many other ways would she try to get money from you later? This is the kind of thing that makes a lot of us simply choose not to get an agent at all.

It's also true that a lot of people will put things in contracts on a "it doesn't hurt to ask" basis, trying to get as much in their favor as they can but willing to negotiate those things away. Personally, I don't have time for people who play games like that. But it's pretty common in contract negotiations, so opinions will differ.

Awesome points! I'll dig deep with her. We have a Skype tomorrow.
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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #31 on: October 12, 2017, 11:42:04 AM »
People here are a little more hostile to trad publishing than over there, so if going that route is what you want, getting some trad route thoughts might not hurt.
I have lots of experience with and am not hostile toward traditional publishing. And what has been offered the OP is as far from traditional as you can get. He has already made up his mind to proceed with more inquiry, however, and seems to be here looking for validation of that decision. I strongly suggest he look up Yog's Law, which is some of what he will hear about at Absolute Write. And I wish him luck.

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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #32 on: October 12, 2017, 11:46:40 AM »
Did you google her name? She uploaded a video on YouTube in August about how she quit her job because she wanted to go to school to become a book cover designer. She had a GoFundMe asking for money to pay for school.

Now less than two months later, she's an agent?

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UU0LWA0yZIk" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UU0LWA0yZIk</a>

You have nothing to lose talking to her, but man, I would not sign with her or that agency. Just be very careful! Sounds like this agency adopted the Author Solutions business model of nickel and diming authors for every single thing.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 11:48:50 AM by Alan Petersen »

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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #33 on: October 12, 2017, 11:46:57 AM »
I have lots of experience with and am not hostile toward traditional publishing. And what has been offered the OP is as far from traditional as you can get. He has already made up his mind to proceed with more inquiry, however, and seems to be here looking for validation of that decision. I strongly suggest he look up Yog's Law, which is some of what he will hear about at Absolute Write. And I wish him luck.

Yog's Law is very interesting, namely that money should flow to the author, not the other way around.

You're right, I've made up my mind to explore what she has to say - and yes, a lot of this comes from wanting the validation from someone who works in an industry that closed their doors in my face all those years I sent out queries.

But if I choose not to speak with her, I'll always wonder what her pitch might have been. I'd rather waste 15 minutes and be better informed, than spend weeks or months wondering if maybe I had closed a door too soon.
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Offline RichardDenoncourt

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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #34 on: October 12, 2017, 11:49:24 AM »
Did you google her name? She uploaded a video on YouTube in August about how she quit her job because she wanted to go to school to become a book cover designer. She had a GoFundMe asking for money to pay for school.

Now less than two months later, she's an agent?

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UU0LWA0yZIk" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UU0LWA0yZIk</a>

You have nothing to lose talking to her, but man, I would not sign with her or that agency. Just be very careful! Sounds like this agency adopted the Author Solutions business model of nickel and diming authors for every single thing.

I did see that video and was confused initially. You make good points, and I'll definitely be careful.

Also, I've compiled a pretty rigorous list of questions for her. Part of me is curious whether she'll answer honestly, evade, or get turned off.

I work in sales (recruiting, specifically) so I'm always interested in hearing people's pitches and reasons why I should jump my ship and climb on theirs.
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Online Al Stevens

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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #35 on: October 12, 2017, 11:55:31 AM »
Did you google her name? She uploaded a video on YouTube in August about how she quit her job because she wanted to go to school to become a book cover designer. She had a GoFundMe asking for money to pay for school.

Now less than two months later, she's an agent?
I smell fly-by-night.

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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #36 on: October 12, 2017, 11:56:14 AM »
I agree with Al Stevens 100%. This is a scam. Don't even dignify it with a response. You are just leaving yourself open to flattering talk that you are obviously susceptible to. No offense.

You may be right. I'm not offended. I need to hear this stuff.
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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #37 on: October 12, 2017, 11:59:09 AM »
I smell fly-by-night.

For tomorrow, are you notified when I respond here? I want to put up a response as to how the conversation went.

Anyone reading this, please flag this to receive updates. I'd love a conversation about what went down.

We're meeting on Skype tomorrow at 9:30am EST. Now I really want to see how it goes, if only to get more feedback from you guys - especially if she promises to draw up a new contract or something unexpected.
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Offline Puddleduck

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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #38 on: October 12, 2017, 12:02:31 PM »
Wow, I hadn't googled her name, but yeah, that's extremely concerning. That would get a big No Way from me, but I'm curious to see how your conversation with her goes, since you're set on having it.

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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #39 on: October 12, 2017, 12:07:14 PM »
Did you google her name? She uploaded a video on YouTube in August about how she quit her job because she wanted to go to school to become a book cover designer. She had a GoFundMe asking for money to pay for school.

Now less than two months later, she's an agent?

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UU0LWA0yZIk" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UU0LWA0yZIk</a>

You have nothing to lose talking to her, but man, I would not sign with her or that agency. Just be very careful! Sounds like this agency adopted the Author Solutions business model of nickel and diming authors for every single thing.

It's an entertaining video, but it doesn't give one much confidence, does it? A lot of people get into agenting because it seems fun and some people do make a good living at it. The attrition rate is very high, and it's worse to have a bad agent than no agent.

I wouldn't necessarily advise against hiring a newer agent, but in this case, there are definite warning signs. I'd still suggest asking around a bit at Absolute Write. Someone might know more specifics.

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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #40 on: October 12, 2017, 12:12:53 PM »
For tomorrow, are you notified when I respond here? I want to put up a response as to how the conversation went.

Anyone reading this, please flag this to receive updates. I'd love a conversation about what went down.

We're meeting on Skype tomorrow at 9:30am EST. Now I really want to see how it goes, if only to get more feedback from you guys - especially if she promises to draw up a new contract or something unexpected.

Be sure and ask her the most obvious questions like, how long has she been doing this, what experience she has, why is she charging when others don't , and why she picked you. Also ask about that video as well. What the heck is up with that. When it comes right down to it, we all want the best for you. We are a community and we offer up advice to help each other be as successful as possible. Everyone here wants to be the next hottest author on the best seller list. But there are also people who prey upon that fact. Just be smart and use the brain not the heart.

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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #41 on: October 12, 2017, 12:22:01 PM »
She has a whole series of goofy videos out there and comes across as a trivial person. My guess is she's giving this lit agent thing a go, and will give it up in a month or two when it proves to be a really hard way to make a living.

Offline evdarcy

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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #42 on: October 12, 2017, 12:22:44 PM »
So I just looked up the company (note I'm a Brit seeing as people were thinking it might be the norm in Britain - yeah, no. I wouldn't pay an agent ANYTHING up front. They're supposed to make their living from selling my work, not buying it from me!).

While I can see a 'team' I cannot find an 'about' page, which would instantly ring alarm bells for me.  How long have they been established? How did the company form? What publishing houses have they worked with?

They have a blog. Over the last year that i can see, there are FOUR posts.

I looked up their authors.  One has sadly passed away last year - but it seemed he was more of a playwright. 
Another seems to be something to do with films. 
One author, David Zen, has one book which is in KU, so I'm now wondering is this self published? (ETA I know trad books can be in KU but I would have thought that only went to BIG names. End ETA).
Simon Leyland has 3 books; his website only has links to Amazon (although one appears to be published by Bantam Press - although that was a fair few years ago).  There doesn't seem to be anything new since 2014.
Steve Burgess, strangely on his Bio it links to his hypnotherapy site!  He has a few books, but nothing recent since 2011.
Alison Pringle seems to be in the same boat as Simon.
Danny Spring, an actor with a debut novel coming out Loch Strange, yet I can't find anything on this.  His acting work is up there, but nothing i can find on writing.
Alex Spiro is a bit confusing as he is the only one with a link to an author website, which takes me to someone called Alex Hyland. This is again his debut novel, and working with Accent Press (don't know them) but only in paperback (at least that's how the site reads). The book seems to be enrolled in KU though?  Strangely.  I like his site though. But again he seems to have a connection to the world of film and tv.
And finally, Natalie Esther, who has done some good work for charity, but again I can't find anything on her work. Wait, wait, hang on, oh, it's an upcoming memoir.

Going through all that... Yeah, I'd be skeptical as all hell!!!
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 12:27:15 PM by evdarcy »

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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #43 on: October 12, 2017, 12:23:29 PM »
Take the call.  Ask if those charges are upfront or part of the agents percentage when the book sells.  There are agencies that charge for things like this, but it is never up front.  You should never hand money to an agent or publisher, period.  However, these things might be part of their cut when the project sells.  If the project sells, these costs are minimal and perhaps nothing to quibble over, especially since you are not personally paying them money.

However, I'm expecting this person to say they are up front charges.  I took a look at this agency and noticed one specific thing that ties all the agents together- a lack of any sort of experience being an agent.  The founder is the sole person who has worked for an agency, but even he doesn't actually state he was an agent.  These are all people who have made their living doing something else and then suddenly decided to be literature agents.  They are not going to have the publishing contacts that an experienced agent has. They may not be able to do much more with publishers than you can on your own.  Not worth handing someone 15%, in my opinion.

Ask one big question in your meeting.  What publishers have you sold to?  Then look those publishers up and see if they accept unagented submissions.

I could be very wrong about this agency, of course.  I've never worked with them.  I have no secret knowledge.  I'm just seeing some big red flags.
              

Offline Puddleduck

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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #44 on: October 12, 2017, 12:35:04 PM »
Ask one big question in your meeting.  What publishers have you sold to?  Then look those publishers up and see if they accept unagented submissions.

That's good advice, but I personally wouldn't bother even going that far. The only point to get an agent, IMO, is to get published by one of the big 5 (or for only foreign rights). Familiarize yourself with who the big 5 and all their imprints are, and if the agent names publishers that aren't on that list, I'd ignore those as being credits at all. But that's me.

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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #45 on: October 12, 2017, 12:43:31 PM »
I looked over the website and checked her out. She looks like a young and new agent hungry for new authors. It couldn't hurt to talk to her. I've met a lot of agents at writing cons, and they need clients to make money. If the only problem with the contract is what is cited above, then maybe they are just using old school 90s contract language.

Besides, if she hasn't asked you to sign yet, there is no harm in listening to what she has to say. I did have one question that popped up. If you're in the UK, I could see have an agent based there. But if you're in the US, why would you have a UK agent? I know Hugh Howey started by selling his rights in the UK and abroad, and then there was a bidding war in the US for "Wool". So, it might be an advantage to start there. But I was wondering why else you would have a UK based agent. Just a thought to add to your question list.
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Offline RichardDenoncourt

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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #46 on: October 12, 2017, 12:49:21 PM »
So I just looked up the company (note I'm a Brit seeing as people were thinking it might be the norm in Britain - yeah, no. I wouldn't pay an agent ANYTHING up front. They're supposed to make their living from selling my work, not buying it from me!).

While I can see a 'team' I cannot find an 'about' page, which would instantly ring alarm bells for me.  How long have they been established? How did the company form? What publishing houses have they worked with?

They have a blog. Over the last year that i can see, there are FOUR posts.

I looked up their authors.  One has sadly passed away last year - but it seemed he was more of a playwright. 
Another seems to be something to do with films. 
One author, David Zen, has one book which is in KU, so I'm now wondering is this self published? (ETA I know trad books can be in KU but I would have thought that only went to BIG names. End ETA).
Simon Leyland has 3 books; his website only has links to Amazon (although one appears to be published by Bantam Press - although that was a fair few years ago).  There doesn't seem to be anything new since 2014.
Steve Burgess, strangely on his Bio it links to his hypnotherapy site!  He has a few books, but nothing recent since 2011.
Alison Pringle seems to be in the same boat as Simon.
Danny Spring, an actor with a debut novel coming out Loch Strange, yet I can't find anything on this.  His acting work is up there, but nothing i can find on writing.
Alex Spiro is a bit confusing as he is the only one with a link to an author website, which takes me to someone called Alex Hyland. This is again his debut novel, and working with Accent Press (don't know them) but only in paperback (at least that's how the site reads). The book seems to be enrolled in KU though?  Strangely.  I like his site though. But again he seems to have a connection to the world of film and tv.
And finally, Natalie Esther, who has done some good work for charity, but again I can't find anything on her work. Wait, wait, hang on, oh, it's an upcoming memoir.

Going through all that... Yeah, I'd be skeptical as all hell!!!

Thank you for digging into this. I always saw similar red flags when I looked up their authors. I'm so glad I posted here. I will definitely be careful tomorrow.
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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #47 on: October 12, 2017, 12:50:34 PM »

Ask one big question in your meeting.  What publishers have you sold to?  Then look those publishers up and see if they accept unagented submissions.


Added this to my list of questions. Very big thank you!
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Offline RichardDenoncourt

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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #48 on: October 12, 2017, 12:53:34 PM »
I looked over the website and checked her out. She looks like a young and new agent hungry for new authors. It couldn't hurt to talk to her. I've met a lot of agents at writing cons, and they need clients to make money. If the only problem with the contract is what is cited above, then maybe they are just using old school 90s contract language.

Besides, if she hasn't asked you to sign yet, there is no harm in listening to what she has to say. I did have one question that popped up. If you're in the UK, I could see have an agent based there. But if you're in the US, why would you have a UK agent? I know Hugh Howey started by selling his rights in the UK and abroad, and then there was a bidding war in the US for "Wool". So, it might be an advantage to start there. But I was wondering why else you would have a UK based agent. Just a thought to add to your question list.

I'm not married to the idea of a UK agent, but I haven't heard back from the US ones I queried. Plus, with technology being what it is, I assume a good foreign agent would have contacts in the US, or at least the ability to make those contacts.

That's definitely a question I'll be asking her (who her contacts are in the US, and her strategy for working with American editors.)

But it's still a good point which I've been mulling over. Would much prefer an agent familiar with the US market.
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Offline RichardDenoncourt

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Re: Agent interested in me!!! Anyone know TCT? Also...contract question
« Reply #49 on: October 12, 2017, 12:55:26 PM »
That's good advice, but I personally wouldn't bother even going that far. The only point to get an agent, IMO, is to get published by one of the big 5 (or for only foreign rights). Familiarize yourself with who the big 5 and all their imprints are, and if the agent names publishers that aren't on that list, I'd ignore those as being credits at all. But that's me.

That's a good strategy. I'll definitely ask her if she's ever worked with these kinds of imprints. Mostly, I'm curious why she thinks my book (already self-published, with the sequel coming out next week) is something she could sell. I want to know what she could possibly be thinking. I mean - why me? I'm not a best-selling indie by any means.

Yes, yes, I'm seeking validation. But I'm also just so damn curious.
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