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Thread: Belcastro Agency (Sharon Belcastro)

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Talking Belcastro Agency (Sharon Belcastro)

    d
    Last edited by Ms.Termite; 12-10-2008 at 10:34 PM.

  2. #2
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    I've just asked the pertinent questions here.

  3. #3
    Never Surrender AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    Her physical location gives me pause. How are her publishing connections working from a state far-removed from New York?

    Not that that's a deal-breaker. There are agents who make it work from wherever they choose to live. But my understanding is the majority operate in the metro New York area.

    Maryn, so lazy she's glad to be given pause
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  4. #4
    Timing is everything... Barber's Avatar
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    Still no news on this one, huh? I equeried her a few days ago because P&E has her listed as representing Sci-Fi / Fantasy, but there are no sales listed.

    I'm wondering if anybody's found anything on her (google doesn't give much) because she's just requested a full. New agents don't deter me; everybody's got to start somewhere ... like me! LOL

  5. #5
    Timing is everything... Barber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ms.Termite View Post
    she asked you for a full manuscript?
    I fully thank this forum: if it hadn't been for the people here challenging me with my query letter and a better opening to the book, I wouldn't have generated all the interest I have this week (it's been as scary as it's been exciting)

    I got rejection after rejection last month... Anyway, I too like the idea of a new agent for the same reasons as you, and I'll definitely be keeping in touch about Sharon. She's so mysterious! LOL


  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW JanDarby's Avatar
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    Everyone has to start somewhere, but most agents start with some expertise and contacts in the publishing field. Many agents previously worked as editors or in other agencies, even if only in the mail room. At the very least, I'd expect a new agent, even though she has no sales yet, to be able to offer some background information about where she interned or why she has the skills or contacts to be an agent.

    I haven't seen anything, anywhere, that outlines her experience or even offers a reason to believe that she could sell a manuscript to a publisher. She may well have that experience and expertise; the point, though, is that we have no way of knowing yet.

    JD

  7. #7
    I've seen worse. SuperModerator ColoradoGuy's Avatar
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    For what it's worth, Ms. Belcastro lists four friends on her JacketFlap profile: one is self-published (as near as I can tell she started her own "publishing company"), another published with Tate, a vanity press.
    Last edited by ColoradoGuy; 05-12-2008 at 01:03 AM.
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  8. #8
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    "Literary Agent" is not an entry-level position.

  9. #9
    Timing is everything... Barber's Avatar
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    Hmm, so does she sound iffy? I've questioned what kind of a background she has myself. I guess, provided she even wants to represent a person, they could ask the questions about her background?

    Well, we'll see...

  10. #10
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    I keep telling people: The question about an agent isn't "Is he so bad I should cross him off my list?" It's "Is he good enough to put on my list?"

    Go to a bookstore. Find books like yours. Find out who represented them. Get those agents' guidelines. Follow them to the letter.

    Meanwhile, write another book.

  11. #11
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    I find one sale for her, non-fiction, to John Blake Publishing (no agent needed).
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  12. #12
    Timing is everything... Barber's Avatar
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    Yeah, this is a toughie. It's weird that she has no readily available info to back up her being an agent.

    All I can add is she emailed me to let me know she recieved my MS and to notify me she's swamped right now and would appreciate time to review it.

  13. #13
    Timing is everything... Barber's Avatar
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    I'll definitely keep an open mind. Her saying she's busy is decent in my books. Another agent made the same request last week (he has an easily accessible bio, though, LOL).

    I mean, I wouldn't have queried her if I were that worried, right?

  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW JanDarby's Avatar
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    I just don't understand why authors submit to an unknown -- not simply new, but completely unknown -- agent or publisher.

    If you had a million bucks, and were trying to figure out which bank or financial institution to deposit it in, deciding which institution would get you the best return on investment, wouldn't you want some assurances that a) it is a legit company, and b) it's got a track record of keeping monies secure and paying a good rate of return, or at least c) insurance -- e.g., expertise -- that protects your investment? Would you be willing to give some stranger a chance at holding that million bucks and investing it for you, or would you go to an established bank? Even if the biggest, best bank wouldn't accept your money, wouldn't you at least start there, and work your way down, rather than starting with an unknown?

    Why not protect your manuscript -- your precious, creative work product -- as carefully as you'd protect your money?

    I just don't get it.

    JD

  15. #15
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    I'm with you, Jan.

    If I were looking for someone to represent me in an important legal and business transaction, I wouldn't decide that they were qualified to do so just because they said so.

    Selling your book is an important legal and business transaction. It's like selling your house; you don't just go on the Internet and see that someone says they're a real estate agent and tell them "Go ahead, sell my house," do you?

  16. #16
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hi guys! I’m a newbie as of today, but I’ve been reading the forum posts for years. There is so much valuable information listed on this website…and…since I’ve received so much valuable info from each of you, I thought I’d reciprocate.

    In regards to Ms. Sharon Belcastro, I queried her last month and also requested some additional information about her expertise and client list. She was refreshingly quick and upfront with her response. According to Ms. Belcastro, her agency is relatively new (about 1 yr old). She has a Bachelors degree in Engineering, an MBA and an Associates degree in Creative Writing. She has a strong network of editors in big publishing houses as well as several producers. Her client list includes: Anthony Bunko, Stuart Cable, Jessica Penot and Ella Marie Mohan. Anthony Bunko and Stuart Cable’s book entitled “Head in the Clouds” was recently sold to John Blake Publishing. There was an article listed about the sale and crediting Ms. Belcastro’s agency in PublishersLunch. In addition, Six Point Harness Animation Studio (which has worked on animation projects for MTV) is also in negotiations with Anthony Bunko and Ms. Belcastro regarding a project.

    Now, you’re probably wondering how I know all this…well…I verified this info by contacting the marketing departments of both John Blake Publishing and Six Point Harness Animation. Ms. Belcastro is very polite and friendly in her emails and I get the impression that she would be an ideal and attentive agent. BTW—not all agents are located in NY, so please don’t let geographic location deter you from querying or submitting. Mail couriers, fax machines, email and telephones can all make the same connection—for the most part, anyway 

    Sorry this post is so long! Hope it helps!

  17. #17
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dotsoec1 View Post
    Anthony Bunko and Stuart Cable’s book entitled “Head in the Clouds” was recently sold to John Blake Publishing. There was an article listed about the sale and crediting Ms. Belcastro’s agency in PublishersLunch.
    John Blake Publishing, a UK house, accepts submissions from unagented authors. Does Ms. Belcastro have any sales to US publishers, and/or to publishers who don't accept direct author submissions?

    Because I'm personally looking for an agent who has a track record of selling books to large US trade publishers, so that's my key criterion in deciding which agents to query.

  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hi...in response to your question...I'm unfamiliar with any US sales. You might want to email her and ask specifically about the US sales. She did mention having interest from three publishing houses regarding Jessica Penot, but was not specific as to which houses they were. Good luck with your research! Finding an appropriate agent can be a daunting process, huh?

  19. #19
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dotsoec1 View Post
    Hi...in response to your question...I'm unfamiliar with any US sales. You might want to email her and ask specifically about the US sales.
    I think that part of selling herself as an agent would be making that information easily available to potential clients, actually.

    One of the things I evaluate agents on is their ability to market themselves. Of course some long-established agents don't want to market themselves because they're overwhelmed with queries, but it seems odd for a brand-new agent not to market herself at all. Odd, and not what I'm looking for in an agent.

  20. #20
    Never Surrender AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    Something seems to be up with Ms.Termite, who has recently deleted all her posts in this thread and modified the original post so it's a single letter. I'm curious what her reason might be. I would think that within a community of writers, any input on agents, good or bad, would be something we would share rather than delete when it is no longer of use to us as individuals.

    Maryn, curiouser and curiouser
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  21. #21
    Writing is finite,revising infinite Prawn's Avatar
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    I am not sure what is up with Ms. Termite. Ms. Belcastro offered me representation on 11/25/08 with the following e-mail:

    Hi,

    I would like a shot at getting you a deal for Sins of Omission. I have a small new agency but I have had a couple of sales and do have contacts at all the big publishing houses. Let me know if you are interested.

    Best,
    Sharon

    I replied the same day,

    Hi Sharon!

    Thank you so much for your interest in my book! I'd like to find out more about you. Can you tell me what books you have sold? I could only find one on Publisher's Marketplace: Foreign rights to Anthony Bunko's book. Have you sold anything here in the US?

    Thanks,
    Prawn

    She never got back to me.
    Last edited by Prawn; 12-25-2008 at 02:05 AM.
    Ceci n'est pas un sig.

  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW para's Avatar
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    Interesting that her website doesn't appear to have been set up yet. This is the site from the email address on publishers marketplace
    http://belcastroagency.com/


  23. #23
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Sharon is my agent, and I'm happy with her. She is quick to respond to my emails, and active in the pursuit of a deal. She sends me updates, and provides helpful feedback. Prawn, I find it odd that she offered representation and then never responded when asked for more information. Because when representation was offered to me, I sent a long list of questions, everything from her sales record to her contract. She answered every one of them, and I've been working with her for six months with encouraging results. I suggest you try and contact her again. She doesn't charge any fees either. After two years of searching for an agent, I find Sharon to be a dream come true.

  24. #24
    Still the wrong side of Saskatoon Saskatoonistan's Avatar
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    Sharon is my agent, and I'm happy with her. She is quick to respond to my emails, and active in the pursuit of a deal. She sends me updates, and provides helpful feedback. Prawn, I find it odd that she offered representation and then never responded when asked for more information. Because when representation was offered to me, I sent a long list of questions, everything from her sales record to her contract. She answered every one of them, and I've been working with her for six months with encouraging results. I suggest you try and contact her again. She doesn't charge any fees either. After two years of searching for an agent, I find Sharon to be a dream come true.
    Hi Obscure:

    I would be grateful, (as I'm sure others would be) if you might share with the forum the questions you asked and the responses you received. It would be most helpful for everyone to learn a little bit more about this agent.

    Cheers.

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  25. #25
    Writing is finite,revising infinite Prawn's Avatar
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    Obscure, has she sold your book?
    Ceci n'est pas un sig.

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