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Thread: Aarau Literary Agency (fmly Sunflower Literary Agency)

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Aarau Literary Agency (fmly Sunflower Literary Agency)

    Has anyone any opinions on the Sunflower Literary Agency?

  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    http://www.sunflowerliteraryagency.com/

    Unless and until you can find any record of sales, don't waste your time.
    ICAO
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    Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. -- Henry Steele Commager
    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  3. #3
    I write novels
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    20% commission on the first novel? Higher than the industry norm, though I see they lower the commission for later sales.

    New authors only. That strikes me as...unsound.

    Full contact details for your professional referee (sic). Not wrong, precisely, but definitely odd.

    I found no record of any sales. In fact, the only web tracks I could find were their entries in various agency lists.

    I also note that their website is registered in the UK, the person handling their correspondence lives in France, and one agent (former?) has an address in Berkley, Michigan USA.

  4. #4
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    Their headline banner of "This may be the only literary agency in the world that only accepts new authors!" is also deeply suspect.

  5. #5
    What? I have a title? Julie Worth's Avatar
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    We are a new agency, founded in 2003 as a spin-off from Sunflower Productions . . .
    I found this list of movies associated with Sunflower Productions:

    Amazing Grace (2007)
    PG | Drama, Historical, Period, Foreign | $21.2M | 1 hr 51 mins
    The New World (2005)
    PG-13 | Historical, Romance, Period | $12.7M | 2 hr 13 mins
    Beautiful Country (2005)
    R | Drama | $0.4M | 2 hr 6 mins
    Happy Times (2002)
    PG | Comedy, Romance, Adaptation | $0.2M | 1 hr 35 mins
    Undertow (2004)
    R | Drama | $0.1M | 1 hr 47 mins
    Marfa Lights
    Not Rated | Drama
    FIA!
    Not Rated
    On the Wing
    Not Rated | Drama, Adventure, Adaptation
    Last edited by Julie Worth; 11-30-2008 at 09:02 PM.

  6. #6
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Yeah, but even if Sunflower Productions has credits, the fact that the agency has been around since 2003 and has no discernible sales is enough to suggest it should be crossed off one's query list.

    - Victoria

  7. #7
    I write novels
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    Yeah, but even if Sunflower Productions has credits, the fact that the agency has been around since 2003 and has no discernible sales is enough to suggest it should be crossed off one's query list.
    Exactly. I'd seen the films, but didn't count those because they weren't fiction or nonfiction credits.

  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    'Their headline banner of "This may be the only literary agency in the world that only accepts new authors!" is also deeply suspect.'

    Yeah...soon as I saw THAT, alarm bells went off![/quote]

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW frandavea's Avatar
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    And, Jesus, did you see those submission requirements? A professional referree? Who they'll contact to offer you the right to submit to an agency with no sales listed?

    Gee, sign me up.
    D.M. Anderson
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  10. #10
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Those guidelines are a joke right?

    6 people, who aren't related to you, including someone like a librarian attesting to the fact that the material is professional quality before they want to consider reading it?

  11. #11
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Exclamation Sunflower Literary Agency Senior Partner Comments

    The postings to this site are reasonably close to the correct information, but I would still like to elaborate on some issues.

    (1) Agency commission is now 15% on all works.

    (2) We only consider new writers or those published but changing genres. This would be suspicious if we charged fees, but we do NOT, nor do we front for those who do (e.g. editorial services).

    (3) We are 100% legitimate and have never charged anyone a penny. We have been listed since 2003 in the MacMillan Writer's Handbook and were vetted.

    (4) We do not yet have a success in publishing but we have sent writers on to other agencies (without strings) who have. It is absolutely right to bear that in mind. We are the first to say to a writer that if he can get in the door of a major agency, he/she should do so. See (8).

    (5) We are an international agency organized between our staff on the Internet. I now live in the highlands of Thailand. We have a secretarial office at a physical address in the UK. With all due respect, this is legitimate and modern, and has been accepted as such by relevant authorities.

    (6) *** Important. We have no relationship with the Agency of the same name in Michigan, and are in correspondence with them to make an arrangement to avoid conflict in names.

    (7) Our mission in operating as a Literary Trust is to assist new writers in learning to edit, the key to success. We only ask that our work be judged by those who come to us and see examples of how we perform this service.

    (7A) Could we suggest that those posting here at least get in contact or try our services before guessing about our performance or motives?

    (8) We have received about 3000 inquiries, have read and fully commented in writing on 30 page submissions or more from over 300 writers, about 50 writer's full MS, of which about 20 went off on their own, a like number were placed with other agencies (3 published), and we currently represent 11 writers.

    With professional respect and due regards, Paul Muller PhD.

    www(dot)sunflowerliteraryagency(dot)com.

  12. #12
    "Bear trumps Elephants!" colealpaugh's Avatar
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    "I now live in the highlands of Thailand."



    Heheheheh.....this sounds like the best agency EVER.
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    Coffeetown Press/2013

    The Turtle-Girl from East Pukapuka
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  13. #13
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Muller View Post
    (3) We are 100% legitimate and have never charged anyone a penny. We have been listed since 2003 in the MacMillan Writer's Handbook and were vetted.
    A listing in a writers' guide is not a guarantee of reputability or success.

    (4) We do not yet have a success in publishing but we have sent writers on to other agencies (without strings) who have. It is absolutely right to bear that in mind. We are the first to say to a writer that if he can get in the door of a major agency, he/she should do so. See (8).
    Something to remember: an agency that's going to be successful will start making regular sales within a year or so of starting up. Any longer than that suggests that the agency lacks expertise and/or contacts.

    (5) We are an international agency organized between our staff on the Internet. I now live in the highlands of Thailand. We have a secretarial office at a physical address in the UK. With all due respect, this is legitimate and modern, and has been accepted as such by relevant authorities.
    It doesn't matter where an agent lives--however, he or she should make regular business trips to the center of publishing (New York, London). Do you or your staff do that?

    (7) Our mission in operating as a Literary Trust is to assist new writers in learning to edit, the key to success. We only ask that our work be judged by those who come to us and see examples of how we perform this service.
    Apart from any issues of conflict of interest, what qualifies your staff to teach new writers how to edit their work? Do they have professional writing or editing experience? The reason I'm asking is that there's no information on your website about your staff's backgrounds.

    Also, most agencies are too busy agenting to spend time teaching new writers how to edit.

    Last but not least, can you explain the reasoning behind this bizarre, elaborate, and (to me) unprofessional submission requirement (per your website--my bolding)?

    Please do not contact us until you have done ALL of the following:
    • Your work has been completed, and then read and commented on in writing by at least 6 people (3 or more of them should be unrelated to you). Writing groups are a good idea.
    • Your completed work has been read by a professional (writer, teacher, librarian ) who confirms in writing that it is ready for professional submission
    • Published authors in entirely different genres (e.g. non-fiction) send CV only.
    • When you have such a completed work and the background material, send a 150 word MAXIMUM e-mail Query Letter containing: Your name, contact details, a brief CV, the type of work you are submitting, a note of any previous published work, e.g. "3 non-fiction books". A synopsis is optional: it should be in dust-jacket format, maximum 150 words.
    • Full contact details for your professional referee (you will have their permission!)
    • We will contact your professional referee (we'd prefer to do this by e-mail) and then refer back to you by giving (or denying) you the right to submit your work by reply to our e-mail
    - Victoria

  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW blueobsidian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Muller View Post
    (4) We do not yet have a success in publishing but we have sent writers on to other agencies (without strings) who have.
    ...
    (7A) Could we suggest that those posting here at least get in contact or try our services before guessing about our performance or motives?
    It looks like I don't have to guess about the performance of this agency. You have already told us that you have no sales after six years of operation.
    -Kim

    About.com Topic Writer for Ice Cream & Frozen Desserts
    My favorite books about writing

  15. #15
    Requiescat In Pace Requiescat In Pace
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    Those "Requirements" are Tough!

    You know, after 23 published novels, including 7 NY Times bestsellers, I doubt that I could qualify to submit a manuscript to this agency. Asking six readers to read and comment on your ms., then another one, a professional, to go on record that it's ready to be submitted, plus complete a CV, etc., etc...that's a lot of work to submit a book.

    I hope Victoria gets answers to her questions.

    -Ann C. Crispin
    Chair, Writer Beware
    www.writerbeware.com

  16. #16
    Opinionated suki's Avatar
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    My thing is this...if they have made no sales, they could not have earned any commissions. But the site and posts say they do not charge fees. So...how have they stayed afloat for 6 years with not one penny of income?

    I would welcome the explanation of whether the business has had any income (not profit, income), and from what sources, if not fees or commissions...

    ~suki

  17. #17
    aka Sadistic Mistress Mi-chan M.R.J. Le Blanc's Avatar
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    I think it's a sign they're probably about to go under, if not right away then soon.
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  18. #18
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    ...and has been accepted as such by relevant authorities.
    And who are the relevant authorities?

  19. #19

  20. #20
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    The website's gone, and no sign of Dr. Muller.
    ICAO
    ---------

    Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. -- Henry Steele Commager
    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  21. #21
    Player of the Letters Alphabeter's Avatar
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    They must not have been up to standards.

    *sniff*
    Joy

    Writing is a lot like sex.
    At first you do it because you like it.
    Then you find yourself doing it for a few close friends and people you like.
    But if you're any good at all...you end up doing it for money.


  22. #22
    Older and Wiser. JMH's Avatar
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    Just felt the need to drop in and put my view forth about Sunflower Literary Agency. In June 2009 I had my first novel published in paperback by a company called Mystic Moon Press. Around a forthnight after the book came out MMP done a runner with all the authors money, so it was back to the search for a new agent / publisher. Sunflower were one that I approached, and Paul Muller read my manuscript and advised that it was a good story, but needed a fair bit of polishing to make it as good as I knew it could be. Since then, I have edited and edited and Mr Muller has demanded nothing short of perfection from me. This is a kick in the rear that I personally need, since I have the tendancy to work hard on something and think, "that'll do, that's okay." Paul Muller does not accept "that'll do, that's okay", he expects "that is perfect."
    He really DOES know what he is talking about and I have no doubt that working with Paul will bring my novel the recognition and publication that it really deserves, whether it be directly through his agency, or once my manuscript is perfect through someone that he has guided me to.
    I must say, Mr Muller seemed at the start to be a little too good to be true, but my partner and I looked into his professional background and although I am speculating it appears pretty clear to me that Paul Muller has no need to do this for money. He has worked massively hard his entire life and I think now, as he reaps the benefit of his hard work, he can sit back and so something he really enjoys for minimal profit. Believe me, I really don't think he needs the profit.
    I think of him as a benefactor, and there are not many people left like that in the world. So fellow writers - don't judge a book by its cover!

  23. #23
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    He may have a good eye for editing, but does he have any meaningful connections with editors at advance-paying publishers?

  24. #24
    Older and Wiser. JMH's Avatar
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    Very fair question and my answer is I don't know yet except for his claims which are yes he does.
    I guess I will have to see once we have finished polishing up the manuscript and see where we go to next - hopefully to a reputable agent or publisher!
    I'll keep you posted!

    JMH
    www.jeanettehewitt.com

  25. #25
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    To confirm: Dr. Muller is no longer agenting, but is offering editing/writers' services? I just need to know where to Index him.
    ICAO
    ---------

    Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. -- Henry Steele Commager
    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

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