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Thread: The Christian Literary Agency

  1. #1
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    The Christian Literary Agency

    The Christian Literary Agency is one of several new "agencies" under the umbrella of The Literary Agency Group Inc. The Literary Agency Group Inc. appears to be a spinoff of the infamous Stylus Literary Agency (until recently known as the ST Literary Agency), owned and operated by Robert Fletcher. Writer Beware has received scores of complaints about Stylus Literary/ST Literary, which charges fees, promotes its own paid editing services, and submits in a haphazard fashion to inappropriate publishers (when it submits at all). It uses a boiler room-style operation, with clients receiving substantially identical e-mails and responses.

    Right now, the Literary Agency Group Inc. umbrella appears to embrace the following:




    More, no doubt, to come.

    Writer Beware has documented that Children's Literary Agency promotes the same sorts of paid services, and uses the same boiler room-style methods, as Stylus; there also seems to be a vanity publisher somewhere in the mix. We haven't yet gathered any documentation on the other two, but we are betting that they operate in much the same way.

    Neither Stylus Literary Agency/ST Literary Agency nor any of its spinoffs have any commercial sales, as far as we're aware--despite their claims to the contrary.

    There's a more detailed discussion of the whole scheme in the ST Literary Agency thread.

    -------------------------------------------

    Edited on 10/11/05 to add: there are two new additions to the Stylus family:


    - Victoria
    Last edited by victoriastrauss; 10-11-2005 at 09:25 PM.

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW Cheryll's Avatar
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    Post New Poster here... question about Christian Literary Agency

    Greetings!

    I am a novelist actively seeking representation in the Christian publishing field. I have been looking for an agent for about 4 months now.

    Yesterday, I came upon a website for The Christian Literary Agency at http://www.christianliterary.com/index.html. You have to fill out an initial form with your query letter, etc. I didn't find them listed in the Christian Writers' Market Guide for 2005 or any other year, but I went ahead and queried them anyways. I got a response today.

    Here is the response that I received:

    Thank you for your query to The Christian Literary Agency. We
    compliment
    you on what you have achieved thus far, and yes, we would like to see
    more.
    Would you please send us a copy of your manuscript for further
    evaluation?
    (Note: we like to work with only one property at a time for the
    evaluation,
    so please just send us the one you consider your best.)

    Our preference is email. If the file size is greater than 5 megabytes
    you
    can mail it to us, but please only send it once, either by email or
    snail
    mail (we prefer email). Our mailing address is: The Christian
    Literary
    Agency, 275 Madison Ave., 4th Floor, New York, New York 10016. If you
    decide to mail your manuscript please be sure to INCLUDE your email
    address
    (very clearly) so we may reply and process your manuscript. Mailed
    manuscripts may take up to 30 days to reply/process. Emailed
    manuscripts
    are processed much more quickly.

    Also, so that you know a little more about us, please allow me to give
    you a
    bit of background on ourselves. We are part of a larger conglomerate
    that
    has ownership in a number of companies in the $40 billion publishing
    marketplace. We are bigger than a small agency and smaller than a
    large
    agency. We have about 15 people total and as of 2nd quarter, 2005 we
    have
    over 60 active conversations ongoing with buyers and 3 option
    agreements in
    negotiations. We just sold our 4th work (to a publisher in England)
    and we
    are confident of more success later this year. We market to the larger
    and
    medium sized publishers and producers.

    We believe we are very different than other agencies. We take pride in
    the
    fact that we answer every email personally within 2-3 days and we
    believe
    that we are unique in that we are willing to develop an author and
    their
    talent. We like the metaphor of a business incubator as a description
    of
    how we will take time to bring an author's work to the proper quality
    level,
    even if it takes months to do so.

    Also, you may understand how a Literary Agency works, but many authors
    don't, so please excuse me while I take a minute and let you know how
    the
    process works. As your Literary Agent, our mission is to assist you in
    finding a publisher and to coach you along the way in various options
    available to you. We don't edit, we don't illustrate, our mission is
    to
    sell for you. As for compensation, get paid on success only, meaning
    we
    only get paid if you get paid. Typically we will receive 15% of what
    you
    receive.

    We do not charge fees, so our compensation is based on success only.
    Along
    the way, we may suggest that you continuously improve the quality of
    your
    work and or how it is presented. Once your work is deemed
    'presentable',
    then we'll start shopping it to publishers. We never promise a sale,
    but we
    can tell you that we have a model that works.

    We look forward to receiving your materials.

    Blessings,
    Sherry - V.P. Acquisitions


    p.s. Sorry for the inconvenience however, WE DO NOT RETURN
    MANUSCRIPTS/MATERIALS due to the volume of submissions we receive.
    Please
    do not send us anything that you can't replace easily.

    We much prefer emailed manuscripts.

    Your materials are safe within our company. If we do not end up
    working
    together we will destroy any copies of your work that we have.

    *******************

    I've read the many posts on this board concerning Stylus and it's scams. And, from what I've been able to decipher, Stylus (or whatever they call themselves now) is a part of The Christian Literary Agency, or at least I think so.

    Does anyone here know anything about the CLA? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    Cheryll
    Last edited by Cheryll; 05-21-2006 at 04:27 AM.

  3. #3
    figuring it all out
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    Haven't a clue. . .

    but I am in the same boat as you -- looking to get published, and I will keep an eye on this post to see what those who have gone before have to say

    good heads up for sure!!!!!

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW Trapped in amber's Avatar
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    Hi,
    Unfortunately this seems to be one of the new manifestations of the notorious ST Literary Agency.
    http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13514

    There is more about the company in this long thread here:

    http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529

    This isn't a good agency.

    There is also a Christian Writing board here that you might like to take a look at:

    http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=40
    Last edited by Trapped in amber; 06-18-2005 at 05:54 AM.
    Please feel free to correct my spelling, punctuation and grammar if the urge takes you. I'm trying to improve.

  5. #5
    Oerba Yun Fang DragonHeart's Avatar
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    I strongly recommend you check out the thread already posted here about it, which can be found here: http://http://absolutewrite.com/foru...ad.php?t=13514

    Basically you don't want to get involved with these guys at all.

    ~DragonHeart~

    Edit: Heh, Trapped beat me to it. :P
    Give it your best shot!
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  6. #6
    The late, the great XThe NavigatorX mdin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheryll
    from what I've been able to decipher, Stylus (or whatever they call themselves now) is a part of The Christian Literary Agency, or at least I think so.
    Hi Cheryll,

    Yes, CLA is a part of Sylus. That's all you need to know. I did a quick search of this forum, and there have quite a few posts about this. They're bad, so you should stay away.

    My Art

  7. #7
    The late, the great XThe NavigatorX mdin's Avatar
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    Holy crap people. lol. When I hit "reply" no one had posted yet.

    My Art

  8. #8
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Here's a thread dedicated to Christian Literary Agency (part of the Literary Agency Group), associated with convicted swindler Robert Fletcher and his Stylus (formerly ST) Literary Agency:

    Christian Literary Agency

    They claim (and were claiming back when they were still ST Literary Agency) to have sold a book (A Fulfilling Marriage by Billy Crone) to Mapletree Publishing. Mapletree is a startup LDS publisher that doesn't require an agent (Pastor Billy may well have--probably did--sell it to them himself) and may not even pay an advance. Even assuming Bobby Fletcher made the sale, it isn't an impressive one.

    CLA, and the Literary Agency Group, claims to have their offices at 275 Madison Avenue, 4th floor, New York, NY 10016. I personally visited that building and determined to my own satisfaction that no such tenant is in that building.


    As your Literary Agent, our mission is to assist you in
    finding a publisher and to coach you along the way in various options
    available to you.
    I wonder if the coaching costs money?

    Along the way, we may suggest that you continuously improve the quality of your work and or how it is presented.
    I wonder if you'll get sent to other companies owned by Robert Fletcher, who'll charge money?
    Last edited by James D. Macdonald; 06-18-2005 at 06:13 AM.

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW Cheryll's Avatar
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    Post Thanks...

    Holy cow! Not even 15 minutes and the replies are flooding in. LOL

    Thanks for the heads up, everyone. And also for the welcome. I got a little suspicious when I couldn't find anything as far as sales or representation when I did a google search on this group. Also, the thing about emailing my entire manuscript (??) That didn't sound right at all.

    James, that information is amazing. So even their address in NYC is bogus?

    **sigh**

    It gets so discouraging when you get a "nibble" and it turns out to be a scam

    Thanks again.

    Cheryll

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW Cheryll's Avatar
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    Smile

    Quote Originally Posted by Trapped in amber

    There is also a Christian Writing board here that you might like to take a look at:

    http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=40
    I will! Thanks.

    Cheryll

  11. #11
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheryll

    James, that information is amazing. So even their address in NYC is bogus?
    It's apparently a mail-forwarding service.

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW Cheryll's Avatar
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    Post LOL

    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
    It's apparently a mail-forwarding service.
    Oh that is rich!

    Thanks for the heads-up. I've scanned through the threads and I'm deleting their email right now.

    Cheryll

  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW ANNIE's Avatar
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    Cheryl

    I got the EXACT e-mail response when I queried The New York Literary agency-aparrently an evil child of ST literary agency as well as the Christian lit agency!
    It is frustrating after wallpaper my house in rejection letters to think you have a foot in the door and then find out it's bogus- Oh well! I think the attic still has room for more letters. LOL

  14. #14
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    All the time you're sending your manuscript around to agents and publishers, you should be working on your next book. As soon as it's done, start sending it around and write another. Strive to improve your art with each new book.

    Meanwhile, read Slushkiller. And Everything You Wanted To Know About Literary Agents.

    =================

    More threads here about the whole Literary Agency Group and its subdivisions:

    New York Literary Agency
    Stylus (ST) Literary Agency
    Children's Literary Agency I
    Children's Literary Agency II
    The Literary Agency Group
    The Christian Literary Agency

    Use the "Search" function to find more mentions of these people.
    Last edited by James D. Macdonald; 06-19-2005 at 01:00 AM.

  15. #15
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Did y'all notice this on the Christian Literary Agency's home page?

    Our focus is exclusively on the Christian market. Founded by experienced and successful agents and business people, the Children's Literary Agency is aggressively creating success across all age groups and in many niche markets. Please see our About page for one of our recent success stories. We do not charge reading fees or any other type of fee. We get paid when you get paid.
    Emphasis added.

    When they were cut-n-pasting from their other boilerplate scam site, they failed to change all the words.

    I wonder if they'd like to mention who some of their "experienced" and "successful" agents might be? Do they have anyone who's ever succeeded in anything other than running a scam?

    Last edited by James D. Macdonald; 06-19-2005 at 02:26 AM.

  16. #16
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    On Mapletree Publishing:

    Here's what they say about their advances:



    Q. Do you pay advances?

    A. Whether or not we pay advances and, if so, the size of the advance, depends on several factors.

    One factor is the amount of capital available in the company. The publishing business is in large measure a capital-management business. We have a lot of up-front expenses for which we hope to be paid months down the road. This ties up our money. Thus there is only a certain amount of money that can be committed to advances. If there is too much paid in advances, then there isn't enough left for promotion, or maybe editorial expenses have to be trimmed, which is kind of counter-productive.

    A second factor is the demand for your work among various publishers. Authors that are sought by more than one publisher can use that position to negotiate the advance. New authors often aren't in that position. It's a matter of marketplace demand. However, we will add that again, it may be counter-productive for an author to put too much emphasis on the advance and smarter to put more emphasis on negotiating the royalty rate. The more that is paid for advances, the more a company may be compromised when it comes time to set a promotion budget.

    A third factor is the marketability of your work. We are taking a risk with every book project that we undertake. We will be investing editorial expenses, jacket design expenses, printing expenses, promotional expenses, and so forth. Most of these we will pay up front, and then we will be paid by bookstores and distributors beginning three to five months after books are sold. Will our investment pay off? Maybe or maybe not. How sure we are of the payoff will help determine what advance we may or may not be willing to pay.
    Is placing a book with this publisher as great an achievement for an agent as Robert Fletcher would want you to believe?

    Y'all are aware that Fletcher was claiming this as a "success" for ST Literary Agency long before "Christian Literary Agency" or "The Literary Agency Group" was even a sparkle in his beady little eyes, yes?

    Did Fletcher have anything to do with submitting a book to this publisher in the first place, or having it accepted?

    While we are happy to deal with agents, Mapletree does not require the author to have an agent before we will look at your work.
    Pastor Crone's other books, listed at the Christian Literary Agency site, appear to be self-published works available only on Pastor Crone's website. Like Paul Anderson and Peter Parente, Pastor Billy Crone's main income seems to come, not from writing, but from public speaking.
    Last edited by James D. Macdonald; 06-19-2005 at 07:11 AM.

  17. #17
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    As of August or September 2005, a new member has been added to this lovely group: The Poets Literary Agency.

    Writer Beware now has considerable documentation not just on Stylus Literary and Children's Literary, but on New York Literary and Christian Literary. The contracts used by all these agencies vary in small details, but are substantially similar. The accompanying materials are identical. All refer clients to the same editing service, Writers Literary, a so-called "sister" company run by a former "agent" with Stylus.

    We don't yet have documentation on Poets Literary, but we're sure we soon will. Sigh.

    And no, none of these agencies has yet sold a book...

    - Victoria

  18. #18
    icreate
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    Question Don't know what to do....

    Hi. I just signed a contract with Stylus Literary and a friend today alerted me to all the "bad press" that they and their parent/partner companies have received. Needless to say, I'm rather disconcerted since I was so ecstatically happy at finally being represented.

    They have not requested any money from me. I'm dealing with Georgina Scott and she is based in NY. They did, however, request a critique and offered one of their "sister" companies which charged $75.

    I shopped around for prices on critiques and I was quoted from $150 - $275.

    I want to believe that everything will be all right. I want to have faith in them. My friend dealt with them with they were ST Literary and he told me that he was charged $99 for copies/postage several times. They have yet to publish is first book. They just accepted his 2nd novel.

    I don't want to think I have to start the whole process all over again.



    If anyone has any recent new, experience, referrals, etc. Please let me know.
    Thanks,
    Giselle
    giselle6@cox.net

  19. #19
    a work in progress
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    Giselle, have you read this thread yet? It's probably in your best interest to do so before you send Stylus any money.
    Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little (Niki)

    Author, occasionally published. Watch this space for more, or visit the amazing actually writing blog. (It actually writes!)

  20. #20
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Giselle, they accept everyone. They no longer charge fees themselves -- instead, they send you around to a bunch of "sister" companies (that they all own themselves), who nickel-and-dime you to death.

    They've never sold a book to a real publisher in their lives. I doubt that you'll be their first.

  21. #21
    Cover Karma - 3 for 3 KICK@$$! Kasey Mackenzie's Avatar
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    I know you must be disappointed, but it really IS true that NO agent is better than a bad agent. That's especially true when the bad agent in question is actually a proven scam artist. Not only will this agency NOT sell your manuscript, but as Uncle Jim said they will ruthlessly nickel and dime you to death in the process.
    Good things come to those who wait...and work their tails off!!!


    Coming Soon on Kindle: Reborn in Fire

  22. #22
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by icreate
    They have not requested any money from me. I'm dealing with Georgina Scott and she is based in NY. They did, however, request a critique and offered one of their "sister" companies which charged $75.
    That's money, isn't it? And you had to agree to pay for the critique in order to get the agency contract. So they have requested money from you.

    If you pay for the critique, you'll likely discover that it says your ms. could be improved with further editing. You'll probably then be advised by Ms. Georgina (who, depending on which agency she's responding for, is sometimes Georgina Orr) that "we are willing to take the time to work with you to bring the manuscript to a very polished point before we submit it...we have a sister company in our family that will prioritize your work and give you a discounted price. It's usually about $99 to get started." (This is an actual quote from one of Ms. Georgina's canned "you need more editing" letters.) If you have a full-length manuscript, $99 will probably cover just the first couple of chapters. A full "edit" could cost you as much as $2,000.

    If you go that far, and still want the agency to represent you, you may find that you will be asked for submission fees of various kinds. Or you may get an offer of publication...and discover that you have to pay. It's probable that this offer will be described to you as a "co-publishing" arrangement, implying that the publisher contributes cash or services--but don't believe it. It's more than likely that your fee will cover everything plus a nice profit for the publisher (and, perhaps, a tasty kickback for the agency).

    I can't say for certain that any of the above will happen, of course; it's all surmise, based on documentation I've gathered about Stylus and its satellites. What I can say is this: this agency will not sell your book to a commercial publisher. With all the money it can make sending you round to sister companies, why should it even try?

    - Victoria

  23. #23
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    If you need a critique, try joining a local writers' workshop. The cost should be free. Ask your local librarian if there are any in your neighborhood.

  24. #24
    Empirical Storm Trooper MadScientistMatt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by icreate
    I want to believe that everything will be all right. I want to have faith in them. My friend dealt with them with they were ST Literary and he told me that he was charged $99 for copies/postage several times. They have yet to publish is first book. They just accepted his 2nd novel.
    Giselle,

    If they have taken you friend's money on several occasions and not managed to get him a publishing contract, why do you even want to have faith in them? You can have faith that they'll do the exact same thing for you - take you money and not get you anywhere near getting published. You may want to believe otherwise, and I'm sorry if the truth hurts. But ST/Sydra/Stylus is not going to get your book published. Period.

  25. #25
    icreate
    Guest

    So what should I do?

    I appreciate all your comments. I wrote my 'agent' twice asking for a list of her accomplishments and she has not replied. I have not heard from her in since 9/23/05.

    Should I be querying other agents?

    Should I request to cancel my contract with them first?

    Thanks,

    Giselle

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