The AW Amazon Store
Buy Books by AWers!

 

Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Page 1 of 22 123456711 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 535

Thread: [Agent] Mathew Ferguson

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW jsouders's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    185

    [Agent] Mathew Ferguson

    Has anyone heard anything on agent Mathew Ferguson? I've looked, but I can't find anything. He's not even listed in P & E.

    http://www.mathewferguson.com.au/home.html

    According to his website he's worked at quite a few publishing houses, but I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

  2. #2
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    5,033
    Yes, it's good that he's worked at publishing houses.
    When it comes to PA, the royalty check and the reality check arrive in the same envelope.

    Remember to be kind to writers who step in PA. They really don't know how bad it smells.

    The difference between PA and WLA? None. Both have the stench of dead and dying books emanating from their doorways.


  3. #3
    An unknown known SJWangsness's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    261
    He appears to be Australian, mate, from the e-mail address.

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW jsouders's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    185
    Quote Originally Posted by Traven View Post
    He appears to be Australian, mate, from the e-mail address.
    I already knew that. It's on his site. Thanks though. I was just curious if anyone has heard of him making any sales or anything or personal experiences.

  5. #5
    Come here and say that flyingtart's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    6,796
    Wow! Just checked and I know him! This is the same Mathew Ferguson who was a member of YouWriteOn until last year. He gave a lot of great advice and help to people on that site and I bet he'll make a fantastic agent.

    Good on you, Mat! Best of luck with it!

  6. #6
    banned as an incurable tosspot
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    170
    Are people allowed to reply on threads about themselves? :-)

    You can google me and you'll find some of the books I've written and edited.

    The sales I've made have been for myself! Otherwise my experience comes from in-house work creating and pitching projects and then taking them through to publication. I started up paid agent work this year and haven't taken on any writers. I do represent two illustrators - Erin Hunting and Kelly Abbott. The illustration/licensing business is called On The Wall (www.onthewall.com.au).

    I do other stuff apart from being an agent. Some websites of mine: www.twosentencestories.com ; www.chaoticempire.com.au ; www.mybookshelfreview.com (got to update that one! eeep) ; www.twitter.com/mathewferguson

    cheers,
    Mat

  7. #7
    banned as an incurable tosspot
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    170
    Quote Originally Posted by flyingtart View Post
    Wow! Just checked and I know him! This is the same Mathew Ferguson who was a member of YouWriteOn until last year. He gave a lot of great advice and help to people on that site and I bet he'll make a fantastic agent.

    Good on you, Mat! Best of luck with it!
    Ha ha - I just signed up and logged in to check and then your post appears! I'm glad you found my advice useful. I don't remember what I said unfortunately. Was it anything about how to make a really spectacular home-made pizza base?

    :-)

    cheers,
    Mat

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW jsouders's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    185
    Quote Originally Posted by mathewferguson View Post
    Are people allowed to reply on threads about themselves? :-)

    You can google me and you'll find some of the books I've written and edited.

    The sales I've made have been for myself! Otherwise my experience comes from in-house work creating and pitching projects and then taking them through to publication. I started up paid agent work this year and haven't taken on any writers. I do represent two illustrators - Erin Hunting and Kelly Abbott. The illustration/licensing business is called On The Wall (www.onthewall.com.au).

    I do other stuff apart from being an agent. Some websites of mine: www.twosentencestories.com ; www.chaoticempire.com.au ; www.mybookshelfreview.com (got to update that one! eeep) ; www.twitter.com/mathewferguson

    cheers,
    Mat

    Thanks for joining to let us know a little about yourself. I'll be sure to check out those sites. Thanks again.

  9. #9
    Dancing between good and evil... Phantom Writer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    So. Cal
    Posts
    351
    Love Mathew's sense of humor on his website. His personality really shines through in his tale of "The origin story". If you haven't read it yet- I'd highly suggest it.

    On another note- if you get signed by him- can you take going to Australia to meet him off your taxes as a business expense? Just an idea...
    There is only one guaranteed outcome when you write a novel: insanity.

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW jsouders's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    185
    Quote Originally Posted by Phantom Writer View Post
    Love Mathew's sense of humor on his website. His personality really shines through in his tale of "The origin story". If you haven't read it yet- I'd highly suggest it.

    On another note- if you get signed by him- can you take going to Australia to meet him off your taxes as a business expense? Just an idea...
    I'm sure our accountants would love that.

  11. #11
    Dancing between good and evil... Phantom Writer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    So. Cal
    Posts
    351

    Talking

    Awww... come now, that HAS to be tax deductable? Right? I mean it's FOR business afterall and the love of the craft. Am I laying it on thick? I don't think my taxman would go for that either. If Mathew's still in here- maybe he has some ideas on this? I'm sure he doesn't want everyone packing their bags and jetting 15 hours to his front door step.

    Quote Originally Posted by jsouders View Post
    I'm sure our accountants would love that.
    There is only one guaranteed outcome when you write a novel: insanity.

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW jsouders's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    185
    Quote Originally Posted by Phantom Writer View Post
    Awww... come now, that HAS to be tax deductable? Right? I mean it's FOR business afterall and the love of the craft. Am I laying it on thick? I don't think my taxman would go for that either. If Mathew's still in here- maybe he has some ideas on this? I'm sure he doesn't want everyone packing their bags and jetting 15 hours to his front door step.
    I don't know a trip to the Outback would be a nice reprieve from the murky depths of my book.

    Ughh? I just sent a note to be certain he accepts attachments, and got back a confirmation of submission. Ouch. So does anyone know if he expects mss. to be sent as attachments?

    I'm gonna look real foolish...but onward and upward!
    I sent mine with an attachment, it went through. Haven't heard anything from him though. Maybe if he's still around he let us know what his stand is on attachments.

  13. #13
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    In chaos
    Posts
    20,710
    Mathew, I wondered: is Chaotic Empire your blog?

    I found a post on it in which you discuss the possibility of you publishing writers, after a fashion. You wrote,

    So I was pondering my publishing skills the other day and I suddenly realised I had almost enough to be a publisher in my own right.

    [snipping]

    I wonder what the response would be if I offered a new service:

    I’ll edit your book, write a blurb, get a cover designed, write sales material, come up with a sales plan, create a website … for a 10% royalty on sales. All books will be distributed on torrents as free content as well as uploaded to Amazon and other ebook sale sites. Anywhere it doesn’t cost money to put it. (So that means no to most self-publishing companies who want some cash to simply hold files for you until someone buys the book.) When torrents and downloads show there is an audience then the book moves towards paper publishing. But only when there is a proven audience.

    I think this would be a viable business model for publishing books.
    Please be clear: I'm not suggesting that you're offering a publishing service NOW: just that from that blog post, it seems to me that you're considering doing so. If you go ahead, isn't that going to be just a teensy little conflict of interests as far as your new agenting venture goes? And I notice that you didn't discuss any real distribution for the books that might be published under your proposed scheme, which would make it pretty unlikely to generate a good number of sales.

    I'd welcome your comments on this.

    (You might also like to correct the many typos on your agency website: I suspect a lot of them have appeared in the translation of text-to-website, but they don't give a good impression, and are particularly worrying bearing in mind that you state that you edit your clients' work. It would put me off, for sure.)

  14. #14
    Banned
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Somewhere between sanity and barking mad
    Posts
    1,622
    Keeping in this same vein, I look at new agents with a very wary eye because I've seen too many hang out a shingle and call themselves an agent - and have very little background or contacts. Why should that matter to you? Because the chances of me reviewing your work just went downhill. And it's not just little fry trade publishers like me, but the big guys as well.

    This business is all about contacts and experience. While I think Mathew has a lovely sense of humor and is a fine gent, I don't see anything on his website that says he has established relationships with editors or can even get the job done.

    Also, since he's so far away, where does he plan on focusing his sales? US? UK?

  15. #15
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    In chaos
    Posts
    20,710
    Quote Originally Posted by still alive View Post
    Old Hack, I for one don't see any typos on Mat Ferguson's agency website. I wonder why the difference for you and for me? I think I see well enough to spot them.
    It's not my job to copy-edit Mr Ferguson's website but since you asked, here are a few of the more obvious ones.

    Front page, fourth tab: "Services and rate"

    Front page, body copy: "Publisher" shouldn't be capitalised.

    Under the "Philosophy" tab, there are several instances where question-marks are used where apostrophes are required.

    There are plenty more, but as I said--it's not my job to correct those mistakes, it's his. And he hasn't. Which I find worrying considering he says that he edits the work of his clients.

  16. #16
    banned as an incurable tosspot
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    170
    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    Mathew, I wondered: is Chaotic Empire your blog?

    I found a post on it in which you discuss the possibility of you publishing writers, after a fashion. You wrote,



    Please be clear: I'm not suggesting that you're offering a publishing service NOW: just that from that blog post, it seems to me that you're considering doing so. If you go ahead, isn't that going to be just a teensy little conflict of interests as far as your new agenting venture goes? And I notice that you didn't discuss any real distribution for the books that might be published under your proposed scheme, which would make it pretty unlikely to generate a good number of sales.

    I'd welcome your comments on this.

    (You might also like to correct the many typos on your agency website: I suspect a lot of them have appeared in the translation of text-to-website, but they don't give a good impression, and are particularly worrying bearing in mind that you state that you edit your clients' work. It would put me off, for sure.)
    Hi Jane - yes, Chaotic Empire is a blog-ish site of mine. It also has a lot of random writing I've done over the years there. The post you are referring to is me musing over the state of the industry and thinking about the future. You see, I do think paper publishing is slowly collapsing inward under the weight of old methodologies that were suitable for an earlier age. At Pearson I once suggested we add a small compass to an atlas as an interesting low-cost extra. What? Add a TOY to a BOOK! The idea was sacrilege. Yet companies like Parragon, Funtastic, Hinkler and Five Mile Press have no such qualms and as a result are slicing away at the market.

    I do understand the concerns of "are they really an agent or a front for a bullshit self-publishing company who will take my money". I've worked as a writer and editor for years now and I utterly despise those who take money for services they don't deliver.

    So to answer your question - the post was musing. I'm sure if you researched more you'll find posts from me talking about the stupidity of rude editors at publishing companies and the like.

    If I ever were to set up my own publishing company (which I have no doubt I could do, given my experience) then I would have to make a very clear distinction between me working as an agent and me working as a publisher.

    Thanks for pointing out those stupid question marks that have again appeared on my website. They are caused by Joomla, the website software. I've corrected these multiple times but due to some other deeper error, they appear again. I wouldn't work with someone who had such stupid errors on their site so you can imagine who foolish and frustrated I feel that they continue to appear.

  17. #17
    banned as an incurable tosspot
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    170
    Quote Originally Posted by priceless1 View Post
    Keeping in this same vein, I look at new agents with a very wary eye because I've seen too many hang out a shingle and call themselves an agent - and have very little background or contacts. Why should that matter to you? Because the chances of me reviewing your work just went downhill. And it's not just little fry trade publishers like me, but the big guys as well.

    This business is all about contacts and experience. While I think Mathew has a lovely sense of humor and is a fine gent, I don't see anything on his website that says he has established relationships with editors or can even get the job done.

    Also, since he's so far away, where does he plan on focusing his sales? US? UK?
    What kind of evidence would you like to see to know that I have established relationships with editors or can even get the job done?

    Are you a UK resident perhaps? Next time you step on a British Airways flight have a look at the book they hand out to the children - I wrote that. They've printed a million copies for distribution on every international flight BA makes.

    If you come to Australia and fly Qantas you'll also get a book for the children that I wrote. We're a bit smaller than the EU so that one is only 300,000 copies per year.

    You could do a bit of web-searching and you'll find my name as author and editor on quite a few books also.

    Apart from that, I'm not sure what else you would like to see. I haven't taken on any writers yet because I haven't found a submission that I like. Through On The Wall (an agency focussed on illustrators and licensed properties www.onthewall.com.au) I represent two illustrators, if that carries any weight at all.

    Most of the times I suppose it comes down to a conversation and how you feel about me from what you read on the website (and on my various websites, twitter, etc). As there is no formal training or accreditation process for agents, most of them are somewhat like me. Former editors who changed careers. Former freelance writers looking to expand their service offerings.

    The core of my decision to start agent work was based around two factors:
    1) I've worked with a lot of agents and honestly, the job of being an agent isn't that difficult;
    2) I was giving out free advice on contracts, who to contact, how to pitch, editing concept documents, referring work to writers, editors, illustrators and graphic designers, getting my freelance friends work ... and all for free. I referred a $10,000 job to a fellow writer and only later on realised that I should have charged a commission.

    As for being far away ... I'm a Melbourne writer who got his work on British Airways and Jet Airways (India). Is that a long enough reach? :-)

    cheers,
    Mat

  18. #18
    Dancing between good and evil... Phantom Writer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    So. Cal
    Posts
    351

    Talking

    Thank you so much for hanging out in Absolute Write and providing answers to questions! When I fly to Melbourne to visit your shop I'll make sure and ask for one of your booklets so you can autograph it for me! (I've decided to visit Australia and try to take it as a tax write off.) I'm sure Phil (my taxman) will love me in 2010 for that.

    In all honesty though, does it matter that an agent is in another country/state/etc from you? Most work is done over the phone, fax, email or mail now.

    Quote Originally Posted by mathewferguson View Post
    What kind of evidence would you like to see to know that I have established relationships with editors or can even get the job done?

    Are you a UK resident perhaps? Next time you step on a British Airways flight have a look at the book they hand out to the children - I wrote that. They've printed a million copies for distribution on every international flight BA makes.

    If you come to Australia and fly Qantas you'll also get a book for the children that I wrote. We're a bit smaller than the EU so that one is only 300,000 copies per year.

    You could do a bit of web-searching and you'll find my name as author and editor on quite a few books also.

    Apart from that, I'm not sure what else you would like to see. I haven't taken on any writers yet because I haven't found a submission that I like. Through On The Wall (an agency focussed on illustrators and licensed properties www.onthewall.com.au) I represent two illustrators, if that carries any weight at all.

    Most of the times I suppose it comes down to a conversation and how you feel about me from what you read on the website (and on my various websites, twitter, etc). As there is no formal training or accreditation process for agents, most of them are somewhat like me. Former editors who changed careers. Former freelance writers looking to expand their service offerings.

    The core of my decision to start agent work was based around two factors:
    1) I've worked with a lot of agents and honestly, the job of being an agent isn't that difficult;
    2) I was giving out free advice on contracts, who to contact, how to pitch, editing concept documents, referring work to writers, editors, illustrators and graphic designers, getting my freelance friends work ... and all for free. I referred a $10,000 job to a fellow writer and only later on realised that I should have charged a commission.

    As for being far away ... I'm a Melbourne writer who got his work on British Airways and Jet Airways (India). Is that a long enough reach? :-)

    cheers,
    Mat
    There is only one guaranteed outcome when you write a novel: insanity.

  19. #19
    Banned
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Somewhere between sanity and barking mad
    Posts
    1,622
    Quote Originally Posted by mathewferguson View Post
    Apart from that, I'm not sure what else you would like to see.
    It's lovely that you've had some great writing successes, and I hope that continues. I go to agents' websites looking for their sales history and client list. If they have authors I've heard of and have some great sales under their belt, this tells me they have the chops to get the job done.

    In the case of a new agent, such as yourself, I look at their qualifications. For instance, most successful agents worked with other literary agencies and learned the business. They established relationships with editors from large and small houses. Merely having a list of represented authors carries zero weight because I know a number of ineffective agents who have large lists of authors.

    As you say, anyone can hang out their shingle and call themselves an agent, but it takes far more work than that to become a successful, respected agent.

    Since you're in Aussie, it might be a good idea to let authors know which country(ies) you plan on focusing. US? UK?

    Most of the times I suppose it comes down to a conversation and how you feel about me from what you read on the website (and on my various websites, twitter, etc).
    Yes, this is my point. Your website is filled with some nice things that reveal you to have a wonderful sense of humor. But that doesn't sell books. When I'm researching an agent who has queried me, I look at their website's content. If it contains little red meat, then I draw opinions based on what I see (or don't see).

    1) I've worked with a lot of agents and honestly, the job of being an agent isn't that difficult;
    WHAT? Not that difficult? Wow, where do you get that idea? All the agents I know work as many horrible hours as I do; almost 24/7. There is absolutely NOTHING easy about being an agent, and frankly, this comment disturbs me a great deal.

    You have to work very hard to establish relationships with editors, both large and small. You want to be able to pick up the phone and say, "Hey, Lynn, I have a great work that looks to be right up your alley." It's those friendly, casual relationships that get books sold in many cases.

    Then you have to have the product to back it up. An agent who consistently sends me garbage manuscripts is someone whose queries go to the bottom of my pile.

    2) I was giving out free advice on contracts, who to contact, how to pitch, editing concept documents, referring work to writers, editors, illustrators and graphic designers, getting my freelance friends work ... and all for free.
    Contract advice requires experience and a healthy knowledge of literary law. My beagle can give great contractual advice as well; it just wouldn't be sound advice. What I'm saying here is that your website should contain your qualifications for giving out contractual legal advice and other specifics that solidify your reputation and experience that qualifies you as a successful agent.

    Please know that I'm not trying to attack you, but merely to bring out holes that I think are a concern. And hey, all this could be moot if you start making solid sales in about six months. That would mean that you do have established relationships with editors and that you're on your way.

  20. #20
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    In chaos
    Posts
    20,710
    Still Alive, the heading reads "Services and rate". I'm not sure I agree with you about the plural issue but even if I let that one go there's still a problem with inconsistent capitalisation there, which should be addressed.

    Regarding the question-marks vs apostrophes issue, Mr Ferguson has already acknowledged that this is an ongoing problem which he's been struggling to fix so I'm not sure why you're berating me for mentioning it. It could be down to the browsers we're using: I'm on Internet Explorer 7, which might make a difference--what are you using?

    As for hair-splitting, that's what editors do. They notice picky little problems in a text and they fix them. If one of my books was going to be edited by someone who didn't pay attention to such details I'd not be happy at all. If Mr Ferguson is going to edit his clients' work then he needs to be able to be just as hair-splitting as I've been, otherwise he's not going to do them any favours at all.

  21. #21
    banned as an incurable tosspot
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    170
    Quote Originally Posted by still alive View Post
    Mat, I doubt that anyone on here doubts your successes. But do they translate to your knowing editors at publishing houses? You surely can understand that British Airways doesn't qualify as a publisher.

    I think it was Old Hack who asked if your contacts were in the U.S. or U.K. Personally, I hope for the latter. In any case, would you mind answering? I sure you'll agree it's a legitimate question.

    Thank you.
    Hi - I do know editors at various publishing companies. But this doesn't mean anything really. Editors swap in and out of jobs quite regularly. An editor I knew in Penguin Australia then went to Penguin UK and then moved on to some no-name smaller publisher. After that I don't know where she went. So what does that mean for Penguin Australia and Penguin UK? It means that I'll pick up the phone like I've done many times before and introduce myself as an agent and they'll take my call. It's actually not as hard as people think.

  22. #22
    banned as an incurable tosspot
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    170
    Quote Originally Posted by priceless1 View Post
    It's lovely that you've had some great writing successes, and I hope that continues. I go to agents' websites looking for their sales history and client list. If they have authors I've heard of and have some great sales under their belt, this tells me they have the chops to get the job done.

    In the case of a new agent, such as yourself, I look at their qualifications. For instance, most successful agents worked with other literary agencies and learned the business. They established relationships with editors from large and small houses. Merely having a list of represented authors carries zero weight because I know a number of ineffective agents who have large lists of authors.

    As you say, anyone can hang out their shingle and call themselves an agent, but it takes far more work than that to become a successful, respected agent.

    Since you're in Aussie, it might be a good idea to let authors know which country(ies) you plan on focusing. US? UK?


    Yes, this is my point. Your website is filled with some nice things that reveal you to have a wonderful sense of humor. But that doesn't sell books. When I'm researching an agent who has queried me, I look at their website's content. If it contains little red meat, then I draw opinions based on what I see (or don't see).


    WHAT? Not that difficult? Wow, where do you get that idea? All the agents I know work as many horrible hours as I do; almost 24/7. There is absolutely NOTHING easy about being an agent, and frankly, this comment disturbs me a great deal.

    You have to work very hard to establish relationships with editors, both large and small. You want to be able to pick up the phone and say, "Hey, Lynn, I have a great work that looks to be right up your alley." It's those friendly, casual relationships that get books sold in many cases.

    Then you have to have the product to back it up. An agent who consistently sends me garbage manuscripts is someone whose queries go to the bottom of my pile.


    Contract advice requires experience and a healthy knowledge of literary law. My beagle can give great contractual advice as well; it just wouldn't be sound advice. What I'm saying here is that your website should contain your qualifications for giving out contractual legal advice and other specifics that solidify your reputation and experience that qualifies you as a successful agent.

    Please know that I'm not trying to attack you, but merely to bring out holes that I think are a concern. And hey, all this could be moot if you start making solid sales in about six months. That would mean that you do have established relationships with editors and that you're on your way.
    Hi Priceless.

    Let me ask you - what do you think sells books if not a sense of humour? :-)

    I'll move on from this to the question of just how hard being an agent actually is. You see, I've had this conversation quite a few times over the years and I've had it with quite a few agents too. I maintain that being an agent is not particularly difficult once you've mastered certain techniques in addition to having a decent sense of what will sell.

    To put it nicely ... agents who say they work 24/7 are liars. The agents who say you need to work very hard to establish relationships with editors are liars. Editors don't really want relationships with agents and that is the truth. Editors come and go and so do agents. It is one job position communicating with another job position for mutual benefit but it isn't like it used to be with editors holding their positions for 20 years.

    I know this sounds quite harsh and it is something the middlemen don't want you to hear but it is the truth. I've had similar conversations with people who will tell you that being a freelance writer is difficult too. It is not. If you can pick up the phone and sell yourself, it's quite easy.

    To sum up: don't put agents in ivory towers.

    Back to the agent job. Here is what happens: I find some amazing book I love. I ring a publishing company and they put me through to the editor. I tell them who I am and what I've got. They decide to meet me or not. Then I pitch the work to them. If they are out of state/country then they might have it sent to them and the pitching occurs over the phone. Does that sound difficult at all? It's phone calls and then driving in to have a coffee with an editor (who love getting out of the office).

    I suppose I could talk a bit more about why being an agent isn't that difficult but it is a common myth in publishing that it is a horribly hard job and striking down a myth can be near impossible. It is a job like any other: eight hours a day, five days a week and the hardest part is picking up that phone.

    As for proof of qualifications ... I once managed $10 million of books per year. I wrote contracts. I negotiated contracts. I made whopping amounts of money for the people who listened to me and those who didn't ... well, they didn't make money at all. But how could I prove any of this to anyone? I don't have a copy of the Incredibles licensing contract that I can show. I suppose at some point you may have to simply decide to trust me.

    Of course if you decide not to, then don't submit anything for consideration.

    I am a big fan of the easy casual relationship but we simply don't live in the economic conditions that make this possible. An editor who stays at a single job for more than about three years is a rarity.

    I know a lot of what I say when I talk about publishing can ruffle feathers. Although I've stepped into agent work, I don't have a high opinion of the profession as a whole. I think even less of those people who sell manuscript appraisals. I've worked as a freelance writer and editor since 2005 and I've met plenty of fakes, cheats, liars and charlatans. I once had an agent make me the lovely offer of him taking 40% of my earnings and he would graciously allow me the usage of his letterhead. Wow, use of letterhead for ONLY 40% of my earnings? What a deal that was.

    Hopefully this covers it all. :-)

    best,
    Mat

  23. #23
    banned as an incurable tosspot
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    170
    Quote Originally Posted by Phantom Writer View Post
    Thank you so much for hanging out in Absolute Write and providing answers to questions! When I fly to Melbourne to visit your shop I'll make sure and ask for one of your booklets so you can autograph it for me! (I've decided to visit Australia and try to take it as a tax write off.) I'm sure Phil (my taxman) will love me in 2010 for that.

    In all honesty though, does it matter that an agent is in another country/state/etc from you? Most work is done over the phone, fax, email or mail now.
    The time zones can make it hard. The business is very early morning calls and very late evening calls. In either case people aren't really awake! :-)

    Do people still use fax? Even paper post is on its way out.

  24. #24
    Dancing between good and evil... Phantom Writer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    So. Cal
    Posts
    351
    I can see where the time zone would cause some issues! Not sure how I'd feel about a call at 3:46am (the time stamp on your posted the below). Not sure my 4 year old would like that either.

    I work for the government- they haven't quiet caught up to scan/email yet. So, I'm quiet efficient with a fax machine. I even remember to push *9* most of the time.

    Again, thank you for staying and answering everyones questions. All too often we get one or two posts in reply and the agent/publisher stop responding.

    Quote Originally Posted by mathewferguson View Post
    The time zones can make it hard. The business is very early morning calls and very late evening calls. In either case people aren't really awake! :-)

    Do people still use fax? Even paper post is on its way out.
    There is only one guaranteed outcome when you write a novel: insanity.

  25. #25
    Banned
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Somewhere between sanity and barking mad
    Posts
    1,622
    Quote Originally Posted by mathewferguson View Post
    Hi Priceless.

    Let me ask you - what do you think sells books if not a sense of humour? :-)
    I agree; let's not go there because it's just too easy a mark.

    To put it nicely ... agents who say they work 24/7 are liars. The agents who say you need to work very hard to establish relationships with editors are liars.
    Oh dear, you really aren't helping yourself, are you? As one who works with agents almost every day, I consider a number of them friends. We're way past trying to impress each other because we don't have the time or energy. Maybe things work differently in Aussie, but here in the US and the UK, agents work achingly hard. Since you're new and have yet to make a real sale, perhaps your opinions are slightly premature.

    Editors don't really want relationships with agents and that is the truth.
    I'm sorry, but your comment is breathtakingly misguided, and I'm happy your opinions are coming into the open. I don't know of a single successful agent who doesn't work very hard to establish relationships with editors. On the flip side, I've met agents who feel as you do - and their actions and sales mirror that mindset. Agents make calls to editors all the time - to introduce themselves and talk about what they represent - in the hope that their query will move toward the top of the pile rather than at the bottom. That is how sales are made. That, and consistently choosing great projects to represent.

    It's true that editors have come and gone, and agents have to establish new relationships. But this is all part of the business for the successful agent. To be clear, there are still many editors who have held their positions for many, many years, so it's a bit misleading to imply that the entire industry was gutted and it's now filled with newbie editors.

    I've had similar conversations with people who will tell you that being a freelance writer is difficult too. It is not. If you can pick up the phone and sell yourself, it's quite easy.
    Conversations with WHAT people? Being an indie editor is easy enough, but you need to have a solid reputation in order to get your name around. This means your clients have gone on to secure great book deals.

    I suppose I could talk a bit more about why being an agent isn't that difficult but it is a common myth in publishing that it is a horribly hard job and striking down a myth can be near impossible.
    Perhaps agenting isn't that hard for you. Then again, how many solid sales have you made? How long have you been an agent? I think it's folly to make sweeping statements about an industry when you are only starting out. You don't have the credibility yet.

    As for proof of qualifications ... I once managed $10 million of books per year. I wrote contracts. I negotiated contracts. I made whopping amounts of money for the people who listened to me and those who didn't ... well, they didn't make money at all.
    But how does this qualify you to sell manuscripts to publishing houses? As an editor, I would be far more impressed if you had worked with a major literary agency for a few years. Managing books and writing contracts doesn't equal selling to editors.

    Although I've stepped into agent work, I don't have a high opinion of the profession as a whole.
    Good grief, is this a comment you actually want potential clients to read? It's like the first year intern who says he really hates the medical profession. Given that attitude, what kind of doctor will he be? Conversely, why would an author seek you out given your disdain for the profession? How effective will you be? What agenting experience do you bring to the party? Authors work very hard on their books, and your cavalier attitude is dismissive and demeaning.

    If you want to be taken seriously, then it's a good idea to have respect and pride for the line of work you've chosen. The agents I know and work with love their jobs - and it shows. Conversely, I've met agents who had your attitude, and it also showed.

    What I'm picking up from your posts is that you don't take agenting seriously - almost as if it's a lark for you. Personally, I think authors deserve better than this - agents who value their contribution to the publishing industry and who work long hours to ensure their success. You appear to be a bit wet behind the ears.
    Last edited by priceless1; 10-12-2009 at 12:33 AM. Reason: fixed my lousy analogy

Page 1 of 22 123456711 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search