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Thread: Durant Literary Agency (Tiffany Durant)

  1. #1
    figuring it all out Donnettetxgirl's Avatar
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    Durant Literary Agency (Tiffany Durant)

    Anyone had any dealings with Durant Lit Agency? Here's a link to their website: http://durantliteraryagency.webs.com/aboutus.htm


    Donnette Smith
    www.freewebs.com/romanceauthor
    www.myspace.com/storycreater

  2. #2
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    No detail on the website about previous experience in publishing or agenting.
    No data on projects sold.
    No indication of specific genres of interest.

    No reason to send them your work

  3. #3
    starting over Marian Perera's Avatar
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    Their website's header says, "Providing You With Our Literary Expertise". What literary expertise would that be, exactly?

    I'm also a bit confused by this.

    Be sure to include your query and cover letter in the text of your email. No unsolicited proposals or manuscripts will be accepted. We do not open attachments due to security reasons.

    The cover letter is as equally as important as the query letter. Demonstrate the key points of your work, along with a brief synopsis, and the author's credentials as the cover letter.
    How does one "demonstrate the key points of a work"? And in a cover letter?
    Sleeping Beauty-inspired m/m romance : Editing.

  4. #4
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Donnettetxgirl:
    Anyone had any dealings with Durant Lit Agency?
    How did you find out about them?

    Durant Website:
    While being a newer company, we are confident that we can offer the necessities in order to provide you with the opportunity to have your work published.
    How new is new?

    Durant Website:
    While we are not members of AAR, we still function within the same guidelines for our business.
    It's comforting that they're giving assurances about acting in accordance with AAR guidelines (i.e. presumably they don't charge fees), but the main criteria for AAR membership is proven sales and if they don't meet that criteria, then that's not a good sign.

    Also, I'd be somewhat worried about the Competition that they're running, which seems to be to cut across the AAR's rules in that it's a fee charging contest that invites poetry (why when there's no market for it) and fiction for a $15 and $25 entry fee respectively. Those are high entrance fees and the only reason to enter a contest is because the judges are respected.

    Regarding this contest:

    Contest Ruels:
    Entries may not have been published in any professional media. Self publication is okay.
    Don't see why self-publishing is okay given that first publication rights are still used up.

    Contest Rules:
    The Spring 2010 DLA Poetry and Fiction Contest will open on January 20, 2010 and will close for entries on March 31, 2010. Winners will be announced on April 30, 2010.The top three winners for each category will be notified via email.Winners will also be posted on the DLA website indefinitely.
    That's a quick turnaround time, suggesting either that they're not expecting many entries or they're not really going to be expecting to spend a lot of time reading them.

    Contest Rules:
    The decisions of the judges are entirely their own, and are final. The judges will be announced shortly.
    No. Details of the judges should have been given before the contest started accepting entries.

    As regards those judges whose details are given:

    Contest Rules:
    The fiction judge will be Jessica James. Jessica James is the award-winning author of the historical fiction novel, Shades of Gray, an epic Civil War love story that has twice overtaken Gone with the Wind on the Amazon Best-Seller list in the romance/historical/U.S. category.
    Shades of Grey appears to have bene published with Patriot Press, a printer and not a publisher, which leads me to wonder if it was self-published. The fact that it's beaten Gone With The Wind on the Amazon Bestseller List is not a qualification for judging a fiction award IMHO.

    Contest Rules:
    The poetry judge will be Mary E. Gonzalez. Mary graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in Creative Writing/Literature in 1995. She's published poems in various collegiate magazines (The Observe, Quarto). She's had the special opportunity of interviewing former Poet Laureate, Charles Simic, and studied poetry with the likes of Colette Inez. She draws inspiration from Jane Kenyon, and various known and unknown poets.
    Again, interviewing poets and having some magazine credentials does not make for a qualified judge IMHO.

    Contest:
    In addition to our invited judges, the entire DLA team of agents and editors will assist with the judging of the submissions.
    Again, no information on who any of these people are or what qualifies them to judge a contest.

    Contest Rules:
    The first place winner of the poetry contest will win $250,posting of their work on our website, and a contract for literary representation. The second place winner will win $100.The third place winner will win $50.
    The fact that the offer of representation seems to extent to people submitting poetry is a classic red flag. There is no money in poetry, which is why most agents don't touch it.

    Contest Rules:
    The first place winner of the fiction contest will win $1000 and a contract for literary representation. The second place winner will win $500 and a contract for representation. The third place winner will win $250 and a contract for representation.
    How does this agency expect to sell a book that has previously been self-published?

    Durant Website:
    Each submission will be analyzed and taken into perspective from not only an agent's point of view - but from the publisher's point of view as well.
    I don't see how they can analyse from a publisher's point of view if they're not publishers.

    They can only review a manuscript to assess if they think they can sell it to a publisher. They can't make a decision on a publisher's behalf.

    Durant Website:
    We are a team of 15, consisting of English & Journalism majors and much more.
    Who cares if they've got English and journalism degrees? What they need is agenting experience and/or publishing contacts. The fact that they're not advertising this could lead some to infer that they don't have any.

    Notice also that none of these 15 team members is named on the website, or any professional details given on any of them.

    Durant Website:
    the Durant family has many major connections within the Entertainment industry
    I've never heard of the Durant family and without setting out what those "major connections" are with the Entertainment industry, it's difficult to see how this will help them sell books. In fact, entertainment industry connections are of little use compared with publishing connections (which again, they don't seem to have).

    Durant Website:
    Durant Literary Agency requires all queries to be delivered by email. Our email address is: dlaqueries [at] gmail.com.
    I never find it encouraging when an agent has a website but the email has to be sent to a free internet account.

    Nor is it a good sign when an agent has Google ads all over their website.

    Durant Website:
    If we are already representing your work or if you are a publisher and you need to speak with us, we are available by email at durantliterary@gmail.com.
    Why would a publisher be looking to contact this agency via their website?

    I'm assuming that the agency's existing clients are those profiled on its Members Page. To be honest, I've not heard of an agency doing this before - it seems to be part social networking, part professional information but of the profiles I checked out, none appeared to have any sales.

    It's also weird that the agency feels the need to have a Testimonials Page. I've been trying to get it load up but the whole website's a pig anyway with everything taking way to long to load on the screen. The only Testimonial that an agency needs is sales. Full stop.

    MM

  5. #5
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    The Testimonials page says "No testimonials yet."


  6. #6
    figuring it all out Donnettetxgirl's Avatar
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    MM, while reading your concerns here, I thought the very same things while reading their website. There is no market for poetry, or at least none I've ever heard of. The fees for the contests don't seem right. The google ads as you mentioned, bothered me (don't think I've ever seen that before on an agents website). And I thought the same thing about the members, although it doesn't state it, (that they were the agents themselves). I could be wrong about that, but it was my first thought. And I didn't see anything impressive there.

    They say don't let the fact that they're new deter you. But it does deter me. Not that they're new, but that I couldn't find any real background on the agent(s). All agencies start somewhere, but they usually have some kind of prior agenting background, or they were an editor at a publishing house...or something that can show previous experience in the field of agenting. Publishing contacts too. I didn't see anything remotely resembling that there. That is what bothers me the most about them. Googling names, as you did, brought up nothing solid. P&E didn't have much to say about them, other than they're an agency.

    Their website screamed amateur to me. I'm afriad this may be a venture for them. But for an author who is serious about getting their work published with a good, solid publishing house, they may be taking a risk signing on with these guys. Especially since they don't seem to have any experience in the publishing industry.

    Donnette Smith
    www.freewebs.com/romanceauthor
    www.myspace.com/storycreater

  7. #7
    Barricade AW Moderator regdog's Avatar
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  8. #8
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Donnettetxgirl:
    They say don't let the fact that they're new deter you. But it does deter me.
    If they were new but had named agents who had all verifiably been with other established agencies and had their own history of sales, then it would be worth a punt.

    However the fact that the one thing they don't mention on their own website is who the agents are and what their experience is (beyond being in college for which, big deal) means that IMHO you are right to want to stay away.

    Donnettetxgirl:
    But for an author who is serious about getting their work published with a good, solid publishing house, they may be taking a risk signing on with these guys.
    QFT. It's better to have no agent than a bad or clueless agent.

    MM

  9. #9
    storm central stormie's Avatar
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    Kind of a cutesy photo on the About Us page, with a large house and person in front, and the date embedded. Nothing stated about each individual's expertise. (Fifteen members of the Durant family? Is that lit agents or clients or what?)

    I'd say no.

  10. #10
    figuring it all out Donnettetxgirl's Avatar
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    I totally agree. Trying to get published is tough enough, even for the most serious & talented authors, but throw an agent into the mix who doesn't have the connections or the experience it takes to place a client's work in the right hands can make an already tedious process frustrating. Then your book is tied up with the inexperienced agent for who knows how long before you can even move on. And even after, if you do land a contract with an experienced agent for that book, you'd have the worry about the publishing houses the inexperienced agent already may have shopped your manuscript around to. It would make it even harder for the experienced, more established agent to find it a home.

    I just ran across their website & wondered if anyone had any dealings with them since I couldn't find any track-record on them.

    Donnette Smith
    www.freewebs.com/romanceauthor
    www.myspace.com/storycreater

  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donnettetxgirl View Post
    Anyone had any dealings with Durant Lit Agency? Here's a link to their website: http://durantliteraryagency.webs.com/aboutus.htm


    Donnette Smith
    www.freewebs.com/romanceauthor
    www.myspace.com/storycreater

    None of the stuff you guys described is active on the website now. Maybe Durant is revising based on the crits offered by the AW sharks.

    --Stan

  12. #12
    Three of a perfect pair. AW Moderator amergina's Avatar
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    the Durant family has many major connections within the Entertainment industry
    Wasn't there another would-be publisher that came to AW not too long ago that claimed to be different and have "major connections within the Entertainment industry" but refused to say who they were, etc. and then flounced off of AW when people started asking questions about experience?

    This kinda reminds me of them. Except with agenting.

  13. #13
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Stanmiller:
    None of the stuff you guys described is active on the website now. Maybe Durant is revising based on the crits offered by the AW sharks.
    Well, unless they've managed to sell a book to a commercial publisher between this morning and now, I'm not sure how they're going to make that website any better.

    Anyway, that's why I always like to do my dissections by quoting from the site and backing it up with personal screencaps - that way the stuff they did have up there is caught on the record.

    The fact that it's disappeared does point to another red flag though - any agency who's hosting on what was freewebs does not inspire confidence and any agency that seems to disappear the moment attention is focused on it makes my eyebrows rise.

    amergina:
    Wasn't there another would-be publisher that came to AW not too long ago that claimed to be different and have "major connections within the Entertainment industry" but refused to say who they were, etc. and then flounced off of AW when people started asking questions about experience?
    Honestly, there are so many of them that they blur into one.

    The story's always the same "I have connections, I'm new but take a chance on me" and they all go kablooey in the end.

    Incidentally, thanks to Google while their website may have gone, the adverts they placed on a number of other directories and sites remain:

    - here on Writers Net where we at least get a name - Tiffany Durant

    - a YouTube video

    - Elance where, in contradiction of their claims not to charge fees, they seem to be offering services:

    We only work on assignments through the Elance Escrow system. We prefer to have full payment made within 3 business days of a completed assignment.

    For assignments over $500, we request the following payment schedule:

    Retainer fee: 20 % release of funds at start of the assignment
    I've also picked up a load of sites where Tiffany Durant basically spammed boards with adverts for her agency and competition - again, not the sign of a professional.

    MM
    Last edited by Momento Mori; 03-17-2010 at 10:11 PM.

  14. #14
    storm central stormie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stanmiller View Post
    None of the stuff you guys described is active on the website now. Maybe Durant is revising based on the crits offered by the AW sharks.

    --Stan
    Poof! Gone. For now anyway. Probably going to change their name also.

  15. #15
    figuring it all out Donnettetxgirl's Avatar
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    Geez, I swear, it doesn't surprise me. The spamming boards with advertisement for her agency is not a good sign at all. If she was good at what she does & had experience, she wouldn't have to do that. Writers would hear about her through the grapevine, believe me & they'd be submitting to her left & right.

    It seems the few times I've come here asking about an agency I thought was questionable, their website just vanishes into thin air. It's happened at least 4 times now.

    Well, at least she didn't get on here under an assumed name passing herself off as one of her own client's & brag about how wonderful her agency is. Seen that done a few times.

    Such as the case, I'm glad the website is gone (for now at least). It will save writers from the disappointment of what a contract with her might bring.

    Donnette Smith
    www.freewebs.com/romanceauthor
    www.myspace.com/storycreater

  16. #16
    What? I have a title? Julie Worth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stormie View Post
    Poof! Gone. For now anyway. Probably going to change their name also.
    They're not gone, they're moving from here to here. And they canceled the contest for lack of interest.

    This is Tiffany Durant on twitter and on myspace. Rather bizarre that she wants to be a literary agent, as she has absolutely no background for it.
    Last edited by Julie Worth; 03-18-2010 at 06:05 AM. Reason: oops, it's myspace, not facebook

  17. #17
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    the facebook page is actually a myspace page, not that that matters. Anyhow, Tiffany Durant's myspace page screams of scammer. There's no way in hell she's a literary agent.

  18. #18
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Still at http://www.durantliterary.com/, which is still "new" and incomplete.

    Of the "sales" listed ... Immanion Press doesn't offer advances, and Durant owns Poinsettia Publications (sound warning! http://poinsettiapubs.com/Home_Page.html).
    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
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    II 2016: 2017:

  19. #19
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Both agency and publisher sites are gone. Going by Smashwords, didn't survive Summer '11.
    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:

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