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Thread: Susan Mears Literary Agency / Derwen Publishing

  1. #1
    in touch MoonStone's Avatar
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    Susan Mears Literary Agency / Derwen Publishing

    I received an email from Susan Mears an agent concerning my query. It says nothing about my story only that she works with an editor alone, instead of with a staff. The editor charges 50 dollars to look at the work...I'm guessing not good? If anything, I wanted to pass this info along..Heads up


    http://sm-agency.co.uk/
    Last edited by MoonStone; 05-19-2010 at 11:19 PM.

  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Thanks for that, MoonStone. I'll add that she is also co-founder of Derwen Publishing, which could raise conflicts of interest.
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  3. #3
    in touch MoonStone's Avatar
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    Thank you CaoPaux

  4. #4
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I have been lurking for a while, as Google often brings up the water cooler when you look for information on a publisher or agent. After getting a response from the Susan Mears agency regarding a submission, I thought to join in the hope someone could supply me with some information .
    They sent me form to fill in , it stated that I would need to pay for an assessment. Not good as Moonstone has pointed out. So I sent an email saying ,thank you but I cannot afford your fee. Back came a reply from Owen Burham PHD (the agency manager and it would seem a author in his own right) saying that he would do a assessment for free, which was very kind of him. However I could not clarify what would happen after this was completed .I made it clear that I was looking for a traditional agent and or publishing contract, but this was not addressed. So the question remains does this agency take up representation on your behalf to then approach publishers or do they steer you towards self publishing. If anyone knows I would appreciated their input. Yoki
    Last edited by yoki; 08-10-2011 at 05:18 AM.

  5. #5
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoonStone View Post
    I received an email from Susan Mears an agent concerning my query. It says nothing about my story only that she works with an editor alone, instead of with a staff. The editor charges 50 dollars to look at the work...I'm guessing not good? If anything, I wanted to pass this info along..Heads up


    http://sm-agency.co.uk/
    Would you please share that email with me by forwarding a copy to prededitors@att.net?
    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.

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  6. #6
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    A Publishers Marketplace search turns up no sales in the past twelve months for either Susan Mears or Owen Burham (not all agents report their sales, keep in mind). The last reported sale for the agency is December 2007.

    The only mention I did find was on the page of a literary scout called Freda M. Chaney. Ms. Chaney has a webpage, which gives a page to the Susan Mears Literary Agency. That page takes its copy from the Home page of the Susan Mears agency's website:

    "...The Susan Mears Literary Agency is widely regarded as being the best agency for Mind, Body and Spirit titles. We are actively expanding our list to include projects in the field of Fiction as well. Titles must have an inherent spiritual message and be broadly compatible with the company's aims and ethics.

    The Mears site has a list of their authors (but no links to websites for them). The home page mentions a couple of them specifically; the first--referred to as "One of our best selling, authors,"--is Peter Lemesurier, an academic seemingly prominent in New Age circles, whose book on Nostradamus was released last year through what appears to be a small indie press called New Page Books. Their submission guidelines are...interesting, but they look legit enough.

    I Googled about ten names from the client list; most seem to be with small indie presses; at least one is self-published. But I don't know much at all about that particular market (the New Age-mind-body-spirit type market); I know the names of a few publishers (Llewellyn, obviously, and a few smaller more specialist ones like Capall Bann [my personal favorite]), but I think those books in general do tend to be more small press, so I'm certainly not comfortable saying the agency isn't effective based on that. Certainly the search results for the names I Googled seemed to turn up lots of results, and I got the impression these people were/are well-respected in those circles (again, that's just my impression, I don't know enough to say whether or not that's a true inference).

    I will say, though, that most of the pub dates for the authors I Googled were older; I found only one publication in the last four years. Their Current Titles page on the website appears to show the same thing; some of those current titles are ten years old at this point (and some are perhaps out of print now?).

    In fact, a large number of their "Current Titles" do not exist on Amazon at all, now that I've done more searching. I think it's fair to say almost none of them do. But...some of them have similar titles listed on Amazon. For example, they list TEACHINGS FROM THE CELTIC WHEEL by Andy Baggott. That book doesn't seem to exist on Amazon (UK or US), but entering that title gives this result: a book called THE CELTIC WHEEL OF LIFE by Andy Baggott. THE CELTIC GODDESS by Claire Hamilton doesn't exist, but there are a few pages of Celtic Goddess-related titles by Claire Hamilton.

    Almost every title they list on that Current Titles page has the same issue; it's either not listed at all, or a different-but-somewhat-similar title is listed, and all of those "similar" titles are, again, years old. (There are some clickable book covers at the bottom of the page, but clicking them only brings one back to the top of the list; they don't link to any outside websites.)

    It's possible those are upcoming titles, perhaps?

    I don't know, but I find it...odd, frankly.

    Charging $50 to "assess," though...that's a problem. It's especially a problem if--if--we're talking about an agent whose sales are dwindling. Again, I know very little about this particular market, but I'm not seeing anything that would justify a fee of any kind even if charging fees wasn't flat-out unethical. Which it is.

    Hope that helps!
    Last edited by Stacia Kane; 08-10-2011 at 04:38 AM. Reason: parentheses errors
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  7. #7
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thanks Stacia ,unfortunately the overall picture remains murky,so I have decided to say no .A pity really as you get so many rejections .Still authors swim in shark infested waters and that makes prudence essential .Yoki

  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Literary agency Susan Mears

    Has anyone had any dealings with Susan Mears Literary Agency UK. now branching into New York

  9. #9
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Do you have a link to the agency website?

  10. #10
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    This should be moved to the general B,R,&BC forum--as far as I know Susan Mears doesn't have anything to do with Writers Literary Agency, etc.

    Here's the literary agency link. It doesn't offer a lot of information.

    Edited to add: I did a very brief spot check on her authors, and found one who is published by Derwen Publishing, so there are definitely conflict of interest concerns here.

    - Victoria
    Last edited by victoriastrauss; 10-03-2011 at 12:49 AM.

  11. #11
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Yoki, yes I along with a few other writers have had similar experiences with Susan Mears Agency. It also seems that no one ever gets to speak with her. Her admin Owen Burnham seems to play the good guy, but things never go any further. Not sure if they are legit. The many sites on the internet associated with her name are authors who dont seem to be published via her, but rather looking for publishers via their own sites. Does anyone know when her last book was published. It seems I just hear about authors being asked to pay money before anything even gets read.

  12. #12
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Susan Mears Literary Agency

    I signed a contract with Susan Mears 2 years ago and she did nothing to secure me a publisher. She made several attempts to get me to hand over money to her, without fail. She informed me that an interested publisher asked for £500 from me towards marketing. I refused and ended my contract with her.

    I found a new agent, Owen Burnham, of L & C Literary Agency. Owen used to work for Susan, but wasn't happy with the way she treated authors, so he left and set up his own agency. A week after signing my contract with him I had an offer from a Publisher, which I have accepted. My book, "Running from Tenda Gayamar" will be published in 3 to 5 months.

    Owen is a great agent, honest, with integrity and appreciation of the hard work that author's do to share their stories. He is an agent to trust.

  13. #13
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Just a note that discussion of L&C has been copied/moved to its own thread here: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=271082
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  14. #14
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Susan Mears seems to have a cosy relationship with Filament Publishing:

    Filament enjoys success at the London Book Fair at Earls Court
    Once again Filament authors were represented on our stand in the main exhibition and also in the International Rights area of the London Book Fair. It was a busy three days full of meetings with publishers from around the world.

    All of our authors are automatically included in our portfolio at each of the international book fairs we attend.

    We are particularly grateful also to Literary Agent Susan Mears for including a selection of our authors in her own agency portfolio for the meetings she had with the commissioning editors of the big publishing houses that she has been dealing with over the years. We expect to have some good news as a result once the follow ups go out in the weeks ahead.
    http://www.filamentpublishing.com/News.asp
    I've also heard from a writer whom Mears attempted to steer towards Filament, even though it's a no advance, pay-to-publish POD.
    Last edited by aliceshortcake; 08-08-2014 at 12:16 PM.
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  15. #15
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Updating URL: http://www.susanmears.com/

    No more client list.

    Home page now reads:
    The Susan Mears Agency specialises in established and published authors and is not seeking proposals from new authors. However, Susan is also linked to the Derwin Agency, which does specialise in new authors with fiction/non-fictions and Mind,Body,Sprit; the Mabon Agency, for children’s titles and also Shimran Publishing.
    The latter is touted in a sidebar as being "For bestselling authors who wish to self publish". (http://shimranuk.wixsite.com/shimranuk)
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    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

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