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Thread: McMakin Literary Agency

  1. #1
    I am Groot AW Moderator Sage's Avatar
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    McMakin Literary Agency

    New agent looking for YA and MG. The only website I find for her is here: http://mcmakinliterary.blogspot.com/

    Jordan McMakin's profile says she worked in editorial for Penguin and Disney*Hyperion.

    P&E has her listed, but no $. I couldn't find any record of sales, but the agency is new, so that's expected.
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  2. #2
    Roe Draje Maddie's Avatar
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    Sorry - they're not even found on Publishers Marketplace. How did you come across this agency?

  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW
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    I was passed an email from her to my SCBWI chapter's Yahoo group indicating she's open for business. She plans to represent MG/YA.

  4. #4
    I am Groot AW Moderator Sage's Avatar
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    I actually got the link in the OPWFT thread and looked around for info from there. I think the writer got it off a twitter link. I noticed SCBWI had mentioned about the same info as above when I did my search.
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  5. #5
    Roe Draje Maddie's Avatar
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    Well, if she's worked as an editor, that's could be a plus, but agenting is a different bird from editing. You're talking about industry contacts, etc. If she hasn't been in the biz working for an agent/agency, it may result in a situation such as with Blue Ridge Literary - a new agent with honest initiative, but lacking a sales track record. It doesn't hurt to ask questions of an agent about sales projections, experience and so forth.

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW JamieB's Avatar
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    The agent at Blue Ridge had zero experience, was a book reviewer and did some freelance editing - very different from working for 2 of the big pubs. I'd imagine she has some contacts, at the very least, in the multiple imprints who pub YA/MG at those two houses.
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  7. #7
    Opinionated suki's Avatar
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    What I am wondering about is her actual experience - because she doesn't say she was an editor at either house, she states she "worked in editorial" - what does that mean?

    Further, a search of Publisher's Marketplace doesn't show her as an acquiring editor on a single deal (searching all deals listed on PM since 2000). So...if she wasn't an editor, what was she doing?

    Until I know more, I'd wonder if she has the experience and contacts to agent.

    ETA: That reads really negative - and I don't intend it to be. More of an FYI, if you are considering querying her, do some more research first. I couldn't find a contact email to ask about her experience. I'll try again later. But if anyone knows of her experience, please post so people can learn more.

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    Last edited by suki; 09-30-2010 at 01:40 AM.
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  8. #8
    I am Groot AW Moderator Sage's Avatar
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    Yeah, I put the thread here just so we could discuss whether "worked in editorial" at those houses counts as helpful experience or not and because there wasn't very much information about her our there. Just someone to keep an eye on, I guess.
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  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW para's Avatar
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    Google brings up this : http://www.callskagithome.com/links_main.shtml
    There is a tiny thumbnail by this entry of a dark haired white woman. Not big enough to tell if it's the same woman.
    Jordan McMakin, Local Author and Publisher - Jordan McMakin is a local author of children's books, publisher and one of the most amazing young women you would ever meet! A bright star in the dark night! Children and adults alike will love her story telling and the tales of Prince Ezrick!
    The link inside the page goes to a godaddy page. The link is http://www.princeezrick.com/jordan_mcmakin.html , using the wayback machine you get four pages from 2006.
    Her publisher was Canterwine Press. As far as I can see they only published one book - hers.
    Last edited by para; 09-30-2010 at 02:38 AM.


  10. #10
    Listening to my other selves Erin's Avatar
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    She updated her bio and changed the "worked in editorial" to: Before opening McMakin Lit, Jordan interned at Puffin Books and Viking Books for Young Readers, and was an editorial assistant at Disney*Hyperion Books in New York.
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  11. #11
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erin View Post
    She updated her bio and changed the "worked in editorial" to: Before opening McMakin Lit, Jordan interned at Puffin Books and Viking Books for Young Readers, and was an editorial assistant at Disney*Hyperion Books in New York.
    I get the impression that she's a fairly recent graduate of Western Washington University. If she's still living nearby, she's in Bellingham: a pleasant little city about two-thirds of the way from Seattle, WA to Vancouver, BC.

    A stint as an intern at Flightless Waterfowl, plus working as an editorial assistant at Disney/Hyperion, is not a lot of experience. "Editorial assistant" is an entry-level position: low sophont on the totem pole. It involves a lot of clerical work. Interns are a rank below editorial assistants. Being a bookstore manager is good experience for any kind of publishing, but she doesn't specify how big the bookstore was, how long she held the job, or even whether it was full-time.

    It looks to me like she knows some true things about publishing, but she doesn't know enough of them to warrant hanging out her shingle as an independent agent. Her background would be appropriate for someone who's looking for an entry-level job at a good big-city agency.

    I hope she reads this, because she really needs to serve that apprenticeship if she's going to be a successful agent.
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  12. #12
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    Yeah, I got the same impression. At first, I was thinking, "oh, good, another query possibility in my genre!"

    But then I did a little research (thanks in large part to the other posters here), and the primary concern I had was that it appeared she has not been mentored by another agent. That type of experience is very common--almost ubiquitous--in young agents. They intern, then become literary assistants, then associate agents.

    Now, there are exceptions (probably several)--Kate Epstein, for example. She was an editor for years before hanging out her shingle as an agent. However, she explained in an interview how she went about consulting all the agents she knew (many) as she got started, in order to figure out how to run the business. But I think she was already a lot more experienced than Ms. McMakin.

    I'm not saying she won't be successful, but I probably won't query until I see a bona fide sale or some other evidence that she's able to navigate the agenting role successfully.

  13. #13
    Opinionated suki's Avatar
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    My larger concern is her stint as a self-proclaimed "publisher" - which may have in fact been a company she started to publish her own books (that is unclear). That experience is not included in her bio or explained - and so between the lack of what I see as sufficient publishing experience to hang out a shingle as the sole agent in her agency, coupled with what appears to be a failed stint as a "publisher" herself, warning alarms are going off all over. I have concerns about anyone who has several less than successful stints in different areas of publishing and then hangs out a shingle as an agent - and that is right now one interpretation of what is out there - ie, some short term time as a "publisher" herself, and two less than progressive stints with publishers, but that didn't lead to more advanced positions... so, I'd need more to make me comfortable that her experience makes her a good risk.

    Now, I will say that a lot of this is speculation, and if she was able to show how her experience does qualify her to be an effective agent, then maybe she would be a good risk for someone who understood they were querying an agent with no agenting experience and the stated publishing experience. But it should be clear so prospective clients can properly assess the risk before querying.

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  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Emailed her a query just now. Figure it's worth a shot, even if it's just to find out more information.

    I'll let you guys know how it pans out.

  15. #15
    I find ur lack of faith disturbing mellymel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LLeopardGGecko View Post
    Emailed her a query just now. Figure it's worth a shot, even if it's just to find out more information.

    I'll let you guys know how it pans out.
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    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Closed to queries as of Jan 9th.
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    Angelic Muse AngelicaRJackson's Avatar
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    My crit partner paid for a crit through our local SCBWI chapter, and Ms. McMakin was the selected critiquer.

    Having read the book myself, it seemed like she put genuine thought into her comments, and some of her confusion about story elements may have been caused by reading only a 15-page sample. I suppose the gist is that this was some good feedback, but not life-changing advice for my friend.

    That can be affected by what you expect to get from one of these conference-run, paid critiques. I've personally never felt they were worth the money. But then, my other crit partner ended up getting a full request from Jill Corcoran based on her sample pages, so go figure.
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  18. #18
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Agency blog is now invite only. Has another here: http://andthenmyheartsmiled.blogspot.com/, where she offers editing and critique services with no mention of agenting, so it looks like she's dropped that side of the business.
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