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Thread: Jennifer Etherton Literary Services

  1. #1
    Check yes or no Rewriter's Avatar
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    Jennifer Etherton Literary Services

    I've been wishing the "Manuscript Fairy" would direct me to an agent or publisher who is eager to have a novel about the Arkansas Ozarks and/or carnivals --

    (... you can guess what my latest book is about :O)

    -- so today, when I saw a mention of "Arkansas's Hottest Literary Service Company," my heart started pumping. (Well, it always pumps, sort of, ...but not always enthusiastically.)

    The ad says that "Jennifer Etherton Literary Services" is looking for authors in all genres.

    Have any of you heard of this agent?

    A couple of things make me wary:
    1. Jennifer Etherton apparently has only one author, and that author was "published" only on Amazon.com's "CreateSpace" self-publishing service.

    2. One of the "Article Writing Services" this agent provides is writing "academic papers." Her website says:
    "One of your experienced writers will research and build your academic paper complete with reference or biography page within 24 to 48 hours of receiving your order. ..."

    Let's ignore the typo ("your" instead of "our"), 'cause, hey, nobody's "prefect," not even agents.

    The part that makes me uncomfortable is that it appears they're selling term papers. (...and in less than 48 hours, too.)
    Umm, to my old-fashioned mind, that seems sorta, like, um, well, you know -- unethical !

    If any of you know lots of good things about Jennifer Etherton Literary Services, please tell me . . .'cause I really need to find an agent.

    Thanks.
    Rewriter

  2. #2
    Roe Draje Maddie's Avatar
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    Nothing in other sources like Query Tracker and Agent Query. Not that they're the ultimate sources, but fairly reliable at least. This agency sounds a lot like Savant Books (publisher), who uses Create-A-Space. I would pass, but keep an eye open for sales, etc. You don't need an agent for the Create-A-Space route.

  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin jeliteraryservices's Avatar
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    Thumbs up My Humble Opinion...

    Hello, I would like to put in my opinion if I may. Iím the owner of Jennifer Etherton Literary Services and Iím in no way associated with Savant Books. My agency is very new and while it is the most popular it also happens to be the only one in my area. As for not showing up on either Query Tracker or Agent Query, again my agency is very new. I have put in applications at both sites as well as AAR; Iím waiting to hear a response as to when my agencyís name will appear.

    Maddie is correct you do not need an agent to take advantage of CreateSpace. The reason why my client has elected to take this avenue, at the moment, is because she wants to be eligible for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. This award is not open to traditionally published books, so my client has opted for the self-publish avenue while the contest is ongoing. For privacy reasons I cannot go into complete detail, but I can say that since the most popular traditional publishers tend to shy away from first time authors a well known contest can sometimes add credit to an unseasoned author.

    I do offer to write academic papers, and while this is not unethical it is very lazy on the part of the client. I have to admit this is not my favorite part of the job, but it is a necessary service to offer. My website is in the process of being rewritten, because I have found an error or two. Like you said no one is perfect, including agents, but that does not mean that once an error is found it canít be fixed.

    Since I do own Jennifer Etherton Literary Services, I am a bit on the partial side, but I can tell you that I work very hard every day to see to it that my clients are more than satisfied with my work. I also see where you are worried that I only have one author posted on my site, this is because I am new and I only list published authors (even self-published). There will be more added shortly, but it does take some time to get from manuscript to published book.

    If you still would like to take a chance and send me a query I would be more than happy to look at it. As with any literary agency there is no obligation to simply get an opinion. Being able to work with an author who is writing about my home state would be an honor and a privilege. No matter if you keep looking or if you choose my agency to take on your project I do hope you find a place that you are comfortable and have the ability to grow and blossom as an author.

  4. #4
    Inappropriate Charmer Saanen's Avatar
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    Hi, owner of Jennifer Etherton Literary Services (are you the Jennifer in question?). Welcome to AW.

    What is your background in publishing? Do you have experience with any commercial publishers? Did you intern/apprentice with an established literary agent?

    Unless they've changed the rules since I last looked at it, the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest does not require anyone to self-publish their entry through CreateSpace. Did you look into the contest rules and advise your client, or did she make the self-publishing decision on her own? I ask mainly because CreateSpace self-publishing is not something any literary agent would suggest to a client, and I'm sort of flabbergasted that you would A) help your client self-publish and B) list that as a sale on your website. It's not a sale, it's not a credit, and it may actually make your client ineligible for the Breakthrough Novel contest, since if the book's available for sale online she may have used up rights the contest requires.

    I'm sure other AWers will have lots of questions for you. I hope you stick around.
    Visit my website!

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin jeliteraryservices's Avatar
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    An Answer to Saanen...

    When it comes to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, yes I did read the rules and regulations very carefully. You are right that self-publishing is not a requirement for this award, but it is allowed to be eligible. Again, I will not go into specifics about any of my clients as a privacy issue, but self-publishing is a good way to be eligible for the award and to get the word out about a particular book, depending on the individual.
    As for recommending self-publishing, no agent in their right mind would do that, but at the same time I have done my best to advise my client on this course of action. The reason I listed this client on my website is because I believe whole heartedly in her writing ability and the story that she is attempting to tell. While not my first choice, this course of action has been very good for her.
    As for my background in the literary community, it is actually more as a writer than an agent. I have worked in this industry for many years; my apprenticeship is more unofficial and by means of trial and error. I do have contact with many large traditional publishing houses and have taken great pains to foster many excellent working relationships in the literary industry and the press.
    Last edited by jeliteraryservices; 01-28-2011 at 02:02 AM. Reason: typo

  6. #6
    Roe Draje Maddie's Avatar
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    Forgive me, Jennifer, but Dawn Dowdle of Blue Ridge is a literary agent by trial and error. I mean no disrespect to you, and I do commend your will, including my hope for your success (and that of your signed authors), but your background has the potential to make one leery of the outcome.

    Alas, self-pubbed authors often find no respect in the mainstream industry (which is why they eventually self-publish). I would estimate that you will be considered somewhat of a greenhorn until you post sales to major publishing houses.

    Best of luck to you.

  7. #7
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin jeliteraryservices's Avatar
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    Response to Maddie...

    There was no offence taken and I welcome the questions and queries that I have received today. I understand that I have a lot to learn and I will be looked at as a greenhorn, but everyone has to start somewhere. Make no mistake, I understand the stigma that self-publishing can have and would not recommend it as a first choice. This client happened to be a very unusual case, with a story that breaks all of the traditional formulas. Again, I believe in this clientís ability and the work that she has produced. For this and other reasons we are actually going about the process backwards, because she wants to have a little seasoning before she hits, what she refers to as, the ďbig boysĒ.

    As for trying this very risky step with other clients, I would do what I did with this one. I will warn them of the potential risks and dangers, but in the end it will be their decision. I believe wholeheartedly that this client will be a success with traditional publishers and I also believe that, in time, I will have a full roster of traditionally published authors. It will take time and I will have to work out the kinks in the system, but in the end both me and my clients will grow from our experiences.

  8. #8
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Welcome to AW, Jennifer.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeliteraryservices View Post
    ...since the most popular traditional publishers tend to shy away from first time authors a well known contest can sometimes add credit to an unseasoned author.
    The only authors good publishers shy away from are authors who don't write very well. Debut authors get published all the time, and by very good publishing houses.

    I do offer to write academic papers, and while this is not unethical it is very lazy on the part of the client. I have to admit this is not my favorite part of the job, but it is a necessary service to offer.
    Do you really think it's ethical to write academic papers for people? I don't; I think it's a disgraceful thing to do. Would you like to be treated by a doctor who only got qualified because she paid others to write her papers for her? Would you be pleased if your children were taught by someone who only qualified as a teacher because he got someone else to write her papers for her? Would you live in a house which was designed by an architect who had paid someone else to write her papers, or which had been worked on by a structural engineer who got someone else to do the difficult numbers bit?

    As for it being a "necessary service to offer", I don't know a single reputable agent who offers this service, and I know quite a few good literary agents.

    I also see where you are worried that I only have one author posted on my site, this is because I am new and I only list published authors (even self-published). There will be more added shortly, but it does take some time to get from manuscript to published book.
    It does take time to get a published book: but you could list books that you've sold which aren't yet published. And you could list books you've worked on elsewhere, as an agent, editor or publisher. That would help.

    The problem is that you have no prior experience in publishing apart from as a writer. Agenting isn't something you can just step into: you need to know the job from the inside before you can do it properly; and you need to have a lot of contacts, too. I am sure your intentions are good, but I'm not so convinced about your agenting skills yet, I'm afraid.

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin jeliteraryservices's Avatar
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    Response to Old Hack...

    Iím glad that you know a great many literary agents, and I have made no secret about my experience. Iím not touting my skills as being at the very top of the literary ladder and have made concessions to the fact that I have a lot to learn. I never said that major publishing houses refuse to publish first time authors; I said that they shy away from it. In other words, it can be more difficult. I find it hard to believe that anyone would argue with the fact that it takes a great deal of determination to break into this business. In this, Iím not offering any shortcuts or excuses.


    As for writing academic papers, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Unfortunately, you probably do see a doctor who had a research paper or two written for him or her while they were in college. Your lawyer, judge, accountant, military officers, police officer, nurse, politician, and many other professionals may have taken advantage of the same service. Like I said before, it is not unethical, but it is lazy. The key is not whether or not your doctor had his Lit or History paper written for him or her that makes a difference, it is whether he or she actually took the test to become certified as a medical doctor or lawyer in your state. I hate to break it to you, but while I am very new to this business, the fact that I do offer other services does not negate my legitimacy.


    As for the last part of your post, I agree becoming an agent is not something that anyone can just step into. I also agree that an agent needs to have a great many contacts, which is one thing that I do have. I understand that there will be some hesitancy when it comes to signing with me as an agent and I welcome the inquiries. As for me listing works in progress on my site, while I have considered doing this I tend to shy away from it. I would prefer to wait until a contract is signed with a publisher before I announce to the world that a book will be published.

    As for convincing you that my skills as an agent are of the highest caliber; that will not happen, at this point in time, because I still have a lot to learn. I did not make the leap to this side of the industry lightly and have considered all of the pitfalls. There is one fact that no one can deny; every agent, even the best in the business, had to learn their skills and start small. That is what I am doing; Iím starting small and will grow slowly until I have mastered all of the skills necessary to be a top agent.

  10. #10
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeliteraryservices View Post
    I do offer to write academic papers, and while this is not unethical it is very lazy on the part of the client.
    1. It is absolutely unethical to write academic papers for hire or to facilitate someone else's plaigiarism.

    2. It is illegal in some states.

    Shame on you.

    I note by the way that the UC paper database and TurnItIn.com both have you listed as providing papers that were identified by faculty as purchased.
    Last edited by Medievalist; 01-28-2011 at 10:23 AM.

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  11. #11
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeliteraryservices View Post
    I’m glad that you know a great many literary agents, and I have made no secret about my experience. I’m not touting my skills as being at the very top of the literary ladder and have made concessions to the fact that I have a lot to learn
    You are repeatedly doing violence to English prosody. How can you possibly represent an author as a professional ?

    Quote Originally Posted by jeliteraryservices View Post
    As for writing academic papers, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Unfortunately, you probably do see a doctor who had a research paper or two written for him or her while they were in college.
    I don't care. They are unethical cretins.

    The fact that "other people do it" doesn't change the fact that it is not ok.

    Quote Originally Posted by jeliteraryservices View Post
    I hate to break it to you, but while I am very new to this business, the fact that I do offer other services does not negate my legitimacy.
    Yes, in fact it does. It absolutely does. It says you facilitate plagiarism.

    This is not a positive feature in an agent.

    You're tone-deaf enough that you have completely missed your audience--again, not a good sign in an agent.
    Last edited by Medievalist; 01-28-2011 at 10:35 AM.

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  12. #12
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeliteraryservices View Post
    I never said that major publishing houses refuse to publish first time authors; I said that they shy away from it. In other words, it can be more difficult.


    Perhaps you missed my point; perhaps I wasn't clear enough.

    Publishers absolutely DO NOT shy away from new writers who have written a well-written, commercial book.

    The difficulty comes when you're a writer who has written a mediocre book. But that's true for anyone, regardless of their publishing experience: being a new writer will not make publishers wary of publishing you if your book is good.

    I find it hard to believe that anyone would argue with the fact that it takes a great deal of determination to break into this business. In this, Iím not offering any shortcuts or excuses.


    I'm not arguing that writers don't need determination; and you're the one advocating short cuts by sending your client towards CreateSpace and the Amazon Breakthrough Award.

    As for writing academic papers, everyone is entitled to their own opinion.


    You're right; we all are entitled to our own opinions, but that doesn't mean that those opinions are all correct.

    Unfortunately, you probably do see a doctor who had a research paper or two written for him or her while they were in college.


    What research proves this? Cite your sources, please. Because if you can't, you're potentially maligning the entire profession.

    Your lawyer, judge, accountant, military officers, police officer, nurse, politician, and many other professionals may have taken advantage of the same service. Like I said before, it is not unethical, but it is lazy.


    Excuse my rather vigorous language here, but that's utter bollocks. Of course it's unethical to get someone else to write your university papers for you. It's CHEATING. And if it's discovered, it's enough to get you thrown out of university, to cost you your job, and to have all your academic achievements re-examined. From an ethical point of view there is nothing acceptable about writing papers for students; but I can see how the financial rewards you gain from doing so might make you try to pretend otherwise.

    The key is not whether or not your doctor had his Lit or History paper written for him or her that makes a difference, it is whether he or she actually took the test to become certified as a medical doctor or lawyer in your state.


    No: the key is that if someone doesn't write all their own papers for the qualification that they are awarded THEY ARE NOT QUALIFIED.

    I hate to break it to you, but while I am very new to this business, the fact that I do offer other services does not negate my legitimacy.


    Oh, but it does. It SO does.

    Not only that: but when publishers hear that you offer those services they're going to wonder who wrote your clients' books. If I were still acquiring books I would not even consider any of your clients because of that one problem, and I know I am not alone. By offering that service, you are directly affecting your clients' careers, and not for the better.

    As for the last part of your post, I agree becoming an agent is not something that anyone can just step into. I also agree that an agent needs to have a great many contacts, which is one thing that I do have.


    But do you also know how contracts work, what they mean, how to negotiate them? Do you also know which editors are looking for particular sorts of books? Do you have a good enough reputation to get your clients' books seen before all the others that land on those editors' desks? No, you don't. In which case you're not ready to be an agent.

    If you want to be an agent, go and get a job or an internship with an agency or a publisher; get some publishing experience somehow, however you can do it. Once you've done that you might begin to realise how unprepared you are for this job right now.

    I understand that there will be some hesitancy when it comes to signing with me as an agent and I welcome the inquiries. As for me listing works in progress on my site, while I have considered doing this I tend to shy away from it. I would prefer to wait until a contract is signed with a publisher before I announce to the world that a book will be published.


    I didn't suggest you listed books which were only under consideration; but you could safely list books for which those contracts have been signed. How many of them are there, by the way?

    As for convincing you that my skills as an agent are of the highest caliber; that will not happen, at this point in time, because I still have a lot to learn.


    You're using your clients' books to learn how to do this job, and when you make mistakes--as everyone does while they're learning--they will suffer as a result. I spoke to a new agent who, like you, had no publishing experience before she began agenting; she had misread one clause on a contract and consequently refused the offer for her client's book. That writer lost a fabulous publishing contract because of the agent's mistake; she remains unpublished.

    I did not make the leap to this side of the industry lightly and have considered all of the pitfalls. There is one fact that no one can deny; every agent, even the best in the business, had to learn their skills and start small. That is what I am doing; Iím starting small and will grow slowly until I have mastered all of the skills necessary to be a top agent.


    You won't ever master those skills unless you learn from someone who knows what they're doing. You can't work them out on your own. Find work with an agent, or a publisher: but please, for the sake of the writers who sign up with you, do not continue with your agenting activities until you know what you're doing.

  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW Nadia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeliteraryservices View Post
    As for writing academic papers, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Unfortunately, you probably do see a doctor who had a research paper or two written for him or her while they were in college. Your lawyer, judge, accountant, military officers, police officer, nurse, politician, and many other professionals may have taken advantage of the same service. Like I said before, it is not unethical, but it is lazy. The key is not whether or not your doctor had his Lit or History paper written for him or her that makes a difference, it is whether he or she actually took the test to become certified as a medical doctor or lawyer in your state. I hate to break it to you, but while I am very new to this business, the fact that I do offer other services does not negate my legitimacy.
    Actually utilizing your service would've resulted in automatic expulsion at my alma mater.

    The fact that you think this kind of service is perfectly legitimate and ethical makes me question how you run other aspects of your business.
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  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin jeliteraryservices's Avatar
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    Still Chewing on the Same Point...

    During the course of the past two days I have been hammered time and again, not for my actual skills and knowledge as an agent but for the fact that I offer other services. While everyone may not agree with the other services that are offered what does writing academic papers have to do with any other aspect of my business? My clients do not believe that I am hindering their careers and as for my academic ghostwriting my history professor is the one who introduced me to the industry. In reality, that is how I became a writer in the first place.

    Actually ghostwriting isnít plagiarism and to pay someone else to write a paper is neither unethical nor illegal in the United States. In reality plagiarism is perfectly legal, however if caught it will get you kicked out of college or fired. What I do is not plagiarism, the works I produce are completely original and factual, I just happen to get paid to write them. As I have said many times before it is not my favorite part of the job, but it is a necessary part.

    It is also important to remember that someone having a paper written for them does not mean that they have not taken the time to study their trade. It simply means that they did not write one assignment in the course of a 2, 4, 6, or 8 year degree. The time to get nervous is when someone tries to pay another to take the state boards or the BAR exam. That is when the public at large needs to raise their eyebrows.

    If you want to speak about my business practices and have serious questions about how I run my agency, then I will welcome any and all inquiries. Iím sorry that some will not even consider my authors because of the extra services I offer, but there are plenty that will. As for advocating shortcuts, I do nothing of the sort. My client wanted to attempt self-publishing after she read an article in Writerís Magazine. I strongly discouraged her from taking this path, but she insisted. After that, I had no choice but to make the best of the situation. Yes, her line of thought was to make money while still being eligible for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Guess what, as much as I hate to say this, the ploy has worked tremendously well. Again this is not something I would recommend, but it is working in this one case, so why slam something that is clearing working?

    For those who believe that I would write my clients books, that is a bit far fetch considering that Iím currently offering 5 up to publishers at a time. Not to mention that I am more comfortable writing factual articles then fictional stories. I work on the business end of the industry and leave the finer points of editing and critiquing to professionals on my staff. I have found that it is the best way to do business. Focus on the strongest points of each individual in the team. Before anyone asks in a superior tone, yes I do have my team proof read my articles before I send them to a client.

  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin jeliteraryservices's Avatar
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    Response to Nadia...

    Iím actually encouraged that colleges and universities are starting to take notice that many are not writing their own papers. Through the years I have been in the business I have written a grand total of 45 medical papers, 50 papers for law students, 3 for military personnel obtaining a degree through the United States government, and at least 30 papers for business majors. Again I will defend what I did and still do, on a much smaller scale, because it isnít illegal. In this one instance, I do hope the secondary schools take the time to ensure I can stop offering this service.

    Iím not going to lie, writing academic papers pays the bills. In reality, I would prefer that everyone obtained their degree the same way I did, on their own.

  16. #16
    Writer is as Writer does Terie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeliteraryservices View Post
    Hello, I would like to put in my opinion if I may. Iím the owner of Jennifer Etherton Literary Services and Iím in no way associated with Savant Books. My agency is very new and while it is the most popular it also happens to be the only one in my area. As for not showing up on either Query Tracker or Agent Query, again my agency is very new. I have put in applications at both sites as well as AAR; Iím waiting to hear a response as to when my agencyís name will appear.

    Maddie is correct you do not need an agent to take advantage of CreateSpace. The reason why my client has elected to take this avenue, at the moment, is because she wants to be eligible for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. This award is not open to traditionally published books, so my client has opted for the self-publish avenue while the contest is ongoing. For privacy reasons I cannot go into complete detail, but I can say that since the most popular traditional publishers tend to shy away from first time authors a well known contest can sometimes add credit to an unseasoned author.

    I do offer to write academic papers, and while this is not unethical it is very lazy on the part of the client. I have to admit this is not my favorite part of the job, but it is a necessary service to offer. My website is in the process of being rewritten, because I have found an error or two. Like you said no one is perfect, including agents, but that does not mean that once an error is found it canít be fixed.

    Since I do own Jennifer Etherton Literary Services, I am a bit on the partial side, but I can tell you that I work very hard every day to see to it that my clients are more than satisfied with my work. I also see where you are worried that I only have one author posted on my site, this is because I am new and I only list published authors (even self-published). There will be more added shortly, but it does take some time to get from manuscript to published book.

    If you still would like to take a chance and send me a query I would be more than happy to look at it. As with any literary agency there is no obligation to simply get an opinion. Being able to work with an author who is writing about my home state would be an honor and a privilege. No matter if you keep looking or if you choose my agency to take on your project I do hope you find a place that you are comfortable and have the ability to grow and blossom as an author.
    Quote Originally Posted by jeliteraryservices View Post
    When it comes to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award, yes I did read the rules and regulations very carefully. You are right that self-publishing is not a requirement for this award, but it is allowed to be eligible. Again, I will not go into specifics about any of my clients as a privacy issue, but self-publishing is a good way to be eligible for the award and to get the word out about a particular book, depending on the individual.

    As for recommending self-publishing, no agent in their right mind would do that, but at the same time I have done my best to advise my client on this course of action. The reason I listed this client on my website is because I believe whole heartedly in her writing ability and the story that she is attempting to tell. While not my first choice, this course of action has been very good for her.

    As for my background in the literary community, it is actually more as a writer than an agent. I have worked in this industry for many years; my apprenticeship is more unofficial and by means of trial and error. I do have contact with many large traditional publishing houses and have taken great pains to foster many excellent working relationships in the literary industry and the press.
    Quote Originally Posted by jeliteraryservices View Post
    There was no offence taken and I welcome the questions and queries that I have received today. I understand that I have a lot to learn and I will be looked at as a greenhorn, but everyone has to start somewhere. Make no mistake, I understand the stigma that self-publishing can have and would not recommend it as a first choice. This client happened to be a very unusual case, with a story that breaks all of the traditional formulas. Again, I believe in this clientís ability and the work that she has produced. For this and other reasons we are actually going about the process backwards, because she wants to have a little seasoning before she hits, what she refers to as, the ďbig boysĒ.

    As for trying this very risky step with other clients, I would do what I did with this one. I will warn them of the potential risks and dangers, but in the end it will be their decision. I believe wholeheartedly that this client will be a success with traditional publishers and I also believe that, in time, I will have a full roster of traditionally published authors. It will take time and I will have to work out the kinks in the system, but in the end both me and my clients will grow from our experiences.
    Quote Originally Posted by jeliteraryservices View Post
    Iím glad that you know a great many literary agents, and I have made no secret about my experience. Iím not touting my skills as being at the very top of the literary ladder and have made concessions to the fact that I have a lot to learn. I never said that major publishing houses refuse to publish first time authors; I said that they shy away from it. In other words, it can be more difficult. I find it hard to believe that anyone would argue with the fact that it takes a great deal of determination to break into this business. In this, Iím not offering any shortcuts or excuses.

    As for writing academic papers, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Unfortunately, you probably do see a doctor who had a research paper or two written for him or her while they were in college. Your lawyer, judge, accountant, military officers, police officer, nurse, politician, and many other professionals may have taken advantage of the same service. Like I said before, it is not unethical, but it is lazy. The key is not whether or not your doctor had his Lit or History paper written for him or her that makes a difference, it is whether he or she actually took the test to become certified as a medical doctor or lawyer in your state. I hate to break it to you, but while I am very new to this business, the fact that I do offer other services does not negate my legitimacy.

    As for the last part of your post, I agree becoming an agent is not something that anyone can just step into. I also agree that an agent needs to have a great many contacts, which is one thing that I do have. I understand that there will be some hesitancy when it comes to signing with me as an agent and I welcome the inquiries. As for me listing works in progress on my site, while I have considered doing this I tend to shy away from it. I would prefer to wait until a contract is signed with a publisher before I announce to the world that a book will be published.

    As for convincing you that my skills as an agent are of the highest caliber; that will not happen, at this point in time, because I still have a lot to learn. I did not make the leap to this side of the industry lightly and have considered all of the pitfalls. There is one fact that no one can deny; every agent, even the best in the business, had to learn their skills and start small. That is what I am doing; Iím starting small and will grow slowly until I have mastered all of the skills necessary to be a top agent.
    Quote Originally Posted by jeliteraryservices View Post
    During the course of the past two days I have been hammered time and again, not for my actual skills and knowledge as an agent but for the fact that I offer other services. While everyone may not agree with the other services that are offered what does writing academic papers have to do with any other aspect of my business? My clients do not believe that I am hindering their careers and as for my academic ghostwriting my history professor is the one who introduced me to the industry. In reality, that is how I became a writer in the first place.

    Actually ghostwriting isnít plagiarism and to pay someone else to write a paper is neither unethical nor illegal in the United States. In reality plagiarism is perfectly legal, however if caught it will get you kicked out of college or fired. What I do is not plagiarism, the works I produce are completely original and factual, I just happen to get paid to write them. As I have said many times before it is not my favorite part of the job, but it is a necessary part.

    It is also important to remember that someone having a paper written for them does not mean that they have not taken the time to study their trade. It simply means that they did not write one assignment in the course of a 2, 4, 6, or 8 year degree. The time to get nervous is when someone tries to pay another to take the state boards or the BAR exam. That is when the public at large needs to raise their eyebrows.

    If you want to speak about my business practices and have serious questions about how I run my agency, then I will welcome any and all inquiries. Iím sorry that some will not even consider my authors because of the extra services I offer, but there are plenty that will. As for advocating shortcuts, I do nothing of the sort. My client wanted to attempt self-publishing after she read an article in Writerís Magazine. I strongly discouraged her from taking this path, but she insisted. After that, I had no choice but to make the best of the situation. Yes, her line of thought was to make money while still being eligible for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Guess what, as much as I hate to say this, the ploy has worked tremendously well. Again this is not something I would recommend, but it is working in this one case, so why slam something that is clearing working?

    For those who believe that I would write my clients books, that is a bit far fetch considering that Iím currently offering 5 up to publishers at a time. Not to mention that I am more comfortable writing factual articles then fictional stories. I work on the business end of the industry and leave the finer points of editing and critiquing to professionals on my staff. I have found that it is the best way to do business. Focus on the strongest points of each individual in the team. Before anyone asks in a superior tone, yes I do have my team proof read my articles before I send them to a client.
    Quote Originally Posted by jeliteraryservices View Post
    Iím actually encouraged that colleges and universities are starting to take notice that many are not writing their own papers. Through the years I have been in the business I have written a grand total of 45 medical papers, 50 papers for law students, 3 for military personnel obtaining a degree through the United States government, and at least 30 papers for business majors. Again I will defend what I did and still do, on a much smaller scale, because it isnít illegal. In this one instance, I do hope the secondary schools take the time to ensure I can stop offering this service.

    Iím not going to lie, writing academic papers pays the bills. In reality, I would prefer that everyone obtained their degree the same way I did, on their own.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeliteraryservices View Post
    During the course of the past two days I have been hammered time and again, not for my actual skills and knowledge as an agent but for the fact that I offer other services.
    So far, you haven't demonstrated any skills or knowledge that qualifies you to be an agent. Up-thread, Saanen asked about your experience and you were extremely vague. The agents I know are very forthright about their experience, whether they have worked as assistants in other agencies, were previously on an editorial staff at a publisher, or have worked in literary law.

    What are your skills and knowledge, specifically, that make you qualified to be a literary agent? These are the questions we ask here, because this forum is a resource for writers. We want them to have all possible information.
    Last edited by ChaosTitan; 01-28-2011 at 08:10 PM.
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    Response to Terie

    lol...whatever floats your boat...

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    Response to ChaosTitan

    My skills as an agent are, in fact, very limited. Iím very new to the industry and started as a writer. I have made no secret about cutting my teeth, in this industry, by trial and error. I have also acknowledged that I have a lot to learn. In reality, I started writing professionally when I was still in college and upon graduation slowly eased into this side of the business. I started by first attending literary conferences in New York, then taking the contacts I made there and matching friends and acquaintances with the people I met.

    This was a very rudimentary way to start, but it worked well. I never considered doing this professionally until those same friends decided to send me referrals and an agency was born. The fact is that I do need polishing as an agent and furthering my education will be necessary to graduate to the top of this field. Again, everyone has to start somewhere. I know that many will have reservations about trusting someone so new and inexperienced, in the business, with their manuscripts, but the ones that do take the shot will learn right alongside me.

    The one thing that I do have going for me is that I am constantly attempting to hone my skills. I do this by attending conferences and nurturing the professional relationships that I currently have in this business.

  20. #20
    Ships full of vampires are hell. AW Moderator amergina's Avatar
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    Why should I submit my manuscript to you over an established literary agent?

    Why should I submit my manuscript to you over a new agent (who either interned at an established agency or has crossed over from the editing side of publishing) at an established agency?

    What do you bring to the table that they don't?

    And yes, your background in writing academic papers for other people does make me view you in a negative light. If you really want people to obtain their degrees by doing their own work, you let them fail. You don't become part of the problem. It makes me wonder what other unethical shortcuts you'd be fine with...

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    I'm posting in this thread because I want to help writers find an experienced agent with a proven track record of sales in the genre they're representing.

    Ms. Etherton, if you have "limited" skills as an agent (you never interned in the business or were an assistant at a larger agency and broke away to start your own agency) then you are doing a major disservice to writers who sign with you. There is no Bachelors Degree in "Literary Agent." You must have editorial contacts in the genres you represent. You must know how to negotiate a literary contract. You must know what editors are looking for and have a good working relationship with them.

    You "hone your skills" at all of the above by being a part of the agenting world before you set up on your own. There is no shortcut. Yet right now you're using the books writers have worked hard to polish prepare for a legitimate publishing deal as the rungs in your personal ladder of success. When you can't sell their book because you have no experience in all the areas I listed above, you can move on to someone else's book, but theirs is dead in the water.

    A student who pays you to write their term paper is cheating and may be put on academic probation or expelled--but he/she could still work to get into another school, write their own papers, and graduate.

    A writer who signs with an agent who uses his/her book as practice doesn't have that second chance with that book.

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    Response to amergina...

    Quote Originally Posted by amergina View Post
    Why should I submit my manuscript to you over an established literary agent?
    The only truthful way I can answer this question is that you shouldnít. An established literary agency will be able to open doors for you that I currently am not privy to however, depending on the size of the agency; I can offer a more personal service that they cannot. When it comes to the established agency the only thing that I can offer that may make a difference is that you are more than just another author to deal with or another paycheck.

    Quote Originally Posted by amergina View Post
    Why should I submit my manuscript to you over a new agent (who either interned at an established agency or has crossed over from the editing side of publishing) at an established agency?
    Again to answer this question, you should go with the new agent in an established agency. He or she will have access to more contacts than I currently have and he or she should be able to give you the personal service that you deserve. The only thing that I can offer in this instance is personal service, but a new agent in an established agency will be able to have the right combination of a large list of contacts and personal service.

    Quote Originally Posted by amergina View Post
    What do you bring to the table that they don't?
    NothingÖ Iím very new and only have a limited number of contacts, at the moment. I do bring a personal approach to the services that I offer. That may not be enough for the majority of authors today, but it is the only thing I can offer at this time. Donít get me wrong I do have contacts in this industry, but not to the extent of an established literary agency.

    Quote Originally Posted by amergina View Post
    And yes, your background in writing academic papers for other people does make me view you in a negative light. If you really want people to obtain their degrees by doing their own work, you let them fail. You don't become part of the problem. It makes me wonder what other unethical shortcuts you'd be fine with...
    I have noticed that it puts me in a negative light for many on this forumÖ Iím not going to write anymore on my offering of academic papers, because I will continue to defend my stance. I guess it depends on what someone considers unethical, as to whether or not I would be fine with it.

    Copyright infringementónot in a million yearsÖ
    Actual plagiarismóabsolutely notÖ
    Ghostwritingówould have to review the agreement made between parties and go from there.

    Give me some examples of what you consider unethical behavior and I will tell you if I would be fine with it or not. Donít worry; Iíll be completely honest about my position on the subject.

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    Response to callalily61...

    You make very good points and I agree that there are risks to signing with me, but I do have some contacts in this industry. I also make it very clear to anyone who wants to sign with me that I am very new in the industry and that it will be a learning experience. This way they know exactly what they are getting into. Iím not the type of person who would callously use another individual to get ahead in life and work very hard to ensure those who do sign with me know all of the risks.
    This honesty in business may be why there are some who take the chance on an inexperienced agent. I havenít become so seasoned that I will say anything to get a new client, and hope that I never will.

    I know there is not a ďdegree in 'Literary AgentsíĒ, but at the same time there is a business degree available and my business degree has helped me negotiate a few contracts in this industry. I do have a firm foundation for the business side of this industry and am working to learn the rest. I donít believe I have made a secret of my lack of experience. In reality, I believe I have repeated myself over and over when it comes to my lack of experience and willingness to learn

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    "Personal service"

    You keep using the phrase "a personal service." I am intrigued by that and would like you to define it. What, precisely, do you mean by it? What is included in your "personal service" that you imply other agents don't offer?
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  25. #25
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    Lack of experience and being new are okay, but you need to have a plan for learning. Do you plan to take on a more experienced agent as a partner? Will you be taking a position with a different agency? How are you going to acquire the skills you need?
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