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Thread: Natasha Kern Literary Agency

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW TrixieBelden's Avatar
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    Natasha Kern Literary Agency

    I did a search forum and came up with nothing.
    Anyone know anything on this agency?
    Natasha Kern Literary Agency?

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  2. #2
    I'm lost. StoryG27's Avatar
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    Looks good to me. The agency was rated 11th by Writer's Digest in the top twenty five agencies for new writers. I don't see any red flags and she sounds like the real deal. She has a lot of recent sales to major publishers. In case you need it this is an address for her site. Best of luck.
    http://www.natashakern.com/headlines.htm

  3. #3
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by storygirl
    Looks good to me. The agency was rated 11th by Writer's Digest in the top twenty five agencies for new writers.
    These ratings are not entirely reliable. I've seen past ratings where agency information was wrong, and WD is not always good at distinguishing established agents from marginal ones.

    Natasha Kern is a very successful agent, with a strong track record and some bestselling clients. However, the agency offers an assessment service to rejected writers at a cost of $65; this is perilously close to a reading fee. Also, there's something of an ethical cloud over Ms. Kern's past--in the mid-1990's she was voted out of AAR for falsifying auction bids (I've heard nothing since then about any misconduct).

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  4. #4
    Sockpuppet
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    Natasha Kern

    The "assessment fee" is now $75.

    If you send that with your query, they'll tell you what's wrong with the ms that accompanies it. IMO that IS a reading fee. Or legalized bribery. This woman should be in politics.

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    FWIW, I sent a query two weeks ago and got a quick rejection with no mention of the $75. I saw the moolah mentioned on her site, but the other info overshadowed it. Perhaps, I'm easily snowed.

  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I've met Natasha several times. She absolutely is the real deal, very, very successful. She can come across as rushed, even rude sometimes, I think because she's very busy. But if she loves your writing, there is a total transformation. She spent years as a New York editor before moving out West, at which time she decided to become a literary agent. She has sold hundreds and hundreds of books, is a real pro. I wouldn't worry at all about "ethical clouds." My guess is that something went very wrong (at the time, in the early 90s, she may have been a new literary agent and not as competent as she is now.) All indications are that she has a strong sense of ethics, and loyalty to her clients. Regarding the reading service, I asked her about that. She started it to help writers--it was never, never, a requirement for submitting to her. It was also partially to train members of her staff, according to what she told me. She had to terminate the service because she had to read all the submissions anyway, so the service was taking up too much of her time. If you can get Natasha Kern for your agent, you will be very, very fortunate! She's one of the best.

  7. #7
    ideas are floating where they will Stlight's Avatar
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    KamiKami, welcome to the board.

    Since you are a client maybe you can explain why she wants to know "where you learned to write." She can read the sub and see if you can write, why does where you learned matter?

    S

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW frandavea's Avatar
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    I submitted a query and sample pages today for my YA novel, and I really hope she'd like to work with me.

    Personally, I liked her asking "where I learned to write," rather than the usual cold list of publishing credentials, which not all of us have yet. The question is no different than an agent requesting you to provide reasons why you are qualified to write the book you are submitting. It's a personal question, not a professional one.

    Plus, she's from my neck of the woods, 50 miles away in White Salmon, WA.
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  9. #9
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    Unless it's a non-fic book, I don't see the point of being asked 'where I learned to write'. I have no 'credentials' of any sort, didn't take any writing courses (which I'm not opposed to nor am I knocking, it's just I've not had the opportunity to take them) - does that make me unqualified to be a writer even if I can pound out a good story?
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  10. #10
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I've also met Natasha several times and know her well enough to affirm verbatum kamikami's post above. I will add that the "ethical cloud" is the consequence of an unethical competitor who set her up in an on-line auction. Natasha is ethical and trusting; and something did go "very wrong" as kamikami suggests: she was too naive to imagine anyone setting her up to look like she was falsifying auction bids. Unfortunately, the competitor was a very large NYC agency with legal prowess. Rather than engage them in a costly legal battle, she just "sucked it up" and moved on. She didn't deserve to be removed from AAR; and she certainly doesn't deserve to have that issue still dogging her, even minimally, all these years later. To her credit, despite that event, she is so very successful, she can afford to be highly selective of the titles she chooses to represent--as one of the best agents, she chooses to represent the best titles.
    Last edited by Contact721; 04-03-2010 at 02:11 AM.

  11. #11
    Writer Beware's Faithful Igor Richard White's Avatar
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    Hmm, and the one post people start popping up again.

    Kamikami pops in, posts a glowing report about this agent and disappears into the mist.

    Now, Contact721 appears to vouch for a twenty-month old posting.

    Sounds like someone's googling their name again.

  12. #12
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Contact721:
    I've also met Natasha several times and know her well enough to affirm verbatum kamikami's post above. I will add that the "ethical cloud" is the consequence of an unethical competitor who set her up in an on-line auction.
    I'm amazed that Natasha would want to tell you all the ins and outs of this affair if you've only met her "several times". She really must be trusting.

    Contact721:
    She didn't deserve to be removed from AAR; and she certainly doesn't deserve to have that issue still dogging her, even minimally, all these years later.
    Given that you're such a pal of Natasha, can you confirm that she is no longer charging an "assessment fee" for submissions? It's just that this would also be a violation of AAR rules.

    Contact721:
    To her credit, despite that event, she is so very successful, she can afford to be highly selective of the titles she chooses to represent--as one of the best agents, she chooses to represent the best titles.
    I agree that she has an impressive track record, which is why I was so surprised to see that she'd ever had an "assessment fee".

    MM

  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW Wildflower90's Avatar
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    Has anyone heard anything new about her lately?
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  14. #14
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    I was talking with another agent-friend earlier this week who is in fairly regular contact with her. Sounds like she's doing great, as are many of her authors.

  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW TrixieBelden's Avatar
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    The one post wonders always make me nervous. It's never a good sign.

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  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW K. Victoria Chase's Avatar
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    Queried Natasha on 2/4. Will post response time.
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  17. #17
    Listening to my other selves Erin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K. Victoria Chase View Post
    Queried Natasha on 2/4. Will post response time.
    I believe she's a non-responder on rejections. She never responded to 2 of my previous queries. Good luck!
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  18. #18
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    Erin, that's my impression, too. I do know she's begun turning up at the Christian fic conferences and is taking pitches. That means she's both mainstream fic and C-fic friendly. A rare bird in our market, and most welcome. I wish more agents were comfortable in both ponds.

  19. #19
    Seen 'em come, seen 'em go Gravity's Avatar
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  20. #20
    practical experience, FTW K. Victoria Chase's Avatar
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    Erin, thanks for that. I do recall seeing on their website that if I don't hear from them in two weeks, then it's a pass. About 12 days left...
    K. Victoria Chase
    Author of Interracial Romance
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  21. #21
    An unknown known SJWangsness's Avatar
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    Hmm, there must be some reason this is one of the few agencies that handles mysteries that I didn't submit to, but I'll be danged if I can remember why!

  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW pavtbr's Avatar
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    I emailed a query yesterday for my historical fiction and got an autoreply email, so I know it went through. I'll post back again when I hear a response.
    Bryan

  23. #23
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Strange Response

    I emailed a query, first chapter, and synopsis early last year. Athena Kern responded with a full request. I heard back about six months later and the response letter was odd. She explained that if the ms was publishable I would have heard back much sooner. Ouch.

    It was a fairly long rejection letter, and personalized, but strange. She said my historical was, in fact, not a historical. I had said it was Historical fiction with romantic elements because it was a coming of age story that had dabs of a romantic relationship in the first half.

    She said it was actually a romance novel. Yet, all through the letter, she explained that I still had much to learn, and my ms was not publishable, because it didn't fit the romance genre format. She complimented my writing, and characters, and historical setting. But kept coming back to the fact that it wasn't properly formatted as a romance novel.

    She tried to be nice, I think. She suggested I join a writer's organization and buy their conference CD's to learn proper guidelines. She suggested against attending conferences, saying that I was at the point where the cost of a conference would be a waste of funds.

    The interesting thing is I am a PRO member of RWA. I know the formatting for romance novels. I've written a couple. And this was not a romance novel. I've also attended RWA conferences and won awards for my writing.

    I am not upset by Athena's response. Obviously, she didn't get the concept of my novel and therefore would not be good representation for it. But I wanted to share this experience to give other writers a heads-up. She requested my historical. Said it was a romance. Then said it was not publishable because it lacked romance guidelines. Not to mention the jab about conferences and how she would have gotten back to me much sooner if it had been publishable. That fact, she stated twice in the letter.

  24. #24
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Just popping in (with a one-off post) to mention what I know of Natasha Kern from having worked with her (not as an author but as a publishing professional) for 8 or 9 years. Natasha is a fierce proponent of her authors and any writer would be lucky to have her pushing for them. She is very frank, which can rub the wrong way when you're on the wrong end of it (as I have been) but she is smart, knowledgeable, and successful--and her authors are successful as well. And I'd like to say a word about the one-off post comments above. I don't think they are suspicious at all. I think they are likely from people who, like me, don't have the time (or memory capacity, perhaps) to go back and check up on all our posts on all the various kinds of forums and discussions in which we take part. And since those posts did not pose questions that wanted answers, why would their authors check back and add more? Just because someone doesn't lurk in a thread doesn't mean they are up to something.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by kamikami View Post
    She can come across as rushed, even rude sometimes.
    Yes, she most certainly can.

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