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Thread: Corvisiero Literary Agency / Literary Powerhouse Consulting (Marisa Corvisiero)

  1. #51
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I signed with Marisa last year after she accepted my manuscript for representation. Yes, I read the Predator and Editor comments about the L Perkins Agency, and I questioned Marisa about those issues. Her answer satisfied me, and I accepted the contract. I'm new at this game, so I can't compare my experience with anyone else's, but her business manner impressed me from the start.

    After signing, she had my work read by two others under her literary group and gave me feedabck for both...no charge. Her own reading produced a number of detailed suggestions for improvements that she felt may help the story be more marketable...no charge. By the way, proprietary feelings about my story caused me to resist change, but I reluctantly considered each of her points, and had to admit, every recommendation did make the story better. I incorporated many of her suggestions and was very pleased with the result.

    To date, Marisa has not charged me a dime for any literary agent service. Nor has she suggested any fee-based services. She also managed to get a NYT multiple-Bestselling novelist to read my story and he agreed to write a strong endorsement; again, no charge. Her pitch package on my story is going out to main-stream editors shortly after her new agency goes live on March first. (I am thrilled and hopeful!) She also gave me the choice to remain with the L Perkins Agency or to join her in her new literary firm. That is integrity. I terminated the first contract and remained with her, knowing that this would slightly delay pitching my book.

    As I said, I am not a worldy, author-sucess like some of you profess to be. But, I'm not stupid either. I studied the issues associated with query letters, manuscript formatting, writing synopses, and, as a long time successful businessman, I know a bit about contracts. I read every word of her contract (both Perkins and the new Corvisiero contact) and even questioned her about a couple of issues. The point is, I did not engage her services haphazardly or without vetting, including discussions about conflict of interest issues.

    When she told me about starting the Literary Powerhouse Consulting, I asked her, point blank, if that was a possible conflict of interest. She satisfied me that she would NEVER charge a client of her literary agency for any of her services. The purpose of that new business entity is to bring aspiring authors, literary agents, editors and small publishers together in a place where writers can develop their craft and move in the direction of legitimate publication. It's the internet equivalent of a writer's convention where people can 1) pitch their work to agents and publishers in pitch sessions, 2) develop their skill with advice from successful authors, and 3) build confidence in their ability craft a marketable story.

    To the best of my knowledge, the basic Literary Powerhouse website is free. Inside the site, she incorporates a membership section that she calls the "Portal." This is where valuable contacts and content are offered; literary agents (not limited to Marisa) will participate in live chatrooms, workshops are offered, and other services like hosting blogs are provided to help an aspiring author build a platform. She charges a small monthly fee for access to this Portal. By the way, attending a writers convention for similar services usually costs $350+ for the event, as well as airfare and hotel costs. The total is often over $1,000. If an aspiring author can access similar services from the privacy of one's own home, then the small monthly fee seems like a bargain to me...and, if they don't like it, they can quit.

    Nevertheless, I do understand the history of the publishing industry. Unscrupulous agents and "editors," mostly at vanity press houses, charged reading fees, editing fees, cover layout fees, etc. Those people are good reason for the conflict-of-issue sensivity and I asked Marisa about that long before the website evolved. She assured me that she would keep a clear distinction and separation between her work as a literary agent and the consulting website. To date, she has kept every promise she has made to me. I have no reason to distrust her. Obviously, you have the right to question her ethics, and challenge her professional integrity. I simply want to give my first-hand POV about her professionalism for others who might read this one-sided thread. Now, I just want her to sell my manuscript, so I can join the ranks of you "highly successful" authors.

    Disclaimer: My comments are completly unsolicited. Marisa had no idea I was going to say anything...hell, I didn't even know it, until I read this thread.
    Last edited by NaCl; 02-22-2012 at 11:25 PM. Reason: add disclaimer

  2. #52
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    Victoria, yep. That's a good point. And I've already addressed that. My clients are all on the Portal and no one pays. In fact I've given free memberships to people who are being considered in case they become members. My agency clients will not need consulting services, unless they need a website, or they want extended publicity services, which are not provided by agents. And still at that point it is still their choice as to where they want to get the services from. I don't care either way as long as they work their butts off to sell books

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by angelfrancis View Post
    Marisa is so-so nice, I **really** can't imagine her being shady at all. Seems to me, she is just dabbling in a lot of stuff because its all what she enjoys.
    Thank you!

  4. #54
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    Thank you Dean!

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC58 View Post
    Hi Old Hack. Thanks for the welcome. The LitPow portal is a place where writers can congregate with writers. It is a social media platform, sort of like facebook, except that it is exclusive to literary industry people, authors have been signing up, all of my clients are there (for free), and we are in the process of inviting agents and publishers as well. This network is not just exclusive to the industry, but a safe place, free from crawlers and advertisers and information hackers. But that isn't even the best part, and the reason why there is a charge for this site. The big part of the Literary Powerhouse Portal is that we are creating programs that we call PowerTools, that authors can use to organize information, to get information that is not readily available. Most of this is information that my team and I have gathered, my contacts, and statistical information that our programs put together based on this compiled information. Members get discounts to workshops, free workshops, blogs, discounts on website building and hosting, resource databases, free consulting when we do live chats or when they ask myself or my contacts questions in our groups, etc, etc, etc. There will be 10 such PowerTool total. The Portal is at an infancy stage and we still have a lot of work to do, but it is truly fabulous. And I'm very proud of it. I have been pitching it to publishers and the majority are eager to jump on. If you don't think that that has added value, then feel free to decline the invitation. And to answer your question, since this has nothing to do with querying me, me linking anyone's book, or selling their book, I don't see how this could possibly create a conflict. If anything, one of them may get discovered by an agent or publisher there! That's the whole point of a Publishing Industry Network!

    To answer question number two....
    I'm not quite sure I understand how the website and powerhouse information you're describing is worth the incredibly high expense. I could see workshops and conference discounts potentially being useful, but what are you offering that an author couldn't get from membership in a writer's group, or find online, or, better yet, as your client for free if you were their agent?

    I could never afford something like this in the first place so I guess I'm not your target audience, but the expense seems...well, more than a little much to me.

    You also mention your statistics and contacts, etc. from your agenting being available, but considering most major publishers don't accept unagented submissions, how does this benefit anyone? After all, the author would still need an agent and the agent would have contacts of his/her own.

    Also, if this is considered a positive, what books have you sold to major publishers and what sort of deals were you able to make? I know one complaint about Lori Perkins is that most of the sales being made by the agents were either to epublishers or small presses that didn't require agents or pay advances. These are contacts that an author could find on their own, for one, but also indicate that the agents didn't have the contacts with major players required to make big sales.

    I'm asking honestly because I don't quite understand what you're offering here or what an author will get out of it. Thank you for coming here to answer our questions.

    ETA: I also wonder how your contacts feel about having their information sold to third-parties. In my mind, this is similar to when a store sells your contact info to people who then start calling your cell phone with offers and sending junk mail to your house or spamming your email account. I know it isn't exactly the same, but personally I would not be happy with information about me being sold to other people who might exploit it in ways I didn't want. Do they know information is being shared and have they agreed? Is this even a valid concern or am I just overly paranoid in terms of privacy issues?


  6. #56
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    Thanks for your questions. The answer is that the powerhouse membership package is not for everyone. That's why most people only pay $25 to $30 per 6 months. And I'm not selling my contacts. My contacts are going on the site and completing their own profiles. All other gathered information is complied from different sources and put into functional and useful tools that are all available in one place. For those that don't find value in chatting with publishers and agents and having access to the info or tools, they don't have to visit. But I hope that the do, because they'll be missing out!

  7. #57
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC58 View Post
    Thanks for your questions. The answer is that the powerhouse membership package is not for everyone. That's why most people only pay $25 to $30 per 6 months. And I'm not selling my contacts. My contacts are going on the site and completing their own profiles.
    So wow, you've invented Book Country.

    That's totally awesome.

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  8. #58
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    Hi Marisa,

    Thanks for coming to answer questions!


    I too wonder how your Portal differs from YADS, but I'm sure you'll explain that as we go on. My question is, do you/have you considered offering a straight legal service to authors? I.e. vetting contracts for a flat fee, assisting with issues of copyright/trademark, that sort of thing? I know Elaine English offers such a service to unagented authors, for example (I believe she charges $50 or so for a look at the contract and an opinion, but don't quote me on that).

    Given your legal background, I'd think that would be kind of a natural fit. And forgive me if I seem untoward here, as that's not at all my intention--you're free to run whatever sort of business you choose, of course--but I wonder why you didn't aim for that or why it isn't offered as a service?

    As more authors look to epublishing etc. I believe the demand for such a thing will rise, but of course that's just IMO. I know a lot of people do have attorneys look at contracts, but they don't always select attorneys who have any knowledge of IP/publishing, which is a shame and leads them into signing poor or unfair contracts (I think all of us here have seen it happen more than once).


    Also, could you share with us the names of any agents/editors who've signed up with your service?
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  10. #60
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    Hi, Marisa. Thanks for clarifying your take on my legal questions. As was noted, I'd wondered about a lawyer not flagging the potential conflict of interest issues. Also, I in no way meant to downplay your experience as a lawyer, or to suggest that it might lead to predatory practices against writers.

    While you were with Perkins, I wanted to query you - until I read more about the complaints against the Perkins Agency. Now that you've spun off the business into your own agency, I look forward to seeing how 2012 develops for you.

  11. #61
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC58 View Post
    Victoria, yep. That's a good point. And I've already addressed that. My clients are all on the Portal and no one pays. In fact I've given free memberships to people who are being considered in case they become members. My agency clients will not need consulting services, unless they need a website, or they want extended publicity services, which are not provided by agents. And still at that point it is still their choice as to where they want to get the services from.
    Maybe clarifying this on your websites would help? At least it might help to forestall some of the discussion.

    - Victoria

  12. #62
    They've been very bad, Mr Flibble Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    Thanks for coming and answering - it really does help

    One quick question, to which I hope there will be a definitive answer:

    Will you direct authors who query you to Literary Powerhouse?

    I ask because of scams that have used that approach, though I don't expect it of you. However, it could be seen as negative (and a huge conflict - see the whole Edit Ink debacle, among others). How do you address that?

    While advising a prospective client to a consultancy isn't bad as such, (I know of one very reputable agency in the UK that does so) repping them to one you have a hand in....

    You see how that looks?

    How do you intend to address that conflict? Because I haven't seen any concrete assurances that you won't or that you'll keep everything separate (your clients are members for example), and while I think you have good intentions, it really does need to be set in stone if you want writers who know what they are about to take thjis seriously. It's just too damn easy to abuse (see various debacles, where pubs/agents send/recommend failing queriers off to fee-paying subsidiaries in the hope they'll get representation/ a deal)

    So what do you have in place to stop that/defend against that?

    This needs to be crystal clear.




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  13. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC58 View Post
    Thanks for your questions. The answer is that the powerhouse membership package is not for everyone. That's why most people only pay $25 to $30 per 6 months. And I'm not selling my contacts. My contacts are going on the site and completing their own profiles. All other gathered information is complied from different sources and put into functional and useful tools that are all available in one place. For those that don't find value in chatting with publishers and agents and having access to the info or tools, they don't have to visit. But I hope that the do, because they'll be missing out!
    Thanks for clarifying.


  14. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC58 View Post
    Thanks for clarifying that! You're right. It is a lot of money. But that package is a great deal. Believe it or not. That package offers access to everything. 50% discount on all workshops, 1 hour one on one consultation with me or my partners depending on what they need, special events, access to the BestSeller PowerTool, and a year membership. If they sign up to 3 or 5 workshops it would cost $500+ dollars just for that. An no I don't teach all of them. We have experts from all different fields doing very specific workshops. (We will have about 5 of them per month). So it is worth it to some people. It's just an option. The six month membership is only $30! I pay $20 per month for Publishers Marketplace alone! Now I know that we are not PM... yet. But its a dam good start. I also pay $50 to upgrade my writer's Digest membership... You get my point.
    Thank you for replying. The six month regular membership is much more reasonable, cost-wise.
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  15. #65
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    The fact that she is working with a fee charging consult service is plain and simple conflict of interest. I'd wonder if she doesn't get a kickback for referring authors there.
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  16. #66
    The cake is a lie. But still cake. shaldna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC58 View Post
    My consulting and agenting are two entirely separate services and business. I'm not sending my clients for consulting services, and I'm not asking people to go get services in order for me to take them on.
    But do you understand how it looks from the outside - a literary agent who charges folks for a consultancy service.

    I'm not sure how you could keep them as separate entities, and thus removing the conflict of interest, without making it a condition that people using the service would not be repped by you afterwards, and likewise that authors already repped with you would not avail of the consultancy service.

    Ah, I see Victoria has already beat me to it:

    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    One possible way of dealing with the potential conflict of interest issue identified by Old Hack would be to establish a wall between the agenting and the consulting sides of the business--i.e., clients of the agency would never be eligible to use the services of the consultancy (unless those were provided at no cost as part of representation), and clients of the consultancy would never be taken on by the agency.

    This does limit flexibility--you wouldn't be able to offer representation to a promising writer who'd used the consultancy services, for instance--and, potentially, income, since clients could no longer become customers. But it would sidestep some really murky ethical issues, and go a long way toward addressing concerns like the ones that have been expressed here. (And guaranteed, AWers won't be the only ones expressing them. With so many agencies stepping into publishing and/or self-publishing, conflicts of interest are a huge concern right now in the writing community.)

    - Victoria

    Quote Originally Posted by IdiotsRUs View Post
    One quick question, to which I hope there will be a definitive answer:

    Will you direct authors who query you to Literary Powerhouse?

    I ask because of scams that have used that approach, though I don't expect it of you. However, it could be seen as negative (and a huge conflict - see the whole Edit Ink debacle, among others). How do you address that?

    While advising a prospective client to a consultancy isn't bad as such, (I know of one very reputable agency in the UK that does so) repping them to one you have a hand in....

    You see how that looks?
    Again, this is a very good point, and one which certainly raises some suspicions when looking in from the outside.

    In any business it would be an awkward situation.

    Look at it this way, what if you were a building surveyor and you went and looked at a house, let's say you find a problem with dry rot. Great, you've done your job. BUT, if the next thing you say to the prospective owners is 'and my other company just happens to specialise in building repair...' THEN that looks shady and would raise questions about the validity of the consultants opinion.
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  17. #67
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    Smile

    Yes, I see how if one does not know how we are organized that they'd want to know if I'm charging for agenting services. The answer is that I am not. Like I said, my clients from the agency get free membership to the everything in the website, including workshops. And having me as their agent gives them the benefit of my wisdom and my resources. So they don't have to hire consulting services. But they can most certainly benefit from everything that we have in the portal, from resources to tools, to contact (other authors, other agents, and editors who also participate).

    Do I tell authors about the website?... yes, I tell everybody in the industry about everything I'm doing. If anyone wants to reap the benefits, they are welcome to join the free forum, the networking group on facebook, the portal, sign up for workshops, and make appointments with me at conferences. Except for the conference appointments, it is always known that they are not there for agent representation. LitPow is a networking and resource site.

    To make things clear, the conflict of interest would only arise if someone came to me for representation at the agency, and I turned around and told them that they MUST go to literary powerhouse to get their manuscript ready. This would be like charging reading or editing fees as a precursor to representation. And that, is absolutely NEVER OKAY. Which brings me to someone else's point about putting these disclosures up on both sites... I'm on it.

    Thanks for the opportunity to answer all of your questions. I hope that my answers have offered you a better picture about what we are offering, and that maybe one day you too join our writer's network and love it. Good luck to all of you!

  18. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medievalist View Post
    So wow, you've invented Book Country.

    That's totally awesome.
    Not at all!!. Book country charges for self publishing, and proceeds go to Penguin! Though we offer a tool that helps authors get critiques and make contacts with agents and editors, we are not publishing anyone's work.

  19. #69
    The cake is a lie. But still cake. shaldna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC58 View Post
    Yes, I see how if one does not know how we are organized that they'd want to know if I'm charging for agenting services.
    But unless someone, as you say, knows the ins and outs of how you carry out your business, then it WILL continue to look like a conflict of interest. This is the point I am trying to make here.



    To make things clear, the conflict of interest would only arise if someone came to me for representation at the agency, and I turned around and told them that they MUST go to literary powerhouse to get their manuscript ready.
    Not quite. A conflict of interest would also arise if you suggest to them that you also offer the consultancy. You don't have to insist that they use it for it to be a conflict of interest. It's enough that it gets mentioned at all, that can be seen by many to be steering a client, and, after all, if they are people that you have rejected and you mention the consultancy service to them then that also looks like shady business dealings.

    Now, no one is suggesting that you are shady, however, from an outsiders POV I would have to say that I would be put off querying you at all because of what I feel is a conflict of interest here. But then, I've seen too many unreputable agents and editors run similar enterprises in the past.


    This would be like charging reading or editing fees as a precursor to representation. And that, is absolutely NEVER OKAY. Which brings me to someone else's point about putting these disclosures up on both sites... I'm on it.
    I think this is a good thing, and would go a way towards making the situation clear.
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  20. #70
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    MAC58, thank you for taking the time to answer these questions, clarifying your points and intentions.

  21. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaitie View Post

    Also, if this is considered a positive, what books have you sold to major publishers and what sort of deals were you able to make? I know one complaint about Lori Perkins is that most of the sales being made by the agents were either to epublishers or small presses that didn't require agents or pay advances. These are contacts that an author could find on their own, for one, but also indicate that the agents didn't have the contacts with major players required to make big sales.

    I'm asking honestly because I don't quite understand what you're offering here or what an author will get out of it. Thank you for coming here to answer our questions.
    I'm curious to hear an answer to this question also. . .

    For one who became a literary agent suddenly, and just as suddenly began buidling an online platform quite assertively (4000+ facebook friends is more than your typical agent), then had a flash of inspiration and started a pay-service for writers. . .well, it gives me pause as to whether you're making your living as an agent.

    Less confusing to choose one side - agenting or author services, but you're involved with both. Forum regulars here are likely more concerned with the agenting side. Should we query you? If you like our work, should we sign with you?

    What have you sold to major publishers (or, if n/a, to editors who are not open to unsolicited submissions)? Why should writers want to sign with you?

    Thanks for logging in to answer our questions.
    Last edited by RainbowDragon; 03-01-2012 at 06:15 AM.

  22. #72
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    It says on your agency website that you and your two junior agents are experienced. What Big Six publishers have the two of them sold to? Or helped you sell to?
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  23. #73
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    Corvisiero Literary Agency

    Hi guys. Wondering if any of you have started querying this new agency, founded by Marisa Corvisiero, who was formerly with L.Perkins.

    She just opened up this month, and has two junior agents, Brittany Booker and Jordy Albert. I think they opened to queries March 22, according to Marisa's FB.

    I queried Brittany yesterday and received a partial request the same day. Neither she nor Jordy are listed on QT or AgentQuery yet, but like I said, they're apparently brand new.

    Thoughts?

    Thanks!
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  24. #74
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    Adding link: http://www.corvisieroagency.com/ (Marisa with one "s", BTW.)
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  25. #75
    Oh, puh-leeze. Michael Myers's Avatar
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    Queried 24 March. Received a warmly worded Form R from Brittany on 27 March. My work wasn't their cup of tea, apparently. I think these guys are with it. They want attachments.

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    Update: BTW, it was a straight-up espionage thriller, in case folks are tracking that sort of thing.
    Last edited by Michael Myers; 03-29-2012 at 10:18 PM.

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