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Thread: Bennett & West Literary Agency

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin june's Avatar
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    Question Bennett & West Literary Agency

    Does anyone have any information on Joan west Literary agency? I believe her agency is now called Bennett and West literary agency, out of FL? Please let me know. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Ooo! Shiny new cover! Absolute Sage Cathy C's Avatar
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    Well, I can't find anything bad about her, but also can't find anything good. No sales that I can find under either agency name. Does she have a website? Where did you hear about her?
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  3. #3
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Found this. Doesn't look encouraging. Yet another frustrated writer thinking she can do a better job than professional agents.

    - Victoria

  4. #4
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin JonquilAries's Avatar
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    I submitted my sci-fi to her and she rejected it, saying that she had too many projects on hand. Other than that I don't know much else.
    You must keep sending work out; you must never let a manuscript do nothing but eat its head off in a drawer. You send that work out again and again, while you're working on another one. If you have talent, you will receive some measure of success- but only if you persist.

    -Isaac Asimov

  5. #5
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    FWIW, the only listings I find are for "Joan West, literary agent". Nothing as Bennett and West.
    ICAO
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    Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. -- Henry Steele Commager
    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW blackbird's Avatar
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    Sounds like one of those agents that Writer Beware describes as probably having good intentions, but is most likely too inept, with too little experience, to really be able to negotiate successfully for a client. I would wait and see if she makes any legitimate sales within the next year or so. If she's rejecting potential clients due to having so many projects, I guess that could be a good sign (that she's at least legit). But I would still be cautious.

  7. #7
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin june's Avatar
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    Thanks for the information

    Thank you for the information, guess I'll pass on this one.

  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Joan West - any new info?

    Joan West requested to review my ms as well. Has anyone discovered more aobut her?
    Cuban Southern Belle
    Hooked on Books

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW Toni1953's Avatar
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    I found this doing an internet search:

    Joan West, Literary Agent
    1135 Wedgewood Lane, Suite 104
    The Villages, FL 32162

    Fiction; Nonfiction;
    Adventure; Antiques; Autobiography; Beauty and Fashion; Biography; Cookery; Crafts; Crime; Current Affairs; Fantasy; Gardening; Gothic; Health; Historical; Hobbies; Horror; How-to; Humour; Leisure; Lifestyle; Literature; Men's Interests; Mystery; Nature; New Age; Philosophy; Politics; Romance; Sci-Fi; Self-Help; Short Stories; Sociology; Spiritual; Sport; Suspense; Thrillers; Travel; Westerns; Women's Interests;
    Markets: Adult; Children's; Family; Youth;


    Established in June 2005. The agent is a writer herself and has done exhaustive research on the field of publishing. She is experienced in locating the appropriate house for each genre. She is actively seeking new, unpublished writers who are experiencing difficulty placing their work. She also welcomes published authors. She represents non-fiction and fiction of all types: novels 55,000 to 125,000 words or novellas 17,000 to 20,000 words - mainstream, women's adventure, romance, mystery, children's. Limited editing assistance at no charge. Marketing advice, suggestions, and guidance are provided at no charge. Follows ethical guidelines of AAR. Written contract, six months binding. Query by mail or email (no attachments) or by mail only send cover letter with brief biography and approximate number of pages; two page single-spaced synopsis; first fifty pages of manuscript. Enclose SASE with sufficient postage for return.

  10. #10
    One Hit Wonder? Kasey Mackenzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toni1953
    She is experienced in locating the appropriate house for each genre.
    Heh. Locating the appropriate house for each genre is easy enough as long as you do a little basic research. Placing something in the appropriate house is a whole 'nother matter entirely. My question would be: exactly what has she sold and to whom?
    Good things come to those who wait...and work their tails off!!!


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  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW LloydBrown's Avatar
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    I see several warning signs here.

    The agent is a writer herself
    Ideally, you'd like this section to start out with a comment about where the agent worked before becoming an agent, in some capacity other than author. If she's Joan M. West, all she's done is a couple of articles and a very poor-performing poetry book on Elvis (which seems consistent with her background). Very unimpressive. I have better credentials, and I'm nobody special.

    and has done exhaustive research on the field of publishing
    More evidence of a lack of actual agenting experience.

    She is experienced in locating the appropriate house for each genre.
    Yeah, I can use the search engine on Writers Market online, too.

    She is actively seeking new, unpublished writers who are experiencing difficulty placing their work.
    Anybody specifically targeting unpublished authors is always a danger sign. It's simple: unpublished authors are less valuable to an agent because they sell fewer books. They need new blood to replace authors they lose over time, so they often MUST consider new authors, but legitimate agents don't actually prefer them over authors who earn them more money!

    She represents non-fiction and fiction of all types: novels 55,000 to 125,000 words or novellas 17,000 to 20,000 words - mainstream, women's adventure, romance, mystery, children's.
    This reads like keyword padding, as does the entire first paragraph.

    Follows ethical guidelines of AAR.
    But not a member of the AAR?

    I totally agree with Victoria on this one: a failed writer trying something that looks easy from the other side of the fence.
    Lloyd Brown
    www.lloydwrites.com


  12. #12
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LloydBrown
    I see several warning signs here. ...

    She is actively seeking new, unpublished writers who are experiencing difficulty placing their work.
    Anybody specifically targeting unpublished authors is always a danger sign.
    Yup. Nobody has to actively seek "new, unpublished writers who are experiencing difficulty placing their work." There are thousands upon thousands of 'em out there. You just let them know you're taking submissions, and your mailbox fills up.

    More to the point, real agents don't look for writers who are new, unpublished, and having difficulty placing their work. They look for good writers and good books. Agents who claim to be doing anything else should be viewed with alarm.
    Winner of the Best Drycleaner on the Block Award.

  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW LloydBrown's Avatar
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    I've received an e-mail from this person in response to this thread. Joan West claims not to be the Joan M. West I discovered with Google.

    Which just means there is that much less information available about her reputation and credentials for becoming an agent.

    She claims one sale now (but didn't identify it) and six requests for a full manuscript. Again, I've done better just representing myself--and I'm not very experienced.

    She might be good, but if so, she's not showing any indication of it at this point.
    Lloyd Brown
    www.lloydwrites.com


  14. #14
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    If she's the Joan West who posted the "Hi, I'm a Newbie" message I linked to in my previous post, she wouldn't appear to have any of the qualifications an agent needs.

    - Victoria

  15. #15
    cjgrant11
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    Thumbs up Joan West

    I have been working with Joan West for over a year now. I'm an unpublished writer with seven manuscripts. About four months ago, I signed a year contract with Joan to market two how to books that I wrote.

    I find Joan delightful and extremely professional. So far, we haven't sold anything, but she actively pursues the publishing houses for me, and keeps me informed with every step. I'll let you all know as soon as they sell. I have complete faith in her.

    cj grant

  16. #16
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Welcome, CJ.

    Do you know what books Ms. West has sold for other people?
    ICAO
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    Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. -- Henry Steele Commager
    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  17. #17
    I *am* Catwoman...and Gini Koch WPR Dominatrix JeanneTGC's Avatar
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    Is there any new information on this agency (Bennett & West)? They just were in a listing from Writer's Digest on 23 agencies actively looking for new writers. Writer's House is on this same list, but I know that doesn't "bless the others by association". Agents are Joan West and Lois Bennett.
    http://www.bennettwestlit.com/index.html
    Jeanne

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  18. #18
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    According to the website:

    - Lois Bennett has no professional background in agenting or commercial publishing.
    - Joan West has no professional background in agenting or commercial publishing.
    - Agency started in 2005.
    - As of now: 80 clients.
    - Also as of now: one book placement with Highland Press, a non-advance-paying publisher that works directly with authors (i.e., no agent required). One book placement with McBooks Press, an established independent publisher.

    As a general rule of thumb, a successful new agency will start making sales within a year or so of starting up. Any longer suggests that the agent(s) lack skills and contacts. This agency has been around since 2005, and it appears to have just two book placements to its credit. That's not really encouraging.

    The McBooks sale is solid--it looks like a great indie publisher--but the Highland Press "sale" isn't one that a professional agent would consider, because it isn't really a sale at all. I wouldn't approach this agency without some evidence that it can do better than this for its other 78 clients.

    - Victoria

  19. #19
    I *am* Catwoman...and Gini Koch WPR Dominatrix JeanneTGC's Avatar
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    Thanks much, Victoria!
    Jeanne

    Action, Adventure, Romance & Humor
    Coming December 2017, Aliens Abroad -- Preorder NOW!

    --Click the covers to go to my website for details & more!


  20. #20
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Of the dozen or so sales now listed, only three aren't to Highland Press.
    ICAO
    ---------

    Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. -- Henry Steele Commager
    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  21. #21
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    The three are Holiday House, American Legacy Media, and McBooks Press.

    Holiday House is a solid independent publisher, but you don't need an agent to submit to it.

    American Legacy Media is a pay-to-publish company.

    Since I made my last post, I've had a chance to look at the McBooks Press contract, which in my opinion is quite nonstandard in a number of ways, with an overly sweeping grant of rights, low royalties, and an extremely vague rights reversion clause. It's also vague on copyright issues. Although McBooks pays a small advance, I can't imagine an experienced agent accepting such a contract.

    - Victoria

  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW Khazarkhum's Avatar
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    In an earlier post, someone mentioned that they were not members of AAR but followed their guidelines. Doesn't an agent have to make a certain number of sales in a specific time period to be in AAR?

  23. #23
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Yes. Ten sales within the past 18 months. And they must have worked as an agent for at least two years.

    A claim to follow the AAR Canon of Ethics means nothing without actual AAR membership. I wish I had a dollar for every dubious agency that claims to follow the Canon, but manages to maintain sleazy business practices anyway.

    - Victoria

  24. #24
    practical experience, FTW Khazarkhum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    Yes. Ten sales within the past 18 months. And they must have worked as an agent for at least two years.

    A claim to follow the AAR Canon of Ethics means nothing without actual AAR membership. I wish I had a dollar for every dubious agency that claims to follow the Canon, but manages to maintain sleazy business practices anyway.

    - Victoria
    Ok. But what of new agencies? They wouldn't have the requisite 2 years, but could still follow the Canon until they reached 2 years/10 sales.

    I wonder how many actually go that route or veer off into scammerdom.

  25. #25
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    A new agency could claim to follow the Canon, and mean it, too. However, call me cynical, but I don't put a lot of store in business promises that aren't backed up by something other than the promise itself. "Backed up" could mean a number of things--AAR membership, of course, but also an industry background (for a new agent) and verifiable sales (for an established agent), either of which suggest that the agent has a stake in following accepted industry practice. As with much else in the agent-hunting game, you can't look at anything in isolation--you have to put many different factors together.

    It's also a sad fact that an agent can charge an upfront fee and still be in compliance with the Canon, as long as s/he claims it's for submission expense. And while the Canon bars agents from getting kickbacks from editorial referrals, it doesn't say they can't charge clients for their own editorial services. So there's a good bit of wiggle room for bad practice.

    - Victoria

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