Buy books by AWers

 

Welcome to the AbsoluteWrite Water Cooler! Please read The Newbie Guide To Absolute Write

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 59

Thread: SDS Literary Agency / SDS Publishing

  1. #1
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Aotearoa
    Posts
    5,389

    SDS Literary Agency / SDS Publishing

    Has anyone run across SDS Literary Agency? The website is imperfectly edited and looks amateur, the client list looks to be a bunch of small press/self published books (available for sale on the agency's website!), and the mention of paid services looks a red flag to me:

    We also offer paid services; editing, book cover design, website design, formatting for Amazon Kindle and paperback load, formatting for Smashwords and Goodreads load, conversion of novel to screenplay.
    However, I know the UK system may differ from the US system.

    Apologies if this is an iteration of Bouncing Bobby and I missed it.

  2. #2
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    6,632
    They do not as yet appear to have sold any books to advance-paying publishers, can't answer for whether their work with screenplays is of significance.
    Nothing on the site about who the agents are and what their experience is.
    Nothing here that fills me with confidence.

    "wonderfully old-school epic adventure fare"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcvasKnJlV8

  3. #3
    Board Visitor
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,811
    Wow. According to the page, he will also write a screenplay of your novel if you pay him £1,000:

    http://sdsliteraryagency.blogspot.co...rom-novel.html

    The quality of the screenplay excerpts he gives as examples are rather ... umm ... how to be polite .... poor. I don't want to be too harsh - but they literally communicate the plot by people opening newspapers and summarising what they read in it. Then the characters watch TV and summarise the information on it verbally.

    Other services include webpage design .. which is a little odd because he doesn't appear to have a website for the literary agency - just the blog .. which has a quality which doesn't exactly inspire confidence.

    I suspect it is someone who works a bit in IT with government projects who would like to be an agent and write screenplays. (He talks about how he designs webpages using a UK government project management system)

    Some of the books are for a writer called 'Steve Stone' - who is also listed as running the blog for the agency. He has a background in IT with government projects. An he writes screenplays.

    It's odd that the agent 'Steve Smith' fits the profile of the writer 'Steve Stone' so well - but it may just be a coincidence.
    Oh - and the screenplay service that the agent 'Steve Smith' is pitching are written by 'Steve Stone'.
    And the photo of SDS Publishing matches the photo of Steve Stone.

    And 'Steve Stone' lists himself as the proprietor of SDS Literary agency here:

    Ref: http://www.amazon.com/review/RM0ANB76AJM4D

    Steve Stone's review of 'Charles Bay', on behalf of SDS Literary Agency, May 13, 2012
    By Steve Stone
    <snip>As is the case with his previous books, Earl Carter once again shows remarkable understanding of locations and their cultures, and there's a great touch to detail in this particular book. Earl's books are becoming increasingly marketable, locally, nationally and internationally, and as proprietor of SDS Literary Agency in England, I can only say how much we wish that we could secure a contract of representation with Earl.

    4 1/2 stars for this book. 4 stars wouldn't do it justice, so we had better make it 5.

    Steve Stone
    SDS Literary Agency
    So my theory is that author 'Steve Stone' is really his own literary agent 'Steve Smith'. But I could still be wrong.

    Oh - and 'Steve Stone' is the editor of the books represented by 'SDS Literary Agency' which are also published by 'SDS Publishing'!

    So what the heck is the agent 'Steve Smith' actually doing ??

    ----

    The blog states that 'SDS Literary Agency' is a division of 'SDS Finance':

    Ref: http://sdsliteraryagency.blogspot.co...3/contact.html

    Steve Smith,
    SDS Literary Agency, (Address Redacted)
    Email : (Redacted)
    Phone : (Redacted)

    Please use email in the first instance.

    SDS Literary Agency is a trading division of SDS Finance.
    A check with the UK government listing gives us:

    Ref: http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/info

    Number Status Name Action/Event : Date
    06419538 D SDS FINANCE LIMITED Dissolved
    06419538 D SDS FINANCE LIMITED Dissolved 23/06/2009
    There appeared to be no other company that I could find in the UK with the name 'SDS Finance'.

    So it appears that a company dissolved in 2009 might have made the post giving the company details in March 2012. Which is confusing.

    But if the literary agency is no more ... it would be good news for potential authors.

    But it will just make things more confusing for poor Mr Steve Smith !
    (PS: I predict that both Literary Agent 'Steve Smith' & author 'Steve Stone' will both share the middle initial 'D'. That's just a guess)

    (PPS: I was wondering if I'd been too harsh, so checked out the quality of the editing they offer. Holy crap - it's embarrassingly terrible.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/reader/14...qid=1345024546

    I don't want to rag on the author ... but if that is the quality of editing that they are getting writers to pay for - that's atrocious.

    )

  4. #4
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Far from the madding crowd
    Posts
    6,668
    Am I dating myself by remembering what SDS stood for in the 60's and 70's?

    That website is...painful.

    - Victoria


  5. #5
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    5,033
    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    Am I dating myself by remembering what SDS stood for in the 60's and 70's?

    That website is...painful.

    - Victoria

    Unfortunately, the same thought came to me on seeing the name.
    When it comes to PA, the royalty check and the reality check arrive in the same envelope.

    Remember to be kind to writers who step in PA. They really don't know how bad it smells.

    The difference between PA and WLA? None. Both have the stench of dead and dying books emanating from their doorways.


  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    5
    Let me put the record straight on this.

    Yes, I started off as an IT professional, 20 years in total.
    After 12 very successful years as a fee-charging project management contractor in the private and public sectors, I decided I was secure enough to retire in my early forties. By the way, the PRINCE2 Project Management standard isn't a British Government standard, it's a recognised European standard methodology. Anyway, when I retired early, I wanted to do those things you know you always wanted to do, but could never find the time. I wanted to enter the literary world, own a snooker club, travel a lot with my disabled wife, and generally spend more time with her.

    And yes, you're right, Steve Stone is my writing psuedonym. I'm not the first agent to represent their own books, and I won't be the last. But that's not how or why the agency started. It started because of a demand from local writers for representation for their books, there are hardly any agencies within 50 miles of my location. I haven't yet used the agency to submit my own books to publishers, and my own screenplays to film producers, but I probably will do those things, later this year.

    The agency has expanded to cover 10 clients in recent months, most not local. There have been two book deals with small local publishing concerns, and three optioned screenplays. No deal with a large publisher as of yet, but one of the small deals has now progressed to national stocking of two titles by Waterstones, Britain's largest book chain, which is nice. So small beginnings, but hopefully a lot of promise for the future. In any young business, you can't afford to worry about what you don't do yet, or what anyone thinks about your record of achievement to date, because if you did, no-one would never start a business, and there would never be any new literary agents. Another highlight of the business to date is that I've managed to accumulate hundreds of Email addresses (sometimes using tricks from my old days as an IT contractor), direct to the desks of commissioning editors of publishing houses, and to film producers. I talk directly to many every week, and that in itself holds promise for the future. I might even start selling my database of Email addresses at some point in the future, but certainly not for a while.

    And yes, my website was built using Blogger, but I was looking for something cheap and free, knowing it was a risky start-up business, which by the way has a grant from the British Government. In the future, I might take a decision to upgrade my internet presence, dependent on time and monetary issues. Not that I've had any problems with it. Amazon will tell you that a blog is a website, and that's fine by me. I don't know of any typos or bad wording on the pages, but don't forget that it's an advertising medium, not a novel extract. The two languages are completely different, as any advertising executive would tell you.

    I knew from the very beginning that it would take a long time before I got significant revenues from book contracts and optioned/contracted screenplays, so I began by offering paid services, not related to representation. Most services are free under the standard contract, so there is no relationship at all between representation and services, unless a contracted client wishes it. Much of the agency's revenue to date has come from novel edits, Amazon Kindle and paperback load (which can prove very difficult to the non IT-literate, have you ever tried loading picture books, or cookbooks full of bullet-point recipes?), and management of Amazon accounts in return for a percentage of sales. I've sold a lot of Kindle copies and paperbacks on Amazon, and I sell Amazon paperbacks, both hand-sale and electronically, under the name of SDS Publishing. Amazon sales have contributed much to the agency's revenue.

    I started SDS Finance a few years ago, before the literary agency was envisaged, to manage the table revenues from the snooker club that I bought to satisfy an ambition. I sold the snooker club because I saw the recession coming, but kept the SDS Finance bank accounts open, and they now serve the literary agency (also, they've been used for one or two unrelated business puposes, along the way). As of 2005, when I started SDS Finance, my accountant's sweep revealed no other business in the UK named SDS Finance, but I guess it's possible that someone else used the name in between, and subsequently closed their account. By the way, my middle initials are C and L, not D.

    The three screenplay extracts that are shown on the site conform to Hollywood Standard Format, an absolute must, which most screenwriters fail to achieve. The screenplays conform precisely with the Oscar-nominated original screenplay for 'In The Loop'. There's nothing wrong with having a character reading a newspaper, the eventual Production Script will either show the newspaper (you see that on TV and in films all the time), or present fictitious current events in a different manner. It's a load of tosh for the contributor below to say that the stories revolve around characters reading newspapers and watching TV, the techique is used just at the beginning of the first story of three, to convey current events surrounding the plot. The contributor obviously only bothered to read the very early portion of the first screenplay. The novel from screenplay service costs £1,000 or $1,500, because you have to read the novel, and then write the screenplay. It's also a load of tosh, and probably libelous, for the contributor to say that the editing offered by the company is 'awful', I've had nothing but satisfied clients for novel and screenplay edits, and lots of clients asking for more. If the contributor knows of any dissatisfied clients, or has any evidence of bad editing, then please do let it be known to the agency. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the book shown through the Amazon link below, do take a look at the Kindle sample to verify that. Do let the agency know - sdsliteraryagency@live.co.uk - if you spot a typo or other form of mistake in the book (actually, there's just one in the whole thing), or any other example of bad editing. Outside of Amazon, many have commented how good the writing is for this book. The writing is just the same as it is in this forum entry.

    Check out http://sdsliteraryagency.blogspot.co.uk/
    , the agency's website. I tend to prefer trunacted URL's to the unsightly long ones.
    I think I've covered everything - please note that I don't have time to debate things on here, particuarly with people who use unfortunate personal words like 'heck' and 'crap' (there is no place in the literary industry for such people, or any form of internet troll), but anyone can contact me direct at sdsliteraryagency@live.co.uk
    Last edited by AW Admin; 04-19-2013 at 07:35 PM. Reason: Inserted actual URL for shortened URL

  7. #7
    On a small world west of wonder LindaJeanne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    744
    Welcome to AW.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith SDS View Post
    Anyway, when I retired early, I wanted to do those things you know you always wanted to do, but could never find the time. I wanted to enter the literary world, own a snooker club, travel a lot with my disabled wife, and generally spend more time with her..
    This is all very admirable.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith SDS View Post
    I'm not the first agent to represent their own books, and I won't be the last. But that's not how or why the agency started. It started because of a demand from local writers for representation for their books, there are hardly any agencies within 50 miles of my location.
    I guess I'm confused as to why someone would care whether their agent lived close to them or not?


    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith SDS View Post
    The agency has expanded to cover 10 clients in recent months, most not local. There have been two book deals with small local publishing concerns, and three optioned screenplays. No deal with a large publisher as of yet, but one of the small deals has now progressed to national stocking of two titles by Waterstones, Britain's largest book chain, which is nice.
    Congrats on being stocked on shelves!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith SDS View Post
    So small beginnings, but hopefully a lot of promise for the future. In any young business, you can't afford to worry about what you don't do yet, or what anyone thinks about your record of achievement to date, because if you did, no-one would never start a business, and there would never be any new literary agents.
    I don't have time to address this properly right now, but I'm sure others far more knowledgeable than I am will be along to do so shortly. (They may even post before I finish typing.)

    I'll just say: most successful new agents come from within the publishing industry, and have considerable experience within the publishing industry before they become agents.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith SDS View Post
    Another highlight of the business to date is that I've managed to accumulate hundreds of Email addresses (sometimes using tricks from my old days as an IT contractor), direct to the desks of commissioning editors of publishing houses, and to film producers.
    Please, please tell me you're not spamming them with your authors' queries?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith SDS View Post
    I talk directly to many every week, and that in itself holds promise for the future.
    May I ask in what context?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith SDS View Post
    I might even start selling my database of Email addresses at some point in the future, but certainly not for a while.
    I'm going to just pretend I didn't see this sentence.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith SDS View Post
    I don't know of any typos or bad wording on the pages, but don't forget that it's an advertising medium, not a novel extract. The two languages are completely different, as any advertising executive would tell you.
    ...
    Does this include advertising excutives experienced in advertising books, as oppose to other things?


    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith SDS View Post
    I knew from the very beginning that it would take a long time before I got significant revenues from book contracts and optioned/contracted screenplays,
    Which begs the $10,000 question: why should a writer go with you, rather than with a more experienced agent?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith SDS View Post
    so I began by offering paid services, not related to representation. Most services are free under the standard contract, so there is no relationship at all between representation and services, unless a contracted client wishes it. Much of the agency's revenue to date has come from novel edits, Amazon Kindle and paperback load (which can prove very difficult to the non IT-literate, have you ever tried loading picture books, or cookbooks full of bullet-point recipes?), and management of Amazon accounts in return for a percentage of sales.
    The fact that you don't understand why anyone would have a problem with this makes your inexperience with the industry painfully obvious.

    I'm sure you mean well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith SDS View Post
    I've sold a lot of Kindle copies and paperbacks on Amazon, and I sell Amazon paperbacks, both hand-sale and electronically, under the name of SDS Publishing. Amazon sales have contributed much to the agency's revenue.
    again, congrats on the sales
    But I'm confused as to how an agency can have revenue from selling books. I'm a bit unclear what your business model is?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith SDS View Post
    The novel from screenplay service costs £1,000 or $1,500, because you have to read the novel, and then write the screenplay. It's also a load of tosh, and probably libelous,
    "probably libelous" -- I think I just scored a "bingo"

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith SDS View Post
    for the contributor to say that the editing offered by the company is 'awful', I've had nothing but satisfied clients for novel and screenplay edits, and lots of clients asking for more. If the contributor knows of any dissatisfied clients, or has any evidence of bad editing, then please do let it be known to the agency. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the book shown through the Amazon link below, do take a look at the Kindle sample to verify that. Do let the agency know - sdsliteraryagency@live.co.uk - if you spot a typo or other form of mistake in the book (actually, there's just one in the whole thing), or any other example of bad editing. Outside of Amazon, many have commented how good the writing is for this book. The writing is just the same as it is in this forum entry.
    Are you saying that it's a "a load of tosh, and probably libelous" for someone to have an opinion about the agency's editing, based on samples provided online?
    "A story told, that can't be real / yet somehow must reflect the truth we feel..." -- Black Sabbath / Ronnie James Dio

  8. #8
    Seen 'em come, seen 'em go Gravity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Once you've heard the truth, everything else is just cheap whiskey.
    Posts
    3,869
    Cameron Bane

    PITFALL now out through WildBlue Press, August 2015

    www.cameronbanebooks.com



  9. #9
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    25,396
    Oh, my goodness. Even technically correct prose can be clunky. I've seen worse, but I've seen far, far better.

    Of course we don't know what the original work was like before it was edited. Nor do we know how much the author stetted. But some things ...



    Yes, typos happen. But relying on Word's spell-and-grammar check function for your editing will not produce a well-edited work, for all that folks who have themselves never been edited think that all editors do is check grammar and spelling.

  10. #10
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Aotearoa
    Posts
    5,389
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith SDS View Post
    I'm not the first agent to represent their own books, and I won't be the last.
    Can anyone enlighten me? I'm not aware of any reputable literary agents who represent their own works.

  11. #11
    Board Visitor
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,811
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith SDS View Post
    The three screenplay extracts that are shown on the site conform to Hollywood Standard Format, an absolute must, which most screenwriters fail to achieve. The screenplays conform precisely with the Oscar-nominated original screenplay for 'In The Loop'.
    I'm not disputing that. But, to be honest, if you find that most screenwriters you work with fail to achieve basic formatting then you should be pretty worried - the basic formatting is the most trivial and shallow of tasks.

    Simply download 'Trelby' for free and let it handle it. Done.

    You seem fixated on conforming to 'Hollywood Standard Format' .. but that is like saying "I've submitted the script on standard sized paper" - yes, it is important, but it is a concern if that is the level of your concern.

    There's nothing wrong with having a character reading a newspaper, the eventual Production Script will either show the newspaper (you see that on TV and in films all the time), or present fictitious current events in a different manner.
    If you are honestly saying that your company chose to frame the scene that way as it was the most cinematic way to communicate information and engage the viewer ... then, well, I'm not sure what I could say in reply.

    I'm commenting on the craft - not the formatting. I know that it is physically possible to film it. But is it honestly the best scene your company could have written?

    It's a load of tosh for the contributor below to say that the stories revolve around characters reading newspapers and watching TV, the techique<sic> is used just at the beginning of the first story of three, to convey current events surrounding the plot.
    It would have been a load of tosh .. which is why I didn't say that the stories revolve around it. I was using it as an example of poor crafting.

    The contributor obviously only bothered to read the very early portion of the first screenplay.
    You put screenplay excerpts on your page as a sales tool ... so that we could read them and make decisions on the quality of the work. That is what we are doing.

    It's also a load of tosh, and probably libelous, for the contributor to say that the editing offered by the company is 'awful' ... If the contributor knows of any dissatisfied clients, or has any evidence of bad editing , then please do let it be known to the agency.
    Are you serious?

    Are you, as someone who wishes to be a professional editor, seriously claiming that the editing in the excerpt I linked to is high quality?

    (Yes - I know I linked to the 'random page inside'. That was a hint.)

    Here is an excerpt - a random paragraph from Page 6:
    But all that had changed, after US Air Force Colonel Lance Tucker strolled into his life one night, some nine months ago now. Although the fisherman didn't know it at the time, Colonel Tucker was also a Commander of the space shuttle Intrepid. After a session of night fishing from Naples Pier, the fisherman had watched a meteor crash into the sea, less a mile offshore. Some minutes later, he had crept up on the Colonel, on a small green, just behind the beach. By coincidence, it had been the night before a scheduled launch of Intrepid, which was aborted on the launch pad at the last minute. Colonel Tucker had been accompanied by a boy, who turned out to be a member of his shuttle crew. The Colonel and the boy had apparently been on a military exercise that had gone wrong, and were soaked through, because their boat sunk.
    Steve - are you honestly claiming that you don't see any issues with that paragraph? None? And you are staking your company's professional reputation on it? Look. I'm not going to criticise your client's writing - as we are only talking about the services your company is selling. But try reading this: https://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+use+a+comma

    Of course we don't know what the original work was like before it was edited. Nor do we know how much the author stetted. But some things ...
    James - in this case the author is the editor.

    ---

    I think I've covered everything - please note that I don't have time to debate things on here, particuarly with people who use unfortunate personal words like 'heck' ...
    Egad ! The idea that someone might use informal language on a message board populated by people who love to play with language. Just as well we've all decided that we are above words like 'tosh' as well.

    Steve - I am making this clear. A critique of the quality of a company's work is not trolling. I was careful to not criticise any of your clients. I did not even criticise the quality of your prose writing - only the quality of the work your company charges for. I'm even careful in this post to talk about 'your company' rather than 'you'.

    It honestly pains me that those who do not understand screenwriting might pay for a company (any company) to create a screenplay that has the quality that I saw in the excerpt. I appreciate that it takes time and effort to create it.. but based on the excerpts your company has given it appears to be amateur quality work. I know that it is painful to learn. The only reason I am saying it is the fact that your company is charging writers a lot of money to produce the work.

    I understand that you may have chosen the worst examples in the screenplay to put as samples - perhaps the rest is wonderful. But I am honestly concerned that if your company chose those excerpts believing that they were impressive writing ... then your company may simply not have an eye for the job it is paid to do.

    I wish your clients well,

    Mac

  12. #12
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Aotearoa
    Posts
    5,389
    This appears to be two businesses. One is a literary agency, representing authors whose books and screenplays the agency attempts to sell to commercial publishers/movie producers. The other is the paid editing service.

    Perhaps you're not looking for representation, but would instead like your novel or screenplay professionally edited. Perhaps you're worried about those hard-to-see grammatical and continuity errors, that might prove distracting for your readers. Our edit for your book consists of spelling, grammar, punctuation, capitalisation, hyphenation, improved readability, improved clarity of meaning, improved continuity.
    The website lists books that SDS has been paid to edit. I picked one at random, went to Amazon's 'look inside' feature and picked a section at random:

    After all, who wants to kick someone out of their apartment? But the law is the law they would have to convince themselves during deliberation.

    Adamo’s client sat passively, in his uncomfortable fitting Seventies-styled suit, almost ashamed, it seemed, to be sitting in a courtroom at all with a suit often tugging at it as if he wanted to be free of it.
    Any editor who can't spot errors in those sentences should return the client's money.

    Also, commas and semicolons serve a specific purpose. They're not chopped herbs to be sprinkled randomly on the page.

  13. #13
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    25,396
    Quote Originally Posted by Mac H. View Post
    James - in this case the author is the editor.
    I know. I was trying to be kind.

    I was also stating a general principle for evaluating the editor's skill. Maxwell Perkins himself could have edited a piece, but if the author stetted everything.... we could see something like the current sample.

    Hint for SDS: Authors in general can not edit their own works.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith SDS View Post

    Check out http://tinyurl.com/d7wzej3, the agency's website. I tend to prefer trunacted URL's to the unsightly long ones.
    For the people who wisely refuse to click on truncated, obscured, or obfuscated URLs (on the grounds that they often lead to spam sites, malware sites, pornographic sites, and the like), that link takes you to

    http://sdsliteraryagency.blogspot.co.uk/

    I checked because a) part of my duty is to protect random folks from following harmful links, and b) I have a really good firewall and world class anti-virus software.

    There is no excuse for using bit.ly, tinyurl, or similar links anywhere character-count isn't at a premium. Which means, everywhere except Twitter.

  14. #14
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Aotearoa
    Posts
    5,389
    Novels are sold by auction. We submit work to a number of publishing houses of various sizes, in the UK and/or US. Publishing houses and their imprints are chosen to best serve client interests, given genre. We initially ask the houses to express an interest in client work by a stated deadline. Those who express an interest then bid against each other in rounds, the publishing house offering the best combined deal in terms of advance payment, royalties and contract conditions being declared the winner. A publishing contract is then negotiated and closed.
    Steve Smith, can you give us the title of one novel that you have successfully sold at auction? Was this a four-figure, five-figure, six-figure, or six-plus-figure deal?

  15. #15
    the original blond bombshell MaryMumsy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Posts
    3,179
    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    Am I dating myself by remembering what SDS stood for in the 60's and 70's?

    That website is...painful.

    - Victoria

    That was my first thought too

    MM
    When I'm good, I'm very good; but when I'm bad, I'm better.

    That is Mae West, not me.

  16. #16
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    dunking doughnuts at Dunkin' Donuts
    Posts
    15,962
    Quote Originally Posted by Unimportant View Post
    The website lists books that SDS has been paid to edit. I picked one at random, went to Amazon's 'look inside' feature and picked a section at random:
    After all, who wants to kick someone out of their apartment? But the law is the law they would have to convince themselves during deliberation.

    Adamo’s client sat passively, in his uncomfortable fitting Seventies-styled suit, almost ashamed, it seemed, to be sitting in a courtroom at all with a suit often tugging at it as if he wanted to be free of it.
    Any editor who can't spot errors in those sentences should return the client's money.

    Also, commas and semicolons serve a specific purpose. They're not chopped herbs to be sprinkled randomly on the page.
    Jeez, I'm not an editor and I spotted the errors.
    I still poop rainbows.




    I won't steal any of your ideas. I have enough of my own I'm not using.


  17. #17
    Board Visitor
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,811
    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    There is no excuse for using bit.ly, tinyurl, or similar links anywhere character-count isn't at a premium. Which means, everywhere except Twitter.
    And AbsoluteWrite message board signatures!

    There is a way to preview bit.ly links to get the real address without having to follow it.

    This is one of mine: http://bitly.com/xI8jcB
    But if you add a '+' sign at the end you get the real link, a small preview and public stats on how popular the link is: http://bitly.com/xI8jcB+

    It's an eye-opener to see people with massive twitter followings and then follow by looking at how many people actually click on the link.

    eg: Qantas has over 87,000 twitter followers.
    Here's a tweet from them about a month ago: https://twitter.com/QantasAirways/st...05335755522048

    How many people clicked on that bit.ly link - including ANYWHERE on the web? Just look: https://bitly.com/OycDwz+

    Yep - at time of writing, only 75 people had clicked on the link. Despite being 'tweeted' to 87,000 people. That's a response rate of less than 0.08% .. where 'response' just means 'clicked on the link'.

    Mac
    (PS: Yes - I know it has privacy implications, but I like the info being public to keep me honest. I can't pretend that I have a mass of fans following my links when anyone can see that only 2 people have clicked on them in the last week!)
    (PPS: It also works on links that use the bit.ly shortening system that aren't technically 'bit.ly':

    eg: http://imdb.to/MacHarwood & http://imdb.to/MacHarwood+ )

  18. #18
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    New Hampshire
    Posts
    25,396
    Nevertheless I assume that any bit.ly or tinyurl link comes from a spammer. I routinely filter for them on another blog I help administer. I've only been wrong once.

  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW eternalised's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Belgium
    Posts
    665
    I have nothing really to add in regards to the agency and editing services besides what's already mentioned by other people in this thread. It might be a conflict of interest to have both of these ran by the same person.

    What I would like to mention, is the website. Quite frankly, I don't get why you wouldn't even bother to have a professional website. If you can't even afford that, this raises huge question marks with me.

    Do you know how much I pay for my websites? About $30 a year. That includes hosting and my domain name. Now, I have several domain names, which brings the cost to around $50 a year, but still. If you can't afford $30 for decent hosting and your own domainname, that doesn't inspire confidence.

    I'm saying this because recently I read another thread here about a publisher who wouldn't give their authors some free copies of their books. Since sending out five copies of their book to the author would cost about $20, and they can't even afford to pay that, it makes me very worried for the publisher's future. If I look at your website, see it's on Blogger, that's a red flag to me, because it gives me the same message: this person can't spend $20-$30 on their website, so why would I be confident they make any sales at all?

    I'm trying to be helpful here, and show you the message this gives to your potential clients.

    Secondly, those colors don't exactly make me feel all warm and welcome. The website doesn't look professional, and if you'd just change the colors, that would go a long way to make it appear more professional. If I were a potential client, I'd say no to your agency based on the fact I couldn't visit your website for more than five minutes without getting a headache. It's really easy to change those colors to lighter, calmer tones. Takes about five minutes.
    Visit my website.



  20. #20
    Formerly Phantom of Krankor. Torgo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    7,631
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith SDS View Post
    Let me put the record straight on this.

    Yes, I started off as an IT professional, 20 years in total.
    So you don't have any experience of the publishing industry. This is problematic for an agent, to say the least.

    How are you going to advise on contracts?

    And yes, you're right, Steve Stone is my writing psuedonym. I'm not the first agent to represent their own books, and I won't be the last.
    I deal with literary agents every day, and I don't know of any who represent themselves as authors. I am not sure it's unethical, but it's unusual.

    No deal with a large publisher as of yet, but one of the small deals has now progressed to national stocking of two titles by Waterstones, Britain's largest book chain, which is nice.
    Well done, honestly.

    Another highlight of the business to date is that I've managed to accumulate hundreds of Email addresses (sometimes using tricks from my old days as an IT contractor), direct to the desks of commissioning editors of publishing houses, and to film producers. I talk directly to many every week, and that in itself holds promise for the future. I might even start selling my database of Email addresses at some point in the future, but certainly not for a while.
    OK, this is extremely bad. Please don't share or sell that database, especially if you obtained addresses using 'tricks'. If I were to discover that my email address was being hawked around by an agent I'd never deal with them again.

    I don't know of any typos or bad wording on the pages, but don't forget that it's an advertising medium, not a novel extract. The two languages are completely different, as any advertising executive would tell you.
    It's bad for anyone in the publishing business to have typos or bad English on their website. It makes it look as if you're not interested in polish; that you're slapdash.

    It's also a load of tosh, and probably libelous, for the contributor to say that the editing offered by the company is 'awful'
    Steve, mate: let me be honest with you. A look into the books you've published as Steve Stone tells me that you don't have the chops to offer professional editing services.

  21. #21
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    5
    I'm not going to read or reply to any posts made since my first visit. That's because I don't much like the flavour of this site. I think the forum practice of allowing quote replication is unfortunate, and can come across as rude, particularly when the quote is deliberately left incomplete. Whilst I think this site serves a very good purpose, I also find some of the contributors sarcastic, pompous and even arrogant, e.g. 'I just scored a bingo,' etc, amongst other crass remarks and swearwords.

    However;

    1. The SDS Literary Agency website http://sdsliteraryagency.blogspot.co.uk/
    was never 'imperfectly edited'. The problem all along was use of different browsers to view. The site is now standardised on IE9, and reads perfectly using it, but viewing experience may vary by browser, a problem which is shared by a very large number of websites worldwide. The site is very readable using any browser. Not everyone likes the site, but you can't please all of the people, all of the time. My 11 clients like it, and the guy from the British Government who gave me the business start-up grant loved it, so much so that he ended up buying three of the books. To say the site is somehow poor in terms of content and appearance is just snobbish, especially when compared to many agency websites which are much less informative, and carelessly put together.

    2. I'm actually a very good businessman. My IT consultancy company was extremely successful, and enabled me to retire from mainstream employment at 42. Most people could only dream of working with the high-profile public and private sector clients I worked with on a fee-paying basis, over the course of many years on PRINCE2 projects. I started with less than nothing as a teenager, and retired a debtless property and asset owner.

    I also bought a loss-making snooker club, and made it profitable. I sold it in early 2008 at a nice profit, because I saw the recession coming. I've also run 4 other businesses profitably before the literary agency, selling or closing them when I wanted to do something else, or the time was right.

    I started the literary agency because of my interest in the publishing industry, my background as an author of novels and screenplays, and my friendship with other authors. I've made a few thousand quid out of it so far, nothing to write home about, but the agency was always a long-term investment for the future, hopefully expanding more rapidly in the years to come. The agency continues to offer paid services outside of the scope of free representation, and I've made money editing, formatting novels for Amazon Kindle and paperback, and by selling paper and electronic books. Some of my clients have made money too, from Amazon sales, the two smallish book deals we have so far made, and the optioned screenplays. And all of that isn't bad for a business that only properly launched in April 2012. I've also helped the odd client or two out with a lot of free editing in exchange for representation, because although their technical standard of writing was poor or worse, their content and style was very engaging and marketable. I didn't have to edit for free, but one of those clients went on to make nice money on Amazon, and has a distribution deal with Waterstones starting soon.

    4. The charge of poor editing shown here is complete tosh. I've now put clickable links to six extended examples of editing on the agency website. Do check them out, and the remainder of the novels and short stories on Amazon. You won't find a typo anywhere.

    5. Contact me direct at sdsliteraryagency@live.co.uk if you want to;
    a) Just have a chat.
    b) Schedule a appointment at my premises (address shown on the website) to;
    i) Meet my two part-time staff.
    ii) View the documentation for my company, including the material relating to the British Government grant.
    iii) View the current banking documentation for my company.
    iv) View every contract I ever signed as a PRINCE2 Project Manager, before the agency was even thought of.
    v) View the historical legal documentation for the snooker club.
    vi) Obtain contact details for my clients, so you can ask them what they think of the agency's representation services. Not all of the clients of electronic services are listed on the website, only represented clients.

    At the end of the day, I do work very hard to promote my clients' work, and have had some early success with this business. Some of my clients have also enjoyed success through the agency, and those that haven't at least have a chance of progressing their work, a chance they wouldn't have at all without an agent, as the direct person-name-specific contacts I have with commissioning editors and film producers (see the top of my site for a list of the companies they're from) do talk to me, but won't talk to agent-less authors.

    This will be my last post on this site.

    Many thanks,

    Steve Smith.
    SDS Literary Agency.
    http://tinyurl.com/d7wzej3
    Last edited by AW Admin; 04-19-2013 at 07:37 PM. Reason: Inserted plain text URL for shortened URL

  22. #22
    USA Today Bestselling Author Jamiekswriter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    1,226
    In the two years you've been open, how many books have you sold? What's the average advance?

    Based on the client history tab on your website it doesn't look like you've sold anything to a major publisher. And the only books on there looked to have been self published via Amazon. What are you doing to earn your 15% in these cases?

    I see you're selling some books off your site. Are you also a publisher?

  23. #23
    Outside the box, with the bunnehz KimJo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    somewhere in Massachusetts
    Posts
    4,003
    And we have flounce...

    If the editing on the site wasn't enough to indicate problems, Steve's response to perfectly reasonable questions and concerns is. I lurk here a lot, and I've found it pretty much never fails: the publishers, agencies, etc. that last are the ones who show up here ready and willing to explain themselves, answer concerns, reply respectfully to questions, and generally comport themselves professionally.

    The ones who rant, rave, call us all meanies, and flounce tend not to last so long.
    as Jo Ramsey:
    My YA site
    My YA library
    COMING SOON:
    Midnight Chat, Harmony Ink, February 2017
    Dolphins in the Mud, Harmony Ink, August 2017



  24. #24
    Challenge accepted.

    Agree a 15% standard contract, & you'll never pay a thing for representation!
    That's within the first few sentences of the website. And oddly enough, that sentence is incomplete in both Google Chrome and IE 9. I won't comment on whether it is a typo or just bad editing.

    I do think it is odd that you are trying to be a literary agent, offer services for self publishing and be a publisher all at the same time.

  25. #25
    for the love of love Lydia Sharp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    CLE / Wonderland
    Posts
    1,726
    I haven't had time to read through all the comments here, but I did look at the website. First impression: I would not pay for someone to do any kind of book formatting on my behalf if they don't understand that yellow lettering on a blue background is physically painful to your eyes, and yellow lettering on a grey background is nearly impossibly to read because it blends.

    No thank you.

    Also, what is a "Goodreads load"? Do you mean uploading an ebook and/or excerpt? Because anyone can do that for free. But if that isn't what you meant then I'm lost.

    Lydia Sharp
    author represented by Laura Bradford
    editor with Entangled Publishing
    frequently on Twitter


Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Custom Search