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Thread: L & C Literary Agency (Owen Burnham)

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    L & C Literary Agency (Owen Burnham)

    I signed a contract with Susan Mears 2 years ago and she did nothing to secure me a publisher. She made several attempts to get me to hand over money to her, without fail. She informed me that an interested publisher asked for 500 from me towards marketing. I refused and ended my contract with her.

    I found a new agent, Owen Burnham, of L & C Literary Agency. Owen used to work for Susan, but wasn't happy with the way she treated authors, so he left and set up his own agency. A week after signing my contract with him I had an offer from a Publisher, which I have accepted. My book, "Running from Tenda Gayamar" will be published in 3 to 5 months.

    Owen is a great agent, honest, with integrity and appreciation of the hard work that author's do to share their stories. He is an agent to trust.

  2. #2
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Who is your publisher, Lesley?

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    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    L&C website here http://www.lc-agency.org.uk/

    Looks pretty sparse, nothing about the personnel, books sold or the kind of work they specialise in. The contact is through the website but no guidance is offered about what they want you to send.

    Loads of red flags

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

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    Banned for Spamming profen4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    Who is your publisher, Lesley?
    Looks like her publisher is :John Hunt Publishers (Mantra Books)

    Link:http://www.johnhuntpublishing.com/?i=0

    Perhaps this needs a new thread here?
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 01-02-2017 at 06:23 AM. Reason: code weirdness

  5. #5
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    And?

    Quote Originally Posted by lesley freeman View Post
    I signed a contract with Susan Mears 2 years ago and she did nothing to secure me a publisher. She made several attempts to get me to hand over money to her, without fail. She informed me that an interested publisher asked for 500 from me towards marketing. I refused and ended my contract with her.

    I found a new agent, Owen Burnham, of L & C Literary Agency. Owen used to work for Susan, but wasn't happy with the way she treated authors, so he left and set up his own agency. A week after signing my contract with him I had an offer from a Publisher, which I have accepted. My book, "Running from Tenda Gayamar" will be published in 3 to 5 months.

    Owen is a great agent, honest, with integrity and appreciation of the hard work that author's do to share their stories. He is an agent to trust.
    How is it going now, Lesley? Which publisher is it?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by waylander View Post
    L&C website here http://www.lc-agency.org.uk/

    Looks pretty sparse, nothing about the personnel, books sold or the kind of work they specialise in. The contact is through the website but no guidance is offered about what they want you to send.

    Loads of red flags
    I was asked to send material in.. Very, very unsure. Any thoughts?

  7. #7
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    If you're unsure, you should ask why that might be.

    I've just taken a look at the website and don't think I'd submit to them.

  8. #8
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    Additional information

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Hack View Post
    If you're unsure, you should ask why that might be.

    I've just taken a look at the website and don't think I'd submit to them.
    On the recommendation of a friend who is represented by L&C, I did send something to them.

    How it appears to work is:

    You complete the webform and dependent on whether L&C likes your story/pitch, the agent will get in touch. My friend did this bit for me by talking to the agent direct. He liked what he heard and I was asked to send a full ms, bio and synopsis.

    It is then assessed by his editor for its potential. You receive her assessment, along with her suggested changes (mine run to about ten). They ranged from useful to somewhat bizarre.

    If the editor believes it to have potential, she recommends that you are offered representation.

    All the authors listed on the home page of the agency have been published by imprints of John Hunt Publishing.

    My friend echoed the sentiment of an earlier poster that the agent seems a genuinely nice guy, but I think I will require some assurance before I consider signing with him.
    Last edited by writermike1; 05-31-2013 at 03:00 AM.

  9. #9
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    If the agent hasn't sold anyone's work to publishers other than John Hunt then they are not a real agent. I would ask the agent which imprints they plan on submitting your work to. It should be a decently long list.

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

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by waylander View Post
    If the agent hasn't sold anyone's work to publishers other than John Hunt then they are not a real agent. I would ask the agent which imprints they plan on submitting your work to. It should be a decently long list.
    Thanks, Waylander. That's great advice regarding the imprints. I had it in my mind to ask but you've given me a benchmark against which to measure the response. But then a response of "Well, we'll approach Atom Books first and go from there," wouldn't cut it anyway.

    I did think along similar lines regarding JHP, since there's nothing stopping me, tonight, submitting to that publisher. Well, apart from the obvious of course...and that set off enough red flags to start a carnival.

  11. #11
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by writermike1 View Post
    On the recommendation of a friend who is represented by L&C, I did send something to them.

    How it appears to work is:

    You complete the webform and dependent on whether L&C likes your story/pitch, the agent will get in touch. My friend did this bit for me by talking to the agent direct. He liked what he heard and I was asked to send a full ms, bio and synopsis.

    It is then assessed by his editor for its potential. You receive her assessment, along with her suggested changes (mine run to about ten). They ranged from useful to somewhat bizarre.

    If the editor believes it to have potential, she recommends that you are offered representation.

    All the authors listed on the home page of the agency have been published by imprints of John Hunt Publishing.
    Huge red flag there.

    Another one is the editor making recommendations.

    And finally--the names of the agents are not listed on their website. Any legit agency will have agent bios.

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    Well, all this conjecture is very interesting. However, as one of Owen's contracted writers, I feel I have the right to post some comments of my own.
    Owen isn't your usual run-of-the-mill agent. He openly admits that. He's a bit of a maverick, has a very spiritual side, and if you don't want your agent to be your friend too, then he's not for you. His is a small agency that takes an interest in its clients. His speciality is first-time authors. Having been in the same position as the rest of us, he knows how difficult and disheartening trying to get an agent can be.
    Speaking from experience (not guess-work), I can say with conviction the L&C Literary Agency is legit. I have not been asked to part with a penny, nor will I ever be. Yes, Owen has used John Hunt Publishing on occasion with the author's full approval when he has been unable to place their work elsewhere, but certainly not at contracts 3 or 4, and only as a 'foot in the door' so to speak. He has good working relationships with the Commissioning Editors at Virago, Schuster & Schuster, and Harper-Collins, to name but a few, and also has an office on the other side of the Atlantic.
    He is a genuinely open, caring person. He is always available to speak to, has a great sense of humour, and does actually listen to what you have to say. And he knows what he's talking about. He most certainly is not out to catch the unwary. What would he have to gain by that? He gets you published, he gets his ten per cent. He doesn't get you published, it's bread and water for the week! I'll reiterate, he doesn't ask anyone for money.
    As to L&C being affiliated to Mary Grey's editing service...that is incorrect. Ms. Grey is a completely independent editor. Yes, she helps Owen out if requested, (they have been friends for a long time), for which, once again, there is no charge, but that is the full extent of her involvement.
    So, to sum up: with respect to all the people who have commented here, please refrain from bad-mouthing an agent on mere speculation and hear-say. I like to think I'm an intelligent person, certainly not nave, and I am absolutely delighted Owen offered me a contract. The more we talk, the more I realise he's exactly what I want in an agent. No. He wouldn't suit everyone, but it wouldn't do for us to be all the same, would it? And that doesn't make him a charlatan, shyster, con-man or any of those other horrible words.
    Thanks for reading. Responses welcome!!
    Last edited by Suzanne G; 06-17-2013 at 08:54 PM.

  13. #13
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanne G View Post
    Well, all this conjecture is very interesting. However, as one of Owen's contracted writers, I feel I have the right to post some comments of my own.
    Hello, Suzanne. Welcome to AW!

    Can you point to the conjecture that you spotted? I've seen opinions and information, but no conjecture to speak of.

    Owen isn't your usual run-of-the-mill agent. He openly admits that. He's a bit of a maverick, has a very spiritual side, and if you don't want your agent to be your friend too, then he's not for you.
    I'm not sure that being a maverick or being spiritual has any bearing on his agenting abilities, but I do think that agents should be friends with their clients, so that's really good to know. Thank you.

    His is a small agency that takes an interest in its clients.
    All good agencies take interest in their authors: if they didn't, they wouldn't be able to do their jobs.

    His speciality is first-time authors.
    I'm confused. If he specialises in representing first-time authors, what happens to his clients once they're published? Does he advise them to find new representation? It wouldn't be very good for those author-clients if he did this, but if he didn't, how could he continue to specialise in this area?

    Having been in the same position as the rest of us, he knows how difficult and disheartening trying to get an agent can be.
    I know a few literary agents, both personally and professionally, and I assure you they are all aware of the difficulties writers face in this regard.

    Speaking from experience (not guess-work), I can say with conviction the L&C Literary Agency is legit. I have not been asked to part with a penny, nor will I ever be.
    That's good news. Thank you.

    Yes, Owen has used John Hunt Publishing on occasion with the author's full approval when he has been unable to place their work elsewhere, but certainly not at contracts 3 or 4, and only as a 'foot in the door' so to speak.
    We have a thread about John Hunt Publishing here.

    Mr Hunt's responses in that thread did not convince me that his publisher was a good choice for writers, and I'd be very wary of any agent who sent his or her author-clients there.

    He has good working relationships with the Commissioning Editors at Virago, Schuster & Schuster, and Harper-Collins, to name but a few, and also has an office on the other side of the Atlantic.
    That's great: but if he's still sending his clients to John Hunt Publishing when those other editors reject their work, there's still a problem. I've not looked at his website lately, but upstream writermike made this comment:

    Quote Originally Posted by writermike1 View Post
    All the authors listed on the home page of the agency have been published by imprints of John Hunt Publishing.
    Is this still the case?

    He is a genuinely open, caring person. He is always available to speak to, has a great sense of humour, and does actually listen to what you have to say. And he knows what he's talking about. He most certainly is not out to catch the unwary. What would he have to gain by that?
    Being a genuinely open, caring person and having a great sense of humour probably makes him a great bloke. But those characteristics have no bearing on his ability to be a great agent.

    And if he does know what he's talking about, why is he sending his author-clients to John Hunt Publishing?

    He gets you published, he gets his ten per cent. He doesn't get you published, it's bread and water for the week! I'll reiterate, he doesn't ask anyone for money.
    PublishAmerica doesn't ask anyone for any money either. And most agents work for fifteen per cent these days. Mr Burnham is cheap!

    As to L&C being affiliated to Mary Grey's editing service...that is incorrect. Ms. Grey is a completely independent editor. Yes, she helps Owen out if requested, (they have been friends for a long time), for which, once again, there is no charge, but that is the full extent of her involvement.
    I've read through this thread and found no mention of Mary Grey's editing service. Help me out, please, and point me to the post you're referring to here. Or are you confused about which forum you're on?

    So, to sum up: with respect to all the people who have commented here, please refrain from bad-mouthing an agent on mere speculation and hear-say.
    I see no one "bad-mouthing" anyone in this thread. I see reasonable questions being asked, and reasonable responses being given, but no insults or sneers; and I don't see any speculation or "hear-say" either. Perhaps you could re-read the thread and see if you've misunderstood any of the discussion.

    I like to think I'm an intelligent person, certainly not nave, and I am absolutely delighted Owen offered me a contract.
    I like to think I am a princess. Ah, well.

    The more we talk, the more I realise he's exactly what I want in an agent. No. He wouldn't suit everyone, but it wouldn't do for us to be all the same, would it?
    I'm really pleased you're so happy with Mr Burnham, and wish you well. But as you suggest, while he might well be the best agent for you, he's not automatically the best agent for everyone. What we're trying to do in this thread is discuss who he might be a good agent for--and, just as importantly, who he might not suit so well.

    For instance: if a writer didn't want to be published by John Hunt Publishing, then Mr Burnham probably isn't the right agent for them.

    And that doesn't make him a charlatan, shyster, con-man or any of those other horrible words.
    Thanks for reading. Responses welcome!!
    You're the first person to mention those "horrible words", Suzanne. Why did you do that, I wonder?

  14. #14
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    Can you point us to any books he has sold to H-C, S&S, Virago or any other advance-paying major publishers?

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

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    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Some random observations based on five minutes of idle click-abouts:

    Freelance editor Mary Grey recommends that writers in search of representation approach L&C Literary. This is the editor which Suzanne G said was "not affiliated" with L&C Literary (even though L&C links to Mary Grey's website from its own, and recommends her services). In this interview, Ms Grey implies that she wouldn't have become an editor had Mr Burnham not pointed her in that direction. I note that she appears to have no publishing experience, and set up shop after she "took a course in editing and proofreading". Her lack of publishing experience shows in that interview, as she makes several dubious claims about how publishing works.

    On her Amazon page writer Barbara Ford-Hammond, who is represented by L&C, claims to work for John Hunt Publishing--which seems to publish most of L&C's authors. How cozy!

    Not all of L&C's client-authors are published through John Hunt, however. This one has self-published her book to Kindle and CreateSpace; and this one is published with Simon & Schuster.

    One deal with S&S isn't enough to convince me that this is an agent I'd approach; and with no mention of Mr Burnham's publishing experience or work history on his own site, there is little to suggest he knows what he's doing, I'm afraid.

  16. #16
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    Was the deal with S&S handled by L&C?

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

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    "I like to think I am a princess. Ah, well."


    Good for you. Hopefully not Princess Fiona in her ogre guise...

    This is my last post. It's quite depressing that people have nothing better to do.
    Last edited by Suzanne G; 06-18-2013 at 03:03 PM.

  18. #18
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanne G View Post
    Good for you. Hopefully not Princess Fiona in her ogre guise...
    You're only jealous because I've been in films.

    This is my last post. It's quite depressing that people have nothing better to do.
    I notice you didn't answer any of my questions or explain why you were so keen to insist that Owen Burnham isn't "affiliated with" Mary Grey, even though no one here had suggested that he was.

    For anyone else who is tracking this thread, there's an ongoing thread in BWQ in which Mary Grey's editing is discussed. In that thread, Mary Grey points out that her business is not "affiliated with" Owen Burnham's agency, despite their apparently close working relationship.

    Mary Grey's post is somewhat oddly formatted but in my line-by-line reply to her I sorted that out, so it's easier to read. Just as I had to when replying to Suzanne G's post.

    I'm sure these are only coincidences.

  19. #19
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanne G View Post
    This is my last post. It's quite depressing that people have nothing better to do.
    4 out of 10 for the flounce - must try harder

    Nothing better to do than warning writers away from agents who will not advance their careers - sounds like a worthwhile use of my time.

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

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    Fine. Ok. I'll be pulled back in. I insisted Owen isn't 'associated' with Mary Grey because, quite simply, he isn't. That's all there is to it. They are friends. They help each other out. Nothing more than that.

    Look. Let's cut the sour grapes and snarky remarks. It will just go on and on, spiral out of control and get us all nowhere. And I think we're all better than that. We're all writers. We're all supposed to be supportive and on the same side. So, please don't read this with a 'tone'. There isn't one.

    All I would like to say is that Owen (and Mary) have done nothing to anyone. No one's forced to sign with Owen, that's their choice. No one is forced to take on Mary's recommendations - that too is their choice. Mary has looked at my manuscript and made some very good observations that I implemented immediately. There were also some suggestion I wasn't so sure about. After raising this with her she fully explained her reasoning and it made sense. She also told me it was entirely up to me what I implemented and what I didn't. No one is being forced to do anything,
    As to your questions. No problem, I'll address them now.

    I'm confused. If he specialises in representing first-time authors, what happens to his clients once they're published? Does he advise them to find new representation? It wouldn't be very good for those author-clients if he did this, but if he didn't, how could he continue to specialise in this area?
    Okay. Maybe I could have chosen my words more carefully here. Of course he looks after his existing clients. All I
    meant was if you send him a manuscript you don't have to strategically place a hair between the pages to see if he's actually read it! He will read it and give it serious consideration even though you have no track record. I know there are other agents who do this, which is great, but come on, we've all had the rejections where we doubt whether the agent in question has even bothered to scan the first page.

    I've read through this thread and found no mention of Mary Grey's editing service. Help me out, please, and point me to the post you're referring to here. Or are you confused about which forum you're on?

    Sorry. It's only inferred on Mike1's post here, but it is on another thread. As soon as I track it down again, I'll post it. Please bear with me. I'm new to Forums and not very proficient yet.

    Having been in the same position as the rest of us, he knows how difficult and disheartening trying to get an agent can be.
    I know a few literary agents, both personally and professionally, and I assure you they are all aware of the difficulties writers face in this regard.
    I'm not disputing that.


    I'm really pleased you're so happy with Mr Burnham, and wish you well. But as you suggest, while he might well be the best agent for you, he's not automatically the best agent for everyone. What we're trying to do in this thread is discuss who he might be a good agent for--and, just as importantly, who he might not suit so well.

    For instance: if a writer didn't want to be published by John Hunt Publishing, then Mr Burnham probably isn't the right agent for them.
    No arguments with this statement. And, of course, it's open to discussion.

    I like to think I'm an intelligent person, certainly not nave, and I am absolutely delighted Owen offered me a contract.
    I like to think I am a princess. Ah, well.
    Was there any need? Really?

    That's all . When I find that thread mentioned above, I'll post it. If anyone has any questions, I'll answer them. Other than that, I've decided to give Forums a wide berth. We can all be bitchy, we can all be snarky...but in the end where does it get any of us? I've got better things to do, as I'm sure everybody else does.
    That's not meant to be patronising. It's just how I feel. I'd rather get on with my writing than spend time being sarky to someone I don't even know, and may well be a really nice person.
    Last edited by Suzanne G; 06-18-2013 at 05:18 PM.

  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW Wisteria Vine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanne G View Post
    God. Get a job!!!!
    What an interesting post.

    What makes you think we don't have jobs AS WRITERS?

    You seem to take this all very personally. Why is that, Suzanne?

    If this firm is on the up and up as you suggest, why are you so defensive? Surely you would want those who might turn to this agency to know as much about it as possible? Wouldn't you want them to make an informed decision?

    I don't understand why this has your panties in a twist.

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    Oh for God's sake. I tried to keep this as a mature discussion but it obviously isn't possible. Why don't I think you all have jobs as writers?? Because if you did you'd probably have more important things to do than speculate on the twisted state of someone else's underwear, that's why.
    Quite frankly you're all pathetic. All you're interested in is sharpening your claws on other people. The best of luck to you. You're going to need it.

    Consider me logged off. Permanently.

  23. #23
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    I have a full-time job as a scientific researcher
    I am represented by a major London literary agency
    I have an interest in helping newer writers, particularly in the UK, find the most useful avenues for progressing their careers.

    Which of these do you have a problem with?
    Last edited by waylander; 06-18-2013 at 06:20 PM.

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

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    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanne G View Post
    Consider me logged off. Permanently.
    Odd. Half an hour later and Suzanne G still shows up as logged on.

    But back to the topic, all those links between the agent's site and the editor's site mean they are affiliated, even if they have no official/contractual relationship. It's a bit odd, but maybe he's using Mary as an informal second reader.

    I'm of two minds about that. If the writer isn't charged for that editorial review, then it's not a problem. If the editor lacks experience, and makes questionable suggestions, then it is.

  25. #25
    practical experience, FTW Wisteria Vine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suzanne G View Post
    Oh for God's sake. I tried to keep this as a mature discussion but it obviously isn't possible. Why don't I think you all have jobs as writers?? Because if you did you'd probably have more important things to do than speculate on the twisted state of someone else's underwear, that's why.
    Quite frankly you're all pathetic. All you're interested in is sharpening your claws on other people. The best of luck to you. You're going to need it.

    Consider me logged off. Permanently.

    Yes. Clearly you tried to "keep this as a mature discussion" by your comment of "God. Get a job!" What could the rest of us have been thinking? The fact that you backpedaled after you posted your nasty-gram doesn't change anything.

    You dropped in here to defend to the death this agent - which is fine. But questioning you as to why you're so defensive about this is not off limits.

    If you feel you've been attacked by my posting about your panties being in a twist (which clearly they ARE), feel free to report me. There's an icon that will do that for you.

    Thanks for your wishing me luck. Same to you.

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