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Thread: Redhammer Management / Litopia (Peter Cox)

  1. #1
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    Redhammer Management / Litopia (Peter Cox)

    I didn't see this in the index. I don't know if anyone has come across them before. I actually considered applying to this agency (which was listed in the Writer's Handbook 2006) at the start of the year but was hesitant, mostly about the way their website submission process seemed to raise a number of red flags which seemed rather suspicious.

    Anyway, I decided to check back on their site today, and I saw this posted:

    The former members of Redhammer LLC, Peter Cox and Barbara Gorna, have decided to sever their business relationship and Redhammer LLC is therefore in the process of being dissolved.
    However, both Peter and Barbara remain committed to serving their respective clients in the future and take this opportunity to thank them for their past support.

    Any enquiries about continuing representation and new business should be directed to either Peter or Barbara, whose contact details are as follows:
    So it's just as well I didn't submit anything. But if anyone has come across them, this was just a heads up.

  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Oh, to be a fly on the wall.

    Looks like Redhammer LLC (formerly ILCM, FWIW) at redhammer.biz, is now Redhammer Management Ltd, at http://www.redhammer.info/, with Peter Cox presiding. Doesn't look like Barbara has hung out her own shingle yet.

    This is interesting:

    Our unique approach to management and representation works best for authors who have already been published, and who now need to accelerate the momentum of their success. If you are currently a published author (not vanity or self-published), please click on the "For New Clients" link above to learn more about us.
    Which leads to this:

    My vision for a new breed of agency was based around the concept of putting the client and their needs right at the center of it all. That may not seem particularly revolutionary – but it is. Talented people have always been seriously undervalued by the media industries – often treated as no more than a supplier of goods and services. We take a radically different view. We reason that without the author, there would be no manuscript, no screenplay, no intellectual property for others to commercially exploit. So we make sure we look after the person, not just the product of their work.

    How does this approach manifest itself? Probably in as many ways as we have clients. For example, we will typically involve ourselves at a very early stage in a project’s development – months before any deal is done. By providing useful and coherent feedback as a project develops, we can help guide it to the point of maximum commercial success. And that isn’t just a theory – our clients’ successes speak for themselves.
    Yet you have to register to access their client list.... But I did find this elsewhere:

    http://www.writersservices.com/agent/uk/Redhammer.htm

    Clients include Martin Bell obe , Mihir Bose, Brian Clegg, Caris Davis, Audrey Eyton, Senator Orrin Hatch, Gill Hudson, Amanda Lees, Josh McHugh, David McIntee, Michelle Paver, Saxon Roach, Fiona Ross, Carolyn Soutar, Prof. Donald Trelford, Justin Wintle.
    IMO, this is the kind of place that breeds the "agents don't want new authors" rot. Thing is, they're marketers/publicists before they're agents.
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  3. #3
    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Redhammer and Litopia

    I saw this mentioned in a thread in the Critters newsgroup, but I don't know if it's a recent development.

    From the Submissions page on the Redhammer website:
    "We no longer accept unsolicited submissions directly from unpublished writers. Instead, we request that all submissions come via Litopia Writers' Colony, www.litopia.com."

    Of course, there's a fee to join Litopia. And from what I read on Critters, the agency and Litopia are owned by the same person?... Does anyone know if this is true? Also, has anyone heard more about this?

    Anyway...

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  4. #4
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AnneMarble
    Of course, there's a fee to join Litopia. And from what I read on Critters, the agency and Litopia are owned by the same person?... Does anyone know if this is true? Also, has anyone heard more about this?
    Yes, they're owned by the same person--Peter Cox. The Litopia "writers' community" is the remnants of Cox's original literary agency, Litopia Literary Agency, whose name he had to change for reasons that I can't recall right now.

    There are definitely sales here--some of them very big--but I've gotten reports of nonstandard commissions and contracts for Cox's various agencies (there was one, or maybe two, in between Litopia and RedHammer). And of course, the requirement to submit through a fee-for-membership writers' community is, in effect, a reading fee.

    - Victoria

  5. #5
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss
    Litopia Literary Agency, whose name he had to change for reasons that I can't recall right now.
    He'd originally called it "Altavista." The search-engine people objected.

  6. #6
    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
    He'd originally called it "Altavista." The search-engine people objected.
    Gee, imagine that. I'm surprised he didn't try to call it Google next.
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  7. #7
    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss
    There are definitely sales here--some of them very big--but I've gotten reports of nonstandard commissions and contracts for Cox's various agencies (there was one, or maybe two, in between Litopia and RedHammer). And of course, the requirement to submit through a fee-for-membership writers' community is, in effect, a reading fee.
    Thank you for the details.


    I can't understand what's up with an agency that has actual sales but then does this sort of thing. Well, I can understand why they do it (money, and maybe also to cut down on unsolicited subs, but mostly money), but I don't want to understand it. In other words... Ewwww. Bad agency, no cookie!
    THE Official FreakTM
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  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    About Redhammer

    Hello everyone –

    There appears to be a lot of speculation here about Redhammer. I’m not clear why no-one has thought to approach me directly with any questions they have – I must be one of the easier agents to track down on the 'net, and between contact forms on Redhammer, my “Ask the Agent” forum on Litopia, and my own personal blog (petercox.info) it’s pretty easy to reach me.

    Let me address some of the issues raised above.

    Dark Sim finds our submission process “suspicious”. Well, it’s certainly rather different, but that doesn’t necessarily make it suspect.

    For unpublished authors, the industry’s submission procedure, if you can call it that, appears extraordinarily random and arbitrary. Speaking from inside the business, the torrent of submissions that most agents and many editors receive (publishers increasingly look to agents to sift submissions for them) is simply overwhelming. A smaller agency such as ours just doesn’t have the resources to process hundreds of submissions every week. And frankly, the quality of most submissions is so low that it simply isn’t cost-effective.

    Our solution has been to divide the submissions procedure into two parts. Authors who are already published and want to move up a gear can still approach us directly. Unpublished authors are encouraged to join Litopia Writers’ Colony, participate in the mutual self-criticism that goes on their, and then when they’re ready, submit via the Pitch Room area. This is a free community to join, and members report many benefits. Personally, I enjoy it too.


    CaoPaux writes that “this is the kind of place that breeds the "agents don't want new authors" rot. Thing is, they're marketers/publicists before they're agents.”.

    Well, we do want new authors. What we don’t want is 500 manuscripts jamming our doorway on Monday mornings, few of which will receive proper consideration. Seriously, we think our dual track approach as outlined above works in everyone’s interests, whatever stage your career is at.

    The marketers/publicists remark is probably aimed at my own background. I don’t have a problem with that, and find in fact that it often works to help our clients. You can read more about my biography on the Redhammer site, http://www.redhammer.info/index.php?categoryid=12

    victoriastrauss says she’s “gotten reports of nonstandard commissions and contracts”. I don’t know what it meant by “non-standard contracts” – all our publishing contracts are very carefully negotiated, and sometimes achieve significant precedents for our clients. As for our commission, we charge 17.5% on domestic (which is 2.5% higher than other agencies) and 20% on foreign, which is exactly the same as most other agencies. Our clients are usually pretty happy with that – yes, we do charge a little more, we do try to do a whole lot more for what is a deliberately short client list.

    AnneMarble says “Bad agency, no cookie!”. With respect, AnneMarble, you are basing that judgement on bad information, so no cookie to you, either.

    Please feel free to ask me anything else you wish.

    Peter Cox

  9. #9
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by petercox View Post
    I’m not clear why no-one has thought to approach me directly with any questions they have ....
    Hi, Peter.

    Do you remember several years ago when you tried to get a link to Litopia placed on SFF.Net?

    I asked you several simple questions. You refused to answer. That's why I deleted the link.

    So, to answer your question about why no-one thought to approach you ... I did, quite a while ago, and you refused to provide information.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    Hi, Peter.

    Do you remember several years ago when you tried to get a link to Litopia placed on SFF.Net?

    I asked you several simple questions. You refused to answer. That's why I deleted the link.

    So, to answer your question about why no-one thought to approach you ... I did, quite a while ago, and you refused to provide information.
    Hi James,

    Nope, I really don’t remember that at all. What were the questions?

    By the way, your previous post is not accurate. We issued proceedings against Alta Vista for infringing our trade mark: it was quite widely reported on, inter alia, CNBC, etc.

    All my best,

    Peter

  11. #11
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by petercox View Post
    Our solution has been to divide the submissions procedure into two parts. Authors who are already published and want to move up a gear can still approach us directly. Unpublished authors are encouraged to join Litopia Writers’ Colony, participate in the mutual self-criticism that goes on their, and then when they’re ready, submit via the Pitch Room area. This is a free community to join, and members report many benefits. Personally, I enjoy it too.
    When I checked back in July 2006, a Litopia membership cost $29.95, and Redhammer was requesting that all submissions from unpublished writers come through Litopia. I'm glad to hear that Litopia has transitioned to free membership.

    - Victoria

  12. #12
    The King and Queen of Cheese BenPanced's Avatar
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    http://www.litopia.com/forums/register.php

    Following the link brings you "Sorry, registration has been disabled by the administrator."

  13. #13
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    So, if a new writer could get into Litopia and reach the point where his work was ready, would it cost anything to submit through the Pitch Room?

  14. #14
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by petercox View Post
    Nope, I really don’t remember that at all. What were the questions?
    Simple ones. Who are some of your better-known clients? Do you charge any up-front fees? What are some of your recent sales?

    As you apparently don't recall, you were the one who approached me to advertise your site. When you refuse to answer, I declined.

    On the Alta Vista thing -- you changed the name of your agency. They didn't change the name of their search engine. So we know how that ended up.

  15. #15
    What? I have a title? Julie Worth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    On the Alta Vista thing -- you changed the name of your agency. They didn't change the name of their search engine. So we know how that ended up.
    Apparently, they were both formed in 1995.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    When I checked back in July 2006, a Litopia membership cost $29.95, and Redhammer was requesting that all submissions from unpublished writers come through Litopia. I'm glad to hear that Litopia has transitioned to free membership.

    - Victoria
    Litopia is a writers’ community that I personally underwrite. I support it because I believe it has considerable social and cultural value. Believe me, it is far from being a money-making venture. I have my own little corner there, the “Ask the Agent” section, that a lot of members find useful and I enjoy very much, too.

    For the vast majority of its existence, Litopia has been (and is) free. However, we do try to encourage only committed writers. For a short time we experimented with a membership fee, largely as a way of deterring frivolous membership. We decided this wasn’t the best way to go, and the charge was soon abolished. Currently, we do require that potential members submit some writing for evaluation by other members before they’re granted full membership.

    Peter

  17. #17
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenPanced View Post
    http://www.litopia.com/forums/register.php

    Following the link brings you "Sorry, registration has been disabled by the administrator."
    Yes, if you read the note on the front page, you’ll see that today we have temporarily suspended new memberships– the moderators are somewhat overwhelmed with applications. We hope to have dealt with the backlog in a week or so, and are asking that potential members check back in a few days to see what the situation is.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveKuzminski View Post
    So, if a new writer could get into Litopia and reach the point where his work was ready, would it cost anything to submit through the Pitch Room?
    Absolutely not. Litopia is totally free, as I’ve said above.

  19. #19
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    Simple ones. Who are some of your better-known clients? Do you charge any up-front fees? What are some of your recent sales?
    James, just click through to our website, www.redhammer.info. You’ll find one of the most comprehensive and information-rich sites of any agency on the net. You’ll also find recent deals (never quite up to date!) together with detailed client profiles. And no, we do not charge reading fees, or indeed any fees, up-front or otherwise.



    As you apparently don't recall, you were the one who approached me to advertise your site. When you refuse to answer, I declined.
    I’ve never approached anyone to “advertise”. I may have approached you to exchange links, which is a little different, isn’t it – but I honestly don’t recall. Whatever happened, there seems to have been a misunderstanding, for which I apologize.


    On the Alta Vista thing -- you changed the name of your agency. They didn't change the name of their search engine. So we know how that ended up
    The matter was eventually settled out of federal court, but I’m not at liberty to reveal any more than this. And frankly, it was a trade dispute that’s hardly germane or relevant to the author/agent aspect of the business, which is what I assume you are mainly interested in.

    Peter

  20. #20
    Giggle Collector akaa1a's Avatar
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    I belong and the experience has been amazing!

    No lollipops and rainbows there...you get real "feet to the fire" critiques from serious writers, and believe me, these writers are fabulous!

  21. #21
    R1X
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    I too am a member of Litopia; I've been a member for about three years now, which has afforded me the comfy spot near the fridge.

    Seriously though, I've had a pop around this site and am quite impressed with the grand scheme to help the writer stay on the true path. Brilliant on you guys. There are so many people out there today just looking for the quick buck - you guys truly are a bastion of hope.

    That said, it all comes crashing down when you show yourselves up in the way you have done regarding Redhammer, Litopia, and even the Altavista link (worthy of Watergate scandal? Probably not).

    Look, it's not for me to poke holes in your arguments, the Kaiser Chiefs new album Yours Truly Angry Mob can do that for me. It's not like Mr Cox is raising a defensive fortress and screaming down from the parapets: 'Get thee hence, I'm no blaggard!'

    He's come on here to discuss with you your misconceptions and your frankly <looks for the right word> interesting </looks for the right word> conspiracy theories, and do you engage with him like gentlemen... and ladies? Does it sound to me like you’re lending him your full attention and observing the facts?

    As I said, I’ve been with Litopia for roughly three years now, and thanks in the most part to Mr Cox my writing has come on in leaps and bounds. What agent does that?

    Has he ever charged me money? No. Did I have to join Litopia to ever pitch a book to him? No. Does the fact that he’s had to change business names a couple of times bother me? No, because he’s maintained his client list, which includes for you “Show us the money” shouters the remarkable children’s book series Chronicles of Ancient Darkness… anyone heard of that one?

    Don’t bother with the research, I can tell it’s not your strong point… ahem: http://www.amazon.com/Chronicles-Anc...e=UTF8&s=books

    Which surely leads you to question my own integrity. Why indeed have I chosen to come here and make one post to support Mr Cox? How much is he paying me?

    I’m an unpublished hack looking for an agent and a publisher. I’ve not sold a book yet, and frankly I’m a little afraid <Conspiratorial whisper> Between you and me, I still don’t think I’m good enough for publication, and I daren’t waste my effort with self publication </Conspiratorial whisper>.

    That aside, you guys have rightly questioned whether Redhammer is an agency worth submitting to, and for whatever reason you’ve come to the wrong conclusions.

    Mr Cox has provided you with the evidence and the truth; he is here to allay your fears, not for his personal needs, but because he is a professional whose integrity shines through in the work he has done and the work he continues to do.

    It’s not like he’s asking for an apology, just a nod and acceptance that your suspicions were wrong in respect to Redhammer. That’s it! He’s not hiding away, he’s not changing business names and fooling people out of their money. He’s running a legitimate agency whose clients are super happy. And, no, I’m not one. But, don’t worry about me.

    So... erm... keep up the otherwise good work.

    Where's that hat doffer? Oh, you don't have one...
    Last edited by R1X; 02-28-2007 at 07:24 PM.

  22. #22
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    R1X, you aren't doing your friend any favors.

  23. #23
    Butterfly2007
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    (Steps nervously into the arena, grabs washing up brush as the trident and net seem to be in use at the moment.)

    Dear all,

    I am a client of Peter Cox and have been for 4 years, my fourth book will be published this year, which is down to Peter so of course, I am biased.

    This is my take on Peter and Redhammer.

    1. He has a very commercial instinct, knows what publishers want and we believe he is unqiue in this.

    2. The name of the agency has changed twice since I met Peter but his talent has not changed. I have survived and I needed no persuading.

    3. He is more of a manager than an agent, guiding our careers so that we are not one-hit wonders. I believe most agents wait for their clients to come up with new ideas and waits for the phone to ring. Peter is the reverse. The proposal process with him is agonising as he teases the very best out of us, but you will have probably seen this on Litopia ?

    4. Litopia as a submission process - It is very satisfying to help people grow on the site from the 'I am brilliant, just need an agent' to 'I I don't know anything and I need to start from scratch.' There are some great people on there.

    5. The gates are shut as I believe Litopia is swamped at the moment. I don't know if you are aware but you have to submit a piece for approval before you can join and this process is backlogged at the moment.

    6. I don't know of any other site where you can ask an international agent anything about your writing, or the business and then pitch to him to get proper feedback and yes it is free. Woudln't you rather do that than be chucked on the slush pile of an anonymous agent?

    So from an edited, published and reviewed author, I hope this helps you with an informed decision about Peter and Redhammer.

    Good luck and keep writing.

  24. #24
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Whilst I usually defer to Uncle Jim and Victoria in these matters, I'm having a bit of a hard time seeing what the problem is with this agency as it operates now. Given that:

    - the agency's on-line community is no longer fee charging;

    - there are no other red flag charges (that I can see) on their website; and

    - the list of clients is impressive with proven sales to established publishers,

    I'm not sure it deserves a warning. Whilst I don't think that R1X is incredibly helpful with the tone of his/her comments, Peter Cox doesn't seem to be trying to actively hide anything here.

    What I would say though is that perhaps new writers would be better off trying other agents first,on the basis that the site's blurb seems more interested in established mid-list writers looking to move. Whilst Litopia (like any on-line writing community, including this one) may very well give aspiring writers good feedback and advice, it shouldn't be mistaken as offering a greater chance of securing representation.

    MM
    Last edited by Momento Mori; 02-28-2007 at 11:06 PM. Reason: Forgot to mention something and remove references to red flags

  25. #25
    Butterfly2007
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    I hope that it does lose the Red Flag. Most of us in the Redhammer stable would be astounded at this negative view without justification. You are correct, there are no hidden charges, anywhere.

    I think you are also correct about encouraging 'published authors', but I was not published when I approached Peter. However that is really how Litopia came about. It stopped Redhammer being deluged with MSS and allowed people to hone their skills before pitching to anyone, not just Peter.

    You say that writers can do this on other sites- I wasn't aware of another agent doing this ?
    Last edited by Butterfly2007; 02-28-2007 at 09:24 PM. Reason: duh and more duh.

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