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Thread: Metamorphosis Literary Agency

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Metamorphosis Literary Agency

    Recently on twitter during the #DVpit party, I got interest on my pitch from Lauren Hurlbert of the Metamorphosis Literary Agency. I sent my query to her, and two weeks later, I got a request to send more of my manuscript to her. I researched, and she has a website, but it's a free one, not a paid one: http://metamorphosisliter.wix.com/metamorphosislitag

    She's also not very active on twitter (https://twitter.com/MetamorphLitAg), and there's also a facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Metamorphos...1107819908468/) but I've hardly found anything else on her.

    Anyone know anything about this agency? Is it just really new?

  2. #2
    pinkbowvintage's Avatar
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    I'm skeptical of the website for a few numbers: One, there's no info on the agents themselves. This sentence threw me: "MLA agents bring coalition with their extensive experience and knowledge of the literary craft in the areas of voice, conflict, and readers' desires." If that's the case, where are the bios? Who are these agents?

    It could be a start-up type thing, but it's odd there isn't a lot of info.

    Two, it's a Wix.com page. I'd be wary of anyone whose website looks cheap and whose sales you can't verify. It doesn't mean they're not legit, but wouldn't you rather go with someone with a solid track record and professional presentation? There's no "Submissions guidelines" which is also odd for an agency.

    Keep us posted.
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  3. #3
    I got it covered Undercover's Avatar
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    No experience. No books. Vague website. No thanks.
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  4. #4
    Grr. Argh. Thedrellum's Avatar
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    My grammar might be failing, having just woken up, but I'm pretty sure "MLA agents bring coalition with their extensive experience and knowledge of the literary craft in the areas of voice, conflict, and readers' desires." makes no sense.

    Bring coalition?

    In other news, nothing about either Ms. Hurlbert or her agency on Publisher's Marketplace.

    ETA: According to her Facebook profile, she has associations with the Algonkian Writer's Conference and The New York Pitch Conference, both of which have been talked about on Absolute Write. The thread for Algonkian is here.
    Last edited by Thedrellum; 05-28-2016 at 08:55 PM.

  5. #5
    pinkbowvintage's Avatar
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    "Bring coalition" caught my eye too.
    My YA debut BURRO HILLS is coming from Diversion Books in 2018!

    YA LGBT Contemporary/Thriller - Revising
    YA Contemporary Mystery/Horror - Writing, 34k+
    Short Fiction Online: Rabbit Suit

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  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Okay, after sending the agency the first 75 pages of my novel at the end of May, I got this reply today (I have omitted my name and manuscript title from it):

    "Dear (name redacted),

    The Metamorphosis committee has completed their review of (manuscript title). I am pleased to inform you that we think your work would make a positive addition to the literary agency.


    To begin the process of a publishing house acceptance, I have passed your file to Stephanie Hansen. She is a Metamorphosis literary agent, an editor for Mind's Eye Literary Magazine, and specialized in handling YA science fiction. She holds a Master's degree, and I am confident you will find her knowledgeable and caring. I have copied her on this email. Please reply all.



    We would like to discuss the contract details. While we have a few publishers in mind for (manuscript title), there are a few items to cover first. Have you already signed with another agency or publishing house? Do you have certain publishers in mind? Are you comfortable with revisions and editing prior to our submitting to publishers? We do not charge for our assistance with critiques and edits as we make money when you do when the book sells. Please beware of Literary Agencies that charge for editing services.



    Stephanie, the staff, and I understand (manuscript title)represents a significant part of your dream; we would feel honored if we can assist in its publishing. We are a different agency in that we offer an assisted book tour with our team. Would you be interested in traveling with us and promoting your book along with our other representation? Metamorphosis has found higher enjoyment in public events as a group instead of sending authors out alone.


    We look forward to hearing from you. In the event you have already found representation, we wish you all the best.
    Lauren





    Lauren Hurlbert
    646-397-1640
    http://metamorphosisliter.wix.com/metamorphosislitag
    https://www.facebook.com/metamorphosislitagent/"

    I really want it to be real because I've been querying novels for nine years and I desperately want my big break. But I'm still skeptical. At the very least, maybe I could count this as an offer of representation and notify other literary agents who have my query. I've heard agents are more willing to give you an offer if another agent already has. Any opinions?

  7. #7
    Grr. Argh. Thedrellum's Avatar
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    Each agent works differently. Some, I suppose, might be more likely to give you an offer if you notify them of another offer, but the far more common response I've seen from agents is that they are more likely to pass on a manuscript with an offer because someone else is already passionate about it. What you are most likely guaranteed of is a quicker response, though that response could be anything.

    Now this is certainly an offer of representation (congratulations!) but I think (and have heard from agents, too) that you should only notify other agents of the offer if you plan on taking this one, if you are sure you want to trust yourself to Metamorphosis Literary Agency. From what I know of them (very little, which is part of the problem), I would keep searching for other representation.

    In other news, I'm at a loss as to why they include Alan Dean Foster's novelization of THE CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK as one of their "3 favorite books that help writers perfect their craft!"

  8. #8
    I aim to misbehave Myrealana's Avatar
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    I searched on Stephanie, and found this LinkedIn profile that appears to belong to her:
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/writerstephaniehansen

    She doesn't mention Metamorphosis at all, though she has recent LinkenIn posts, so I would think her profile would be up to date.

    No agents mentioned on their own website. No authors or books. The person they've offered to pair you with doesn't have a web presence as a literary agent...

    These things do not leave me filled with confidence.
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  9. #9
    That is one of the more unusual offer-of-representation e-mails I've seen, but I agree with Thedrellum that they are essentially offering representation (though what precisely that means to them remains to be seen).

    The way I see it, you have two options: respectfully decline their offer and keep querying as usual or notify the other agents of this interest. It will certainly speed up responses, but as Thedrellum said, it's probably not going to change the responses you were already going to get. And to echo Thedrellum again, you run the risk of forcing agents' hands, ending up with no credible offers, and having to start from scratch. (Agents might be on vacation when you follow up and/or unable to read the manuscript in the allotted time period for any number of reasons, in which case they'll just pass. Case in point: I started querying a manuscript at the very beginning of this year and ended up with an extremely fast offer. Luckily, it was an offer I was excited about, because another top agent on my list--and one who'd offered representation on another of my manuscripts--e-mailed me back to say that even though she was a fan of my writing, the timing was bad and she knew she wouldn't be able to get to my manuscript in time.)

    It sounds like you're less than enthusiastic about this offer, so if you haven't had a chance to query a decent number of the agents on your list and/or if you're also less enthusiastic about the other agents who currently have your manuscript, notifying the existing agents of this offer probably won't hurt, since you'll have a good fall-back plan. But if some of your favorite agents currently have your manuscript, it might be worth passing on this offer to give those other agents a full chance to consider it.

    Hope this helps, and good luck!
    Last edited by Krista G.; 07-26-2016 at 08:07 PM.
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  10. #10
    Writer Beware's Faithful Igor Richard White's Avatar
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    As I read this, they're offering representation on just the first 75 pages of your book?

    That is not very standard behavior. What if the story goes to heck on page 101? While I'm sure it has happened, most agents do NOT offer representation until they've had the opportunity to go through the whole book.

    Or, am I misreading what was said in Post #6?

  11. #11
    ReadItWrite missmaryb's Avatar
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    I received the exact same email with one exception: she mentioned they saw on my website that the book they were interested in had a release date, and wanted to know if has been contracted already (it has). I found it very strange they would offer representation based on a partial... But obviously they check into those they offer rep to at least a little. I'm a bit perplexed by this one, I'll admit.
    Mary Bernsen, Also writing as M.E. Rhines

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  12. #12
    Grr. Argh. Thedrellum's Avatar
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    Crap, I completely missed that, Richard. I don't think you're misreading at all--I think I just glossed over the opening line.

    That, along with everything else, would definitely make this agency a pass for me. They are not behaving as reputable agencies usually do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard White View Post
    As I read this, they're offering representation on just the first 75 pages of your book?

    That is not very standard behavior. What if the story goes to heck on page 101? While I'm sure it has happened, most agents do NOT offer representation until they've had the opportunity to go through the whole book.

    Or, am I misreading what was said in Post #6?

  13. #13
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Yeah, I thought offering after a partial was weird too. Agents do offer for nonfiction books that aren't complete, but usually not for fiction.

    I'll send another email asking some questions and see what they say. I appreciate all the advice!

  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW Glass Valkyrie's Avatar
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    Have you heard back about your follow up questions? I sent them an email a few weeks ago asking if they represented children's books and picture books and got a response today saying they do. I've sent in my picture book and will let you know what they say.

  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Here's part of the email they sent me in response to my questions:

    "Metamorphosis has worked with many publishers through writers conferences. All Write Now Conference advertises our company, we hold a workshop at a Literary Festival and participate in pitch sessions. Some of my personal connections are with Amphorae, TOR/Forge, Rocking Horse, Month9Books, and Orbit Books publishing.

    Our current contracts are not ready for public announcement. One of our clients is Jenn Haskin. Feel free to reach out to her at <snipped>.

    As soon as Metamorphosis has been in existence for two years, we will apply to the Association of Authors' Representatives as that is one of their requirements. We already follow their Canon of Ethics. For more details, please visit Association of Authors' Representatives, Inc. - Membership Criteria"


    They also made some comments about my manuscript which proved they actually read it, and I sent them the whole thing this time. It's weird. They sound legit, but then they do things I've never heard of an agency doing. Maybe they're just new and inexperienced. They also suggested I try to enter the #PitchWars contest whether I sign with them or not for critiques and exposure. They said they're participating in the contest in November.

    In other news, I sent emails about this offer to the other agents who had my query and it did get me rapid responses from some of them, and even a full request from one, but still all of them rejected it in the end. So now I'm stuck with just this offer. I'm still not sure what I want to do.
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 08-09-2016 at 07:53 PM. Reason: removing email address

  16. #16
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Did you hear anything from the client they connected you to?

  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW Glass Valkyrie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by slbynum3 View Post
    Here's part of the email they sent me in response to my questions:

    "Metamorphosis has worked with many publishers through writers conferences. All Write Now Conference advertises our company, we hold a workshop at a Literary Festival and participate in pitch sessions. Some of my personal connections are with Amphorae, TOR/Forge, Rocking Horse, Month9Books, and Orbit Books publishing.

    Our current contracts are not ready for public announcement. One of our clients is Jenn Haskin. Feel free to reach out to her at <snipped>.

    As soon as Metamorphosis has been in existence for two years, we will apply to the Association of Authors' Representatives as that is one of their requirements. We already follow their Canon of Ethics. For more details, please visit Association of Authors' Representatives, Inc. - Membership Criteria"


    They also made some comments about my manuscript which proved they actually read it, and I sent them the whole thing this time. It's weird. They sound legit, but then they do things I've never heard of an agency doing. Maybe they're just new and inexperienced. They also suggested I try to enter the #PitchWars contest whether I sign with them or not for critiques and exposure. They said they're participating in the contest in November.

    In other news, I sent emails about this offer to the other agents who had my query and it did get me rapid responses from some of them, and even a full request from one, but still all of them rejected it in the end. So now I'm stuck with just this offer. I'm still not sure what I want to do.
    Thanks for the info. Yeah, I understand about not being sure what to do. I'll update this when/if I hear back.
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 08-09-2016 at 07:53 PM. Reason: removing email address

  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I got this reply from Jenn Haskin, one of their clients, after I hunted her down on Facebook, since she never replied to my email:

    "I am not very far into the publishing game yet. We are still editing a few things, but Stephanie did pitch my book at a conference that I couldn't go to, and the publishing house was interested. She works hard. The company is relatively new, that's why you haven't heard of it. But I trust it. I have the privelege of knowing Stephanie personally, and she is totally real.She has done research for me with publishers and articles and has been helping me edit, even before I signed with her. I don't have any red flags. The contract gives you an out with a 3 week notice, I believe. It's worth giving it a shot.As far as publishers go, Since contracts are in the works they cannot go public with authors or who their publishers are. But Metamorphosis is tied with MacMillan, TOR, Orbit, & Harper specifically in NY.I gave Stephanie a list of my top 5 publishers and we are going to submit to them, as soon as I am ready.I hope that answers a few of your questions! Let me know if you have more, or any specific ones.Thanks!Jenn"


    Her response gave me a lot more faith in this agency, so if I don't get into the Pitch Wars contest, I'll probably give them a shot. Especially if they can get my novel in front of my top publishers, like HarperCollins or Random House!

  19. #19
    Self-Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by slbynum3 View Post
    I got this reply from Jenn Haskin, one of their clients, after I hunted her down on Facebook, since she never replied to my email:
    I notice that Jennifer Haskin is currently listed as an agent at Metamorphosis. (Link)

  20. #20
    Panda loves ninjas~ PandaNinja's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eqb View Post
    I notice that Jennifer Haskin is currently listed as an agent at Metamorphosis. (Link)
    I didn't notice that. At first, I was thinking maybe there is a possibility that I will submit my query to them after reading the response from the client. However, now that you are pointing this out, I had returned to the website and noticed that. I overlooked it before.

    Thanks for pointing this out. Maybe I should rule this one out...

  21. #21
    I got it covered Undercover's Avatar
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    I would definitely rule this one out for a while. At least until they show proof that they are selling to big publishers.

    Amphorae and Month9 were mentioned. These two are small publishers and Month9 is going down the tubes. Just because they say they have connections doesn't really mean they have them. Again, if they had books to show that to be true, then I would proceed.
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  22. #22
    Old Hand in the Biz Barbara R.'s Avatar
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    I see others have already posted smart responses--I'm adding my voice only because I am a former literary agent. The letter is weird. It reads as if the writer has never worked in publishing. The fact that they're willing to accept you based on a partial is very weird. Lots of books start out strong before dying a horrible death; how can they know without reading? There's no reason not to share their client list if they have one, along with their agents' backgrounds. The danger here is that they make a few submissions for you, amateurishly and to no avail; then they give up or you take back the rights. But then your chances of finding another agent for the book are practically non-existent, since in their eyes the book has already been shopped around.

    If you've been looking for representation for a long time, this has to be very disappointing. But this doesn't pass the smell test.

  23. #23
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    How does an agency start selling any books if no one wants to give them a chance?

  24. #24
    Grr. Argh. Thedrellum's Avatar
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    slbynum3, as others will undoubtedly say as well, being an agent is not an entry-level job. You just don't decide you want to be an agent, start recruiting clients, and then submitting to publishers without any prior experience.

    The normal way for agents to start is to work at an already established agency while being mentored by experienced agents. After they learn enough, they'll start taking on clients--often in tandem with the more experienced agent--until they have enough clients and experience to head off on their own and start a new agency (if that's their goal). Often successful agents have experience in law or in publishing (there are a number of agents who are former editors), and so know something about contract law and/or have contacts in the industry.

    Most importantly, it's no one's responsibility to give an agency a chance at selling books. That is their own problem, and they solve that problem by proving they have the experience and knowledge to makes sales.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Thedrellum View Post
    slbynum3, as others will undoubtedly say as well, being an agent is not an entry-level job. You just don't decide you want to be an agent, start recruiting clients, and then submitting to publishers without any prior experience.

    The normal way for agents to start is to work at an already established agency while being mentored by experienced agents. After they learn enough, they'll start taking on clients--often in tandem with the more experienced agent--until they have enough clients and experience to head off on their own and start a new agency (if that's their goal). Often successful agents have experience in law or in publishing (there are a number of agents who are former editors), and so know something about contract law and/or have contacts in the industry.

    Most importantly, it's no one's responsibility to give an agency a chance at selling books. That is their own problem, and they solve that problem by proving they have the experience and knowledge to makes sales.
    I 100% agree with this. Agents become agents by interning at existing agencies (and sometimes at more than one agency) and being mentored by established agents who have industry contacts and experience pitching, reading and negotiating contracts, dealing with the inevitable problems that crop up, and so on. Then they lean on their mentors' contacts when it comes to pitching their own projects and their mentors' know-how when it comes to everything else. In general, it takes years for an agent to acquire enough experience to strike out on their own.

    Also, slbynum3, this line from the client you quoted --> "As far as publishers go, Since contracts are in the works they cannot go public with authors or who their publishers are" <-- gave me pause. Deals are almost always announced before there's a contract in place, since contracts typically take months to negotiate. The deals you see announced on PW and PM were generally closed within the last week to six weeks, but it will be months before the author signs the actual contract.
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    DON'T VOTE FOR ME (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, August 2015)
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