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Thread: Sternig & Byrne Literary Agency

  1. #1
    Marv
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    Sternig & Byrne Literary Agency

    Has anyone heard of this agency? They say that they prefer not to work with contract. I find this suspicious, yet their clientelle seems to be impressive.

    Does anyone else work with them? If so, are you aware of any sales? How effective are they, etc?

  2. #2
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Cool

    They look pretty good, Marve, and have been in business for a long time, with an established client list. The fact that they operate without a contract is really not that unusual with agents--it's a trust thing. They also state that if the client would like a contract that one can be provided. I see no red flags, but wait for some other firsthand comments.

    Tri

  3. #3
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    Jack Byrne is totally legit with a good record of recent sales in SF/F.

  4. #4
    Gone
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    Larry Sternig & Jack Byrne Literary Agency represent, among others, Andre Norton (I don't know if they now represent her estate), Naomi Kritzer, Jane Routley, Harold C. LeBlanc, David Levine, Kely McCullough, Elenora R. Sabin, and John C. Wright.

    Some older agencies still prefer to work without author-agent contracts. The terms of your representation should still be clearly laid out in some way.
    Winner of Uncle Jim's Whoo Hoo Super Writer Award and Nomad's Most Use of Vowels in a Screen Name Award as well as Maryn's Only Person on AW Whose Name Anagrams to "I, Octane," "Act I (One)" and "Nice tao" Award in addition to batgirl's Culpeper Award for Botanically Erudite Screen Name plus awatkins' AW's Most Creative Srounger [sic] of Rep Points Award not to mention azbikergirl's Arizona Most Awarded Writer Award and also Dawno's Most Interesting Signature Line Award

  5. #5
    I write novels
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    Many long-established agents still operate without a written contract. Usually, that means you and the agent agree verbally on some general details -- percentage for commission, if they're handling just this book or all your works, how to end the relationship if necessary, etc. Once they sell your book, the agent will then write an agent-clause into the contract to cover specifics for that particular work.

  6. #6
    Author Waiting in the Wings Maprilynne's Avatar
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    This has nothing to do with his ability as an agent or his legitimacy, but simply a personal thing. He really rubbed me the wrong way with his acceptance letter. It says basically that even though he considers very (and it is italacized) few new writers he would be willing to look over a piece of yours. The letter goes on and it is very pompous and self-promoting. Also he doesn't ask for an exclusive on partials, he demands it.
    I almost didn't send my stuff to him. I am a little regretful that I did and it is the only rejection that I was relieved to recieve. I don't want to work with someone who considers himself so much loftier than a new author. <shrug> he just rubbed me the wrong way.
    And again, this has nothing to do with his ability to be an agent and is only my personal opinion. But so many authors have stressed how important it is to not only have an agent with good sales and a good rep, etc. but one who respects you and who you can mesh with. Quite frankly, if he had offered me representation, I may not have turned it down, but boy, I'd have been on the phone with every other agent who had my novel and given them a chance to throw their hat in the ring.
    Again, this is just my personal $.02

    Maprilynne
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  7. #7
    I write novels
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    Interesting. Personally, I'd take it as a compliment if an agent told me they consider very few new writers, but they wanted to look at my work.

  8. #8
    What? I have a title? Julie Worth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beth Bernobich
    Interesting. Personally, I'd take it as a compliment if an agent told me they consider very few new writers, but they wanted to look at my work.

    Yes, judging by what he says in an interview on this site, getting that far with him is exceedingly rare:

    "I receive an average of 15 contacts per day. While Im guessing here, Id say that out of every 100 of those I may ask to see a partial for 1. Of every 50 partials, I may ask to see 1 complete manuscript and perhaps 1 out of every 100 may excite me enough to offer representation. Writing that is sloppy, boring, predictable or simply redoing whats already been done tends to be high on my list of rejection reasons."

    15 contacts a day, that's about 5,000/year. One out of a hundred, that's 50 partials/year. One out of 50 partials, that one manuscript per year. One out of ever hundred manuscripts, he offers representation. That's once per century! (I know, I know, he was just guessing at the numbers.)

  9. #9
    Lost in the Fog rugcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maprilynne
    This has nothing to do with his ability as an agent or his legitimacy, but simply a personal thing. He really rubbed me the wrong way with his acceptance letter. It says basically that even though he considers very (and it is italacized) few new writers he would be willing to look over a piece of yours. The letter goes on and it is very pompous and self-promoting. Also he doesn't ask for an exclusive on partials, he demands it.
    Maprilynne

    I sent a query, partial, and then full to Jack Byrne last summer. All his correspondence was concise, but both professional and pleasant. He did ultimately pass on the ms, but with a personal rejection letter praising many aspects of the ms.

    Agents have different personalities, and not all agents mesh with all writers. He is definitely old school, but I connected with that would have loved to work with him.

    He has contracts available for those who want them, but being old school, prefers to work on a "handshake agreement." My former agent, since retired, operated the same way. Again, styles differ, and for me a handshake agreement is not only acceptable, I prefer it. (Of course, that's assuming its a legit agent you trust.)

  10. #10
    Print release:Sept.1,'09 Branwyn's Avatar
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    Jack took a look at my work but ultimately passed. He was very professional.
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  11. #11
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Sternig & Byrne Literary Agency

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  12. #12
    Lives Under a Rock DED's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by waylander
    Jack Byrne is totally legit with a good record of recent sales in SF/F.
    Yep. Quite a history too with Sternig before he passed away.

    He rejected my query, but was polite about it.
    \_/
    DED

  13. #13
    Knackered Gary Clarke's Avatar
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    He was also very polite to me, though he declined on foot of my query. His correspondence was prompt, professional and informative, also it was a personal note rather then a form letter, which means a lot in this crowded industry

  14. #14
    Filled with optimism. And scotch. Miguelito's Avatar
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    I've managed to get two partials through the door, one full. All correspondence has been very professional.

    I need a reply to my full via e-mail (because of a coming move) and he's happy to do it. He was even nice enough to wish me good luck on the move. So, seems like a nice, flexible guy too.

    Maybe he has a thing for Canadian writers (which bodes well for me): he's got several Canucks on his client list.
    Last edited by Miguelito; 02-18-2008 at 06:39 PM.

  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I had an uncle (now deceased) in Milwaukee named Larry Sternig. Small world. That Austrian surname must not be that rare...
    Gary Schnabl
    SW Detroit--two miles NORTH! of Canada--Windsor, that is...

  16. #16
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    Anyone with recent experience to share? I just queried and was curious. Thanks!
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  17. #17
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Thomas Scot's Avatar
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    Sternig and Byrne Agency

    I've been trolling for new agents and came across this one. Just a passing caveat in case anyone misses this notation on their website. I lifted this direct quote from the site ....

    "Although the agency generally uses no formal written contract with its clients, preferring to develop a relationship based on mutual trust and loyalty, contracts are available for clients who request them."

    Just too wierd.
    Gnome way out.

  18. #18
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Seems okay to me. Lots of agents, especially ones who have been in business for decades, don't use contracts. If S&B are willing to bow to clients' preferences, that gives them extra points in my book.

  19. #19
    Flying blind on a rocket cycle.
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    Sternig and Byrne is totally legit. They also state that contracts are available to those clients who request them.

    ETA: Sorry, you already quoted that bit.
    Last edited by Vespertilion; 07-08-2009 at 08:30 AM. Reason: Not paying attention

  20. #20
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin rperkins's Avatar
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    I sent Mr. Byrne a query on 11/9/09. He requested an exclusive partial on 11/21, but I already had a partial out with another agent. We exchanged a couple of emails and agreed to wait until the other agent to make up her mind. She passed on the manuscript, so I'll be sending Jack a partial tomorrow. Fingers crossed...

  21. #21
    Requiescat In Pace Requiescat In Pace
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    Jack Byrne is a legitimate agent and a very nice guy. I've known him for years, via email and phone, though we've never met.

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  22. #22
    Undercover, sort of... hillaryjacques's Avatar
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    I queried Mr. Byrne with an Urban Fantasy on 6/21 and received a request for a partial on 6/28. He noted that he does not accept simultaneous submissions, which I hadn't read on his website. So, just a heads up for anyone thinking of querying.

    I emailed to let him know that another agent has my ms (has had it for awhile, and I'm not optimistic about a positive response) and he said that I could send the partial to him after receiving a response. Quick response and very professional.

  23. #23
    All around miscreant artemis31386's Avatar
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    I queried on 6/30 and received a request for a partial on 7/19. His partial request was very professional and I will be mailing him the requested materials tomorrow morning.
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  24. #24
    On a coffee fueled writing spree! CScottMorris's Avatar
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    I am researching my next round of queries, and Jack is at the top of my list. Has anyone else heard from him?
    Know what he is looking for?
    My rather amateurish blog about Fantasy Lit, Steampunk, and the struggles of an aspiring author: CScottMorrisBooks.com Yeah, we don't have enough 'aspiring writer' blogs already, I have to add to that?

  25. #25
    Zombie lovin' elindsen's Avatar
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    site says anything in sci fi fantasy or mystery so if your in that realm query away.


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