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Thread: P.S. Literary Agency / PlainSmart, Inc. (fmly PlainSmart Publishing Agency)

  1. #1
    Print release:Sept.1,'09 Branwyn's Avatar
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    P.S. Literary Agency / PlainSmart, Inc. (fmly PlainSmart Publishing Agency)

    I checked the index and didn't see them mentioned. They're located in Canada.
    If I'm reading their site info correctly they've got one sale...a list of clients, it's confusing. They have clients, but not many sales?

    Is it advisable for a writer to cross the border for an agent?

    Thanks
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  2. #2
    Now departed. Rest in peace, Scott, from all of us at AW Requiescat In Pace Popeyesays's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Branwyn
    I checked the index and didn't see them mentioned. They're located in Canada.
    If I'm reading their site info correctly they've got one sale...a list of clients, it's confusing. They have clients, but not many sales?

    Is it advisable for a writer to cross the border for an agent?

    Thanks
    I can find no such agency on-line. What's the URL?
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    Print release:Sept.1,'09 Branwyn's Avatar
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    One Hit Wonder? Kasey Mackenzie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Branwyn
    I checked the index and didn't see them mentioned. They're located in Canada.
    If I'm reading their site info correctly they've got one sale...a list of clients, it's confusing. They have clients, but not many sales?

    Is it advisable for a writer to cross the border for an agent?

    Thanks
    I would say sure, if it's a reputable agency with a proven track record of sales. Personally, I would shy away from any agency that has clients but not many sales, UNLESS it was a start-up agency formed by someone who has a relevant background in publishing or worked at a reputable agency before forming their own.

    Sorry, no personal experience with this particular agent.
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  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW janetbellinger's Avatar
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    Plain Smart Publishing Agency

    Has anybody had any dealings with Plain Smart Publishing Agency based in Oakville, Ontario? I have submitted a query to them. They are not a member of AAR but subscribe to the principles of the association. They do not have a lot of clients but have sold a non fiction book to MacMillan. They do not charge any fees except for a commission which they get when the book is sold to a publisher. I probably won't hear back from them but just in case would appreciate any information AWers might have.
    Thanx
    Last edited by janetbellinger; 11-08-2006 at 01:08 AM. Reason: typo
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  6. #6
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Have they sold books like yours to publishers which require agented submissions?
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 05-28-2008 at 09:55 PM. Reason: threads merged, link moot
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  7. #7
    wishes you happiness JennaGlatzer's Avatar
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    Have merged the threads.

    I see two sales listed on their news page (to Macmillan and Kensington). I'm happy to see this in their FAQs: "Dishonest agents prey on writers by charging fees, promoting their own editing services, engaging in referral schemes, and misrepresenting their expertise and knowledge. These types of agents don't earn their income from selling manuscripts to publishers, but from charging fees to their clientele."

    Judging by their site, I'd say they're honest, just not very experienced yet.
    Last edited by JennaGlatzer; 11-08-2006 at 01:50 AM.
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  8. #8
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    I'm a bit dubious. Two solid sales are listed for the agency--one to Kensington, one to Palgrave Macmillan--but other clients appear to be unpublished, or to be previously published through their own efforts or other agents.

    There are some red flags on the website, including a total lack of information on who is actually running the agency (it's thus impossible to determine what qualifications they may or may not have--I was able to find out the name of one of the agents, Curtis Russell, but only by searching other sources) or when it was established (two sales for a small agency that has just started up isn't bad, but two sales for an agency that has been in business for more than a year is not great). Also, though the agency says it's looking for fiction, both sales to date are nonfiction. So whether the agency has any knowledge of the fiction market is an open question--and again, you can't ascertain this, because there's no agent CV on the website.

    There's a blog, but there's nothing on it but regurgitated general publishing news.

    Something else odd: I Googled PlainSmart, and found this. It's a cached listing for one of the books they claim as a sale--on the website of Trafford, a POD self-publishing service. If you read the fine print on the book cover, it says "Published by PlainSmart Publishing in cooperation with Trafford Publishing." Did the agency start as a self-publishing venture?

    Oh, and that nice statement in their FAQ about dishonest agents? It's "borrowed" almost verbatim from Writer Beware's Literary Agents page.

    Their version: "Dishonest agents prey on writers by charging fees, promoting their own editing services, engaging in referral schemes, and misrepresenting their expertise and knowledge. These types of agents don't earn their income from selling manuscripts to publishers, but from charging fees to their clientele."

    Our version (under the "Dishonest Agents" heading): " Dishonest agents prey on writers by charging fees, promoting their own paid services, engaging in kickback referral schemes, and misrepresenting their knowledge and expertise in order to obtain clients. These agents don't earn their income from selling manuscripts to publishers, but from charging money to clients."

    I guess it's a backhanded form of flattery.

    - Victoria

  9. #9
    wishes you happiness JennaGlatzer's Avatar
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    Well, I'll be. No wonder I liked it.

    Am attempting to gather more info. All I've learned so far is that they registered the domain in 1999, and that they also run the blackjack book's website. I wonder if the author of the blackjack book runs/is part of the agency. Maybe that's how it all got started.
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  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW janetbellinger's Avatar
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    No, but they are looking to expand into my area.
    Janet


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  11. #11
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Until they do, they are not worth your time. That goes for any agency.
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  12. #12
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    A year later, two (2) more sales: one to AMACOM Books and a two-book deal to Dorchester.
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  13. #13
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Two sales in a year sounds puny, but if they actually only have six clients, as the website indicates, that's not an unreasonable track record.

    On the other hand, there's this disclaimer at the top of the Clients page of the website: "Client list not all encompassing." So one can't know if those two sales are proportionate to the agency's client list, or not.

    The About Us page now lists agency staff, but doesn't provide any CV info. They also now have a Publishers Marketplace page.

    - Victoria

  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Plainsmart Literary Agency

    I viewed several comments about this Canadian literary agency, almost all of them negative. A great pity that. A simple Google - Plainsmart Literary Agency - would have provided an immediate address, e-mailing details, phone numbers as well as a stack of background on the company and those running it.

    I've had 35 books published - Google "Al J. Venter" (with double quotes) for more about that - and because I needed a Canadian literary agent (with strong US connections) I approach that company. I actually went in cold.

    Unlike several other agencies, I got an immediate reply from Plainsmart's CEO Curtis Russell. I told him had two books in hand and asked him whether he would be interested. He was. He actually placed them both, one with ECW (Toronto) and another accepted and about to be concluded with a major US publishing house.

    As they say where I come from, wots the problem then?

    Sincerely,

    Al J.

  15. #15
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by termite View Post
    A simple Google - Plainsmart Literary Agency - would have provided an immediate address, e-mailing details, phone numbers as well as a stack of background on the company and those running it.
    The posts on this thread were made between 2006 and 2007. (The date of posts is in the blue bar above the poster's avatar.)

    Given the outstanding research skills of the folks posting, I'm certain they were speaking from the basis of the information available to them at the time they posted.

    Thanks for sharing your more recent experience. Glad it's working out for you.

  16. #16
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    According to their PM page, Mr. Venter's other deal is to Potomac Books. Another solid publisher, but also another which doesn't require an agent to submit. They look to be gathering momentum, though; the test will be whether they can build on it.
    ICAO
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  17. #17
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    I recently saw a Potomac contract that was offered to an unagented writer, and it was an all-rights contract that demanded a transfer of copyright. Hopefully an agent would be able to negotiate something better.

    - Victoria

  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin zuzuscrumptious's Avatar
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    I tried to query this agency and the email bounced back...

  19. #19
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Mmm, and no wonder: Name and domain change to: P.S. Literary Agency http://www.psliterary.com/

    ETA: Here's Curtis Russell's new PM page: http://www.publishersmarketplace.com...iteraryAgency/
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 02-18-2009 at 07:24 AM.
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  20. #20
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Still a pretty slim track record, IMO, even for what looks like a very small agency. (And no mention, on either the website or the PM page, of A.J. Venter.)

    - Victoria

  21. #21
    the land of black flies TheRightEyedDeer's Avatar
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    If you Google "Adina Szalai", you'll find lots of blog posts from authors who say that she's become their agent (she's listed on the P.S. Literary Agency website as 'Associate Agent') ... wonder how it's worked/working for them??
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  22. #22
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Smile

    nm
    Last edited by TrueBookie; 09-29-2011 at 12:34 AM.

  23. #23
    aka Sadistic Mistress Mi-chan M.R.J. Le Blanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrueBookie View Post
    Adina is my agent. I know (through the internet) a couple other writers who have her as an agent, and I admire their writing.

    I revised one manuscript for her which she just recently started sending out and so far it is at two major publishers. I'm also revising another manuscript. Her suggestions, comments, critiques have been spot on, and have helped me improve this manuscript, and yet I still feel it is my work, I have final say.

    Certainly if one of my manuscripts sells, I'll post here right away, but, as you know, time moves slowly in the publishing world!
    Why are you revising mss for your agent?
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  24. #24
    the land of black flies TheRightEyedDeer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrueBookie View Post
    ... so far it is at two major publishers.
    Which publishers, Bookie?
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  25. #25
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M.R.J. Le Blanc View Post
    Why are you revising mss for your agent?
    Almost all mss go through revisions with an agent before submission; mine did. I don't know a single writer whose agent didn't suggest revisions before submission, now that I think about it.

    It's not a comment on this agency; just a general one. There's nothing unusual about this.
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