Can I just say, this section is a Godsend - I didn't realise how complicated it all was these days (don't I sound old at 24...) Thank you to all the good people who spend their time and effort on it, under various threats of being sued.
Right, now these chaps -
- make me suspicious. I'll explain why below and would be grateful for any comments from people who have, well, experienced them in some way, or wise owls with opinions on what they're (reputably or otherwise) up to. I last went on the site 2 minutes ago (it's the 16th July) so changes may have been made since (but I doubt it...)
1. Right on the index page, a greengrocer's apostrophe. Something like, 'we are seeking new children's writer's.' Aaaargh.
2. Throughout the rest of the site: sloppy grammar. Some of it is as sloppy as that on this post (Yikes!).
3. Applies to whole site: no email contact or phone number. Businesses which only have a postal address and a website make me suspicious for obvious reasons.
4. They say they are really, really interested in children's fiction and teen fiction. This bothers me slightly, as none of the others do; they are all inundated. 'Oh send us some if you really must' seems the order of the day.
5. They say they have 'authors including' the four listed. Two website links to authors (no author contacts on their websites but I imagine that's fairly regular anyway). One soon to be published by Walker (seems kosher enough) and one by Pan McMillan (Hmmm). Why would they have authors but not list them? Seems counterintuitive to me.
6. Here, I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel a bit I know, but I think it's a worthwhile point. The website looks very flashy, and has been designed by pros, a fact standen advertises. Now my problems here are twofold:
6a. If someone has a really flashy website they may be 'trying too hard.' Combined with the urgent need for a copy editor this is labelled in my head under 'suspicious' rather than 'professional.'
6b. In text they present themselves as a literary agency for children's writing, but the images, though posh, do nothing to support this. Instead, they look like the images vanity publishers seeking the next great work of literature tend to use.
7. They're not a member of the association of authors' representatives. This may be fine because they were est. in 2004, but given points 1-6b even that fact makes me wonder...
Right, here comes the really fun bit. Or the really embarrassing, self-mutilating bit if it turns out standen are 'for real.' (Oh will I have cut off my own nose!)
I emailed them a politely bemused sounding, but barbed email somewhere along these lines (although it was as professional as I could make it):
dear standen people
as a potential user of your services it troubles me that your grammar, punctuation etc sucks, and that I had to search the web to find an email to tell you about this, which is doing you a favour anyway because doubtless you're putting writers (and possibly even writer's) off. Why no email contacts, phone number etc? Most unusual.
Please explain these choices so I can post your comments on writers' forums and put peoples' minds at rest.
And hire a copyeditor for whoever writes the material on your site.
This was 6 days ago, and they've had 3 working days to get back to me. They haven't. Nor have they changed the website (not even the apostrophe). This makes me pretty suspicious.
My father is a Scientific writer - I showed him the site and he told me to absolutely beware and not touch them with a barge pole.
What do you chaps think? I ran searches for 'standen' in the forums here and on writerbeware and preditorsandeditors but came up with nothing, but apologies if there's a long-running thread on them I've missed.
Are they just shy? Are they affiliated with editing companies they own/are? Are they (my dad suggested this) the two authors whose websites are linked to theirs? Are they just absent-minded, but enthusiastic? Are they some other ratbags under a new name? Are they enthusiastic, but dyslexic?
Shall I report them to the Apostrophe Protection Society? At least the APS are legitimate...
The mind boggles- well mine does, anyway.
The world needs to know! Anyone?