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Thread: Standen Literary Agency (Yasmin Standen)

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin snakesilver's Avatar
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    Standen Literary Agency (Yasmin Standen)

    Hi people,

    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 -

    http://www.standenliteraryagency.com

    - 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.

    love, lemony.

    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?



    Lemony.


    http://www.apostrophe.fsnet.co.uk/
    And crawling on the planet's face
    Some insects called the human race
    Lost in time and lost in space
    And meaning.

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW
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    Well...dude, I probably wouldn't reply to an e-mail like that, frankly! It doesn't strike me as the most professional tone to take--I know you were going for politely bemused, but I think you might've shot a little wide of the mark on the politeness bit--it comes across as very hostile to my ears.

    I can't speak to their legitimacy as an agency, but I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't get a reply there, regardless of whether they're legit or not.

  3. #3
    Over the hills and far away Zolah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UrsulaV
    Well...dude, I probably wouldn't reply to an e-mail like that, frankly! It doesn't strike me as the most professional tone to take--I know you were going for politely bemused, but I think you might've shot a little wide of the mark on the politeness bit--it comes across as very hostile to my ears.

    I can't speak to their legitimacy as an agency, but I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't get a reply there, regardless of whether they're legit or not.
    I'll tell you something - I'm certainly 'bemused' at being accused of being a dirt-bag scam writer/agent posing as an agent/writer (I'm not sure which he suspects - he didn't really make it clear). Oh, well. All part of life's rich tapestry, I suppose.
    Zolah!
    The Swan Kingdom available from Walker Books in March 2007
    Now goth sonne under rode
    Me rewth Marie thy faire rode
    Now goth sonne under tree
    Me rewth Marie thy sonne and thee.

  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW Dollywagon's Avatar
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    They are in the Childrens Writers and Artists Yearbook.
    Their phone number is listed there as well.

  5. #5
    FannyPrice
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    I wouldn't submit work to an agent who had frequent typos and poor grammar on his or her website. What if similar errors were made on letters to editors? Public material like the website should be meticulously checked and edited.

  6. #6
    5 W's & an H Sassenach's Avatar
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    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.


    FWIW, your punctuation could use some help.

    I am bemused why you think you're so amusing.
    I feel God in this Chili's.
    -Pam Beesley









  7. #7
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Zoe, did Yasmin Standon sell your book to Walker?

    - Victoria

  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin snakesilver's Avatar
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    Thanks very much for everyone's responses, and sorry for offense I have caused with my questions. It is great to get information so quickly, as google drew a blank. Like the Children's Literary Agency, Standen set off my dad's scam signals, and because of his knowledge and experience of publishing, I do not take his warnings in this area lightly.

    However, despite his 100% negative opinion, I wasn't 100% sure in my own mind, so I decided to look up the company's reputation, about which I found nothing outside their site.

    Note- I needed reputation, not merely listings in writewords et cetera. And plenty of suspicious agents get into the writer's handbook, or they did last edition I looked at.

    Only after finding nothing on the web, asking standen a few questions, and waiting for a reply did I ask here...

    ... but, I fear, in the wrong section, really sorry about that. Am a complete forum 'newbie' - to forums in general- and thought I was posting in the background check section, which is, after all, what I was requesting. Sorry, sorry, sorry!)

    I still think that punctuation's a bit like a personal trainer smoking - they'd tell you not to do it, and most wouldn't do it where you could see! Having said that, if most people who submitted their rejection letters to agents and publishers at www.rejectioncollection.com are honest about the spg mistakes in their various rejections, then I should just accept bad spg from agents and indeed publishers and 'get over it.' Sob!

    SS
    And crawling on the planet's face
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    Lost in time and lost in space
    And meaning.

  9. #9
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin snakesilver's Avatar
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    Sorry sorry sorry! See what I mean about being new to forums... have just duplicated self -Gaa!
    And crawling on the planet's face
    Some insects called the human race
    Lost in time and lost in space
    And meaning.

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW Dollywagon's Avatar
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    Yes,and I would just like to point out that my next submission is ready to go out to this particular agent. And since we have so very, very, very, few PB agents and publishers that will accept unsol subs these days, I'm grateful for the opportunity.

    Just to let you know that I am NOT the person who

    a) Sent the email

    and

    b) Is daft enough to wind up one of the few agents we can actually submit to


  11. #11
    practical experience, FTW Dollywagon's Avatar
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    I think we must both have been posting at the same time, snakesilver.

    Go get yourself the yearbook and it will give you links to the various agents and publishers.

    Just try to get a bit of perspective. With all the talk of agents/publishers/scams, it does tend to lead people to think they are all bad and this is certainly not the case.

    The scammers are in the minority.

    But not all agents/publishers are big companies either - some you are dealing with on a very personal level, and I suspect this may be the case with this particular agent.

    And when it comes to punctuation...who the heck would I be to critique anybody else...everybody knows mine is appalling.
    I'm trying, really hard, but it's not something that comes naturally to me

  12. #12
    Over the hills and far away Zolah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss
    Zoe, did Yasmin Standon sell your book to Walker?

    - Victoria
    Well, I had already submitted to Walker when I approached Yasmin, but yes, she represented me through contract negotiations on my first and second contracts and is currently working on the third. She is prone to grammatical errors, but she's also a lovely, enthusiastic person who is honest as the day is long, so I can live with it.
    Zolah!
    The Swan Kingdom available from Walker Books in March 2007
    Now goth sonne under rode
    Me rewth Marie thy faire rode
    Now goth sonne under tree
    Me rewth Marie thy sonne and thee.

  13. #13
    lollypop
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    Reply to Snakesilver from The Standen Literary Agency

    Snakesilver, I understand that you are somewhat confused about my actual existence and credibility. I can confirm that I do in fact exist and that I am in fact a credible agent. I do not list my telephone number on my website any longer, as I found I was spending all day answering queries relating to submissions. This took up valuable time and meant I could not read new submissions. I read each manuscript I receive and am keen to represent new writers.

    This may surprise you, but a large number of the submissions I receive, mention how much they liked my website. As with all things, this is merely subjective.

    I am a reputable agent who receives around a hundred manuscripts on a weekly basis. At present I have closed my list until further notice, since I am snowed under and in the middle of a number of book deals.

    For the record, my website states the names of some writers since some writers do not wish to display their names.

    Finally, your grammer is not too hot either, I am an agent, I sell books and negotiate deals, I leave grammer to the editors as that is their job. I am most certainly not dyslexic. Zoe, thank you very much for your input on this matter, your time is much appreciated, although you were supposedly plotting book 3!!!!

  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW Dollywagon's Avatar
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    Ahem.
    Not that I would normally do this you understand, but how long is a response time under normal circumstances?

    I actually don't think the lass meant any harm, Yasmin, it's just that folk are getting so hot under the collar and worried about scam agents (take a look at the Hill and Hill thread) that they are jumping, perhaps far too quickly in this particular case, to conclusions.

    It was a bit extreme admittedly, but it's getting frantic out there with one thing and another.

  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW Dollywagon's Avatar
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    Don't bother answering the 'response time,' question ... just had a peek at your site.
    It's been updated, eek, now my word count is over.

    I blame that sneaky snakesilver person.

  16. #16
    figuring it all out JumpingJack's Avatar
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    Strange, I had Standen on the top of my list of who I wanted to submit my current piece of work to. I also saw a couple of mistakes on the site when I visited, but that just told me they were human.

    I guess we all have different views on what sets off the alarm bells. Personally I was just disappointed to see "NOT ACCEPTING ANY NEW SUBMISSIONS".

  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW Dollywagon's Avatar
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    Well, the original poster hasn't been back since she made her apology on here from what I can see in her profile.

    Thing is, she did jump in very, very, quickly and she was extremely OTT, but I honestly think she thought she was doing folk on this board a favour.
    She was a newbie and clearly has been affected with all the scam stories going about. To her credit, she had already done some research on the company, but unfortunately not in the right places.

    I think at least one lesson to be learned, is if anybody does have an doubts about an agent then the first thing they should do if they hear warning bells, is simply to come on here and ask ... nicely!

    You will soon find out what the general opinion is.

    We've now ended up with a reputable agent, who is quite rightly, somewhat miffed, and lost a newbie who would probably have benefitted a great deal from this forum. Let's just hope she doesn't fall into any real traps out there now that she doesn't feel confident enough to post.

    A rather uncomfortable situation all round really.

  18. #18
    Over the hills and far away Zolah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lollypop
    Zoe, thank you very much for your input on this matter, your time is much appreciated, although you were supposedly plotting book 3!!!!
    Oops. Busted.

    I'll get back to my outlining right now. Promise.
    Zolah!
    The Swan Kingdom available from Walker Books in March 2007
    Now goth sonne under rode
    Me rewth Marie thy faire rode
    Now goth sonne under tree
    Me rewth Marie thy sonne and thee.

  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW Dollywagon's Avatar
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    Your last post was weeks ago, Zoe.
    Obviously you have been working flat out on the plot ever since

  20. #20
    Over the hills and far away Zolah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dollywagon
    Your last post was weeks ago, Zoe.
    Obviously you have been working flat out on the plot ever since
    Well, I have been working pretty hard - but this place is a prime source of prevarication and I should be here a lot less than I am (right now, for instance). Back to the outline!
    Zolah!
    The Swan Kingdom available from Walker Books in March 2007
    Now goth sonne under rode
    Me rewth Marie thy faire rode
    Now goth sonne under tree
    Me rewth Marie thy sonne and thee.

  21. #21
    Hey, that's my bike! ghost's Avatar
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    Personally I find it rather suspicious if an agent feels the need to defend her/his self on a message board.
    As for typos (and yes, I make many myself) I'd question that agents ability to properly edit my book.
    But that's just my two cents.

  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW Dollywagon's Avatar
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    The agent doesn't edit your book, the editor does.


    The clue is in the title.

  23. #23
    Bored at work fanatic FergieC's Avatar
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    Personally I find it rather suspicious if an agent feels the need to defend her/his self on a message board.


    That's a serious case of damned if you do; damned if you don't.

    What should a legitimate agent do if an unknown person on the internet is trashing their reputation? Not respond because that makes them look more dodgy? That's basically saying if someone bad mouths you on the internet, you have no recourse whatsoever.

    The internet is a brilliant resource, and stuff like WritersBeware is invaluable. But there is a downside to anyone being able to write and publish anything they want on the internet - not just in the writing world but universally.

    I suppose the lesson is do your research. Never trust one or two people's word on the internet, whether that's an agent or an individual knocking an agent. Find several reliable sources, and be aware of the warning signs for yourself.

  24. #24
    practical experience, FTW Dollywagon's Avatar
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    To be honest, I just couldn't believe that after seeing the awful email, then Zoe coming on and responding and then the agent bothering to come on and protect her reputation, somebody is still whining.

    Especially somebody, who by their own admittance, probably couldn't spot the spelling mistakes anyway.

    It's as plain as the nose on your face that the agent is upfront and legit, and if I were in her position I would be really peed off by the attitude of some on this thread.

  25. #25
    Bored at work fanatic FergieC's Avatar
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    It's as plain as the nose on your face that the agent is upfront and legit, and if I were in her position I would be really peed off by the attitude of some on this thread.
    I agree, especially as individual AW threads rate very highly on google - a good thing for dodgy agents, admittedly, but pretty bad if you're legitimate.
    Last edited by FergieC; 10-02-2006 at 07:21 PM.

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