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Thread: [Agency] Sobol Literary Enterprises

  1. #1
    I heart Malamutes! :-) JerseyGirl1962's Avatar
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    [Agency] Sobol Literary Enterprises

    Just found this posted on Miss Snark's blog:

    http://misssnark.blogspot.com/

    ...and scroll to the 19 July entry.

    Lots and lots and lots of red flags here!

    The first red flag was: no list of judges. Who the heck is judging this, er, contest, or whatever it's called? Give me 1 well-known, respected name, and I'd consider it.

    Second red flag: You must "provide the requested information and pay a one-time non-refundable registration fee of $85 by credit card only" - credit card only? Huh?

    Which brings me to a third red flag: physical address. They don't list one. So that's why they say credit cards only, hmm?

    That's just scraping the surface, so I'll let everyone here see the fun/horror for themselves:

    http://www.sobolaward.com/WAFForm.as...y&_con=AboutUs

    Here's where they bring in their real reason for this "award" (and you get to give up your ms. for an entire year - isn't that nice? ):

    http://www.sobolaward.com/WAFForm.as...=LiteraryAgent

    Ah, here's their Contract (buried under #14 in their FAQ):

    Sobol Literary Agency
    Dear writer contestant,

    By agreeing online, you appoint Sobol Literary Agency, a division of Sobol Literary Enterprises, Inc., to act as your sole and exclusive literary agents for the disposition of any and all rights in:

    (i) your submitted novel
    (ii) any other of your literary works which we may sell with your approval to the same publisher in the same contract (your signature on final contract will indicate your approval thereof); and
    (iii) any other literary work which you may in the future submit to us for representation if we agree via email or other writing to represent same
    (collectively, the "Works")

    in all media throughout the world, including without limitation book, audio, ebook, motion picture, television, stage and radio rights, merchandising rights, and computer rights.

    We shall represent your interests to the best of our ability and will conduct all negotiations on your behalf in consultation with you. We will not sign any agreements on your behalf. We will present offers to you for your approval and contracts to you for your signature.

    You shall instruct all publishers and other licensees of rights in the Works to send all payments due you to us, and to make them payable to us. We shall remit to you promptly, but in no event later than fourteen days after our receipt, all monies due to you which we receive on your behalf, less our commissions and expenses as set forth below, together with photocopies of all statements we receive from publishers or other licensees. Your certified public accountant may inspect and audit our financial books and records relating to your account once each year, at your expense and upon reasonable notice to us.

    In consideration of our services hereunder we shall be entitled to receive and retain a commission of 15% of all monies and other consideration of any kind paid or payable to you; whenever paid ("gross proceeds") from any and all dispositions of rights in the novel(s) described above, except that, where we use subagents or corresponding agents, we shall be entitled to receive and retain commissions of 20% of the gross proceeds from any disposition of (i) rights in the United Kingdom and/or Commonwealth territories; (ii) foreign language translation rights; (iii) motion picture, television, video, stage or radio rights; and (iv) merchandising rights. If a disposition of world publishing rights in your work is made under a single contract, the commission will be 15% of the gross proceeds payable under any such contract.
    Since we are located in the United States, our initial efforts on your behalf will be to place US publication rights in the Works. If we succeed in doing so, we will also attempt to arrange for publication in other English-speaking countries, and for publication in other languages.

    We shall be entitled to retain our full commission even if you are contractually required to return advances to a publisher due to your failure to timely deliver an "acceptable" or "satisfactory" manuscript.

    We will have the right to appoint others to assist us, including without limitation our subsidiary or affiliated corporations and associated entities, but in any case you shall not be required to pay more than a single commission as set forth above.

    We will have the right to deduct from monies otherwise due to you hereunder, or to require reimbursement from you, of any expenses we may incur on your behalf for photocopying, books and galleys ordered from publishers for film, television, serial and/or foreign submission, shipping by courier or messenger, bank fees, overseas postage, long distance faxes and telephone calls, other similar and related charges, and any legal fees or other exceptional expenses incurred with your prior approval.

    This agreement shall become effective if and when the manuscript you have entered into the Sobol Award for Literature Contest (the "Contest") is selected for the semi-final stage of the Contest. This agreement will automatically terminate and become void if such manuscript is not selected for the semi-final stage of the Contest. You also have the right to terminate this agreement at any time before you are advised that your manuscript has been selected for the semi-final stage of the Contest, by notifying us in writing of your withdrawal from the Contest. This right will expire upon our advising you of the selection of your Work to the semi-final stage of the Contest.

    We shall each be entitled to terminate this agreement by written notice delivered to the other party, with respect to any Work for which a publishing contract has not been substantially negotiated within twelve (12) months after:

    (i) with respect to the manuscript entered in the Contest, the conclusion of the Contest in which said manuscript was submitted;

    (ii) with respect to any other later Works you may ask us to represent after the execution of a publisher contract for any Work entered in the Contest, our receipt of your completed manuscript (or, if we request only a proposal, within twelve (12) months after our receipt thereof).

    Notwithstanding any such termination, we shall be entitled to our full commissions, in perpetuity, on all dispositions of rights in Works for which book contracts either are (i) executed by you during the term hereof or (ii) for which substantive negotiations for book contracts commence during the term and which are concluded and executed by you within twelve (12) months following the expiration or termination of the term, and to any substitutions, modifications, extensions and resumptions thereof so long as any such contracts continue in effect (and without regard to any temporary terminations of any such contracts).

    You represent and warrant that you have the right to enter into this agreement with us and that you are not subject to any other agreement or arrangement which will conflict with this agreement, that you are and will be the sole creator and owner of all proposals and manuscripts you submit to us, and that such proposals and manuscripts will not infringe or violate any personal or property rights of any other person.

    If you are not the sole creator and owner of each manuscript you submit to us, you must inform us as to the name and address of each other creator and/or owner, and all such other person(s) must also sign a representation agreement with us. Failure to so inform us will subject you to liability for our lost commissions if we are unable to complete a sale to a publisher because of disagreement between you and your co-author(s), or for our entire commission if we are able to conclude such sale, but unable to deduct the appropriate portion(s) of our commission from your co-author(s).

    You acknowledge that we are in the agency business generally, and that we have the right to, and in all probability will, provide services from time to time similar to those we are to provide to you hereunder, to others having creative properties similar to yours, even though those other creative properties may be competitive with yours.

    We will not be responsible for the loss of or damage to any manuscript and/or photographic or illustrative material submitted to us.

    This agreement shall not be assignable by either party without the prior written consent of the other (except in the event of the sale of our agency), shall be binding upon your heirs and upon your and our respective permitted assigns, shall be governed and construed according to the laws of the State of New York applicable to agreements executed and to be performed entirely within such State, shall not be modified orally, and sets forth your and our entire understanding.

    Please check the "I agree" box for this agreement online to confirm your acceptance of the terms set forth above.

    Very truly yours,

    SOBOL LITERARY AGENCY,
    A DIVISION OF SOBOL LITERARY ENTERPRISES, INC..



    Yech. Definitely stay away from - spend that $85 buying books or food.




    ~Nancy
    Screw the new blog, I've resurrected my old blog: Writerly Stuff.

    I twit, therefore I am?

    Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. ~Thomas Edison

    It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous. ~Robert Benchley

  2. #2
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Beat me by four minutes!
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 07-21-2006 at 07:38 PM. Reason: dyslexia
    ICAO
    ---------

    Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. -- Henry Steele Commager
    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Insomnicole's Avatar
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    That thing really does read as if someone got a copy of "The Street-Smart Writer," opened up to the section about shady "contests", and decided to do every single thing that Jenna lists as a red flag. Unbelievable.

  4. #4
    I heart Malamutes! :-) JerseyGirl1962's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaoPaux
    Beat me by four mintues!
    Cao,

    I guess my fingers were just a little bit faster than yours.

    I was surprised not to find this on here earlier this morning (as the blog entry was dated yesterday). But then, Miss Snark sometimes blogs late at night/early in the morning.

    What else is unbelievable is that the woman heading this up, Brigitte something, was an edior at the Washington Post's Book World, and, I think, an editor at Guideposts Magazine.

    ~Nancy
    Last edited by JerseyGirl1962; 07-20-2006 at 11:37 PM.
    Screw the new blog, I've resurrected my old blog: Writerly Stuff.

    I twit, therefore I am?

    Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. ~Thomas Edison

    It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous. ~Robert Benchley

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW Peggy's Avatar
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    Here's the permalink:

    http://misssnark.blogspot.com/2006/0...-me-break.html

    There are some good points made in the comments, too.

  6. #6
    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Insomnicole
    That thing really does read as if someone got a copy of "The Street-Smart Writer," opened up to the section about shady "contests", and decided to do every single thing that Jenna lists as a red flag. Unbelievable.
    That has to be a record! This does sound like the writing contest with the most red flags ever. Heck, those flags aren't just red, they're crimson with magenta polka dots.

    And that settles it, I have to give my copy of "The Street-Smart Writer" to be niece next time I see her. Maybe with Post-Its on the most pertinent chapters.
    Poor girl inherited the writing gene.
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  7. #7
    I grow my own catnip JulieB's Avatar
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    If you want a real laugh, look up the whois information on that domain and start following the trail. Ye gads!

  8. #8
    Grumpy writer and editor Absolute Sage Gillhoughly's Avatar
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    I am SO in the wrong business.

  9. #9
    annoyed and annoying roach's Avatar
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    I'm mostly amazed at their optimism. On the Award page under Judging they've written, "The manuscript readers will follow a careful and progressive evaluation process for the first 50,000 entries." They honestly expect at least 50,000 people are going to pay $85 to enter this?
    Eggplant Literary Productions,
    A small electronic speculative fiction publisher.

  10. #10
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Let us pause a moment to consider how long it would take for readers to give "careful and progressive evaluation" to 50,000 entries.
    ICAO
    ---------

    Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. -- Henry Steele Commager
    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  11. #11
    Seen 'em come, seen 'em go Gravity's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaoPaux
    Let us pause a moment to consider how long it would take for readers to give "careful and progressive evaluation" to 50,000 entries.
    If they use the PublishAmerica variant of the Lightspeed/Quantum SpellCheka 1000 (by Marx! patent pending) I bet they could run through the entire lot in ninety minutes. Or less.
    Cameron Bane

    PITFALL, WildBlue Press

    www.cameronbanebooks.com



  12. #12
    I grow my own catnip JulieB's Avatar
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    Dang! I've just hydrated my keyboard.

    The water was supposed to hydrate ME. ;-)

  13. #13
    Now departed. Rest in peace, Scott, from all of us at AW Requiescat In Pace Popeyesays's Avatar
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    So, they hope to bring four-and-=a-quarter million dollars and pay out a measly $100,000 in prize money. I vote we get together, call in entries split the money and publish the book on Lulu that wins.

    I figure a dozen of us could split the $4,150,000 and show a tidy profit.

    Regards,
    Scott
    [B]Okay, damnit, I blog [URL]http://cscottsaylorsbooks.blogspot.com/[/URL][/B]
    [B]Sword of the Dajjal[/B] e-book, [SIZE=2]Published by BooksForABuck.com May, 2007 ISBN: 978-1-602-052-2 [URL]http://www.booksforabuck.com/sfpages/sf_07/sword_dajjal.html[/URL][/SIZE]
    Out in print early 2008 from Blu Phi'er[URL="http://www.fictionwise.com/eBooks/eBook47261.htm?cached"][/URL]
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  14. #14
    Grumpy writer and editor Absolute Sage Gillhoughly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Popeyesays
    I figure a dozen of us could split the $4,150,000 and show a tidy profit.
    I'm in on that!

  15. #15
    I grow my own catnip JulieB's Avatar
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    I hate to say "me, too," but yeah - give me some of that!

  16. #16
    annoyed and annoying roach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Popeyesays
    So, they hope to bring four-and-=a-quarter million dollars and pay out a measly $100,000 in prize money. I vote we get together, call in entries split the money and publish the book on Lulu that wins.

    I figure a dozen of us could split the $4,150,000 and show a tidy profit.

    Regards,
    Scott
    That's what I thought as well, at first. But a closer look at the awards reveals this bit:

    The winner will receive a prize of $100,000, the first runner up will receive a prize of $25,000 and the second runner up will receive a prize of $10,000. The other seven top writers will receive a prize of $1,000.
    So they're shelling out $142,000. Still they're (in theory) making a tidy profit.

    However, I seriously doubt that they are going to get 50,000 responses, or anything near that. Which makes me wonder where the prize money is coming from. They wouldn't do such a thing as announce this contest without having the prize money already in hand would they? *blinks her eyelashes innocently*

    And if they fail to raise the prize money from entry fees what will they tell the contestants? I have visions of an announcement that there was no winner and someone pocketing whatever money they collected. That's presuming they even announce the winners and don't just send all contestants a form evaluation and a certificate of participation. (Holy moley, when did I become so cynical?)
    Eggplant Literary Productions,
    A small electronic speculative fiction publisher.

  17. #17
    Nefarious Ghost Fan AnneMarble's Avatar
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    Oh my, I just looked at this description on their Editorial page:
    "We at Sobol want to receive and read novels of every kind under the sun, from literary mosaics to breathless Gothics, from wild Westerns to introspective fictional journeys."

    It's been my experience that in many cases, when an agency represents that many wide-flung genres, they are scammers or at least clueless. Especially when they say that they represent Gothics! Except for a few titles published by Leisure, there hasn't been a steady Gothic line. Any agency who thinks Gothics make a big part of the market doesn't know the market.

    Also, has anyone seen the Writers' Tales part of the site? They have articles about John Kennedy Toole, John Grisham, and Debbie Macomber. I wonder if people will think that these authors are associated with the contest somehow? (Being judged by John Kennedy Toole would be very difficult indeed!)
    THE Official FreakTM
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  18. #18
    Sockpuppet Hunter MartyKay's Avatar
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    An anonymous poster on Miss Snark's site mentioned that the privacy statement appeared to be from a bank..

    I did a search on Google and found:
    http://www.pushpinsonline.com/catalog/privacy.php

    (and I've posted this on Miss Snark's site as well)

    Someone knows how to do a cut and paste?
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  19. #19
    Grumpy writer and editor Absolute Sage Gillhoughly's Avatar
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    Well, one of their "corporate sponsers" IS a bank.

    Maybe they took out a loan to start the website.


    How about a bunch of us gather and give them the "Atlanta Nights" treatment.

    We don't enter the "contest," just write a bad book & see if they want to publish it.

    Then put the book on Lulu with the money going to support AW.

  20. #20
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    I posted this also at Miss Snark.

    You have to dig pretty deep into the site to find it, but there are people with impressive qualifications involved. However, as often when someone puts forth a NEW!! PARADIGM-BUSTING!!! INCREDIBLY INNOVATIVE!!!! idea that's supposed to circumvent the mediocrity/fix the problems/change publishing forever, the person in charge is a frustrated writer who couldn't get his novel published.

    Sigh. So predictable.

    Contests with huge prize amounts are often entry fee scams. If you read the fine print, you'll see that the prize amounts are pegged to the number of entrants--i.e., they go down as the number of entrants decreases, so that the contest owner's profit margin is always protected. One marker for this kind of scam is a big entry fee.

    In this case, however, the CEO looks to be rich enough to fund the awards out of his own pocket, so I would guess that, rather than being a marker for a profit-making scheme, the $85 entry fee--way too high for a book manuscript contest--is borrowed from the film world (note that the contest manager's background is in film and TV). For a screenplay contest, $85 wouldn't be out of line. I'm guessing that one reason it's so high is that the people who do the first screening of contest entries will get a portion of it.

    Clearly this is a vanity project, initated by someone with a dream and enough money to implement it. I think the way it's being promoted is extremely misguided. The entry fee is absurd, and it's just plain tiring to see yet another person with no industry background trying to change the industry. But again, there are some very qualified people involved, with the kind of credentials you'd be glad to see in a literary agent. No bets on whether this venture can succeed, but I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss it.

    - Victoria

  21. #21
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Victoria, can you confirm these people are 1) involved with the project, 2) aware of how it's being presented?
    ICAO
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    Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. -- Henry Steele Commager
    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  22. #22
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    I can confirm that Brigitte Weeks is involved, and aware of the presentation--there's a response from her posted in the Comments section of Miss Snark's blog. That inclines me to think that the others are as well.

    - Victoria

  23. #23
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Yeah, I saw that...it just wouldn't be the first time someone got good folks to sign onto a bum deal. It'll be interesting to see if the others enjoy the bad publicity as much as she does.
    ICAO
    ---------

    Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. -- Henry Steele Commager
    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  24. #24
    annoyed and annoying roach's Avatar
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    Victoria, you have a whole lot of experience in the scamming arena than I do, so I'm willing to take a wait and see attitude about this thing (it's not like I'd be entering anyway). But I guess I'm not getting what's supposed to be so new or revolutionary about this idea. Just what is this supposed to accomplish on Sobol's end? If they're not hurting for money and they have people on board with industry experience, then why would they take this route? Is it just a way to get make a splash and get their name out there? What does this contest do that just opening their doors to unsolicited submissions doesn't?

    I'm not expecting Victoria to answer these questions. I'm just throwing them out there.
    Eggplant Literary Productions,
    A small electronic speculative fiction publisher.

  25. #25
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    There is nothing new and revolutionary here. That's my point. It's just another version of the "big bad publishing industry is mean to new writers and I'm gonna change that" scheme that we've seen a gazillion times. But though it's same-old-same-old to us, it's always new and revolutionary to the people who come up with these schemes, which they usually do on the basis of minimal or nonexistent knowledge of the publishing industry (like, for instance, the Bookner guy--I note [tee hee] that his site is defunct).

    All I'm saying is that, unlike other would-be paradigm-fixers, Sobol's CEO (who like many frustrated writers has turned his own personal failure to find publication into an industry-spanning generalization about the publication chances of all new writers) has made an effort to recruit people with actual industry qualifications--who, if this contest survives and the literary agency becomes a reality, might actually be able to sell manuscripts.

    If they're smart, the Sobol folks will pay attention to the derision that's being heaped on them, and make some changes in their presentation. If they do, and if they recruit qualified judges, and if decent manuscripts are entered in the contest (I'm sure they'll have no shortage of horrible ones)--a lot of ifs, I know--the contest could actually wind up meaning something. I'm not saying that will happen, and maybe I'll have to eat these words at some point. But I think it's at least a possibility.

    The flip side of scam awareness is that people tend to jump all over anything that looks even a tiny bit questionable. But sometimes you have to do some extra digging

    - Victoria

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