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Thread: Barbara Casey Literary Agency

  1. #1
    figuring it all out
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    Barbara Casey Literary Agency

    Does anyone know anything about the Barbara Casey Literary Agency?

  2. #2
    Now departed. Rest in peace, Scott, from all of us at AW Popeyesays's Avatar
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    http://www.archebooks.com/Authors/Ca...bara_casey.htm

    Arche books appears to be a publisher NOT an agent. In fact Archebooks will not accept submissions unless an agent sends them in.

    Regards,
    Scott
    Okay, damnit, I blog http://cscottsaylorsbooks.blogspot.com/
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    I'm confused. Is Barbara Casey the head of Arche books or an agent?

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    practical experience, FTW MMo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Popeyesays
    http://www.archebooks.com/Authors/Ca...bara_casey.htm

    Arche books appears to be a publisher NOT an agent. In fact Archebooks will not accept submissions unless an agent sends them in.

    Regards,
    Scott
    Well, yes. But a visit to that site shows that Barbara Casey is an author who is _published_ by them, not the publisher.

    (Which is not meant to be pro- or anti- Ms. Casey, just to clarify what appears to have been a misperception.)

    Mo
    Never Moe and certainly not Moe-randa. I had the name first.

  5. #5
    Writer Beware's Faithful Igor Richard White's Avatar
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    From her bio on the web site:

    In addition to her writing, Ms. Casey has an editorial consulting service, and is president of her own literary agency. Ms. Casey is also the publisher of Publishers Update, a bimonthly directory of children’s publishers and literary agents.

    http://www.archebooks.com/Authors/Ca...bara_casey.htm

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    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Cool

    She's very selective--takes 20%, handles everything herself, and even writes the sysnops for the writers. She takes on illustrators too. From her website, she shows a hell of a sales list. At least i hope they're sales. Better check that out again.

    Tri

  7. #7
    Now departed. Rest in peace, Scott, from all of us at AW Popeyesays's Avatar
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    What's her agency website?
    Okay, damnit, I blog http://cscottsaylorsbooks.blogspot.com/
    Sword of the Dajjal e-book, Published by BooksForABuck.com May, 2007 ISBN: 978-1-602-052-2 http://www.booksforabuck.com/sfpages...rd_dajjal.html
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    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Cool

    publishersupdate.com/html/literary. I think that gets you there.

    Tri

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    Okay, I looked at the publishers she'd sold to and one Brundage Publishing is listed as a self-publisher and the Arche books she's sold most of her books too. Tricycle press is a reputable publisher for children's books. I guess I've become leery about agents and want to know everything before I commit or submit a query to them.

  10. #10
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Her website: http://www.publishersupdate.com/index.html

    Read the ArcheBooks threads (here and here) for why they are not a good sale.
    ICAO
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  11. #11
    wishes you happiness JennaGlatzer's Avatar
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    Hmm. A few points:

    -20% is not standard commission. 15% is.

    -Possible conflict of interest: the paid editorial services.

    -Listed sales are as follows:

    Trellis Publications: a very, very small press that doesn't require agented submissions.

    Arche Books: see threads Cao listed. I wouldn't recommend.

    Brundage Publishing: a self-publishing broker. Should never, ever be listed on any agent's list of credits. This is from Brundage's description: "BRUNDAGE PUBLISHING was created to assist authors in turning their manuscripts into printed books while providing a recognized publisher's logo and national book marketing exposure. We specialize in editing both text and graphics from simple sentence structure to cover design and layout. We also obtain printing bids for the author and oversee book printing and delivery." 6 books listed as being "SOLD" to Brundage. Highly misleading.

    Woodfield Publishing: Family-run small press in England that does not pay advances and does not require agented submissions. States that "Provided your proposal meets the right criteria, publication will be free of charge..." That's not the kind of publisher an agent should ever want to deal with. Bragging that you don't charge authors for publication is not exactly impressive.

    Tricycle Press: Perfectly reputable imprint of Ten Speed Press. Doesn't require agents to submit, but a fine credit.

    Charlesbridge: I don't know anything about this publisher personally, but it looks fine. Doesn't require an agent to submit.

    Oaklea: Small independent press that doesn't require agents. From their submissions page: "We cover all expenses including editing (if necessary), book and cover design, typesetting, printing, shipping, storage, publicity and marketing communications. Our authors are paid a royalty twice yearly that reflects a percentage of sales receipts..." and "All our books are distributed to libraries and book stores by Ingram (the world's largest book distributor) and by Baker & Taylor." My translation of that is: We don't pay advances, and we don't have a distributor. (Ingram and Baker & Taylor are not distributors; they are wholesalers. They don't actually send out reps to sell books to bookstores and libraries. They just take orders if they come in.) Again, this is not a publisher most agents would ever want to approach.

    Hickory Tales: A small press in Kentucky that doesn't require agented submissions.

    Martell: Vanity press. Appears on our Bewares board here: http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...ad.php?t=32733 . On the Martell website: "So how does an unknown author get a book published when many excellent books are being rejected by the big publishing houses? This is where subsidy publishing comes in. Rather than the publishing house investing the money, the author is charged a fee for the service of editing, typesetting, proofreading, and limited promotion of his book."

    Seeing a pattern?
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    figuring it all out
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    Thanks Jenna. That's what I thought too.

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    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    And she charges an upfront fee of $500.

    - Victoria

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    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss
    And she charges an upfront fee of $500.

    - Victoria
    Well, that seems fair. I've adopted a policy of charging anyone lucky enough to be selected to represent me an upfront fee of $2000 (though, because of higher office expenses, I am considering raising that fee).

    So, if I decide to let her be my agent for a book (I do this one book at a time, of course), I am willing to pay her fee, and she'll only owe me $1500.

    Please understand that there are many agents, and the sheer number of author's representatives in today's glutted market mean that only a handful will be selected to represent one of my manuscripts. This is no reflection on the agenting ability of those I do not invite to represent me.

  15. #15
    Barbara Casey
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    Barbara Casey Literary Agency

    Several questions have been brought up about my agency which I would like to address.

    -I do not charge any fees.
    -I do not charge for the expenses involved in placing a manuscript
    -I do charge a 20% agency commission if I am successful in placing a manuscript. This commission is taken from the royalties paid to the author by the publisher.
    -I work only with traditional, royalty-paying publishers which include independent publishers as well as major publishers. The only exception to this is when clients elect to self-publish because they have a strong marketing plan in place and they already have outlets in which to sell their books. Rather than receive a percentage of sales from a traditional publisher, they opt to sell the books themselves and receive full profit. These situations are rare, and I do not receive any payment for this.
    -I represent clients from the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean.

    I started out as an editor in the early 70s and opened my agency in 1995. I represent fiction and nonfiction, adult and children's. In addition, I am also a writer. I have had two award-winning adult novels published, and two middle-grade/YA novels published. My latest novel for adults is scheduled for release in September. All of my books have been published by traditional, royalty-paying publishers.

    Currently, my client list is full; and because I will be making several appearances over the next few months with my new book, I am not considering any new projects. I will be open to submissions, however, early spring, 2007.

    I hope this clarifies some of the questions that were posted earlier. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me directly: bcasey@publishersupdate.com.

    I appreciate the opportunity to take part in this forum.

    Barbara Casey

  16. #16
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Barbara, thanks for participating in this thread. I appreciate your factual and reasoned tone. However, based on the documentation Writer Beware has collected, I feel compelled to question some of your statements.
    Quote Originally Posted by Barbara Casey
    -I do not charge any fees.
    -I do not charge for the expenses involved in placing a manuscript
    In my files I have a contract of yours that states, "Your total payment of five hundred dollars ($500) will be applied toward expenses I incur on your behalf..." Have you discontinued your policy of charging $500 on contract signing?
    -I do charge a 20% agency commission if I am successful in placing a manuscript. This commission is taken from the royalties paid to the author by the publisher.
    Thanks for this info. 15% is the prevailing standard for domestic sales.
    -I work only with traditional, royalty-paying publishers which include independent publishers as well as major publishers. The only exception to this is when clients elect to self-publish because they have a strong marketing plan in place and they already have outlets in which to sell their books. Rather than receive a percentage of sales from a traditional publisher, they opt to sell the books themselves and receive full profit. These situations are rare, and I do not receive any payment for this.
    I have a printout of your recent sales listing from your website as of January 6 of this year, which shows more books than the current version of that page. Of the 19 "sales" mentioned, only 2 (Tricycle Press and Charlesbridge Publishing) look to be to advance-paying publishers. 10 "sales" are to ArcheBooks (a non-advance-paying publisher with a nonstandard contract and a number of serious complaints against it--see this thread). 5, as Jenna pointed out, are to independent publishers of various stripes that don't seem to typically work with agents. And 2 are to Brundage Publishing, which charges $8,000 in addition to printing costs. That's not self-publishing--it's vanity publishing.

    Also, the only truly recent book placements are with ArcheBooks and Brundage. The rest of the placements (Trellis, Woodfield, Tricycle, Charlesbridge, Oaklea, Hickory Tales, and DeVorss) date back at least to 2004 (I have a printout of the relevant page of your website).

    A still older version of your recent sales page (from 2003) lists two sales to Benoy Publishing, another problematic publisher, now defunct, about which I received several complaints. You yourself published at least one book with Benoy. You've also published two of your books with ArcheBooks. In addition to wondering about the skill of an agent who places most of her clients with non-advance-paying publishers, I question the judgment of an agent who'd not only sign poor contracts with questionable publishers, but also place her clients with those publishers.
    All of my books have been published by traditional, royalty-paying publishers.
    Even the POD self-publishing services, such as iUniverse, pay royalties--and "traditional publisher" is not a term that has any accepted meaning in the publishing industry. From a writer's point of view, the important thing is that a publisher pay advances. I'm not familiar with James C. Winston, but none of your other publishers are advance-paying.

    One last question. Through at least 2004, you were offering paid editing services (a potential conflict of interest). I don't see any mention of editing on your current website. Have you discontinued this service?

    - Victoria

  17. #17
    Barbara Casey
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    Victoria,

    When I initially opened my agency, I charged up to $500 to be applied toward expenses I incurred. I discontinued that several years ago. I pay for all expenses and do not ask for reimbursement, even though AAR now accepts the policy where an agent can request that expenses be reimbursed just so long as the client agrees. I do receive a 20% agency commission on placements.

    Tricycle, Charlesbridge, Trellis, DeVorss, Potomac are some of the publishers I am currently working with and they all pay advances.

    Benoy has not published any of my books or any of my clients' books. Benoy did offer several contracts when I first opened my agency--all of which I declined. It is my understanding that Benoy is no longer in business.

    My editing services are available to any writer. I do not charge my clients, however, for editing their work prior to submission.

    I would like to make one additional comment. I know in a perfect world every manuscript would get picked up by a major publishing house and the writer would receive a big advance. I work with new, unpublished writers, however, as well as published writers. Many publishers don't offer an advance, especially if there isn't an established track record of sales. If the contract is good in all other areas, I find it often will lead to future contracts for my client that include an advance.

    Barbara

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    annoyed and annoying roach's Avatar
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    First off, welcome to AW Barbara!

    Quote Originally Posted by Barbara Casey
    I would like to make one additional comment. I know in a perfect world every manuscript would get picked up by a major publishing house and the writer would receive a big advance. I work with new, unpublished writers, however, as well as published writers. Many publishers don't offer an advance, especially if there isn't an established track record of sales. If the contract is good in all other areas, I find it often will lead to future contracts for my client that include an advance.
    The above sentiment bothers me. It seems to speak to the attitude that someone deserves to be published (which I've ranted on before) and also to the desperation a lot of new writers feel when they start submitting their work to the world.

    Firstly, a perfect publishing world would look pretty much like this one, the only difference, probably, being that publishers wouldn't shell out quite as much cash for celebrity books. But the realities of this world is that readers are willing to buy celebrity books and as such publishers will continue to shell out big bucks for celebrity books, certain that the profits from such book will give them the cash to publish a whole host of other books.

    Secondly, new authors are published all the time. And yes, they are paid an advance. Here I'm talking about the big commercial presses, but even the smaller presses (Mundania, First Books, and others) pay some kind of advance. Does anyone have the link to Toby Buckell's writer's advance page? That would be a nice page to link to right now.

    I just don't think it's a good idea to propagate publishing FUD, especially on this particular forum.
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  19. #19
    Writting broad batgirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roach
    Does anyone have the link to Toby Buckell's writer's advance page? That would be a nice page to link to right now.
    This one?
    -Barbara
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  20. #20
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbara Casey
    When I initially opened my agency, I charged up to $500 to be applied toward expenses I incurred. I discontinued that several years ago.
    That's good to know. Thanks.
    Tricycle, Charlesbridge, Trellis, DeVorss, Potomac are some of the publishers I am currently working with and they all pay advances.
    Here's the 2004 page from your website that I was referring to (from the Internet Archive), listing as recent sales the same titles you currently list for Trellis, Tricycle, Charlesbridge, Woodfield, Oaklea, DeVorss, and Hickory Tales. Only the Potomac Books sale appears to be new (Potomac Books, formerly part of Brassey's, seems to be a well-established niche publisher; it's not clear whether it pays advances).
    Benoy has not published any of my books or any of my clients' books. Benoy did offer several contracts when I first opened my agency--all of which I declined. It is my understanding that Benoy is no longer in business.
    The August 2003 version of your recent sales page (again accessed via the Internet Archive) shows three book placements with Benoy. This certainly doesn't sound like a declination. Your bio for the same period mentions that your novel The Coach's Wife was released that month by Benoy. Also, before Benoy folded, I heard from several writers who were referred to you by the publisher for agenting or editing services.
    My editing services are available to any writer. I do not charge my clients, however, for editing their work prior to submission.
    That's good to know. Thanks.
    I work with new, unpublished writers, however, as well as published writers. Many publishers don't offer an advance, especially if there isn't an established track record of sales.
    It's true that many publishers don't offer an advance, but the majority of commercial publishers (those that spend money to market their books and get them onto bookstore shelves) do pay advances.

    And there's another issue. For agents who don't charge fees and earn only commissions, there's no incentive to place books with a non-advance-paying publisher. Yes, there may be royalties down the line, but they're likely to be extremely small, since such publishers' books often don't sell in numbers above the low three digits. A non-fee-charging agent who places most or all of his/her clients' books with non-advance-paying publishers is not making a living from agenting--which suggests that agenting is either a sideline or a hobby. Not the best situation for the client.

    Tobias Buckell's first novel advance survey is here. It indicates that the median advance for a first SF/fantasy novel is $5,000.

    - Victoria

  21. #21
    Barbara Casey
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    Victoria,

    ArcheBooks Publishing published The Coach's Wife, not Benoy. I have had no books published by Benoy, nor have any of my clients. I first contacted Benoy as an author when it was listed in Writer's Market to get additional information on the company. Shortly after that, one of the editors with [I]Writer's Digest[I] and I were invited to be guest speakers at a writers conference in Wilmington. I met with Benoy at that time, decided the company didn't have everything in place, and terminated discussions of possible publications, both for myself and for my clients. There has been no additional contact. If Benoy referred people to me, it is probably because I was the only agent she knew.

    Potomac Publishing pays up to $10,000 for an advance.

    Victoria, I agree with what you are saying about publishing and literary agents. Whenever I take on a new client, my primary goal is to place that client's work with the best possible publisher and secure a nice advance. Failing that, I contact the mid-list and independent publishers, again, trying to get the best contract for my client. I think one area where we might disagree is that your criteria for defining a good publisher seems to be whether or not an advance is paid. (From your post above: "From a writer's point of view, the important thing is that a publisher pay advances.") I think that is selling the writer short. There are many excellent publishers who do not offer advances, and without them there would be a lot of good books that wouldn't get published.

    Your Forum provides a valuable service to everyone in the publishing industry, and it is one of the best discussion groups of this kind I have come across. So often this type of platform becomes a venue for mean-spirited venting. I wish you and the other participants all the best.

    Barbara

  22. #22
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbara Casey
    I think one area where we might disagree is that your criteria for defining a good publisher seems to be whether or not an advance is paid. (From your post above: "From a writer's point of view, the important thing is that a publisher pay advances.") I think that is selling the writer short. There are many excellent publishers who do not offer advances, and without them there would be a lot of good books that wouldn't get published.
    There are certainly some good publishers that don't pay advances. However, an advance is an important measure of a publisher's commitment to marketing and distribution--an incentive for it to get the book out into the marketplace in order to recoup its investment. With non-advance-paying publishers, the onus is typically on the author. Since authors don't have access to the marketing channels of the book trade, sales are likely to be small.

    Again from the author's point of view, sales to advance-paying publishers are an important measure of an agent's success and professional standing. Since agents earn on commmission, there simply is no incentive for them to place books with publishers that don't pay advances (many successful agents won't even consider publishers that pay less than four figures). This serves the agent's interest, obviously, but it also serves the author's interest, since the agent wants to broker the most lucrative possible deal. If the agent can't sell the manuscript and the author then wants to consider non-advance-paying publishers, she can do this on her own. Agents aren't needed to arrange such "sales." Agents who place their clients with non-advance-paying publishers not only aren't serving their clients' best interest--they're providing an unnecessary service (and charging 15% of their clients' meager royalties to do so).

    - Victoria

  23. #23
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Recent "sales" are to Archebooks, Wandering Sage Publishing, and Baker Books.
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    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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