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Thread: Marcia Amsterdam Agency

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW Provrb1810meggy's Avatar
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    Marcia Amsterdam Agency

    Does anyone know about Marcia Amsterdam? I read that she reps YA, and she was reccomended on YA. I've googled her and she's been mentioned in a couple of articles as being a top NY agent. However, I can't find any track record or any guidelines about submitting. Also, does anyone know if she excepts e-queries?

    Your help is appreciated.
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  2. #2
    Who's going for a beer? waylander's Avatar
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    Marcia Amsterdam: http://agentquery.com/agent.aspx?agentid=525

    No e-mail queries. Send her 3 chapters and synopsis

  3. #3
    What? I have a title? Julie Worth's Avatar
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    She's rejected me twice now on two books a year apart. It appears the SASEs go out the very day she gets the submissions. That's good, I suppose. At least you don't have to wait for months.

  4. #4
    jperilo
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    Marcia Amsterdam and Screenplays

    I read in the 2008 Guide to Literary Agents that Marcia Amsterdam does handle some screenplays and television scripts. Does anyone here know what her submission policy is for that... I know for a book it's three chapters and a synopsis.

    JPerilo

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Isadoredog's Avatar
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    I sent her a query letter by US mail for my TV script along with an SASE. She responded almost immediately with a "form" note that said my material does not meet her current needs.
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  6. #6
    Ribbed for your pleasure. Voyager's Avatar
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    Before you trust the new GLA, you might want to look at this.

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  7. #7
    Pernicious...n'stuff. Leukman's Avatar
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    Anybody out there had any recent dealings with this agency????

  8. #8
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    I'm not finding anything more recent than 2004.
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  9. #9
    Pernicious...n'stuff. Leukman's Avatar
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    Neither could I. That can't be a good sign...

    I have to wonder why P&E recommends...???

  10. #10
    Pernicious...n'stuff. Leukman's Avatar
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    No recent sales, no website, no info on PM, a little profile on AQ, very little chat here, but a $recommend on P&E. Couldn't figure this one out. Could it just be a strong agent with a heavy list who's in a sale slump? Seems like this agent at least has a strong past...but has done nothing lately.

    But I did send a generic query just out of curiosity, mainly because of the P&E rating. Sent snail mail, response recieved 8 days later. Response included my original query letter in the SASE, with a little buisiness-card-sized piece of flimsy paper printed with a canned reject note on it. That was a first. Not even a form letter...

  11. #11
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Received a form rejection in three days. It was a snail mail query.

  12. #12
    Peter Steele <3 ChrisKelly331's Avatar
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    this was last year but I sent her a snail mail query and recieved an email requesting the first three chapters then two weeks later a form rejection.

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  13. #13
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin MelMel's Avatar
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    My writing partner and I recently sent her a query by snail mail (recently being last Wednesday). Today we received an email asking for a two-week exclusive on a three chapter partial quote "with a view toward representing you." Sounds promising, right?

    The problem is that we have five requested partials out right at this very moment (it's been a busy week), so there is no possible means of offering her the exclusive she is requesting.

    Any advice?

  14. #14
    Listening to my other selves Erin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MelMel View Post
    My writing partner and I recently sent her a query by snail mail (recently being last Wednesday). Today we received an email asking for a two-week exclusive on a three chapter partial quote "with a view toward representing you." Sounds promising, right?

    The problem is that we have five requested partials out right at this very moment (it's been a busy week), so there is no possible means of offering her the exclusive she is requesting.

    Any advice?
    Send her the partial, but tell her you: "can't offer an exclusive because you have partials out with other agents, but you'd be happy to contact her before accepting any other offer of representation."

    Either she'll be okay with this, or she may tell you to wait until you can offer an exclusive. Most agents will accept the non-exclusive this way.
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  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin MelMel's Avatar
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    Thanks! I just didn't know if that made agents mad. It's all snail mail, so I suppose the worst she could do is toss it in the trash (or set it on fire and dance around it after running over it in her car...you know) after all.
    I can't wait until I'm old enough to feel ways about stuff.

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  16. #16
    Maxine Fan sciri's Avatar
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    OK, this is just a rant, but I am really annoyed at Ms. Amsterdam. I read on Agent Query that she is interested in medical thriller/suspense, which is my genre, so I queried her following her guidelines: query + synopsis + first three chapters, and because my chapters are long, it came down to ~80 double spaced pages altogether. Got a form rejection ONE WEEK later, and where I live, one week is the minimum it takes for a letter to get to NY and come back. Ms. Amsterdam barely glimpsed at my query (and BTW, it's not a bad query since it prompted four agents so far to request a partial and/or full) and tossed the rest in *I HOPE* the recycling bin. No, it's not the rejection that got me all revved up, it's the waste of paper! If she knows she's not going to look at it, why doesn't she just say QUERY FIRST like most agents do?
    From now on I'm going to deal only with paper-friendly agencies...
    Again, sorry for the rant.

  17. #17
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin MelMel's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Know how you feel

    Yeah, it was like that for us, too and she actually requested the pages in question. She wrote and wanted a partial BY MAIL, then turned around and rejected us with a tiny photocopied square barely a week later. Coming from NY, it's as if she rejected it in two seconds. Perhaps it was because we couldn't give her the exclusive partial she requested. I couldn't tell you.

    The thing that really irks me is, she forced us to send her all those pages via mail which takes time and ink to print, time to go to the post office and pay...with an SASE (of course) and yet, all she has time to do is A) not even really consider it and B) send us 1/6 of a piece of paper in return with a form response printed on it. ONE SIXTH.

    SO basically, our time and effort is barely worth a sixth of a piece of paper to Ms. Amsterdam.

    Manners and values aside, is it too much to ask if an agent makes you send them a partial via snail mail--in this day and age of technology at our fingertips--that they at least have the courtesy to respond with an actual, oh, I don't know, RESPONSE?!?!?!?!

    I would've taken a piece of paper with "No." typed at the top and her signature and it would've meant more.
    Last edited by MelMel; 12-02-2009 at 10:02 PM.
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  18. #18
    Maxine Fan sciri's Avatar
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    Wow, that is very strange... Did you write something like "Requested Material" on the envelope? I really wonder if they have somebody in that office that automatically takes envelopes, grabs the SASE, sticks in the little square of paper and mails off... Without even looking!!! I couldn't agree more, a personalized NO would have meant a lot more. At least now we know this wouldn't have been the right agent for us.
    Good luck with your other queries!

  19. #19
    Expert Procrastinator AlterEgox5's Avatar
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    I'm not entirely sure what the problem is. I've gotten tiny rejection slips too - isn't a small slip more paper friendly than a huge sheet? And I've gotten not-so-personalized rejections from partials as well. And you can also request that the material be sent back to you (provided you include a return envelope and postal) so that way you can save the paper and ink.

    Rants or no, I think I might still try her at some point...
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  20. #20
    Likes picnic with roast beef. Eirin's Avatar
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    Re. the size of rejection slips ... time to go re-read Slushkiller:

    Right. I can just see the staff at Prominent Science Fiction Magazine doing the slush, with all their different-size rejection notes stacked up in a little row in front of them. If your story really sucks, you get a rejection note that’s mimeographed on a sheet of paper the size of a large postage stamp. If you’ve got strong writing but defective storytelling skills, you get a half sheet. Acceptances come on foolscap. And so on.

    Of course, all of PSFM’s rejections will be on the same half-size sheets. It’s a standard stationery size. Rejections, being short, look less brutal on a smaller sheet, and it does save a lot of paper.

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  21. #21
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sciri View Post
    OK, this is just a rant, but I am really annoyed at Ms. Amsterdam. I read on Agent Query that she is interested in medical thriller/suspense, which is my genre, so I queried her following her guidelines: query + synopsis + first three chapters, and because my chapters are long, it came down to ~80 double spaced pages altogether. Got a form rejection ONE WEEK later, and where I live, one week is the minimum it takes for a letter to get to NY and come back. Ms. Amsterdam barely glimpsed at my query (and BTW, it's not a bad query since it prompted four agents so far to request a partial and/or full) and tossed the rest in *I HOPE* the recycling bin. No, it's not the rejection that got me all revved up, it's the waste of paper! If she knows she's not going to look at it, why doesn't she just say QUERY FIRST like most agents do?
    From now on I'm going to deal only with paper-friendly agencies...
    Again, sorry for the rant.
    I'm going to play devil's advocate here and say why on earth does receiving a response in a week mean she didn't read it? Now, chances are she probably didn't, or at least not the whole thing (they often know within a few pages--or even paragraphs--whether or not something is for them), but to make an assumption like this is a bit premature.

    It is entirely possible that she received it, opened it immediately, and read the entire thing. You said that you included eighty pages. It doesn't take that long to read eighty pages. I could do it all in an hour and a half, two max. She could have opened it up, read every word of it, and then decided it didn't work and sent back the rejection.

    It's impossible to tell without having been in her office whether or not she actually sat down and read all of it, even if the likelihood is that she didn't.

    I'm just saying this because this response sounds (to my ears, so please be forgiving) more like an author upset over being rejected and making accusations than the sort of complaint other authors should be warned about. You probably don't mean it that way, but that's just how it comes off to me. It sounds as though you are emotional and upset, and that's cool, I understand, but there's a reason that I mentioned it.

    This is the internet, and it's a public forum. Anyone can read this--including said agent or other agents. It is entirely possible that if she were to see this she would know exactly who said this (especially if she took the time to read the eighty pages and remembers an author in New Mexico with an 80 page sample). And if you read the link in Slushkiller, you can see that a lot of times responses like this put the author in a negative light.

    I'm not trying to be rude, so please don't take it that way. I'm just trying to say if you're upset, that's fine, but take a step back, vent to a friend, and wait until the emotion side of it passes. Then, if you want to write a complaint about, "I wish she would request smaller samples," (which is a perfectly valid thought, don't get me wrong), you're more able to do it in an objective way.

    I really hope I'm not seen as stepping on anyone's toes here. I just think it doesn't serve any of us to be seen getting into a bitch session. I'm sure you're a really nice person and we all want to vent about things like this, just be aware that a public forum might not be the best place for it.

    Sorry about the rejection, though. It really does suck, especially after spending that much on ink and paper and postage.
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  22. #22
    Maxine Fan sciri's Avatar
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    On second thoughts:

    Kaitie, if she did read my stuff, then you are right.
    However, my rant wasn't about the rejection, it was about the waste of time on BOTH parts
    (not just mine), and PAPER. Rant aside (true, I was upset, and had I waited the posting
    would have been more objective), it is the kind of
    information that I have found useful when I came across similar postings in AW.

    I did learn my lesson though. For one thing, I've shortened my chapters.
    happy holidays
    Last edited by sciri; 12-21-2009 at 02:06 AM.

  23. #23
    Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. kaitie's Avatar
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    Well, the reason I mentioned that is because I've seen agents comment on particularly that sort of thing and say that it's often easy to figure out who said something, even if you're writing under a different name. I just think it's better to be safe than sorry. I mean, from your post alone I knew what genre you were in, your location, your page count, and that you have longer than average chapters, and basically when you sent it. Now, she probably doesn't remember, but it's just better to be careful, don't you think?

    Mostly, though, I think it's better to try not to make negative assumptions in general if there's really no way to tell. I think a lot (maybe not all but a lot) of agents are trying to do their best, and there's no way to make everyone happy. Janet Reid has some great posts on her blog about why she doesn't give personal responses to partials anymore, and it seems that no matter what the agent does someone out there will be unhappy about it. It's just better not to assume the worst and if we do have complaints to try to keep them objective and professional.
    "You will experience a tingling sensation and then death."

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  24. #24
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Amsterdam

    Marcia has represented me since 1984. She sold 23 of my books in ten years. Except for the first book, she secured contracts before I wrote the books. And for every book she sold, she rejected as many of my proposals. Marcia is in continual contact with NY editors and knows what they're looking for - what are the open slots on spring or fall publishing lists. If one gets a rejection from her, it's not necessarily that the writing is bad; it's likely there's no market for the topic. I recall a Cook virus book coming out, and Marcia received over 60 proposals for virus books in a couple weeks. I wrote a proposal for a bacteria book, and she sold it in two weeks. Keep up with the markets, and try to get ahead of the curve. She's a great agent, and she knows what will sell.

  25. #25
    Roe Draje Maddie's Avatar
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    I don't see any deals on PM for Ms. Amsterdam since October of 2000 (although for the benefit of the doubt, I realize that not every successful agent reports their sales to PM - no need, if they're selling and in demand). I also don't see her or her agency listed as a contact at PM (meaningless, to some extent, if an agent has a list of authors and is self-supporting). I don't find a web site for Ms. Amsterdam, either (which doesn't mean much, I suppose - I run a small business without a web site, and bring in a comfortable income). I don't even find her as a member of AAR (there are many successful agents not aligned with AAR). I do find her agency on AgentQuery - and perhaps she's more old-school when it comes to queries, preferring paper to electronic information. It does say she's open to queries, so that's a positive.

    I commend Ms. Amsterdam for her handle on the publishing industry, and for selling 23 books for you in 10 years, blovejoy. If I may ask, do you have a title of one as an example of the genre? I'd love to see what kind of books Ms. Amsterdam has been selling.

    Thanks,
    Maddie

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