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Thread: Book Cents Literary Agency

  1. #1
    Halifax
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    Book Cents Literary Agency

    Hi there.

    I'd appreciate any comments on Book Cents Literary Agency. Has anyone dealt with their agents or talked to them at conferences? They're brand-new to agenting and claim to be networking with editors.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW Toni1953's Avatar
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    Do you have any more info on them? A website addy? Ran a search and came up empty.
    Toni
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  3. #3
    Halifax
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    Hi, Toni.

    I know - it's possible they haven't submitted their URL to Google or Ask.com. I found them on AltaVista. They're at www.bookcentsliteraryagency.com. Not a great deal of info there on industry experience.


  4. #4
    I heart Malamutes! :-) JerseyGirl1962's Avatar
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    Halifax,

    This is from their FAQ page:

    Q: Why haven't I heard of Book Cents Literary Agency, LLC before?
    A: Book Cents Literary Agency is an energetic new agency. We opened in September 2006. We currently have three agents - one of whom is a practicing attorney with 21 years of experience, one who has an extensive background in marketing people and products, and one who has a strong background in writing and sales.

    I also checked their bios, and it doesn't sound like any of them have any publishing industry experience.

    I think I'd try someone else.

    Good luck.

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  5. #5
    Got the hang of it, here Absolute Sage jchines's Avatar
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    I'm looking through the website. There's nothing wrong with being new, but I'm not seeing anything to suggest they'll be able to sell a book, either...

    "Christine has an absolute love for learning and meeting people. Before pursuing her dream of becoming a literary agent and learning everything she could on the craft and the industry, she studied biology, chemistry and medicine. A hopeless overachiever, she has re-dedicated all her time and efforts to becoming a 'super literary agent' and networking goddess."

    That's nice, but where's the experience with the publishing industry? None of this tells me she actually has the relationships or skills to sell a book and negotiate a good contract.

    "Kelly brings to the table twenty years of public relations and marketing experience which will certainly be an asset to authors wanting to market themselves nationally."

    The agent's primary job isn't to market authors. She has to sell books. Again, no experience.

    "Jeff has been practicing law since 1985, specializing in civil litigation, and has his own law firm located in Charleston, West Virginia."

    Civil litigation is not publishing/contract law or negotiation.

    There is nothing on this website to give me confidence that the agency is a good choice for selling your books and negotiating a good deal for you as an author. It doesn't strike me as a scam, and I'm sure the folks involved mean well. But nothing here makes me believe that they would be able to provide much help to an author, either.
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  6. #6
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jchines
    There is nothing on this website to give me confidence that the agency is a good choice for selling your books and negotiating a good deal for you as an author. It doesn't strike me as a scam, and I'm sure the folks involved mean well. But nothing here makes me believe that they would be able to provide much help to an author, either.
    I agree.

    And that has to be one of the ugliest websites I've seen recently.

    - Victoria

  7. #7
    'bye soloset's Avatar
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    You know, someday, I'd like to figure out just what it is about me that makes me HAVE to click a link when someone says "wow, that's ugly".

    It's not the ugliest I've seen lately, but it's pretty close. This is one of the most baffling things about the web to me, honestly. Look at any magazine or book or other visual media within arm's reach and what won't you see? A horrible bright purple background with sloppy dark text. I understand we're all writers, not designers, but geez, people! You don't wear bright purple pants with an electric blue top, do you? DO YOU? (I think my hair is on fire.)

    I think this is one of those probably honest and well-meaning companies that I'd like to see succeed but that I wouldn't risk my own stuff on.
    #

    Nothing’s inherently wrong with telling; nothing’s inherently wrong with showing. . . .
    When Picasso paints a canvas using only blue, you can still tell that he knows what he’s doing with color. When I paint a canvas using only blue, you will be quite certain from the result that it’s because I have no clue what to do with red or yellow—and you won’t be too sure I’ve got a grip on blue, either. Learn all the colors; then choose whichever seems right at the moment. Master the whole craft. ~ Keith Snyder

  8. #8
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Here are a couple folks who recently signed with them:

    http://amandabrice.blogspot.com/2006...got-agent.html

    http://karileetownsend.blogspot.com/...-it-oh-my.html
    http://karileetownsend.blogspot.com/...e-decided.html

    Sounds like the agency's pitch relies on networking via conferences and claims of prior non-fiction sales. (I can't find any trace of the latter. Anyone?)
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  9. #9
    Halifax
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    Thanks for your comments, everyone. I'm with you on the site design (Shudders!).


  10. #10
    Absolutely Fazed
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    Quote Originally Posted by soloset
    You know, someday, I'd like to figure out just what it is about me that makes me HAVE to click a link when someone says "wow, that's ugly".
    If they ever show up here, I would just like to add that the bright purple makes me squint, and I can't read the words on their site without getting a headache.

  11. #11
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    If an agency advertises ... anywhere ... cross them off your list.

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW Khazarkhum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    If an agency advertises ... anywhere ... cross them off your list.
    Including the ones in the RWA mag?

  13. #13
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Did they buy the ad?

  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW Khazarkhum's Avatar
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    I have no idea...it's for some group called Books, Inc.

  15. #15
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    I can't find any agency called just "Books, Inc." Can you tell us more about the ad?

    - Victoria

  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW Khazarkhum's Avatar
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    I was going from memory, so of course I screwed up.

    It's Book Cents LLC Literary Agency. It lists Christine Whitthohn, Jeff Mehalic Esq, and Kelly Ferrara as agents. www.bookcentsliteraryagency.com

    It struck me as odd that Romance Writer's Report would run an ad from an agency; like many others I naively assume that the RWA tries to screen for such things. In any event, they have a huge ad stating they are accepting queries.

    Do you know anything at all about them?

  17. #17
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Khazarkhum View Post
    It's Book Cents LLC Literary Agency. It lists Christine Whitthohn, Jeff Mehalic Esq, and Kelly Ferrara as agents. www.bookcentsliteraryagency.com
    Hmmm, let's see.

    - No agenting, publishing, or book marketing experience between the three of them.

    - In business since September 2006, but no sales to date (if a new agency takes longer than a year to start racking up sales, it's a sign that the agents may not have the experience or contacts needed for success).

    - No discernible client list, despite evidence that they have signed some people.

    I'd say this is definitely the type of agency that would advertise.

    There's already a thread here about Book Cents; I'm splitting off the posts about them and merging them with the existing thread.

    - Victoria

  18. #18
    Eternal Lurker smlgr8's Avatar
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    "It struck me as odd that Romance Writer's Report would run an ad from an agency; like many others I naively assume that the RWA tries to screen for such things."

    FWIW, I think the RWR accepts ads from anyone who is willing to pay for it. I don't think they do any "screening" of the businesses one way or another.

  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW Khazarkhum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss View Post
    Hmmm, let's see.

    - No agenting, publishing, or book marketing experience between the three of them.

    - In business since September 2006, but no sales to date (if a new agency takes longer than a year to start racking up sales, it's a sign that the agents may not have the experience or contacts needed for success).

    - No discernible client list, despite evidence that they have signed some people.

    I'd say this is definitely the type of agency that would advertise.

    There's already a thread here about Book Cents; I'm splitting off the posts about them and merging them with the existing thread.

    - Victoria
    Right after positing the question I checked their site. they have a list of clients, but no sales. They no longer have a purple website--it's more of a 'fall leaves' scheme now.

    Now for my next question--just how long does it take for an agent to sell a book? I would like to think they can do it in under a year.

  20. #20
    practical experience, FTW JamieB's Avatar
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    Where do you find book sales by agents? Christine Witthohn requested a partial from me and I sent it. She's super quick with queries...I probably should have researched more before submitting, but it's good to get the request!

    Any more info on her from anyone?
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  21. #21
    Metaphysical Spiritualist malberque@comcast.ne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halifax View Post
    Hi there.

    I'd appreciate any comments on Book Cents Literary Agency. Has anyone dealt with their agents or talked to them at conferences? They're brand-new to agenting and claim to be networking with editors.

    Thanks!
    I think they've been around for a while.
    Practice random acts of love and kindness.....or.....Bite me.....The choice is yours.

  22. #22
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JamieB View Post
    Where do you find book sales by agents? Christine Witthohn requested a partial from me and I sent it. She's super quick with queries...I probably should have researched more before submitting, but it's good to get the request!

    Any more info on her from anyone?

    You won't find any sales from this agency because they have made none, after two years in business, despite having plenty of clients producing lots of work.


    I don't think signing with them is going to help your career. In fact, I feel strongly that it will actually hinder it instead, and I really hope you'll look elsewhere.
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  23. #23
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by malberque@comcast.ne View Post
    I think they've been around for a while.
    They opened in September of 2006. The post to which you were responding was from November of 2006, so "brand-new" seems quite accurate at the time of posting.

    And they don't seem to have sold anything in the almost two years they've been in business.

  24. #24
    practical experience, FTW mysterygrl's Avatar
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    One of my crit partners signed with a new agent who had great intentions. She was a published author in the mystery genre and did the conference circuit. She represented a handful of published mystery authors, but they were primarily small-press sales made before they signed with this agent. I'm not sure this agent, after a few years in business, ended up making any sales. My crit partner, whose book never sold, got a letter from her agent last year, saying she was closing her doors.

    I think there's a big difference between a new agent working at a new agency with limited or no sales and limited or no experience--and a new agent who was perhaps once an editor at, say, Random House or Penguin, or a new agent who's working for a well-established agency.

  25. #25
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    Just thought I'd add this. It's a blog post from BookEnds Literary Agency, about newbie agents:

    http://bookendslitagency.blogspot.co...bad-agent.html
    http://www.staciakane.com

    FIVE DOWN, a Downside anthology, available now!
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    Click here for more details.


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