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Thread: Agent Research & Evaluation / agentresearch.com

  1. #1
    wvonwegen
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    Agent Research & Evaluation / agentresearch.com

    Hi All,

    Have any of you ever had experience with www.agentresearch.com?

    They say on their website that they do research on legit agents and issue reports. A sample quote: "The full record of any of the agents in our database ranges in cost between $25.00 and $125.00.

    We charge for these records according to how much data we can provide - i.e. names of clients and the deals made for them, frequently with dollar/sterling figures. Our database has information on:

    * over 2,000 agents
    * over 25,000 thousand clients

    Get the real skinny."

    Sounds like a scam to me. Which brings me to another question--namely, how can writers seek out any agents who might be suitable for their type/genre of writing? Is it all blind query letter sending, hoping to somehow luck out?

  2. #2
    SimonSays
    Guest

    Has anyone checked out Agent Research & Evaluation?

    WV -

    This site actually allows you to search their database to verify the legitmacy of agents / agencies for free. It let's you check by individual agent and agency.

    The full record, would I assume give known clients, sales, etc.

    You can also see the number of verified sales in the free part of their database - you just don't get a list of the individual sales.

  3. #3
    maestrowork
    Guest

    Re: Has anyone checked out Agent Research & Evaluation?

    You can always just call the agents of interest and ask for a list of clients. That information is hardly confidential... Sales figure, on the other hand...

  4. #4
    AC Crispin
    Guest

    Agent Research and Evaluation

    AR&E provides a free "agent verification" service. If you want the in-depth report, it will cost you.

    Bill Martin, the guy who runs the outfit, knows his agents.

    If you don't want to bother to do your own agent research, track down sales, etc., and have the money to pay someone to do it, AR&E is probably a good bet for you.

    -Ann C. Crispin

  5. #5
    Sir Scammedalot
    Guest

    Re: Agent Research and Evaluation

    I have found this search engine to be fairly helpful in weeding out disreputable agents. However, a note of caution. I just received a contract offer for my second book from Andrew Whelchel III, and this site lists him as "absolutely legitimate," which I assume (but don't know) means he has some record of sales. But what it doesn't tell you is that Whelchel wants a $375 postage deposit to do what he should do as part of the services he provides. Whelchel is discredited in other parts of the Writer's Beware website but nowhere on Agent Research. So while AR&E might prove to be a useful tool, I wouldn't make it my sole place to get info on agents...Sir S.

  6. #6
    HapiSofi
    Guest

    Re: Has anyone checked out Agent Research & Evaluation?

    I know that C. E. Petit's Scrivener's Error links to it, so I doubt it's a scam.

  7. #7
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: Agent Research and Evaluation

    No one source is absolutely 100% always right. That's why you check two or three places, and in the end make your own judgement call.

  8. #8
    wvonwegen
    Guest

    Re: Agent Research and Evaluation

    Thanks everyone for a lot of useful info. Food for thought (munch-munch...).

    Walter.

  9. #9
    DaveKuzminski
    Guest

    Re: Agent Research and Evaluation

    So, Is Nothing Sacred? is non-fiction?

  10. #10
    wvonwegen
    Guest

    Re: Agent Research and Evaluation

    Here's an update, folks--I sent Agent Research & Evaluation an e-mail with some detailed questions into what their "deluxe" service would entail & what it might be expected to provide. You would think that for a service costing $330, I might expect a prompt response with some clear details about this 'wonderful' service.

    Wrong.

    I sent my enquiry over 2 weeks ago. What did I get?

    Silence.

    In other words, yet _another_ rip-off artist.

    Is there any part of the professional book publishing business that _isn't_ criminal? I am really beginning to wonder...

  11. #11
    vstrauss
    Guest

    Re: Agent Research and Evaluation

    >>I sent my enquiry over 2 weeks ago. What did I get? Silence.<<

    Possibly because the details are pretty fully stated on their website:

    www.agentresearch.com/cus...print.html

    - Victoria

  12. #12
    Stace001
    Guest

    Re: Agent Research and Evaluation

    I have used Bill's service quite a few times, and I have corresponded personally with him regarding a few agents, and I have ALWAYS found him to be honest, reliable and above reproach.
    I have been scammed in the past myself, so I was particularly wary about trusting a stranger, but he proved himself again and again. You can trust his information and trust that his service IS NOT a scam.
    You can use his free service or pay to get a more in-depth report on a particular agent. All above board, you just chose which you want to use.

  13. #13
    andyzack
    Guest

    Re: Agent Research and Evaluation

    As an agent who has been on the receiving end of more than a couple of phone calls from this company over the years, I can say that I've never been impressed. For example, it was clear from these phone calls that he had never bothered to visit my website! Seems like the first thing you'd do, no?

    Publishersmarketplace.com is probably one of the best places to check out what an agent has been up to, though you have to keep in mind that the agents post their deals, or the editors, and that some houses prohibit the editors from doing it and some agents don't do it because they don't want the spam they get from authors and others who lift their email addresses from postings.

    The simple reality is, I think that there are no "easy" answers to checking out an agent. Check their websites. If they are representing authors whose work you admire and seem to be handling books in the genre you in which you write, it's probably okay to query them.

    Best wishes,

  14. #14
    Apex Predator Jaws's Avatar
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    There is no such thing as an omniscient font of wisdom on all things publishing, or even all things of one aspect of publishing. For example, there is more than one AAR member I could name—well, actually, I can't, due to ongoing litigation, but you get the idea—who in some sense is no more honest than many scammers. Similarly, AR&E does make errors. Even I do, difficult as that may seem to believe.

    The key is what one does when confronted not with outraged shrieks that something one has said is defamatory, but with solid documentation of error. I change things—just ask Kay Murray, as she objected to part of my review of the latest edition of TWLG (I still don't like it, but I said something inaccurate after having confused two editions). AR&E does, too, although not instanteously—like that's a realistic expectation for anything in this business! Molasses moves faster than the AAR; at least it's June molasses, not January molasses. Glaciers move faster (and more reliably) than WGA. But, in the end, these organizations will all respond to properly documented objections to their evaluations and statements.
    Last edited by Jaws; 02-14-2005 at 11:05 AM. Reason: typing glitch
    CEP
    blawg: Scrivener's Error (includes links to main site)
    Any legal comments in this message are general commentary only, and not legal advice
    for your specific situation. You should not rely on such comments — or any other published
    comments, by me or anyone else — as anything other than general guidance.
    Unfortunately, no scam agents, vanity publishers, or other similar carrion-eaters were bent,
    folded, spindled, or mutilated in creating this post (not for want of motivation).
    Of course it's "fine print" — it's small and red.

  15. #15
    On a wing and a prayer aruna's Avatar
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    Agent research

    Anyone heard of these guys? Anyone used them? Not that I'm thinking of using them but if they are legit and people can afford them, what do you think of their services?

    http://www.agentresearch.com/

  16. #16
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    They are legit, but shouldn't be your only source -- and I wouldn't go beyond their free service.

  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW Kiva Wolfe's Avatar
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    I continue to feel this kind of information should always be free. Here are some free, and hopefully helpful links to get your research started:

    http://www.aar-online.org/
    http://www.wga.org/
    http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/
    http://www.sfwa.org/beware/

    Also, find out who this agent represents and query them about their experiences. A web search can yield volumes of useful info.
    Last edited by Kiva Wolfe; 06-27-2005 at 12:46 AM.
    RED FLASH by Kiva Wolfe (Draumr Publishing, LLC). Available online and in bookstores. ISBN 1-933157-06-2. $17.95 Trade; $6.50 E-book. "Americano de nascença, brasileiro em coração." http://www.kivawolfe.net

  18. #18
    practical experience, FTW
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    Sorry to jump in here so late...

    Since this is one of the "reference" threads, I assume that people may want to check it out in future months even though it is currently stale.

    AR&E is not in any way a "scam" (and frankly, looking at how they are set up, it is hard to see how it could be a scam--it's either free or a pretty simple fee-for-service arrangement). Whether their services are worth the price they charge is something only the writer can decide for themselves.

    I think there may be some confusion between two different classes of services AR&E offers. Their "Agent Verification" service, which is free, is (as far as I can tell) very similar to the P&E "$" rating--that is, when AR&E says that someone is "legit," it means that they have publically reported sales to valid publishing houses. I don't think, however, that AR&E tracks complaints about agent's business practices.

    The fact that an agent doesn't show up on the AR&E Verification service doesn't mean that they aren't legitimate (not all sales are reported in places like PW; there are legitimate newbie agents at powerhouse firms who don't have sales records; and sometimes AR&E overlooks a publically reported sale).

    Similarly, the fact that an agent has verifiable sales that AR&E has recorded means that the agent has legitimately sold books--but it doesn't mean that they aren't sleazy, and doesn't mean that they are members of, or in compliance with, AAR. (Some AAR members have been out of compliance with AAR ethics guidelines for long periods of time before the Association has reasons to question their practices.)

    Some postings here have suggested that a better place to go would be P&E or the Writers Beware sites. These are invaluable services and IMHO should ALWAYS be visited to check out an agent or publisher. But why not check out AR&E while you're at it?--it's free. I'd advise checking every indepedent source you can find.

    The second class of services offered by AR&E are various paid profiles. These run from $25 up to some quite expensive services.

    Before deciding on an agent, out of possible offers, I paid for the AR&E info on the agents (didn't have one--she was a newbie, but at a respected, long-established firm). At $25 a pop, I found it very worthwhile--info on the agency, some opinions, lists of deals made by the agent with details of prices where available, and some opinions from AR&E about the agent and agency (all of which are often very much just opinion and need to be taken with considerable colume of salt). These reports run anywhere from 4 to 10 pages.

    Now, very little of this is information that couldn't be gathered from public sources--most of it seems to be picked up from PW and similar trade press news. But they have accumulated a considerable database and can give this info to you quickly. It depends on the value of your time and your degree of interest, I suppose. I don't know of anywhere else you can pick up this information in such detail nicely packaged.

    Incidentally, on two occasions I e-mailed AR&E about agents who didn't show on their Verification service. In both cases, I recieved back courteous (and in one case, cautioning) e-mails based on what AR&E could find. No charge. You may or may not find their paid services to be valuable, but I put these guys on the side of the good guys.

  19. #19
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    I've been in contact with AR&E. Good guys in my opinion.

  20. #20
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    I agree. AR&E is pretty accurate. They've been accumulating info since the 1980's and they have a huge database. Their reports aren't necessarily complete--there will always be stuff they can't pick up--but as far they go, they are reliable.

    Their newsletter is also very useful.

    - Victoria

  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by UrsusMinor
    Some AAR members have been out of compliance with AAR ethics guidelines for long periods of time before the Association has reasons to question their practices.
    Perhaps, but overall, AAR is pretty conscientious as these sorts of organizations go (more so than, say, the AMA or the ABA). They react pretty quickly to the most egregious violations, such as the Natasha Kern thing where she created a fictitious bid to force another publisher to up his offer. In this case I believe the complaint to AAR came from the publisher, so the reaction time was pretty quick.

    They react more slowly when the complaints come from writers. But you have to keep in mind that AAR receives a goodly number of complaints from writers who may be frustrated with the maddening process of finding an agent, and who may take it out on the next agent who gets in their way.

  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW
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    AAR and response to complaints

    Hey, Dantem42--

    Yes, AAR does respond relatively quickly (by the glacial standards of the publishing industry) to complaints.

    But a member agent can often be out of compliance with AAR standards for months or even years before anyone complains--and if no one complains, AAR is unlikely to notice there is a problem.

    My point was that when an agent is listed as legitimate on the AR&E Verification service, that doesn't mean that the agent is in compliance with AAR Canon of Ethics, or that they aren't in some way a shop you want to avoid. It simply means that the agent has solid, legitimate, verifiable sales. (Whether AR&E prints out a caution when an agent is found to be shady, I am not sure.)

    This is not intended as a criticism of AR&E--I was simply trying to clarify the difference between the various services out there.

    For example, if you look up Andrew Zack or the Zack Company on P&E you will find that they are "Not Recommended" (because of optional fees).

    If you go to AR&E, you will find the company listed as "legitimate" because of sales (which in fact he has in considerable volume).

    Both are useful.

  23. #23
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by UrsusMinor
    Hey, Dantem42--

    Yes, AAR does respond relatively quickly (by the glacial standards of the publishing industry) to complaints.

    But a member agent can often be out of compliance with AAR standards for months or even years before anyone complains--and if no one complains, AAR is unlikely to notice there is a problem.

    My point was that when an agent is listed as legitimate on the AR&E Verification service, that doesn't mean that the agent is in compliance with AAR Canon of Ethics, or that they aren't in some way a shop you want to avoid. It simply means that the agent has solid, legitimate, verifiable sales. (Whether AR&E prints out a caution when an agent is found to be shady, I am not sure.)

    This is not intended as a criticism of AR&E--I was simply trying to clarify the difference between the various services out there.

    For example, if you look up Andrew Zack or the Zack Company on P&E you will find that they are "Not Recommended" (because of optional fees).

    If you go to AR&E, you will find the company listed as "legitimate" because of sales (which in fact he has in considerable volume).

    Both are useful.
    Hey Ursus,

    Yes, they are both useful. But for me, nothing beats googling an agent and taking half an hour to see the way he or she shows up online. Often you can get a lot of insight from comments from their represented authors in interviews and other stuff you're never going to get off any service. It's a grueling, time-consuming process, but lately, I started doing that very carefully and landed a great agent as a result (and yes, he's AAR and seems in compliance).

  24. #24
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UrsusMinor
    But a member agent can often be out of compliance with AAR standards for months or even years before anyone complains--and if no one complains, AAR is unlikely to notice there is a problem.
    The AAR Canon allows for a lot of wiggle room (which is why Andy Zack doesn't get in trouble for his Express Review service). You can charge an upfront fee and be in full compliance with the letter of the Canon--as long as you say the fee is for submission expenses.

    - Victoria

  25. #25
    practical experience, FTW
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    Hi, Victoria

    Actually, Andy Zack did get involved in some flack with AAR over his Express Read service (I know some of the people involved). AAR was apparently unaware of his "service" and contacted him about it.

    Mr. Zack's response was to drop his Express Service, but also to drop his AAR membership as well. (Whether he has reinstated it or not, I don't know.)

    AAR also bungled the process, in my opinion. It began when a writer simply inquired as to whether the Express Read service was compatible with the AAR Canon. He made it quite clearthat he was not filing a complaint, but simply asking for information.

    AAR demanded to know the name of the agent before answering the question, so as to ensure that the agent was in fact an AAR member. The writer complied with this request, and AAR promptly turned over the entire correspondence to Mr. Zack, including the writer's name and e-mail address.

    I might add that AAR never answered the question--though, reading between the lines, it seems that they disapproved.

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