Anyone have any experience with this agent? Mr. Powell's agency, The Literary Agency for Southern Authors, is in Chattanooga.
Anyone have any experience with this agent? Mr. Powell's agency, The Literary Agency for Southern Authors, is in Chattanooga.
Last edited by James D. Macdonald; 07-13-2005 at 12:08 PM. Reason: Changed title
Was wondering this myself as I wanted an agent that was closer to me than a NY agent is.
If anyone has the 411 on these people , please let us know.
Mr. Powell does not appear to have had any professional experience in either publishing or editing before setting up his agency. People who come to agenting from non-publishing-related fields rarely manage to make a go of it. Mr. Powell represents around 40 clients, most unpublished (see here: www.publishersmarketplace...nlitagent/ -- though also see below).
Agents who aren't familiar with the publishing industry are also likely to use nonstandard business practices. Mr. Powell doesn't appear to charge upfront, but as a sort of "fee" for representation he requires his authors to "review and send comments on six queries that the literary agent receives and one full manuscript over the term of the agreement." (That's a quote from his contract.) Aside from being unprofessional and a breach of his clients' privacy, it's useless--who's to say that any given author is a qualified editor, and can render useful feedback? I heard from one very angry client who said that the person who critiqued her novel actually rewrote the first chapters.
As noted above, this is an agency that I would have not expected to make sales, but in early 2004 Mr. Powell sold a client's 3-book supernatural mystery series to Tor. Whether this is a fluke or a harbinger of things to come is unclear at this point. I know of no other sales for him, before or since.
My gut-o-meter says "Stay away". I've seen this guy's name tossed around some conversations on writer's boards, and from what I can tell he's not very professional. Someone even said he wanted them to edit another person's work in exchange for representation. I'm sure he means well, but it's all a bit too unprofessional.
I also checked out one of his clients' blogs, and apparently he (former PA author--they're everywhere!) has recieved at least one rejection from "a major publisher".
As far as I know, the first book in that trilogy had already been published elsewhere, and became rather popular (at least among the critics). I think the author would have been able to sell that trilogy on her own. Though, the author says Powell helped her get away from her first publisher, which treated her badly (PA's kind of bad, actually, if not worse) though that situation seems to have been very messy, involving the IRS and whatnot.As noted above, this is an agency that I would have not expected to make sales, but in early 2004 Mr. Powell sold a client's 3-book supernatural mystery series to Tor. Whether this is a fluke or a harbinger of things to come is unclear at this point. I know of no other sales for him, before or since.
It seems to me as if Powell sent the book to Tor as an unknown agent--at least that's what I got from reading Liz Gorinsky's (the editor who bought the book) blog. She said: "Oh, and hey, word to the wise: no matter how much we mock the slush pile, that's where I found both [Powell's client's book] and the next book I intend to buy..." From what I've seen of that book, the writing is good enough to stand on it's own, agent or no agent, though apparently they added about 20 000 words to it and revised it before publishing it.
Looking at the original quote: "no matter how much we mock the slush pile, that's where I found both 4&20 and the next book I intend to buy, so either I'm insanely lucky, or there are some pretty clever people out there without agents (I suspect a little of both)."
So it would seem this book was submitted to Tor before Mr. Powell was involved. Which is both good and bad. Good that his submission wasn't tossed on the slush pile (since it wasn't his submission), but bad that he has one less sale, and perahps no sales at all.
I think Powell was the auhtor's agent when she submitted the book (he did help her get out of her old contract, and she couldn't have submitted the book before it was free of her old publisher--at least I don't think so). But it's very possible that the author did the submitting, while Powell helped her with negotiations.
I found the editor's blog entry (thanks, Johanna, for calling attention to this--I hadn't seen it before), and she says that she pulled the author's "two year old" submission out of the slush pile. I don't think that Mr. Powell was even in business two years before the date of the blog entry (April 2004), which seems to considerably postdate the actual discovery and buying of the book. So I suspect this was a submission the author made herself.
While this does show that books are sometimes bought off the slushpile, I think it also demonstrates why it's usually a waste of time to send an unagented submission to a major house. Two years!!
Lantz Powell--This agent is not 100% truthful in his representation of himself. He lives in TN and has only been an agent less than 2 years. He used to sell rental space for malls. He does not read the author's work in its entirely and sends it to "other authors who he has signed" to get a feel if its good or bad, etc. He has no editorial value and is just an leach.
It was unfortunate for an author let alone a southern author to be hurt by anyone who can call hang up a sign, get an e-mail address, make travel and speaking commitments and call himself or herself a literary agent.
He lies, cheat, and steals the most valuable thing an author has to offer the world--time. He offers to "split the money for new authors commissions, etc.," if you recommed your friends to him. His letters are full of typos to not only publishers but to editors as well. He has zero command of the English language and no savvy in NYC let alone anywhere else in the USA. He never provides an author with rejection letters because he cannot afford postage. He cannot afford cable to be connected to I-net / set up a website so he says. That is why he does not have a website. He asks his authors to read books on editing, pay fees to other editors, and foot ALL the bills for any service he claims to preform for them. I hate to see you or anyone on God's green earth get hooked / slickered by Lantz Powell. Later I foudn out that his nickname is Crook!
Run as fast as you can from this man with the hat!
He set me back $1000 claiming he sent it out to 200 publishers! He NEVER returned my work, he sent it to four+ of HIS editorial workers / staff at The Literary Agency for Southern Authors--who were just writers just like me AGAINST my knowledge and contract. This violated my privacy and copyright laws of USA. he refused to even sign his copy of the literary contract citing it only needed to be signed by one party to be legal if you can believe it!
:x Then, he said he was sorry that he was not able to read ALL the MS that came across his desk because he could not spend the rest of his life reading! In short, he sent out my MS without ever reading it only the outline and synopsis!
What a HARD lesson I had to learn. I hope this helps you and others.
Excuse typos but you get the idea--he is worthless as an agent and may God have mercy on him!
Read the Post to your query about Lantz Powell
Regards to you and all good wishes!
...as I'm currently shopping my Juliette Christmas manuscript around, and I was confounded with the email I received. There was more than one typo, and I was really unclear as to just what exactly he wanted me to do. Needless to say, I didn't respond back.
I am happy to hear that you were not slickered like I was!
I NEVER thought that would happen to me but I guess there's a first time for everything and I learned the HARD way in the beginning of my career.
Best to you!
My god, Bleaumoon! Are you saying he charged you a thousand dollars in mailing expenses? That’s simply outrageous! And this kickback idea—“ split the money for new authors commissions”—is this money coming in from sales, or from office expense billings, or from what, exactly?
I should say that he has my MS, and he's written me a couple of times about it. In each case his comments were on the mark, and there were no typos. On the other hand, it was clear he hadn't read more than the first chapter or so, although his reader—presumably one of his clients—had gone further into it.
YEP. He sure did just that. At least I can claim it on my taxes as business loss / expense if nothing else. Again, I had to learn the hard way not to trust in an e-mail or a voice on the phone. He phoned me numerous times and like any naive author, I was flattered by what he thought of my work. My sister tried to tell me after he told me he "could not afford cable for a website hook-up" that he was useless, but no, I would not listen to her. She said, "You are the writer with no money and he is the agent who can't spring for cable hook-up?! Even poor people have cable for heaven's sake!"
I felt uneasy once he said that about splitting the fees for telling my friends I told about him and never told but one who ran and stopped speaking to me. My friend was smarter than I was.
Lantz Powell once told me that, "The first thing people will ask you about me is: Is he a Crook? People think I'm a Crook." Of course, dumb me thought he was being funny.
I found myself trapped in a contract but now it's over so I can move on. I never want to see his face and I know if he did this to me, he surely did it to others!
In fairness, it was MY fault for not waiting and checking him out BEFORE I signed the contract he faxed me within 30 minutes of ready my sample. He never signed the contract either citing only one of us have to sign...What a dummy I was, huh? I'm very educated and published and still, I fell for his smooth talk hook, line and sinker! He promised me the moon and said everything I wanted to hear.
THEN, he :hat totally embarrassed me in NYC with his stupid letters full of typos and anyone could sense he has not read the MS rather was just trying to make a sell. He sent me a copy of the letter and I had to edit if FOR HIM if you can imagine that day at my house! He even had lied to the publisher and I called him on the carpet on that and he got really angry with me for that. I felt like I was stuck, just stuck. I was devastated and I am still not over it as you can tell. BUT I will be and that's a promise.
He claimed to have sent the MS to almost 200 publishing houses / editors. Just not true. Thus the big bucks!
When I confronted him, he shot me back rude and condescending e-mails and phoned me numerous times want to make it okay with me. I called a couple of the houses myself and told them I was no longer represented by him and asked for my MS back ... He is just a joke.
In closing, I am happy :rollin to have found your Post so that just maybe I can help one person not get snowed by him. He is smooth and such a liar that before you know it, you are sucked into his promise to make you the best seller you think you are! For the record, I'm no dummy and educated but still got fooled. It blew my selfworth right out the window for the past year thinking then asking myself, "What were you thinking?" :\
For the love of God, I hope everyone on this board is a best selling author but it sure won't if anyone signs with The Literary Agency for Southern Authors, and Lantz Powell, CLS.
All good wishes to you!
Yes. He is my agent and has been for the last 13 months. We have an excellent working relationship and I have full confidence in his ability to not only represent my work, but to negotiate a fair contract once an offer is made.
I have two manuscripts currently under consideration by four publishing houses. Random House and Avon are among those who requested my work. (Note: he did not just send my manuscripts to these editors as anyone who claims to be an agent could choose to do; the editors asked to see my work based on Mr. Powell’s queries and marketing materials).
He charges no fees except shipping charges and makes submissions and queries via email and telephone whenever possible to avoid charging his clients.
Is he new? Yes. But based on my working relationship with this man and my knowledge of the agency, I am fully confident in his integrity and ability.
I could send out queries to Avon and Random House as well, but that hardly makes me qualified to be an agent. But if you want to give me $1000 in "shipping charges", I'll start sending those quiries all over the place. I'll even throw in a few European publishers while I'm at it.
You say your books have been with Powell for the last thirteen months... Have they been rejected by any major houses during that time, or are they still waiting in the unknown-agents-slushpile? Have any of them sold? How much have you paid in "shipping fees" so far?
Has he asked you to edit anyone's work? Will the money you've given to him to cover shipping be taken out of his cut of your advance? How much of your advance will he be getting? What kind of promises has he been making you? Has he shown rejectionslips to you?
That last point is a good one. I had a marginal agent a while back who charged copying and postage expenses. When I asked him for copies of the rejections, I never heard from him again.
My post was to Julie Worth in response to her post asking if anyone knew Mr. Powell.
I answered her post regarding my relationship with my agent. I am not a novice to writing nor to agent/writer relationships.
My relationship with Mr. Powell far exceeds my expectations in every capacity:p rofessionalism, responsiveness, and integrity.
If even one word of Bleaumoon's extended, juvenile, animated-emoticon-dependent commentary were true, no one would have ever signed with Lantz to begin with.
I'm the author for whom Lantz negotiated the TOR deal, and yes, he did in fact negotiate the TOR deal. The story is a little long and admittedly convoluted, but you're just going to have to take my word for it.
He does not demand any upfront charges or fees whatsoever, and I find the vicious, silly textual assault to be nothing short of baffling. I am forced to assume that Bleaumoon is merely an embittered reject with an axe to grind. It's hard to say, since the poster is all but anonymous.
It is true that he is fairly new, but he is legitimate; and he has been of immense help to me and to more than a couple of others.
And my post was in response to your post, Allie. That's how a messageboard works.
If he's professional and honest and all that, then you should have no problem answering my questions. It would be a great help to many writers who browse these boards.
Hopefully it will also exceed your expectations in actual sales.My relationship with Mr. Powell far exceeds my expectations in every capacity rofessionalism, responsiveness, and integrity.
Cherie, fact remains that your book was pulled out of the slush. That means that it would have been picked up by Tor even if you didn't have Powell backing you up. An agent is supposed to be the person who helps you bypass the slush, but right now it seems as if you're a much bigger asset to him than he is to you.
>>If even one word of Bleaumoon's extended, juvenile, animated-emoticon-dependent commentary were true, no one would have ever signed with Lantz to begin with.<<
This isn't true. Many writers sign with less-than-desirable agents out of desperation or inexperience.
Writer Beware has documented practice by this agent that's nonstandard and which we consider unprofessional (the clause in his contract that requires clients to read and critique other clients' work), and has heard from several writers who are not just dissatisfied but angry with his representation of them, and cite convincing--and consistent--reasons. We've also heard from several clients who are happy with Mr. Powell, but none can tell us that he has sold their work. To date, Ms. Priest appears to be this agent's single sale.
Even the best agents have unhappy clients. The bottom line really is track record. If an agent has been in business for more than a year and still hasn't begun to make regular sales, it's not an encouraging sign--it suggests the agent lacks expertise, industry contacts, or both.
It is true that my book was taken out of the slush pile, yes -- but the TOR deal could not have happened without Lantz, because the book that TOR wanted was still under contract to another press. Lantz single-handedly disentangled me from that very bad deal with that very bad publisher, and then went on to negotiate a contract for the three books -- the second two of which were taken not only sight unseen, but as yet unwritten. I wouldn't have pulled that off by myself, and I sure as hell wouldn't have wanted to navigate the 12 page contract alone.
As I freely admit and Lantz is the first to tell you, Lantz is relatively new to the publishing business (though he has 20 years of experience with contract negotiations and law) -- but he has yet to let me down.
In short, Bleaumoon's elaborate string of false accusations are so far removed from the reality that we here on planet earth must look like ants -- and I find it sad but unsurprising that members of this forum are so hasty to believe and support him/her.
People who have seen their work rejected repeatedly are always happy to blame anyone but themselves; but it's a pity to see them extract retribution for their failure by making things up and slapping them onto receptive public forums.
If anyone would like to know how Lantz actually operates, simply drop him an email -- he's very easy to look up and contact, and he happily offers multiple references upon request.
Whether or not you Johanna, personally, think that he is/would be/might be/ is hypothetically a good agent doesn't mean a thing. The people he represents are in a much better position to know, and we are satisfied.
I'm finished with this forum now, but anyone interested in an exchange of civil, professional, factual information is welcome to contact me. Other people can can stay here and fuss about deals they don't have, and agents who won't represent them.
I thought I answered your questions with my reply, w/o detail.
<<Have they been rejected by any major houses during that time>> Yes.
<<or are they still waiting in the unknown-agents-slushpile? >>
<<Have any of them sold?>>
<< How much have you paid in "shipping fees" so far?>>
A very nominal amount but I don't feel like taking the time to look through my invoices. He saves me money by email submissions whenever an editor consents and sends mss out the cheapest way possible: media rate.
<<Has he asked you to edit anyone's work?>>
He stopped this practice more than 8 months ago. This was admittedly an unorthadox approach, but it was an attempt to aid novice writers in learning the craft by critiquing one another's work. Some loved this, others did not. As I said, this is no longer his practice. He has learned a few things by trial and error.
<<Will the money you've given to him to cover shipping be taken out of his cut of your advance?>>
Of course not. If he had not asked for these expenses as they incur, payment would have been taken out of my cut of the advance. For the author to pay direct expenses is standard practice. This is what I have been told by many published authors including bestselling authors.
<<How much of your advance will he be getting?>>
<<What kind of promises has he been making you?>>
That he will do his best. No more, no less.
<< Has he shown rejection slips to you? >>
I have not asked to see them. He called me and read them to me. If I wanted them, he would have sent them.
>>If he had not asked for these expenses as they incur, payment would have been taken out of my cut of the advance.<<
This actually is standard practice among successful agents (to reimburse expenses from the author's advance rather than making them pay out-of-pocket).
<<This actually is standard practice among successful agents (to reimburse expenses from the author's advance rather than making them pay out-of-pocket). >>
Yes I know the standard in the U.S. used to be "no out of pocket charges." That standard was reflected in the old AAR guidelines. You taught me that years ago, Victoria. It was you who taught me the ins and outs with agents and helped me come to the decision to drop my first agent.
The way the question was put to me by Johanna was if the expenses would come from his share. I said no--from mine. That is the standard to which I was referring, that the expenses are taken from the author's share whether from the initial payment or as incurred.
I queried many authors about the issue of an agent requesting out of pocket expenses to find that the standard had indeed changed. I then verified that the AAR reflects this change on its Web site before signing with Mr. Powell.
Could you help me with something please? I did not put that little face in my earlier post. I attempted to edit and remove it. My edit did not work. The second time I tried to edit I was booted out of the system. Do you as moderator have editing ability? If so, could you please remove it for me?