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Thread: Phenomenon Books Agency (Pamela Trayser)

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Phenomenon Books Agency (Pamela Trayser)

    If there's already a thread for this, make the necessary redirections/deletions/etc. I searched the index and didn't find anything on Phenomenon, however.

    The two things that make me wary: First, their website is on Geocities. Second, running a google on both the agency name and contact (Pamela Trayser) turns up nothing. I'm also probably a little suspicious 'cause this is the first agency that's wanted to see my full manuscript.

    So does anyone know anything about Phenomenon/Trayser? Any previous experiences? P&E says they're legit, but that doesn't mean they're a 'good' agency. Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    http://www.geocities.com/phenomenonbooks/

    P&E doesn't necessarily say they're legit, P&E says they exist. There won't be a warning or a $ unless someone's supplied information about them to Dave.

  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Oh! I misunderstood how the site works. Thank you for the clarification.

    I will go and hide my shame, now.

  4. #4
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Writer Beware hasn't had any complaints about this agency, but we have gotten some questions. What I can find on the agency--a MySpace page, a few online listings, a sparse website--doesn't look encouraging. I don't see any evidence to suggest that the owner, Pamela Trayser, has a professional background in agenting or publishing, or any other field that would qualify her to be a literary agent. I'm sure she's well intentioned--but good intentions are not the same as skill, and without skill, the odds of success are slim.

    - Victoria

  5. #5
    i am dragon. roar. Aprylwriter's Avatar
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    I was just going to ask about them. I saw their post on writers.net, but I could not find anything else about them online.

    Apryl

  6. #6
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aprylwriter View Post
    I was just going to ask about them. I saw their post on writers.net, but I could not find anything else about them online.
    That's an answer in and of itself.

    - Victoria

  7. #7
    i am dragon. roar. Aprylwriter's Avatar
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    Yep! I didn't send them a submission. Has anyone else sent them anything?

    Apryl

  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Only me, apparently. Maybe I'll ask for some credentials, see if there's ANYTHING to this agent.

    EDIT: Well, technically I only queried and included a sample chapter (as they request). Haven't followed through on that request, yet.

  9. #9
    i am dragon. roar. Aprylwriter's Avatar
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    Ahh, okay. If you don't find anything on them, and they ask to see a full manuscript, you can always decline. I know they have a myspace page, like Victoria said, but otherwise I haven't found anything else.

    Apryl

  10. #10
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I sent her a message asking (as politely as I could manage) for names/titles of other authors she represents and/or personal biography information.

    I'll let you all know if I hear anything.

    Times like these I feel like such a rookie. Which I am.

  11. #11
    i am dragon. roar. Aprylwriter's Avatar
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    That's okay, sometimes I do too, and thanks for wanting to let us know what she says. I tried to look up her name online, instead of the literary agency and I still couldn't find much. Hopefully she will be able to give you more information.

    Apryl

  12. #12
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Today I received a very polite and informative email from Pamela Trayser, responding to my questions. Without reposting the (rather long) email here, the lack of information about them seems to boil down to youth. The agency is only two months old, so it might be a bit early to tell.

    She dropped a few names, talked about what they do and what they're aiming to do, etc. The 3 authors they represent so far were not named, but I they haven't been shopped around yet, anyhow.

    She did try to emphasize that she was pretty picky about what manuscripts she accepted. I hope I didn't offend her.

    Anyway, just thought I'd pass along the info.

  13. #13
    i am dragon. roar. Aprylwriter's Avatar
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    Thank you for telling us! It was very informative.

    I am probably going to pass up on sending them a query, especially since a well-known agency still has my partial. There are a few new, legitimate literary agencies, but they are very hard to find. I would go with the already established literary agents who are interested in taking on new clients.

    Good luck with your writing, JP!

    Apryl

  14. #14
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    It would be informative if they stated prior industry experience. Otherwise, what did it really tell you?
    Emily Veinglory

  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by veinglory View Post
    It would be informative if they stated prior industry experience. Otherwise, what did it really tell you?
    They did. It's not especially extensive, and seems to be mostly magazines and compilations. Not exactly the strongest case. Sorry I failed the mention that in the earlier post.

    I'm not saying I'm crazy about them or anything, just that they did clarify themselves to me. It's not ideal agenting experience. I'll probably keep an eye on them, see if they have any first-year success, but I think Apryl may have the right idea about pursuing more reputable agencies.

  16. #16
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Experience in the magazine world doesn't translate into book publishing expertise--two very different areas of expertise.

    - Victoria

  17. #17
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Not to be habitually negative, but did you also check what that role was and what kind of magazines and compilations? It pays to know exactly what you are getting into to make sure that is really what you want--some roles are teen slush readers and some magazines are made in the basement with a stapler. The main thing an agent provides is familairity with what various editors want--and that editors will read the book on their recommendation.
    Emily Veinglory

  18. #18
    Not Really Here Just Me's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JPLangsdorf View Post
    First, their website is on Geocities.
    For me, that alone would be reason enough to run far, FAR away.

    ~JM.

  19. #19
    RRBrooks
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    I got a prompt request for full ms and sent same. It would be nice if we actually knew that they made a sale to a publisher. I will see what comes back.

  20. #20
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I sent a query to Pamela Trayser last month. She not only replied promptly, she told me she liked my story idea, made a constructive suggestion, and asked me to resubmit. She might be young and she might be in the process of starting up a new agency, but at least she showed interest in me--which is more than I can say for these successful established agencies, which don't respond at all. If it turns out that Ms. Trayser is willing to take me on, I'm willing to at least give her a chance.
    Isn't that how this profession is supposed to be run in the first place?

  21. #21

  22. #22
    And just because they have a Geocities website doesn't make them necessarily shady. Triada USA has a Geocities site (http://www.geocities.com/cjstender/) and they have reputable sales. Just my two cents.

  23. #23
    Summer AW Moderator Calla Lily's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davesbad1 View Post
    She not only replied promptly, she told me she liked my story idea, made a constructive suggestion, and asked me to resubmit.
    Same here, this morning.

    Am I willing to tweak for a resubmit? Is the Pope Catholic?

    I know that it's exactly what it seems--an invite, and she can still decline, but a realistic woo-hoo nonetheless!

  24. #24
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Jacob Spire's Avatar
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    Kosher Kontrakt?

    This is a contract I am asked to sign.
    Is there anything suspicious in it?
    It looks good to me, though I don't trust my own opinion, being the naive person I am.



    AGREEMENT (hereinafter, "Agreement"), dated X, sets forth the relationship between the literary
    agent, X, (hereinafter, "Literary Agent"), and
    the author, Y, (hereinafter, "Author").
    1. LITERARY AGENT REPRESENTS AUTHOR

    For the term of this agreement, Author hereby retains Literary Agent:

    (a) To represent Author for the sale of all of the following works (hereinafter, "Represented Works"), written or to
    be written by Author and not covered by a prior un-agented sale or prior agency agreement: (1) all book-length
    fiction and/or non-fiction; (2) all full-length feature screenplays and/or full-length or series-length television scripts,
    and (3) any other writings that Author and Literary Agent may agree upon and specifically stipulate in writing,
    unless the agency deems the property to be unmarketable in its presented form. Author hereby agrees to make
    available to Literary Agent all above mentioned works for consideration for representation.
    (b) To negotiate sales (hereinafter, "Represented Sales") of (1) Represented Works in the U.S., its territories, and
    Canada (hereinafter, "Domestic Sales"), (2) Represented Works in non-domestic markets (hereinafter, "Foreign
    Sales"), and (3) derivative or secondary rights in the Represented Works (such as film, TV, recording, or other
    dramatic media) anywhere in the world (hereinafter, "Subsidiary Sales").

    (c) To receive payments and royalties from all Represented Sales so long as the contracts for such sales remain in
    force.

    Author attests that, during the term of this Contract, Author will employ no other literary agent to represent Author
    for Author's Represented Works, and that Literary Agent has exclusive representation rights to all appropriate works
    as indicated above. If some of Author's book-length and/or full-length material is to be excluded from this contract
    because it is covered by a prior agreement with another agency, list those titles to be excluded from this agreement
    here:

    1. _____________________________________
    2. _____________________________________
    3. _____________________________________
    4. _____________________________________

    2. CONTRACTS

    Literary Agent shall use best efforts to promote Author's Represented Works. No proposed Represented Sale shall
    be binding unless approved by Author in a signed contract (hereinafter, "Represented Contract"). Author may, in
    writing, authorize Literary Agent to sign contracts on his or her behalf.

    3. AGENT'S COMMISSION

    Literary Agent shall be entitled to a commission (hereinafter, "Agent's Commission") equal to fifteen (15) percent of
    all Domestic Sales, twenty (20) percent of all Subsidiary Sales, twenty (20) percent of all Foreign Sales, and twenty
    (20) percent of all Film and Television Sales.

    4. SUBSIDIARY RIGHTS

    Subject to Author's reasonable consent, Literary Agent shall engage all subsidiary or co-agents whom Literary
    Agent believes best represent Author in Foreign Sales and Film and Television Sales.

    5. EXPENSES BORNE BY LITERARY AGENT

    From Literary Agent's Commission, Literary Agent shall pay (a) all subsidiary or split commissions required by
    foreign or subsidiary agents, and (b) Literary Agent shall not be reimbursed for such normal costs of
    conducting business and need not account for them to Author. Any costs above and beyond normal costs of
    conducting business shall be approved in writing by both Author and Literary Agent. Literary Agent shall be
    reimbursed by Author for any specific expenses incurred only if listed under an "Amendment to Expenses Borne by
    Literary Agent."
    6. DISBURSEMENTS

    On behalf of Author, Literary Agent shall collect all payments due Author under any Represented Contract
    ("Author's Payments") and shall, within fifteen days of the funds clearing, disburse the amount of such Author's
    Payments to Author, less any Literary Agent's Commission and less any mutually approved expense charges.

    7. STATEMENTS

    In January of each year, Literary Agent shall provide Author with an annual statement showing all Author's
    Payments, Agent's Commissions, and other itemized deductions for the previous calendar year, if applicable.

    8. NOTICES

    Literary Agent and Author shall promptly send each other copies of (a) any legal notice under any Represented
    Contract, (b) any important communication from any publisher under any Represented Contract, and any material
    correspondence.

    9. TERM

    This contract shall remain in force for a minimum of twelve (12) months from the date of execution and shall be
    automatically renewed indefinitely following that period of time, subject to the following: (a) this contract may be
    terminated voluntarily after 12 months for any reason by either party upon thirty (30) days' prior written notice to
    the other, detailing causes for termination, sent via certified mail, return receipt requested, to the addresses below:

    If to Literary Agent, X.

    If to Author, at author's address or at such address as either party may designate in writing to the other.

    After termination, Literary Agent shall continue to administer Represented Contracts which Literary Agent
    negotiated while this Contract was in force and retain Agent's Commission on those Represented Contracts.
    Literary Agent may make no further sales of the Represented Works.






    10. CONTACTS

    Mail sent to Author in care of Literary Agent may be opened by the Literary Agent and dealt with, unless it is
    apparently of a personal nature, in which case Literary Agent shall forward it to the Author promptly. When Author
    is approached directly by any party interested in Author's Represented Works, Author shall inform Literary Agent
    immediately and refer the party to Literary Agent.

    11. AMENDMENT

    This Agreement contains the entire agreement between the parties hereto. It supersedes any prior agreement and
    may be amended in writing by mutual consent.

    This agreement may not be assigned by either party without the written consent of the other.

    In the event that Literary Agent dies, leaves the agency business, or commits a substantial breach of this agreement,
    Author or his heirs and assigns may revoke all rights granted to Literary Agent hereunder.
    It pays off to be nice to people. You get to spill cottage cheese all over them and they're still not mad at you!

  25. #25
    THE POPCORN MONSTER! JimmyD1318's Avatar
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    The person to ask would be Uncle Jim. He could make sense of all of the gobbley gook.

    Also naming the Agent would help. How do they rank on P&E?

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