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Thread: Harris Literary Agency (Barbara J. Harris)

  1. #1
    maestrowork
    Guest

    Harris Literary Agency (Barbara J. Harris)

    Anyone knows anything about the following agencies?

    Harris Literary
    Amy Rennert Agency
    Jennifer DeChiara Lit. A.
    Nicholas Ellison, Inc.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by James D. Macdonald; 07-13-2005 at 11:19 AM. Reason: Changed title

  2. #2
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: Harris Agency?

    For Harris Literary, check here.
    Last edited by James D. Macdonald; 08-11-2005 at 06:10 AM.

  3. #3
    KivrinAngel
    Guest

    Re: Agency?

    Hi, I don't know anything specific about the agencies listed, but I did a little checking for you:

    Harris Literary
    -- Predators and Editors has them listed as having professional sales, but charges fees. Not Recommended.
    -- I pulled up the agent verification linked through Writer Beware and got this: You have asked about an agent/agency not listed in the various groups of experienced literary agents on our web site, nor among the fifty or so new agents whose names would have generated a positive response.

    We have never found an independent record of a sale made by this agent/agency in the public record sources in the US, UK and Canada that we have been tracking since 1980. Moreover, we are aware of complaints about the business practices of this agent/agency.

    ****************

    Amy Rennert Agency
    -- P&E gave them the coveted "Recommended" mark! Whoo hoo! (That mark is the main reason I queried my agent)
    -- Agent verification response: The agent about whom you are inquiring is absolutely legitimate.

    *************

    Jennifer DeChiara Lit. A.
    -- P&E says "Further information unavailable" but has a mark that they have sold to royalty paying publishers. I don't know what that means
    -- Did not come up in Agent Verification at all.
    -- Did a search for her and found this: JENNIFER DECHIARA: Before forming The Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency in 2001, DeChiara was a literary agent with Perkins, Rubie & Associates and The Peter Rubie Literary Agency. A New York City-based writer, she has worked in the editorial departments of Simon & Schuster and Random House and has been a writing consultant to several major corporations. Jennifer is a frequent guest at writers conferences, where she lectures on publishing and the art of writing.

    ****************

    Nicholas Ellison, Inc.
    -- No specific marks either way from P&E, but the agency put a note there: "We are accepting a broad range of projects these days... However, we are not considering Young Adult or Science Fiction at this time."
    -- Agent verification response: The agent about whom you are inquiring is absolutely legitimate.

    ****************

    Anyway, looks to me like you should avoid Harris like the plague. Jump on Rennert if you get a chance. And DiChiara and Ellison should both be fine. Good luck to you!

    Robin

  4. #4
    maestrowork
    Guest

    Re: Agency?

    Thanks! I will stay away from Harris then (I did go to their site and can't find most of their "listed" published work -- bad sigh!)

  5. #5
    christinedg
    Guest

    Harris Literary Agency

    Any comments regarding Harris Literary Agency would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you.

  6. #6
    vstrauss
    Guest

    Re: Harris Literary Agency

    Do a search on this agency--there's been discussion about it before.

    Short answer: Fee charger. Blitz submitter. No real sales.

    - Victoria

  7. #7
    christinedg
    Guest

    Re: Harris Literary Agency

    oops! thank you. forgot to do that.

  8. #8
    vstrauss
    Guest

    Request for information

    Writer Beware is seeking contact from dissatisfied clients/former clients of Harris Literary Agency. Please e-mail me, Victoria Strauss, at beware@sfwa.org.

    Thanks!

    - Victoria

  9. #9
    DaveKuzminski
    Guest

    Re: Request for information

    This page listing volunteer lawyers may be of use. dwij.org/matrix/vla_list.html

  10. #10
    Magus
    Guest

    Re: Harris Literary Agency

    Don't do it. Just came back from there and they'd accept the book for a fee of $250. I said "no thanks" and made them send back the manuscript. They did so.

  11. #11
    Dhewco
    Guest

    Re: Harris Literary Agency

    Victoria, I want to say I never get good information on a search in this site. Never. I searched for Noble once, didn't get the longer thread, but the short one that I saw first.

    To be clear, I saw only the short. The long one didn't follow.


    David

  12. #12
    vstrauss
    Guest

    Re: Harris Literary Agency

    I've had trouble with the search function recently too. Here's the long version on Harris:

    Writer Beware has received a number of complaints about the Harris Agency. It offers writers a choice of paying $250 up-front for expenses, or providing 25 copies of their ms. at their own cost. This is nonstandard: reputable agents don't ask for expense money up-front as a condition of representation, or require authors to copy their own manuscripts. So many copies of a ms. aren't needed, anyway; unless an auction is being conducted, mss. are generally sent out one or two at a time, and only on publisher request.

    I'm not aware that the Harris Agency has ever sold a book to a major US publisher. It claims a very small track record of about 12 sales over its 6 or 7 years in business (compare this to a successful midsize agency, which will sell at least that many books each year). Five of the sales are to a Chinese publishing house which I and others have tried to research, so far without success; another is to a niche publisher that appears to sell only online and doesn't require authors to be agented. The remainder are to established small publishers (which also usually don't require authors to be agented).

    I've received reports that Harris employs a blitz approach with submissions--sending out queries to 20 or 30 publishers at once, with a form the publisher can check off and send back to indicate interest. It also "bundles" queries, sending several in a single envelope. These are unprofessional methods, and editors hate them. Some writers have also reported that when the initial round of queries didn't result in any sales, Harris had no follow-up plan even though the agency contracts had some months to run.

    Based on documentation I've received, submissions don't always appear to be well-targeted. Also, I and a co-author conducted a survey of editors at major publishing houses a couple of years ago, in connection with an article we were writing, and were told by several of them that they tend to ignore Harris because it so often sends inappropriate or unprofessional submissions.

    - Victoria

  13. #13
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Harris Literary Agency has a record that's -- spotty -- at best.

  14. #14
    Always a writer Daughter of Faulkner's Avatar
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    Question Does anyone know of Harris Literary Agency, San Diego, CA?

    Greetings!
    I have begun to query agents in the past week and am getting 2 hits for every 10 queries. I think it's like playing the slots!

    Forgive me if I've missed this one, but has anyone heard of the agency below? I researched their authors and get the sense either they are self-publish or e-publishers... Any help would greatly be appreciated!

    Barbara J. Harris, M.A.
    President

    Harris Literary Agency
    P.O. Box 6023
    San Diego, CA 92166
    Phone: (619) 697-0600 fax: (619) 697-0610
    email: HLit@adnc.com
    www.HarrisLiterary.com

    Barbara J. Harris, M.A.
    President
    Always a writer,
    Eileen St. Lauren
    Author

    http://mysite.verizon.net/eileenstlauren

  15. #15
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daughter of Faulkner
    Forgive me if I've missed this one, but has anyone heard of the agency below? I researched their authors and get the sense either they are self-publish or e-publishers... Any help would greatly be appreciated!
    Have you checked out Preditors & Editors (tm) yet? It's at URL http://anotherealm.com/prededitors and it has an extensive listing of agents and agencies with recommendations that might answer your questions about whether the agency you found is reliable.
    When it comes to PA, the royalty check and the reality check arrive in the same envelope.

    Remember to be kind to writers who step in PA. They really don't know how bad it smells.

    The difference between PA and WLA? None. Both have the stench of dead and dying books emanating from their doorways.


  16. #16
    Always a writer Daughter of Faulkner's Avatar
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    Thumbs up THANK YOU!!

    Geez!
    I knew I smelled a rat!

    THANK YOU!!
    Always a writer,
    Eileen St. Lauren
    Author

    http://mysite.verizon.net/eileenstlauren

  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW J. Y. Moore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveKuzminski
    This page listing volunteer lawyers may be of use. dwij.org/matrix/vla_list.html
    Wouldn't you know it, there isn't one in Tennessee.

  18. #18

  19. #19
    FtnHillsGuy
    Guest

    Cool New Author- Fun with Literary Agents

    Just finished my first novel geared towards Young Adult Males. The book is along the lines of a 'Stand by Me' story line, mostly based on the stupid things I did as a kid. I have sent out to several literary agents that focused on that genre. I have gotten several responses, several wanted up front fees and one even sent me a contract and wanted to represent me but they wanted a $250 submission fee. i fount out that one "American Literary Agents of Washington" has a large list of complaints against them and their office suite is a mail box at a mail drop center. Can anyone tell me about these agents? Diane Raintree out of New york, Charlotte Gusay out of Los Angeles, Debbie Fine from Southeast Literary agency out of Sharpes Florida. Barbara Harris out of San Diego (seems legit).
    Being a former cop I'm suspicious by nature, and they just don't seem to jive as legit. Can anyone tell me something good about these people?
    Thanks,
    FtnHillsGuy

  20. #20
    Resident Corning Ware junkie JoeEkaitis's Avatar
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    DO NOT SEND ANY "AGENT" ANY FEE OF ANY KIND!

    A legitimate agent earns a living from clientsí book sales, not from fees collected in advance. You might find it easier to sell the manuscript to a small traditional (royalty-paying) publisher with wide distribution. Once your book is in print and sells well, youíll have credentials that will make agents take notice.

    On a personal note, I sold my childrenís novel to a small publisher who distributes through Baker & Taylor, Brodart and Emery-Pratt. I did it without an agent and without being a member of the Society of Childrenís Book Writers and Illustrators. If the book is a big seller and interests agents, Iíll ask each for a list of clients. Iíll avoid anyone who asks for the long green up front.

  21. #21
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Could someone move this thread to the Bewares topic?

    You already know about American Literary Agents of Washington Inc. (In addition to charging fees and having no sales, they also run a vanity publisher, which solicits clients of the agency without acknowledging the connection.)

    You also asked about:

    Diane Raintree out of New York: She sells her own editing services at $99 per hour. It's a conflict of interest for a literary agent to double as a paid editor: if the agent can make money from recommending editing, how can the writer trust that the recommendation is in his best interest?

    Charlotte Gusay out of Los Angeles: This Agency has a respectable track record of commercial sales. It also charges a $35 fee with submissions. Small submission fees like this are a gray area; a handful of reasonably well-established agents do charge them. But they can also be abused--i.e., the agency will request submissions in which it isn't interested in order to get the fee--and Writer Beware has received several reports that seem to indicate this is the case with Gusay, at least some of the time. In situations like this, you can't really know for certain whether a request for a submission indicates real interest in your work.

    Debbie Fine from Southeast Literary agency out of Sharpes Florida: She charges $200 upfront for a 6-month agreement, and has no commercial book sales as far as I'm aware.

    Barbara Harris out of San Diego (seems legit): Harris's contract offers writers a choice of paying $250 upfront for expenses or providing submission materials at their own cost. This is a bait-and-switch: it would cost so much to make all the copies that the upfront fee looks cheap by comparison. Reputable agents don't ask for expense money up-front as a condition of representation, or require authors to supply large amounts of submission material on the author's dime.

    I'm not aware that the Harris Agency has ever sold a book to a major US publisher. It claims a very small track record of about 15-20 sales over its nearly 10 years in business (compare this to a successful midsize agency, which will sell that many books every year). Five of the sales are to a Chinese publishing house which I and others have tried to research, so far without success; another is to a niche publisher that appears to sell only online. The remainder are to smaller publishers that don't require authors to be agented: i.e., an agent was not necessary to make the sale.

    Harris "blitz" submits (sends out queries to 20 or 30 publishers at once, with a form the publisher can check off and send back to indicate interest); it also "bundles" queries, sending several in a single envelope. These are unprofessional methods, and editors hate them. Writers report that when the initial round of queries doesn't result in any sales, Harris has no follow-up plan even though the agency contract has some months to run. Based on documentation I've received, submissions aren't always well-targeted (Writer Beware has been told by several editors that they tend to ignore Harris because it so often sends inappropriate or unprofessional submissions).

    - Victoria

  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW
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    A weird list

    Harris Literary
    Amy Rennert Agency
    Jennifer DeChiara Lit. A.
    Nicholas Ellison, Inc.

    Hi--sorry to be coming into this so late, but the COMBINATION of names you listed above I found rather alarming.

    Harris Literary is, of course, a somewhat suspect organization, and Nicholas Ellison I've never heard of.

    Amy Rennert, on the other hand, is a quite well-established West Coast agent (when MacAdam/Cage editor Pat Walsh recently wrote a book on writing, Amy Rennert was the agent he chose--out of the horde of agents he knows--to represent it). Jennifer DeChiara's agency is relatively new, but she has been an agent for some time, and has a substantial sales history. I'm sure both of them would be alarmed to find themselves on the list above.

    And, in raising red flags about Harris Literary, it is important to make sure that no one confuses them with "Joy Harris Literary Agency." Joy Harris is totally legit and a major player, with a couple of famous sales under her belt.

  23. #23
    kentucky woman
    Guest

    Harris Literary Agency

    Quote Originally Posted by maestrowork
    Anyone knows anything about the following agencies?

    Harris Literary
    Amy Rennert Agency
    Jennifer DeChiara Lit. A.
    Nicholas Ellison, Inc.

    Thanks!
    If you're asking about the Harris Literary Agency in CA, my book was "accepted" by them several years ago. When I checked out their list of authors, however, not one had been published in the US. Also, they "suggested" that I send $250 to cover submission costs -- copying, phone calls.
    Thanks, but no thanks. Maybe they've changed, but that was my experience.

  24. #24
    timwahl
    Guest

    Proceed with Caution

    Quote Originally Posted by christinedg
    Any comments regarding Harris Literary Agency would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you.
    I looked up on Amazon the "authors" she has listed as sold. Not a single one of them came up uner the subject search for book title. Under authro search, a couple did--but not for the book Harris allegedly has sold.

  25. #25
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Exclamation

    FYI: the Harris Literary Agency (Barbara J. Harris) has been named one of Writer Beware's 20 Worst Agents/Agencies.

    ETA: and so has Southeast Literary Agency (Debbie Fine).
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 03-14-2006 at 02:01 AM.
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    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

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