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Thread: Scribe Book Company / The Literati Agency (Ang DePriest)

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Scribe Book Company / The Literati Agency (Ang DePriest)

    Hi all,

    Anyone have any experience with the Literati Agency? Angela DePriest there has requested my manuscript. P&E posts a storm warning given that Angela is also associated with a book company, Scribe. She even acknowledges this red flag on her Publishers Marketplace site. She counters that Scribe is a separate entity, and that Literati authors will not be shuttled there. My bigger concern is her apparent lack of book sales to date.

    Thanks for any information you might pass my way.

  2. #2
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Lack of book sales? Warning at P&E?

    What attracted you to this agent to start with?

  3. #3
    I heart Malamutes! :-) JerseyGirl1962's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Idlewild View Post
    P&E posts a storm warning given that Angela is also associated with a book company, Scribe. She even acknowledges this red flag on her Publishers Marketplace site. She counters that Scribe is a separate entity, and that Literati authors will not be shuttled there. My bigger concern is her apparent lack of book sales to date.
    First of all...


    Now to the meat of the issue...

    You've got an agent associated with a book company, which means she's got a conflict of interest.

    Then there's the lack of book sales. Why would you want to go with somebody who hasn't sold anything? (I take it that she didn't just set up shop this past week.) Treat yourself and your ms. with respect; start at the top agents and work your way down. And if you've already gone through a slew of agents without any bites, it might be time to tinker with your query letter.

    Good luck!

    ~Nancy
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  4. #4
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    Actually, according to correspondence from them, both agents have a conflict of interest.

  5. #5
    The lack of sales is the major thing. John Jarrold is a well respected agent that does book doctoring as well. It's always a warning sign, but the two can co-exist if the agent has integrity.

    Without sales, though, that's when the red flag gets turned into a stop sign. Of course, without sales, it would be a stop sign anyways unless the agent was affiliated with a premier agency.

  6. #6
    Now departed. Rest in peace, Scott, from all of us at AW Requiescat In Pace Popeyesays's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Havlen View Post
    The lack of sales is the major thing. John Jarrold is a well respected agent that does book doctoring as well. It's always a warning sign, but the two can co-exist if the agent has integrity.

    Without sales, though, that's when the red flag gets turned into a stop sign. Of course, without sales, it would be a stop sign anyways unless the agent was affiliated with a premier agency.
    John Jarrold will not rep a book he has edited, nor edit a book he reps. That's an ironclad rule for him, it stops the conflict of interest before it begins.

    regards,
    Scott
    [B]Okay, damnit, I blog [URL]http://cscottsaylorsbooks.blogspot.com/[/URL][/B]
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  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Popeyesays View Post
    John Jarrold will not rep a book he has edited, nor edit a book he reps. That's an ironclad rule for him, it stops the conflict of interest before it begins.
    As I said, the two can co-exist so long as the agent has integrity

  8. #8
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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  9. #9
    Writting broad batgirl's Avatar
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    Their 'mission statement' raises some red flags:
    "we want to rewrite the book on publishing" (personally, I'd want an agent who wanted to sell my book, not undertake a crusade)
    "Finally, The Literati aims to curb fiscal irresponsibility in the publishing industry and readjust the curve that makes publishing more equitable for all publishers and authors. Therefore we do not ask for grandiose advances; we prefer reasonable advances and higher escalating royalty rates for our authors. We also do not start or engage in bidding wars; we believe that is counterpro- ductive to growing partnerships between our authors and their publishing homes."

    Angela DePriest claims several years experience in the publishing industry, including working for Thomas Nelson, which sounds pretty legit, though I agree that agenting and running her own publishing house sounds, if not dodgy, somewhat overwhelming.
    Dan DePriest doesn't claim any specific publishing experience beyond a vague 'involved with books all his life' sort of thing - well, me too, but reading a lot and working in a library doesn't qualify me to become an agent.

    The authors seem to be about half Christian-slanted nonfic (memoirs, advice, etc.) and about half Christian-slanted fiction, YA or literary/contemporary. One of them, Ronn Elmore, has been published several times, once at least by a recognisable publisher, other times by small presses or self-pubbed. He may be selling these through his ministry (and I'd wonder how many were sold before or without his agents).
    I was mildly weirded out by seeing extensive synopses and covers for some books on the author pages, with
    THIS TITLE IS
    NOT YET
    AVAILABLE
    in the sidebar, along with estimated wordcounts and estimated dates of completion. That's not common practice, is it? To be hawking books that aren't actually completed? To be giving them covers and a table of contents before a publisher has accepted them?
    -Barbara
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  10. #10
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thanks to all for your considered replies to my query regarding Literati. Hope to return the favor some day.

  11. #11
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Hi, Brian and welcome to AW.

    All but one of Ron Elmore's books have been published by the same publisher - Warner. Walk Worthy Press is an imprint of Warner (which is now Hachette). I know this because I worked there for two years until last month.
    Do you know whether any of the books bought by Warner were ones represented by Literati?

    I don't know anything about them except that they've sold at least one book to Penguin (I worked there too) and they have at least five book deals at Warner imprints (FaithWords and Little, Brown) in the past year
    Do you remember which books (or the respective author) sold to Penguin, FaithWords and Little, Brown?

    It's difficult to form an opinion on Literati on their site because there's no information about who they've sold work to and there's no indication of how long they've been running (which makes it difficult to work out whether any of the author's work listed on Amazon went through them first). Mind you, many agents have poor websites when it comes to listing sales, even the uber successful ones.

    MM

  12. #12
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    I do know which books and authors for some of the deals, but I'm not at liberty to give specifics on any of them. (I'd like to keep working in this business you know!) They have some special thing in their contracts that keep the publishers from releasing info about money matters and private info about authors. There must be some reason why they're so secretive about things. They have their little representation blurb on the copyright page of books but they won't even let their authors mention them in the acknowledgments. And they don't do PR events with their authors. Come to think of it, they also represent a guy who published a couple of books with Gibbs Smith. The guy also has a film that won some awards. And they sold some books to NavPress. I remember that from the marketing department memos but we weren't allowed to use any of it.
    Wow. That strikes me as being really ... weird. You'd think an agent or publisher would want people to know what books have been sold to who. Fair enough, Brian - I respect the fact that your hands are tied on this.

    MM

  13. #13
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Not revealing contract details or exact money amounts strikes me as reasonable (though I certainly wouldn't think ill of them for saying "a mid-six-figure advance") but keeping the titles of the books they represented confidential strikes me as just plain weird. Who in the world could it possibly be secret from?

    "Confidential" lists of clients and sales is a major red flag.

    If anyone from Literati is reading this they're invited to ask me why. I can explain, with colorful examples.

    If Literati was formed in 2004/2005, it may be worth noting that all of Ronn Elmore's books came out in 2004 or earlier.

  14. #14
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    <----bored old biddy at the domino table.

    Hmmm. First post. Hotly defends publisher. Badmouths posters. Will be right back with "messages" from this publisher.

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    practical experience, FTW Tilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeeJaneWrite View Post
    Yeah, agents suck.
    Some do. Not all. Sorting out sucky agents from non-sucky agents is the point.

    You know, Idlewild, it seems to me that instead of taking advice from a bunch of people who don't know anything (and let's face it, none of these people know anything about it from experience), you'd just ASK THEM! Did you do that? Did they respond to you? What gives?
    Um, if you do often read this site you'd know the bit I just highlighted in bold is nonsense. There are slushpuppies like me, then there are published writers and other publishing professionals.

    Before I submit to an agent, I check their client list, the types of books they represent and their track record of sales to publishers. That way I know they're legit. It's important.

  16. #16
    ... with the High Command Dave.C.Robinson's Avatar
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    I won't submit to anyone unless I know they handle the kind of work I'm submitting. Sure anyone can say they rep genre X but the way to be sure they rep the kind of thing I've written is to take a look at the books they've sold. Amounts are none of my business. But I do want to know what was sold to who.


    Grasshopper, you too can master the ancient martial art of BIC FOK. (Butt in Chair, Fingers on Keyboard.) Find me on Kindle: Against the Eldest Flame, the first Doc Vandal adventure; Amadar, a heroic fantasy adventure; Price of Imperium, space opera with a street-level twist.

  17. #17
    One Hit Wonder? Kasey Mackenzie's Avatar
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    Bingo, anyone?

    Quote Originally Posted by SeeJaneWrite View Post
    I usually get a lot out of this site, it's really helpful and informative in alot of ways, but sometimes I read some of these strings and i'm really disgusted at all the conjecture and rumors and junk about people. Yeah, agents suck. I've been burned too, but enough is enough already! Instead of just badmouthing these people with absolutely no basis or proof why don't you just ASK THEM?

    You know, Idlewild, it seems to me that instead of taking advice from a bunch of people who don't know anything (and let's face it, none of these people know anything about it from experience), you'd just ASK THEM! Did you do that? Did they respond to you? What gives?

    Sure, I'm curious about why they don't show who they represent. I want to know what's so secret about their contracts and authors. But you know what? I'm not going to sit here and make up a bunch of stupid scenarios. I'm just going to ASK THEM.

    I'm going to email them (thanks for posting their website address), and I'm going to see if I can get them to just answer all these questions. I'll even ask their permission to post their response. Hey, all they can do is refuse to answer, right?

    People, let's just be a little more responsible on here, okay? Instead of acting like a bunch of bored old biddies at the domino table.

    P.S. I've written and published two books and there is NO WAY I'm telling you which books because I'm terrified of being ripped to shreds by you sharks. My ego is fragile enough.
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  18. #18
    ... with the High Command Dave.C.Robinson's Avatar
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    Ok, they're off my list. I can't find out if they've repped books like mine.


    Grasshopper, you too can master the ancient martial art of BIC FOK. (Butt in Chair, Fingers on Keyboard.) Find me on Kindle: Against the Eldest Flame, the first Doc Vandal adventure; Amadar, a heroic fantasy adventure; Price of Imperium, space opera with a street-level twist.

  19. #19
    Brian Boru brianm's Avatar
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    I don't know why Angela DePriest would not want to come to AW and set the record straight. It appears The Literati has been in existence since the fall of 2005.

    http://writers.meetup.com/3/files/

    In the fall of 2005, I added The Literati to the Scribe lineup. The Literati is my boutique literary agency.
    I also found her blog to be informative.

    http://thebigpictureofbookpublishing...-murderer.html

    Page down to the section entitled, “One for the Books: All Work and No Pay.”

    I would hope she would reconsider coming to AW and talking about The Literati. My gut tells me she isn't one of the bad guys and I know she would be welcomed and respected here in AW.
    "This is one race of people for whom psychoanalysis is of no use whatsoever." Sigmund Freud (about the Irish)

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  20. #20
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    info@theliterati.net:
    We don’t have anything to hide. We are simply respecting our clients’ privacy.
    I'm sorry, but this is just weird. Like, Uncle Jim said, I'd understand them not wanting to say what terms they've negotiated for their clients (it goes without saying that a client would want that kept confidential), but a simple list of what titles have been sold to whom really doesn't strike me as something a client would want to keep private - if only because it helps build up anticipation if the general public know that x book is coming back with y publisher at z time.

    Maybe one of the authors listed as being signed by the agency will drop by to explain where Literati are coming from on that.

    One thing that does creep me out a little though is something on the Blog. There's some good information in there (and I think it's a good sign that they've got a link up to SFWA), but the chunk of text setting out a dispute with an author and a publisher strikes me as dirty laundry airing (even if she doesn't name names), particularly if it's an ongoing dispute.

    MM

  21. #21
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Not to mention the bottom line: there's no record of sales anywhere. Many agents have minimal websites without sales/client info. But a simple Google will bring up PL announcements, Media Bistro interviews, publisher's rights listings, etc., etc.

    Conversely, it's easy to find books she's edited and conferences she's attending. IMO, that's the best indication of which way the money's flowing.
    ICAO
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  22. #22
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Taken from the blog link above, this quote from Literati's author-agent agreement:
    Should the Property be made into a serial or subject to merchandising, or dramatic (motion picture, television, radio) rights, the Agent will be entitled to fifteen percent (15%) of all proceeds, including advances. The same percentages apply to any subsequent sale of rights that derives from the initial sale of the Property, including, but not limited to the following: condensation, translation, anthology, periodicals, electronic formats and reproductions, television, motion picture, audio and video recordings, paperback, all serial rights, and commercial.

    In other words, the agency claims the right to receive a commission on any subrights sale, whether or not the agency was responsible for making the sale. This is, to put it mildly, not ideal. An agent should get a commission only on rights she actually sells.

    Also of concern:
    The Agentís right to compensation for a sale or disposition of rights under this Agreement, once earned, will continue even after this Agreement terminates.

    Since the agency claims commission rights on any subrights sale, would this mean they'd be entitled to commissions if a work they sold went out of print and then was subsequently re-sold by the author or another agent? This may simply be a case of unclear language, but I'd definitely want to clarify it before signing.

    I have to say I agree about the dirty laundry.

    Leaving aside any confidentiality issues, and going strictly by what I see at the agency's website, my guess is that there are no sales here. Since the agency started up in the fall of 2005, that's a concern.

    - Victoria

  23. #23
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    1) I use my own name. I don't worry about hate mail. (I don't get any, come to think of it.)

    2) I've been in and around publishing for twenty years. I have a bit of experience.

    3) That experience tells me that there's no such thing as a stealth agent. Someone who's selling books leaves tracks.

    4) That experience also tells me that "our sales record is confidential due to concern for our clients' privacy" means "we haven't actually sold anything."

    Again, who could it possibly be confidential from? The entire purpose of publishing is to make public. Even when an author is pseudonymous, the agent is that author's public face.

  24. #24
    Moderator In Name Only AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    I'm sorry, but this is just weird. Like, Uncle Jim said, I'd understand them not wanting to say what terms they've negotiated for their clients (it goes without saying that a client would want that kept confidential), but a simple list of what titles have been sold to whom really doesn't strike me as something a client would want to keep private - if only because it helps build up anticipation if the general public know that x book is coming back with y publisher at z time.
    Not only that, but agents have to build a reputation just like writers do. One way to get the attention of an editor they've never worked with is to have an impressive list of books they've placed with reputable publishers. That they don't have such a list, suggests strongly that they haven't placed any books.
    --Roger J. Carlson

  25. #25
    'Twas but a dream of thee El Jefe MacAllister's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeeJaneWrite View Post
    FYI: I post in lots of different areas of this site under a few different names, and I've learned the hard way that if I'm going to object to something I better not use my real name otherwise I get hate mail for weeks.
    Sorry. Try again, though. That's a blatant lie. There's simply no way you do any such thing as "post in lots of different areas of this site under a few different names" -- but since I've just looked up your IP information, I do know quite precisely where you ARE posting from.

    Now, would you like to come clean?

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