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Thread: Sedgeband Literary Associates

  1. #1
    tigertiger76
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    Sedgeband Literary Associates

    Has anyone had a positive or negative experience with literary agents, David Duperre or Ginger Norton, of Sedgebank Literary Associates in Fort Worth?

  2. #2
    Victoria
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    Sedgeband

    Writer Beware has received reports that Sedgeband bills excessive submissions costs to its clients. The most recent contract we've seen states a limit of $100 per month; this covers just one submission. The bills we've seen (sent monthly, with a 10-day payment requirement and a penalty for lateness) average around $70 per submission. They include expenses such as envelopes and stationary that reputable agents absorb as part of normal business overhead, and also items like business cards and author photos, which publishers don't want to see.

    Reputable agents typically allow applicable expenses to accrue and deduct them from the client's income. They don't generally bill them as incurred.

    Sedgeband has two sets of client and title listings on its website, but some of the books are self- or proprietarily-published, and others have been placed with non-advance-paying publishers about which Writer Beware has received complaints (PublishAmerica/America House, Lionhearted) or with fee-based print-on-demand services like iUniverse. Publishers and services like these--even when they're not questionable--don't require authors to be agented. Other titles haven't been sold by Sedgeband at all (in accordance with the disclaimer on the page).

    As far as we can tell, Sedgeband has just five commercial sales to its credit over its six or seven years in business, three of them for the same author. All are to independent publishers that don't require authors to be agented (i.e., the author might well have been able to make the sale him/herself). One of these publishers specifically advertises a program for unagented first-time writers.

    - Victoria
    Writer Beware
    www.sfwa.org/beware/

  3. #3
    tigertiger76
    Guest

    Re: Sedgeband

    Victoria,
    Thank you very much for your comments. I've done other research that leads me to similar conclusions. I've chosen not to submit my manuscript to them although they've requested it.
    thanks.

  4. #4
    worynjay
    Guest

    Re: Sedgeband Literary Associates

    I have been with sedgeband for a number of years. Theywent to a lot of trouble with a publisher of mine that defaulted on contract. They took me on knowing this could be a problem.Since then they have been busy marketing my books to other publishers.I am still awaiting a new publisher but Segdeband have never charged me one red cent for their services. They have good advise and personally I find them friendly, responsive and helpful.

  5. #5
    spywriter
    Guest

    agencies

    I can only talk about Sedgeband. They requested my work, I sent it to them and they told me that their publishers would not be interested in my stuff. They mostly deal will gory murder type stuff and I think that my title misled them a little into thinking I had their kind of stuff. They never asked for money to read it and all their correspondence was very professional. They also sent me a letter telling me not to believe anything that I have read on the INTERNET about them. They were emphatic in saying that they do not charge for anything ahead of time. That's all I know about them.

    From what I have learned from all the various sites, and in talking to a few published friends (I am new to this too), Never go with an agent who asks for a reading fee...EVER. Never go with an agent that suggests you have the book edited by his firm or a related firm. As far as postage fees, my new agent has asked for them (a couple hundred dollars) and when I talked to her I said, "I am happy that you like my book, but do you still want it if I do NOT give you the postage deposit?" She told me not to worry if I don't have the money...she absolutely still wants my novel. An agent who thinks your book is hot will NEVER turn you away if she thinks she can sell it. REMEMBER THAT.:money

    I think some firms are smaller and do not have the extra capital that the larger firms do, so I do not have a problem in them asking. Others do and you will be sure to hear from them soon! Make sure the contract spells out what the deposit is for, make sure that that's the ONLY money that they will ask for, (my agent said she will absorb all other costs) and make sure you can get a refund on it should you decide to leave this agent. Make sure that if its an open ended contract (no exp date) that you have a termination clause.

    Good luck....

  6. #6
    spywriter
    Guest

    agents

    I meant to include this in my first posting. Take it for what it's worth. (I'd probably listen to :hail Victoria though.)

    "If you use the Internet to research agents, do not to believe everything you read, it isn't always correct or true. In case you were wondering. We do not charge travel expenses, retainers, billable hours, editing fees, reading fees, legal fees, and we do not have a power of attorney. POD publishers are only contacted at the writers request."

    David Duperre, Agent:teeth
    Sedgeband Literary Associates, Inc.

  7. #7
    AC Crispin
    Guest

    David Duperre's Nose...

    ...is growing.

    Writer Beware has documentation that Sedgeband has done ALL of those things. It's possible they are no longer doing them, which would be good, but they certainly did them in the past, and we can prove it.

    -Ann C. Crispin
    Writer Beware

  8. #8
    Arecksilverhand
    Guest

    Re: Sedgeband Literary Associates

    I just got offered a contract from these guys. Should I be running? Or should I at least talk to them and ask them about their fees/contracts? etc

    Areck

  9. #9
    spywriter
    Guest

    Re: Sedgeband Literary Associates

    Go with your gut, but know you have been warned.

    All the regulars have told you to run already...it's your choice to make.

    And my last cliche....

    Live and learn. If you do well, CONGRATES, if not..well won't that suck!:smack

    Let us know how it goes.....:thumbs

  10. #10
    vstrauss
    Guest

    Re: Sedgeband Literary Associates

    Areck, no offense, but what part of "bills excessive and unnecessary submissions costs" and "tiny track record of sales that could have been made by the authors" wouldn't make you want to run?

    - Victoria

  11. #11
    spywriter
    Guest

    Re: Sedgeband Literary Associates

    Well Said Victoria. :clap

  12. #12
    Acewaverly
    Guest

    more grist for the mill

    I sent them my manuscript and they sent me a contract that wanted $50 a month for various fees. Last time I checked agents weren't supposed to be gym memberships.

  13. #13
    DaveKuzminski
    Guest

    Re: more grist for the mill

    Especially when the only thing that gets a workout is your wallet and not your manuscript.

  14. #14
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Sedgeband Literary Associates

    Although I didn't check all their clients' books, those I did were sold to small and/or non-fiction publishers which did not require an agent.
    ICAO
    ---------
    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW TrixieBelden's Avatar
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    Sedgeband

    Whats the scoop on thses guys. Theyve requested my proposal but included a note that said something like "Whatever youve read about us, its not true"

  16. #16
    Apex Predator Jaws's Avatar
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    Well, what is true (and that you might, with some pretty basic searching, have read about):
    • Sedgeband has a track record of charging its clients monthly for various "fees" and "expenses," a nonstandard practice
    • Sedgeband has a track record of "shotgun" submissions to inappropriate markets
    • Conversely, Sedgeband does not have a verifiable track record of any significance of placing books with commercial (royalty- and advance-paying) publishers

    Now, I don't know what else they're referring to… but this should be enough to say "stay away."
    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.

  17. #17
    wishes you happiness JennaGlatzer's Avatar
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    Kind of funny, though, that they would arouse suspicion like that! I wish all questionable literary characters included notes like that...
    I am no longer here. If you'd like to visit me, please find me at www.jennaglatzer.com or on Facebook. Thanks!

  18. #18
    practical experience, FTW TrixieBelden's Avatar
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    My thoghts exactly

    Thats was definetly the red flag. I immedietly went to see what I could find out.

  19. #19
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    Shhh! Don't anyone let them know! They could put themselves out of business by warning writers that way.
    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.


  20. #20
    Your Cuddly Sociopathic AW Moderator Jaycinth's Avatar
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    Blessings in disguise.

    I just got a rejection letter from Sedgeband. I realized I'd read about them somewhere around here. Yep I did.
    Oh well. (she said with a chuckle)

  21. #21
    practical experience, FTW Silverhand's Avatar
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    I have a freind with this agency. Though I do not know exactly what is up, I can answer a few questions.


    They do not shotgun submit. I have seen every invoice sent out, and there is NEVER more then 2 submits per month.

    They charge $50 / month for expenses.

    They offered a list of authors that have been published, and though none of the publishing houses were major (All would have accepted unagented authors), the list seemed to be legit.

  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW Silverhand's Avatar
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    I do have a question for anyone that can answer though.

    Ginger Norton explained to my friend that there NO agencies out there that do not charge fees / expenses. The question is, when the bill is charged. From what I gather, if an agency accepts you up front with no fees, if they do not sell your book AND release you, you will be charged.

    Is that true?

    Also, she asked him to find and small agencies with 2 or less agents that do not charge something up front? Can anyone name a few?

  23. #23
    Gone
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silverhand
    They do not shotgun submit. I have seen every invoice sent out, and there is NEVER more then 2 submits per month.
    Given that they're being paid by the month, why would they submit a bunch at a time? Submitting nly two per month doesn't mean they're going to appropriate publishers. In fact, getting paid by the month removes the motivation to submit to appropriate publishers.

    They charge $50 / month for expenses.
    This is not standard practice for reputable agencies. Reputable agents work on commission, and get paid when they sell your book to an advance-paying publisher.

    They offered a list of authors that have been published, and though none of the publishing houses were major (All would have accepted unagented authors), the list seemed to be legit.
    Research those publishers carefully. Scam agents have been known to "sell" books to PublishAmerica and other vanity presses, and to claim sales they didn't actually make.

    I recommend that your friend dissolve the relationship and find a real agent. Good luck.

  24. #24
    Gone
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silverhand
    Also, she asked him to find and small agencies with 2 or less agents that do not charge something up front? Can anyone name a few?
    Silverhand, don't let your friend get caught up in playing this game. It's a distraction from what's really happening.

    The commission (usually 15%) your agent earns on the sale of your book covers the costs he incurs as part of his business--his rent, postage to submit your manuscript, and so on. What happens when the relationship is ended depends on your contract. If your agent does not sell your book and releases you, there is no reason you should owe anything--you didn't end the relationship, and the agent took on your book at his own risk, relying on his judgement to pick a manuscript he could sell at a price that his commission made a profit--unless your contract states otherwise. If you end the relationship, you may pay for some expenses--again, it depends on your contract.

    Go to The Association of Authors' Representatives http://www.aar-online.org and look at their Canon of Ethics. Pay special attention to the part about fees.

  25. #25
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silverhand
    They do not shotgun submit. I have seen every invoice sent out, and there is NEVER more then 2 submits per month.
    This is really just a different variety of shotgun submission. Reputable agents don't contact X number of publishers every month; they send out one or more carefully targeted submissions and wait till they get a response before going elsewhere.

    A few years ago Ann Crispin and I wrote an article for Writer's Digest on questions writers should ask potential agents. As part of the article, we asked several editors at major houses if there were any agencies they tended to ignore because the agencies often sent substandard or inappropriate submissions. Two of the editors specifically mentioned Sedgeband.

    They charge $50 / month for expenses.
    Most agents expect clients to bear some of the expense of submission, but they only bill expenses over and above the normal cost of doing business--i.e, expenses they wouldn't incur if they didn't represent the client, such as manuscript phocopying, postage, Fed Ex, long distance calls, and the like. Stuff they'd have to pay for anyway--stationary, business cards, general office supplies, travel--they absorb. In other words, clients aren't expected to fund every paperclip and envelope used on their behalf.

    The Sedgeband billings Writer Beware has seen not only bill clients for ordinary business expenses (envelopes, business cards, stationary, even color photocopies of the agency's logo), they include items publishers don't want, such as portfolio covers and author photos. Also included is a marketing plan, which is not appropriate for novels, and is likely to be regarded by a commercial publisher as a sign that the agency is less than professional.

    Two authors have told me that when they followed up on submissions they'd been billed for, they discovered that at least some of the publishers had never been contacted. Other authors report that the publishers contacted weren't appropriate for their books (this bears out the editors' comments, above).

    They offered a list of authors that have been published, and though none of the publishing houses were major (All would have accepted unagented authors), the list seemed to be legit.
    Some of the publishers are solid; others are less so (one has an awful contract; one doesn't appear to have much ability to distribute. It's hard to imagine a successful agent letting clients settle for sales like these--let alone claiming them as part of a track record). Also, sales to reputable independent publishers are great, but the real test of an agent is getting in where an author can't--to the large publishing houses.

    The latest publication date is 2004, which suggests that Sedgeband hasn't sold anything since at least 2003 (since books take a year or more to get to market). Also, just 8 sales are listed on Sedgeband's website. If this is the sum total of their track record, it's really pathetic for an agency that's been in business for about 10 years.

    - Victoria

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