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Thread: J. Joyce Agency

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    J. Joyce Agency

    The name of the company is the J. Joyce Agency I've got a fellow writer who has a manuscript with them at the moment. She just wants to make sure they are legit before she goes any further.

    Can anyone help on this?

    http://www.jjoycecompanies.com/J.html

    they also have a myspace page
    http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm...ndid=199881470

    cheers guys

  2. #2
    I'm really shy... joyce's Avatar
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    The agency sends up red flags to me. Mailing address and fax number will only be provided when requesting a manuscript or signing contract. All those charges....postage, copying and the worst one to me..upon contractual agreement a retainer balance will be required. Looks like an agency that should be avoided. I would tell your friend to run.

  3. #3
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    A quick perusal reveals a number of red flags:

    Poor spelling and grammar
    No mention of previous experience
    No list of clients or sales
    Says they accept "A variety of book formats(?)" without specifying--the home page says they're "open to all genres" which is worrying
    Refusal to reveal any info or the phone number of the agency
    Outrageous fees
    A page for a self-publisher
    A page for a publicity agency that forces writers into an expensive two-year contract

    etc. etc. etc.

    I'd steer well clear, personally.
    http://www.staciakane.com

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  4. #4
    In the Yellow Woods
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    Looks very much like a cleaning service to me. As in clean you out. Your friend should run now.

    And what about some of those fees? A few hundred here, a grand there, etc, and all with add-ons and recurring at their discretion.

    They'll probably dip her pockets and POD her book and then hope to sign her up to their sister company (Scamsters & Associates) until she's bled dry.

    I suspect (nay, I'm positive) that anyone who does sign up with this mob will enjoy just as much success by throwing their money out the window of a train.

    ETA: The following probably says it all about them (my bold)

    300.00 Promotional materials (this is a reoccurring 300.00 charge as needed)

    100 Book Cards

    100 Postcards

    Mailing of 5 or less copies to your literary idols

    Posters (Book signings)

    Promotional Mailers (promoting book signings)
    Last edited by xhouseboy; 08-13-2007 at 07:18 PM.
    I am returning this otherwise good typing paper to you because someone has printed gibberish all over it and put your name at the top.

    Professor of English, Ohio University.

    Pedantic Alert: The above is quotation #689 from Michael Moncur's (cynical) Quotations.

  5. #5
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    I would echo joyce, xhouseboy and DecemberQuinn that there are a huge number of red flags on the web page:

    From the J. Joyce Agency website:
    J. Joyce Agency offers 2-year binding contracts, which can be terminated for any reason with 60 days written notice.
    Agents should be looking to have a long-term relationship with authors, selling manuscripts as and when they're produced. The site states that the contract is terminable on 60 days notice but doesn't say who by - ideally it should be both parties, but it could be that this contract is drafted so that it can only be terminated by the agent - this is not in an author's interest if the agency fails to sell their manuscript.

    From the J. Joyce Agency website:
    J. Joyce also takes 15% commission on all domestic sales; 20% commission on all foreign sales; and 25% commission on all foreign sales when dealing with a co-agent.
    I'm a little out of my depth when it comes to foreign sales commissions, but those figures of 20% and 25% seem pretty high to me - particularly the 25% where I would expect that any co-agent would also want their own commission, leaving less for the author.

    From the J. Joyce Agency website:
    Postage (Domestically and Internationally)

    Express Mailing (Domestically and International)

    Copying .10 cents per page

    Faxes .10 cents per page

    International Calls will be charged at an additional .10 cents a min.

    Upon contractual agreement a retainer balance will be required
    Agents don't usually charge for phone calls, postage, faxes or printing - these are admin costs that should be soaked up by the agency. The big red flag however is the retainer balance - it suggests that the author is going to have to pay the agency for their service until such time as it is, presumably, recouped by a sale. This is not normal practice and neither is it acceptable practice. Yog's law - money flows to the author.

    From the J. Joyce Agency website:
    Manuscript (IF REQUESTED) (PLEASE NOTE IF YOU E-MAIL YOUR ENTIRE MANUSCRIPT YOU WILL BE CHARGE A PRINTING FEE OF .20 PER PAGE)
    That's incredibly cheeky and the effect is to charge authors for the privilege of having J. Joyce print out their email (not to mention the fact that at 20 cents a page, it's more expensive than their copying fee!). If J. Joyce was serious about reading someone's manuscript, then usual practice would either be to get the author to email it in (in which case, the author should not be charged for the privilege), or to ask the author to send a hard copy to the agency (which results in a postage cost/paper cost to the author, but is what you'd expect to pay in the query process anyway).

    From the J. Joyce Agency website:
    (DO NOT FAX LETTERS, SYNOPSIS, OR MANUSCRIPTS IF YOU DO YOU WILL BE CHARGED A 1.00 PER PAGE.)
    I can't even begin to think how that would be enforceable, and I love the fact that the agency's going to charge authors more than they'd have to pay if they're taken on.

    From the J. Joyce Agency website:
    We also work hard to save you money while in the review process
    As an author, you shouldn't be spending any money on their review process.

    Besides the horrific rape of the English language on that site, there's also the following glaring omissions:

    - any specified genre - J. Joyce seem to represent everything bar the kitchen sink. In practical terms, this isn't feasible for many agencies.

    - there's no hint of current authors or books represented or any recent sales on the site. In itself, this is not automatically damning, but paladinb, your friend would be best served by seeing if s/he can find them on Publisher's Marketplace to see if there are any recent deals.

    - an almost pathological fear of giving out a telephone number, fax machine number or physical address. Established and respectable agents don't worry about giving out those details because it's part and parcel of running a successful business.

    - no named individuals within the agency and correspondingly, no hint of their background in agenting work. Again, not necessarily damning, but it does raise eyebrows.

    Then there's the fact that J. Joyce owns Walter & Affiliates, a "book marketing" company that contains considerable misinformation about the publishing industry:

    From the J. Joyce Agency website:
    Besides printing your book and placing them in a number of books stores throughout the country the publisher and the agent have nothing to do with selling your book.
    Bollocks. Any publisher will think about and consider how to market a book that they acquire because they're in the business of making money from their titles. As an author, you will most likely get involved in that marketing (e.g. perhaps organising signings) but the publisher will work with you, as will your agent.

    From the J. Joyce Agency website:
    You can do business with us a couple ways. 1) Pay according to the fee structure listed below. 2) Paying a flat fee of 165.00 dollars an hour. We like our sister company J. Joyce Agency offer a 2-year binding contract, which can be terminated with 60 days written notice. We also require a retainer fee at signing so we can start marketing your book on day one of our agreement.
    165 dollars an hour? Phew! The obvious question is whether J. Joyce recommends that its authors use its 'sister' company once they've signed - if they do, then run away as quickly as possible. Note to J. Joyce: if you bought Waltner & Associates 2 years ago as you state on your front page:

    From the J. Joyce Agency website:
    Waltner & Associates is a marketing, promotions, and public relations (publicity) firm acquired by the J. Joyce Companies two years ago.
    then that makes J. Joyce its parent and not a sister company.

    From the J. Joyce Agency website:
    995.00 Media Package This includes all of the following: (This is a reoccurring charge of 100.00 as needed)

    Creation of Media Kit

    Press Releases

    Interviews

    Reviews
    There's nothing in there saying about whether the 995 dollars guarantees you an interview or review or how they're going to go about doing it. There's also no details of what's in the "Media Kit". That's a lot of money you're paying for puff and any author could do it themselves for v. little money with about the same success.

    From the J. Joyce Agency website:
    350.00 Contacting Independent filmmakers on your behalf
    That's most likely 350 dollars for a phone call or email and that's horrific. Also, it doesn't really tie in with what a marketing company should do - an agent would usually deal with any filmmaker interested in a client's title and film makers contact rights holders, not the other way around.

    From the J. Joyce Agency website:
    300.00 Promotional materials (this is a reoccurring 300.00 charge as needed)

    100 Book Cards

    100 Postcards

    Mailing of 5 or less copies to your literary idols

    Posters (Book signings)

    Promotional Mailers (promoting book signings)
    Again, an author can do all that themselves without paying 300 quid for the privilege. And honestly, who wants to send a copy of their book to their literary hero? It stinks of schilling and poor taste.

    But the truly ominous BIG RED FLAG on the website is this for the Tri-Pod Entertainment Publishing entity:

    This company is currently in acquisitions with the J. Joyce Companies. It is designed for the self-publisher with a twist.
    There's no further details as to whether it's a subsidiary of J. Joyce (which would be my guess - in fact, I would strongly suggest that this is the case given that the MySpace profile for Tri-Pod, J. Joyce and Waltner has the same details of being run by a 31 year-old, single Aquarian in Dayton, Ohio) and it screams RUN AWAY at me because agents who plan to make their money properly, don't go near self-publishing avenues, particularly ones that seem to be so mysterious. It's particularly depressing that Tri-Pod is still yet to go active - currently scheduled for the end of this year. It kind of suggests that those behind J. Joyce have no faith in making 'proper' commercial sales.

    Finally (and having checked out the Myspace friends), I'd be interested in knowing whether J. Joyce is anything to do with the user listed as plainjane_jones, given that that user has a similar profile to that for the person who set up the J. Joyce and affiliated Myspace sites. Also, whoever set up the J. Joyce Myspace profiles also seems to be trying to set up some kind of charity at ucanonline on Myspace. It's calling itself:

    United Children's Amnesty Network or UCAN The UCAN Foundation
    and has a peculiarly limited focus:

    providing quality legal defense for children that have either been convicted of a capitol crime and are currently on death row or for those who are currently on trial. The child involved must be from a violent and abusive situation Cases where Children services/ DYFUS and etc. refused to take action and protect the child or children. All heinous crimes must be against the parent (s) or guardian (s) of the children
    MM
    Last edited by Momento Mori; 08-13-2007 at 07:41 PM.

  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    cheers for the infor guys..something didn't seem right but I figured it was worth getting some advice before I report back to my friend.

    Thanks again...maybe this one should be added to the avoid list?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    I'm a little out of my depth when it comes to foreign sales commissions, but those figures of 20% and 25% seem pretty high to me - particularly the 25% where I would expect that any co-agent would also want their own commission, leaving less for the author.
    Not an expert, but 20% for foreign rights is standard. I believe this is because agents work with subagents for foreign rights who charge 5%. It doesn't look like this scammer understands that so is adding the 5% again, or perhaps they just think it is a nice way to grab some extra commissions -- which doesn't make that much sense since the agent won't make any money on commissions since they are set up to make money on fees. (i.e. it's doubtful any of the stuff they take on will ever get published by a non-vanity publisher.)

  8. #8
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Cheers, Havlen - it was the 25% that was setting off my spidey senses more than the 20%, but it's still good to know for my own benefit that it's not dodgy.
    Last edited by Momento Mori; 08-13-2007 at 10:18 PM.

  9. #9
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    20-25% is pretty standard for co-agented sales.

    Apart from anything else, it's the spelling and grammatical errors that red-flag this one.

    - Victoria

  10. #10
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Site's gone and MySpace page hasn't been updated since Mar '09.
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 02-02-2011 at 11:56 PM.
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