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Thread: The Aaland Agency / The Abacus Group (Jo Ann Krueger)

  1. #1
    txgerman1
    Guest

    The Aaland Agency / The Abacus Group (Jo Ann Krueger)

    The Abacus Group Lit agency in CA is offering me representation, however they have also given me what seems to be some very logical advice on rewriting the ms to make it more commercial......all at a steep price of $4500.

    Yes, I read these treads, and realize that this sounds pretty darn fishy. I'm holding onto my wallet tightly, however I was amazed by the fact that they did in fact seem to have read the ms, and actually did rewrite some passages for me.

    Any thoughts....I am a newbie here?:\

  2. #2
    vstrauss
    Guest

    Re: Any info on the Abacus Group?

    Writer Beware has gotten a number of complaints about the Abacus Group. Its main, if not its only, source of income appears to be the editing fees, and the insanely voluminous materials it sends out to authors are somewhat personalized but otherwise identical. As far as I know, it has zero track record. It does list some "sales" but all seem to be to vanity/self-publishing operations like 1st Books or to book producers like Morris Publishing.

    - Victoria

  3. #3
    Dancre
    Guest

    Re: Any info on the Abacus Group?

    Hey, i've got an idea, you send me $4500 and i'll edit your story! :heart
    kim

  4. #4
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: Any info on the Abacus Group?

    Heck, I'll edit it for an even three grand.

  5. #5
    emeraldcite
    Guest

    lol

    i'll do it for 2500.

  6. #6
    txgerman1
    Guest

    do I hear $1000 ????

    Cmon now, you guys can do better than that?
    I wont bite till the editing fee is below $1000


    Seriously though, I was amazed at the size of the reply. It appeared that they really had put some thought and effort into it, and in fact they made their point well.
    However this can simply mean that they work hard to read the first chapter or two, then do some real actual editing, and show their prowess.....in hopes of hooking an aspiring author. Their rewrite was actually quite good.......and boy were they complimentary on the material itself.

    Ok, do I hear $500?????

    Frank

    therepnovel.tripod.com/

    therepnovel.tripod.com/paradise/

  7. #7
    aka eraser
    Guest

    Re: do I hear $1000 ????

    $1999.99!!

    And if you order NOW I'll toss in a handsome, rarely-used, genuine, soft pink Graphite Removal DeviceŽ absolutely free!!

    Hurry! Quantities are limited!! Operators are standing by!

    (I wish they'd sit though; looming operators make me nervous).

  8. #8
    Gala
    Guest

    One or two bucks per page...

    depending on how much work it needs and what you want in return. Some charge a buck. Or even less.

    How long is your ms?

    :peace

  9. #9
    reph
    Guest

    Re: do I hear $1000 ????

    But wait! There's more! Our service to authors is always personalized! That bonus prize that aka eraser promised you will have his name on it!

    Signed, Pink Pearl

  10. #10
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: do I hear $1000 ????

    I will use a red pencil on your manuscript that was also used on a manuscript that sold to a real advance-and-royalty-paying traditional publisher! And I will talk about* your manuscript with (non-vanity) published authors and at least one real acquiring editor!

    Heck of a deal for only $1,500 (cash in advance, no guarantees on suitability, fitness, merchantability, or anything else).

    <hr>

    * Possibly to mock and deride....

  11. #11
    txgerman1
    Guest

    Re: Another question

    Wow, where do I send the check????
    This is a deal too good to pass up!


    In truth....thanks for the feedback. The letters from Abacus sound compelling and semi-tempting, but then I woke up.

    Heck for $4500, I'll find a starving College professor and pay him or her to not only edit my most recent book, but also mow my yard for a year and wax my car.

    Another question.................
    I did the POD thing on my first book, that was groovy enough for a first attempt and it has sold a few copies and garnered only positive reviews (thanks MOM!), but with the typical walls I've run into in the "lets find a reputable agent" game, my question is this:

    Who are some of the smaller independent book-publishers that will look at your ms without an agent?

    PS. To answer your question, Paradise is 81,000 words long and weighs in at 255 pages....

    Thanks again

  12. #12
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: Another question

    Who are some of the smaller independent book-publishers that will look at your ms without an agent?

    <A HREF="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1582971897/ref=nosim/madhousemanor" target="_new">Writer's Market</A> (available at your local library) will have that information.

    You want somewhere that's been in business for a number of years, has actually produced books, and gotten them on the shelves of real doors-and-windows bookstores. Check for yourself. Talk to some of their authors.

    But why limit yourself to smaller publishers? If the guidelines say "no unagented" you're SOL, but if they say "no unsolicited" all that means is "Send us a query letter first."

    Meanwhile, find an agent. There are honest legitimate agents out there, and most of them will look at new writers' works: they all know that every big-name best seller was once an unpublished first timer. Every one of them knows that Ralph Vicinaza's winecellar is bigger than most people's houses, and they know why.

    And ... start work on your next book.

  13. #13
    txgerman1
    Guest

    Re: Another question

    Good Advice, I think I'll take it.......

    I've got enough faith in my most recent book to not give up and go POD this time around........

    By the way, this is a pretty informative site. I wish I would have stumbled across it several years ago......but better late than never.:nerd

  14. #14
    veingloree
    Guest

    Re: Another question

    Many large publishers do accept unsolicited manuscripts (e.g. Tor), most of the rest are open to query letters -- on the basis of which *bingo* they solicite your manuscript.

  15. #15
    EPStanwyck
    Guest

    Abacus Group

    This "agency" is nothing but a scam outfit. Stay away from them. Anybody who charges reading fees and wants to "edit" your work is not an agent. I am unhappy to say that I fell for their scam. Their "editing" was so lousy that I couldn't believe it, the grammar checker on my word processor could have done a better job. To serve as an example, they changed direct quotes in several places!

    After they obtain your money, all you get is a small stack of rejection letters and a litany of excuses of why they can't move your work. If you ask them questions noting obvious areas where they could have done better, you receive insulting and condescending letters informing you that you don't know the business. I guess they are right, I didn't major in criminal law.

  16. #16
    vstrauss
    Guest

    Aaland Agency (new incarnation of Abacus)

    An outfit called The Aaland Agency, run by a Jo Ann Krueger, recently jumped onto Writer Beware's radar screens. Their pitch for a $4,500 editing service sounded suspiciously familiar. Once I got copies of Aaland's literature, parts of which are identical to Abacus's (format and printing are also very similar, not to mention the unbelievably verbose prose style), I was sure: either Abacus has changed its name, or is trying to get extra custom through a duplicate operation.

    - Victoria

  17. #17
    DaveKuzminski
    Guest

    Re: Aaland Agency (new incarnation of Abacus)

    Why not? Then you can jump on the bandwagon and criticize the other business so that folks will mistakenly believe you're legitimate. Your prices must be fair since you're on their side against that other bad business. :ha

  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Xavier Kobel's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Almost duped by Abacus

    I too inquired to Abacus about representation. Was told to send my MS, then fed the rewrite line to bring it to commercial standards. The rewrite of a passage was even offered as well. I bit, placed the first $1000 on my wife's credit card. She had a bad feeling, and being as I was unemployed at the time made me ask to be left out of the deal.

    GT Dawson, agreed and mailed back a check minus the $50 Pay Pal fee.

    Another source has since confirmed the agency seems to do little more than build up aspiring authors, and dupe them out of huge editing fees.

  19. #19
    Been a long time... OneTeam OneDream's Avatar
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    AAland Agency

    I see that P and E says the AAland agency is not rec'd. That's the only real info I can find on them. Does anyone know anything about them, such as, why they wouldn't be in Dave's good graces?

  20. #20
    What? I have a title? Julie Worth's Avatar
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    According to vstrauss, it's aka Abacus.
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 05-27-2008 at 07:56 PM. Reason: threads merged, link moot

  21. #21
    Hagiographically Advantaged AW Moderator HapiSofi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneTeamOneDream
    I see that P and E says the AAland agency is not rec'd. That's the only real info I can find on them. Does anyone know anything about them, such as, why they wouldn't be in Dave's good graces?
    If Aaland is Abacus, they're thoroughgoing bad guys. Don't go near them.

    Being in Dave's good graces and being recommended or not recommended by P&E are two different things. Dave's a good guy, though he does suffer from a mystic compulsion to get in there and kick the tarbaby during online arguments. However, you should never doubt that P&E has well-established standards by which they judge agencies and publishing houses. In the case of Aaland (nee Abacus), their non-recommended status is because they charge huge fees for bad editing, and don't make their money selling manuscripts to publishers.

  22. #22
    Been a long time... OneTeam OneDream's Avatar
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    []If Aaland is Abacus, they're thoroughgoing bad guys. Don't go near them.
    I did a forum search for AAland, and didn't find that thread I was pointed to earlier.....weird.

    Being in Dave's good graces and being recommended or not recommended by P&E are two different things. Dave's a good guy; he just suffers from a mystic compulsion to get in there and kick the tarbaby during online arguments.

    Yeah, that probably came out differently than I meant it. I know Dave and P&E has great standards, I would never doubt them.

    Never doubt that P&E has well-established standards by which they judge agencies and publishing houses. In the case of Aaland (nee Abacus), their non-recommended status is because they charge huge fees for bad editing, and don't make their money selling manuscripts to publishers.[/QUOTE]

  23. #23
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    Quite true. I work hard to keep separate my personal feelings from the ratings or recommendations that P&E gives out. In particular, there are some agents whom I respect deeply that aren't recommended by P&E.
    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.


  24. #24
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Exclamation

    FYI: This agency has been named one of Writer Beware's 20 Worst Agents/Agencies.
    Last edited by CaoPaux; 03-14-2006 at 02:19 AM. Reason: to add the !. I like teh !, so there.
    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:

  25. #25
    tudec
    Guest
    I submitted to several hundred agents and publishers several months back, for a short story I wrote. Several accepted my inquiry and took a look at the story. One of them was the Abacus Group.

    Yesterday G.T. Dawson, their director, sent a reply, saying they felt they could sell my story for a short story compilation book. They felt the story was strong, but the writing needed to be tweaked. AT NO COST, they'd do a re-write of the first page, to make it more commercially marketable.

    However, they also required a $750 administrative fee for "(1) preparing sends to publishers (cover letters, packaging, phone calls), (2) printing duplication copies, and (3) following up on review status at booksellers, including (if necessary) in-house visits requiring unscheduled air travel in the eventuality the manuscript is sold. Point: Selling a manuscript to NYC-based publishing houses is more than just pushing paper around for free (try the freebies and see what happens). This is the only charge to you over the duration of the Representation Agreement contract, regardless of the number of bookseller submissions and, prior to galley, line edit changes to the manuscript (author approved)."

    Their e-mail included a one-year agency contract at the standard 10%.

    I'm a relatively new author, but I know that agents only get paid AFTER the sale. I've been told to be wary of any up-front fees, no matter how they were justified. So I quickly googled the agent and company name, and arrived at this page.

    Thanks for confirming my suspicions. Too bad though...I was excited about the possibility of getting an agent. But when I get an agent, I want it to be because I earned one, not because I bought one.

    Thanks. Good luck to all.

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