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Thread: The von Raesfeld Agency (Carol von Raesfeld)

  1. #1
    CountryCrone
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    Question The von Raesfeld Agency (Carol von Raesfeld)

    Greetings, all. Newbie here. I DID check the Bewares Index... but found no mention of Carol von Raesfeld, an agent in Las Vegas. Her agency is "New Writers Literary Agency" -- NOT to be confused with the much-discussed scammer "Writers Literary Agency" (for which I thank you all very much). Or, at least, near as I can tell Raesfeld's agency is a whole 'nother creature. I did some searching and found that Raesfeld was a workshop presenter at the 2007 Vegas Valley Book Festival. I'm interested in her (and cautious) because she expresses an interest in unpublished writers. I am a long-time published columnist in a local newspaper, working on a book-collection of columns...haven't previously published a book. Hope this isn't too much info. Thanks.

  2. #2
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Website is here:

    http://www.newwriterslit.com/

    It's only got 2 sales listed - one from 2004 and one from 2006, both of which are non-fiction although the site accepts fiction submissions.

    The fact that they're operating as both agents and editors sets off an alarm bell with me. Most of their editing work seems to be with PublishAmerica authors and the agency contract is for a 6 month term, which doesn't seem to be long enough to shop a book effectively and I'd be interested to know what happens once the book is sold.

    There's no information on Carol's CV or credentials (although those are stated to be available on request so if anyone can share, jump in).

    Personally, there just don't seem to be the sales there to justify a submission so you may be better off trying elsewhere first - any agent is interested in unpublished writers if they've got a good enough book or proposal.

    MM
    Last edited by Momento Mori; 09-27-2007 at 08:52 PM.

  3. #3
    What? I have a title? Julie Worth's Avatar
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    A retired paralegal turned literary agent in 2001, but with few apparent sales? Making money on editing? I'd go to agentquery.com and find a real agent.
    Last edited by Julie Worth; 09-27-2007 at 07:11 PM.

  4. #4
    I heart Malamutes! :-) JerseyGirl1962's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CountryCrone View Post
    I'm interested in her (and cautious) because she expresses an interest in unpublished writers.
    It's a myth that legit agents don't take on unpublished writers; there are plenty of formerly unpubbed writers here on AW who were taken on by agents. They weren't celebrities, either (which is another myth).

    I'd go with what Julie says. Continue your research using Agent Query, Preditors & Editors, and this site.

    Good luck!

    ~Nancy
    Screw the new blog, I've resurrected my old blog: Writerly Stuff.

    I twit, therefore I am?

    Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. ~Thomas Edison

    It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn't give it up because by that time I was too famous. ~Robert Benchley

  5. #5
    The key is to start at the top and work your way down. An agent with few sales should be towards the bottom of the list.

  6. #6
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    New Writers L.A. is now The von Raesfeld Agency: http://vonraesfeldagency.com/index.htm
    ICAO
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  7. #7
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I am Carol von Raesfeld. Please read my reply.

    Quote Originally Posted by CountryCrone View Post
    Greetings, all. Newbie here. I DID check the Bewares Index... but found no mention of Carol von Raesfeld, an agent in Las Vegas. Her agency is "New Writers Literary Agency" -- NOT to be confused with the much-discussed scammer "Writers Literary Agency" (for which I thank you all very much). Or, at least, near as I can tell Raesfeld's agency is a whole 'nother creature. I did some searching and found that Raesfeld was a workshop presenter at the 2007 Vegas Valley Book Festival. I'm interested in her (and cautious) because she expresses an interest in unpublished writers. I am a long-time published columnist in a local newspaper, working on a book-collection of columns...haven't previously published a book. Hope this isn't too much info. Thanks.
    It's weird to read what people write about me. I'll provide whatever information you wish to know, such as reason for name change, etc. My contact information is in my website: vonraesfeldagency.com

  8. #8
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    I am Carol von Raesfeld. Please read my reply.

    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    Website is here:

    http://www.newwriterslit.com/

    It's only got 2 sales listed - one from 2004 and one from 2006, both of which are non-fiction although the site accepts fiction submissions.

    The fact that they're operating as both agents and editors sets off an alarm bell with me. Most of their editing work seems to be with PublishAmerica authors and the agency contract is for a 6 month term, which doesn't seem to be long enough to shop a book effectively and I'd be interested to know what happens once the book is sold.

    There's no information on Carol's CV or credentials (although those are stated to be available on request so if anyone can share, jump in).

    Personally, there just don't seem to be the sales there to justify a submission so you may be better off trying elsewhere first - any agent is interested in unpublished writers if they've got a good enough book or proposal.

    MM
    My agency is a legitimate business. There is a very good reason for the low number of sales. Some writers publish with PublishAmerica for two reasons: 1) their book did not sell to a traditional publisher; 2) they cannot afford to self-publish, but they actually want a good product, so they come to me for editing. There is no shame in earning an honest dollar. Ask me if you want more CV details. Try Jodie Rhodes, a literary agent in CA. She, too accepts unpublished writers. As Jeff Herman says, "Nobody's born published."
    Last edited by CarolZ; 06-19-2009 at 12:37 AM. Reason: 2 typos

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by CarolZ View Post
    It's weird to read what people write about me. I'll provide whatever information you wish to know, such as reason for name change, etc. My contact information is in my website: vonraesfeldagency.com

    Could you please post it here for us all to read? It would be appreciated.

  10. #10
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I am Carol von Raesfeld. Your comment is unfair.

    Quote Originally Posted by Julie Worth View Post
    A retired paralegal turned literary agent in 2001, but with few apparent sales? Making money on editing? I'd go to agentquery.com and find a real agent.
    If you'd like to find out more about me, please contact me. Your skepticism is unwarranted. There is a very good reason for the "few apparent sales" and I'd like to ask, What's wrong with "making money on editing?" My clients are apprised of the potential conflict of interest and editing is a legitimate way to make money while you're trying to sell a book.
    BTW: You won't find any complaints about me in Preditors & Editors or agentquery.com [which I knew nothing about until now -- thanks!]

  11. #11
    In looking at the website, two things leap out at me.....would anyone tell me if this is the norm?

    First, they request you call for permission to submit via email.

    Second, they "require a small deposit to cover photocopying and postage.

    There is also this:

    Fees for services offered through The von Raesfeld Agency:
    · Editing services (including preparation of critiques):
    $25/hour (one hour minimum, payable at time of submission; balance due upon completion.)
    · Flat fee available for lengthy manuscripts (exceeding 100 pages) starting at One Dollar ($1.00) per full page of text (estimate will be provided)
    · Fast turnaround time guaranteed if submitted via email but subject to “rush” charges.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by CarolZ View Post
    If you'd like to find out more about me, please contact me. Your skepticism is unwarranted. There is a very good reason for the "few apparent sales" and I'd like to ask, What's wrong with "making money on editing?" My clients are apprised of the potential conflict of interest and editing is a legitimate way to make money while you're trying to sell a book.
    BTW: You won't find any complaints about me in Preditors & Editors or agentquery.com [which I knew nothing about until now -- thanks!]

    I looked on P&E and AgentQuery as well as Publishers Marketplace. I don't see your name anywhere, and I copied and pasted it from your webpage. Am I doing something wrong in my efforts to research you? (NOT being snippy, just asking).

  13. #13
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I am Carol von Raesfeld. Thanks for your comment.

    Quote Originally Posted by JerseyGirl1962 View Post
    It's a myth that legit agents don't take on unpublished writers; there are plenty of formerly unpubbed writers here on AW who were taken on by agents. They weren't celebrities, either (which is another myth).

    I'd go with what Julie says. Continue your research using Agent Query, Preditors & Editors, and this site.

    Good luck!

    ~Nancy
    You are absolutely correct about "legit agents taking on unpublished writers." Ask Jodie Rhodes, a literary agent in CA. I'd love to be as successful as she is and has been for the last decade. Also ask her if she also edits her clients' work. If you'd like more info about me, contact me.

  14. #14
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    I am Carol von Raesfeld, but I'm not a "bottom feeder"

    Quote Originally Posted by herdon View Post
    The key is to start at the top and work your way down. An agent with few sales should be towards the bottom of the list.
    This is great advice -- always go for the big agencies. Statistics show that they accept MAYBE two percent of what they see. Those of you who aren't successful landing a 'big one' will probably be knocking on the doors of those of us whose names are lower on your list. Because we're small and not-so-well known only means that fewer opportunities come our way and when that happens, if it's a good project, you can bet we give it our all. If you'd like to know the reason why I'm an "agent with few sales," please contact me.
    Last edited by CarolZ; 06-18-2009 at 06:41 AM. Reason: Typo

  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    The von Raesfeld Agency

    Quote Originally Posted by EgyptianGoddess View Post
    Could you please post it here for us all to read? It would be appreciated.
    I changed my agency name from New Writers Literary Agency to The von Raesfeld Agency because I was constantly being confused with other agencies with a similar name - one or more of which are "disreputable."

  16. #16
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    The von Raesfeld Agency

    Quote Originally Posted by EgyptianGoddess View Post
    In looking at the website, two things leap out at me.....would anyone tell me if this is the norm?

    First, they request you call for permission to submit via email.

    Second, they "require a small deposit to cover photocopying and postage.

    There is also this:

    Fees for services offered through The von Raesfeld Agency:
    · Editing services (including preparation of critiques):
    $25/hour (one hour minimum, payable at time of submission; balance due upon completion.)
    · Flat fee available for lengthy manuscripts (exceeding 100 pages) starting at One Dollar ($1.00) per full page of text (estimate will be provided)
    · Fast turnaround time guaranteed if submitted via email but subject to “rush” charges.
    I do not know if my business practices are "the norm." Mine is a very small business. I require potential clients to ask permission to submit to me so that my Inbox is not flooded with unsolicited manuscripts [yes, there ARE a lot of nuts out there.]

    Because I am small, I cannot afford to "front" the cost of submissions, so I request a small DEPOSIT. This is NOT illegal. Any portion not used for the specific purpose of photocopies and postage is promptly refunded. I do not charge reading fees, so I should not be "branded" as a "fee-charging agency." I can easily name several legitimate (and larger) agencies that require payment of "upfront" costs -- and it's non-refundable.

  17. #17
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Editing Services

    Quote Originally Posted by EgyptianGoddess View Post
    In looking at the website, two things leap out at me.....would anyone tell me if this is the norm?

    First, they request you call for permission to submit via email.

    Second, they "require a small deposit to cover photocopying and postage.

    There is also this:

    Fees for services offered through The von Raesfeld Agency:
    · Editing services (including preparation of critiques):
    $25/hour (one hour minimum, payable at time of submission; balance due upon completion.)
    · Flat fee available for lengthy manuscripts (exceeding 100 pages) starting at One Dollar ($1.00) per full page of text (estimate will be provided)
    · Fast turnaround time guaranteed if submitted via email but subject to “rush” charges.
    Some of the editing services I provide are NOT related to the book publishing business. I do not believe that "rookie" writers should have to incur huge debts to get their books edited (so that it is "presentable" to publishers and/or other agents) so I keep my fees low for proofreading and copyediting. This does not mean that I am not a qualified editor or that I do substandard work.

  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I am Carol von Raesfeld. Please read my reply.

    Quote Originally Posted by CaoPaux View Post
    New Writers L.A. is now The von Raesfeld Agency: http://vonraesfeldagency.com/index.htm
    This is true. I am no longer doing business as "New Writers Literary Agency" because I was too often confused with disreputable agencies with similar business names. I shut down my "NWLA" website more than a year ago, but it never seems to go away. If you are interested in contacting me, see my new website: www.vonraesfeldagency.com

  19. #19
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    The von Raesfeld Agency

    Quote Originally Posted by EgyptianGoddess View Post
    I looked on P&E and AgentQuery as well as Publishers Marketplace. I don't see your name anywhere, and I copied and pasted it from your webpage. Am I doing something wrong in my efforts to research you? (NOT being snippy, just asking).
    See my new website: www.vonraesfeldagency.com for my contact information. I'd be happy to talk with you, via email or telephone, but I am not willing to post personal information on this site.

  20. #20
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CarolZ View Post
    Because I am small, I cannot afford to "front" the cost of submissions, so I request a small DEPOSIT. This is NOT illegal.
    No, it's not. But it's not standard practice among reputable literary agents. Also, a literary agency should be able to front its own operating costs, without looking to its clients for financial support.

    I do not believe that "rookie" writers should have to incur huge debts to get their books edited (so that it is "presentable" to publishers and/or other agents) so I keep my fees low for proofreading and copyediting. This does not mean that I am not a qualified editor or that I do substandard work.
    That's true (although I don't see anything in the professional history posted on your website that indicates that you have professional editing expertise. If I'm mistaken, my apologies). However, it's at least a potential conflict of interest. If an agent doubles as a paid editor, how tempting will it be for him or her to suggest that clients or potential clients use his/her services? And if s/he can make money from recommending editing, how can the client trust that the recommendation is in the client's best interest?

    There is a very good reason for the "few apparent sales"
    I'd be interested in knowing it.

    As a general rule of thumb, one wants to see a new agency start making regular sales within a year or so of starting up. Any longer suggests a lack of contacts and/or skills.

    Just one final picky note: On your home page, you say that you offer agenting services to writers looking for publication by "traditional (royalty-paying) publishers." Leaving aside the dispute over the word "traditional," even vanity publishers pay royalties these days.

    - Victoria

  21. #21
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Hi, CarolZ, and welcome to AW.

    CarolZ:
    My agency is a legitimate business.
    I didn't suggest that it wasn't a legitimate business. My issue is whether you have enough of a sales track record to make it worthwhile for an author to sign with you.

    When I made my original post in 2007, you only had 2 sales listed - one made in 2004 and the other made in 2006. Your current website does not list any sales information or provide an indication of who your clients are. Are you able to give us an idea of your recent sales because this would do a lot to help convince people that you are able to work as an agent?

    CarolZ:
    There is a very good reason for the low number of sales.
    Okay. What is that reason?

    CarolZ:
    Some writers publish with PublishAmerica for two reasons: 1) their book did not sell to a traditional publisher; 2) they cannot afford to self-publish, but they actually want a good product, so they come to me for editing.
    The second reason you cite is not a reason for an author to sign with Publish America.

    As an agent, would you ever encourage one of your clients to sign with Publish America? Do you represent any authors who self-publish or only self-publish?

    CarolZ:
    Try Jodie Rhodes, a literary agent in CA. She, too accepts unpublished writers.
    There are plenty of agents who accept unpublished writers (I know, because I'm about to sign with a major London agency and I only have one short story token paying credit to my name).

    The issue is not whether an author has been previously published, the issue is whether you as an agent believe you can sell a person's manuscript and whether you can then actually do so.

    CarolZ:
    Your skepticism is unwarranted. There is a very good reason for the "few apparent sales" and I'd like to ask, What's wrong with "making money on editing?"
    Your inability or unwillingness to provide details of recent sales suggests that my skepticism is very much warranted.

    I repeat - what is this "very good reason" for your low number of sales? If you've got one, then please share it.

    As regards making money from editing - there's nothing wrong with that (although as Victoria points out, it's a potential conflict of interest). I happen to know several agent's assistants at top agencies who work as freelance editors to supplement their income. They all make it very clear that they will not give the manuscript any preferential treatment if it's submitted to the agencies they work for and make sure that the authors understand that.

    CarolZ:
    You are absolutely correct about "legit agents taking on unpublished writers." Ask Jodie Rhodes, a literary agent in CA. I'd love to be as successful as she is and has been for the last decade. Also ask her if she also edits her clients' work.
    I don't know who Jodie Rhodes is, but i you want to be as successful as her, then you need to make sales.

    As regards her editing her clients' work - that doesn't surprise me. The majority of agents will work with their clients to polish a manuscript before submitting it to publishers - but they don't charge for that. They make their money from making the sale.

    CarolZ:
    Statistics show that they accept MAYBE two percent of what they see. Those of you who aren't successful landing a 'big one' will probably be knocking on the doors of those of us whose names are lower on your list. Because we're small and not-so-well known only means that fewer opportunities come our way and when that happens, if it's a good project, you can bet we give it our all.
    The thing you're missing about those statistics you quote is that 98% of what gets sent to an agent is unpublishable - which usually means poor English, no story, no structure, too high or too low word count, etc etc. It's called the slush pile and every agency can give you a horror story of the kind of dreck that gets sent to it.

    Of the 2% that is publishable, an agent will take on those projects they think they can sell. They will then work to sell it.

    CarolZ:
    This does not mean that I am not a qualified editor or that I do substandard work.
    No one is questioning the quality of your editing work. Have any of the projects that you've edited gone on to be signed by agents at bigger agencies or by commercial publishers?

    CarolZ:
    I'd be happy to talk with you, via email or telephone, but I am not willing to post personal information on this site.
    I don't want personal information - all I'd like to see is information about your sales history, which is information that should already be in the public domain.

    MM

  22. #22
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Gah.
    As we begin our 11th year, THE VON RAESFELD AGENCY will emphasize editorial services, particularly with regard to writers who intend to self-publish either "paper" editions or electronic editions. Literary representation will continue to be offered on a limited basis.
    ICAO
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    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:

  23. #23
    Shakespearean Fool DreamWeaver's Avatar
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    Is "paper" really in quotation marks? That makes me *so* wonder what it's a euphemism for .
    Why doesn't George R. R. Martin use Twitter? He already killed off all 140 characters.

  24. #24
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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