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Thread: Vera deVaney Literary Agency (formerly CCE Literary Agency)

  1. #1
    KivrinAngel
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    Vera deVaney Literary Agency (formerly CCE Literary Agency)

    I have a friend who writes YA fantasy and has recently signed with an agent. Unfortunately, I'm less than convinced that this agent is reputable and my friend (Who I will refer to as DC) is so much on Cloud 9 about being represented that he refuses to listen to those of us with warning bells going off in our heads. I was hoping someone here would have some information.

    The agent is Vera De Vaney at CCE Literary Agency. She is not listed in any of my agent books and the only place I've found her online is on Predators and Editors where they have posted the question, "Does anyone know anything about this agency?" She is located in Oregon and yet not listed as a business in that state, nor in the Better Business Bureau. I have searched the archives of many publishing related magazines and found no mention of her in any article. I've even had a friend, who is more computer literate than I, search. She has found masses of things on my agent that I never knew, and yet can find absolutely nothing on Vera.

    The reason for my initial concern is that, unfortunately, DC is very much in the newbie stage of writing. He has only been at it for six months and I'm sure we all remember what our work was like at the six month point (shiver). When he sent to Vera, he broke every rule in the publishing industry. The book was not finished, he sent it single-spaced, with 25 pages of info dumping, many misspelled words, and major plot problems. And yet Vera signed him on with nearly no questions asked. She has since put him through three months of extensive revisions, afterwhich his manuscript is better, but still not up to publishing standards. He has recently sent a chapter to a large critique group we both belonged to and recieved 75% negative comments. And this from a group I no longer submit to because I got tired of everyone simply saying "I love this story!" Yet he has convinced himself that they (the unagented masses) don't know what they're talking about. His arrogance will be his downfall.

    Unfortunately, I can not stage an intervention without information. I have given him my concerns, and, as his only published friend, he has listened, but not acted on my advice. My theory is that when he sends her the revisions, she will promptly reply with "This still needs work, but I know a good book doctor who only charges 5000 dollars. After all the time you put in, isn't that a small price to pay?"

    If anyone has any information on this agent, please let me know as quickly as possible. I'm afraid there won't be much more time as he is planning to mail the revisions tomorrow. Feel free to e-mail me directly at KivrinAngel@aol.com.

    Thank you in advance for any help you are able to offer.

    Robin

  2. #2
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: Worried about an agent

    <blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>1 p.m.: Write Right. Aspiring writers will receive professional help at Write Right, a FREE workshop sponsored by CCE Literary Agency. Participants will meet on the first and third Mondays of each month at 1:00 p.m. or at 7:30 p.m. beginning May 5th, 2003. Call (541) 767-9608 for details and to reserve space.<hr></blockquote>

    <a href="http://www.cottagegrove.net/calendar/" target="_new">www.cottagegrove.net/calendar/</a>

    Just make sure your friend knows about Yog's Law: Money flows toward the writer. That and the four classes of agents listed and explicated here:

    1. Real agents
    2. Gormless agents
    3. Not very helpful agents
    4. Scam agents

  3. #3
    RottenLuckWillie
    Guest

    Re: Worried about an agent

    Angel
    I sent you a reply privately.
    rlw

  4. #4
    KivrinAngel
    Guest

    Re: Worried about an agent

    Thanks for your quick response. I actually did find this page in my search, but it told me very little. If she's reputable, it's wonderful that she's reaching out to help new writers. However, if she's not, it could just be another place she looks for victims.

    I haven definitely warned my friend not to pay anything, although I'm not convinced that he's taken my advice to heart. Sometimes the promise of publication can be too much of a siren call for new writers. However, I have bookmarked the page you linked to and will definitely forward it to him.

    Thanks again.

    Robin

  5. #5
    vstrauss
    Guest

    Re: Worried about an agent

    Writer Beware has gotten several inquiries about Vera De Vaney, and I've done some research. Like your friend, I find that almost nothing turns up on this agent--including any evidence of sales. A reputable agent with a track record will generally be more researchable.

    I really wish I had more concrete information for you.

    - Victoria

  6. #6
    bentbrains
    Guest

    Re: Worried about an agent

    Right Victoria,
    I agree. An agents job is to push your product and if they cannot even push themselves out there enough to be visible by a basic internet search then what can they do for your friend? It is exciting to finally land representation, but maybe this agent is just a person sitting in their basement just as excited that they landed a writer.

  7. #7
    Dhewco
    Guest

    Re: Worried about an agent

    I've finally found this comment. She got all the facts wrong. I was not signed with Vera. Vera charged no fees when I did.(except a 30 postage retainer).

    I was only signed in July after a dozen different rewrites.
    I was not referred to an editor. She let me do all the editing myself. She provided critique services. My novel was not single spaced and I have no idea where she got that from. The query was sent with one chapter away from finishing, although she never knew that.
    There were not many mispelled words...two a chapter at most. Maybe three or four homonym errors (there and their mixups). No twenty-five pages of info dumping. Is Kivrin trying to D&*& me as a complete incompetent?
    Three months of extensive revisions? This girl was smoking something when she wrote this. And I did not get that many negative comments. The comments I received were on personal preference differences.

    And she is wrong about newbie stage....I'd started on that novel only nine months before....more than six months on that work. She completely misrepresented the comments she said she made to this board. I've been writing since high school, much longer than the nine months.

    Oh, something I missed. Plot problems? Depends on what you call major: Some Violence, the child character has to kill a couple times(since rewritten and no longer so), and a few other problems, but major is flat out wrong.

    Vera's not the most well-known agent I could have found, but she's been kind, understanding, and patient; as she is with all new writers. If my contracted year doesn't gain me a sale, I still count myself better for having worked with her.

    David

  8. #8
    DaveKuzminski
    Guest

    Re: Worried about an agent

    They've changed the name of the agency, too.

  9. #9
    Shayk1951
    Guest

    Re: Worried about an agent

    I've known David for a couple of years. I have never read anything from him that wasn't toally professional. He was always open to small editing suggestions. As for Vera, I was the one who gave David her name and address. I recieved Vera's name from a PUBLISHED WRITER, who has been with her for a couple of years. She has always been open and above board with her clients. If anyone wants to question her, she can be notified at ccelit@epud.net and I'm sure she will answer all your questions.

    By the way, the reason she isn't with an agency is because her husband became ill several years ago and she began running her agency out of her home so she could be with him. He died July 13 of this year.

  10. #10
    Dhewco
    Guest

    Re: Worried about an agent

    PS....Some told me a little while ago that KivrinAngel reported that she'd based the question on a mythical client of Vera's. So I may have overreacted. Kivrin never told me that. But to suggest my agent accepted a writer that bad is wrong. Vera would never do such a thing. This very nice woman doesn't deserve to be lumped into the category of crooked agent.

    David

  11. #11
    vstrauss
    Guest

    Re: Worried about an agent

    I've searched, but haven't been able to find any sales for Ms. De Vaney, though she appears to have been in business for at least a couple of years. If I'm wrong, I'd welcome correction.

    - Victoria

  12. #12
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Vera DeVaney at CCE Literary Agency

    It seems that (per Google) the only places Ms. De Vaney is mentioned on line is here, and at P&E.

  13. #13
    practical experience, FTW Dhewco's Avatar
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    Well, I've finally learned the truth about this agent. She's not exactly a crook, but she's close. She 'retired' this year, but that's hard to do since she didn't really work. My friend ShayK has given me permission to tell you that the Vera had told her that her work had been sent to Villard. Gave her a whole song and dance about having spoken to a high-ranked editor with them.

    Villard denies that any such contact was made. No submission from her 'agency' had been made. Apparently, Vera didn't submit to anyone or almost anyone.

    I should have known that when the 'copy' of the rejection by Kaeden had a cheapo letterhead. Anyway, my contract with her was up in July, so now I've begun querying on a different work to various agents I've found on www.agentquery.com. Wish me luck and thank God I've learned my lesson ... it only took my 60 dollar postage fee to learn this. I'll never submit to an agent that requires a 'postage' fee. No matter how reputable. Lesson learned.


    David

    PS. To me, Vera counted as reputable because I had good second hand info from a person I trusted that she'd sold a book the year before I first contacted her. Fooled me.
    Last edited by Dhewco; 09-17-2005 at 09:25 PM.

  14. #14
    Requiescat In Pace Requiescat In Pace
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    The Straight Dope on Vera deVaney - Attn: Vic and Dave

    I've been in touch with three or four of Vera deVaney's clients for a couple of years now. They all thought she was wonderful at the beginning, and now all of them have had experiences echoing the poster above.

    Vera deVaney collected fees of approximately 60-150 bucks from each of her clients for "postage" and "copying." She claimed to have been an editor with a major publishing house. I checked and there is no evidence that she ever was. She also claimed to be actively submitting to various houses, both here in the US, and in England. Now that she's declared she's "retired," some of her clients have checked on whether, in fact, their manuscripts were ever submitted. None of them could find any evidence, other than Vera's word, that their manuscripts had ever been sent out. A couple contacted the publishers in question, and asked them to check submission logs, only to discover that Vera deVaney never sent their books out.

    Victoria, Dave, I hope you see this message so you can update your records.

    As far as I know, Vera deVaney cut loose all her clients a month or two ago. Her phone has now been disconnected, and her email doesn't work, either.

    I think she's gone underground. Sometimes these people re-emerge, but in her case, I think she just got tired of lying and is trying to separate herself from the whole mess.

    I could be wrong. We should watch for her to re-emerge, as we always do.

    deVaney fell into the "well-meaning but totally incompetent" class of so called literary agents, more than she did into the "scam" class. Nevertheless, the people she signed lost a bit of money and a LOT of time.

    Best,

    -Ann C. Crispin
    Writer Beware
    www.writerbeware.com

  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW Dhewco's Avatar
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    Ann, do you think it's feasible to try to sell that book again?


    David

  16. #16
    Requiescat In Pace Requiescat In Pace
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    Selling book?

    If the book is saleable, I don't see why not. Chances are excellent that few, if any, editors saw the book while it was with Vera deVaney.

    I'd guess the author is back at Square One.

    -Ann C. Crispin

  17. #17
    johnnyr3
    Guest

    Vera Devaney

    I have known Vera for about 6 years. She is my agent and has never asked for any money. I took a class from her here in Carlsbad, CA along with some other people and we all loved her. I found this site, attempting to find her. She suffered a heart attack, moved to Oregon, and then lost her husband a few years ago. I'm worried that something serious may have happened to her. I find some of these posts hard to believe. I last heard from her in June.

  18. #18
    johnnyr3
    Guest

    Vera Devaney

    I forgot to include my email: johnnyr3@earthlink.net. Feel free to email me with anything you have.

  19. #19
    Persisting AW Moderator Maryn's Avatar
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    johnnyr3, has she sold your book? It's a bottom-line kind of question. A competent agent sells books despite personal turmoil and poor health.

    Maryn, cutting to the chase
    Get to work. Success isn't built on the power of your dreams.


    Brick by Brick, a ménage à trois novel
    Taming the Wilde, FemDom spotted--and striped--in the wild
    Men in Love, anthology about--hey, you're already there, aren't you?
    Maryn Says, an irregular blog almost never about writing
    The Occasional Tweet

  20. #20
    practical experience, FTW Dhewco's Avatar
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    Johnny, I tried to email you and got a spamblocker. I, for one, don't care enough to fill out the information.


    Here's my email:

    Johnny,


    Everything I said is true. Vera and I signed a contract in July 2004, shortly before her husband's demise. For the entire year, she's been barely able to work since. She sent my book to children's publishers and the like and did ask for up to 150 dollar copying fee, starting with 60 dollars before the contract was signed. I've been dealing with her since January 2004, though.

    She's moved, her new email address is (email me for it, I'm not posting that). She's a nice older lady and I bear her no ill will. She made me feel good about my writing in a time when I seriously doubted myself. That alone was worth the 60 bucks.


    Best of luck,

    David Hewitt
    Dhewco@aol.com

  21. #21
    johnnyr3
    Guest

    Vera Devaney

    David - I got your email. Sorry about the spamblocker. I really appreciate your providing Vera's new email. When I said I found the comments hard to believe, I came from the point of view of knowing a different Vera. One of my classmates said "I'm speechless" on seeing the comments. She hasn't sold the book. I'm going to have to approach her in some way re:that.

    She was exteremely helpful in helping me take a story and turn it into a book. Also, one of her former publishing cohorts came to California from back east and reviewed and commented on some of manuscripts, and I have no doubt that she does have a background in editing and publishing, although it may have been many years ago.

    I guess I'm speechless myself about her saying she did things that she didn't do. It just doesn't sound like the Vera that we spent a few years with.

  22. #22
    practical experience, FTW Dhewco's Avatar
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    Johnny,

    She has started repaying most who've asked, Or so I hear. I haven't asked. Like I said, she's done enough for me to be happy. I'd have liked her to have been able to sell the book, but it gave me a bit of pride when I needed it. Now, I'll go on to bigger and better things. (Knock wood)

    I don't know why should would decide to charge upfront fees. It could be the hospital bills for the both of them got so outrageous she, in desperation, decided to charge a small bit. Desperation can, and does, make people do things they know they shouldn't do.

    David

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