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Thread: Stone Bench Associates

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Stone Bench Associates

    Has anyone heard of Stone Bench Associates? Their website is very new writer friendly ... just wondering if it's true.
    thanks

  2. #2
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    If you want us to evaluate their web site, it would help to post the URL.

    Without seeing it, a red flag goes up almost immediately when I hear that a business site is very new writer friendly.
    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.


  3. #3
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Exclamation Danger, danger, Will Robinson!

    "Stone Bench Associates is an up-and-coming group of writers' representatives. Our associates have had a lot of experience in discovering the salable manuscripts among the many submissions we receive each week. We are eager to find new talent, and to work with unpublished writers in finding a publisher for their work."

    http://www.stonebench.us/

    :faint:
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  4. #4
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    I agree with Cao. This has all the markers of a completley clueless enterprise.

    - Victoria

  5. #5
    Preditors & Editors Requiescat In Pace DaveKuzminski's Avatar
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    Worse, in my opinion. Real agencies don't have time to go around pointing out all the things to be wary of. Instead, they generally mention up front what they're looking to represent, how to submit, and what they've sold before. In fact, most of the real agencies leave the scam education to the watchdog sites. Methinks that Stone Bench Associates doth protest too much.
    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.


  6. #6
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Stone Bench

    Many thanks. You guys/gals have been at this business longer so I value your insights and will stay away.

  7. #7
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    A worthwhile agent has sold books you've heard of.

  8. #8
    Mikobosto
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    Smile I like Stone Bench!

    I’ve been reading these comments about Stone Bench Associates with some dismay. It seems as though the agency is being condemned or questioned based on what some writers think about the website. Has anyone contacted the people at Stone Bench? I have.

    I sent them a query about a non-fiction project I’m working on and received a prompt and encouraging reply. Like all new writers, I was worried about fees and scams—so I asked: no fees (reading, editing, marketing, whatever).

    I like the people at Stone Bench. They read my submission and gave me feedback on what I need to do to get the manuscript in publishable shape. Even though they did not offer to represent me, I feel they were honest and responsive. My e-mails were answered promptly and courteously.

  9. #9
    Autarchia
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    Thumbs up A Little Truth About Stone Bench

    All I can say is that the people who speak ill of Stone Bench Associates must have axes to grind. I have been ...working with the agency on my first book (on toxicology) and I have been nothing but pleased with our relationship. Perhaps these are people who submitted queries to Stone Bench and were rejected? That will do a lot for a writer's perspective.

    First time writers need to understand that we are the lowest of the low. We are not likely to get the bigger name literary agencies to look at our manuscripts, let alone represent us. Do you know that most agencies reject 99% of submitted material? Stone Bench is TRYING to be different--to give first time writers a chance to break into the publishing world.

    Here are two ways you can tell that Stone Bench is legitimate:

    1) No fees are charged. The agency gets a percentage of an author's royalties. In other words, they don't m...ake money unless you do.

    2) Most submissions to Stone Bench are rejected. This is not the behavior of a business out to scam writers out of money.

    So if you're not interested in getting anywhere with your writing, by all means follow the advice of the ill-biled writers in this thread. If you really want to know what Stone Bench offers, write to them at associates@stonebench.us and query your current project. You lose nothing, but you may gain quite a bit.

    That's it for me. Remember that for every one writer you turn off to Stone Bench, there are five more willing to fill their place. Are any of us so spectacular that we can afford to be fools?

    Autarchia

  10. #10
    Autarchia
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    Think about that...

    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
    A worthwhile agent has sold books you've heard of.
    Right...and so how likely are they to give a damn about new writers?

  11. #11
    Autarchia
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss
    I agree with Cao. This has all the markers of a completley clueless enterprise.

    - Victoria
    True cluelessness is damning an agency without any real information.

  12. #12
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Some people seem to decide certain agent is legit/trustworthy because they replied courteously/promptly/favorably/or whatnot.

    Those are nice, but those alone don't make them good agents. There are TONS of well-meaning, but clueless agents out there. What's important is: Will they be able to sell your manuscript to a legitimate publisher? If they can't do that, they are no good, no matter how nice they are or how much they believe in your success. After all, isn't that what you hire agents for, to sell your manuscript to publishers?

    What Uncle Jim said stands:

    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
    A worthwhile agent has sold books you've heard of.
    Note to Autarchia: I'm not talking about your agent in particular. I don't know anything about him, nor have I checked his web site. This is just a general comment. (But I did notice you didn't list him making sales regularly as one the reasons why he's legit.)

    CRUNCHY

  13. #13
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Autarchia
    True cluelessness is damning an agency without any real information.
    True cluelessness might also be defined as ignoring valuable advice from experienced professionals. Macdonald is a much published novelist, writing workshop teacher, and writer advocate. He's telling you something important; a good agency is one who has sold books you've heard of. There are a number of agents, many of them well-intentioned, who don't, for whatever reason, manage to sell books.

    Victoria Strauss is Vice-Chair of Science Fictions Writers of America's Committee on Writing Scams; check out Writer Beware.
    Last edited by Medievalist; 03-09-2005 at 11:43 AM. Reason: It's the kinder, gentler Medievalist.

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  14. #14
    Around and About SuperModerator Birol's Avatar
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    Autarchia,

    This board has one rule and one rule only: Respect your fellow writers. The individual who started this thread simply had a question about Stone Bench Associates. Those who answered who did so politely and provided their opinions based on their own hard-earned knowledge of the publishing industry.

    If you have additional information to show Stone Bench does not match the opinions those individuals offered, it can be done so without resorting to personal attacks.

  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW jackie106's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Autarchia
    First time writers need to understand that we are the lowest of the low. We are not likely to get the bigger name literary agencies to look at our manuscripts, let alone represent us.
    I do not believe that first-time writers are "the lowest of the low." Writers have a justifiable right to protect themselves at every stage of their careers.

    If this is a legitimate agency, it should be able to withstand scrutiny from watchdog groups. If not, then writers need to know about the possible pitfalls.

    Jackie
    Last edited by jackie106; 03-09-2005 at 11:41 AM.

  16. #16
    The late, the great XThe NavigatorX mdin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Autarchia
    Right...and so how likely are they to give a damn about new writers?
    More importantly.... how likely is it that Stone Bench will manage to sell the manuscript? Has your book sold?

    And to answer your first question, most reputable agents will work with new writers. Especially if they've written a good book.

  17. #17
    wishes you happiness JennaGlatzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Autarchia
    All I can say is that the people who speak ill of Stone Bench Associates must have axes to grind.
    Hi Autarchia. It appears to me that you are the person who's written the Stone Bench Associates web page.

    The three individuals who have commented above are not only experienced authors, but experienced author advocates as well. In other words, these are people who have been investigating scam operations, clueless companies, and other unsavories in the writing world for many years. They've saved many people from a lot of trouble. Do a small amount of research before questioning their motives, please.

    The only "research" we can do on Stone Bench is the single web page they've provided. On that page, there are no sales listed, no names of agents, no proof of any kind of experience in the business. And a PO box in Pennsylvania.

    A lack of fees is a good sign if you're just trying to ascertain whether a particular agency is an outright scammer, but not an adequate marker of whether or not an agency can actually sell your work. Having an inexperienced agent with no connections can harm a writer. In most cases, the writer would be better off submitting directly to publishers him/herself.

    Stone Bench is TRYING to be different--to give first time writers a chance to break into the publishing world.
    Congratulations on that. But first-time writers have plenty of chances to break in to the publishing world. The key? Write a great book.

    All of us who are now published were at one time unpublished. We managed to break in. Some with the help of worthwhile agents, some on our own.

    So if you're not interested in getting anywhere with your writing, by all means follow the advice of the ill-biled writers in this thread.
    Actually, the ill-biled writers in this thread are quite successful writers, and new writers (as well as inexperienced agents) would be wise to listen to their counsel. But if writers are not interested in getting anywhere with their writing, they might prefer to listen to those who've never had anything published.

    If you really want to know what Stone Bench offers, write to them at associates@stonebench.us and query your current project. You lose nothing, but you may gain quite a bit.
    Odd that you'd want more people to sign with your agency... I know I'm not encouraging people to submit to mine... takes away the time my agent has to spend on my projects. In fact, I can't think of one good reason for you to pump this new company and try to discredit those who question it unless, in fact, you own the company.

    Which is, of course, what generally happens when one Googles his company name, finds it in our message board, and jumps in on his very first post to defend its honor. I note you've never participated elsewhere on this board.

    Are any of us so spectacular that we can afford to be fools?
    Might I suggest that you listen to yourself? Also... I'm no fool, Mr. Conroy. But I am spectacular!
    Last edited by JennaGlatzer; 03-09-2005 at 01:37 PM.
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  18. #18
    Banned Optimus's Avatar
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    Oh, snap!

    Jenna just shot that guy down like Ben Affleck in Pearl Harbor.

    I love fiesty women.

    They're spectacular!

  19. #19
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    the location

    Aside from no sales record, among other things that others have mentioned, this agency is in Philadelphia. For US agents, be hypercritical of agents outside of Los Angeles and New York. When I've done googles and searches on agents that I've come across, agents outside these two cities seldom have verifiable sales records.

    Not that they aren't con artists or marginal agents in LA and NYC, because they are. But an agent outside of LA or NYC is so much more likely to be either marginal or a con. I think you can safely say if the agent is an US agent, and not in either of these two cities, RUN!

  20. #20
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    From the Stone Bench website:

    Our associates have had a lot of experience in discovering the salable manuscripts among the many submissions we receive each week.
    Cool! Could you mention the titles, authors, and publishers of three or four of your most recent sales?

    From the Stone Bench website:

    Our years of expertise are put to work for our clients who may otherwise have no idea of how to best present themselves professionally.
    Excellent! I notice you're in Pennsylvania. I used to live in Pennsylvania, and have a lot of friends in the writing community there. Could you tell me who you are? Maybe we've met.

    I see that you represent science fiction, speculative fiction, horror, and (in romance) some fantasy.

    Outstanding! I write SF, fantasy, and horror myself. Could you tell me the names of some of the editors you work with most closely?

  21. #21
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustinoXXV
    I think you can safely say if the agent is an US agent, and not in either of these two cities, RUN!
    I'm not prepared to go that far. I'm aware of far too many agents with excellent track records who live outside of LA or NYC.

  22. #22
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    writer

    I'm a screenwriter, so the kinds of literary agents I may deal with are somewhat different from the kinds of literary agents that novelists would deal with. As far as representing screenplays goes, I'm prepared to go that far. I've not come across any outside of Los Angeles or New York that have verifiable sales.

    I'll also ask, these literary agents who don't live in LA or NYC, who are they selling books to and who are they representing?

    Would an agent in Montgomery, Alabama have a reasonable chance at selling a manuscript to Simon and Schuster or Random House?

  23. #23
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustinoXXV
    Would an agent in Montgomery, Alabama have a reasonable chance at selling a manuscript to Simon and Schuster or Random House?
    That depends entirely on how good their contacts are.

    In any case, with the agency currently under discussion, they appear to be located in Philly, which is a short jaunt up to NYC on the Metroliner.

  24. #24
    wishes you happiness JennaGlatzer's Avatar
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    Just in my own experience, I agree with Justino that I've never found a decent screenwriting agent outside of LA or NY; however, I've found several legit book agents in other cities. Never one with just a PO box, though.

    J asked, " Would an agent in Montgomery, Alabama have a reasonable chance at selling a manuscript to Simon and Schuster or Random House?"

    Answer: Yes. Particularly if the agent makes frequent trips to NYC. (Agents in Washington, DC and Dallas, Texas have sold books to major presses for me.)

    By the way, Autarchia (Emilie), sorry for calling you Mr. I should have stuck with my first hunch.

    A far better reaction to noticing our thread would have been to introduce yourself honestly, tell us you're new to agenting, and give us a couple of good reasons to believe you can sell books. Posing as your own satisfied client so rarely looks good for you around these parts, where people are so ill-biled.
    Last edited by JennaGlatzer; 03-09-2005 at 06:46 PM.
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  25. #25
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Here's a useful article on the Getting of Agents.

    Interested students might like to re-read the thread here at AW about ST Literary agency.

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