Does anyone have any info on the "East/West Agency"? Agent Deborah Warren?
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Does anyone have any info on the "East/West Agency"? Agent Deborah Warren?
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:
The East/West Agency. Here's the deal: From what I can tell, the main agent for this "new" agency is Deborah Warren. She does appear to have a client list, tough it seems they are mostly illustrators. She does seem to have some sales, and that's a plus. However, here lies the rub: Working for Deborah as the submissions coordinator (or some such capacity) is a woman by the name of Lisa Rojany Buccieri. Lisa runs an editorial service called "EDITORIAL SERVICES OF LOS ANGELES". Lisa responded to my query and wanted a 3-4 month exclusive with the manuscript. Somehow the whole thing smelled "fishy" to me. I did not send my MS. Maybe it's legit...but...hmmmmm. Seems like a conflict of interest to me.
Then I found the following posted on "Querytracker.net" about Deborah Warren:
"This agent told my friend that she wanted to represent her, then offered her editor friend's editorial services, which my friend paid for. After she did the revisions, she mentioned her ms to Deborah and it was apparant that she had never read my friend's manuscript before AND she obviously didn't want to represent her."
Hm...Anyone else have any info on the agency...or comments?
Talk about "fishy"! This thread stinks!
Someone just informed me that my name was on here and sent me this link. So for those of you who are too lily-livered to use your real names, this is Lisa here and I would like to let you know that I cannot believe that anyone would cast aspersions on someone's name or business without first doing some serious due diligence. It's just not a very grown-up way of doing things, nor is is fair to anyone involved.
Deborah Warren is indeed a very successful agent whose integrity and straightforward honestly is impeccable and unimpeachable. She runs East West Literary Agency, an agency that prides itself on adhering very strictly to AAR Guidelines (look it up, for godsakes!). These guidelines are there to protect authors and artists from unscrupulous agents who would double dip or take advantage of creative people by charging them for editing and then refusing to take them on as clients OR by charging them for editing and then agreeing to take them on as clients--EITHER practice is highly discouraged.
If an agent agrees to take you on as a client, editing is done "on the house." If an agent refers a writer to an editor or an editing service outside of the agency, it's your business whether you choose to use that editor or not.
Either way, the agent is not allowed to take any kickbacks if he or she adheres to AAR Guidelines. Where do I come in to this? Well, I have two businesses. I have my own business in which I do book packaging and provide editorial services: ESOLA.
I DO NOT, however, provide editorial services for any of Deborah's clients; nor do I refer any of my clients to Deborah or East West--we keep both businesses VERY SEPARATE to avoid ANY confusion. (We learned very early on there was no other way to work together.)
What I do for Deborah is review all the submissions that come into her office and let her know if any of them are worth her spending any of her precious time considering them for representation. Most of the time, I am sad to say, the answer is no.
Every once in a while, a writer has done a fabulous job and the work is unique, has an incredible voice, is a scintillating read or has a singular take on a timely subject and is ready for submission and ready for Deborah to seriously consider taking on. Usually that is not the case.
Each and every rejected writer gets a personal no-thank-you note. Sometimes, if a writer is close to ready, they get referred to an editorial colleague that I believe might help them--again, I do not get any kickbacks nor does Deborah--but we do often hear back from them if they are serious writers and manage to continue on their journey as successful writers.
Perhaps that is the problem with the person who started this thread. Perhaps success is eluding you and you are taking it out on us? Sour grapes do not become you, if so. If your "friend" was rejected, perhaps it was because her work was not appropriate for East West or because Deborah did not feel she could best represent the work--all you have to do is read a synopsis to know the answer to that! Just because she is an agent does not mean she can successfully represent every work that comes before her.
As a writer you would want the best advocate for your work, someone who believes in you and will get behind your work and fight to get it published because they understand the genre and specialize in it.
Consider her rejection a favor and move on. There are plenty of other agents.
And next time, consider this as well: sugar always works better than sour grapes--if your friend had played her cards right, she could have gotten a personal referral to another agent from Deborah who could have kept her moving forward instead of dwelling on her small setbacks.
A writer's life is not easy. There are lots of bumps. You cannot blame everyone who says no for your not yet finding your way. You will, but you have to keep trying, keep writing, keep pushing.
But try to be nice about it, why don't you? Now let's move on, shall we?
Last edited by Book Lover; 03-07-2008 at 01:22 AM. Reason: Shawn said I need paragraphs (so true, LOL)-but I won't change a word
So, Book Lover, you're stating that you do reviewing for East West and don't find that to be a conflict of interest?
Well, I think that Lisa Rojany Buccieri has certainly provided us all with a useful sample of her writing and editing skills, not to mention her professionalism.
I like paragraphs myself.
I also don't see where "This was posted on querytracker.net [quote of post] Does anyone have any more information?" is "casting aspersions." In fact, it seems like "due diligence" to me.
How would reviewing submissions be a conflict of interest if I do not edit them? They are unsolicited. They come from the slush pile--unless we get lucky and they are referred from published writers and thus are step above the usual. I am a mere reader. Perhaps I am misunderstanding you?
I'm certain that you do misunderstand me. A conflict of interest is often more than just a real conflict. It's also the appearance of a conflict. Your business is editing. You're reviewing work for an agent.
First, it's difficult to claim that you're not privy to contact information that you could use later for marketing purposes for your business. This has happened before with others.
Second, by virtue of your position as a reviewer, writers will accept your suggestion that editing is needed because they will believe you know what an agent expects to see whether the editing is done by you or some other business. This has happened before as well.
Third, many of those writers will believe that the best editing service will be one with a connection to the agent because the editor will know exactly what the agent is seeking thus making their chances for representation that much stronger. This is a situation that is not hypothetical. It's happened before already.
So, the point is that whether you're doing any of those things or not, there is a clear conflict of interest involved.
Really, no one here is intent on libel. They're just sharing experiences. If you'd calm down, it wouldn't look so much like they're right.
Wow, the sour grapes line popped up quickly this time, eh?
Ms. Buccieri, I could be wrong, but since you joined up today and were quick to post, I'm assuming you didn't really look into the overall tone of these threads - is that fair to say?
If you'd taken some time to study the bulk of the threads in the Bewares & Backgrounds section of the forum, you would understand that the very nature of these are to provide writers with a place to discuss their own personal dealings with a given outfit. Inexperienced writers frequently fall prey to scams and shoddy dealings, and kind people like Dave and many of the other Bewares regulars do their utmost to protect them. Many of the discussions are of a better-safe-than-sorry variety, and we as aspiring authors depend on their experiences. And those providing details and sharing experiences are doing so without "sour grapes," which is essentially not tolerated and pretty damn easy to sniff out. Accusations are not handed down without due diligence and cause. From what I read, the East/West Agency wasn't being cited for anything - their practices were merely being called into question by someone who wanted to understand the liaison between an agent and her reader/editor.
I have to agree with what Dave said... Anytime an agent an editor are cited in the same breath, I get concerned. To clarify, I do not outright dismiss, I simply want to know more.
So... This really could've been a terrific opportunity for you to invite questions and explain the workings of East/West - I am sure most here would have treated you with genuine respect for taking your time to clarify.
However, you just rolled on in with guns blazing, firing off "this thread stinks," and calling previous posters "lily-livered." I understand that you're upset, but in my experiences in most walks of life, those who are so overtly venomous in defense of themselves are often unwilling to even hear out the questions/opinions of others, and sometimes even have the most to hide. Such insults, as well as your condescending signoff, actually reflect poorly on the outfit you seek to defend.
Here I have to side with csinman - you do have the choice of responding in a civil manner. So please do swing by again and explain to us how there is no conflict of interest here. And do be sure to support - we can't accept that such conflict does not exist simply because you say so.
I almost want to add "talk to us like we're stupid," but you pretty much already did, so I won't.
Whew. That's all. Sorry, but this bothered me.
Last edited by talps; 03-06-2008 at 10:06 AM.
Quid quid latine dictum sit, altum videtur.
I have loved working with Lisa Rojany Buccieri. She is a patient, gentle and talented editor who makes the process of shaping a manuscript fun. My children’s book sold quickly after she set her red pencil to my manuscript and worked with me through many drafts. I’ve had some horrible experiences throughout my rather bumpy 15 year-long career. It is certainly refreshing to find someone who treats me and my work with respect.
I’ve known Deborah Warren of the East West Agency for over 15 years since her Harcourt tenure as vice president of sales under Rubin Pfeffer, now of Simon and Schuster. My first, “Baba: A Return to China Upon My Father’s Shoulders,” was published by Harcourt. I sought Deborah two years ago when I learned she had become an established agent.
I have been represented by a superstar agent, by Endeavor, by Curtis Brown, by Writer’s House so I am familiar with the culture of various agencies. I love working with Deborah Warren at the East West Agency because she, like Lisa Rojany Buccieri, respects her authors’ opinions, listens and discusses at length. She works with me as an equal.
As to the criticism about Ms. Buccieri's tone of reply, I think I'd feel outraged if my long years of hard work to build a solid reputation were maligned on a website by anonymous folk. Think about it. . .wouldn't you be livid?
Belle Yang at Redroom.com "where the writers are"
Last edited by Belle Yang; 03-06-2008 at 12:37 PM. Reason: add link
You signed up for an account, so you saw the recommendations. Maybe you should have lolled around in the newbie forum for a few days to get the feel of the site before deciding we were maligning instead of researching. There's still time! It's a very friendly place.
Reasoned responses backed up by facts, on the other hand, get people to look closer at your position. And if the choice is believing an anonymous poster who posts a reasoned but unverifiable accusation versus a named poster who responds with facts and polite answers, we're perfectly capable of making up our minds as to which person is right or at least seeing that the person in question is making an honest attempt to perform their business ethically and without a conflict of interest.
For the record, many of us aren't anonymous, even if we use a handle on the boards.
I've been working with Deborah Warren and East West Agency for the past year or so. There is nothing "fishy" about the way they work at all, and I have found Deborah to be an enthusiastic and supportive agent, as well as a great friend.
OK. It's a new day and some of you are absolutely correct: I was furious and reacted emotionally. Perhaps I should have taken my own advice and inhaled deeply before responding in one big blob of a red-hot paragraph.
However, my reputation and the reputation of those I work with closely is very important to me. Indeed, it is all I really have. Integrity is all-important. It is not the work that we do, it is who we are that is ultimately all we have. All the credentials in the world, all the rules in the world mean nothing if we are perceived as slimy or as lacking in the honesty department.
As for conflict of interest, when I read submissions for East West Literary Agency, of course I read with Deborah's strengths in mind, but most of all, I read for quality. And most everyone knows that when they see it. When I edit a writer for Deborah, it is a writer who has already been signed, and I do it gratis. When I refer a writer to a colleague, that writer does not then come back around to the agency because we do see it as a conflict of interest.
However, I rarely suggest that a writer whose work is good go directly to an editor as the first option. I usually suggest writing classes, books, workshops, other writers, and less expensive options where feedback can be just as helpful. A paid editor is often the last resort, to be honest, for writers who have exhausted these other venues or who may be in a hurry or who may have a publisher waiting or who might just want the professional one-on-one that good editorial services can provide.
Anyway, I have to get back to work. Fish to fry. . . .
Book Lover, I'm sure you and Deborah have good intentions. However, if you're upset about P&E's recommendation on its site, you should keep this in mind. We've already dealt with situations where the conflict of interest went into full blown scam. Some are still ongoing. In order to warn writers about those, criteria were established by P&E that are rigorously applied. If a legitimate agency steps into one of those criteria the wrong way, we're not going to bend over and make an exception. That's because we've also seen legitimate agencies go bad, though thankfully not very often but just enough to convince us that making an exception is a bad idea. If an agency adjusts its operations, then P&E will modify its recommendations accordingly.
We're tough when it comes to applying our criteria and that's what writers expect from 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.
Unfortunately, it's very easy to fly off the handle online. *tries to look innocent; fails utterly* I know I've certainly had my share on online blowups and I nearly always regretted them a couple of days later.
What AW tries to do in this section is to educate the younger, newer authors down the treacherous paths of the publishing industry. It is a goal, I think, that we can all agree is an honorable one. I'm glad to see that Ms. Buccieri is looking at this in a calmer light this afternoon, and hope that the new writers do as well. One thing I've noticed here and can vouch for is the absolute fairness on the parts of the powers that be and the work they put into making certain that they discover accurate, helpful information. Just take a deep breath and help the process, folks, and we'll all be grateful.
I have been an East/West agency client for two years and am extremely happy with Deborah Warren's professionalism, her integrity, and her knowledge of the business. She has great relationships with the editors I've met at conferences. Last year we signed out first deal together. I look forward to her continued representation.
"Egads:" the 3-4 months I wanted was simply the time it might take me to get to your manuscript. I have to add your manuscript to the stacks of other unsolicited manuscripts on the floor of my office, waiting to be read and reviewed for possible representation.
We get, literally, hundreds of them by mail, not to mention thousands of queries by email.
The fact that you got a reply from me was because there must have been a kernel of something in your query that sparked some interest.
The long time frame is to allow me the time to reply to each and every submission that comes in. We at East West Literary Agency NEVER let ANY query go unreplied to. We have never thrown away an SASE without responding to it personally in some way out of respect for writers and illustrators who pour their heart and soul into their work, even though we state specifically that we prefer to work with referrals from existing clients or other agents only.
That means that unless a writer gets a personal request for material from an incoming query, every single manuscript from the slush pile that I read and personally reply to is done so from the goodness of our hearts because some writer did not take the time to read the guidelines for this agency or did not properly do their research on this agency.
And we take the time to do this because both of us believe in the one-in-a-million chance that there are gems out there. I, for one, have worked in publishing for a long time and have been on the other side of that line long enough to know that every writer and illustrator deserves a tiny break. And maybe we will be the ones to give it. Who knows?
Plus, what goes around . . .
What else I could possibly be doing with a manuscript for 3-4 months besides waiting to read it eludes me, considering that that pile speaks to me daily, reminding me, making me feel guilty knowing how many writers are waiting, wondering, hoping against hope. Oh, and did I mention that I have rarely taken more than 2 months to read something? Those extra two months are a cushion.
And here's some good advice for newbie writers: One of the best things you can do is send a scintillatingly good one-page synopsis of your book along with your manuscript or query. But write it like dust-jacket copy--without giving away the ending. Why? Because rarely can a reader keep herself from reading one of those (the 400,000 word manuscript is another thing). And if it's good, well, you might just get closer to the front of the submissions pile.
That is very good advice. Thank you.And here's some good advice for newbie writers: One of the best things you can do is send a scintillatingly good one-page synopsis of your book along with your manuscript or query. But write it like dust-jacket copy--without giving away the ending. Why? Because rarely can a reader keep herself from reading one of those (the 400,000 word manuscript is another thing). And if it's good, well, you might just get closer to the front of the submissions pile.
Please let me start off by saying that I had no ill intentions when starting this thread. Certainly none for Ms. Warren or Ms. Buccieri. If you read my original two posts, then you will see that I am simply asking a community of writers for help in finding out more information, and passing on info that I myself have discovered. I’ll admit that the word “fishy” might have been the wrong word to use because it implies something nefarious is going on. I might have better used the word “questionable,” because that is what I was doing, questioning an organization…an agency. That is what these forums are for.
Please know that I’m not trying to bash East/West, or anyone there. I can’t bash it because I know very little about it, and again that is why I started this thread. I literally did hours of research on the agency both before and after posting my first question. I did not find much. Then, not long ago, while on querytracker.net, I discovered a posting that someone had written about East/West, and I posted it here to see if anyone else had had similar experiences.
I went to querytracker.net today to find a link, but for some reason the entire East/West listing is gone. I’m not sure why, because all the other listings come up fine. I assure you all it was there…though who the original poster was, I have no idea. I’ll look again later if anyone thinks it’s that important. Again it was only one source, but it did concern me, being that it was one of the few bits of info I found on East/West. That is why I sought more information here at AW. I’m sorry I had to use names, but how else would I have gotten any information? In all honesty, I was hoping someone would come on and say: “This is a great agency. Way cool. Totally legit. Here’s why”…etc.
I have read on countless web sites, and also in many books and articles that a literary agency that also provides or is associated with paid editorial services is often something to watch out for. From what I understand now, you yourself have two separate jobs: you are a professional editor, and then you handle submissions for the East/West Agency. Is that correct? The two are completely separate? Please don’t think I am being confrontational. I would just like to know so that I and others can be aware of your practices. :-)
I have no doubt that if you do great work then there will be no sullying of your reputation. AGAIN, AGAIN, AGAIN, not my intentions. You clearly have many clients who are passionate enough about your services to back you up. I just wanted simply to know that there was no conflict of interest. That’s all. No finger pointing, and no Salem witch trials here. All things considered, I actually do understand you being upset upon first reading that someone was questioning your intents. We’re human. Thank god for that, or there would be nothing to write about. I understand sometimes we react hastily, and the fact that you realized that later on in this thread shows that you are quite an inspirational person. We need more people like that in the world. I mean that. I honestly try to lead my life with as much love and respect for others as possible.
I mean this in the most non-condescending tone: I hope that you will respect that I have worked very hard for a very long time on my book, and therefore need to question who I’m sending my work out to. Just as a good agent will not send works out to editors they know nothing about, I do the same. Agencies often discourage writers from sending emails or calling them directly. They tend to be very busy, and expect us to do our own research on them. That is what these forums are for. It is a wonderful place where writers can help each other in that way.
I apologize for the long-windedness of this post, but I wanted to be as clear as possible.
Thanks, and peace.
Last edited by egads; 03-07-2008 at 04:34 AM.
What you have read is true. And the underlying assumption behind this AAR Guideline is that if a literary agency makes you pay for editorial services as part of signing you up, they are "double dipping," meaning they are taking a percentage of your earnings + more money for editorial services = a no-no.
OR if an agency charges you for editorial services and then takes you on as a client = bad.
OR if an agency charges you for editorial services and declines to take you on as a client = really bad.
OR if an agency refers you to an outside service that gives them any kind of referral fee or kickback or ANY kind of additional monetary consideration, that is also frowned upon/not allowed.
East West does not operate in any of these ways. Any kind of editorial help that you get from East West as a client is free, as it should be, as part of what we do to help you become a better writer. It's part of our job.
As a matter of fact, whenever I take the time to read a submission and a quick way of making a manuscript better occurs to me--EVEN IF IT'S A SLUSH PILE SUBMISSION--I will note it on the no-thank-you note. Why? Because I took the time to read the work anyway, and why not? Maybe the writer wants feedback. Maybe it will help the writer. The SASE is going back to them regardless. And a personal note from an agency always makes a writer feel like someone out there cared enough about their work to take a moment to let them know so.
However, it's a very very very common practice in the children's and adult book publishing business for an agent or a publishing house's editor to say to a writer: "We love your work, but it needs editing. If you get it edited, re-submit." (I even checked with five Publishers of mainstream houses/divisions by email today to make sure this was still the case and that I was not insane).
And many many excited writers reply, "Great! Sure! But who do I go to? How do I get that done?" As a courtesy, many agents will refer to specific editors or editorial services that they trust and have worked with in the past. They do this to save writers from being taken by unscrupulous editors and wasting precious time and money and effort. (Because, let's face it, the writers who have time and money to blow probably are few and far between.)
In the last 24 hours I have learned from all of you that you think that by doing that it brings the integrity of the agents or publishers into question. But trust me, that 99.99% of the time, all we are thinking about is you, the writer, and your work: we want you to fix it and get it to us in shape so we can get you published.
Deborah and I at East West Agency will no longer be referring writers to any specific editors. We thought we were helping writers on their way. I guess not.
Now. For me. Lisa. Separate from the work as a reader that I do for Deborah. For the last 18 years I have worked mostly in children's publishing f/t as a publishing exec. On the side I wrote books and did freelance editing of grown-up books (oh, and had some kids). I now run that freelance consulting business f/t. It is a totally separate entity. And it involves companies more often than not. Plus, any editing I do for Deborah is for clients who are signed already. And I do it gratis.
Hope that clears things up. This site has kept me from reading at least 15 submissions that I promised to read today, and I blame it all on you! Just kidding . . . sorta.
Last edited by Book Lover; 03-07-2008 at 05:44 AM. Reason: 2nd thoughts