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Thread: Mocknick Productions Literary Agency

  1. #1
    scorpioforu
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    Mocknick Productions Literary Agency

    Seems like I draw scammers like a magnet. I got a letter the other day from another agent I had queried back in January and sent the first three chapters of my novel manuscript to.

    He says my writing was tight and the story flowed. Then he immediately gets down to business. Says they do not hcarge a reading fee, but IF they represent you, there's an annual contract fee of $450. :eek This convers submissions, phone calls, follow-ups, contract negotiations (in the event of a slae) and all other aspects of representation.

    He says they inform people of this upfront so there are no games or surprises. (Gee, it sure would have been nice for it to be mentioned on his website so I didn't waste my time with them! Sure feels like a game and surprise to me now.):teeth

    He says that after I return my author profile and the remainder of my manuscript, he'd be pleased to send me their contract for my review.

    Needless to say, I wrote him back and declined.

    Just wanted to give a heads up for those contemplating submitting to them.

    Becki

  2. #2
    peteriv
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    Mocknick Productions Inc.

    Does anybody know anything about this agency? I recieved a letter from this agency for my latest script and wish to know if they are on the up and up.

  3. #3
    James D Macdonald
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    Re: Mocknick Productions Inc.

    From their web page, I see:

    <Blockquote>
    The agency has the following memberships:

    · The Better Business Bureau of Eastern Pa

    · The Greater Willow Grove Chamber of Commerce

    · National Register’s Who’s Who in Executives and Professionals

    </BLockquote>

    What's missing is membership in the Association of Authors' Representatives.

    Information that I have is that while Mocknick doesn't charge a reading fee, they do charge a $450 "contract fee."

    Your call.

  4. #4
    Stace001
    Guest

    Re: Mocknick Productions Inc.

    I have found a web site called www.agentresearch.com which i have found to be great for information on agencies. some of their services have charges, but the agent verification is free of charge.
    might be helpful to you.

  5. #5
    vstrauss
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    Re: Mocknick Productions Inc.

    Writer Beware has gotten reports about Mr. Mocknick's $450 "marketing" fee. I'm not aware that he's made any book sales.

    - Victoria

  6. #6
    Zakk Lable Society
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    need advice about David Mocknick, please

    Hi everyone! Long-time lurker, first-time poster. OK, not really long-time lurker, I just found the site today. But I've always wanted to say that.

    Anyhoo, I submitted some of my work to David L. Mocknick for review. He sent me a contract package saying he wanted to represent me to publishers. I've seen some not-so-positive things said about him and other literary agents on this message board. Does anyone have anything GOOD to say about him?

    From the research I've done, he seems legit, but unfortunately not very productive. I'd appreciate any advice and comments y'all wish to offer. Thanks!

  7. #7
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    David Mocknick charges an upfront "marketing" fee of $450. Charging upfront for marketing isn't standard practice among successful agents. While most agents do charge some of the expense of submission back to their clients, they allow this to accrue and then reimburse themselves from the clients' income. They don't ask for money out-of-pocket as a condition of contract signing or prior to a sale. An upfront marketing fee is a sign either of a fraudulent agency, or of an agency that is so bad at selling manuscripts that it can't run its business without its clients' financial support. Either way, bad news for the client.

    In keeping with this, I'm not aware of any sales Mr. Mocknick may have made.

    - Victoria

  8. #8
    Zakk Lable Society
    Guest
    Thank you, Victoria. That's basically what my research is turning up, too. And I've yet to find anything produced by his "agency." So....all bad news, I suppose. Much appreciated!

  9. #9
    One of the most important people in the world kdnxdr's Avatar
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    No offense intended Mr. MockNick but when I saw the name.......red flag.

    MockNick to me says:

    Mock/Fake

    Nick/Name

    sorry, I couldn't resist.

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  10. #10
    permaflounced
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    Cool Mocknick Productions Literary Agency

    Unless an agency is in a huge highrise in a big city, the costs of doing business are minimal, maybe $2000-$3000 a year. Most individuals spend more than that on golf. Parkeast is run from our two home offices, as are many agencies, big and small. Our entire costs for 2005, including startup, were under $3000. That also includes mailing, copying, phone calls, lunches and trips. The average cost of mailing a MS to New York FedEx ground is between $5 and $6.

    Granted our volume is tiny next to the big city agencies, but no agent should ever handle so many manuscripts that he/she has to charge a fee.

    dp

  11. #11
    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.
    ICAO
    ---------

    Censorship always defeats its own purpose, for it creates in the end the kind of society that is incapable of exercising real discretion. -- Henry Steele Commager
    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:

  12. #12
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Nuoddo's Avatar
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    Red face Mental Headslap

    I wish I would have seen this forum a year ago! I signed on with David Mocknick last June. I've received quarterly reports, but nothing is really happening. He certainly hasn't done enough mailing, etc. to justify the $450 fee I paid up-front.

    Also, Mocknick's query letter is terrible. It doesn't tell the publisher anything about the manuscript at all.

    Everyone Mocknick has contacted on my behalf is listed on my quarterly reports--with addresses included. I'm wondering if I can/should follow up with these contacts on my own?

    Any advice?
    nuoddo

    i took the pledge! 3/21
    rejections: 3/3

  13. #13
    Rep Point Whore Nangleator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nuoddo
    Also, Mocknick's query letter is terrible. It doesn't tell the publisher anything about the manuscript at all.
    Does that suggest he hasn't read it himself? Maybe I'm just suspicious.

  14. #14
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Nuoddo, could you contact me off list? I have a question for you. My email is beware@sfwa.org.

    If Mocknick is like other agents on Writer Beware's 20 Worst List, the problem isn't just a bad query--it's that he isn't good at (or doesn't care about) targeting appropriate publishers. Agents who consistently submit inappropriate or substandard material are remembered by editors, and their submissions are ignored. I'd guess that no one read whatever it is that he sent out. So I don't think it would do you any good to follow up with the publishers.

    Believe it or not, this is good news. It means you can look for a new agent without fearing that your previous agent squandered submissions opportunities for you (which could make you less attractive as a client). You might want to change the title of your manuscript, though, in case the publishers logged it in.

    - Victoria

  15. #15
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Nuoddo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nangleator
    Does that suggest he hasn't read it himself? Maybe I'm just suspicious.
    I have wondered the same thing myself.

    By the way, I'm not expecting to be hand held or anything, but is it strange that I've never actually spoken with Mocknick on the phone? I've sent him two emails, one which he responded to and one which he didn't...I'm not expecting to hear from him every day, but I DID give him my hard earned money. The only real correspondence I've gotten are my quarterly reports.

    Any idea if this is typical of agents?
    nuoddo

    i took the pledge! 3/21
    rejections: 3/3

  16. #16
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Nuoddo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by victoriastrauss
    Nuoddo, could you contact me off list? I have a question for you. My email is beware@sfwa.org.

    If Mocknick is like other agents on Writer Beware's 20 Worst List, the problem isn't just a bad query--it's that he isn't good at (or doesn't care about) targeting appropriate publishers. Agents who consistently submit inappropriate or substandard material are remembered by editors, and their submissions are ignored. I'd guess that no one read whatever it is that he sent out. So I don't think it would do you any good to follow up with the publishers.

    Believe it or not, this is good news. It means you can look for a new agent without fearing that your previous agent squandered submissions opportunities for you (which could make you less attractive as a client). You might want to change the title of your manuscript, though, in case the publishers logged it in.

    - Victoria
    Thanks, Victoria. I didn't think about it that way. You're right...if they never read it in the first place, at least I don't have to worry that he's smeared my "good" name. I may change the name of the manuscript. Right now it is copyrighted under two different names...if I change the title again, I believe I'll have to copyright again. Some of the content has changed anyway, so I guess I'll want to file an updated copy anyway...
    nuoddo

    i took the pledge! 3/21
    rejections: 3/3

  17. #17
    Sockpuppet Hunter MartyKay's Avatar
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    Right now it is copyrighted under two different names...if I change the title again, I believe I'll have to copyright again.
    Oh dear.

    Nuoddo... err... you didn't need to do that.

    edit: I went looking for the WHY you didn't need to, and the particular link I could find was in Uncle Jim's Writing thread: here

    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
    The reasons are:

    a) It's unnecessary. Copyright exists from the moment the work is fixed in tangible form
    b) It's unnecessary. No one is going to steal an unpublished book. (Several reasons for this, the chiefest one being that anyone who thinks it's publishable not only wants this work but wants your next one too.) If it's good enough to steal it's good enough to buy.
    c) It will tell folks that your manuscript has been in your desk drawer or in the slushpile for the last ten years.
    d) The pros don't do it.
    e) Who wants to waste thirty bucks on something that's going to get rejected anyway?

    To go along with this -- only submit your manuscript to legitimate publishers. You and they have similar interests: You both want to sell books to readers. Legitimate publishers have the practical ability to do it; and they need you.
    Last edited by MartyKay; 05-05-2006 at 08:08 AM.
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  18. #18
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Nuoddo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartyKay
    Oh dear.

    Nuoddo... err... you didn't need to do that.

    edit: I went looking for the WHY you didn't need to, and the particular link I could find was in Uncle Jim's Writing thread: here
    I know I didn't need to copyright, but I was passing the manuscript around quite a bit at the time. It's a children's book, and I had copies of it going to all these school districts and they were having their classes do book reports and feedback for me so that I could determine my target audience. I felt like it was worth the small filing fee for my peace of mind. Also, the artist who did the illustrations was concerned about his drawings and wanted to make sure I had made an effort to "protect" the work. The copyright is not included on the manuscript itself because I had heard the same thing...that it smacks of inexperience. However, now that I've done it, I'm wondering the title change makes a difference? I wouldn't think so, but I'm not sure. At this point, I now own the rights to the drawings, so I wouldn't need to worry about the illustrator's preference. It would just be if I wanted to...
    nuoddo

    i took the pledge! 3/21
    rejections: 3/3

  19. #19
    slanted and enchanted erinbee's Avatar
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    Unhappy

    The fact that he lists himself as a "writer, producer, director and actor" is enough to send me running in the other direction kicking and screaming. Not that there's anything wrong with those professions...but hello? Isn't he marketing himself as an agent?


    THE H3ROINE'S B00KSH3LF! Hardcover from Harper, paperback from Harper Perennial.

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  20. #20
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin Nuoddo's Avatar
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    Smile Writer, Producer, Actor, Director...

    I actually thought these were of his more appealing attributes...I'd had some dealings with a few other agents, and I felt more like a number... like a piece of meat. I thought that Mocknick being in the trenches would make him a better agent. Of course, I've since reconsidered my views of him in the last year as one of his clients, so maybe you're on to something...
    nuoddo

    i took the pledge! 3/21
    rejections: 3/3

  21. #21
    Barbershoppin' Harmony Whore BardSkye's Avatar
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    You're not alone...

    Being someone who has worn a lot of seemingly-unrelated hats and done relatively well, I, too, saw that as an advantage, not a warning sign...

  22. #22
    jvyor
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    Unhappy More on Mocknick

    I too recently received word from David Mocknick (in response to my query and having submitted my manuscript) that he would represent me, but for an annual $450 "contract fee." Realizing that such fees are typically the domai of scam artists, I was hesitant. And Mocknick's proud website boast that he tells writers about this fee upfront did little to quell my suspisions.

    I e-mailed Mocknick to request lists of published books he has repped, and also publishers he has solid relationships with. He said he could not provide those. The only thing he would give out is contact info. for his local Better Business Bureau, of which he is apparently a member. But this really means nothing, I told myself. It is not a professional literary association, and there are no real punitive checks and balances associated with it.

    I e-mailed Mocknick again to ask that he send me the "coverage" done on my script by whomever read it - either himself or a paid reader. I wanted to get a feel as to whether Mocknick had even read and evaluated my script, or just takes advantage of all new submissions and offers to rep any writer for a fee, regardless of the quality of the material.

    His reply was something to the effect that my script was "tight" and met professional formatting standards - which meant he hadn't done anything more than glance at the format, if indeed he did that much. It was obvious that no evaluation/coverage was prepared by a reader of the script because no one read the script!

    Being that my manuscript is a gay-themed novel, I asked Mocknick what connections he had with gay publishing houses. He simply echoed my words that indeed, that is a small and specialized field with limited publishing opportunities, but that he knew of publishers to submit to. (He provided no names or any insight.) His website (unlike other agents) is also very general, and does not list literary genres he specializes in representing to publishers.

    Overall, Mocknick's comments seem evasive, with the upshot being, "If you are desperate for representation, pay my $450 fee and trust that I'm reputable." But I am not that desperate, and Mocknick does not inspire such trust. I won't be signing his contract or paying his fee. I just wish I hadn't wasted the $10 to mail him my manuscript. Wasted money. It's a shame that he must be making some sort of living off other vulnerable and ignorant writers out there.

    - Justin (New York)
    Last edited by jvyor; 03-02-2007 at 12:02 AM. Reason: I need to remove references to my "Los Angeles" location.

  23. #23
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Cool

    Justin, ten bucks is a drop in the gin pail compared to what you might have been facing with the total contract amount. This guy's a scamster, plain and simple.

    tri

  24. #24
    jvyor
    Guest

    Cool Mocknick speaks!

    David Mocknick finally gave me a semi-lengthy and meaningful response...but only after I wrote to say that I would have to decline his contract offer because he was not providing the information I requested.

    Below is his most recent message to me, plus my reply:




    Dave Mocknick <davemocknick@yahoo.com> wrote:
    Hi, Justin.
    I know...I've seen all the stuff on the net. It seems that they attack agencies that will not join the AAR or Writer's Guild and accuse us of being scammers. The reason many of us refuse to join is because they have rules where they practically tell you how to run your business. And outsiders have no idea what expenses agents incur. If you break it down Justin.....$450. divided by 365....is $1.23 a day.


    As far as coverage, I'm not sure what you mean. We review each manuscript and decide whether it's on a high enough professional level to be pitched to the publishers and if we have the contacts in that area. If we didn't know this, we would not offer a contract.


    It's your call, Justin. All I can advise is that if you don't feel completely comfortable with us, then we aren't the agency for you. If a potential client has reservations or is leary of our integrity, we advise them to keep looking for representation. I wish you the very best in whatever you decide.


    Dave


    Hi Mr. Mocknick,

    Thanks for the recent message - it was by far the longest and most detailed of all your correspondences.

    Wanting to give you the benefit of the doubt, it still bothers me that you don't seem to know what "coverage" is - an evaluation report from your reader on the merits of the script, its worthiness as a literary product, it's marketablily, comments on the quality of writing, etc.

    You keep saying that you "review each manuscript to decide if it's on a professional level," but that vague phrase doesn't really mean anything specific. For all I know, you just flipped through a few pages to check if their were 1" margins.

    Did you read my manuscript? What is it about? Who are the main characters? What is the storyline? You've had several messages now to provide this information and assurance to me, yet until this most recent message, you've kept me in the dark and given only brief, oblique messages. And that has left me to rely on comments from other writers on the website I found - comments which have been far more detailed than you have been, and have said that your quarterly reports were not only unhelpful, but were the only communication they ever received from you after they signed the contract.

    $450 is a lot of money to me (even though you break it down to $1.23 per day). And this breakdown does not really explain to me why you don't operate in the manner of standard literary agents and charge only the customary 10% fee, rather than this "contract fee," which is anything but standard. You've also failed to provide me with a client list or list of the books you've repped into publication. You also haven't told me what (if any) contacts you have in the field of gay fiction publishing, per the content of my book. This is a niche field, and I'd find it amazing if you had contacts there.

    Your message said you wouldn't offer me a contract if you didn't have these contacts (which you haven't named). But for all I know, you're offering the contract to make an easy $450. I have no way of knowing.

    So, following your advice in the most recent message . . . unless you can provide me solid information and answer my questions, I will have to decline your contract offer. If you are as confident as you say you are in your publishing industry connections and skills as an agent, I might consider entering into a 1-year agreement with you, minus the $450 "contract fee." I think the standard 10% should be enough for you for a first year of our writer-agent relationship.

    I've done my share of the work in writing the manuscript. I don't feel I or any writer should then have to pay an agent to do his share of the work. So it's up to you, whether you want to represent my book on its merits for 10%, or pass.

    - Justin
    (New York)
    Last edited by jvyor; 03-02-2007 at 12:04 AM.

  25. #25
    practical experience, FTW Tilly's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting that. It's very illuminating.

    Many less than reputable/successful agencies attack the AAR and the watchdog sites. Organisations helping writers make informed decisions are the biggest threat to fee charging agencies.

    Good luck in your search Justin, and welcome to Absolute Write.

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