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Thread: Unfolding World Literary Agency

  1. #1
    Chalice the Hatchet Knight Karen Duvall's Avatar
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    Question Unfolding World Literary Agency

    Does anyone know anything about the new Unfolding World Literary Agency? The sole agent in this operation is Mattie Tolley and she's in Davis, Oklahoma.

    I read about the agency at Publisher's Marketplace and then looked her up at P&E, but there's nothing listed.
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  2. #2
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    It looks well-intentioned but very amateurish to me. Ms. Tolley does not seem to have any professional publishing or agenting experience; her professional experience mainly seems to be in nursing. That's not really the kind of background you want to see in a literary agent.

    She seems to have just one client at the moment, a nonfiction author who seems to have written a lot of published novels.

    - Victoria

  3. #3
    Chalice the Hatchet Knight Karen Duvall's Avatar
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    Thanks, Victoria. I guess it's best to wait this one out to see how she does before sending her a query.
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    SUN STORM -- Novella in Harlequin's TIL THE WORLD ENDS Anthology

  4. #4
    phoenix blazing Parametric's Avatar
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    UFWLA's submission guidelines include some strange stuff. For fiction, they want to know "why the world needs you to write this book" (can't think of a single answer to this for a fiction query), "one paragraph of platform possibilities" (thought this requirement should be for non-fiction only), and a "list of other materials that are available" (what other material could there be apart from the query, synopsis and finished manuscript). For non-fiction, the agency wants to hear all about your "self-published, e-published, vantage published, POD published" work. This section also includes this unfortunate phrase:

    Please note that unfortunately most publishers expect the author to do much of the ‘selling’ of the book.
    Last edited by Parametric; 03-31-2008 at 01:15 AM.

  5. #5
    Just a guy with a pen & a delusion Mr. Anonymous's Avatar
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    She just responded with probably the nicest and longest request for materials (a full) I've ever seen. Anyone know anything about her? If she makes me an offer, do you guys think it would be worth the risk? Is the reasoning, "If an agent wants to take a chance on you, why not take a chance on her?" faulty?

  6. #6
    Reinventing Myself Scribhneoir's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Anonymous View Post
    Is the reasoning, "If an agent wants to take a chance on you, why not take a chance on her?" faulty?
    It is if the agent doesn't have the skills, background and contacts to be an effective agent. As has been mentioned before, literary agent is not an entry level position.

  7. #7
    Absolutely Fazed
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Anonymous View Post
    Is the reasoning, "If an agent wants to take a chance on you, why not take a chance on her?" faulty?
    Yes. Because if she doesn't have the experience to sell your book, you're not just taking a chance; you're running the risk of throwing the book away entirely.

    See, a bad non-scamming agent will try sincerely to sell your book. But without the contacts and experience in the industry, they'll have little to no better chance than you would. Then, when you drop her and try to find another agent for your book, you'll find it's worn out its welcome. No agent will want a book that's already been rejected by all the publishing houses. Therefore:

    Your book = dead

    "A bad agent is worse than no agent at all."

  8. #8
    Just a guy with a pen & a delusion Mr. Anonymous's Avatar
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    Is she a bad agent though? I mean, she's only been around since 2007. It's 2008 now. For all we know, she hasn't even been around for a year, and yet she already reps someone who seems to be a fairly well published author. So what do you guys think? Is she a bad agent?

  9. #9
    I've seen worse. SuperModerator ColoradoGuy's Avatar
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    No deals listed in Publisher's Marketplace, although that doesn't rule out that she's made a sale somewhere.
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  10. #10
    Chalice the Hatchet Knight Karen Duvall's Avatar
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    I'm fairly certain her one client is the guy she used to work for.

    I thought about querying Ms. Tolley at one point, as you'll see in the first post that started this thread. But I never did. She may not be "bad" but she may not have the contacts necessary to make a sale. She probably will someday. She's got to start somewhere, obviously. But do you want to be the one she starts with? It would be gutsy, and I wouldn't fault you for taking the risk. But I would suggest, at this point in your journey, that you pursue other options first. It's up to you.

    I didn't query Ms. Tolley, but I did query a number of other reputable agencies with a strong sales history. Two weeks ago I was offered representation from Elizabeth Winick of McIntosh & Otis, one of the oldest literary agencies in New York City.

    Don't succumb to temptation because Ms. Tolley asked for your full manuscript. You deserve the best shot and I don't think you should settle for less. Good luck!
    Karen Duvall
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    KNIGHT'S CURSE -- A Publisher's Weekly Top 10 Pick for Fall 2011 (Harlequin Luna)
    DARKEST KNIGHT -- Sequel to KNIGHT'S CURSE released March 2012 (Harlequin Luna)
    SUN STORM -- Novella in Harlequin's TIL THE WORLD ENDS Anthology

  11. #11
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    "Everyone has to start somewhere" shouldn't mean starting from zero--it should mean starting from a base of knowledge and experience.

    Would you hire a contractor who'd maybe read a bit about construction or watched some people build things, but had no experience or training in building things himself? Would you hire a lawyer who'd watched a lot of Law and Order episodes, but had never gone to law school? It's no different with a literary agent.

    Literary agenting isn't an entry level job. It's not something you can just grow into with a good attitude and a lot of energy. Literary agents need a precise range of specialized skills, such as a knowledge of publishing contract terms and the ability to recognize a marketable manuscript (not as easy as you might think). They also need contacts within the publishing industry. You can develop contacts over time with some hard work (though do you really want to wait around while your agent struggles to do that?) but the other stuff is extremely difficult to acquire without actually working in publishing or apprenticing at a reputable agency. People who come to agenting from non-publishing-related fields rarely manage to make a go of it.

    - Victoria

  12. #12
    Crypto-fascist Soccer Mom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Anonymous View Post
    Is she a bad agent though? I mean, she's only been around since 2007. It's 2008 now. For all we know, she hasn't even been around for a year, and yet she already reps someone who seems to be a fairly well published author. So what do you guys think? Is she a bad agent?

    You've had other requests from very legit and experienced agents (I saw you in the threads ) Why on earth would you take a flyer on someone with no experience? Stay with those who have PROVEN what they can do.
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  13. #13
    Just a guy with a pen & a delusion Mr. Anonymous's Avatar
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    Karen- You make a good point... Congratulations on getting representation!

    Victoria- I understand what you're saying... But after how warmly she responded to my query, it seems somehow wrong to reject her outright... I mean she worked as a literary assistant... Do you think that would have provided her with at least a foundation to build on?

    Soccer Mom- I guess... I guess because she's one of the few people who hasn't treated me like a number. Everywhere else people just say (if they're interested, that is) Interesting, send it along. And let's be honest here. If it were uninteresting, I doubt they'd have wanted to see it in the first place.

    As for the rejections. They never say much else aside from "not quite right for me, but good luck with other agents." I mean, I still have a lot of stuff out, but it was just a nice change for someone to actually read my stuff and tell me what she liked and didn't like. I mentioned I wrote for the school newspaper, so she went and actually checked out one of my articles, and talked about it. I dunno. Maybe I'm just naive. Have no business sense. Whatever. But I got a good feeling from her. Then again, I've had good feelings before. Unfortunately, the agents didn't feel the same way. lol.

  14. #14
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Anonymous View Post
    Victoria- I understand what you're saying... But after how warmly she responded to my query, it seems somehow wrong to reject her outright... I mean she worked as a literary assistant... Do you think that would have provided her with at least a foundation to build on?
    Depends on where she worked. Did she say? Such claims mean nothing unless they are specific--and depending on where she assisted, she might not have gotten any meaningful experience.

    Soccer Mom- I guess... I guess because she's one of the few people who hasn't treated me like a number.
    I know this will sound harsh, and I apologize in advance...but "nice" is not a qualification for an agent.

    I'm sure she's well intentioned. Most amateur agents are. Of the huge number of questionable agents Writer Beware has in its files, the minority are scammers--most are just clueless. But scammer or clueless, the bottom line for writers is the same: wasted time and no sale.

    - Victoria

  15. #15
    Crypto-fascist Soccer Mom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Anonymous View Post

    Soccer Mom- I guess... I guess because she's one of the few people who hasn't treated me like a number. Everywhere else people just say (if they're interested, that is) Interesting, send it along. And let's be honest here. If it were uninteresting, I doubt they'd have wanted to see it in the first place.
    That's very honest, so my reply will be the same. You aren't auditioning friends. This is a business relationship. You need to ask yourself if this is the right person for your manuscript. She may be a lovely person, but that doesn't mean she has the connections to sell your ms.
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    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Most recent news item is congratulating a client for publishing with CreateSpace ....
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  18. #18
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Website now a holding page, although her PM page remains. What I can find of her clients' books are/were all through CreateSpace.
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