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Thread: [Agency] Max & Co (Michael Murphy)

  1. #1
    Publish Me Elliot Cowan's Avatar
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    [Agency] Max & Co (Michael Murphy)

    Hey all.
    I've spent the last week researching agents and such and breaking them up into two groups.
    Those that'll accept emails and those that wont.
    The last two days I've been emailing those who do in fact accept emailed queries.
    As per usual I didn't expect to hear from anyone for months, but a fellow I emailed this evening has responded very quickly, with very useful critical feedback and a show of interest.
    The fellows name is Michael Murphy and a Googlesearch seems to reveal nothing sinister, in fact quite the opposite.
    I emailed him specifically because his online bio suggested he liked "quirky visual books" which is exactly what I'm peddling.
    So I have some questions.
    1) Should I be shocked to get a response so quickly.
    2) Has anyone heard of him? His website is HERE.
    3) Does anything on that website strike you as odd or out of place?
    4) Would it be poor protocol to post his response on here?
    5) If I pursue this now should I stop sending the blasted thing out to all other places?
    I guess the thing is that I've been bitten once, so I'm a little nervous of being excited.

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW
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    I would suggest that you post this in Bewares and Background Check section (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...splay.php?f=22).

    Just ask if anyone has worked with this agent or knows anything about him. There are many helpful AWers there who can probably help you out.
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  3. #3
    Publish Me Elliot Cowan's Avatar
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    Yes of course I should have done that from the outset.
    Thanks Zen.

  4. #4
    minion kullervo's Avatar
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    It is very common to hear back immediately on an email inquiry these days. Read any agent's blog and you will see that they can get dozens and more per day. Clearing them quickly is the only way to keep from drowning under the deluge.

    Congratulations on the positive response!

  5. #5
    Bartender, gimme a Linux Mint Matera the Mad's Avatar
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    Nothing odd about bad site design

    (gak!)
    Inspiration can be as destructive as any other form of fire.

  6. #6
    Publish Me Elliot Cowan's Avatar
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    Thanks for that Kullervo.
    I hadn't thought of that.

    And, actually I quite liked the site design.
    As an illustrator/designer I kind of take it as a good sign.

  7. #7
    Fear the Death Ray maestrowork's Avatar
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    Well, actually I like the site, and the agency looks legit with real clients and sales. I'd say go for it.

    And no, it's not unusual to hear back so soon -- that's what e-submission is all about. The last time I e-submitted, I got a request within one business day as well.

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  8. #8
    Halfway between here and there Maui Author's Avatar
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    Guide to Literary Agents did a piece on him last month. http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com
    On the website, go to the Agent Advice tab on the left and scroll down.

    Congrats on getting a quick response! But keep sending more queries out. May his response be the first of many!
    Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who donít want something badly enough. They are there to keep out the other people.
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  9. #9
    Publish Me Elliot Cowan's Avatar
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    So should I begin correspondence with him at the same time I'm sending other stuff out???

  10. #10
    Halfway between here and there Maui Author's Avatar
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    Did he ask for a partial? If so, send off the partial and then continue sending out the query letters...

    Unless he offered to represent you already. If so, then that's awesome and if you feel comfortable with him, no need to send out any more queries.
    Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who donít want something badly enough. They are there to keep out the other people.
    - Randy Pausch

  11. #11
    Around and About SuperModerator Birol's Avatar
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    Moving thread to B&BC from Roundtable.

  12. #12
    An old, sappy, and happy one. Requiescat In Pace CACTUSWENDY's Avatar
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    Cool

    Not to derail....but what is a "Quirky Visual Book"? Not sure I have ever heard of that term.

    Thank you.....and good luck.
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  13. #13
    Publish Me Elliot Cowan's Avatar
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    No he didn't - I'm not actually sure what a partial is though.

    What he did say was that the narrative in the books needed work but that he he loved the artwork and the stories and the short films I made based on the books enough to try and work on it.

    "Now, how do we build your narrative?

    Not sure yet....would love to figure out."

    Is what he said.

  14. #14
    Publish Me Elliot Cowan's Avatar
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    Wendy - Think Edward Gorey, or Lane Smith.
    Picture books for grown ups.
    Graphic novels.
    That kind of thing.

  15. #15
    Publish Me Elliot Cowan's Avatar
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    Well I've had another email back from Michael.

    He feels he'd have a hard time selling what I've got at the moment but feels there's opportunity to make revisions that make make it more commercial, which I'll tackle over the next few days.

    I guess this is the way it works?

  16. #16
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elliot Cowan View Post
    Well I've had another email back from Michael.

    He feels he'd have a hard time selling what I've got at the moment but feels there's opportunity to make revisions that make make it more commercial, which I'll tackle over the next few days.

    I guess this is the way it works?
    That's one way it works, yes. If you have a good rapport with him, and his suggestions feel like they make sense to you, then go for it. If you're looking for someone who'll love your work just as it is, that's another possible path.

    Your YouTube shorts are very appealing! Good luck.
    Last edited by IceCreamEmpress; 04-10-2008 at 02:29 AM.

  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elliot Cowan View Post
    Well I've had another email back from Michael.

    He feels he'd have a hard time selling what I've got at the moment but feels there's opportunity to make revisions that make make it more commercial, which I'll tackle over the next few days.

    I guess this is the way it works?
    If an agent is willing to collaborate with you to make a better book, and the suggestions seem to make sense, go for it.

    The only red flag is if said agent asks for money, or routes you toward an "editorial service." But taking free advice from an agent to improve your ms. is done all the time.

    From Macmillan New Writing, September 7, 2007. (Pan mass-market paperback in September, 2008). In the UK at Goldsboro Books, Borders, Waterstones, and other fine bookstores. Overseas, Amazon.co.uk and most other online retailers.

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  18. #18
    Publish Me Elliot Cowan's Avatar
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    Well.
    Since I last posted I managed to get him to take a look at the other two books in the series and I that seems to have worked.
    He has asked if I'd like him to try and sell them.
    Bugger me.
    I guess there's no promises in this gig but it's mighty nice to see someone "get" what I'm doing and realise that there must be other folks out there who want to see it.
    I am feeling confident that this is all above level and would like to thank you chaps for your feeback on the matter.

  19. #19
    Grumpy writer and editor Absolute Sage Gillhoughly's Avatar
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    It is a very strange and sprawly website, and though plenty of authors are shown, I found only one book cover in a two-minute search, and it's not clear if it's HC or trade, who published it, etc.

    There's lots of personality and apparent in-jokes going on, but there were no clear links to books sold, only to the writers sites and blogs. I wasn't inspired with confidence.

    Also it has a dot-org, not a dot-com or net. How is it a literary agency qualifies for a non-profit suffix? Scammers aside, I prefer an agency that's into making a profit.

    Contrast that with the websites of these agencies:

    www.spectrumliteraryagency.com Time needed to find list of books sold and their publishers: about 5 seconds. Links on opening page.

    http://www.maassagency.com/ Donald Maass Literary agency. Time needed to find list of sold books: about 10 seconds.

    http://www.manuslit.com/flash/index.html Manus and Associates Literary Agency. Time needed to find list of sold books: Zero. They have their NTY bestsellers on the opening page.

  20. #20
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gillhoughly View Post
    Also it has a dot-org, not a dot-com or net. How is it a literary agency qualifies for a non-profit suffix?
    Nobody checks, actually. You can just buy .org from a domain reseller--it's not a restricted suffix like .edu or .gov.

    Michael Murphy is a longtime publishing guy, who left William Morrow after the HarperCollins buyout. He's only been in business a few months.

    There's more information about him and his sales so far in an interview here.

    So on one hand, he's a new agent. On the other hand, he has tons of contacts. On the third hand, sometimes these "second career" agencies people start up after a high-profile retirement turn out to be more of a hobby than a serious business. Hard to say, really.
    Last edited by IceCreamEmpress; 04-10-2008 at 04:47 AM.

  21. #21
    Publish Me Elliot Cowan's Avatar
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    It is true that the website is of a very individual nature.
    However - it's good design, and there are several books on the site that do actually exist on Amazon.
    My correspondence with Michael Murphy has been nothing but friendly, easy going and honest.
    He's about the only agent type who's seen my work and "gets" it (not that there's that much to "get" I wouldn't have thought).
    He's asked me for no money of any kind and has stressed that he's prepared to sell the book the way I want it sold, and in fact turned down my suggestion of something much flashier.
    I'll be speaking to him tomorrow just to confirm some stuff.

  22. #22
    Hapless Virago IceCreamEmpress's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elliot Cowan View Post
    My correspondence with Michael Murphy has been nothing but friendly, easy going and honest....
    He's asked me for no money of any kind...
    Michael Murphy is certainly not a scammer.

    The only question is whether he can translate his years of publishing industry experience into success as an agent. He's only been doing this for a short time, but he does seem to have made some solid sales already. On the other hand, sometimes people find it harder to bridge the gap between the two roles than they expect.

    If it seems like a good match for you when you speak with him, that's really the essential thing.

  23. #23
    Publish Me Elliot Cowan's Avatar
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    In short he's said that it's a very hard sell, but he wants to try.
    I believe very much in these things I've been working on, and I think he sees the potential if it works which may be why he's willing to give it a go.

  24. #24
    Publish Me Elliot Cowan's Avatar
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    Well I had a really nice and encouraging chat with Michael today.
    He seems confident that someone out there will want to publish this little project of mine.
    He was a very nice fellow with many of the same thoughts about creating that I consider very important.
    How very gratifying.
    We discussed how he wanted to sell the book, when he'd be pestering people about it, who he'd be pestering people about it and briefly the process should someone say "Oh yes, great, here's some cash. Let's do it".
    He was very keen to enforce that he'd sell the book the way I wanted him to sell it.
    I told him that he could sell it any way he liked and if I especially disagreed I'd say so.
    I invite everyone to cross their fingers for me.

  25. #25
    A work in progress Saundra Julian's Avatar
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    I wish you the very best, break a leg!

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