PDA

View Full Version : About Words Agency



Kazuir
08-10-2003, 09:01 AM
Anyone know anything about this Roswell, Georgia agency? Preditors and Editors says they're receiving comments about it, but they don't say what kind of comments... Thanks in advance

MThomas2003
08-10-2003, 10:47 AM
There are two pretty old posts about it on the Rumor Mill. www.speculations.com/rumormill/index.php (http://www.speculations.com/rumormill/index.php)

Go to the bottom, and insert text "About Words."

However, going to their website now gives me a sense of "Methinks they doth protest too much." They say Zebra communications ( an editing service) is their "first reader," but Zebra doesn't pay them anything, but About Words pays Zebra for editing services from time to time...There is some pretty iffy, circular wording there that makes me wonder. But, you can always submit and say no as soon as they ask you for money. :)

Dave Kuzminski
08-10-2003, 07:31 PM
Preditors & Editors (tm) updated that listing yesterday after hearing more comments and completing a review of the agency's web site. The new rating was updated this morning in line with P&E's criteria. They're not recommended because they're sharing writers' information with an editing service.

Victoria
08-10-2003, 08:56 PM
Through the late 1990's, Susan Graham of About Words was a working literary agent, with a small track record of commercial book sales. But then apparently she got sick, and stopped actively agenting. She appears at that point to have turned all her submissions over to Bobbie Christmas, a.k.a. Zebra Communications, a "book doctor" (IMO, an insufficiently qualified one) who recommended paid editing to everyone who submitted. Writer Beware got a lot of reports and complaints about these referrals. It wasn't revealed that Graham was ill and not working--Christmas just claimed that Graham had passed the writer's work on to her because it needed help. In addition to making editing recommendations to current submitters, Christmas also worked her way through Graham's backlist: in 2001 I heard from writers who'd queried Graham in the mid-'90's and suddenly received editing solicitations from Christmas.

Graham recently appears to have gotten active again with About Words Agency. However, she's still involved with Bobbie Christmas and Zebra Communications. According to the agency's guidelines, everything submitted goes first through Christmas/Zebra, which acts as the agency's "clearinghouse". Based on past evidence, I suspect that most submissions receive a recommendation for paid editing. Even if a few do make it through to Graham, I'm not aware she's made any sales as yet.

- Victoria
Writer Beware
www.sfwa.org/beware/ (http://www.sfwa.org/beware/)

Kazuir
08-11-2003, 05:27 AM
Thanks very much for the helpful replies -- I love this website! Agi

Takyris
02-22-2004, 02:07 PM
Hi, all, just got here through a websearch.

I got the same runaround from About Words. They passed it to Zebra, and Zebra gave me a relatively scathing list of problems -- inadequate grasp of style, grammatical errors, etc. -- things that would definitely merit a book doctor.

This would all have been a bit more convincing if my previous agent rejections hadn't said, to a person, "This is well-written and professionally polished -- we're not taking it because it crosses too many genres and we're not sure how to market it."

So yeah -- About Words is off my list.

-Tacky

Tim
05-06-2005, 07:14 PM
Does anyone out there have any recent news or dealings with About Words Agency? I have received an offer of representation from them, but I'm leary of signing becuase of what I've read about thier shady editing practices and association with the book doctor, Zebra Communications.

I did not receive any heavy editing proposals from their editors when About Words sent me the contract, but I am left wondering if that will come after I sign the contract and lock myself in.

As of last year, Victoria Strauss with Writer's Beware did not have any information about sales this agency has made.

Anyone have recent news?

wryter
05-10-2005, 07:15 PM
Has anybody heard about Susan L Graham or the aboutwords literary agency? thanks.

J. Y. Moore
05-10-2005, 09:32 PM
I only know what I found about them on their web site. They are not listed in WritersMarket.com. I did query them but only recently so have had no reply. Their submission guidelines are pretty picky - not only the font but the number of lines/page, etc. Reputation: Unknown.


I always figure you don't have to sign!;)

J. Y. Moore
05-10-2005, 10:12 PM
Hi again!

I just found the About Words Agency on the Predators and Editors site: http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/peala.htm . It's listed as "Not Recommended" but there is no explanation given. I guess I'll ignor any request they send (if they do :D ).

Good luck!

MDavis
03-24-2006, 07:53 AM
In October of last year (2005) I got a rejection back from About Words. Predictably (as I now see on this forum) they had given my sample chapters to Zebra Communications to edit.

I'm no professional, but I do know a thing or two about editing, and while some of the comments made perfect (embarassing) sense, many of the others seemed to be almost scathingly nitpicky. It left me feeling "off" about the response.

The biggest thing though was that they said my novel was too long for marketability. It (was) 220,000 words, and what do I know about the right length for first fantasy novels? I took them at their word and started trimming.

Now, reading all this I wonder if that bit of their advice was accurate, or just another trumped up advertisement for Zebra.

James D. Macdonald
03-24-2006, 07:59 AM
With editing, you'll find that about 1/3 of the suggestions will leave you slapping your forehead and saying "Whoo! Good call!" about 1/3 will have you saying, "Okay, I can see it," and about 1/3 will have you saying "What are you smoking?"

220,000 words is a heck of a long book, especially for a first-timer. The question is, will a first novel sell enough copies that they can get the cover price under $28.00 in trade cloth?

Having them be exactly the right 220,000 words will help a lot. But, if you can't streamline it a bit, consider using that as your second or third book, after you've started building up a fan base.

MDavis
03-24-2006, 08:08 AM
Good to know (about the editing, and the word count). I've been marginally successful at trimming, cutting it down to about 185,000 words. In the process I do think I've managed to winnow out parts that were either partially or totally uneccesary, so that's a very positive feeling to have. If I could ask a little more advice...is 185,000 any better for marketability?

James D. Macdonald
03-24-2006, 08:11 AM
This is a discussion that would be better to have in the Novels board, but the answer is yes. Can you get it down to 120,000?

Are they the right words? Having every word be the right word, and an absolutely necessary word, is important.

MDavis
03-24-2006, 08:28 AM
Dutifully moved to the Writing Novels forum. Again thank you!

jpserra
04-05-2006, 03:24 AM
I too have been offered a contract. So, does this mean, after all these years, and the more recent involvement of Graham, that it is still Not Recomended. I see nothing here to change a reasonable and rational mind. No one recently has run into the issues previously posted.

Did Susan Graham do a good job of representation, and will she do so in the present? These are questions I could ask about most agents.

JPS

victoriastrauss
04-05-2006, 07:45 PM
The information in my post above (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=15671&postcount=4) is still current. In the intervening time, Ms. Graham appears to have made just one small sale. That appears to be the sum total of the agency's track record since Ms. Graham opened About Words in 2002.

- Victoria

JerseyGirl1962
04-05-2006, 07:54 PM
I too have been offered a contract. So, does this mean, after all these years, and the more recent involvement of Graham, that it is still Not Recomended. I see nothing here to change a reasonable and rational mind. No one recently has run into the issues previously posted.

Did Susan Graham do a good job of representation, and will she do so in the present? These are questions I could ask about most agents.

JPS

JP,

This is from Preditors & Editors:

About Words Agency (http://www.aboutwords.org/agency/index.html): Not recommended. "A free, no-obligation, personalized one-page analysis of your submission, and our professionalism are just a part of why you should query About Words Agency. Non-fee-charging agency means there are never any reading fees. All normal expenses are paid for by the agency. About Words Agency provides detailed monthly reports for each represented book to clients, including feedback from editors. The agency contract is a renewable term contract, with a 15% commission."


~Nancy

DaveKuzminski
04-05-2006, 08:30 PM
I just performed an address search to see if any other businesses are sharing the same address as About Words Agency. Results were negative.

dantem42
04-06-2006, 10:09 AM
Does anyone out there have any recent news or dealings with About Words Agency? I have received an offer of representation from them, but I'm leary of signing becuase of what I've read about thier shady editing practices and association with the book doctor, Zebra Communications.

I did not receive any heavy editing proposals from their editors when About Words sent me the contract, but I am left wondering if that will come after I sign the contract and lock myself in.

As of last year, Victoria Strauss with Writer's Beware did not have any information about sales this agency has made.

Anyone have recent news?

I queried them inadvertently a ways back, and about five months ago I got a couple of marked up pages of my manuscript from Zebra. The corrections were a total freaking howler, and I've gotten far better results from reliable critiquers on thread.

I suspect that what they do is in some cases push for an editing contract. In others, they may sign up to represent you, but I suspect there will then be some trumped-up reason later why further editing is necessary.

Think of this group as a sort of Ebola virus of the agent world, and act accordingly.

CaoPaux
07-04-2006, 06:44 AM
...
06-05-2006, 05:27 AM
waylander
Board fanatic

I just got the same response from the About Words Agency. A couple of pages returned covered in red ink disputing the construction of just about every second sentence. There was nothing that represented useful critique.
06-06-2006, 09:42 AM
jpserra
Esteemed New Member

Moving ahead

I've not been asked to do anything but correct some structural complications in the early chapters of my manuscript. I've not heard or received anything from Mr. Christmas, and have had only meaningful discussions with Ms. Graham and the intern whom I've also been working with.

JPS
__________________
Author, Kokopelli's Flute

MaryKaye
08-01-2006, 12:02 AM
Several months ago Susan posted a solicitation for writers to the Usenet newsgroup rec.arts.sf.composition. This led to a discussion of the agency's practices and its relationship to Zebra that may be of interest to readers here. The thread can be found on GoogleGroups by searching for "About Words" in that newsgroup.

Susan said that a strength of her agency is providing an evaluation of each submission (something I would personally love to get). I posted saying that I would question the validity of an evaluation made by a pay-editing service, as there might be a conflict of interest. She responded that the only way to know was to submit something and see.

I didn't want to be deceptive, so I asked her permission to submit a writing sample for evaluation, without asking for representation. To my surprise she agreed to this, and gave me permission to post the resulting evaluation if I chose. This seemed very reasonable, so I sent her ~30 pages of my novel. On July 5 I received a note from her saying that she had received the material and would do the evaluation that week. I was a bit surprised as I thought that she'd said that Zebra did her evaluations for her.

I have not heard anything since. If I do, I'll write up a description.

This is not a substantial degree of lateness in the publishing world; I am more concerned about the fact that she posted an ad to a group whose FAQ forbids them, which suggests that she might not do her groundwork before contacting publishers either. On the other hand, the offer to provide a sample evaluation for us to criticize was a brave one.

MaryKaye

Soccer Mom
08-01-2006, 12:11 AM
You can also post here in Share Your Work. People here will crit you for free and many of them are good at it too. We won't even make you wait longer than a day or two at the most.

Children's Writer
09-21-2006, 05:12 AM
I am considering About Words--although having second thoughts now. Does anyone know what their phone number is? I have tried several searches, and they seem to have hidden it pretty well.

jpserra
09-21-2006, 08:52 AM
I wanted to wait until I had a contract to post again. However, I've continued to receive questions regarding About Words, and Susan Graham.

I've been informed that I am currently in the second rounds of reviews with Harper-Collins and Penguin for my second novel. Additionally, Harper-Collins has given interest in a multi-book (3) including a reprint of my first novel, Kokopelli's Flute. I will say that I believe Susan is taxed by work and at her client limit.

I have heard nothing of Zebra or the other individuals mentioned, and am actively working with Susan and one of her editors. I have paid nothing, and from all appearances, it looks to be an honest and square agency.

Please hold any questions regarding her of me until I see what comes of the relationship.

JP

p.s. When do I stop being an esteemed new member? I hate being that!

Maprilynne
09-21-2006, 06:58 PM
I believe at fifty posts.

I could be wrong.:)

Maprilynne

Anonymisty
09-22-2006, 06:44 AM
I have paid nothing, and from all appearances, it looks to be an honest and square agency.

Back in 2003, Susan read a partial and asked for the whole manuscript of mine, but when a year went by with no word, amid rumors of her being seriously ill again, I went ahead and withdrew it. It's good to hear that she's getting her stride back. She's a very pleasant lady, and I've always wished her the best. Much luck to you with Harper Collins and Penguin!

Children's Writer
10-03-2006, 09:06 PM
I withdrew my manuscript from this agency this morning. Too many warning bells, and very poor communications between agent and writer. I may detail the situation on my website at a later time. I'd also like to post their phone number for other writers who may need it. I've got a contact in Georgia looking for the phone--it's pretty well hidden.

Namatu
10-12-2006, 10:11 PM
Children's Writer - you've got me wondering which agent you were in contact with. I'm new to the forum, and signed with About Words about a year ago. I haven't had any problems with them along the lines of what others have mentioned, but communication has been an area of contention. Overall, my impression of About Words (or my agent - hard to tell where the line is there) is disappointing, with emails about business points going completely unanswered.

Michael Martinez
12-11-2006, 11:04 AM
I am one of Susan's former clients (she negotiated a book deal for me). I would work with her again, and may contact her in a few months about a writing project I have in mind.

I've read and heard numerous rumors about Susan through the years, most of them somewhat exaggerated on the basis of hostility or ignorance.

When we last spoke in depth about the About Words Agency, Susan told me she was working mostly outside the standard markets that SFWA monitors, so I would take the SFWA concerns with a grain of salt. That doesn't make these markets suspect -- they're just not all SF & F markets.

I don't know what Susan has been doing in the past year or so, but I can see that people are still slinging the mud. Most people who think they should be published -- as the good folks at SFWA well know -- simply cannot write well enough to get an acceptance. If Susan is arranging for free editorial previews that make stern recommendations to prospective writers, the professional response from the writer's side is either to consider taking the advice or to ignore it and go elsewhere without raising a stink.

I've made plenty of sales through the years. I also used to keep a large folder of rejection letters. Rejections happen.

Unless Susan is trying to charge people for services (she only took a commission on my contract) up front, these hints and suggestions that something is amiss at About Words should be at best treated with high skepticism or at worst ignored, even the dire warnings from SFWA. I would be concerned on the basis of a lack of response in Namatu's case, but the earlier dire warnings just strike me as being ridiculously vague.

Victoria or anyone is welcome to contact me through Xenite.Org's contact form (my old email address has been abandoned because of spam). I'm not in a position to comment on how Susan does business today, but she was only ever professional and competent with me.

As I said above, I would definitely work with her again, without hesitation.

victoriastrauss
12-11-2006, 08:16 PM
When we last spoke in depth about the About Words Agency, Susan told me she was working mostly outside the standard markets that SFWA monitors, so I would take the SFWA concerns with a grain of salt. That doesn't make these markets suspect -- they're just not all SF & F markets.SFWA has a list of qualifying professional markets (http://www.sfwa.org/org/qualify.htm#Q3) on its website. This is intended for people who are interested in joining SFWA, and want to know what counts as "published" for the purposes of membership.

The list has nothing to do with Writer Beware, which is indeed sponsored by SFWA, but follows agents and publishers in all markets, not just SF and fantasy (Writer Beware is intended to be useful to all writers, no matter what genre they write in or where they come from.) Any commercial sales made by Ms. Graham since she started About Words in 2002 would be gladly acknowledged by us (we do acknowledge the sales she made in the 1990's with her previous agency). We can only discover three--one (http://www.zenithpress.com/Store/ProductDetails_16662.ncm) to US-based Zenith Press, a specialist publisher that accepts unagented submissions; one to a French publisher, Fortis/Alban, and Hungarian rights to one of your own books (interestingly, the agency's website mentions only one of these sales).

If Susan is arranging for free editorial previews that make stern recommendations to prospective writers, the professional response from the writer's side is either to consider taking the advice or to ignore it and go elsewhere without raising a stink.Free editorial previews is not what's happening.

Ms. Graham uses an editing service (run by a freelance editor whose commercial credits are underwhelming), with which she has a long-time association (from 1999 until 2002, while Ms. Graham was on hiatus with her agenting, this editor mined Ms. Graham's client list for potential business--I have documentation of this), to "screen" submissions for the agency. Rejectees get a form saying that their submission "although interesting, is not ready yet." Check boxes follow, for things like "Mechanics" and "Pacing" and "Premise/plausibility/motivation." These are accompanied by a few general comments from the editor, plus promotional material for the editing service.

This isn't free editorial feedback: it's a pitch for services.

Unless Susan is trying to charge people for services (she only took a commission on my contract) up front, these hints and suggestions that something is amiss at About Words should be at best treated with high skepticism or at worst ignored, even the dire warnings from SFWA. I would be concerned on the basis of a lack of response in Namatu's case, but the earlier dire warnings just strike me as being ridiculously vague.I don't think that what I've said is at all vague. To recap:

- Ms. Graham appears to have made just one US sale since opening About Words in 2002, plus two foreign sales. Other agents in the agency do not appear to have made any sales at all. This is not an encouraging track record for an agency that's been in business for four years now.

- Ms. Graham allows a dubiously qualified freelance editor to use her submissions pool to solicit business. Whether or not there's a kickback arrangement (and for the record, I doubt there is), this strikes me as unethical.

Victoria or anyone is welcome to contact me through Xenite.Org's contact form (my old email address has been abandoned because of spam). I'm not in a position to comment on how Susan does business today, but she was only ever professional and competent with me.I believe you. She certainly did make a number of sales with her old agency. However, my comments are focused on the documentation I've gathered on her current business.

- Victoria

Michael Martinez
12-11-2006, 11:38 PM
Ms. Graham uses an editing service (run by a freelance editor whose commercial credits are underwhelming), with which she has a long-time association (from 1999 until 2002, while Ms. Graham was on hiatus with her agenting, this editor mined Ms. Graham's client list for potential business--I have documentation of this), to "screen" submissions for the agency. Rejectees get a form saying that their submission "although interesting, is not ready yet." Check boxes follow, for things like "Mechanics" and "Pacing" and "Premise/plausibility/motivation." These are accompanied by a few general comments from the editor, plus promotional material for the editing service.

This isn't free editorial feedback: it's a pitch for services.

From Susan or the freelance editor? Despite your denial, you make it sound like Susan is endorsing this activity, but what have you done to confirm that implication or concern?

It's one thing to document that the promotional literature is sent to prospective authors, quite another to show that Susan approves, endorses, or benefits in any way from such promotion.

So, yes, you're being vague on that point.


- Ms. Graham appears to have made just one US sale since opening About Words in 2002, plus two foreign sales. Other agents in the agency do not appear to have made any sales at all. This is not an encouraging track record for an agency that's been in business for four years now.

I'll agree that it is not the most exceptional track record...but I have no knowledge of how many sales she has made nor of how reliable your information is. That's the problem I have with your strongly worded cautionary statements.

You provide nothing to show that you've performed due diligence. I am well aware you've been doing this for years, but when Susan and I last discussed her business model she mentioned she was working with several markets (where her clients were getting sales) outside of mainstream publishing.

We're not talking New York, Paris, and Montreal here. I'm not her accountant and I'm not her spokesperson, but I'm seeing people slam her on the Internet (a blog led me on a trail to this forum, although I've lurked here in the past) on the basis of extremely vague information.

You have the documentation to back up what you say. Great. Other people don't. Do you see my concern?


- Ms. Graham allows a dubiously qualified freelance editor to use her submissions pool to solicit business. Whether or not there's a kickback arrangement (and for the record, I doubt there is), this strikes me as unethical.

I'm curious about how many people have asked her about that situation. It is certainly within Susan's best interests to address these concerns. On the other hand, there are many paid writing markets out there which don't get the same treatment from traditional publishing sources that the New York business does.

If Susan is representing authors in non-traditional markets then she should probably make that clear. If you cannot confirm that she isn't doing so, you're putting yourself in a weaker position than you imagine on these ethical points.


I say that coming from an Internet marketing perspective, which may be extremely unfair to you. Despite numerous requests from people (including Susan as recently as last year) for another book, I've been dealing with non-writing interests. I think the traditional publishing industry is facing numerous challenges, including competition for good writing talent. I've made most of my writing sales under work-for-hire and serialization contracts, which I find are barely acknowledged by the novel community as paid markets at all. But there is increasing demand for good writers ni non-traditional markets these days.

AC Crispin
12-12-2006, 12:39 AM
As Victoria mentioned, Writer Beware has documentation from writers of being solicited by Bobby Christmas after querying About Words Literary Agency. Susan Graham is WELL AWARE that Bobby Christmas is using her submissions list to solict editorial work. I have confirmation of this firsthand from a former employee of Ms. Graham's who later went on to become a SFWA member and who got in contact with me when she/he saw our advisories, to tell us we are correct in what we've observed.

Susan Graham is well aware of Writer Beware's concerns with her agency, and her dealings with Bobby Christmas. She's never made any attempt to offer an explanation or excuse that would hold water.

Victoria may doubt that kickbacks are going on...I'm not so sanguine, I'm afraid. But I have no proof of anything except a constant stream of "your book needs editing and we can provide this...for a fee" communications coming from writers who have queried or submitted to this agency.

Coupled with the poor track record of sales, and Ms. Graham's lack of concern about her professional reputation, I would (and do) warn writers away from submitting to her.

-Ann C. Crispin
Chair, Writer Beware
www.writerbeware.com (http://www.writerbeware.com)

victoriastrauss
12-12-2006, 01:00 AM
From Susan or the freelance editor? Despite your denial, you make it sound like Susan is endorsing this activity, but what have you done to confirm that implication or concern?

It's one thing to document that the promotional literature is sent to prospective authors, quite another to show that Susan approves, endorses, or benefits in any way from such promotion.What have I done to confirm? I've collected documentation--such as the the form with the checkoff boxes, which is on About Words letterhead.

I also have documentation going back to 1999 on Ms. Graham's involvement with Ms. Christmas. For instance, Zebra's pitch letters used to begin: "Susan Graham of Graham Literary Agency thought your material was interesting, but that you would benefit by using our services," and were accompanied by a letter signed by Ms. Graham introducing Zebra and saying "You are, of course, welcome to choose any editorial method or company you prefer, but I strongly urge you to have your complete manusript professionally edited before submitting it to any agent or publisher." When About Words started up, Zebra dropped the implication that Graham had actually recommended their services, but there was still a letter from Ms. Graham on About Words letterhead, introducing Zebra and saying "You are welcome to choose any editorial method or company, but we recommend that before you submit any manuscript you have it edited by a book editor familiar with Chicago Style." Not quite as strong a recommendation as before, but certainly a suggestion that the writer needed professional help. It seems reasonable to assume that this would increase the odds of the writer putting two and two together and getting five. Oh dear, I need an editor. Zebra Communications is an editor. Wow, I need Zebra Communications!

How, in any case, could Zebra get access to Ms. Graham's submission list without Ms. Graham's approval? The relationship is even described on the About Words website (http://agency.aboutwords.org/zebra.html): "In addition to our in-house readers, we use an outside agency to help us handle the large number of queries we receive daily. Zebra Communications has agreed to provide free feedback in return for sending information about its services, with no obligation required or implied." Disclaimer or no, that sure sounds like approval to me.

I'll agree that it is not the most exceptional track record...but I have no knowledge of how many sales she has made nor of how reliable your information is. That's the problem I have with your strongly worded cautionary statements.I'm aware of the risks of making unsupported statements, so I make sure that my statements are, in fact, supported--in this case, among other things, by the agency's website and by remarks made by Ms. Graham herself in email.

I am well aware you've been doing this for years, but when Susan and I last discussed her business model she mentioned she was working with several markets (where her clients were getting sales) outside of mainstream publishing.OK. But those should still be sales, or at least placements, and they should show up somewhere--on the agency's website, for instance, or in the frontmatter of books, or in Publisher's Lunch, or in PW, or in Locus, or in the agency's own public news bulletins (for a while, Ms. Graham was sending regular news items on her agency to Science Fiction Chronicle). Somewhere. I can't find a thing. Granted, I'm not all-knowing--but I do know how to do research.

If the agency is making sales, or placing books in "non-traditional" markets, why are these not mentioned on its website? Here's the sum total of sales information on the website, from Susan Graham's profile on the Agent Profiles (http://agency.aboutwords.org/agents.html) page: "She and Marylin Gautier have sold one nonfiction book so far." That's two fewer sales than I've picked up with other research. (And before someone suggests that the website may not have been updated lately, it's been updated (http://agency.aboutwords.org/news.html) at least through mid-2006, to promote Graham's and Christmas's workshop, "Write in Style and Snag an Agent." (http://agency.aboutwords.org/seminar.html))


You have the documentation to back up what you say. Great. Other people don't. Do you see my concern?Again, I'm very aware of the potential legal problems of claiming to have evidence I don't have (and believe me, SFWA's lawyers are equally aware). I don't make unsupported claims, and if I'm speculating, or if something is my opinion, I'm careful to say so. I know that you have only my word for that. However, Writer Beware does have a reputation for accuracy and careful research.

- Victoria

Michael Martinez
12-12-2006, 09:15 AM
I've looked at Susan's Web site About Words Web Site (http://www.aboutwords.org/) and I agree that it appears it was updated as recently as June 2006 with information about Susan and Bobbie Christmas offering a seminar together (as you noted, and as I cite you below).



It's one thing to document that the promotional literature is sent to prospective authors, quite another to show that Susan approves, endorses, or benefits in any way from such promotion.What have I done to confirm? I've collected documentation--such as the the form with the checkoff boxes, which is on About Words letterhead.

Would that be similar to the letter I have here on Victoria Strauss letterhead that says, "Michael Martinez is unquestionably the most intelligent, handsome man who ever lived and I think that any woman would be lucky to have him as a husband"? (NOTE: Of course I have no such letter -- but statements made on a forum substantiate nothing in and of themselves.)

Let's not drift into a "Prove this" discussion. We've both seen enough of those to last a lifetime.

My point is that you, as a third-party arbitrator of integrity, have made conflicting statements in this thread.


04-05-2006 08:45 AM
In the intervening time, Ms. Graham appears to have made just one small sale. That appears to be the sum total of the agency's track record since Ms. Graham opened About Words in 2002.


Today 08:16 AM
We can only discover three--one (http://www.zenithpress.com/Store/ProductDetails_16662.ncm) to US-based Zenith Press, a specialist publisher that accepts unagented submissions; one to a French publisher, Fortis/Alban, and Hungarian rights to one of your own books (interestingly, the agency's website mentions only one of these sales).

Did the other two sales occur in the timeframe between April 2006 and December 2006?

In 2003 you wrote:


08-10-2003, 09:56 AM
Graham recently appears to have gotten active again with About Words Agency. However, she's still involved with Bobbie Christmas and Zebra Communications. According to the agency's guidelines, everything submitted goes first through Christmas/Zebra, which acts as the agency's "clearinghouse". Based on past evidence, I suspect that most submissions receive a recommendation for paid editing. Even if a few do make it through to Graham, I'm not aware she's made any sales as yet.

So, Ann Crispin's leaping to your defense aside (and I'm not here to label you a bad person), there are inconsistencies in your facts as presented across the years.

There is a measure of accountability that I as an interested third party expect of you and all "watchdogs" in the matters because what you say here and elsewhere is picked up and carried off by other people. You have a responsibility to make it absolutely crystal clear that the misinformation doesn't start with you.

One of the curious matters of your investigation is that you have apparently listed one of Susan's claimed partners (Paul & Peter Fritz Agency (http://www.fritzagency.com/)) in an eBook available on this site. I find no indication of warnings or concern about that agency. I cannot find anything about them on SFWA's site, either.

To the best of your knowledge, is that a reputable firm? I won't make a fuss if you have no information either way. But this is another inconsistency in the background information you provide for About Words (and Bobbie Christmas, who by your own most recent admission is not explicitly soliciting fee-paid services from Susan's submissions -- although I agree that I don't think slipping an advertisement into a return letter is the best business practice in an industry that has devoted decades to fighting bad business practices).

My concerns about the advertising, however, don't substantiate, rationalize, or justify the inconsistencies and incompleteness of the information being provided here.


...I'm aware of the risks of making unsupported statements, so I make sure that my statements are, in fact, supported--in this case, among other things, by the agency's website and by remarks made by Ms. Graham herself in email.

We've both stipulated the relationship between Susan and Bobbie (whom I have, to the best of my recollection, never met) exists. But you have not supported all your statements. You've supported enough to show that you are credible in some statements.

If we assume for the sake of discussion that you were provided materials by disappointed authors in confidence, then you're in the unhappy position of having to respect other people's privacy. That means you have no accountability for some of your other statements without those parties stepping forward (or other third parties who have not approached you) to state that, yes, they were solicited for fee-based editorial services.

I'm only challenging your credibility at this late point in the game because the hostile statements made by third parties which exceed what you say appear to be based on your own assessments of Susan. If what is being said about Susan on the basis of your credible statements (and self-admitted suppositions) by third parties cannot be trusted, what else cannot be trusted by third parties who base what they say on your remarks?

Why are your remarks apparently being distorted? There are certainly a lot of naive people running around the Internet. But the inconsistencies in your information should be addressed, cleared up.



I am well aware you've been doing this for years, but when Susan and I last discussed her business model she mentioned she was working with several markets (where her clients were getting sales) outside of mainstream publishing.

OK. But those should still be sales, or at least placements, and they should show up somewhere--on the agency's website, for instance, or in the frontmatter of books, or in Publisher's Lunch, or in PW, or in Locus, or in the agency's own public news bulletins (for a while, Ms. Graham was sending regular news items on her agency to Science Fiction Chronicle). Somewhere. I can't find a thing. Granted, I'm not all-knowing--but I do know how to do research.

I'm curious. Do you know about the $1300 contract I got back in 1997 to work on a Hercules and Xena-related project? I don't expect you to be all-knowing. In fact, that was a work-for-hire contract and I've never expected anyone to know I did the work. I was fortunate to get another work-for-hire contract a year or so later that was Tolkien-related -- the vendor gave me full credit, much to my delight.

I'm not going to pretend to know whether Susan made more sales than you have documented. When she gave me my royalty check for the sale you referred to above, she mentioned she had placed sales for other authors with non-traditional markets. I accepted her statement at face value.

At the time, it didn't occur to me that her feet would be held to the fire for not reporting those sales. I don't know enough about how agents work to know how public their sales are supposed to be. Since Susan said she wasn't trying to place much business in New York (although she did make an effort to get me a reprint contract with a major publisher who asked for an original manuscript instead), I didn't get the impression she was trying to publicize her work with organizations like SFWA, et. al.

I cannot and will not pretend to speak for her, but I've never caught her in a lie.


If the agency is making sales, or placing books in "non-traditional" markets, why are these not mentioned on its website?...

Because I'm using "non-traditional" to refer to markets mentioned briefly in a conversation that took place about two years ago (that was not my last communication with Susan -- I stayed in touch with her up until sometime last year when I turned my attention back to online projects).


...Here's the sum total of sales information on the website, from Susan Graham's profile on the Agent Profiles (http://agency.aboutwords.org/agents.html) page: "She and Marylin Gautier have sold one nonfiction book so far." That's two fewer sales than I've picked up with other research. (And before someone suggests that the website may not have been updated lately, it's been updated (http://agency.aboutwords.org/news.html) at least through mid-2006, to promote Graham's and Christmas's workshop, "Write in Style and Snag an Agent." (http://agency.aboutwords.org/seminar.html))

At this point, it seems her second-worst sin is failure to promote her successes (assuming she's had more than you can document).


Again, I'm very aware of the potential legal problems of claiming to have evidence I don't have (and believe me, SFWA's lawyers are equally aware). I don't make unsupported claims, and if I'm speculating, or if something is my opinion, I'm careful to say so. I know that you have only my word for that. However, Writer Beware does have a reputation for accuracy and careful research.

I'm not a lawyer, won't pretend to know what a lawyer knows, but I seriously doubt you're treading in legal hot water.

There are, nonetheless, various levels of credibility. I've often referred authors to your reference material through the years. I will again.

That's why I'm concerned about the issues I have raised. Ultimately, Susan's business is her own to run. But I do know how ... unforgiving ... the SF community can be. I've known enough published authors, heard enough horror stories through the years, to understand why the SF community seems so hard-nosed.

But every now and then the communal wisdom -- as in all communities -- can be distorted.

There are some people out there saying some pretty harsh things about Susan, and you (who did not say them) cannot substantiate those things but you're ultimately (as best I can determine) the authority that those people have looked to to justify their remarks (however inappropriately they may be in doing so).

I think I've said this about as well as I can say it. I would still let Susan represent me again. But then, I'm a published author with at least a small track record and perhaps that makes the difference. I don't know.

I'll be glad to read whatever reply you or Ann care to make, but I don't want to drag this out.

victoriastrauss
12-12-2006, 09:09 PM
Would that be similar to the letter I have here on Victoria Strauss letterhead that says, "Michael Martinez is unquestionably the most intelligent, handsome man who ever lived and I think that any woman would be lucky to have him as a husband"? (NOTE: Of course I have no such letter -- but statements made on a forum substantiate nothing in and of themselves.)OK, Michael. You don't believe I have the documentation I say I have. That's fine. Bear in mind, however, that the consequences to me of lying about this are quite a bit more serious than the consequences to you of making a statement like the one above (I'm aware, by the way, that you are joking). Why would I risk a lawsuit, not to mention my credibility--however great or small that may be--by lying? I guess it all comes down to what you think the answer to that question is.

Did the other two sales occur in the timeframe between April 2006 and December 2006?At the time I made the first post you quoted, we were aware of one small sale for About Words (the one mentioned on its website). Since that time, we've received documentation alluding to two more. As a result, we corrected our information.

Is this inconsistent? I suppose so, as to numbers--one sale versus three. We can only cite the documentation we actually have in hand. Is it inconsistent as to what it suggests about Ms. Graham's ability to sell books to commercial publishers? I don't think so.

Here's another consideration. There are other agents with the agency. I can't discover that they have any sales either.

This isn't just about Ms. Graham--it's about the agency as a whole. Which, as far as we or anyone else can determine, has a track record of just three sales--only one of them domestic--in four years. If I'm wrong, I would like to be corrected. I'd welcome it if Ms. Graham (or any agent from the agency) came here to comment.

There is a measure of accountability that I as an interested third party expect of you and all "watchdogs" in the matters because what you say here and elsewhere is picked up and carried off by other people. You have a responsibility to make it absolutely crystal clear that the misinformation doesn't start with you.I'm not sure what you're saying here. Must Writer Beware be responsible for what other people say about what we say? Absolutely, we have a responsibility to make sure that what we say is accurate based on the documentation we have in hand--and, if we're speculating based on that documentation (as opposed to simply citing facts) or stating an opinon, we have a responsibility to say so. What other people make of the information--and plenty of people ignore us--isn't in our control.

One of the curious matters of your investigation is that you have apparently listed one of Susan's claimed partners (Paul & Peter Fritz Agency (http://www.fritzagency.com/)) in an eBook available on this site. I find no indication of warnings or concern about that agency. I cannot find anything about them on SFWA's site, either.Writer Beware doesn't list agencies by name unless they're involved in an official investigation,are the target of a lawsuit, have been indicted or convicted, etc. I wonder if you found this listing on Preditors & Editors? Writer Beware and Preditors & Editors are separate operations.

To the best of your knowledge, is that a reputable firm?I'm not familiar with the agency; I haven't gotten any reports or complaints about it. Based on what I see online, it looks reputable and well-established.

I won't make a fuss if you have no information either way. But this is another inconsistency in the background information you provide for About Words Why?
(and Bobbie Christmas, who by your own most recent admission is not explicitly soliciting fee-paid services from Susan's submissions -- although I agree that I don't think slipping an advertisement into a return letter is the best business practice in an industry that has devoted decades to fighting bad business practices).You're splitting hairs here. If you're sending advertising for a fee-paid service to someone, you most certainly are soliciting their use of that service, even if you don't explicitly say so.

I notice you aren't any longer questioning whether the solicitation has Ms. Graham's approval.

If we assume for the sake of discussion that you were provided materials by disappointed authors in confidence, then you're in the unhappy position of having to respect other people's privacy. That means you have no accountability for some of your other statements without those parties stepping forward (or other third parties who have not approached you) to state that, yes, they were solicited for fee-based editorial services.I certainly do have accountability. I have documentation, which has been provided by the people who contact me. That documentation includes not just writers' reports and complaints, but agency correspondence, contracts, promotional material (including the website) and the advertising material sent by Bobbie Christmas. I'm not going to produce that documentation short of a subpoena or a request from law enforcement officials--you're right about respecting privacy, something both I and Ann are scrupulous about--but I am not lying about the fact that it exists, or about what it contains. See my remarks at the start of this post.

I'm only challenging your credibility at this late point in the game because the hostile statements made by third parties which exceed what you say appear to be based on your own assessments of Susan. If what is being said about Susan on the basis of your credible statements (and self-admitted suppositions) by third parties cannot be trusted, what else cannot be trusted by third parties who base what they say on your remarks?So...you're questioning my credibility because of what other people have said about what I've said? That makes no sense.

I'm not responsible for what other people say. I AM responsible for what I say. That's why I'm so careful.

I'm curious. Do you know about the $1300 contract I got back in 1997 to work on a Hercules and Xena-related project?No. I haven't tried to research you. Nor have I any reason to do so.

I don't know enough about how agents work to know how public their sales are supposed to be. Since Susan said she wasn't trying to place much business in New York (although she did make an effort to get me a reprint contract with a major publisher who asked for an original manuscript instead), I didn't get the impression she was trying to publicize her work with organizations like SFWA, et. al.No agent publicizes his or her work with organizations like SFWA. They publicize their work to the trade generally. Why? Because it's like advertising--it's an indication of success.

Ultimately, Susan's business is her own to run. But I do know how ... unforgiving ... the SF community can be. I've known enough published authors, heard enough horror stories through the years, to understand why the SF community seems so hard-nosed.This has nothing to do with the SF community. As I've said before, Writer Beware is sponsored by SFWA, but we are a "watchdog" in all markets. We don't care whether an agent sells in SF markets, romance markets, nonfiction markets--we just care that an agent sells, and runs his or her business ethically.

- Victoria

eqb
12-13-2006, 12:14 AM
What bothers me is that Michael appears to be working on a double standard here. He accuses Victoria of being vague. But when she provides numerous, specific examples of unethical and/or questionable behavior, he insinuates that she's lying. At the same time, he claims that Susan Graham is working with alternative markets but provides no specifics. No names, no dates, no sales, except for one contract with a "Hercules and Xena-related project."

Given that he also confuses SFWA, Preditors & Editors, and Writer Beware, I'd need more reassurance that he knows what he's talking about.

roach
12-13-2006, 12:33 AM
Mr. Martinez has stated that he's not familiar with how certain aspects of the publishing industry works. It sounds that he has more experience with work for hire rather than commercial* publishing. I'm getting a vibe from his posts that he is feeling a little attacked himself, as if his association with Susan Graham makes him suspect (this comes from his repeated pointing to his own sales from the 1990's, sales that Writer Beware has acknowledged already). I'd invite Mr. Martinez to spend some time in the other publishing threads here to get a better picture of how agents and commercial publishers work, which would give him a better understanding why things like little to no verifiable sales is such a red flag.

*as opposed to "traditional" publishing. I swear that word ("traditional") is like the undead of the publishing indudtry nomenclature. Just when you think you've staked the thing, cremated it and spread the ashes at the nearest crossroads it comes limping through the writer-sphere dripping rotten bits of publishing myths and flat out lies.

Namatu
12-13-2006, 06:12 PM
Victoria is correct in what she's stated about the agency.

If you look at the About Words Web site now, you'll see that they're offering to review screenplays for a fee. I'm not sure how this jibes with their regular agency work or whether or not it's considered an acceptable practice.

victoriastrauss
03-15-2007, 12:37 AM
From a recent post by Susan Graham of About Words to Usenet:

Bobbie Christmas of Zebra Communications has been kind enough to help Susan Graham and About Words for several years now with personalized,free, no-obligation evaluations. Susan needed help replying with evaluations to over 70,000 queries while she battled illness off and on since 1999.

Thankfully, Susan is now back in good health and ready and able to handle the queries without Bobbie's help. About Words has hired an in-house reader to evaluate queries under Susan's personal supervision. Queries will be handled by the reader and about 5% of them will be referred to the agents.

About Words Agency is no longer accepting snailmail queries and the regular mailbox has been closed. Email queries are encouraged. Please follow guidelines.

http://agency.aboutwords.org/email.htmlSince this announcement, Writer Beware has heard from two writers who e-queried About Words and were sent essentially the same editing checklist that Zebra Communications used to send out, only with the About Words logo instead of the Zebra logo. In both cases the "needs editing" box was checked; it suggests several resources, including Bobbie Christmas's book on editing, and refers writers to About Words's "writers' resources" webpages, where Bobbie Christmas is the first listed (http://www.aboutwords.org/writers/tipseditors.html) of the "editors who we know and recommend without reservation."

Writer Beware has recently confirmed with additional documentation that Graham has made just two sales since About Words started up in late 2001 or early 2002 (both nonfiction, both to independent publishers, only one published as yet--not an encouraging track record for an agency that has been in business for more than five years and, according to the post quoted above, is working on expanding to 100 clients).

We've also documented that of the 13 sales Ms. Graham claims from her former agency, one is not really a sale at all, since it was made to a special-interest noncommercial publisher, and one is a sale that was made by the author, not by Ms. Graham, although the author briefly hired Ms. Graham to assist with contract and other matters.

- Victoria

TheEnd
04-13-2007, 07:57 PM
Hi All,

First time poster, long time lurker. Very informative and professional site. Very helpful in a multitude of ways. So thanks to everyone who contributes.

Has anyone had any recent dealings with About Words Agency? I've read some negative things, but the more I dug, the more it just seems to be a misunderstanding in the past. It seems that maybe Susan is just trying to start over. Any first hand accounts would be great - either positive or negative. Thanks much.

JerseyGirl1962
04-13-2007, 10:53 PM
Has anyone had any recent dealings with About Words Agency? I've read some negative things, but the more I dug, the more it just seems to be a misunderstanding in the past. It seems that maybe Susan is just trying to start over. Any first hand accounts would be great - either positive or negative. Thanks much.

What should make you run away is included in Victoria's last post:

"Writer Beware has recently confirmed with additional documentation that Graham has made just two sales since About Words started up in late 2001 or early 2002."

From what I've learned, an agent starting up a new agency should have sales within a year or so; this agent/agency hasn't had any sales since starting up in 2002. Five years and only 2 sales? Where the heck has the money come from for them to keep going for so many years? Paid editing, critiquing, or whatever.

Misunderstandings or no, this is a business proposition. Don't you want the best for your book? The agent in question might be a very nice woman, but if she can't sell books, why would you entrust yours to her?

Respect yourself. Instead of going with someone with a suspect track record, you'd be better off going to lulu.com.

Good luck.

~Nancy

TheEnd
04-14-2007, 06:32 AM
Thanks, Nancy. Very good points - truly.

I haven't sent them my query yet, but I have been thinking about it. When I was going through my list of who to send to around February, I purposely took About Words off because of the things I read. But the one thing that sticks in my head is that she was supposedly sick, right? (I think I read that). If that is the case, I guess I could maybe understand her lack of sales, but then my senses grab hold and wrestle me back to reality. I guess I will just wait this one out and see if she makes any more sales before I query them. Thanks again!

DaveKuzminski
04-14-2007, 06:54 AM
From a recent post by Susan Graham of About Words to Usenet:
Since this announcement, Writer Beware has heard from two writers who e-queried About Words and were sent essentially the same editing checklist that Zebra Communications used to send out, only with the About Words logo instead of the Zebra logo. In both cases the "needs editing" box was checked; it suggests several resources, including Bobbie Christmas's book on editing, and refers writers to About Words's "writers' resources" webpages, where Bobbie Christmas is the first listed (http://www.aboutwords.org/writers/tipseditors.html) of the "editors who we know and recommend without reservation."


Sounds to me like they're trying to divorce the editing from the agenting so that they can edge away from the conflict of interest that's hurting them. Doesn't strike me as a very good attempt.

TheEnd
04-19-2007, 09:49 PM
I agree Dave. Seems like the whole "Bobby Christmas" fiasco will follow About Words around for quite some time.

TboneJenkins
08-17-2007, 02:15 AM
Hello, I'm new to this forum, but not so new to writing. I registered here after reading this thread and thought I post my own thoughts.

I never heard of this agency until I went to the Midwest Writers Workshop in Muncie, IN. I just finished writing a fantasy novel, but it's just a first draft, so I met with Susan thinking that it would be a "practice" run. I did see that on her website, however, that she was looking especially for minority fantasy/sci-fi writers, so that was why I scheduled a meeting with her.

She gave me some wonderful pointers on the book so far and said I had 'potential'. She also clarifed what her site meant about 'mentoring' minorities, meaning that if I sent my story in, I would get more "in-depth" feedback than normally done.

Of course, after I met with her, then I learned about the warnings on P&E.

So now what? I guess I really don't need to decide. I start editing my book next month, and I think I'm at least a year away from my story being ready to send out. And she *was* very helpful in her comments. I don't know if I will send her the story, considering her track record in sales so far. I think I will simply wait and watch. Hopefully, by next year, I would be able to make a more informed decision.

Thanks for letting me think things through!

LaShawn

JerseyGirl1962
08-17-2007, 04:52 PM
LaShawn,

:welcome:


I hope you stick around. You should go through the threads on how publishing works, because it's quite an education about a strange world (kind of like a fantasy story, in a way ;)).

Good luck with your novel!

~Nancy

BarbJ
08-17-2007, 07:21 PM
LaShawn,

:welcome:


I hope you stick around. You should go through the threads on how publishing works, because it's quite an education about a strange world (kind of like a fantasy story, in a way ;)).

Good luck with your novel!

~Nancy

Ditto! :D

CaoPaux
11-13-2007, 02:20 AM
Oh, my. About Words is now an epub, too: http://publish.aboutwords.org/

victoriastrauss
11-13-2007, 02:36 AM
That epublisher/ezine thing has been "Coming Soon" for ages (like, years) but never seems to arrive.

- Victoria

CaoPaux
11-13-2007, 04:40 AM
Oh, good. :cool:

bwoods43
10-14-2008, 11:52 PM
I thought I'd add my own experience with About Words, which isn't much. Before the 2007 New York BookExpo, I was in contact with agent Stephanie Dennis, who was supposedly with About Words (at least, according to her profile on the BookExpo social networking site). She requested chapters, gave great praise but ultimately turned down.

I decided recently to actively seek representation again, because my book is narrative nonfiction about the financial industry. I thought about contacting her again, but she's not even on About Words' agent list. In fact, if I do a Google search for her, I can't find her anywhere. That seems a bit shady that an agent would just completely disappear.

DaveKuzminski
10-15-2008, 03:34 AM
She's now with Authors Literary Agency.

victoriastrauss
10-15-2008, 07:00 AM
...and there is a thread about her here (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=95327&highlight=stephanne).

- Victoria

jpserra
10-15-2008, 03:31 PM
That epublisher/ezine thing has been "Coming Soon" for ages (like, years) but never seems to arrive.

- Victoria

Oh, it's here. It's called "Blogging" on most websites. The whole concept of ezines morphs into other things. I mean, isnt that what most websites are; and ezine with ads for the site? At least good ones.

You are, however, correct. It was always going to be the next best thing since the computer. I spend my life in front of a computer (maybe I should get out and "see" people sometime?) and find that the best and most entertaining websites are those that are conversational in content while presenting their wares. Most of the ezine sites I'd begun to visit in the past 5-6 years have failed and gone to a more traditional web format (if there is such a thing).

My best to you, saged one. I've missed the site.

JPS

1rb
02-13-2010, 05:28 PM
This one gets two red crosses on firstwriter and only comes up with safe search switched off:

http://www.firstwriter.com/Agents/agents_details.cgi?RecordNumber=594

I'd avoid.

jjpennstate
10-04-2010, 03:27 PM
For what it's worth, About Words is under new management and the new owner is Felice Gums. She has assured me that they have broken off all ties with Zebra Communications. The agency is currently reviewing my manuscript and I will post an account of my dealings with them at a later date. So far, there have been no red flags.

jjpennstate
11-04-2010, 05:10 PM
While I was offered representation with About Words Agency, I decided to go with another agency. However, I received insightful feedback from the agency and they were very professional during the entire process. This is not the same agency that earned a questionable reputation under the previous owners. They were also kind enough to give me details regarding their recent sales. I would recommend giving this agency a chance.

victoriastrauss
11-04-2010, 07:06 PM
I'd suggest a wait-and-see attitude until the new agency has proved it can make sales.

- Victoria

jjpennstate
12-08-2010, 06:25 PM
As I mentioned, the agency does have a sales record now. They will be re-creating and updating their website soon. And I have now signed with this agency. This is definitely not the sketchy agency it once was.

Jamiekswriter
02-23-2011, 08:36 PM
Anyone have any recent experiences with these guys? Here's their website:
http://agency.aboutwords.org/guidelines.html I heard on query tracker that they're giving 1-2 page crits with their rejections. However, reading this thread I was wondering if that's because they were pushing editing services.

jjpennstate
02-23-2011, 09:57 PM
They're good to go. I signed with Felice (the owner) and my novel is currently being shopped around with the big 6 publishers. The website is out of date but is being updated soon. They are not affiliated with any editing services anymore and this is a new owner who is extremely helpful and responsive.

victoriastrauss
02-23-2011, 10:22 PM
jjpenstate, do you know if they've yet made any sales?

- Victoria

jjpennstate
02-23-2011, 10:25 PM
Yes. Felice walked through their recent sales record with me, and I was more than satisfied. I would encourage you to query the agency and see for yourself.

victoriastrauss
02-24-2011, 06:15 AM
I'm already represented, thanks. But I'm interested in About Words' sale record--is there anything you can share? Do they plan to list the sales on their website?

- Victoria

jjpennstate
02-24-2011, 04:46 PM
I was given their detailed sales record when I spoke to Felice. I no longer have the list, but at the time I researched it carefully and verified everything she said. I don't know if it will be posted on her new website, but her client list will be.

Momento Mori
02-24-2011, 04:48 PM
Okay, so can you give a couple of titles and publishers from that list? If you verified it then surely something sticks in the mind.

MM

jjpennstate
02-24-2011, 04:56 PM
Okay, so can you give a couple of titles and publishers from that list? If you verified it then surely something sticks in the mind.

MM

Seriously. I don't work for them and I no longer have the email. Just contact the agent. I remember that she was dealing with Random House quite a bit as well as Triple Crown (urban lit). Since the list would have changed over the last four months, I wouldn't want to give you outdated information. Felice would probably be happy to reply to your question.

Momento Mori
02-24-2011, 05:45 PM
jjpennstate:
Seriously. I don't work for them and I no longer have the email.

No, but you are repped by them. Whether or not you still have the original email I'm just surprised that nothing on the list sticks in your mind.


jjpennstate:
Since the list would have changed over the last four months, I wouldn't want to give you outdated information.

A sale is a sale. If the sale's been made then the list won't change in the last 4 months, but it may be added to so the information might not be absolutely to the minute, but it is still a verifiable sales record - which has been the single main issue raised about this issue on thread.


jjpennstate:
Felice would probably be happy to reply to your question.

Don't doubt it but I'll wait and see how the update to her website goes.

MM

Momento Mori
02-24-2011, 06:52 PM
By way of addendum, jjpennstate PMed me to complain that I was questioning his/her integrity, complete with sign off line that they were trying to help by coming here to the thread and this was clearly an error.

:yawn:

Same old, same old.

Upshot is that the agency still doesn't list any sales on its site, no one has been able to provide any details of any sales and the one person here who claims to be a client and who says they've been provided with a "detailed sales record" can't apparently remember one sale on that list and says people should just contact Felice to ask her.

Yeah. Moving on.

MM

jjpennstate
02-24-2011, 07:11 PM
Sorry folks. I don't know who Momento Mori is, but please feel free to contact the agent and make your own judgments. I won't bicker in a forum.

waylander
02-24-2011, 07:41 PM
You could suggest that the agent drops by here to clarify her sales record.
As you'll know if you've taken a look around, many other agents drop by here from time to time.
Most agents are very happy to tell the world about their successes.

jjpennstate
02-24-2011, 07:44 PM
Good suggestion, waylander. And I'll post the website link when the new page is up. I feel confident with this agent and that is after I got burned by another agent (The Croce Agency).

HapiSofi
02-25-2011, 11:30 PM
No need to bicker. All we want is verified sales.

CaoPaux
12-08-2012, 08:44 PM
Refreshing the URL: http://www.aboutwords.org/

Looks like JJ's book sold to The Permanent Press (which doesn't require an agent), and is their only sale since '09-ish.

kathysnc
01-21-2015, 10:20 PM
Hi all, several places last year on line gives an email addy and submission guidelines for About Words.org . Now it seems they have disappeared. Everything bounces back, any one heard about what it going on?

VonAngel
01-21-2015, 11:00 PM
Looks like their former president, Felice Gums, is now a KW Realtor: http://www.kw.com/kw/agent/felice.gums

victoriastrauss
01-22-2015, 03:10 AM
They're gone, as far as I know. They had no track record to speak of, and a history of questionable editing referrals, so while I feel bad for authors who were left in the lurch...good riddance.

- Victoria