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Rebecca_Rogers
05-21-2009, 08:45 PM
I'm just curious if anyone has had any experience with Carrie Howland or this agency? I searched the forums, but noticed they weren't listed. I also noticed they didn't have $ listed beside their name on P&E.

Wanted to check before I query her...

CaoPaux
05-21-2009, 09:22 PM
Her AW page: http://agentquery.com/agent.aspx?agentid=1072

D&O's a solid agency. Carrie's new to Donadio (joined in Feb), but she's a member of AAR, so she has a sales record.

frandavea
05-22-2009, 03:16 AM
I just tried twice to equery Carrie at the address listed on AQ. It bounced back both times.

Rebecca_Rogers
05-22-2009, 03:25 AM
I went ahead and queried her earlier today, but mine didn't bounce back.

Juneluv12
05-22-2009, 03:40 AM
Mine was fine, too.

frandavea
05-22-2009, 04:12 AM
Well, either it's my computer or you guys are sending it to a different addy.

Rebecca_Rogers
05-22-2009, 04:16 AM
carrie@donadio.com? I just copied and pasted from AQ.

frandavea
05-22-2009, 04:35 AM
So did I.

Rebecca_Rogers
05-22-2009, 04:50 AM
That's so weird..

EgyptianGoddess
05-22-2009, 04:53 AM
I just tried twice to equery Carrie at the address listed on AQ. It bounced back both times.


I tried 3 times....twice at Carrie's email address and once at the mail@......address. I called the office to see if something was wrong with their email.....I don't think they know there is a problem.

Jefflrich
05-22-2009, 03:19 PM
I'm giving Carrie a shot as well. Sent email this morning and it seems to have gone through without issue.

EgyptianGoddess
05-22-2009, 03:48 PM
This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.

A message that you have sent could not be delivered to one or more
recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address failed:

<carrie@donadio.com>: Backend Replied [22f861a4.3006139280.58131.00-116.p01c11m101.mxlogic.net]: 5.7.1 Message rejected as spam by Content Filtering. (Mode: queuesafe)



That's what I keep getting.

Juneluv12
05-22-2009, 05:44 PM
Did you have a website address or something in there that might kick it out? I had trouble sending my partial to an agent the other day b/c I had a web link in it. I tried it on three separate account, and they all rejected it.

Once I took that out, it went through fine.

EgyptianGoddess
05-22-2009, 06:01 PM
Did you have a website address or something in there that might kick it out? I had trouble sending my partial to an agent the other day b/c I had a web link in it. I tried it on three separate account, and they all rejected it.

Once I took that out, it went through fine.


Just my email address under the signature...it's not a webpage though.

CaoPaux
05-22-2009, 06:48 PM
Is it a link or plain text? Make sure it's not being turned into a link when you send it. And your content is pasted rather than attached, yes?

What sort of account are you using? Some systems block hotmail and other oft-abused providers. If you have another account, try from that one.

Also, they don't specify it, but it's a good idea to have "query" in the subject line, if you don't already.

And when all else fails, go snail mail. :Hammer:

EgyptianGoddess
05-22-2009, 07:47 PM
Is it a link or plain text? Make sure it's not being turned into a link when you send it. And your content is pasted rather than attached, yes?

What sort of account are you using? Some systems block hotmail and other oft-abused providers. If you have another account, try from that one.

Also, they don't specify it, but it's a good idea to have "query" in the subject line, if you don't already.

And when all else fails, go snail mail. :Hammer:


I'll go snail mail. It's comcast......and yes, I put "Query" in the subject line. Nothing is attached, it's all pasted into the mail. It does look like it made a link, but this is the first time I've ever gotten a message like that. I'll fix it and try again, thanks for the suggestions.

River Rat
06-01-2009, 03:58 AM
I tried e-mailing her twice (including today) and both bounced back. I have had no problems with anyone else and have conformed to the usual format, etc. Maybe she just has a little box and you just have to get lucky.

Vermilion
06-01-2009, 10:33 AM
I just e-mailed her (using hotmail) and didn't bounce. I guess it got through.

EchelonPress
06-18-2009, 03:41 AM
Um, dude, we have been trying to get in touch with you to offer you a contract for Killer cows. Could you please get in touch with me, Karen Syed, at Echelon Press/Quake. admin@echelonpress.com

Note to authors: always put contact info on actual manuscript, cover letters almost always get lost by publishers at some point.

Karen Syed
http://klsyed.com

CaoPaux
06-18-2009, 05:08 AM
Which "dude" are you talking to?

ETA: Ah, I see now. Please take it PM.

J. M. Hunter
06-20-2009, 04:31 AM
I don't have any experience with Carrie Howland, but I queried Edward Hibbert on May 5 and got a request for a partial on June 15.

I didn't get any emails bounced, but I also didn't get any confirmation, which seems to be par for the course.

As for the agency, they are listed in the Writers' and Artists' Yearbook 2009 as being a member of AAR, though other details are scarce. They did mention that they are interested in literary fiction and non-fiction. Another site listed Carrie as an Associate Agent.

dragonmedley
06-24-2009, 11:38 PM
I'll go snail mail. It's comcast......and yes, I put "Query" in the subject line. Nothing is attached, it's all pasted into the mail. It does look like it made a link, but this is the first time I've ever gotten a message like that. I'll fix it and try again, thanks for the suggestions.

I got the exact same problem. The only 'link' was my email address; I tried again using (at) and (dot) instead of the @ and . and got the same results.

Snail mail it is, I guess.

AyJay
06-26-2009, 08:46 AM
I'm considering querying this agency for my gay-themed young adult. J.M. - how did you come to query Edward Hibbert? He's listed on LitMatch and Querytracker as not accepting unsolicited queries. Maybe he hasn't updated his status? Also, LitMatch lists another agent Darren Web as interested in gay/lesbian fiction. I couldn't find any information about him. Any leads?

Mercury Retrograde
06-26-2009, 11:20 PM
I'm considering querying this agency for my gay-themed young adult. J.M. - how did you come to query Edward Hibbert? He's listed on LitMatch and Querytracker as not accepting unsolicited queries. Maybe he hasn't updated his status? Also, LitMatch lists another agent Darren Web as interested in gay/lesbian fiction. I couldn't find any information about him. Any leads?

Hi fellow New Yorker!

Darren Web is listed in Agent Query as accepting queries. I think Agent Query has more up-to-date listings than LitMatch and QueryTracker:

http://www.agentquery.com/search.aspx

Good luck!

AyJay
06-27-2009, 12:14 AM
Hey Merc - I saw Darren there too. Not much info. Says he doesn't accept e-mail queries. Anyone have experience with him?

Mercury Retrograde
06-27-2009, 06:39 AM
Hey Merc - I saw Darren there too. Not much info. Says he doesn't accept e-mail queries. Anyone have experience with him?

Not email queries, but if you click on his profile and go to the next page, it says he accepts snail mail queries with SASE.

J. M. Hunter
06-30-2009, 08:49 AM
I'm considering querying this agency for my gay-themed young adult. J.M. - how did you come to query Edward Hibbert? He's listed on LitMatch and Querytracker as not accepting unsolicited queries. Maybe he hasn't updated his status? Also, LitMatch lists another agent Darren Web as interested in gay/lesbian fiction. I couldn't find any information about him. Any leads?

I just queried Edward Hibbert in the usual way and got a request back; however, I am pretty sure the request was not from him personally (could be from an assistant?), so the information that you have about him not taking unsolicited queries is probably correct.

AyJay
06-30-2009, 04:38 PM
Thanks J.M.. Hibbert is a great score. Hope things work out for you. I'm going back and forth over who to query at D&O. It would be great to get Hibbert's interest based on his track record, but I'm sure he's highly selective in who he takes on and if I get turned down from him, I'll have to write off the agency for awhile. I could try the lesser known Darren Web, but I can't find any info. about him, not even people who've gotten responses. Any thoughts?

J. M. Hunter
07-01-2009, 12:59 AM
Thanks J.M.. Hibbert is a great score. Hope things work out for you. I'm going back and forth over who to query at D&O. It would be great to get Hibbert's interest based on his track record, but I'm sure he's highly selective in who he takes on and if I get turned down from him, I'll have to write off the agency for awhile. I could try the lesser known Darren Web, but I can't find any info. about him, not even people who've gotten responses. Any thoughts?

Why don't you try querying the agency in general at mail@donadio.com - I am pretty sure that no matter who you query, it all goes through the same filter. The other people involved that I could find are Neil Olson and Tom Eubanks (email addresses all follow the same pattern - tom@donadio.com, neil@donadio.com, etc...) I hope this helps!

AyJay
07-02-2009, 06:18 PM
Thanks again J.M.. So I ended up following the guidelines (rule follower that I am) and sent my query to Darren by postal mail. I'll let you know how it turns out. Any word on your end?

J. M. Hunter
07-05-2009, 11:56 PM
Thanks again J.M.. So I ended up following the guidelines (rule follower that I am) and sent my query to Darren by postal mail. I'll let you know how it turns out. Any word on your end?

You're welcome - best of luck to you. I haven't heard anything back yet...

AyJay
07-09-2009, 04:29 AM
Well, just got a pithy form rejection letter to my query today. Bleck. Wasn't even signed by "Darren Web," just the agency. Guess my obsessing about this was totally unwarranted.

Dear Author
08-13-2009, 12:17 AM
Well, count me among those who tried unsuccessfully to equery Carrie Howland. Tried twice, and the 2nd time I changed my email address (the only possible link in my query) to xxxxxx at yahoo dot com, but no luck. Guess I'll send via snail.

Has anyone heard back from her one way or the other? Any info on her sales?

J. M. Hunter
08-14-2009, 01:57 AM
Well, just got a pithy form rejection letter to my query today. Bleck. Wasn't even signed by "Darren Web," just the agency. Guess my obsessing about this was totally unwarranted.

I am still waiting on a response. I'll probably close it out in about two weeks as a no-go (but I'll secretly keep my fingers crossed for another four five months, I'm sure!)

AyJay
08-14-2009, 08:10 AM
I am still waiting on a response. I'll probably close it out in about two weeks as a no-go (but I'll secretly keep my fingers crossed for another four five months, I'm sure!)

Yeah, sometimes the lack of closure is worse than the rejection letter. Maybe things have just slowed down for the summer. Good luck!

sunnywave
09-04-2009, 04:13 AM
fyi: i sent an e-query and it went through. got an out-of-office message that their offices are closed from 8/28/09 - 9/09/09. good luck everyone!

Cricket18
09-04-2009, 08:21 AM
Thanks for the info Sunnywave.

I queried 7/2 and got a request for a partial 7/8.

Still waiting...I'll update when I hear something.

meddyK
09-23-2009, 08:49 PM
Bc of all the bounced emails, I sent a snail query at the end of August. This week got a snail return letter for the partial.
Now have a request for a full (!!!) and I can't wait to see what happens.
I've been corresponding with an Allyssa, though--not sure if she is an agent or an assistant, but so far, super nice.

J. M. Hunter
09-25-2009, 01:28 AM
Got a request for a full from D&O today! For the record, here's my timeline:

5/5 - Sent query & Synopsis
6/15 - Requested sample chapters
6/16 - Sent Sample Chapters
9/24 - Requested full manuscript
10/13 - Declined Representation

I spoke to Katie Zaneccia (sp?) - she read the entire manuscript and pointed out the things she liked and didn't like. She was professional and genuine, and even though she ultimately turned me down, she was a treat to work with. I would recommend the agency to anyone writing quirky literary fiction.

smenders2
12-19-2009, 10:18 PM
It's not necessary to add your email address to the body of the email as the email address is identified in the top banner of the email at "From:"

smenders2
12-19-2009, 10:47 PM
I just got a Mailer-daemon from Carrie at Donadio--reason: spam

NickSaw
06-30-2010, 01:49 AM
I recently sent a query with a synopsis and sample pages to Carrie Howland and received a very enthusiastic and personalized request for a full signed Laura Silverstein. Is she a new agent? Secretary/Assistant? I'm very excited! :)

NickSaw
08-04-2010, 05:20 AM
Well I just heard back and my manuscript made it past the initial reader and is now in the hands of a senior agent! Crossing my fingers! Also, this agency now has a website: http://donadio.com/ and a twitter account: http://twitter.com/DonadioandOlson (http://twitter.com/DonadioandOlson)

FROBONICUS
08-28-2010, 10:07 PM
EMAIL TO "mail @ Donadio" (their general submissions address) rejected as spam.

jvdlandersen
08-22-2011, 07:55 PM
I have a 50 pg partial out with Carrie. Here's hoping!

Chumplet
04-11-2012, 12:26 AM
I just received a rejection for a query I sent August 2011. Somebody must have found a few emails in the back of a drawer.

noneofusis
01-09-2014, 12:26 AM
Received a partial request from Carrie through #PitMad--anybody have any updated info on her or the agency?

noneofusis
01-20-2014, 03:04 AM
Hey guys, Carrie requested my full and I was wondering if anyone has any relevant information on her or the agency. She only has one deal on PM (which I know isn't a complete representation of sales but still) and the agency doesn't have any YA books listed on their site either. I'm feeling a little wary but it could be that they just don't update their site or PM--can someone help?

Cel_Fleur
05-01-2014, 06:10 PM
Agreed. I'd like to know a little more about their recent sales, since Carrie requested a 50-page partial from me from a pitch contest.

Smiley0501
06-09-2014, 04:07 AM
Bumping this thread way up :)

I did a Twitter pitch contest called #pitmad and got a request from Carrie Howland for the first 50 pages. It turned into a full, then an offer. I ultimately ended up with 4 offers but went back to Carrie, who I cannot talk more highly of. She is prompt in her responses, whether phone or email, and knows the industry. Though some of her sales aren't on PM, she's made good ones (most recently - a YA Greek mythology to R@nd0m H0use for 2015 and one of her adult sales releases in July :) ). She is very editorial (seriously my edit letter is 5 pages), but she knows what she's doing.

Here's the official stats w/Carrie:
3/28 - #Pitmad req for YA contemp, first 50 pgs.
5/2 - Req for full ms
5/9 - Offer of representation
5/19 Offer accepted.

Becca C.
06-09-2014, 08:02 AM
Yay!!!

:partyguy:

Cel_Fleur
06-09-2014, 01:51 PM
Congrats, Smiley! Sounds like you did pretty awesomely on the agent front there. :)

J.B.Kantt
06-09-2014, 11:11 PM
Bumping this thread way up :)

I did a Twitter pitch contest called #pitmad and got a request from Carrie Howland for the first 50 pages. It turned into a full, then an offer. I ultimately ended up with 4 offers but went back to Carrie, who I cannot talk more highly of. She is prompt in her responses, whether phone or email, and knows the industry. Though some of her sales aren't on PM, she's made good ones (most recently - a YA Greek mythology to R@nd0m H0use for 2015 and one of her adult sales releases in July :) ). She is very editorial (seriously my edit letter is 5 pages), but she knows what she's doing.

Here's the official stats w/Carrie:
3/28 - #Pitmad req for YA contemp, first 50 pgs.
5/2 - Req for full ms
5/9 - Offer of representation
5/19 Offer accepted.


That's awesome! Congrats, Smiley!!!!! :partyguy::D:TheWave::PartySmil

IdrisG
06-12-2014, 10:04 AM
Congrats, Smiley!

Smiley0501
06-13-2014, 05:07 PM
Thanks, everyone. Now onto lots of revisions and hopefully eventually sub :)

Cel_Fleur
09-02-2014, 08:01 PM
Does anyone know if Carrie responds to partials or if no-response = no and if nudging is necessary (I've never nudged before, so I am hesitant)? It's definitely been over the three-month mark since I sent fifty pages.

Thedrellum
09-02-2014, 09:55 PM
I checked a few comments on QueryTracker and it seems like she responds to partials. I would consider nudging.

Also, if you have the $25 to spare, I suggest getting the upgraded membership to QueryTracker while in the querying process. The date they provide on submissions to individual agents was really helpful for me in determining how long to wait before nudging and whether or not the agents ever responded, among other things.

quianaa2001
09-04-2014, 06:50 AM
I queried her on 1/19, followed up and still never got a reply. Is nothing a no? Or does she reply?
Should I resend or not?

quianaa2001
09-11-2014, 02:35 AM
BUMP

ANYONE?

Smiley0501
09-23-2014, 01:15 AM
I queried her on 1/19, followed up and still never got a reply. Is nothing a no? Or does she reply?
Should I resend or not?

Definitely resend. I believe Carrie & her assistant reply to all queries . Good luck!!

WriteStarfish
10-29-2014, 03:25 AM
Has anyone experienced being recommended a free lance editor by this agency? I know that it's sketchy for agencies to do so, but this is a very reputable place. I was wondering how it would work. Would the author be expected to pay for the editing of a recommended free lance editor or would this be something deducted from the author's check?

Maddie
10-29-2014, 05:18 AM
In this case I would hope the agency is paying for the editing service. Otherwise it's a conflict of interest. WriteStarfish, have you signed with this agency?

WriteStarfish
10-30-2014, 06:46 AM
I have not. This is why I was wondering- if your ideas are liked but you've not yet signed and they recommend a particular editor, then I was uncertain of who would pay.

Maddie
10-31-2014, 08:49 AM
This editorial referral still seems like a conflict to me. Have you posed the question to the agency about who is expected to pay? Asked them about conflict of interest? Asked if this is their norm of business behavior? Have they given you any actual language they'd be interested in signing you if the manuscript was edited? In that case, you'd be wise to shop around for an editor, especially if the agency isn't investing, and it's your dime.

Anyone else had a particular experience like this with this agency?

WriteStarfish
11-01-2014, 12:38 AM
There's nothing too specific yet. I haven't been given a name or anything, so not like they're trying to push someone. I was told that they know of someone who is particularly good if I'm interested. They're reviewing a second piece currently though and so perhaps no editor will even be required if they go for that one instead. I know that recommending editors is a major conflict, but because of the AAR status of their agents and their reputable nature I was wanting to inquire further if anyone else had this experience. Thanks for your help too!

smithrebeccaj
04-21-2015, 01:29 AM
Hi all! I received a pitmad partial request from D&O and it was just changed to a full. Yay! But it came from someone who is not listed as an agent on their website. Has anyone worked with Elisabet? I could not find her, or the agency, on Querytracker either. It makes it hard to do research!

Thanks,
Rebecca

Thedrellum
04-21-2015, 07:50 PM
She might be an agent's assistant who is making the transition into agenting herself.

Just Googled, and according to linked in she's an Editorial Intern at D&O. She has experience at Bloomsbury and some magazines. That's all I got.

Also: congratulations!

smithrebeccaj
04-22-2015, 07:14 AM
Thedrellum,

Thanks! I did see the see the position on linked in, but since that's self-reported, I was hoping for something on the D&O website. But I'm overthinking. I found D&O on agent query and somehow Carrie Howland comes up on query tracker even though the agency doesn't??????

But I'm working away at a last read-through/revision so I can send it off with every finger and toe crossed!
Rebecca

ObeysGravity
12-05-2017, 08:47 PM
I have an unusual question.

This agency strikes me as an attractive place to submit, however, when I go to their site my anti-virus software immediately gives me a danger warning.

I've tried calling the D&O office, but there was no answer, only the opportunity to leave a message, which I did not do.

Anyone have any insight about this?

Davy The First
12-06-2017, 05:26 AM
I have an unusual question.

This agency strikes me as an attractive place to submit, however, when I go to their site my anti-virus software immediately gives me a danger warning.

I've tried calling the D&O office, but there was no answer, only the opportunity to leave a message, which I did not do.

Anyone have any insight about this?
Well, don't call their office. They have a submissions form. If this link don't work, the issue is likely with your browser, making it a tech question.

https://www.donadio.com/submissions-1

L.C. Blackwell
12-16-2017, 12:05 AM
I have some reason to suspect that Submittable (which powers D.O.s query form) has started selling email addresses for marketing purposes. You might want to create a free email account for this submission only (and don't forget to keep checking it!).

novicewriter
05-30-2018, 03:04 AM
:( This doesn't sound good. Apparently, an accountant who worked there embezzled millions of dollars from authors' royalties and advances for several years.

https://nypost.com/2018/05/26/accountant-embezzled-3-4m-from-famed-literary-agency/

R.A. Lundberg
05-30-2018, 07:56 PM
Notice that the money that was stolen was not from the agency itself; it's from the authors. The fact it took seven years for ONE author to notice that something was wrong speaks volumes about the way authors are paid. The incredibly complex way royalties are figured practically guarantees that many authors have no idea if they are being cheated or not. Many are and have no way of knowing. Add to this the idea that there is exactly no oversight over literary agents in New York. No licensing, no standards, nothing. It's the Wild West. Any yahoo with the bucks for a business license can hang out a literary agent shingle. It's harder to be a hairdresser! Some agents don't even supply their clients with copies of the contracts they sign!
This whole incident is a huge black eye for not just D&O but all agencies, and really the entire industry. This calls the entire way that agencies handle their author's money into question. I guarantee that every author with D&O are currently auditing those royalty statements, and probably not a few with other agencies as well. Want to bet a few with other agencies are going to be sitting there going "Hey, wait a minute, this seems wrong..." as well?
And is D&O going to be able to make up the money that was stolen? I doubt it. Those authors are probably just screwed.

novicewriter
05-30-2018, 11:57 PM
...And is D&O going to be able to make up the money that was stolen? I doubt it. Those authors are probably just screwed.


Yes. I agree with what you wrote; it's scary that this agency is an AAR member, yet their accountant was able to get away with something like that for several years.

To be fair, this article says that the agency is trying to fix this problem for their authors and work towards paying them the money they're owed.

https://www.mhpbooks.com/an-iconic-literary-agency-is-fleeced-by-its-accountant/


The agency now has a forensic accountant investigating nearly twenty years of financial records to determine the full extent of the theft, and to begin re-paying the authors unfortunately caught up in the con.

Aggy B.
05-31-2018, 04:06 AM
Notice that the money that was stolen was not from the agency itself; it's from the authors. The fact it took seven years for ONE author to notice that something was wrong speaks volumes about the way authors are paid. The incredibly complex way royalties are figured practically guarantees that many authors have no idea if they are being cheated or not. Many are and have no way of knowing. Add to this the idea that there is exactly no oversight over literary agents in New York. No licensing, no standards, nothing. It's the Wild West. Any yahoo with the bucks for a business license can hang out a literary agent shingle. It's harder to be a hairdresser! Some agents don't even supply their clients with copies of the contracts they sign!
This whole incident is a huge black eye for not just D&O but all agencies, and really the entire industry. This calls the entire way that agencies handle their author's money into question. I guarantee that every author with D&O are currently auditing those royalty statements, and probably not a few with other agencies as well. Want to bet a few with other agencies are going to be sitting there going "Hey, wait a minute, this seems wrong..." as well?
And is D&O going to be able to make up the money that was stolen? I doubt it. Those authors are probably just screwed.

Hmmm. Yanno, you sound like you don't understand how contracts, agents or publishing works.

ctripp
06-01-2018, 02:35 PM
The alleged theft was first discovered last fall when an unidentified author who was expecting to receive a $200,000 advance from his publisher asked Webb why he had not received the payment.

Seriously, how did this accountant EVER think he wouldn't get caught after keeping an entire advance? Skimming is hard to detect but when you take an whole advance, how long did he think it would be, before the Author contacted their Agent, rather then keep asking the accountant when her/his advance would arrive!

Old Hack
06-02-2018, 12:08 AM
Notice that the money that was stolen was not from the agency itself; it's from the authors.

The payments would have come into the agency. He then diverted money into his own account, rather than paying it to the authors. But he did take it from the agency accounts, as I understand it.


The fact it took seven years for ONE author to notice that something was wrong speaks volumes about the way authors are paid. The incredibly complex way royalties are figured practically guarantees that many authors have no idea if they are being cheated or not. Many are and have no way of knowing.

I'm astonished that it took anyone so long to notice what was going on. Royalty statements are sent out by publishers to agencies; agencies then take their cut, and pay the rest to the authors, and send them the royalty statements at that time. If the authors had checked them they'd surely have known that something was up. Unless the accountant produced fake royalty statements too.

Royalties aren't "incredibly complex" to work out: they're just a percentage of cover price, which is an easy calculation to make. Multiply that amount by the numbers sold and you're done. Royalty statements aren't always the clearest of documents to interpret but once you've understood what they're telling you, you can usually work things out.


Add to this the idea that there is exactly no oversight over literary agents in New York. No licensing, no standards, nothing. It's the Wild West. Any yahoo with the bucks for a business license can hang out a literary agent shingle. It's harder to be a hairdresser!

There aren't standards or qualifications for the job, because so much of the work can only be learned by doing it. We, as writers, can do our best to only work with agents of good repute. The ones who start up without any experience are relatively easy to avoid.


Some agents don't even supply their clients with copies of the contracts they sign!

I've never heard of a good agency which doesn't give its author-clients copies of their contracts. Can you cite some sources for this claim, please? I'd love to learn more.


This whole incident is a huge black eye for not just D&O but all agencies, and really the entire industry. This calls the entire way that agencies handle their author's money into question. I guarantee that every author with D&O are currently auditing those royalty statements, and probably not a few with other agencies as well. Want to bet a few with other agencies are going to be sitting there going "Hey, wait a minute, this seems wrong..." as well?
And is D&O going to be able to make up the money that was stolen? I doubt it. Those authors are probably just screwed.

Agencies usually treat their author-clients' money with scrupulous honesty and care. It's too risky not to. Yes, of course the writers represented by this agency will be scrutinising their royalty statements and payments now: they'd be foolish not to; but it seems somewhat odd to think that writers at other agencies will now also be checking their earnings. The guilty person here worked at this agency, and this agency only, had been there since 2001, and has not had access to money anywhere else.

D&O will still be expected to pay all outstanding monies to its authors. Yes, it's going to struggle to do that. Yes, it might have insurance but if it hasn't, it's in trouble. Real trouble. It's awful that so many people will have their livelihoods threatened by the actions of this one man.

R.A. Lundberg
06-02-2018, 07:11 AM
The payments would have come into the agency. He then diverted money into his own account, rather than paying it to the authors. But he did take it from the agency accounts, as I understand it.
From what we are hearing, ALL of it came from payments that should have gone to the authors. He diverted what was passing through the agency's accounts on it's way to the authors.




I'm astonished that it took anyone so long to notice what was going on. Royalty statements are sent out by publishers to agencies; agencies then take their cut, and pay the rest to the authors, and send them the royalty statements at that time. If the authors had checked them they'd surely have known that something was up. Unless the accountant produced fake royalty statements too.
Why does this surprise you? Far too many authors do not treat writing as a business, have no grounding in business, and are not interested in business. This is why agents and agencies exist-and why it's so easy for the "bad" ones to rip authors off. I cannot speak to D&O's process, but I do know that some (not all) agencies create a royalty statement for their clients, so it's entirely possible he did create false paperwork. Also have no idea if D&O pass on originals from the publisher or not; some agents keep all the paperwork and just create a single statement for their client (bad ones, again).


Royalties aren't "incredibly complex" to work out: they're just a percentage of cover price, which is an easy calculation to make. Multiply that amount by the numbers sold and you're done. Royalty statements aren't always the clearest of documents to interpret but once you've understood what they're telling you, you can usually work things out.
Indeed; I misspoke. Royalties are not complex to figure out, but some (again, not all) statements can seem like stereo instructions to someone who does not "understand" them. Many authors, especially new ones, simply do not have the experience or even the inclination to learn, simply trusting the agent and agency.



There aren't standards or qualifications for the job, because so much of the work can only be learned by doing it. We, as writers, can do our best to only work with agents of good repute. The ones who start up without any experience are relatively easy to avoid.
I find this statement remarkable. Really, contract law and fiduciary responsibility can only be learned by doing it? If all an agent or agency did was finding talented authors and placing books before editors and publishers, you'd be right. But, obviously, that's not the case. This agency acted as a clearinghouse for funds, negotiated contracts, etc., like most do. They had ONE GUY doing all their accounting/bookkeeping. Obviously no actual accountability or auditing. You would think with millions of dollars passing through there should be a system of checks and balances like any other business, but clearly there was not. And you keep talking about "good" agents and agencies, but this section of the forum exists simply because it's so easy for the BAD ones to take advantage of authors, especially young and/or inexperienced ones, and there's exactly nothing to prevent them from being in business.




I've never heard of a good agency which doesn't give its author-clients copies of their contracts. Can you cite some sources for this claim, please? I'd love to learn more.
I did not say "Good" agency. And yes, these are fly-by-night ones out there, preying on the inexperienced new authors, ripping them off. The phrase "common industry practice" gets used by them to cover up a lot.




Agencies usually treat their author-clients' money with scrupulous honesty and care. It's too risky not to. Yes, of course the writers represented by this agency will be scrutinising their royalty statements and payments now: they'd be foolish not to; but it seems somewhat odd to think that writers at other agencies will now also be checking their earnings. The guilty person here worked at this agency, and this agency only, had been there since 2001, and has not had access to money anywhere else.
I think you mean "good" agencies again. Come on, now. If it can happen to Chuck, it can happen to anybody- and he had no idea. He is just about broke. Here, read this. http://chuckpalahniuk.net/news/the-big-secret-why-behind-everything-so-far
A lot of authors are going to read that and think hey, maybe I should pay more attention to this sort of thing- and that's great! Trust, sure, but verify. This is BUSINESS. Anybody who thinks publishing and agenting isn't a business, and a cutthroat one in this day and age, needs to do some research back though this section of the forum.


D&O will still be expected to pay all outstanding monies to its authors. Yes, it's going to struggle to do that. Yes, it might have insurance but if it hasn't, it's in trouble. Real trouble. It's awful that so many people will have their livelihoods threatened by the actions of this one man.
Yes, they will be expected to make all their authors whole. However, according to the NY Post, D&O are on the brink of bankruptcy. If they do file bankruptcy, that case will be in court for years, maybe decades. Then what's left after the lawyers are done will get divided up among the creditors, with the most damaged being made whole first. Most authors will get little or nothing. Insurance? Very few private businesses carry specific insurance against embezzlement, and given the accounting practices this agency followed, I'd bet they do not. This guy could not have gotten away with embezzling 3 million plus with any kind of third-party auditing system. He got away with this for at least seven years, probably longer. They will probably find more. And I agree, it's very sad that this guy fouled up so many talented people.

R.A. Lundberg
06-02-2018, 08:07 AM
Hmmm. Yanno, you sound like you don't understand how contracts, agents or publishing works.
Oh, I actually do. Clearly, you think you know more than I do, so I'm not going to argue with you about it. Good luck.

Old Hack
06-02-2018, 11:30 AM
From what we are hearing, ALL of it came from payments that should have gone to the authors. He diverted what was passing through the agency's accounts on it's way to the authors.

Literary agencies earn their money through commission. Payments come into them from publishers; they take their commission (usually 15%) then pass the rest onto their author-clients. The accountant in this case took money from the payments that came in, and sent lesser amounts out to the authors; but I've not seen anything that makes it clear he was only taking money from the authors. The issue here, I think, is that he had total control over the payments and no one was working with him, checking up on the work he did.


Why does this surprise you? Far too many authors do not treat writing as a business, have no grounding in business, and are not interested in business. This is why agents and agencies exist-and why it's so easy for the "bad" ones to rip authors off. I cannot speak to D&O's process, but I do know that some (not all) agencies create a royalty statement for their clients, so it's entirely possible he did create false paperwork. Also have no idea if D&O pass on originals from the publisher or not; some agents keep all the paperwork and just create a single statement for their client (bad ones, again).

It surprises me because it's not typical among my writer-friends: we all check our royalty statements. And when I was an editor, it wasn't typical then, either. I'd often run through royalty statements with the authors I worked with.

Funny that you should mention agencies creating their own royalty statements: it's being discussed in another thread (https://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?336669-Can-we-talk-about-payments-(the-Donadio-amp-Olson-mess)&p=10413068#post10413068). It's not a good thing.


Indeed; I misspoke. Royalties are not complex to figure out, but some (again, not all) statements can seem like stereo instructions to someone who does not "understand" them. Many authors, especially new ones, simply do not have the experience or even the inclination to learn, simply trusting the agent and agency.

Royalty statements can be complicated, and the terms used on them often make little sense until you've had them explained to you. But still. I'm astonished that writers don't check them, and ask for explanations, and all that stuff. It's basic book keeping, isn't it? To know what you've been paid, how it's been calculated, why it's owed to you.


I find this statement remarkable. Really, contract law and fiduciary responsibility can only be learned by doing it? If all an agent or agency did was finding talented authors and placing books before editors and publishers, you'd be right. But, obviously, that's not the case. This agency acted as a clearinghouse for funds, negotiated contracts, etc., like most do. They had ONE GUY doing all their accounting/bookkeeping. Obviously no actual accountability or auditing. You would think with millions of dollars passing through there should be a system of checks and balances like any other business, but clearly there was not. And you keep talking about "good" agents and agencies, but this section of the forum exists simply because it's so easy for the BAD ones to take advantage of authors, especially young and/or inexperienced ones, and there's exactly nothing to prevent them from being in business.

Agents do so much more than contract law, though. And yes, having seen some of the best literary agents in the world at work there's no way they could have learned their craft through a college degree, for example.

The weak link here was this agency's reliance on just one person to handle their finances. It's so risky. Did he not have an assistant, was there no one from the books department attached to him? We're back to common sense here, again. And yes, it's important to distinguish between the good and the bad; but until this surfaced I'd have put this agency into the "good" category. I recognise that there was only one bad apple there; but if they'd installed some sort of system to check that things were working properly, this could have been avoided. So the other employees of the agency do have some culpability.


I did not say "Good" agency. And yes, these are fly-by-night ones out there, preying on the inexperienced new authors, ripping them off. The phrase "common industry practice" gets used by them to cover up a lot.


Which is why we should all do our research. (I guess you don't have those citations.)


I think you mean "good" agencies again. Come on, now. If it can happen to Chuck, it can happen to anybody- and he had no idea. He is just about broke. Here, read this. http://chuckpalahniuk.net/news/the-big-secret-why-behind-everything-so-far
A lot of authors are going to read that and think hey, maybe I should pay more attention to this sort of thing- and that's great! Trust, sure, but verify. This is BUSINESS. Anybody who thinks publishing and agenting isn't a business, and a cutthroat one in this day and age, needs to do some research back though this section of the forum.


Actually, I've seen a lot of agencies--good and incompetent--treat their authors with respect and great care.

Like you, I do hope that writers learn from this. I remain astonished that writers don't check their royalty statements, contracts and payments. It's a basic thing.

Yes, they will be expected to make all their authors whole. However, according to the NY Post, D&O are on the brink of bankruptcy. If they do file bankruptcy, that case will be in court for years, maybe decades. Then what's left after the lawyers are done will get divided up among the creditors, with the most damaged being made whole first. Most authors will get little or nothing. Insurance? Very few private businesses carry specific insurance against embezzlement, and given the accounting practices this agency followed, I'd bet they do not. This guy could not have gotten away with embezzling 3 million plus with any kind of third-party auditing system. He got away with this for at least seven years, probably longer. They will probably find more. And I agree, it's very sad that this guy fouled up so many talented people.[/QUOTE]

Aggy B.
06-02-2018, 02:27 PM
Oh, I actually do. Clearly, you think you know more than I do, so I'm not going to argue with you about it. Good luck.

You made a bunch of sweeping statements about how agencies are like the Wild West - no law, no oversight, they just do anything! - and authors are too simpleminded or ignorant or trusting or... something to have any clue about how royalties work or know what they should be owed. Statements you don't seem to be able to back up. (Palahniuk actually did know he wasn't getting the money he was supposed to. He says that much in his little blog post - that he couldn't figure out how the sales could be that poor and his royalties that small because when he looked at the paperwork and payments he was receiving it didn't track with the numbers he'd seen in previous years. He just didn't know how to prove it when the accountant kept telling him "No. Those are the numbers.")

Sure. There are a lot of authors who don't understand how publishing works. The majority of that sub-set are not in it to make money - they just want to see their book(s) in print. They fall victim to predatory and incompetent presses all the time. (I have a friend who writes in a particular sub-genre, working primarily with the same couple of niche publishers over and over again and he either doesn't care or doesn't know about bad contracts. His focus is producing as much work as he can and getting paid upfront for as many books as possible. We did a project together and the small press contract I was sent was fucking terrible. Had I been the only author on the project, I would have rejected it on the spot. But this is a small press run by a relatively well-known author who apparently doesn't care about author-friendly anything for the folks he publishes. [And not just "this contract benefits the publisher" - they all start that way - but actual "this contract takes advantage of the authors".])

Publishing is a hard business with a fair number of crooks and idiots operating on the fringes of the industry. Characterizing agents and agencies as the source of the problem is disingenuous at best. Especially when you don't seem willing to back anything up. (Now you've moved from "OMG! Lawless agents robbing poor authors blind!" to "Well, maybe not at the 'good' agencies. But what about all the bad ones?".) Which is why I still stand by my previous statement. You are not saying anything which makes me think you really grasp how publishing in general or agents and contracts in particular work.

Aggy B.
06-02-2018, 02:32 PM
Seriously, how did this accountant EVER think he wouldn't get caught after keeping an entire advance? Skimming is hard to detect but when you take an whole advance, how long did he think it would be, before the Author contacted their Agent, rather then keep asking the accountant when her/his advance would arrive!

My guess here is that, like many embezzlers, he was overspending what he was skimming and got desperate and/or overwhelmed with guilt. (Doing something he knew would get himself caught.) Or he had expected to be able to cover the stolen advance with other money siphoned from elsewhere in the agency but then couldn't make that happen. (And by elsewhere I mean other royalties.)

frimble3
06-02-2018, 11:11 PM
Does it strike anyone as odd that a business of (apparently) some size has only one person in their accounting department? Aside from oversight, what if he got sick, or took a vacation?
The closest I've heard to this is a couple of local cases of churchs that trusted the nice volunteer ladies who did their books for years, until they caught the nice ladies skimming. But they were churchs, a level of blind trust is not unexpected. Businesses should know better.

ctripp
06-03-2018, 01:47 PM
My guess here is that, like many embezzlers, he was overspending what he was skimming and got desperate and/or overwhelmed with guilt. (Doing something he knew would get himself caught.) Or he had expected to be able to cover the stolen advance with other money siphoned from elsewhere in the agency but then couldn't make that happen. (And by elsewhere I mean other royalties.)

Aggy, I think you're right, would be my guess too.
I am wondering if his theft was on the monies to go to the Authors? Because surely the individual Agents would notice their %'s not being paid. But easier to string Authors along to wait or to short change the money sent to them?

Aggy B.
06-03-2018, 02:46 PM
Does it strike anyone as odd that a business of (apparently) some size has only one person in their accounting department? Aside from oversight, what if he got sick, or took a vacation?
The closest I've heard to this is a couple of local cases of churchs that trusted the nice volunteer ladies who did their books for years, until they caught the nice ladies skimming. But they were churchs, a level of blind trust is not unexpected. Businesses should know better.

Royalties come in at specific times during the year. (While small publishers may pay as frequently as once per month, larger trade publishers usually pay once or twice a year.) Advances, obviously, can happen at any time, but even there it's possible for a delay of a few weeks without anyone blinking.

I would guess it wasn't blind trust. Dude had been working there since 2001, but (at this point) known thefts hadn't begun until 2011. (This is typical of embezzlers. They do honest work for a while before skimming. A level of trust is established.) It does seem like there should have been more oversight, but my in-laws had this issue with a mechanic for a while. He'd done good work to start off, when there started to be problems with charges for things that it turned out weren't being done it took a massive failure to reveal the problem because they had learned to trust him.

Which isn't to say the agents aren't at fault for not noticing, but it is one of those things where there are multiple layers of victims. And our tendency is to believe folks are doing what they are supposed to. (Psychopaths are hard to find for the average person because the behavior is so far removed from what we know we simply can't imagine someone would do those things.)

I am hoping the agency is able to resolve matters for their clients, but not holding my breath. Whatever money was embezzled is long gone at this point.

Old Hack
06-03-2018, 06:37 PM
Aggy, I think you're right, would be my guess too.
I am wondering if his theft was on the monies to go to the Authors? Because surely the individual Agents would notice their %'s not being paid. But easier to string Authors along to wait or to short change the money sent to them?

Agents don't get all of the 15% that they earn from their author-clients' sales. Much of the 15% goes to running the agency; some agents are employed on a salary, and only get a small percentage of the income they bring in; others take the full 15% and then pay a fixed fee, or a percentage of their commission, or both, to the agency; it's complicated, and every agency is different; and it often takes a while for payments to filter through. So it's perfectly possible that the agents wouldn't have noticed because time had passed, and they'd have trusted the accountant they employed.

It's still awful.

I really hope the agency has insurance which covers this.

writera
01-21-2019, 07:59 PM
Have there been any recent updates regarding this agency? Is this a place that's now considered one not to query or have the issues been sorted/are they open again to queries? Looked on their website and it seems to indicate they're open, but QueryTracker has a different story (though not updated since last year), so not sure.

waylander
01-21-2019, 11:22 PM
Have there been any recent updates regarding this agency? Is this a place that's now considered one not to query or have the issues been sorted/are they open again to queries? Looked on their website and it seems to indicate they're open, but QueryTracker has a different story (though not updated since last year), so not sure.

They filed for bankruptcy just before Christmas https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/financial-reporting/article/78862-donadio-olson-files-for-bankruptcy.html