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EFCollins
11-14-2009, 11:06 PM
I mean really, this might do better in the blog section, but it's not really about blogging.

Someone claiming to be a new lit agent left me a comment on my blog, directed me to this site...

http://www.jankardys.com/BlackHawk_Literary_Agency.html

... and informed me of a conference for writers this person would be at.

I mean... agents don't troll blogs for writers, do they? Or am I over thinking this? Maybe this person was just trying to be nice and say, "Hey, I'm an agent here and we'll be at this conference. Maybe you might want to check it and us out." I know it's not a big, big thing, but it's got me pondering. I simply thanked them for the info and I did check out the website, but it's not an agency I've ever heard of either. Not that THAT means much. I haven't bothered looking for an agent in over a year. My novels just aren't ready and I'm selling short stories and poetry alone for the moment. Anyway, I digress. Is this a red flag for anyone but me? Am I paranoid or am I being rightly cautious?

icerose
11-14-2009, 11:11 PM
I'm not seeing any flashing red flags. I'd post this in the B&B forum and see if you could get better info there, if not for you then at least for other writers who might be looking.

The thing I see that could be a problem is though the person has had loads of experience in the publishing arena, she doesn't have any in the agent arena. Now she could blow the doors off and be this amazing agent, I don't know. I just worry about a possible lack of the right experience. Sort of like an article writer trying to be poetry professor.

EFCollins
11-14-2009, 11:14 PM
Thanks icerose. Bewares and Background checks might be a better place for it. I'll do a search first and see if there's anything already up about them.

CaoPaux
11-15-2009, 01:38 AM
Yeah, she's been spamming boards and blogs all over. Here's (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=161584) what she gifted to us.

Matera the Mad
11-15-2009, 01:46 AM
After following links to a number of websites (mostly RUDE horrors, unstoppable muzak and/or huge graphics) and not seeing a single link to a published book...I'm not impressed much either way.

CaoPaux
11-15-2009, 01:57 AM
Of her first page of clients, the few in print are all self- and vanity-pubbed.

Yanno, since a couple of days ago someone reported being emailed by her with the line "I saw your profile on AW....", I going to port this to B&BC. Hold on to yer hats.

EFCollins
11-15-2009, 04:02 AM
So it isn't just me, then? I mean, I personally have no use for an agent at this juncture--maybe I will someday, but not yet--but I thought it was worth mentioning to the rest of y'all to see what you thought of it. (Thanks for the port, too CaoPaux

victoriastrauss
11-15-2009, 05:17 AM
Nevertheless, from her bio (http://www.jankardys.com/Biography.html) she looks to have some pretty impressive publishing industry experience.

- Victoria

M.R.J. Le Blanc
11-15-2009, 06:28 AM
Her listed clients:

Christine Ieronimo - unpublished
Jessica Haight - can't tell, but her website can be found under the web domain linked on Black Hawk Enterprises site as well as www.billyfiasco.com. I dunno, it's just weird.
Aden Fisher - vanity published
Marilyn Nodiff - probably unpublished
David E. Spletzer - appears to be unpublished
Thom Dillon - unpublished
Dr. Fred Bader - appears to be self-published

So with all her experience, she's done what as an agent? Is there any sense in listing clients who you have not made any sales on their behalf?

James D. Macdonald
11-15-2009, 06:38 AM
I've been hearing stories about absolutely bizarre email exchanges, including replies to folks who said, "Thanks for thinking of me, but not interested" to the (essentially spam) conference announcements that made me pinch the bridge of my nose and shake my head.

I don't know what's going on here. And one of my rules for life has been, "If you don't know what's going on, stand back until you do know."

Momento Mori
11-15-2009, 05:41 PM
Jan Kardys's Submission Guidelines:
Please send a query letter of no more than three pages, which includes your credentials or biography, and a detailed explanation of what makes your book unique. Please explain why there is a market for your book.

[SNIP]

Guidelines for fiction: 1. Plot synopsis, 2. Previous publishing history (if any), 3. Paragraph about yourself (bio), and 4. Contact information: name, address, phone, fax and email address.

Assuming that she's on the level, I don't understand why she's asking for this and not sample pages, given that most agents can tell in the first 20 pages whether the author has any ability at writing/telling a story that they may be able to sell.

MM

waylander
11-15-2009, 05:49 PM
There is also no indication on her website of what genres of fiction she is interested in.
However, her bio shows considerable experience in the publishing industry, though not a lot in editorial. She would appear to be very strong in contracts/publishing law.
I would like to hear from the lady herself.

Saskatoonistan
11-15-2009, 06:38 PM
She used to work for Skynet... er... Google (http://www.watermarkwriters.com/JanK.html).

Libbie
11-15-2009, 08:30 PM
Assuming that she's on the level, I don't understand why she's asking for this and not sample pages, given that most agents can tell in the first 20 pages whether the author has any ability at writing/telling a story that they may be able to sell.

MM

A lot of good agents ask for just a query letter first. That's not terribly unusual.

I'm not saying she's a good agent, mind. I don't know anything about her.

IceCreamEmpress
11-16-2009, 01:12 AM
Nevertheless, from her bio (http://www.jankardys.com/Biography.html) she looks to have some pretty impressive publishing industry experience.


On the contracts side, though.

Yes, part of what an agent does is to negotiate contracts, but that's only part.

The way she's promoting her writers' conference strikes me as odd and misguided, to say the least.

Momento Mori
11-16-2009, 02:18 AM
Libbie:
A lot of good agents ask for just a query letter first. That's not terribly unusual.

Really? I thougt it was more usual for them to ask for a query letter and sample pages so if the query letter's not brilliant, they can take a quick look at the writing.

MM

Eirin
11-16-2009, 02:03 PM
Really? I thougt it was more usual for them to ask for a query letter and sample pages so if the query letter's not brilliant, they can take a quick look at the writing.

MM

I think there's a difference between US and UK publishing in this. From my understanding, a cover letter and a partial is common in UK, no? Whereas in US most agents just want the query letter, perhaps with a synopsis, to start with, requesting partials or fulls based on that.

The thought of boiling down a whole novel to a single letter is terrifying, no doubt about that.

colealpaugh
11-16-2009, 02:49 PM
An industry contracting its staff in a tough economy will result in a lot of aggressive offshoots with strategies going against the norm.

For $165, I may go just for the barbecued unicorn. I hope I read that right.

IceCreamEmpress
11-17-2009, 01:25 AM
An industry contracting its staff in a tough economy will result in a lot of aggressive offshoots with strategies going against the norm.

There's "against the norm" and then there's "bizarrely unprofessional." Everyone has to make their own distinction between the two, of course.

Touch My Soul
12-04-2009, 06:21 PM
Ms Jan Kardys bio is impressive, afterall she was married to Robert Gottlieb for 20 years. Yep, the chairman of Trident Media Group. He was the former head of William Morris Agency/Literary Department. Here she spent many hours and evenings reading manuscripts, and learned what make a great literary agent.
In her own right she has worked in the major areas of Editial, Art, Production, Subsidiary Rights/Sales and ran Contracts, Copyrights, Permissions Departments for McMillan Publishing Company, Warner Books, Little, Brown, and Simon & Schuster/Prentice Hall.
Yes, she worked for Google for 3 years. I doubt if there is a literary agent that can say they have this inside knowlege. This allows Ms Kardys in assisting on what you can do on the internet for a ad campaign.
Besides all this she instructs in many areas of the publishing and agent genres.
Ms Kardys as impressive as her resume is, remains a humbled, down to earth person, who just wishes to help authors. She is selective, and if she contacted me, I would take this as a great compliment. Why, because she took the time to do some research and liked what she has seen. She is knew as an agent, but not to the overall business. Now you tell me, wouldn't you take this as a compliment? I would be very proud if she was representing me.
Who am I, I am not a famous individual, I am a caregiver of over 40 years, I am a Registered Nurse. I have had the pleasure of caring for extraordinary people in challenging times and even death, who helped to elevate my consciousness and touched my soul. My name is Thomas R. Hagen, RN

DreamWeaver
12-04-2009, 07:43 PM
Hi, Thomas. Just curious--if she's not representing you, how are you associated with Ms Kardys? I infer she's not representing you, since you state, "I would be very proud if she was representing me."

Thanks!

Momento Mori
12-04-2009, 08:11 PM
Touch My Soul:
Ms Jan Kardys bio is impressive, afterall she was married to Robert Gottlieb for 20 years. Yep, the chairman of Trident Media Group. He was the former head of William Morris Agency/Literary Department. Here she spent many hours and evenings reading manuscripts, and learned what make a great literary agent.


Firstly, being married to someone who is an agent, does not mean that you are an agent. Secondly, for someone who has supposedly learnt what makes a great literary agent, I'm wondering why none of that has been put into practice. So far, her clients seem to be vanity or self-published. Surely her husband taught her that the first rule of agenting is to sell to publishing companies that pay the author for the work?


Touch My Soul:
In her own right she has worked in the major areas of Editial, Art, Production, Subsidiary Rights/Sales and ran Contracts, Copyrights, Permissions Departments for McMillan Publishing Company, Warner Books, Little, Brown, and Simon & Schuster/Prentice Hall.

That's all good contracts experience, but none of it gives her any experience at dealing with editors or selling to editors.


Touch My Soul:
Yes, she worked for Google for 3 years. I doubt if there is a literary agent that can say they have this inside knowlege. This allows Ms Kardys in assisting on what you can do on the internet for a ad campaign.

It may very well do so (although as Ms Kardys will undoubtedly be aware, an internet advertising campaign has as much chance of failing as it does succeeding). However it does not give her experience at selling manuscripts to acquiring editors, which is the key part of being an agent.


Touch My Soul:
Ms Kardys as impressive as her resume is, remains a humbled, down to earth person, who just wishes to help authors.

That's lovely. She can do that either by selling her clients' books to commercial publishing houses, or pointing them to a proper agent who can do so.


Touch My Soul:
She is selective, and if she contacted me, I would take this as a great compliment. Why, because she took the time to do some research and liked what she has seen.

Really? Because from the reports on this thread, it seems that she just spams people for no reason.

If she's selective, why does she need to solicit people to submit to her?


Touch My Soul:
She is knew as an agent, but not to the overall business. Now you tell me, wouldn't you take this as a compliment?

No.

If a new agent with no track record of commercial sales emailed me out of the blue to discuss offering me representation, then I would view that with suspicion - especially when none of the clients touted on her website have had a book published with a commercial publisher. The fact that she's worked in the industry makes absolutely no difference to that. The only thing that would change my mind is if she can show that someone at a commercial publisher had offered an advance paying deal.

MM

Touch My Soul
12-04-2009, 08:15 PM
Facebook my friend. Jan has her own site and one for Black Hawk. Thus we have been communicating. I Have submitted some work to her. I knew when I posted this, she is under no obligation to or for me. She has not responded with a wish to represent me. I have a few queries out there at present, as well. I first discovered her on P & E-which I have pretty much scoured, a wonderful information site I might add, Jan is listed there under New. If she doesn't like my work, I will be off to the next one. This is how it works, from all I have read.
While searching I came across this site and after reading the responses, I thought she wasn't getting a fair shake.
I am a Registered Nurse, I have no reason to lie, I tell it as I see it. My work speaks to raising the the level of consciousness and spirituality. I have witnessed many deaths, helped people who were dying, and after this I didn't need any one to tell me we are not beings. Beings that happen to be human.
I should have put under my worst attribute-Likes to ramble.. Tom : )

Touch My Soul
12-04-2009, 08:43 PM
Momento Mori--Hehe see under my name "New kid, be gentle!" : ) I appreciate your comments, and your obvious convictions, a straight up person. I do believe the competition in this field is tough business, next to drilling for oil, and politics. I think you'll find she will be able to hold her own and will do just fine. Thanks--- Tom

DED
01-13-2010, 07:34 AM
Ms. Kardys gave a seminar tonight at my local library (the first stop on an area tour) entitled: "You Wrote a Book, Now What?" 25-30 people showed up, which is really good for a town of our size.

I took some notes that I thought might be of use to people here. Take from them what you will.

She's in the midst of a career change. After years of working in publishing "protecting the publisher from the author" she felt that she needed to switch sides and "give something back" to writers.

It was very informative for beginner writers. She stressed the need for writers to have their work proofread by peers before enlisting the aid of an agent (She didn't use this as an opportunity to pitch herself though. In fact, she commented that she had 50 ms to read going back to November). If writers didn't have anything local they could use, she suggested that they go to absolutewrite.com for help.

Yes, you read that right. She plugged this place, even told people to write it down. Didn't recommend any others though.

She emphasized the need for writers to have an agent when dealing with publishing contracts. Too often the publishers she worked for would take advantage of unagented writers and snag as many rights as possible with the author receiving very little in compensation for them.

She printed out a couple dozen pages worth of handouts covering how to write query letters, a list of publishers, a glossary on subsidiary rights, how to pitch an agent or editor within 30 seconds (if given the opportunity), procedures and checklists to follow in the book publication process and more.

She pointed out how publishers expect the writer (especially new ones and midlist sellers) to market themselves. She made several recommendations as to how to do this.

At no point in her presentation did she pitch some side service that she was promoting. No offers of "we've got an editorial staff on board that if you pay $$$ will get your manuscript in tip top shape."

I can't address the spamming or her current clients' "publishing status." None of that was discussed. She gave the impression that it was not up-to-date.

I was wearing a t-shirt that said, "Ask me about my book." She didn't. As I was sitting in the front row, she couldn't miss it. I was clean shaven and freshly showered so my appearance wasn't a factor. ;) If she was an unscrupulous person, I believe she would've seen me as prey and pounced.

GirlTigger
01-13-2010, 08:23 AM
does anyone have any real information on Jan Kardys? That is, has anyone delt with her directly and can tell about their experiences. I discovered her through P&E and want someone who can tell me something real instead of gossip.

Giant Baby
01-13-2010, 09:02 AM
... I was wearing a t-shirt that said, "Ask me about my book."

REALLY? May I ask what reason you had for having such a shirt made up? I'm extremely interested.

Momento Mori
01-13-2010, 01:39 PM
DED:
She's in the midst of a career change. After years of working in publishing "protecting the publisher from the author" she felt that she needed to switch sides and "give something back" to writers.

According to her announcements page here (http://www.jankardys.com/Announcements.html), she's been giving the "You've Written A Book, Now What?" presentation since at least February 26th 2007. That means that her career change has now been going on for almost 3 years and there is STILL no evidence of professional sales.

In fact, it's worth pointing out that the Announcements Page, which you would expect to see hold details of her latest sales or what her authors are doing, only contains details of her lectures and seminars. That is not, I would suggest, a positive sign.

According to her biography here (http://www.jankardys.com/Biography.html), her role at those publisher she's worked to was on the contracts side, so I can see why she would describe herself as "protecting the publisher from the author" because that would have been her job as a lawyer - to ensure that the contract was as much in her employer's favour as possible.

Judging from her biography though, she has no experience at editing manuscripts and no experience of selling to acquiring editors.

For someone who wants to "give something back" to writers, you'd think she'd spend more time selling her client's work than going out promoting her agency and tips on submitting to agents.


DED:
(She didn't use this as an opportunity to pitch herself though. In fact, she commented that she had 50 ms to read going back to November).

Did she mention how many contractual negotiations she's currently doing for her client's work or who she's negotiating with?


DED:
She plugged this place, even told people to write it down.

:shrug:

Doesn't mean anything one way or another. There are plenty of agents out there with no sales who recommend sites like AW.


DED:
At no point in her presentation did she pitch some side service that she was promoting. No offers of "we've got an editorial staff on board that if you pay $$$ will get your manuscript in tip top shape."

And I wouldn't expect her to. There's nothing on her website talking about paid services and that hasn't been raised as a concern. The problem is with her apparent lack of any commercial sales in the 3 years that she's been an agent.


DED:
If she was an unscrupulous person, I believe she would've seen me as prey and pounced.

Again, no one has said that she's a scammer. The problem is with her ability to make a sale.


GirlTigger:
That is, has anyone delt with her directly and can tell about their experiences. I discovered her through P&E and want someone who can tell me something real instead of gossip.

Hi, GirlTigger, and welcome to AW.

What do you think has been said on this thread that's gossip? Everything in the posts here is derived from emails that Jan has sent out, what's on her own website and what she's telling people during her conferences.

If you're looking for an agent then sales history is everything. A bad agent is worse than no agent.

If you are aware of any commercial sales from this agency, then please let us know.

MM

Libbie
01-13-2010, 09:44 PM
Hi, all!

I recalled this thread and thought I'd pop in with my own stats, for whatever they're worth, re: querying with a letter only (no sample pages or synopsis included.)

I am currently querying my first novel, and have so far sent queries to fifty agents. Of those fifty, nineteen requested a query letter only -- they'd request sample pages and/or a synopsis only if the letter interested them. All of these agents were carefully researched before I queried -- all represent authors who have "name recognition", all have major sales in the past year, all have secured multiple-book contracts for their debut clients in the past three years, and all represent at least two authors who write full-time. Most of these nineteen agents are names you would recognize immediately as "good agents" if I disclosed them. :)

This very well may be a difference between US and UK industries, of course, as was suggested in this thread. With the exception of one Canadian agency, all I've queried so far have been in the US.

Anyway -- since somebody in this thread was questioning whether a legitimate agent would ask for a query letter only, I hoped my own experience might help clear that question up for other readers.

I am still not making any claims about the agent in question. I know nothing about her. It's always a good idea to thoroughly research an agent before you query. My personal criteria are: Number of sales in the past year, especially to the major publishing houses; number of significant deals in the past three years; what kind of contracts they've secured for their debut novelists; how many clients I recognize (which means I've probably read their books and liked them); and how many of their clients have a career in writing fiction (which indicates to me that the agent knows how to manage a career.) Your own criteria may vary. Publisher's Marketplace is invaluable for this kind of research!

winterborn
03-01-2010, 09:06 PM
I queried her back in Dec 2009 and I just got an email this morning that she would like to see my entire manuscript. I've queried 38 agents and only had 15 response, 12 of them were rejections. Interest dried up with the few that had asked for partials, although I don't believe one of the "agents" was legit because I found a thread about them here (sadly after I'd queried them). I know the biggest lesson is to reseach agents first but now I'm kinda stuck. What should I do? Send her my ms and see what happens? Or wait to see what an improved query letter and better researched agents could do?

Your thoughts :)

M.R.J. Le Blanc
03-01-2010, 10:00 PM
My thoughts are, if she hasn't made any sales why are you bothering with her?

That's a small amount of rejections in the grand scheme of things. Keep querying agents and publishers with track records. Get your query critiqued in the SYW area if you think it'll help, although getting a few partial requests is a good sign itself.

winterborn
03-01-2010, 11:47 PM
Thanks for the input Le Blanc. I think I've got my query worked out now and I'm definitely going to attempt a round 2... that is after I do some major research.

Thank you Libbie for listing some of your criteria used in your searches. I plan to put some of those to good use in my own info compilation! Because I really do want to find the right agent for my material... and my career. But it's a learn as you go process, so I'm glad I've got advise like yours and everyone else's here.

Appreciate the help!

James D. Macdonald
11-23-2010, 06:25 PM
Tying threads together: Manuscript Editing Solutions, LLC (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=180501&page=4)

CaoPaux
01-30-2011, 12:53 AM
Now lists sales to Walker Books (a div. of Bloomsbury which does not require an agent to submit), and Simon & Schuster (the 3rd edition of a dictionary previously published by Writer's Digest).

Undercover
04-27-2012, 04:54 AM
I didn't see this one on the AW list, but I thought this one looked interesting. It's Jan Kardys from the Black Hawk Literary Agency. Has anyone had dealings with her?

http://www.jankardys.com/BlackHawk_Literary_Agency.html

CaoPaux
12-23-2012, 05:27 AM
No sign of further sales. Still active on the conference circuit.

eqb
10-08-2013, 04:29 PM
I just received a LinkedIn request from Jan Kardys. (I have an account but I'm not doing much with it.) Reading her profile, I see this interesting addition to her resume:


In addition to Black Hawk Literary Agency and Unicorn Writers Conference, my new company is Unicorn for Writers LLC - 40 different services for writers. We (Jeanne Rogers and myself) will handle editing, one page summary, competition evaluation, permissions, copyrights, subsidiary rights, social media packages and other services.

Barbara R.
10-08-2013, 04:37 PM
Really? I thougt it was more usual for them to ask for a query letter and sample pages so if the query letter's not brilliant, they can take a quick look at the writing.

MM

The other way around. They want the sample pages in case the query's good. If the query isn't intriguing and well-written, they don't bother reading any further.

greghansen
01-19-2016, 02:37 PM
I sent a query letter to Jan and received a request for a manuscript. I just got an email which opened as follows: After reading through your manuscript, I have some suggestions. Firstly, you have a writer's voice, which keeps a pace that is necessary for this type of literary fiction, a strong point in your novel. You must have read some Murakami at some point, and if not, I would read some of his prose to hone your own narrative even more.

Nice flattering opening, right? There were then a couple of sentences about my manuscript.

The email ultimately ended with this: Overall I am impressed with your prose and think that this story is commercially viable, however currently this novel needs more work than I'm willing to put into it and therefore, I can't represent you as your agent. I hope that my brief suggestions are helpful to you in some way. If you are looking for more ways to improve your work, I can refer you to Black Hawk Literary Agency's sister company, Unicorn for Writers', which provides writers with over 40 different services to help enable you to publish your work or find a traditional publisher, as well as copy editing etc. I've attached some information about the company in the email. If you have any questions, feel free to email me.

You may be interested in the seventh Unicorn Writers’ Conference, March 25, 2017 at Reid Castle, Manhattanville College, Purchase, N.Y.
The $325 cost includes access to five different workshops every hour, three excellent meals, and gifts.
And if you’re like one of the 95% of our conference participants who are willing to invest a bit more, you can purchase 30-minute one-on-one meetings with NYC editors and over 35 literary agents. There are few if any other opportunities to have these busy pros read 40 pages of your manuscript (before the conference) and then discuss your words with you for half an hour. (One busy writer last year had six one-on-ones.)

I read the PDF documents that were attached and was astonished at the prices. What a great idea for a business. Become an agent, own a publishing company, pretend you like a book but suggest you get some help from your publishing company. Sweet! BTW Black Hawk publishing is not recommended by P&E.

Filigree
01-19-2016, 04:37 PM
Congratulations on avoiding the trap.

Undercover
01-19-2016, 05:26 PM
Sounds like she was trying to butter you up for her services. NO thanks! Like Filigree said, it's good you passed.

cerealandrubberbands
10-18-2017, 11:11 PM
This thread seems to have been dead for a while, but for anyone still thinking about Jan Kardys, I got almost the exact same email, word for word, as greghansen did. My email also included a handy dandy payment plan since "many writers can't afford editorial services." How nice.
The icing on the cake is the editor for Unicorn for Writers who graciously took the time to attach some of her comments spelled my last name wrong numerous times. My last name's only five letters. At least spell it right if you're trying to butter me up. If a writer sent a query letter to an agent and spelled that agent's name wrong, do you think she would even read the rest of the query? Unprofessional.

strangerwithmyface
12-21-2017, 01:15 AM
You may be interested in the seventh Unicorn Writers’ Conference, March 25, 2017 at Reid Castle, Manhattanville College, Purchase, N.Y.
The $325 cost includes access to five different workshops every hour, three excellent meals, and gifts.
And if you’re like one of the 95% of our conference participants who are willing to invest a bit more, you can purchase 30-minute one-on-one meetings with NYC editors and over 35 literary agents. There are few if any other opportunities to have these busy pros read 40 pages of your manuscript (before the conference) and then discuss your words with you for half an hour. (One busy writer last year had six one-on-ones.)[/I]

I read the PDF documents that were attached and was astonished at the prices. What a great idea for a business. Become an agent, own a publishing company, pretend you like a book but suggest you get some help from your publishing company. Sweet! BTW Black Hawk publishing is not recommended by P&E.

Sneaking in to say that this used to be a good conference but I was on the faculty this year (2017) and many of us--speakers, agents, editors, etc--have still not been paid for our time. If you are invited to speak, I wouldn't go.

I'm very upset to hear she was recommending the conference to people who queried her. I did not realize she was also a literary agent until recently (when emailing about the money she owes me).