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maestrowork
03-31-2004, 05:50 AM
Anyone knows anything about the following agencies?

Harris Literary
Amy Rennert Agency
Jennifer DeChiara Lit. A.
Nicholas Ellison, Inc.

Thanks!

James D Macdonald
03-31-2004, 06:43 AM
For Harris Literary, check here (http://www.speculations.com/rumormill/?z=69618).

KivrinAngel
03-31-2004, 06:44 AM
Hi, I don't know anything specific about the agencies listed, but I did a little checking for you:

Harris Literary
-- Predators and Editors has them listed as having professional sales, but charges fees. Not Recommended.
-- I pulled up the agent verification linked through Writer Beware and got this: You have asked about an agent/agency not listed in the various groups of experienced literary agents on our web site, nor among the fifty or so new agents whose names would have generated a positive response.

We have never found an independent record of a sale made by this agent/agency in the public record sources in the US, UK and Canada that we have been tracking since 1980. Moreover, we are aware of complaints about the business practices of this agent/agency.

****************

Amy Rennert Agency
-- P&E gave them the coveted "Recommended" mark! Whoo hoo! (That mark is the main reason I queried my agent)
-- Agent verification response: The agent about whom you are inquiring is absolutely legitimate.

*************

Jennifer DeChiara Lit. A.
-- P&E says "Further information unavailable" but has a mark that they have sold to royalty paying publishers. I don't know what that means
-- Did not come up in Agent Verification at all.
-- Did a search for her and found this: JENNIFER DECHIARA: Before forming The Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency in 2001, DeChiara was a literary agent with Perkins, Rubie & Associates and The Peter Rubie Literary Agency. A New York City-based writer, she has worked in the editorial departments of Simon & Schuster and Random House and has been a writing consultant to several major corporations. Jennifer is a frequent guest at writers conferences, where she lectures on publishing and the art of writing.

****************

Nicholas Ellison, Inc.
-- No specific marks either way from P&E, but the agency put a note there: "We are accepting a broad range of projects these days... However, we are not considering Young Adult or Science Fiction at this time."
-- Agent verification response: The agent about whom you are inquiring is absolutely legitimate.

****************

Anyway, looks to me like you should avoid Harris like the plague. Jump on Rennert if you get a chance. And DiChiara and Ellison should both be fine. Good luck to you!

Robin

maestrowork
03-31-2004, 10:27 AM
Thanks! I will stay away from Harris then (I did go to their site and can't find most of their "listed" published work -- bad sigh!)

christinedg
07-22-2004, 06:07 AM
Any comments regarding Harris Literary Agency would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you.

vstrauss
07-22-2004, 08:18 PM
Do a search on this agency--there's been discussion about it before.

Short answer: Fee charger. Blitz submitter. No real sales.

- Victoria

christinedg
07-22-2004, 09:47 PM
oops! thank you. forgot to do that.

vstrauss
12-02-2004, 08:18 AM
Writer Beware is seeking contact from dissatisfied clients/former clients of Harris Literary Agency. Please e-mail me, Victoria Strauss, at beware@sfwa.org.

Thanks!

- Victoria

DaveKuzminski
12-02-2004, 09:25 AM
This page listing volunteer lawyers may be of use. dwij.org/matrix/vla_list.html (http://dwij.org/matrix/vla_list.html)

Magus
01-29-2005, 04:19 AM
Don't do it. Just came back from there and they'd accept the book for a fee of $250. I said "no thanks" and made them send back the manuscript. They did so.:D

Dhewco
01-29-2005, 06:29 AM
Victoria, I want to say I never get good information on a search in this site. Never. I searched for Noble once, didn't get the longer thread, but the short one that I saw first.

To be clear, I saw only the short. The long one didn't follow.


David

vstrauss
01-29-2005, 06:35 AM
I've had trouble with the search function recently too. Here's the long version on Harris:

Writer Beware has received a number of complaints about the Harris Agency. It offers writers a choice of paying $250 up-front for expenses, or providing 25 copies of their ms. at their own cost. This is nonstandard: reputable agents don't ask for expense money up-front as a condition of representation, or require authors to copy their own manuscripts. So many copies of a ms. aren't needed, anyway; unless an auction is being conducted, mss. are generally sent out one or two at a time, and only on publisher request.

I'm not aware that the Harris Agency has ever sold a book to a major US publisher. It claims a very small track record of about 12 sales over its 6 or 7 years in business (compare this to a successful midsize agency, which will sell at least that many books each year). Five of the sales are to a Chinese publishing house which I and others have tried to research, so far without success; another is to a niche publisher that appears to sell only online and doesn't require authors to be agented. The remainder are to established small publishers (which also usually don't require authors to be agented).

I've received reports that Harris employs a blitz approach with submissions--sending out queries to 20 or 30 publishers at once, with a form the publisher can check off and send back to indicate interest. It also "bundles" queries, sending several in a single envelope. These are unprofessional methods, and editors hate them. Some writers have also reported that when the initial round of queries didn't result in any sales, Harris had no follow-up plan even though the agency contracts had some months to run.

Based on documentation I've received, submissions don't always appear to be well-targeted. Also, I and a co-author conducted a survey of editors at major publishing houses a couple of years ago, in connection with an article we were writing, and were told by several of them that they tend to ignore Harris because it so often sends inappropriate or unprofessional submissions.

- Victoria

James D. Macdonald
07-13-2005, 10:51 AM
Harris Literary Agency has a record that's -- spotty -- at best.

Daughter of Faulkner
08-11-2005, 04:15 AM
Greetings!
I have begun to query agents in the past week and am getting 2 hits for every 10 queries. I think it's like playing the slots!
:)
Forgive me if I've missed this one, but has anyone heard of the agency below? I researched their authors and get the sense either they are self-publish or e-publishers... Any help would greatly be appreciated!

Barbara J. Harris, M.A.
President

Harris Literary Agency
P.O. Box 6023
San Diego, CA 92166
Phone: (619) 697-0600 fax: (619) 697-0610
email: HLit@adnc.com
www. (http://www.harrisliterary.com/)HarrisLiterary.com (http://www.harrisliterary.com/)

Barbara J. Harris, M.A.
President

DaveKuzminski
08-11-2005, 05:14 AM
Forgive me if I've missed this one, but has anyone heard of the agency below? I researched their authors and get the sense either they are self-publish or e-publishers... Any help would greatly be appreciated!


Have you checked out Preditors & Editors (tm) yet? It's at URL http://anotherealm.com/prededitors and it has an extensive listing of agents and agencies with recommendations that might answer your questions about whether the agency you found is reliable.

Daughter of Faulkner
08-11-2005, 05:59 AM
Geez!
I knew I smelled a rat!
:hi:
THANK YOU!!

J. Y. Moore
08-11-2005, 11:25 PM
This page listing volunteer lawyers may be of use. dwij.org/matrix/vla_list.html (http://dwij.org/matrix/vla_list.html)

Wouldn't you know it, there isn't one in Tennessee. :Shrug:

James D. Macdonald
08-12-2005, 12:08 AM
Another useful page:

http://art-support.com/artisthelp.htm

FtnHillsGuy
11-23-2005, 02:09 AM
Just finished my first novel geared towards Young Adult Males. The book is along the lines of a 'Stand by Me' story line, mostly based on the stupid things I did as a kid. I have sent out to several literary agents that focused on that genre. I have gotten several responses, several wanted up front fees and one even sent me a contract and wanted to represent me but they wanted a $250 submission fee. i fount out that one "American Literary Agents of Washington" has a large list of complaints against them and their office suite is a mail box at a mail drop center. Can anyone tell me about these agents? Diane Raintree out of New york, Charlotte Gusay out of Los Angeles, Debbie Fine from Southeast Literary agency out of Sharpes Florida. Barbara Harris out of San Diego (seems legit).
Being a former cop I'm suspicious by nature, and they just don't seem to jive as legit. Can anyone tell me something good about these people?
Thanks,
FtnHillsGuy

JoeEkaitis
11-23-2005, 10:09 PM
DO NOT SEND ANY "AGENT" ANY FEE OF ANY KIND!

A legitimate agent earns a living from clientsí book sales, not from fees collected in advance. You might find it easier to sell the manuscript to a small traditional (royalty-paying) publisher with wide distribution. Once your book is in print and sells well, youíll have credentials that will make agents take notice.

On a personal note, I sold my childrenís novel to a small publisher who distributes through Baker & Taylor, Brodart and Emery-Pratt. I did it without an agent and without being a member of the Society of Childrenís Book Writers and Illustrators. If the book is a big seller and interests agents, Iíll ask each for a list of clients. Iíll avoid anyone who asks for the long green up front.

victoriastrauss
11-23-2005, 10:38 PM
Could someone move this thread to the Bewares topic?

You already know about American Literary Agents of Washington Inc. (In addition to charging fees and having no sales, they also run a vanity publisher, which solicits clients of the agency without acknowledging the connection.)

You also asked about:

Diane Raintree out of New York: She sells her own editing services at $99 per hour. It's a conflict of interest for a literary agent to double as a paid editor: if the agent can make money from recommending editing, how can the writer trust that the recommendation is in his best interest?

Charlotte Gusay out of Los Angeles: This Agency has a respectable track record of commercial sales. It also charges a $35 fee with submissions. Small submission fees like this are a gray area; a handful of reasonably well-established agents do charge them. But they can also be abused--i.e., the agency will request submissions in which it isn't interested in order to get the fee--and Writer Beware has received several reports that seem to indicate this is the case with Gusay, at least some of the time. In situations like this, you can't really know for certain whether a request for a submission indicates real interest in your work.

Debbie Fine from Southeast Literary agency out of Sharpes Florida: She charges $200 upfront for a 6-month agreement, and has no commercial book sales as far as I'm aware.

Barbara Harris out of San Diego (seems legit): Harris's contract offers writers a choice of paying $250 upfront for expenses or providing submission materials at their own cost. This is a bait-and-switch: it would cost so much to make all the copies that the upfront fee looks cheap by comparison. Reputable agents don't ask for expense money up-front as a condition of representation, or require authors to supply large amounts of submission material on the author's dime.

I'm not aware that the Harris Agency has ever sold a book to a major US publisher. It claims a very small track record of about 15-20 sales over its nearly 10 years in business (compare this to a successful midsize agency, which will sell that many books every year). Five of the sales are to a Chinese publishing house which I and others have tried to research, so far without success; another is to a niche publisher that appears to sell only online. The remainder are to smaller publishers that don't require authors to be agented: i.e., an agent was not necessary to make the sale.

Harris "blitz" submits (sends out queries to 20 or 30 publishers at once, with a form the publisher can check off and send back to indicate interest); it also "bundles" queries, sending several in a single envelope. These are unprofessional methods, and editors hate them. Writers report that when the initial round of queries doesn't result in any sales, Harris has no follow-up plan even though the agency contract has some months to run. Based on documentation I've received, submissions aren't always well-targeted (Writer Beware has been told by several editors that they tend to ignore Harris because it so often sends inappropriate or unprofessional submissions).

- Victoria

UrsusMinor
01-08-2006, 10:29 PM
Harris Literary
Amy Rennert Agency
Jennifer DeChiara Lit. A.
Nicholas Ellison, Inc.

Hi--sorry to be coming into this so late, but the COMBINATION of names you listed above I found rather alarming.

Harris Literary is, of course, a somewhat suspect organization, and Nicholas Ellison I've never heard of.

Amy Rennert, on the other hand, is a quite well-established West Coast agent (when MacAdam/Cage editor Pat Walsh recently wrote a book on writing, Amy Rennert was the agent he chose--out of the horde of agents he knows--to represent it). Jennifer DeChiara's agency is relatively new, but she has been an agent for some time, and has a substantial sales history. I'm sure both of them would be alarmed to find themselves on the list above.

And, in raising red flags about Harris Literary, it is important to make sure that no one confuses them with "Joy Harris Literary Agency." Joy Harris is totally legit and a major player, with a couple of famous sales under her belt.

kentucky woman
02-05-2006, 11:03 PM
Anyone knows anything about the following agencies?

Harris Literary
Amy Rennert Agency
Jennifer DeChiara Lit. A.
Nicholas Ellison, Inc.

Thanks!

If you're asking about the Harris Literary Agency in CA, my book was "accepted" by them several years ago. When I checked out their list of authors, however, not one had been published in the US. Also, they "suggested" that I send $250 to cover submission costs -- copying, phone calls.
Thanks, but no thanks. Maybe they've changed, but that was my experience.

timwahl
02-27-2006, 11:14 PM
Any comments regarding Harris Literary Agency would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you.I looked up on Amazon the "authors" she has listed as sold. Not a single one of them came up uner the subject search for book title. Under authro search, a couple did--but not for the book Harris allegedly has sold.

CaoPaux
03-14-2006, 01:05 AM
FYI: the Harris Literary Agency (Barbara J. Harris) has been named one of Writer Beware's 20 Worst Agents/Agencies (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=525972#post525972).

ETA: and so has Southeast Literary Agency (Debbie Fine). :Lecture:

Pat Walsh
03-14-2006, 07:46 AM
Skip the Harris Agency entirely.

Amy Rennert is, as written above, my agent and she's great.

RoccoMom
03-14-2006, 02:33 PM
Link to Jennifer DiChiara:



http://jdlit.com/

I queried her and was rejected, but she seems legit.

CaoPaux
03-15-2006, 01:27 AM
Thanks, Toni!

Ms. Rennert hasn't built a site yet, but there's this: http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/amyrennert/

Nicholas Ellison, Inc. turns out to be a "separate, independent division" of Sanford. J. Greenburger Associates. http://www.greenburger.com/code/nei/nicholas.htm

James D. Macdonald
10-28-2006, 12:58 AM
Harris Literary Agency and Capital Literary Agency (formerly American Literary Agency of Washington, DC) are listed on the IILAA / International Independent Literary Agents Association (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=45020) site.

smallthunder
10-28-2006, 08:25 PM
I'm not aware that the Harris Agency has ever sold a book to a major US publisher. It claims a very small track record of about 15-20 sales over its nearly 10 years in business (compare this to a successful midsize agency, which will sell that many books every year). Five of the sales are to a Chinese publishing house which I and others have tried to research, so far without success; another is to a niche publisher that appears to sell only online.

Perhaps I can help you find info on those Chinese publishing houses -- are they in the PRC, Hong Kong, or Taiwan? No matter -- why don't you PM me the names (in Chinese characters, if possible) and any info you have, and I'll get to work on them.

victoriastrauss
10-28-2006, 09:18 PM
PM sent. Thanks.

- Victoria

Maryn
10-29-2006, 01:26 AM
Ooh-ooh-ooh, I can't wait to find out what Thunder uncovers. You gotta love a site like this, where everybody's connected.

Maryn, adrift

smallthunder
11-01-2006, 04:48 AM
Greetings:

I checked the Harris website for info about their success in getting their authors published in China (i.e. in Chinese translation) ...

While Harris gives the Chinese publisher's name as "BEI Jia" in English, their photographs of the Chinese bookcovers actually show the Chinese characters for "BAI Jia Publishing."

OK, to make sure I was researching the right company, I looked for both names. I couldn't locate any Chinese publisher by the name of "Bei Jia" in Shanghai (the address is also given in English on the Harris website). I could, however, find some info on "Bai Jia" (literally: "100 Families") Publishing in Shanghai.

Alas, I couldn't pull up Bei Jia's own website at http://www.baijia.sh.cn/
but there is info on them at
http://www.ssreader.com/publishing/baijiacbs/index.html (all in Chinese).

In a nutshell:

1. Baijia ("100 Families") cannot be consider one of the major publishing houses in China;

2. Baijia publishes books to supplement the publication of "Reader's Guide Weekly" and "Shopping Magazine";

3. Baijia claims to have been in business for more than 10 years -- and is a "commission publisher" (literal translation).

What is a "commission publisher"? A Chinese writer-friend of mine tells me that it probably means that the company takes commissions to publish certain books -- i.e. is paid to publish -- but also makes money from sales of the finished product. Not quite what we'd consider "traditional commercial" publishing, but not exactly "vanity" publishing, either. Subsidy publishing?

My guess is that, like all publishers in China before the Deng reforms, "Baijia" used to be commissioned by government agencies or institutes to publish books -- all the expenses (supposedly) being paid by the agency, institute, or The Party. No one cared if the books sold or not; profit wasn't in the picture, and debts could be ignored. Post-Deng, agencies (etc) have to find ways to finance themselves -- at least partly -- and no longer have deep pockets or freedom to ignore all debts. So, they commission the publication of works that they think will sell, and the publisher takes on those projects they think will sell, too, for the most part (political pressure still plays a role, I am sure). The publisher only gets some of the necessary funds up front and shares in the money from sales.

How much financial exposure does the publishing house really risk? How are royalties computed? How are the books distributed? These are questions I cannot answer right now ...

Regards,

smallthunder

victoriastrauss
11-01-2006, 06:26 PM
Great info, smallthunder. Thanks so much.

- Victoria

Gillhoughly
11-01-2006, 07:53 PM
Just finished my first novel geared towards Young Adult Males.

Well, now that you've gotten the skinny on the bad-uns, here's how you find a legit agent:

Go to http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/pubagent.htm

to see who is legit and who is not if you're shopping on-line for an agent.

Hit the bookstores and write down the publishers who put out books like yours. Check in "Writer's Market 2006 (http://www.amazon.com/2006-Writers-Market/dp/1582973946)/7" at the library to see if they take unagented submissions. You can sell your own book with a little research. There are a few titles out there about "How to be your Own Agent (http://www.amazon.com/How-Your-Own-Literary-Agent/dp/0618380418/sr=1-1/qid=1162396257/ref=sr_1_1/102-1099117-9786552?ie=UTF8&s=books)."

If you prefer to have an agent, then the step to take is write down the names of other authors in your genre. Many will have websites and you can ask them who their literary agent was for such & such a title. Most writers don't mind sharing that info. Be brief, polite, and don't give them a synopsis of your own work. (Extra points if you actually read one of their books.)

Good luck!

FSU David
02-12-2007, 02:01 PM
Ms. Strauss,

Before I ever located her name, I queried Ms. Barbara J. Harris and recently received a request for 50 pages of my MS. I sent that via e-mail. Is there any advice you can send my way, or perhaps a heads-up I can expect from this agency? I do not want to be taken, yet neither do I want to potentially screw up a potential offer. I would appreciate any insight you may have on this. Ironically, if I can add, I was asked to submit my entire MS on the 6th of September 2006 and to this date, even though I have long ago written them off, the Ashley Grayson Agency in California has not answered any e-mails or phone calls. How rude can one be, especially when they requested my entire MS. One other place I feel needs to be noted for their lack of action. In the LMP and other books, E. J. McCarthy based in the San Fran area said it is okay to query him by phone or perhaps to follow-up by phone a week or so later...I do not recall the exact instructions...however, he says he is seeking people in and around radio, talk shows, with a voice, and someone who is into politics. He asks, what famous people in the political arena do you know. I am a talk show junkie, and my MS is based entirely on politics/current events and I told him this. He claimed to be eager to see the material....I sent him it.....a few times, and he never ever had the decency to respond. He is a real gem and deserves to be acknowledged as such. Have any tidbits on these agencies? Just curious. Hopefully you or others have data on these people.

Thanks,

David

victoriastrauss
02-12-2007, 07:29 PM
David,

You can find the info you're looking for on Harris Literary in this thread. For the other agents, check the Index in this forum to see if there's already a thread on them (I think there is one on Ashley Grayson). If not, feel free to either post a separate thread with your question (we try to keep threads focused on a single agency or publisher), or contact me via Writer Beware: beware@sfwa.org.

- Victoria

Julie Worth
02-12-2007, 07:46 PM
Ironically, if I can add, I was asked to submit my entire MS on the 6th of September 2006 and to this date, even though I have long ago written them off, the Ashley Grayson Agency in California has not answered any e-mails or phone calls. How rude can one be, especially when they requested my entire MS.

In my case, it took them about six months to pass on a full request. Some agents are much faster, but six months is not that unusual. I'd wait at least three months (unless the agent gave me a different time frame) and then I'd email. In the meantime, of course, I'd be querying everybody else. Most people send out several fulls before they get a taker. (One in ten is my experience.)

thequotegal
03-26-2008, 10:58 AM
Yes, I know they are listed on the Writer's Beware list. But does anyone know why? I don't find anything negative when I google them. In fact, I find a few legit interviews with Barbara Harris. The reason I'm asking is that a couple of weeks ago, I got an invitation to submit a partial (before I realized they were on the list) but I've held off after seeing this list. I live in San Diego where they are located so I'm wondering how arbitrary it is that they made this list? You'd think I would find something explaining it with googling??

Thanks for any feedback.

waylander
03-26-2008, 02:18 PM
Yes, I know they are listed on the Writer's Beware list. But does anyone know why? I don't find anything negative when I google them. In fact, I find a few legit interviews with Barbara Harris. The reason I'm asking is that a couple of weeks ago, I got an invitation to submit a partial (before I realized they were on the list) but I've held off after seeing this list. I live in San Diego where they are located so I'm wondering how arbitrary it is that they made this list? You'd think I would find something explaining it with googling??

Thanks for any feedback.

They are on the Writer Beware/SFWA top twenty list of scam agents and that is not arbitrary at all, it is supported by extensive documentation.

Kasey Mackenzie
03-26-2008, 04:31 PM
Ask them what books they've personally placed with some of the bigger, advance-paying publishers. (Which is, of course, how most reputable agents earn their 15% commissions, along with taking proper advantage of foreign rights sales and negotiating better deals for their clients.) The answer to that question alone should tell you everything you need to know about how and why they ended up on that list.

CaoPaux
01-19-2013, 05:59 AM
Another on Writer Beware's Thumbs Down list (http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/thumbs-down-agency/) that's returned to the woodwork. :Thumbs: