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[Agency] Hershman Rights Management (Sarah Hershman)

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Vesta

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I received unsolicited interest in my novel from an agent named Sarah Hershman. She specializes in audio rights and is interested in representing also for foreign rights. I believe she is relatively new as an agent. Has any one heard of her or can give some advice?
www.hershmanrightsmanagement.com
 

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I checked some of the books she represents and every one is either from a small publisher or it's self-published. I would stay away from this.
 

Vesta

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Yes. She knows I'm self-published, but what kind of difference does it make that she works with those kinds of authors?
 

tethys77

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I signed with her recently, as well. Also, unsolicited, but then I've never bothered contacting agents for anything. It's been a good experience so far. She's been more than willing to answer all my questions. If I get an offer, I'll report back. Cute how Lisa advises to stay away from self-pub and anyone associated with it. :rolleyes

I'm self-published, as well, vesta.
 

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I signed with her recently, as well. Also, unsolicited, but then I've never bothered contacting agents for anything. It's been a good experience so far. She's been more than willing to answer all my questions. If I get an offer, I'll report back. Cute how Lisa advises to stay away from self-pub and anyone associated with it. :rolleyes

I'm self-published, as well, vesta.

I did not say stay away from self publishing. I said stay away from this agent.
 

triceretops

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Lisa might have a point, here. If the agent says she'll work the contract if you get an offer, that kind of limits the types of publishers available to a non-agented author--not all of them, certainly. Likewise, if she is not getting any significant or advances at all from her effort, it means that she might be subsisting on royalties only.

I'm all for a agent stepping up to the plate and deviating from protocol with the desire to help authors. Has she mentioned about subbing your book to any of the significant publishers? By unsolicited interest, does this mean she contacted you first? Kind of an out-of-the-blue thing?

Remember:
1. Experience--does this agent have contacts and inroads into the larger publishers who furnish competitive or industry standard advances?
2. Longevity--how long has this agent been in business? This item reverts back to #1
3. Knowledge Base--Does this agent know literary contract law inside and out?
4. Compatibility--is this agent easy to work with and does she specialize in one or more genres, which includes your books or stories?
5. Track Record--this goes back to experience, but roughly how many book sales and how large is her stable?
6. Agreement--is this an agent to writer contract offer or is this a (non-paper) handshake agreement? (Not too much of a problem either way here, but if you sign with her for two years and want out, you'll need to find out about that provision.

I'm just saying proceed with caution. Personally, I would be leery of this until time tells and the results are in. Just saying.
 

tethys77

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I did not say stay away from self publishing. I said stay away from this agent.

Why? Any author with a traditional publishing deal has already sold their secondary rights in the original signing deal in all but the most rare cases. What purpose would it serve for a secondary rights agent to pound the (electronic) pavement looking for unsold rights of something like 1-2% of the trad pub author population? She'd have better luck knocking on PHYSICAL doors in her own neighborhood and hoping that someone who answers the door happens to be an author!

Self-published authors, by definition, have retained their secondary rights and thus have them available for publishing deals, both audio and foreign.

You're seriously saying that we should stay away from an agent who's crunched the numbers and is smart enough to realize that her potential client pool is ~99% LARGER with self-published authors?
 
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tethys77

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It is not a full rights agency and I can't speak for the OP, but my original contact email laid that out in the very first paragraph. It was made immediately clear that she's a subsidiary rights agent and she listed her audio publishing experience and contacts within that industry in the same email.

It makes total sense to me that she would only contact self-published authors as we are the only authors (in most cases) who actually have the audio and foreign rights to our titles available to sell.
 

jazzywaltz

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I was also contacted by Sarah just the other day. I think she's targeting self-published authors with decent rankings on Amazon, and like others have said on this thread, she's exclusively interested in subsidiary rights and recognizes the value in seeking out indies to try and fill a need in the market. She offered to send me a draft contract so I could see how she works, and I'm waiting on that now, so I might be able to share the details if/when it comes.


I also did contact one of the authors on her roster and asked about her experience. She said that she didn't really have much to say because she only gave Sarah audio rights and only to one of her books, and that was a book that had a bad sales record. Consequently, Sarah was unable to negotiate a deal for it, and they ended up parting ways. But the author did say that Sarah was very professional and that she liked her. I think for her Sarah was just an experiment because she was already working with a narrator she liked and publishing her audiobooks herself.
 

tethys77

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UPDATE: In terms of total time, it took almost exactly 30 days from the initial introduction email she sent me, back and forth emailing with me asking questions and vetting her, to me signing with her for representation, and her bringing back three offers from three different publishers. This was over Christmas/New Years' holiday, as well, so that slowed the process down a bit. She emailed me today with my offers.

The whole process was very simple, well-explained, and went very quickly.

Hopefully, she'll be interested in representing future titles for me.
 

jazzywaltz

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UPDATE: In terms of total time, it took almost exactly 30 days from the initial introduction email she sent me, back and forth emailing with me asking questions and vetting her, to me signing with her for representation, and her bringing back three offers from three different publishers. This was over Christmas/New Years' holiday, as well, so that slowed the process down a bit. She emailed me today with my offers.

The whole process was very simple, well-explained, and went very quickly.

Hopefully, she'll be interested in representing future titles for me.

That's GREAT news! Were the contracts for audio, or did you get anything for foreign rights as well?
 

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UPDATE: In terms of total time, it took almost exactly 30 days from the initial introduction email she sent me, back and forth emailing with me asking questions and vetting her, to me signing with her for representation, and her bringing back three offers from three different publishers. This was over Christmas/New Years' holiday, as well, so that slowed the process down a bit. She emailed me today with my offers.

The whole process was very simple, well-explained, and went very quickly.

Hopefully, she'll be interested in representing future titles for me.


Congrats! What publishers may I ask? Did you research them here and on the P&E?
 

tethys77

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That's GREAT news! Were the contracts for audio, or did you get anything for foreign rights as well?

She never mentioned foreign rights and neither did I. Frankly, I'd rather see how everything plays out with this first audio deal and us getting to know each other before selling off the whole farm, kwim? ;) I'm treating this as a "Getting to Know Each Other" deal, in fact, she offered representation on another one of my books in the beginning, but I took it off the table because I want to establish a good relationship first.
 

Mellanah

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Hi! Does anyone have any recent information on this agent? I just received an email of interest from her, and I'm curious.
 

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