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[Agency] Leslie Rivers, International

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Joel R. Dennstedt

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I could not find a discussion thread on this agency. Is anyone familiar with them? They describe themselves as a "Boutique Agency", and I am not sure exactly what that is. Based on 4 sample chapters, they have asked for a copy of the complete manuscript. Caution and Excitement are mixed.
Thanks!
Joel R. Dennstedt
 

Gillhoughly

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Ooooo-kay.

http://www.answers.com/topic/boutique-agency?cat=biz-fin

I've never heard of a *literary agency* offering "piano composition services"!

Whatever the hell that is, it is not a literary agency! I doubt they know the names of any of the senior editors at any of the major publishers, much less what they're looking to buy.

Run away, it's a waste of time.


What it lacks are sales to commercial publishers, writers I've heard of, recent sales, and links to books sold.

I followed one link to a mystery writer's website, where he seems to have some self-published titles and absolutely nothing on Amazon.

Followed two more links. Again, self-pubs, no commercial presence.


Legit agents. This is so you know what REAL ones look like.

http://www.spectrumliteraryagency.com/

http://www.knightagency.net/

http://www.maassagency.com/
 
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victoriastrauss

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Judith Bruni, the agency's founder, does not appear to have any relevant professional background that would qualify her to be a literary or talent agent. She appears to be an aspiring writer whose bio on the agency website reveals that she fell for the Poetry.com vanity anthology scam. These are not exactly the kind of qualifications you want to see in a a literary agent.

The agency's blog reveals one sale, to Mercury Retrograde Press. This is a respectable small press (I blurbed one of its books), but you don't need an agent to submit here, and I don't believe it pays advances.

- Victoria
 

sgcapp

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Following are two excerpts from the contract Ms. Bruni of Leslie Rivers, International would like me to sign for her to represent my novel. Ms. Bruni appears to be uninterested in modifying any of this in any way.

1. LITERARY AGENT REPRESENTS AUTHOR. For the term of this agreement, the Author hereby retains the Literary Agent as his/her exclusive agent for “ (working title) (the “Represented Works”), and any sequels to it (works on the same subject, making use of the same themes, and written for the same market), or other works written by Author under his/her name or his/her pen name, for an indefinite period beginning today, _____________________ [mm/dd/yyyy].

And from paragraph 3:

If the Author sells or transfers publishing rights in the Represented Works to a person or company to whom the Literary Agent submitted a proposal for the sale of rights during the term of this agreement, the Literary Agent will be entitled to her full commission even though the sale or transfer of rights takes place after the agreement terminates. The Literary Agent’s right to compensation for a sale or disposition of rights under this agreement, once earned, will continue even after the agreement is terminated, and in case of the Literary Agent’s termination, death or disability, her successor in interest will have that right and will administer the receipt and disbursement of funds under this agreement.

This seems to me to make extraordinarily broad claims on all my work, past, present, and future.
I hope this is the correct forum to introduce this and, not being a lawyer or experienced in agency contracts, would appreciate any comments anyone would care to make.
Thanks,
Steve
 

Momento Mori

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Neither of those clauses seems unusual to me.

In the case of clause 1, it's normal for the contract to state the book being represented and how far the representation extends to. Note that the Represented Work is only the titled manuscript, so there is no claim on subsequent works under paragraph 3 if the contract terminates. My contract of representation is for the title of my WIP, with further titles to be discussed and agreed between myself and my agent.

In the case of clause 3, this is there to protect the agent in the event that they do all of the work to get you a publishing contract and you then terminate their representation prior to signature of the publishing contract to retain their commission. It also seems intended to catch the right to commission on future royalties from book sales for the benefits of successors in title, which again seems standard to me.

That said, there still doesn't appear to be much evidence that Leslie Rivers is a successful agency with a proven track record of sales and it's that which should be influencing your decision on whether to sign with them rather than the contract terms.

MM
 

Emily Winslow

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In the case of clause 1, it's normal for the contract to state the book being represented and how far the representation extends to. Note that the Represented Work is only the titled manuscript, so there is no claim on subsequent works under paragraph 3 if the contract terminates. My contract of representation is for the title of my WIP, with further titles to be discussed and agreed between myself and my agent.

I'm not a contracts expert, but it looks to me like it says that it's NOT just the named work, but also "any sequels to it (works on the same subject, making use of the same themes, and written for the same market), or other works written by Author under his/her name or his/her pen name"

That seems pretty broad.
 

victoriastrauss

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There's nothing wrong with either of these clauses--as long as the first one is balanced by a termination clause that allows you to terminate at any time with adequate notice.

The more important issue, in my opinion, is that this is an all but sale-less agency run by someone with no publishing industry experience.

- Victoria
 

Momento Mori

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Emily Winslow:
it looks to me like it says that it's NOT just the named work, but also "any sequels to it (works on the same subject, making use of the same themes, and written for the same market),

Although the contract as a whole relates to sequels and other works, the definition of the Represented Work is whatever the working title of the manuscript is.

In essence, this is a reflection of the actual relationship between the agent and the author, i.e. the agent will offer to represent you on the basis of the manuscript you've submitted but both parties will anticipate the relationship to extend to cover other manuscripts produced by the author.

As Victoria so rightly says, provided that there is a proper termination clause, there isn't a problem with the contract seeking to cover that.

MM
 

sgcapp

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Thanks for the input, everyone, it has been most helpful. But I guess I'm still a little bit leery. If the Represented Work is just the the one novel, why would the agent so adamantly refuse to restrict the contract to that title? Is this

other works written by Author under his/her name or his/her pen name

just legalese? And how that all relates to the first sentence quoted from paragraph 3?

Otherwise, the termination clause seems fine with a 45 day notice. And I'm aware of questions about the agency's, uh, gravitas. Sometimes it is maybe best to follow the path that is offered.

Once again, thanks to all of you,
Steve
 

Momento Mori

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sgcapp:
If the Represented Work is just the the one novel, why would the agent so adamantly refuse to restrict the contract to that title?

Because in that situation the agent would need to enter into a new contract with you each time you produced a new manuscript that needed representation. It would cut across the idea of the agent offering continued representation.

sgcapp:
I'm aware of questions about the agency's, uh, gravitas. Sometimes it is maybe best to follow the path that is offered.

I strongly disagree with that. An agent with questionable track record of sales is likely to keep you dangling while you wait and see if they can sell your book and if they can't, then you've wasted all that time allowing them to faff around when you could have been trying other agents with legitimate sales or going straight to those publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts.

Best of luck to you, whatever you decide.

MM
 

sgcapp

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Love that word, faff, it's as good as the clarification. Thanks again, and best of luck to you, too.

Steve
 

HistorySleuth

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Their background page doesn't sound very promising for 5 years. It seems like they only sold one book, and two being reviewed by publishers.

This from the background page:
If you research what it takes to get published by a large publishing house, you will find something like 3 in 11,000. LRI hasn’t yet evaluated 11,000 books in its marketing years. Nor 3,000 at this point. LRI is moving as fast as it can through refining processes. And we haven’t counted but we may be coming up on our first 1,000 or it may just feel like it. It is a matter of numbers, quality, timing, and luck.

I think it would also be a matter of experience too. It sounds like their not sure what their doing.
 

dlparker

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You certainly don't need an agent to sell a book to Mercury Retrograde Press (I sold them 4 books). The editor is perfectly approachable via a standard slush submission.

Danielle L. Parker
Author of 2009 EPPIE Winner "The Infinite Instant" and "The Nihilistic Mirror" (Usurpers, Books 1 & 2), available Mercury Retrograde Press Fall 2011
 

CaoPaux

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No sign of further sales, nor has site, blog, or PM page been updated since '10.
 

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