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[Agency] Trident Media Group

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

bravebison

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Hey all, a former Gottlieb client here. I'm THRILLED with the AAR decision, and relieved some of this stuff is coming to light. For whoever's been trolling Mark and Trident on Twitter, that's great - they deserve all of what comes to them.

BUT...

Can we leave Mark's current clients out of it? It's not their fault that Mark is an idiot - they're one of us. Just trying to send great stories out into the universe. And this situation is going to have big implications on their careers, they shouldn't have to answer for Mark's awfulness.

Go ahead and run Mark, Trident, and Trident agents through the ringer, but please please please leave the authors alone.

Again, I'm not one of them who made it - Mark killed my MS. I just don't think we should implicate those writers.
 

bravebison

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?

Sorry, have I missed something? Who's faulting his writers?

Follow that link (I don't know how to post a screenshot, sorry). And the writers aren't being faulted, just implicated, or put in an awkward situation.

For example:

@KateMoretti1 Do you know that your agent Mark Gottlieb was expelled from the AAR for violating its code of ethics? He has falsified contracts, blackmailed and many other predatory types of behavior.

@NickYetto Do you know that your agent Mark Gottlieb was expelled from the AAR for violating its code of ethics? He has falsified contracts, blackmailed and many other predatory types of behavior.

@MarcoRafala Do you know that your agent Mark Gottlieb was expelled from the AAR for violating its code of ethics? He has falsified contracts, blackmailed and many other predatory types of behavior.

Edit: I do think his clients should be notified, if they aren't already aware - hopefully privately, via email. I just think calling them out on Twitter sucks. Maybe I'm the only one?
 
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Aggy B.

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Wow. Did I miss this earlier in the thread because I was so distracted by all the other distressing tales? Or is this the first time that the verbal contract concept has been mentioned?

In either case, that seems . . . not to hold up as a contract. I know very little about contract law and am not a lawyer, but to me this at least raises concerns. Both parties certainly need to be aware that they're entering into a formal agreement and need to be aware of the details, eg that submission will begin very shortly and there may not be any communication about it before it happens. An agent-author agreement just doesn't seem to be something you can do via verbal contract . . .

ETA: That message from the AAR seems to indicate they're concerned about that same thing.

Verbal or "handshake" agreements for an author-agent relationship are not entirely unusual. (Especially now when there's usually emailed correspondence laying out the submission plan, etc. It *can* be a red flag if the agent seems sloppy, slow to communicate, won't provide details, etc.

But, if it's a thing that bothers you, make sure you ask any agent you are talking with about representation if they have a written agreement. (The alarm bells with MG are particularly about his rushed or unclear offers of rep, and submitting things without telling authors what he planned to do with their MS. That type of "verbal" agreement is a problem.)

Follow that link (I don't know how to post a screenshot, sorry). And the writers aren't being faulted, just implicated, or put in an awkward situation.

For example:

@KateMoretti1 Do you know that your agent Mark Gottlieb was expelled from the AAR for violating its code of ethics? He has falsified contracts, blackmailed and many other predatory types of behavior.

@NickYetto Do you know that your agent Mark Gottlieb was expelled from the AAR for violating its code of ethics? He has falsified contracts, blackmailed and many other predatory types of behavior.

@MarcoRafala Do you know that your agent Mark Gottlieb was expelled from the AAR for violating its code of ethics? He has falsified contracts, blackmailed and many other predatory types of behavior.

Edit: I do think his clients should be notified, if they aren't already aware - hopefully privately, via email. I just think calling them out on Twitter sucks. Maybe I'm the only one?

Yeah. That's shitty behavior because it's worded in such a way that makes it sound like they're part of the problem.
 

novicewriter

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...Yeah. That's shitty behavior because it's worded in such a way that makes it sound like they're part of the problem.

It seems the same author/writer also tweeted, "...You harm more authors with your complicity."

I don't know; I understand that's harassment, but don't they have a point, since, apparently, despite being removed from the AAR, Mark Gottlieb is still allowed to be a literary agent, have clients, etc., and at least one of his authors still thanked him recently, for publishing their book when he retweeted about it? It seems he's been blocking everyone who mentions or tweets a link about his removal from the AAR. Along with that and continued praise from his current clients only being allowed on his social media, isn't it possible that more authors/writers might continue to be conned by him, perhaps convinced that, since his current clients are praising him, that that must mean he's changed his ways?

I can understand that author/writer's frustration and anger, because, it still seems that Mark Gottlieb hasn't been punished for what he did at all, if he's still allowed to be a literary agent, as plenty of other legit literary agents aren't required to be a part of AAR, and it's even more surprising that he still has clients who not only are staying with him, but continuing to thank him and are refusing to acknowledge or empathize with the pain and frustration of the other authors he conned. (Although, to be fair, their comments were before the AAR's verdict was released). But I'm guessing it might feel to them as though those authors and Trident are siding with him, rather than their fellow authors, which probably hurts.
 
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Aggy B.

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It seems the same author/writer also tweeted, "...You harm more authors with your complicity."

I don't know; I understand that's harassment, but don't they have a point, since, apparently, despite being removed from the AAR, Mark Gottlieb is still allowed to be a literary agent, have clients, etc., and at least one of his authors still thanked him recently, for publishing their book when he retweeted about it? It seems he's been blocking everyone who mentions or tweets a link about his removal from the AAR. Along with that and continued praise from his current clients only being allowed on his social media, isn't it possible that more authors/writers might continue to be conned by him, perhaps convinced that, since his current clients are praising him, that that must mean he's changed his ways?

I can understand that author/writer's frustration and anger, because, it still seems that Mark Gottlieb hasn't been punished for what he did at all, if he's still allowed to be a literary agent, as plenty of other legit literary agents aren't required to be a part of AAR, and it's even more surprising that he still has clients who not only are staying with him, but continuing to thank him and are refusing to acknowledge or empathize with the pain and frustration of the other authors he conned. (Although, to be fair, their comments were before the AAR's verdict was released). But I'm guessing it might feel to them as though those authors and Trident are siding with him, rather than their fellow authors, which probably hurts.

So, here's the thing. If Gottlieb sold a book for an author that means he gets paid for it (out of the royalties the author earns + plus any further advance payments on outstanding manuscripts*) for as long as the publisher has a contract for it. Which means, for those authors that he made decent deals for, they have a lot to lose if they piss him off right now. And, yes, it might seem like they are just trying to cover their ass, but they are also working for a living and therefore likely can't afford to fuck up their relationship with the guy who pays out their royalties.**

You don't know what a particular author may be doing behind the scenes to try and sever a (potentially) harmful relationship with their agent. And demanding that they put themselves at risk financially is a shitty move. (Some folks are capable of doing so and may do so. Others are not and it's not up to me, you, or anyone else to dictate whether or not they put their livelihood in jeopardy.) Even if folks move to another agent for new manuscripts, Gottlieb will remain the agent on record for any sales he may have made and continue to receive money from those particular books.

I wish that all folks who were authors and had agents had the wherewithall to be able to cut ties when necessary, but that isn't the case. And I will not judge or harass someone who is being put at risk by behavior they have nothing to do with.

*If there is a multiple book deal then a certain percentage of the advance is paid out at various points - delivery of manuscript, approval of manuscript, printing, etc.

**Most author payments go to the agent first. Then the agent deducts their 15% and mails a check for the remainder to the author.
 

Miguelito

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If you're a client of Trident, or thinking of querying there, it can't be comforting that the agency is circling its wagons around its rogue agent rather than protecting its clients.
 

Alderich

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So, what would you do if you were one of those caught up in this guy's industrialized submissions sweep? Would you be able to take the same project to another agent-even if you never got submissions info from Gottlieb?
 

s_nov

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So, what would you do if you were one of those caught up in this guy's industrialized submissions sweep? Would you be able to take the same project to another agent-even if you never got submissions info from Gottlieb?

I'm friends with multiple ex-Gottlieb clients (I frequent one of the conferences he got a lot of clients from) and it sounds like their projects are shelved, probably indefinitely. A few said they can't do anything with the ms's since no agents will touch them, knowing they've been on sub, but unsure about who's seen them. So yeah, it absolutely sucks.
 

RolandWrites

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So, what would you do if you were one of those caught up in this guy's industrialized submissions sweep? Would you be able to take the same project to another agent-even if you never got submissions info from Gottlieb?


My goal is to take the novel he ruined and rework it. I'm going to do a rewrite, change some things around, basically do enough changing to make it enough of a new book that I can pitch it as a new project. Change the title, new query, everything. I refuse to abandon my novel. I love it, everyone who has read it for me have loved it, and I don't want to let his predatory behavior ruin its chances.
 

gckatz

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So what's the consensus on other agents at Trident? I see that Trident, the company, has been responding badly, but it's a large company and the other agents presumably have little control over that. (Yes, leaving the agency would be the most respectable choice--but that not only leaves them out of a job, it leaves their current clients in the lurch.)

Have there been reports of other Trident agents treating their clients poorly, or is it all the company's behavior that's the reason the agency as a whole is now deprecated?
 

EMaree

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So what's the consensus on other agents at Trident? I see that Trident, the company, has been responding badly, but it's a large company and the other agents presumably have little control over that. (Yes, leaving the agency would be the most respectable choice--but that not only leaves them out of a job, it leaves their current clients in the lurch.)

Have there been reports of other Trident agents treating their clients poorly, or is it all the company's behavior that's the reason the agency as a whole is now deprecated?

There are countless pieces of evidence in this thread that show that Trident as an agency:
  • will not support writers who get screwed over by one of their agents
  • will not get rid of a predatory agent despite clear evidence of wrongdoing
  • will actively work to hide evidence when one of their agents is a danger to writers
  • allow one of their own to engage in business practices that go against industry-standard ethical guidelines.

The question to ask when considering Trident at this point is: what if what happened to all those writers happens to me?
 
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gckatz

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So, in answer to my question, you're saying that it's purely the behavior of the company itself--there aren't any reports of other specific agents engaging in this kind of behavior?
 

Filigree

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*It doesn't matter*. As long as an agent is with Trident I'd regard them as risky going for an author.

This is horrible for those Trident agents who are honorable and ethical...but right now we outsiders can't see a difference between them and the folks who are simply looking the other way.
 

lianna williamson

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There's also no way to assess how much damage this situation has done to Trident's reputation with editors. I wouldn't be surprised if some editors want to distance themselves from association with an agency that has allowed and vigorously covered up incompetent and unethical agenting.
 

RolandWrites

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Just wanted to pop over here and say I got a weird email from Mark saying he wanted to make amends with me and could I call him. I was confused as I'm using a different name now, and a different email, and yet there was the email. I have no interest in making amends, and I thought this was strange enough I needed to mention it somewhere. I have no idea what's been going on with him since the ethics issues all came out last year.
 

kimber9826

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Trident Media Group Query - Red Flag

I queried Trident yesterday and received a reply lastnight requesting 50 pages. However, before I do anything she wants me to sign a readers release form which I am not comfortable signing. Has anyone signed this form before? Is this a standard thing? #4 & #5 is rubbing me in a wrong way.



Here is what is on the form:

I acknowledge that in accordance with Trident’s established policy, Trident will not accept, consider or otherwise evaluate my material (collectively, my “Material”) until I agree to the following terms and conditions (collectively, these “Terms and Conditions”):
1. I acknowledge that Trident has not examined my Material prior to my review and acceptance of these Terms and Conditions.
2. I acknowledge that Trident has no obligation to review my Material or take me on as a client.
3. I represent that I am the sole owner of my Material and I have the full right to submit my Material to Trident.
4. I understand that Trident has access to materials and ideas that may be similar to my Material in theme, idea, plot or format. I understand that I will not be entitled to compensation because of the use of any such similar or identical material if such material is created independently by Trident or its clients. 5. I hereby release Trident from any and all liability for loss of, or damage to, any copies of my Material that I may submit to Trident.
6. I understand that these Terms and Conditions shall be construed in accordance with the laws of the State of New York applicable to agreements executed and fully performed therein. I agree that any dispute, claim or controversy that may arise out my Material shall be resolved by a court of competent jurisdiction (state or federal) located in the State of New York, Borough of Manhattan, and I consent to the jurisdiction of such courts in connection therewith.
7. If any provision of these Terms and Conditions is void or unenforceable, such provision shall be deemed omitted and the remainder of these Terms and Conditions shall remain in full force and effect.
8. I represent that I have read and understand these Terms and Conditions and that they reflect our entire understanding. Any modification or waiver to these Terms and Conditions must be approved in writing by Trident.
 

byarvin

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Yes, I've seen it

I've seen these clauses (an similar) before, and magazines and book publishers have sent them to me too.

Once, during a face to face visit with a publisher years ago, he showed me pitches from other authors for the exact same topics that I was pitching. He went on to tell me that it's almost never the idea or the originality of it that sells a book, it's the execution. Strong prose, properly formatted, (and in the case of cooking and travel) the technical quality of the photos.

Execution is everything!
 

waylander

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I have heard of this. Trident are one of a very few agencies who do this. I never had to sign one as they did not request materials from me. They are a major agency and if theh had requested pages I would have signed it.
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away