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Irysangel

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I'm an avid 'agent-watcher' even though I have one, and I stumbled across this website:

http://www.litmatch.net


I thought it was pretty darn awesome. Why have I never seen this before? At any rate, if anyone is looking for agents and querying, I highly recommend checking it out. It seems to be free, so yay for that.
 
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MissLadyRae

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Ooh I second that. Great submissions tracking and lots of info about agents which they personally update themselves.

And free is good! ;)
 

Andrew Zack

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I just looked myself up on this site and what I see is that they went to my website and ripped it off, but without the details and the important elements that make it worth going to my site. In short, the committed copyright infringement and, frankly, I resent it.

I see so many authors so upset about scams and agents charging, etc., but what about a site like this that is just collecting information off the web and republishing it without permission? This site is nothing more than a money-making venture aimed at authors and created by ripping off information found elsewhere. I urge you to boycott this site and not reward this guy.

Z
 
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Irysangel

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To me, it seems more like a tool to be used - just like Agent Query - for tracking and shorthand submissions. Some agents don't list a lot of their clients on their website unless a book has immediately come out.

I thought it looked just like a short-hand tool to help with research. I'm happy to take the post down if people feel like it's a scam, though.
 

Elodie-Caroline

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I think this is a good idea; at least it puts many agencies addresses and info all in one place for those of us that are too busy to go hunting high and low on the internet.


Elodie
 

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I just looked myself up on this site and what I see is that they went to my website and ripped it off, but without the details and the important elements that make it worth going to my site. In short, the committed copyright infringement and, frankly, I resent it.

I see so many authors so upset about scams and agents charging, etc., but what about a site like this that is just collecting information off the web and republishing it without permission? This site is nothing more than a money-making venture aimed at authors and created by ripping off information found elsewhere. I urge you to boycott this site and not reward this guy.

I don't understand your complaint, Mr. Zack. Lit Match is free to register- I can varify this because I just did. You've just varified that they took their information from your site, so that makes me feel pretty good--they're doing their work and assembling what should be accurate information by getting it directly from information provided by the agents they list. And they've linked your website right at the top. If I see something I like in the information I find on a site like this, and there's a website link, that link is the first place I'm clicking.

It seems like another Agent Query type site, and I love me some Agent Query! The main difference seems to be that Agent Query lists agents who put their information on the site themselves, so authors may find agents listed here they don't find on AQ (like you, for instance).

I don't know a lot about copyright infringement, but what I see here is a pretty good looking site with your name and website available to people who are looking for that sort of information. You didn't have to do any work, pay them to list you, and they're advertising accurate information taked directly from the horse's website? What am I missing?

Oh, and if you're actively seeking clients, I do recommend you list yourself on AQ. As a querying writer, after word of mouth or a really interesting post right here, doing an AQ search on agents who rep my genre is usually my starting point to find out who I think the best match for me is. From there, I hit the agency website (if available), PW, this very B&BC forum, and of course P&E to find out if the agent is right, but AQ is an awesome start. Now that I know about Lit Match, I'll probably do the same here, too. Thank you to Irysangel!
 

Elodie-Caroline

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Yep, I'll third it. I joined up with that site when it very first got on the ground, some months ago now, but hadn't been back to it until I saw it mentioned here. I have never been asked for money/credit card details at at time since joining it.
Like I said earlier, it keeps all the info in one place and saves one from searching needlessly.


Elodie
 

RLSMiller

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The only controversy I heard regarding this site was that they stole their data from Querytracker. Don't know how true that is, though. Both sites have been a great help when querying and personalizing letters.
 

chawkins

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Andrew actually contacted me last night requesting to be removed from LitMatch. I wrote him back but have yet to receive a reply. Since he chose to bring his allegations to a public forum, I'll address them here one by one...

I just looked myself up on this site and what I see is that they went to my website and ripped it off, but without the details and the important elements that make it worth going to my site. In short, the committed copyright infringement and, frankly, I resent it.

I've asked Andrew for clarification on what about his profile on our site he believes infringes on his copyright. Currently the only things listed on his profile are a link to his site, address, clients and genre interests. No text, images, or layout elements were taken from his site, nor are there similarities enough for one to even misconstrue that they were taken from his site.

Further, to suggest such a thing in this forum is nothing short of libel. Therefore, I invite Andrew to apologize and amend his comments.

In accordance with our policies for working with agents, I'd be happy to take down any information that Andrew considers sensitive or proprietary, but he has not yet indicated to me what he would include in those categories.

I see so many authors so upset about scams and agents charging, etc., but what about a site like this that is just collecting information off the web and republishing it without permission? This site is nothing more than a money-making venture aimed at authors and created by ripping off information found elsewhere. I urge you to boycott this site and not reward this guy.

LitMatch doesn't charge fees to access any of our content or features. Period. End of story. Furthermore, we will not charge fees as long as the site is mine to run. We even discourage donations (see our FAQ page).

We know that the information we provide is something that many writers would pay to access, but we also believe that writers have a difficult and confusing enough time breaking in to publishing without all the "services" out there trying to stick a hand in their pockets.

We do host advertising on our site to cover our costs, such as hosting, domains, web design fees, and so forth. Anyone who runs similar ads can tell you that it's not something you're likely to get rich on. As of this writing, we still have yet to recoup our startup costs. Would we like to make enough money at this to make it our full-time jobs? Of course. With more time to focus on the site, we're sure that it would become an even more useful (and still free) resource than it is now. Is that likely to happen any time soon? Most likely not.

If you agree with me, feel free to email him at [email protected]. If you research who owns this site, you'll find a guy who has nothing to do with publishing. You really want to take his advice?

Z

If you research the person who owns this site, you'll find that it is me, and not the gentleman listed at the email above. That individual owns the litmatch.com domain, and not the LitMatch.net site. We've certainly made no secret of who owns our site (see here, here and here), so, yes, please feel free to contact us if you agree with Andrew (or for any other reason, for that matter.)


I might find comments like Andrew's discouraging if not for the support and kind words we've received from writers and agents alike. As I write this, we have 240 listings that have been updated with direct help from the agents and agencies they belong to. The negative reactions we've gotten number exactly 3 (and this includes Andrew's).

Thank you to everyone who's chimed in with words of support. I greatly appreciate it.

Sincerely,

Christopher Hawkins
LitMatch.net
 

chawkins

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The only controversy I heard regarding this site was that they stole their data from Querytracker.

An allegation that turned out to be baseless. I've since spoken with the owner of that site and I believe we've overcome our differences.

Sincerely,

Christopher Hawkins
LitMatch.net
 

dpaterso

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I'm moving this thread to Bewares & Background Check forum (and leaving a redirect link in Ask the Agent) so it's easier to find if members have any questions about LitMatch

-Derek
 

Andrew Zack

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Here is the response I sent Mr. Hawkins, today, for the record, which may also inform those that want to know why I care that Mr. Hawkins took information from my site and posted it on his:

I appreciate your prompt reply. The information you have posted has one source: my website. Hence my belief you have infringed on my copyright. If you visit my site, you'll see a notice on the home page: "A note for those building sites for authors: Please do not infringe on the copyright of our site. Please do not copy or reproduce any information from our site on your site. You may link to my site, but that is all. Do not put our mailing address or any other contact information on your site. Thank you."

I have no desire to be listed on your website, nor any website, other than my own. This is because I change my needs often and I'm very detailed about my needs. Not one other website provides the level of detail necessary to meet my needs, including yours. The result is that I get hundreds--if not thousands--of inappropriate queries or submissions because of this, and that's a waste of my time. When I closed to new queries, it took months and months to stop the flow, because of sites like yours. You see, folks take your information, which is not current or accurate, and they take the address off your site--which may also not be current or accurate--and start sending off queries--or worse, sample chapters--to the wrong address. Some of these are probably in the garbage in NYC because I'm sure the post office still delivered them and that the guy who bought my apartment just threw them away. Others are probably still sending to my old address in CA and getting them returned. All because they trusted a secondary resource, other than the primary, which is my site.

I periodically search the web for services such as yours and then I respectfully request that my information be deleted. In every case, my request has been honored. I would appreciate you doing the same and removing my firm and information from your site.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Andrew Zack
 

Andrew Zack

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To further make my point, this is what Mr. Hawkins says I'm looking for:

Represents: Fiction, Non-Fiction

Genres:
Fiction:
Commercial, Erotica, Fantasy, Historical, Literary, Mystery, Romance, Thrillers & Suspense, Women's Fiction

Non-Fiction:
Animals & Pets, Biography, Business, Cookbooks, Current Affairs, Finance, Food & Lifestyle, Health & Fitness, History, Humor, Medical, Memoirs, Parenting & Child Care, Politics, Reference, Religion & Spirituality, Science, Self-Help, Technology, True Crime, War & Military, Women's Issues

He also says "This agency prefers general submissions via mail."

I submit that these are generalizations that will result in hundreds, if not thousands, of inappropriate or incorrect submissions to my firm. This makes them a waste of my time and the time and money of the authors that sent them.

For starters, if you really want to know what I'm looking for, you have to read my website page at http://www.zackcompany.com/submissions/what_we_want.htm. You'll find I'm far more specific there.

Also, I do not want "submissions." I want query letters. Again, see my website: http://www.zackcompany.com/submissions/how_to_query.htm.

Also, how do you think Mr. Hawkins came up with his list of what he thinks I want? Or my client list? He went to my site and he lifted the information. That is also, really, the only place he could have gotten my mailing address, as it is quite new and not published anywhere but on my website or other websites where I've posted it myself. So he is either lifting from my site or another site.

Jeff Herman, the author of the best book on agents, editors and publishers, sends out a questionaire asking if you want to be included. When I did, I completed it and sent it in. When I was moving and closing to new queries for a while, I asked to be removed for a year, and I was. Next year I'll be back.

Had Mr. Hawkins asked agents, I'm sure many would have said yes. But he did not. And that can irk a lot of people, including me.

Z
 

victoriastrauss

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I see so many authors so upset about scams and agents charging, etc., but what about a site like this that is just collecting information off the web and republishing it without permission? This site is nothing more than a money-making venture aimed at authors and created by ripping off information found elsewhere.
I have strong reservations about these kinds of sites also--for a number of reasons, including the superficiality of a lot of their info and the fact that, often, their search functions don't work very effectively. When writers contact me about the usefulness of such sites, I always suggest that they not rely on them solely (as, unfortunately, there seems to be a tendency to do) but use them as an adjunct to more conventional research.

Andy's objection is one I hadn't thought of, but I imagine he isn't the only agent who feels this way.

I'm going to do post for the Writer Beware blog on agent-matching sites soon.

- Victoria
 

DaveKuzminski

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I just looked myself up on this site and what I see is that they went to my website and ripped it off, but without the details and the important elements that make it worth going to my site. In short, the committed copyright infringement and, frankly, I resent it.

I see so many authors so upset about scams and agents charging, etc., but what about a site like this that is just collecting information off the web and republishing it without permission? This site is nothing more than a money-making venture aimed at authors and created by ripping off information found elsewhere. I urge you to boycott this site and not reward this guy.

Z

I believe it would be worth visiting the US Copyright web site to get some facts. Their FAQ is at URL http://www.copyright.gov/help/faq/faq-general.html#protect and it answers many questions. For instance, "Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed." Based upon that, it appears that facts are being conveyed. And before anyone asks, P&E already states on its sites that the listings may be copied. The only restriction P&E places is to remind others that we cannot give permission for any articles placed on P&E as the copyrights belong to the respective authors and they must give their permission for their articles to be copied.

If there's a disagreement about what was expressed on LitMatch, then I believe it would have been better to contact the operator of the site and privately discuss the issues.
 

astonwest

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When writers contact me about the usefulness of such sites, I always suggest that they not rely on them solely (as, unfortunately, there seems to be a tendency to do) but use them as an adjunct to more conventional research.
I've never used Litmatch, but have used AgentQuery...only as a first step to get a listing of agents. With that list, I then go and scour through the agent's web site to verify all the information and get more detailed requirements. I will say that the information gleaned is only as good as the info put on the site (and has often been incorrect), but it does make the initial job of "thinning down the herd" much easier.

Plus it doesn't cost gobs of money like getting a copy of the (often also out-of-date) Writer's Market for literary agents.
 

victoriastrauss

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Another problem with these kinds of sites, at least based on the questions I receive...many writers seem to assume that they list everyone, or everyone worth listing. That's rarely true, and by limiting yourself to an agent-matching site, you may be missing many good agents you might query.

- Victoria
 

justpat

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Believe it or not, I also agree that no writer should depend on a single agent listing website. It is just too difficult for the operator of the site to keep everything 100% current. This is why I have the following message on every agent's page at QueryTracker.net

"Always verify agent's information before sending your query.
Use the above "Quick-Click Tools" to do further research. Verify the agent's query preferences, contact information, genres of interest, and if the agent is still open to queries. Although QueryTracker tries to stay current, it is not always easy. Never trust any single source for agent information (and yes, this includes QueryTracker.)
Review the user comments at the bottom of this page for up-to-date news and ALWAYS follow exactly what it says on the agent's website."

The principle behind QueryTracker.net is not to simply list pages of agents, but it is a place for writers to share information about their query experiences and therefore better target their queries. This process is intended to eliminate all the misguided queries agents receive, which helps everyone, writers and agents.
 
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DaveKuzminski

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I've already stated numerous times that P&E should never be a sole source. Always check multiple sources for the obvious or what ought to be obvious reasons.

Why do I keep P&E in operation? Because I recognized early that much of the published information was out of date before it reached the bookstore shelves. Likewise, most sources then only carried platitudes about scams and some information on what to watch out for, but never who, with the possible exceptions of those scams that had been closed down by the authorities. That was simply too little and too obscure for writers to interpret because the scams frequently checked those same sources and changed their terminology to avoid fitting those warning signs. That's why P&E decided to list agents, agencies, services, publishers, and whatever else seemed appropriate for writers to know. P&E chose to list as many as we can find and let the writers know by name which businesses P&E didn't recommend. We even posted our criteria so writers could see what we were looking for. P&E never stated a particular agent, publisher, or service was a scam unless it had been declared so in a legal venue.
 
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