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BEWARE: Children's Literary Agency (WL Childrens Agency)

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emma

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Got stung (not a big amount, but it still smarts!) by another literary agency that was actively pursuing manuscripts whose name later surfaced on a reliable board such as this one as being nothing more than a scam, so I'm a bit wary this time around. I'm only inquiring about Children's Literary Agency though, as I haven't read any negative comments about them so far. Has anyone out there heard of them? worked with them? Would appreciate any feedbacks. Thanks muchly!
 

emma

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Hello again. Got this reply from Children's Lit, and I just want to know what you guys think of it. I am not attacking their reputation or questioning their practice/ethics. I just want some feedback on whether I should consider entering into a professional relationship with them or not.
Many thanks.

Their reply goes ...

We have reviewed your manuscript and your form submission and we believe that your work has promise.

We agree that your manuscript is targeted at a good market and we would like to represent more work in this category.

We see from the form you filled out that the work has not been formally edited yet and that there is a need for a few catchy illustrations (see below).

In light of the above facts we would be willing to offer you an Agreement for Representation assuming that we can agree on a few matters of process.

First, please allow me to express our philosophy so that you understand more about how we work. Most importantly, it is imperative that we offer ONLY top quality work to our buyers. We have a reputation for only representing top quality work and we plan to keep it.

Once the 'quality of writing' issue is dealt with, we then try to offer "creative, compelling, and catchy" elements to our buyers so that we differentiate our submittals from those of other agencies. In other words, there's lots of quality writing out there, so we try to make sure that our stands out in some creative and catchy manner.

What does this mean to you? If you are willing to work with an independent 3rd party for editing/validation and if you are willing to work to create a few compelling and catchy illustrations to support your work and our presentation of it, then we are willing to represent you. (Note: you can choose your own editor or illustrator or we can recommend professionals that we know and trust. Either way is fine with us, but if you choose your own, then we will have to approve them).

So, if you will signify your agreement to this plan of action, then we will issue you a contract and begin the process with you. If you have any questions I will be happy to answer them for you. I prefer email so that we have a record of our communications.
 

DrRita

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emma said:
Once the 'quality of writing' issue is dealt with, we then try to offer "creative, compelling, and catchy" elements to our buyers so that we differentiate our submittals from those of other agencies. In other words, there's lots of quality writing out there, so we try to make sure that our stands out in some creative and catchy manner.

What does this mean to you? If you are willing to work with an independent 3rd party for editing/validation and if you are willing to work to create a few compelling and catchy illustrations to support your work and our presentation of it, then we are willing to represent you. (Note: you can choose your own editor or illustrator or we can recommend professionals that we know and trust. Either way is fine with us, but if you choose your own, then we will have to approve them).

Emma--this does not sound like a good thing to me. What's all this rhetoric about "creative, compelling and catchy" elements? The third party is the biggest quetion I have. First, it sounds like they want you to pay for editing and secondly, it appears they want you to do some illustrations. If I'm right on both accounts, this is just a scam. Usually, unless you are really well known as you would never submit illustrations with the story manuscript. Publishers place writers and illustrators together not agencies. I would really ask Victoria Strauss about this but it looks like they want to "help" you out of some of your bank account!
 

James D. Macdonald

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Did they really say "submittals"?

Tell me -- are these guys located in south Florida?

What have they sold? Anything? To anyone? Ever?

I have a very bad feeling. Please check further. And remember Yog's Law: Money flows toward the writer. The only place an author signs a check is on the back.

Promise me one thing: The instant they ask for money, for anything -- for illustrations, for editing, for a submission package, for pastries -- bail out right then.
 
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cwgranny

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They are offering you representation and they make not one single solitary specific comment about your work. Nothing that makes it plain they READ your work. Nothing that would keep this from being a form letter. I've had a good kidlit agent and ALL he wanted to talk about was SPECIFICS about my work and he wanted to talk about those specifics before he offered representation.

I haven't smelled anything this fishy since I was kissed by a seal when I was 8 years old.

gran
 

emma

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They didn't have a street address on their website. Just said email for address if you want to submit by mail (not their preferred way). Ay naku! Back to the drawing board! Thanks you guys. I did have an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach, and somehow I knew it couldn't have been just because of the chimichanga combo I had for lunch that day!
 

emma

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Below is an earlier email they sent me. I checked out the peeperandfriends website but the web engines can't find it.



Also, so that you know a little more about us, please allow me to give
you a
bit of background on ourselves. One of our authors made over $50,000
selling his children's books last year. (www.peeperandfriends.com).
That
was just his first year, and we expect to do much more this year.

Together, we created a process that we believe can be replicated and we
are
looking for quality work to represent and to put into the model that we
have
built. The model is very simple really. We start with quality
writing, add
a few great illustrations to catch a buyer's eye, and then we pitch it
to a
select buyer group that respects the quality of our submissions. With
these
ingredients your odds of success are much enhanced.

Also, you may understand how a Literary Agency works, but many authors
don't, so please excuse me while I take a minute and let you know how
the
process works. As your Literary Agent, our mission is to assist you in
finding a publisher and to coach you along the way in various options
available to you. We don't edit, we don't illustrate, our mission is
to
sell for you. As for compensation, get paid on success only, meaning
we
only get paid if you get paid. Typically we will receive 15% of what
you
receive.

We do not charge fees, so our compensation is based on success only.
Along
the way, we may suggest that you continuously improve the quality of
your
work and or how it is presented. If we suggest editing, illustration,
or
some catchy marketing materials such as a supporting website, it will
be
your choice as to whether to accept our recommendations, and if you do,
you'll deal with those companies individually. Once your work is
deemed
'presentable', then we'll start shopping it to publishers. We never
promise
a sale, but we can tell you that we have a model that works.

We look forward to receiving your materials.
 

MessageBoardAltView

Just for grins...

I am going to try to post this on the message board. I've never used one, but was emailed the link by the agency. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8286

I'm Pete the www.peeperandfriends.com (the hook) and author of Peeper The Kinkajou, Peeper Goes To Florida, and Boomer To The Rescue. I would first like to say that I am offended by you saying it's a scheme. You need a bit of my background first. I was a Marine Special ops guy who was highly decorated for putting my life on the line to go evacuate innocents out of hostile environments. I came out of the military and became a stock broker. A top producing stock broker. I left that business on top because I wasn't fulfilled with just making money. I wanted a purpose and to help. I guess I was looking for the feeling I had coming through the door with my small team and rescuing people who thought they were to face slaughter. I started a private investigation agency, which I still own www.soginv.com. I helped many people there, but still felt a need for more so I wrote and published children's books, which educate children on unique creatures, their ecosystems, and their need for our help. I have had a greater positive impact on more adults, children, and the environment than any of you and all of you together. I say this confidently.

Going back to my issue with the message board. Since I am a private investigator and have learned from many cases that you can't assume anything only investigate fact. It bothers me that you all have these expert opinions based on nothing and they are not even educated( sorry Dr., but the Dr. doesn't always account for common sense).

I am writing this against the wishes of the agency. They said be nice. it's hard to be when offended. Why don't you contact me and let me waste my time proving to you what fact is. One they Children's agency did lie about me making $50,000 last year. I did it in 3 weeks with honorarium and book sales. I asked them why they didn't put the truth about how quickly i did it and they were right in saying that the authors will think it not believable. Now to show you. I am going to be touring 2 weeks from April18-29 in Loudoun county Va and Ocean City MD. come see what I do fist hand and I will show you the numbers. I will make around $40,000 for the 2 weeks. The problem is that unsuccessful authors like to sit around and need to have a purpose by giving expert opinions to new authors. I am way to busy being successful to do this, but some of you need a wake up call. You own failure is your fault and you really aren't helping, only hurting authors when giving them advice on good and bad when you have no idea what you are talking about. My job isn't to waste time complaining or I would then turn into you complainers. I am willing to show you fact. Are you willing to see it? I know several other authors who are happy with The agency.

The agents from the CLA have great business minds. I was the one who suggested they recommend editors because any one can edit grammar and spelling. I have a button on my computer that does it. Knowing how to better communicate to your target market is also important. Most seasoned writer's think they do, but don't. Why do you think such a small percentage of people get published. And beside they may waste money like i did with the first person i had edit. She was an english teacher so the grammar and spelling were perfect. I have personally helped best selling authors who were previously published through big houses finally make money. That's the difference between the new and old era. I was a successful investment banker who understands business. Most book industry people know what they know and aren't great at business.

If you would like to contact me to educate your self more on the real world, call me or email. You can reach me through my website. I feel for all of you experts who have time to play on all the message boards. Turn that negative time and energy around and focus it on positively moving forward in your life and you may become successful also. I don't mean all in money, but to me success means fully being happy with where you are and what you're doing and with all your negativity, you're not there.

If I offended you I'm sorry, but maybe you needed to be offended. I will also entertain any apologies for tieing me into what was called a scheme. This may not be about you I just grabbed all the emails from the board so you could here my side. By the way. I was first printed Jan 05 and within 6 months I accomplished more than most writers do in a lifetime so I believe I speak from authority about business epecially with my background and experiences.

Peter Parente

What they did for me:
  1. sold my publishing company and got me the terms I required.
  2. set up my school appointments based on my school models
  3. told me not to create such a big website, but to keep it simple and not waste my money. I chose to waste my money to do extrs because I wanted to
  4. Got me to an editor who gave me some priceless advice
  5. currectly working on licensing for toys, games, T.V., and Movies. I was in meetings yesterday with investment bankers about the TV show.
  6. Helped some authors I know
  7. They work with they author in the capacity they are looking for. Most authors just want to be published until they are and then are unhappy with the deal. I like being rewarded for my work, you?
That's all for now. I won't be checking back.
 

victoriastrauss

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See my discussion of Children's Literary Agency here. It's post #432. Briefly, this agency promotes its own paid editing services and recommends that writers pay for sample illustrations to accompany their submissions. Apart from the fact that reputable agencies don't ask their clients to pay for adjunct services, the illlustration thing is a no-no: unless your book is a collaboration or you yourself are the illustrator, publishers prefer to choose the illustrator. Including sample illustrations not by you or a co-author will immediately tag your submission as unprofessional.

I've seen the Children's Literary Agency's contract and accompanying materials, so I'm not pulling this information out of the air.

Mr Parente, a couple of questions for you, just in case you do check back:

- Who is Dorothy Walker, who's listed on the Children's Literary Agency website as the agency's president? If she has indeed sold books to Scholastic and Henry Holt, why can't I find any books under her name with those publishers? I can't even find her listed with Tree of Life, your own self-publishing company.

- The agency's address (per its contract) is in Manhattan, but this is an office building that advertises "virtual office services" (i.e., you can be anywhere in the world and have your phone and mail picked up in New York). Plus, its intake materials advise writers to snail mail to an address in Boca Raton, Florida. Boca Raton is the location of ST Literary Agency, which is the subject of numerous "bewares" here and elsewhere. Also, the Children's Literary Agency's contract is nearly identical to ST's contract, including several unique features such as a nondisparagement clause. Is Children's Literary Agency connected with ST Literary Agency--and if so, how?

- Who is Robert West, who signs himself as Children's Literary Agency's Senior Agent? He wouldn't be Robert Fletcher of ST Literary, would he?

Thanks in advance for your reply.

- Victoria
 

Kimberly Young

emma said:
Hello again. Got this reply from Children's Lit, and I just want to know what you guys think of it. I am not attacking their reputation or questioning their practice/ethics. I just want some feedback on whether I should consider entering into a professional relationship with them or not.
Many thanks.

Their reply goes ...

We have reviewed your manuscript and your form submission and we believe that your work has promise.

We agree that your manuscript is targeted at a good market and we would like to represent more work in this category.

We see from the form you filled out that the work has not been formally edited yet and that there is a need for a few catchy illustrations (see below).

In light of the above facts we would be willing to offer you an Agreement for Representation assuming that we can agree on a few matters of process.

First, please allow me to express our philosophy so that you understand more about how we work. Most importantly, it is imperative that we offer ONLY top quality work to our buyers. We have a reputation for only representing top quality work and we plan to keep it.

Once the 'quality of writing' issue is dealt with, we then try to offer "creative, compelling, and catchy" elements to our buyers so that we differentiate our submittals from those of other agencies. In other words, there's lots of quality writing out there, so we try to make sure that our stands out in some creative and catchy manner.

What does this mean to you? If you are willing to work with an independent 3rd party for editing/validation and if you are willing to work to create a few compelling and catchy illustrations to support your work and our presentation of it, then we are willing to represent you. (Note: you can choose your own editor or illustrator or we can recommend professionals that we know and trust. Either way is fine with us, but if you choose your own, then we will have to approve them).

So, if you will signify your agreement to this plan of action, then we will issue you a contract and begin the process with you. If you have any questions I will be happy to answer them for you. I prefer email so that we have a record of our communications.
I got the exact same letter! When I asked if they were AAR members and why I had to pay for illustrators and editors I got a "Sorry, we've just filled our allocation for this quarter." Run, Emma!
Kimberly Young
 

Zolah

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Dubious reply from Dubious 'Writer'

I just love how (because he is a positive and successful writer) he doesn't have time to complain, moan and be negative (like us unsuccessful writers)...and then goes on to whine and ***** for about six paragraphs.

Plus - if he knows how to use the 'button on his computer' to check his spelling and grammar, why didn't he do so before sending that typo riddled email?
 

katiebug57

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Reply to Children's Literary Agency

Please bear with me . . . haven't figured out the quick reply thing.

Emma, I have to say, this does NOT sound like a very good thing to me. It sounds like a bunch of gobble-de-gook to hide that they are trying to get money through "improving" your work by your paying for an editor.

I'd definitely steer clear.

Katiebug
 

Lauri B

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MessageBoardAltView said:
I am going to try to post this on the message board. I've never used one, but was emailed the link by the agency. http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8286

I'm Pete the www.peeperandfriends.com (the hook) and author of Peeper The Kinkajou, Peeper Goes To Florida, and Boomer To The Rescue. One they Children's agency did lie about me making $50,000 last year. I did it in 3 weeks with honorarium and book sales. I asked them why they didn't put the truth about how quickly i did it and they were right in saying that the authors will think it not believable. Now to show you. I am going to be touring 2 weeks from April18-29 in Loudoun county Va and Ocean City MD. come see what I do fist hand and I will show you the numbers. I will make around $40,000 for the 2 weeks.

Hi Pete,
Can you give us details on the honoraria you received in support of your children's books that totaled $50,000, and what you'll be doing for 2 weeks in Loudon County, VA that will net you $40,000? It sounds like you have a pretty amazing promotional plan for your books, since children's books typically don't make the author very much money. I'm sure your advice would be welcomed by many authors--children's and adult trade authors alike.
 

vhpratt

reading between the lines and researching the web...

...goes along way....
First, Mr. Parente's books are published through his own company 'Peepers and Friends'. Second, he distributes his books through Biblio, a distributor specializing in independent publishers...aka...self distribution. The Children's Literary Agency offers its address as 275 Madison Ave, New York...impressive at first, but research shows that this address can be purchased for as little as $65 a month, if you want mail service only.

The reading between the lines should tell you what you need to know before any research was ever needed. For instance....the agency is so offended by this message board, it alerts their client...uh..hello...red flag. Next flag...and an obvious one is the lack of authors listed and the books they have represented. Another flag...what agency would accept work that is not presentable? Still another flag... oh, forget it...I could go on all night.

To those asking if this comapny is reputable....do your homework, research the company. To those who respond to someone asking for answers...do not offer an opinion, offer the facts...
 

robf55906

CLA

Wow, I'm glad I stumbled onto this thread. I got the exact same contract and have been mulling it over for a few days. I too was skeptical about the fact that they didn't even comment on the quality or nature of my work - as if they hadn't read it. I was thinking of going ahead and taking the risk today - ie signing the contract. But not now!