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

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Inspired

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Just don't get into an ignorant or deceiving fight with him. He will tear your words to shreds.
 

robf55906

My two cents

I guess the thing that struck me most when I received the "auto-reply" to a story I'd written was that, when I wrote back to ask what their "reader" had said about my piece to make them interested in it, the summary was so brief that it made me wonder how they could possibly take a chance on me. I think the answer is that they don't take a chance on me. As they indicated, they take anyone, and let us buy a critique to find out whether we can really write or not. For my money, I think that's exactly what an AGENCY should do - ie weed out the wheat from the chaff - NOT an external critique which I can buy with or without an agency.
Rob
 

Bonnie Gibson

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So down hearted

There are so many scammers out there I don't know what to do anymore. I have written several childrens stories that I think are good. Several people have read them and think so too. I am afraid to send them to anyone. After PA I think I am like an old gun shy dog. (Any Southerner would know what that means)

So here I sit with my tail between my legs scared to walk out. Every time I read a post it's about some scammer trying to take someone for something.

What about anyone that knows any good reputable publishers for childrens books posting them. Maybe you already have, I don't have much time for reading all the forums.

Bonnie
 

Christine N.

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I've found, and others have said as well, that children's writing seems to be an animal of a different color. There aren't many agents who do rep it, and the ones that do have enormous client lists because there are so few.

Let's see, off the top of my head (and most of these take all genres, not just children)

Ethan Ellenberg (oh, to dream!)
Talcott Notch (their site just had a blurb that a children's client of theirs won an award)
Barbara Kouts
Barry Goldblatt (but he reported to SCWBI that he is no longer taking unsolicted ms's, query on novels only)
Jennifer Flannery


These are some of the ones I queried with my first book. I don't remember if they only take MG/YA or all children's, but most of them have sites you can look up.

I found that going direct to publishers (and lots of children's pubs take unsolicted things, except the big guys) was the easier route. I think most children's writers I've run across have had similar experiences.


Chin up Bonnie, all is not lost! SCBWI always has markets, and they also have editorial and agent members. If you can afford the membership fee for a year, I say do it.
 

James D. Macdonald

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Bonnie, go into any bookstore. Walk to the children's section. Find books like yours. Those publishers are real publishers. Write to them with an SASE for their guidelines, or find their guidelines on-line.

Take those guidelines and follow them to the letter.

If they say "no unsolicited" that means "query first."

If they say "no unagented," get an agent. Here's Everything You Wanted To Know About Literary Agents.

While you're looking for an agent, write your next book, making it even better than your last one.

You might want to hook up with the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI).
 

D.J.

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Georgina, I see "Uncle Jim" asked the same question I had emailed to "Jill" of the Stylus Agency. Jill had sent me information letting me know I was being offered a contract provided I would agree to a "third party crititque." Then I was told they could recommend one of their "sister companies" who would do this for around $50-$100.
I wrote Jill back by hitting "reply" like this particular email requested and I even retyped in the addy as the earlier emails had requested to prevent your filters from claiming our communications. So, one way or the other my questions would have been recieved by your "organization(s)." As for the "filters" on my end, nothing has been captured from your "agency."
So, to my question now that you have been updated. How can a "third party critique" be done by a "sister company?" I also asked who they would be so that I could check out their credentials before I agreed. I let her know I had an inquisitive mind and some things needed answers before I felt comfortable with signing.
I have never gotten a reply. I think it is very odd that if I am indeed a writer who has shown them a promising ms that has commercial potential, and they have checked it out against their data bases of customer/buyers needs and now they believe they can sell it, isn't it strange that I can't get a response for a couple of questions?
Since you state that your agency answers all of your "authors" questions, I'd hate this to be the only black mark on your perfect record, so I'll await your response.
 

Cathy C

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Wow! For possibly the first time in my life, I'm nearly without words! TERRIFIC post, Jim, and thanks on behalf of all of the struggling writers out there who will gain by your wisdom.


I'd only add one comment to the mix:

Quote:
We actually have emails from the publisher complimenting us on the fair job we did for our author.
Really? Who?

Does it strike anyone else odd that a publisher would call an agent to compliment them on the negotiation? Shouldn't they, hmm . . . I don't know, maybe be on opposite sides? :box:

This sort of implies to me that the author got a really bad deal.

I agree with everything else said! :)
 

cwgranny

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Publishers for Children's Books

Bonnie Gibson said:
What about anyone that knows any good reputable publishers for childrens books posting them. Maybe you already have, I don't have much time for reading all the forums. Bonnie

You might want to get the Children's Writers and Illustrator's Market (Alice Pope edits) or look at it in your local library (reference area). You can see plenty of publishers and listings of their recent books -- then check the books themselves in the children's section of the library to see what you think. They tell you what types of books they publish (and whether they only deal with agented writers) and you can see if you want to go the next step and send for guidelines.

Another source of children's publishers is http://www.cbcbooks.org/
You can see a list of CBC members along with websites, a brief mention of how they feel about submissions, and addresses. Then you can visit the website, make a list of the books and look at them at your local library.

There are many wonderful publishers but the ones that interest me may be completely different from the ones who interest you depending upon what kinds of books you write and for what age.

gran
 

James D. Macdonald

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For everyone's amusement, and not making any accusations at all, check this out:

http://www.immigration-world.com/index.html

Particularly, check out "Secret Address" here: http://www.immigration-world.com/interest/secret-eng.shtml

There you'll read:



Private, residential, secure address.

The addresses you will be given will be suitable either for business or personal mail. Actual mailing addresses are not included in here for security reasons. We do not use PO Box numbers.

We can also offer you mailing addresses abroad, prestigious for your business or where you can simply "virtually" relocate. The advantages of a foreign address are numerous.

Our Services Must NOT Be Used For Any Illegal Purposes!!!

...



• United States of America (New York) • Not available now!
Basic service covers:




  • [*] you can choose from three prestigious New York locations
    1001 Avenue of the
    Americas
    1040 Avenue of the Americas or
    275 Madison Avenue

    [*] Mail forwarding service
    [*] Office services
Basic cost: EUR 450/quarterly
Minimum deposit:( EUR 50 extra)
Mail forwarding, usually weekly, charged at postage costs.


Wow. 275 Madison Avenue, New York, NY.

Where have I seen that address before?

What an amazing coincidence!
 

victoriastrauss

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Christine N. said:
Talcott Notch (their site just had a blurb that a children's client of theirs won an award)
Uh...yeah. For an unpublished novel.

If anyone is tempted to query Talcott Notch, it's worth checking out the discussion of this agency in the Bewares thread. Be that as it may, Talcott has sold no children's or YA books that I'm aware of.

- Victoria
 

victoriastrauss

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OK, I said I'd come up with some questions for Georgina, so here they are. Georgina, are you paying attention?

(Georgina, these are SPECIFIC questions, just as you requested. I know it was just an oversight that of all the many industry watchdogs you contacted offering to answer their questions in a public forum, you somehow never got in touch with me. But I'm not offended. Honest.)

(I'm not going to ask about sales, because Uncle Jim covered that. Besides, I already know the answer to that question.)

1. Is Writer's Literary and Publishing Services (the "sister" company you recommend for "independent 3rd party critiques") in fact owned by Robert Fletcher?

2. Is My Editor Is A Saint (another "sister" company that provides editing) in fact owned by Robert Fletcher?

3. If he doesn't own these companies, does he get a cut of their income?

4. Are you (meaning any of the agencies under the "umbrella" of The Literary Agency Group Inc.) offering vanity publishing deals to clients via Peter Parente's Tree of Life Publishing?

5. Is Robert Fletcher an owner or co-owner of Tree of Life Publishing?

6. If Robert Fletcher is not an owner or co-owner of Tree of Life Publishing, does he get a cut of the income from clients you steer into publishing deals?

7. What happened to the WGA number that Robert Fletcher inherited from Sid Buck, the original owner of Sydra-Techniques?

8. When will you be filing that lawsuit against me? My attorney wants to know.

That's enough for tonight. I'll see if I can think of more.

- Victoria
 

Lucky Penny

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This thread is INVALUABLE!! Not only as a warning about the Children's Literary Agency (which I truly appreciate,) but also as pure entertainment. :)

Uncle Jim? I nearly fell out of my chair!! :roll: I was laughing so hard at your very thorough response to Georgina's post, I was certain I'd wake my husband from a sound sleep!

It's been a rough week & I needed that, thanks!
 

Christine N.

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Oops, sorry about that Talcott Notch thing. My bad. They were just a name that popped into my head. I actually never queried them myself, I just remembered the blurb. I wasn't aware of their sales or lack thereof.

As always, you should do your own research when thinking of querying an agent or publisher.
 

Inspired

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aka eraser said:
Gee, I got that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that we just might not see Georgina again.

Aaah. But if you check her user information, you'll see that she was here yesterday around 5:00. We may never see her responses (which she claims is very rude) but I think she checks in occasionally.
 

James D. Macdonald

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You're right. Last activity for Georgina was yesterday at 6:02 pm.

Right now she's probably calling around trying to find someone in New York who'll visit 275 Madison Avenue to find the answers to my questions.
 

HapiSofi

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Uncle Jim, you rock! You rule! I take back everything I ever said about you being a non-flamer.

Richard said:
Mental note, never get into a fight with Uncle Jim.
I'd say yes and no on that one. I wouldn't want to get into a fight with Jim because I just plain wouldn't want to; it would distress me too much. Also, I've met slabs of granite that were less stubborn.

On the other hand, if I had to have a fight with Jim, I'd go in knowing that he always fights fair, extends the other guy as much courtesy as he can muster, and only loses his temper about once a decade.

I'd always rather be on Jim's side. But I've often wished that my opponents in arguments were more like him.
 

HapiSofi

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Cathy C said:
Does it strike anyone else odd that a publisher would call an agent to compliment them on the negotiation? Shouldn't they, hmm . . . I don't know, maybe be on opposite sides? :box:

This sort of implies to me that the author got a really bad deal.
Yes. Her remarks strike me as damned odd. However, I'm going to explain something else first.

The reason I find her remarks so dubious is not because the relationship between agents and publishers is necessarily so adversarial that neither side would ever acknowledge the other's virtues. Far from it.

I once heard an editor praise an agent at length, in the wake of a hard-fought auction where one bidder offered a higher price for the book, and another bidder responded with a huge package deal for that one plus the author's next three books that worked out to slightly less per book, but had other very desirable features. All sorts of issues got brought in: royalty rates, promotion budgets, accounting methods, author/editor compatibility, et cetera. That's just heinously complicated; and auctions move fast.

The agent never faltered. He knew exactly what he was doing, was scrupulously fair, never failed to let everyone involved know what was going on, understood the issues in depth, and was on top of the numbers the whole time. That last is the really impressive one.

IIRC, the editor who was singing this agent's praises was the one who'd just lost the auction. He wasn't happy about that; but it didn't keep him from noticing that the agent had turned in a virtuoso performance.

Publishers and editors recognize all sorts of virtues in agents: knowing the industry in detail. Being willing to work on coming up with solutions that benefit everyone. Knowing what's important and what isn't. Remembering favors done them as well as they remember favors they're owed. Being honest, thoughtful, prompt, sober, communicative, diligent, reliable, far-sighted, memorious, and polite. Understanding that the game only works if everybody wins, and that we share a common interest in profitable books and successful careers.

That's the thing I was going to explain first. Onward, then, to Georgina Orr's remarks, which don't sound the least little bit like an agent talking:
We assisted every author with the contract on those 4 deals. We actually have emails from the publisher complimenting us on the fair job we did for our author.
That just sounds weird. Doing a fair job for their clients is what agents are all about. That's like sending a thank-you not to a restaurant for serving you dinner.

Can I imagine any circumstances in which a publisher would send an agent e-mail complimenting them on the fair job they did for an author? Just barely -- and it only works if I imagine that this is a "publisher" who's so ignorant that he's never noticed there are unfair provisions in his standard contract, and so inexperienced that he thinks it's remarkable that an agent would question them.

These days, anyone can call himself a publisher. Just like anyone can call himself an agent.

Let's go through that whole paragraph of hers. But first, a word on language. There are two reasons why the exact language she uses is a significant diagnostic tool. One is that its assumptions and emphases tell us a lot -- more than she'd ever tell us directly -- about how she imagines agenting works.

The other reason to look closely at Georgina Orr's language is that she claims to work in the publishing industry, and to interact with other industry professionals on a constant basis. It is therefore reasonable for us to expect that she'll use the language of that industry, and to doubt her claims if she does not.

Here's her paragraph in full:
We now have 4 deals. The most recent is with an UK publisher. (Note: because of the vitriolic people on these boards we don't post our deals because the instant we post a name, the really creepy and scary people that hate us start sending this crap to the posted name. We've got the documents and if ever needed our lawyers can pull them out.) We assisted every author with the contract on those 4 deals. We actually have emails from the publisher complimenting us on the fair job we did for our author. Yes, in two of the deals the author found the relationship, and in two of them, we found the relationship. In all 4 deals we provided SIGNIFICANT value to the contract negotiation and the post-publishing support. The thing that is lost in all this is that very, very few literary agents have even one deal under their belt. Also, we did a measurement in April and we had 68 open and active discussions with buyers about our authors' work. We expect a few more deals by the end of the year. You might also be interested to note that we also find really bad contracts for our authors and we recommend that they don't accept them. We've seen more contracts than anyone you know and we bring that expertise to our clients.
Have at you, Georgina:

1.
"We now have 4 deals." Nothing could make it clearer that these guys aren't legit, given that they've been in business for seven years and have multiple employees. No way are the commissions off four minor sales enough to keep a whole agency afloat -- and even if we take their claims at face value, that's a stunningly low success rate. Books get bought out of the slush pile far oftener than these guys make a sale.

2. "
The most recent is with an UK publisher. (Note: because of the vitriolic people on these boards we don't post our deals because the instant we post a name, the really creepy and scary people that hate us start sending this crap to the posted name." The one and only way an agent can establish legitimacy is by making legitimate deals. If an agent whose legitimacy has been questioned responds by saying he or she has too made deals, but (for any reason imaginable) can't say what those deals are, they're not a legit agent.

The same goes for agents who say they do too have selling clients, but that who they are is a secret. An agent is an author's public representative. Their relationship cannot be secret.

As for the "creepy and scary people" who supposedly send nastygrams to participants in the deals she makes? A complete lie. It's never happened. The real reason this band of career criminals consistently refuses to talk about the deals they've supposedly made is that those deals mostly don't exist, and the few that do are risibly puny.

If you're an author, there's nothing good these guys can do for you.

3. "We've got the documents and if ever needed our lawyers can pull them out.)
" They have no documents, because none were ever written or sent. They don't have lawyers, either, unless you count Robert Fletcher's defense lawyer.

Fletcher's bunch are in the habit of hinting at or threatening legal action. They don't know any law, and they never act on their threats. They don't even keep track of which threats they've made. You'll probably have noticed Victoria blowing raspberries at them for their latest mutterings about lawsuits. Feel free to join in. It's safe, it's fun.


4. "
We assisted every author with the contract on those 4 deals." A real agent would never say that. First, contract negotiations are so basic a part of what agents do that a real agent wouldn't think it needed to be said at all. Second, agents don't "assist with" contracts. They negotiate contracts. This is one of the most important tasks they handle for their clients. They oversee the process, and have quite a lot of control over it. They don't just lend a hand. Third, and laying aside all her other grammatical infelicities, a literary agent would say each author, not every author.

5. "...complimenting us on the fair job we did for our author." See above. Also, Publishers and editors say "our author." Agents will sometimes say "our author," but they're likelier to say "our client."

6. "
Yes, in two of the deals the author found the relationship, and in two of them, we found the relationship." Found the relationship? Malarkey. Literary agents make submissions. They receive offers. They enter into negotiations. They make deals. They go to contract. They do and say lots of other things. But describe their deals in terms of "finding the relationship," they do not do.

By the way, what Georgina is actually saying there is that in half of all the deals they've ever made, the client had already submitted the book and gotten the offer of a contract before the agency was involved. That leaves them with a record of two sales in seven years. No wonder they're always going on about how hard it is to sell books: they're mind-bogglingly bad at it.

7. "In all 4 deals we provided SIGNIFICANT value to the contract negotiation and the post-publishing support." See above, point #4. This is an even bigger smoking gun. To reiterate my earlier point, real agents don't lend their authors a hand while the authors conduct contract negotiations. Real agents negotiate the contracts. And again, providing services that are of vaue during contract negotiations, and doing post-publishing support, are so completely basic to the job of being an agent that they ought to go without saying. Georgina thinks they're noteworthy because she has no idea how agenting works. That's because she's not an agent.

8. "The thing that is lost in all this is that very, very few literary agents have even one deal under their belt." The smoking guns get bigger, and have more bullets in their clips. Georgina Orr has been keeping very bad company.

The way real agents learn their trade is by working for other real agents. They come up through a professional world where an agent is someone who sells books to publishers, articles to magazines, or screenplays to studios. That's not all they do, but it's central: agents sell. For them, class of people who don't make sales isn't "literary agents." It's "people who call themselves agents," or "people who want to be agents,"

If your internal picture of "literary agents" is primarily composed of people who've never made a sale, or who've only made one or two sales, you don't hail from the Land of the Real Agents.

9. "Also, we did a measurement in April and we had 68 open and active discussions with buyers about our authors' work. We expect a few more deals by the end of the year." As various people here have pointed out, most recently and emphatically Uncle Jim, this means eactly nothing. Fletcher & Co. are forever claiming to have some large number of deals under discussion, but they never pan out.

What can this mean? Possibly that they're lying. Possibly that by "discussions" they just mean they've submitted stuff, though that's hardly the same thing. And possibly it means that they're the most stupendously bad salesmen in the history of publishing. They'd have to be doing something awful if they're managing to have that many discussions not turn into any sales at all.

But you know what? They're not the worst salesmen in publishing history. If they had that many discussions going with people who have the authority to acquire books, but they never wound up making a deal, they'd be the talk of publishing. They aren't.

10. "You might also be interested to note that we also find really bad contracts for our authors and we recommend that they don't accept them." This is a new boast they've added to their repertoire. I think it's because they've noticed white hat scamhunters like Ann and Victoria and Jim recommending that authors not accept bad contracts, so they've decided to claim they do it too. And why not? It's an easy claim to make, and since it leaves no physical evidence either way, you can't prove they're not actually doing it.

11. "We've seen more contracts than anyone you know and we bring that expertise to our clients." Nope. People who don't make deals don't see contracts. Also, I've seen them make too many blunders to believe they know from publishing contracts, or publishing law. They've got no expertise at anything but running con games.

Thus for one of Georgina Orr's paragraphs. She doesn't work in publishing, she doesn't work with publishing people, she doesn't know jack about publishing. She also has no history and no independent existence. Nevertheless, Fletcher & Co. vouch for her. That doesn't establish her credit. It just confirms them for the cynical liars that they are.

(Are you listening, Georgina? You claim to be a literary agent. Here, the word for world is word. Come back and dance with me some more.)
 
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victoriastrauss

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HapiSofi said:
5. "...complimenting us on the fair job we did for our author." See above. Also, Publishers and editors say "our author." Agents will sometimes say "our author," but they're likelier to say "our client."
Hey. Give her credit for spelling "compliment" right.

- Victoria
 

Richard

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I concur. Something about all that just didn't jive.

Let us correct this:

In mah' role as de VP uh Co'po'ate Affairs fo' de Literary Agency Group ah' am keen t'respond t'de postin's on dis message bo'd. Some uh ya' may know me in mah' oda' role, as de Senio' Agent fo' our children's division (De Children's Literary Agency). Again, in our determinashun t'minimize administrashun costs, one o' two uh de sucka'nel widin our o'ganizashun is ax'ed t'wear mo'e dan one hat. Man! Wid dat introducshun, ah' apologize in advance fo' de lengd uh dis postin'. De Literary Agency Group be keenly aware uh de negative messages on dese bo'ds and frankly we is concerned by dem as well. Please allow me t'cut ya' our analysis uh de situashun and some suggesshun about how t'proceed.

Hmmm. Maybe that should have been Elmer FUD.

De second categowy awe peopwe that have wowked wif us, fow whom we haven't been successfuw, and they awe bwamefuw, pointing fingews, etc. Basicawwy just jumping on the bandwagon because they wouwd wathew feew 'took' than acknowwedge that theiw wowk wasn't good enough to seww. We caww this the souw gwapes cwowd.

Come on back, Georgina. Everyone really, really wants to hear the answers to all these questions you promised to answer. You wouldn't want new authors to think you can't be trusted to keep your word, right?
 
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James D. Macdonald

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It's an easy claim to make, and since it leaves no physical evidence either way, you can't prove they're not actually doing it.

I'm not 100% certain we can't show they're blowing smoke. Take the number of authors who a) claim they were/are represented by ST Literary Agency and/or one of its spinoffs, and check whether those authors have published through pay-to-play vanities, disguised vanities, very minor startup presses, or e-publishers in the recent past.

Recall that Bobby claims that if a client gets tired of waiting and decides to self-publish that he'll coach 'em through that, too. That strikes me as using every part of the pig except the squeal.
 

James D. Macdonald

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I looked through the big ST Literary/Stylus Literary thread for names of clients and titles of books that ST/Stylus/The Literary Agency Group claims to have sold.

=====================


Denise Becker Shades of Brown Genesis Press

The author sold this book herself.

William Powell The Road to Hebron The Lighthouse Press

Not listed at Amazon.com, not listed at bn.com, no used copies at bookfinder.com, only Google hits are to the thread at AW. No evidence this book was ever printed. The Lighthouse Press is a microscopic local press located five miles from Boca Raton.

Paul Anderson The future of Customer Service Doyle Printing & Press

Self or vanity published before Fletcher took over ST.

Pastor Billy Crone A Marriage Built to Last Mapletree

A startup LDS publisher, may not pay an advance. I don't know if Pastor Billy sold the book himself or not.

Victor Stenger Where Do the Laws of Physics Come From Prometheus Books

Stenger has been selling physics books to Prometheus on a regular basis since 1988. I don't know how ST was involved in this sale.

Dario Castagno Too Much Tuscan Sun Globe Pequot

The author sold the book himself.

Clients who gave testimonials (4/7/04):

Michael Sears

As of April a year ago, Mr. Sears claimed he hadn't sold anything (though he did give ST a testimonial). No one named Michael Sears appears to have a book published or scheduled since then.


Rev. Amy Snow, MA

Rev. Snow vanity-published a book with Trafford in 2002. Nothing since.

Carl Bell

Carl Bell is a common name. As of April '04 (according to Fletcher's letter) Bell hadn't yet sold a book. I am unable to find any books by a Carl Bell published after April '04 except where the auhor had previously published. The only Carl Bell whose works didn't include some that predate ST's foundation brought out his works through 1st Books Library (a vanity POD) in 2003.

Gary Dover (screenplays)

No one named Gary Dover is listed as a screenwriter at imdb.com.

Clients listed at ST's website:

Michele Campanelli

Short stories to the Chicken Soup books (no agent needed). All her other works are vanity POD or non-advance-paying e-books, or predate ST's founding.


Appeared at Writers.net and Speculations.com to defend ST, and claimed to be clients:

Jackson Compton (5/18/04)
Melvin Wilson
Stratton Jones

No apparent sales.


Identified at "leading clients":

Paul Anderson, Denise Becker, Michele Campanelli...

See above.


=============

Georgina Orr claims that The Literary Agency Group has four "deals," of which the authors made two.

The only four that could fit are:

Denise Becker
Dario Castagno
Pastor Billy Crone
Victor Stenger

We know that Denise Becker and Dario Castagno sold their own books. Therefore, Pastor Billy Crone's book and Victor Stenger's book must be the ones that LAG's claiming for their own.

A sale to a startup that doesn't pay an advance and doesn't require an agent, and a sale in a continuing series that predates ST's creation by a decade. I find both of those very hard to believe as credits to LAG.

So, how about it, Robert Fletcher, Georgina Orr, or anyone else from ST/Stylus/Literary Agency Group? Are those the books you're claiming you sold? Give us some titles, authors, publishers, and dates.

========================

In other news, on the mail-forwarding front:

Corporate Suites:

Virtual Office Solutions
Corporate Suites offers Virtual Office Solutions for businesses that require all services of our full time office clients but do not require a full time office space. We offer a selection a prestigious business addresses, phone service with live reception answering in your business name or voicemail service, handling and forwarding your mail anywhere in the world so that your clients may use one central address as well as offering you all of our business services when you are in New York including access to our fully equipped conference facilities, lounge and common areas as well as support from our staff.

Our Virtual Office Solutions are popular with home-based professionals who desire a professional address and corporate facilities to meet their clients, out-of-state or international businesses who require a meeting place and business address in New York and traveling professionals who are rarely in New York.

Pay particular attention to the list of prestigious New York addresses available. Yep, it's our old friend 275 Madison Avenue.

And wow, look at that: the Fourth Floor.

Almost spooky, isn't it?

Bobby, did you think no one would notice?
 
Last edited:

HapiSofi

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Nicely nailed, Jim: the address is a glorified mail drop, and the sales range from paltry to fictional.

I think we're well on our way to proving that those "independent" third-party evaluations funnel their fees straight back to Sydra/S.T./Stylus, LAG, and Robert Fletcher.

All the barrel-scraping research you've done on them -- which you're good at, and have been doing for some time now -- has yielded a very short list of fictional sales, sales to vanity publishers, and other very minor sales. (The Chicken Soup series is a nontrivial commercial property, but individual sales to it are small.)

Could there be some significant body of sales we don't know about? I don't think so. Recall that Robert Fletcher was so chuffed about that one little sale to Pequot that he posted a scan of the acceptance letter. That's first-sale behavior. Maybe it wasn't his first sale. Maybe it was his second sale, or his third. But when you see a reaction like that, you know his sales have been small and few.

A further thing we know, looking at your list, is that there's no way the agent commissions from those books would be enough to maintain even a very modest office -- and that's assuming nobody in that office is getting paid. Neither would those commissions be enough to support a single person, even a very frugal one who has a vegetable garden and only uses mass transit.

What do we know about Fletcher's oft-renamed business?

It's been going for seven years.
It has multiple employees.
It has telephones.
It takes out ads, online and in national magazines.
It has developed a sophisticated set of form letters.
It has a complex computer system, and may use proprietary software.
It's run out of Boca Raton, but has a pied a terre on Madison Ave.

If you can think of any other evident operating expense of theirs that I've forgotten to list, please mention it.

Robert Fletcher's business is supporting itself, and it has to have some significant expenses. It's also supporting one or more people in sufficient style to keep them sounding arrogant, and to see them through the ups and downs that must inevitably have come along over that many years. If you're a truly marginal operation, sooner or later something will come along that puts you out of business and/or forces you to get a real job. If you stay in as long and as consistently as Fletcher has, you've got some real cash flow going.

And yet, the only legitimate income from his agenting is completely inadequate to support his evident expenses. He must therefore be making his money from some other facet of his business.

With LAG, the point at which money changes hands is when clients pay for "evaluations." May we not then conclude that the fees for those evaluations must be going to Fletcher & Co.?