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Black Hawk Literary Agency, LLC / Black Hawk Enterprises, LLC (Jan L. Kardys)

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EFCollins

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I mean really, this might do better in the blog section, but it's not really about blogging.

Someone claiming to be a new lit agent left me a comment on my blog, directed me to this site...

http://www.jankardys.com/BlackHawk_Literary_Agency.html

... and informed me of a conference for writers this person would be at.

I mean... agents don't troll blogs for writers, do they? Or am I over thinking this? Maybe this person was just trying to be nice and say, "Hey, I'm an agent here and we'll be at this conference. Maybe you might want to check it and us out." I know it's not a big, big thing, but it's got me pondering. I simply thanked them for the info and I did check out the website, but it's not an agency I've ever heard of either. Not that THAT means much. I haven't bothered looking for an agent in over a year. My novels just aren't ready and I'm selling short stories and poetry alone for the moment. Anyway, I digress. Is this a red flag for anyone but me? Am I paranoid or am I being rightly cautious?
 

icerose

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I'm not seeing any flashing red flags. I'd post this in the B&B forum and see if you could get better info there, if not for you then at least for other writers who might be looking.

The thing I see that could be a problem is though the person has had loads of experience in the publishing arena, she doesn't have any in the agent arena. Now she could blow the doors off and be this amazing agent, I don't know. I just worry about a possible lack of the right experience. Sort of like an article writer trying to be poetry professor.
 
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CaoPaux

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Yeah, she's been spamming boards and blogs all over. Here's what she gifted to us.
 

Matera the Mad

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After following links to a number of websites (mostly RUDE horrors, unstoppable muzak and/or huge graphics) and not seeing a single link to a published book...I'm not impressed much either way.
 

CaoPaux

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Of her first page of clients, the few in print are all self- and vanity-pubbed.

Yanno, since a couple of days ago someone reported being emailed by her with the line "I saw your profile on AW....", I going to port this to B&BC. Hold on to yer hats.
 

M.R.J. Le Blanc

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Her listed clients:

Christine Ieronimo - unpublished
Jessica Haight - can't tell, but her website can be found under the web domain linked on Black Hawk Enterprises site as well as www.billyfiasco.com. I dunno, it's just weird.
Aden Fisher - vanity published
Marilyn Nodiff - probably unpublished
David E. Spletzer - appears to be unpublished
Thom Dillon - unpublished
Dr. Fred Bader - appears to be self-published

So with all her experience, she's done what as an agent? Is there any sense in listing clients who you have not made any sales on their behalf?
 

James D. Macdonald

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I've been hearing stories about absolutely bizarre email exchanges, including replies to folks who said, "Thanks for thinking of me, but not interested" to the (essentially spam) conference announcements that made me pinch the bridge of my nose and shake my head.

I don't know what's going on here. And one of my rules for life has been, "If you don't know what's going on, stand back until you do know."
 

Momento Mori

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Jan Kardys's Submission Guidelines:
Please send a query letter of no more than three pages, which includes your credentials or biography, and a detailed explanation of what makes your book unique. Please explain why there is a market for your book.

[SNIP]

Guidelines for fiction: 1. Plot synopsis, 2. Previous publishing history (if any), 3. Paragraph about yourself (bio), and 4. Contact information: name, address, phone, fax and email address.

Assuming that she's on the level, I don't understand why she's asking for this and not sample pages, given that most agents can tell in the first 20 pages whether the author has any ability at writing/telling a story that they may be able to sell.

MM
 

waylander

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There is also no indication on her website of what genres of fiction she is interested in.
However, her bio shows considerable experience in the publishing industry, though not a lot in editorial. She would appear to be very strong in contracts/publishing law.
I would like to hear from the lady herself.
 

Libbie

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Assuming that she's on the level, I don't understand why she's asking for this and not sample pages, given that most agents can tell in the first 20 pages whether the author has any ability at writing/telling a story that they may be able to sell.

MM

A lot of good agents ask for just a query letter first. That's not terribly unusual.

I'm not saying she's a good agent, mind. I don't know anything about her.
 

IceCreamEmpress

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Nevertheless, from her bio she looks to have some pretty impressive publishing industry experience.

On the contracts side, though.

Yes, part of what an agent does is to negotiate contracts, but that's only part.

The way she's promoting her writers' conference strikes me as odd and misguided, to say the least.
 

Momento Mori

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Libbie:
A lot of good agents ask for just a query letter first. That's not terribly unusual.

Really? I thougt it was more usual for them to ask for a query letter and sample pages so if the query letter's not brilliant, they can take a quick look at the writing.

MM
 

Eirin

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Really? I thougt it was more usual for them to ask for a query letter and sample pages so if the query letter's not brilliant, they can take a quick look at the writing.

MM

I think there's a difference between US and UK publishing in this. From my understanding, a cover letter and a partial is common in UK, no? Whereas in US most agents just want the query letter, perhaps with a synopsis, to start with, requesting partials or fulls based on that.

The thought of boiling down a whole novel to a single letter is terrifying, no doubt about that.
 

colealpaugh

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An industry contracting its staff in a tough economy will result in a lot of aggressive offshoots with strategies going against the norm.

For $165, I may go just for the barbecued unicorn. I hope I read that right.
 

IceCreamEmpress

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An industry contracting its staff in a tough economy will result in a lot of aggressive offshoots with strategies going against the norm.

There's "against the norm" and then there's "bizarrely unprofessional." Everyone has to make their own distinction between the two, of course.
 

Touch My Soul

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Ms Jan Kardys bio is impressive, afterall she was married to Robert Gottlieb for 20 years. Yep, the chairman of Trident Media Group. He was the former head of William Morris Agency/Literary Department. Here she spent many hours and evenings reading manuscripts, and learned what make a great literary agent.
In her own right she has worked in the major areas of Editial, Art, Production, Subsidiary Rights/Sales and ran Contracts, Copyrights, Permissions Departments for McMillan Publishing Company, Warner Books, Little, Brown, and Simon & Schuster/Prentice Hall.
Yes, she worked for Google for 3 years. I doubt if there is a literary agent that can say they have this inside knowlege. This allows Ms Kardys in assisting on what you can do on the internet for a ad campaign.
Besides all this she instructs in many areas of the publishing and agent genres.
Ms Kardys as impressive as her resume is, remains a humbled, down to earth person, who just wishes to help authors. She is selective, and if she contacted me, I would take this as a great compliment. Why, because she took the time to do some research and liked what she has seen. She is knew as an agent, but not to the overall business. Now you tell me, wouldn't you take this as a compliment? I would be very proud if she was representing me.
Who am I, I am not a famous individual, I am a caregiver of over 40 years, I am a Registered Nurse. I have had the pleasure of caring for extraordinary people in challenging times and even death, who helped to elevate my consciousness and touched my soul. My name is Thomas R. Hagen, RN
 

DreamWeaver

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Hi, Thomas. Just curious--if she's not representing you, how are you associated with Ms Kardys? I infer she's not representing you, since you state, "I would be very proud if she was representing me."

Thanks!
 

Momento Mori

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Touch My Soul:
Ms Jan Kardys bio is impressive, afterall she was married to Robert Gottlieb for 20 years. Yep, the chairman of Trident Media Group. He was the former head of William Morris Agency/Literary Department. Here she spent many hours and evenings reading manuscripts, and learned what make a great literary agent.


Firstly, being married to someone who is an agent, does not mean that you are an agent. Secondly, for someone who has supposedly learnt what makes a great literary agent, I'm wondering why none of that has been put into practice. So far, her clients seem to be vanity or self-published. Surely her husband taught her that the first rule of agenting is to sell to publishing companies that pay the author for the work?

Touch My Soul:
In her own right she has worked in the major areas of Editial, Art, Production, Subsidiary Rights/Sales and ran Contracts, Copyrights, Permissions Departments for McMillan Publishing Company, Warner Books, Little, Brown, and Simon & Schuster/Prentice Hall.

That's all good contracts experience, but none of it gives her any experience at dealing with editors or selling to editors.

Touch My Soul:
Yes, she worked for Google for 3 years. I doubt if there is a literary agent that can say they have this inside knowlege. This allows Ms Kardys in assisting on what you can do on the internet for a ad campaign.

It may very well do so (although as Ms Kardys will undoubtedly be aware, an internet advertising campaign has as much chance of failing as it does succeeding). However it does not give her experience at selling manuscripts to acquiring editors, which is the key part of being an agent.

Touch My Soul:
Ms Kardys as impressive as her resume is, remains a humbled, down to earth person, who just wishes to help authors.

That's lovely. She can do that either by selling her clients' books to commercial publishing houses, or pointing them to a proper agent who can do so.

Touch My Soul:
She is selective, and if she contacted me, I would take this as a great compliment. Why, because she took the time to do some research and liked what she has seen.

Really? Because from the reports on this thread, it seems that she just spams people for no reason.

If she's selective, why does she need to solicit people to submit to her?

Touch My Soul:
She is knew as an agent, but not to the overall business. Now you tell me, wouldn't you take this as a compliment?

No.

If a new agent with no track record of commercial sales emailed me out of the blue to discuss offering me representation, then I would view that with suspicion - especially when none of the clients touted on her website have had a book published with a commercial publisher. The fact that she's worked in the industry makes absolutely no difference to that. The only thing that would change my mind is if she can show that someone at a commercial publisher had offered an advance paying deal.

MM
 

Touch My Soul

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Facebook my friend. Jan has her own site and one for Black Hawk. Thus we have been communicating. I Have submitted some work to her. I knew when I posted this, she is under no obligation to or for me. She has not responded with a wish to represent me. I have a few queries out there at present, as well. I first discovered her on P & E-which I have pretty much scoured, a wonderful information site I might add, Jan is listed there under New. If she doesn't like my work, I will be off to the next one. This is how it works, from all I have read.
While searching I came across this site and after reading the responses, I thought she wasn't getting a fair shake.
I am a Registered Nurse, I have no reason to lie, I tell it as I see it. My work speaks to raising the the level of consciousness and spirituality. I have witnessed many deaths, helped people who were dying, and after this I didn't need any one to tell me we are not beings. Beings that happen to be human.
I should have put under my worst attribute-Likes to ramble.. Tom : )
 

Touch My Soul

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Momento Mori--Hehe see under my name "New kid, be gentle!" : ) I appreciate your comments, and your obvious convictions, a straight up person. I do believe the competition in this field is tough business, next to drilling for oil, and politics. I think you'll find she will be able to hold her own and will do just fine. Thanks--- Tom
 
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DED

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Ms. Kardys gave a seminar tonight at my local library (the first stop on an area tour) entitled: "You Wrote a Book, Now What?" 25-30 people showed up, which is really good for a town of our size.

I took some notes that I thought might be of use to people here. Take from them what you will.

She's in the midst of a career change. After years of working in publishing "protecting the publisher from the author" she felt that she needed to switch sides and "give something back" to writers.

It was very informative for beginner writers. She stressed the need for writers to have their work proofread by peers before enlisting the aid of an agent (She didn't use this as an opportunity to pitch herself though. In fact, she commented that she had 50 ms to read going back to November). If writers didn't have anything local they could use, she suggested that they go to absolutewrite.com for help.

Yes, you read that right. She plugged this place, even told people to write it down. Didn't recommend any others though.

She emphasized the need for writers to have an agent when dealing with publishing contracts. Too often the publishers she worked for would take advantage of unagented writers and snag as many rights as possible with the author receiving very little in compensation for them.

She printed out a couple dozen pages worth of handouts covering how to write query letters, a list of publishers, a glossary on subsidiary rights, how to pitch an agent or editor within 30 seconds (if given the opportunity), procedures and checklists to follow in the book publication process and more.

She pointed out how publishers expect the writer (especially new ones and midlist sellers) to market themselves. She made several recommendations as to how to do this.

At no point in her presentation did she pitch some side service that she was promoting. No offers of "we've got an editorial staff on board that if you pay $$$ will get your manuscript in tip top shape."

I can't address the spamming or her current clients' "publishing status." None of that was discussed. She gave the impression that it was not up-to-date.

I was wearing a t-shirt that said, "Ask me about my book." She didn't. As I was sitting in the front row, she couldn't miss it. I was clean shaven and freshly showered so my appearance wasn't a factor. ;) If she was an unscrupulous person, I believe she would've seen me as prey and pounced.
 

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