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Chamein Canton Literary Agency (formerly Canton Smith Agency)

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kmr

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Anyone heard of the Canton Smith Agency? They are new in the 2005 Guide to Literary Agents; nothing on P&E. Google turns up nothing but one question about them on this site under Literary Agents (no answer). According to the Guide, 100% of their clients are new/unpublished authors, though they claim to have made 2 sales last year (not specified). I know that new agents are often the best bet for new writers, but I am reluctant to send a query when I know nothing about them.
 

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KVR -

Define new agents.

Young and hungry agents at established agencies who have industry experience (either agency or publishing experience) can be good agents for first time writers.

But agents with no previous experience who start their own agencies are almost never a good choice. No matter how well intentioned or honorable they may be - without a working knowledge of how the industry works and real contacts - they are basically just spinning their wheels. You don't want an agent whose submissions wind up in the agented slush pile.

Experienced agents will sign unpublished authors - and anyone who tells you differently is a big, fat liar.
 

victoriastrauss

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Half of Canton Smith, Chamein Canton, is a self-pubbed and small-press-pubbed author. Apart from that, I'm not aware that she has any publishing or agenting experience. I can't discover anything about Eric Smith. All in all, it doesn't sound promising.

A new agent is a great bet for a new writer, since new agents are usually actively establishing their lists. But there's new and new. Agenting is a skilled profession, and requires experience; to be successful, a new agent needs a professional work background in publishing or with a reputable agency. A new agent who's coming from a non-publishing-related field won't have the knowledge or contacts s/he needs, and isn't likely to be able to make a go of it.

- Victoria
 

JLRoss

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I am one of the "two" sales from last year. Canton Smith, in my experience, has been pretty good. She got my MS under some big names with her personal contacts. I've now been picked up-with a smaller agency by my own demise because I jumped the gun, ouch -Don't sell them short right away.
 

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JLRoss said:
I've now been picked up-with a smaller agency by my own demise because I jumped the gun, ouch -Don't sell them short right away.

Can you tell us that again--in English, please.
 

Jaycinth

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Same Psychosis...different day.
I've sent them two queries in the past two years, complete with SASE and I have gotten NO RESPONSE. (I think it would have been nice if someone in the agency had scrawled 'NO' in crayon across the query and sent it back..they had the postage.)

Another experience in the "learning" column, and it only cost me 74 cents!
 

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J.L. Ross's book is going to be published by ArcheBooks, a publisher that I have a lot of questions about. J.L., I'd be very interested in hearing about your experience with this publisher.

- Victoria
 

JLRoss

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Sassenach-
"I've now been picked up-with a smaller agency by my own demise because I jumped the gun, ouch -Don't sell them short right away."

...means, CantonSmith sold my novel. However, I made the decision to go with Archebooks right away, instead of waiting the bigger publisher's yes or no. Got too excited, I guess. Make sense now?

victoriastrauss- Fire away with your questions! I'll be happy to answer as many as I possibly can for you!

Jaycinth- I've had many, many, many no responses and many, many, many "no" resposes. It's the fun part of being a writer, right?! Hardy har har!
 
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JLRoss said:
Sassenach-
"I've now been picked up-with a smaller agency by my own demise because I jumped the gun, ouch -Don't sell them short right away."

...means, CantonSmith sold my novel. However, I made the decision to go with Archebooks right away, instead of waiting the bigger publisher's yes or no. Got too excited, I guess. Understand now, English enough for you?
You directed CantonSmith to sell your novel to ArcheBooks before hearing from a bigger publisher? How did they present the choice to you?
 

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Well, Martin Press had my novel for weeks passed on it until an author bio could be submitted then it would be considered for a resubmit. Meantime, Archebooks said yes they wanted it, so I said yes. It was up to me. Now I wonder if I should've waited, though they had already passed on it once. I can't remember exactly what Canton had said to me, I was so hyped about hearing they said YES...
 

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JLRoss said:
victoriastrauss- Fire away with your questions! I'll be happy to answer as many as I possibly can for you!
Thanks!

- Did you receive an advance?

- Are royalties paid on cover price or on the publisher's net receipts?

- What kind of editing have you received?

- Will ArcheBooks send out review copies? If so, do you know where?

- Will your books be shelved in brick-and-mortar bookstores?

- Are you encouraged or required to buy your own books?

Thanks again--

- Victoria
 

JLRoss

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Sorry it took so long to respond...I thought I had already, opps!

- Did you receive an advance?
Kind of. ArcheBooks is pretty new and instead of a cash advance they paid us an advance in stock with the company. What exactly that means, I'm not sure yet. Hoping to find out though!

- Are royalties paid on cover price or on the publisher's net receipts?
Royalties are paid on cover price.

- What kind of editing have you received?
ArcheBooks has in-house editors. I believe 3 or 4 of them. I have been assigned to a great editor- she's read through it twice now. I'm waiting to hear her last edits before my book is finally printed!!

- Will ArcheBooks send out review copies? If so, do you know where?
Yes, they send out ARC's to a list of their own people- which I'm not sure who, so I should find out, thanks for reminding me- and they will also send ARC's to whoever you want them to.

- Will your books be shelved in brick-and-mortar bookstores?
Not just yet. My book is available through ArcheBooks, of course, as well as Barnesand Noble.com and Amazon.com and a couple of other online books stores. But when you go to a B&N for a signing they order the books and then display them until all are sold. If they are received well by the public then they can and will order to keep them on the shelves.

- Are you encouraged or required to buy your own books?
They give a few copies and then you can buy your own at a discount-of course.
 

victoriastrauss

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JLRoss said:
- Did you receive an advance?
Kind of. ArcheBooks is pretty new and instead of a cash advance they paid us an advance in stock with the company. What exactly that means, I'm not sure yet. Hoping to find out though!
Whoa. Stock? Do you know if they're registered to issue stock? This kind of thing makes me really uneasy.
- Are you encouraged or required to buy your own books?
They give a few copies and then you can buy your own at a discount-of course.
Are you allowed to re-sell the books you buy?

- Victoria
 

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JLRoss said:
ArcheBooks has in-house editors. I believe 3 or 4 of them. I have been assigned to a great editor- she's read through it twice now. I'm waiting to hear her last edits before my book is finally printed!!
Would you tell me something of the nature of the editing? Was it developmental? Did a copyeditor and a proofreader go over it, too, after you checked the galleys? How many people, total, went over the manuscript before printing?

Thanks for the info.
 

poetrytranslator

I was contacted by Canton Smith agency last week.

Hi,

I sent a query to Canton Smith agency in late August of this year. They didn't use the self-addressed stamped envelope that I had enclosed for their response, but I received an email from them on November 21st. The email--which was very well-written and professional--was signed Samantha Lines, Senior Editor. She requested to see my manuscript, so long as I'm still in the market for representation. I haven't signed with an agent at this point, and will send her a copy of my manuscript. I'll update this as I learn more about the agency.

I appreciated reading all of the postings here, and would like to hear more from the guy whose book was published through these agents. What kind of book is it? (My manuscript is a book-length verse translation from the French of Paul Verlaine--not quite a thriller, but I think it's marketable, as a Valentine's day gift, etc., since these are love poems. I contacted Canton Smith because they're listed in one of the Agent Guides as being friendly to translations of poetry.)

Thanks for any responses people can give.
 
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victoriastrauss

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poetrytranslator said:
(My manuscript is a book-length verse translation from the French of Paul Verlaine--not quite a thriller, but I think it's marketable, as a Valentine's day gift, etc., since these are love poems. I contacted Canton Smith because they're listed in one of the Agent Guides as being friendly to translations of poetry.)
Agents who advertise themselves as representing poetry are nearly always fraudulent or inexperienced. Poetry is a tiny market, and most publishers who publish it don't pay advances. It simply isn't lucrative enough to be worth an agent's time. Except for really famous poets and celebrity projects, most poets sell their work themselves.

I think you'd be better off researching poetry publishers (maybe academic presses with poetry programs?) and submitting yourself.

- Victoria
 

poetrytranslator

Thanks!

Thanks, Victoria! I was beginning to wonder, myself, about whether it might be better just to contact university presses about the translations (I didn't know the first thing about publishing them, and for awhile had thought an agent might know better--but you're right that most poetry just isn't lucrative enough for good agents to be interested.)

An update: Samantha Lines at Canton Smith agency hasn't responded to my email (sent on Monday), so I'm thinking she can't be too serious or business-like, or she'd be on email with the people she represents (or might represent) more promptly.

I really appreciate your advice, and will follow it.
 

chamein

Canton Smith Agency

Hello fellow writers

It was brought to my attention that there has been quite a bit of discussion about my experience in publishing so I decided to address the issue directly. My name is Chamein Canton. I'm a native New Yorker and I live on Long Island in a quaint little town called Amityville (as in the horror house). I have an associate's degree in political science and a bachelor's degree in Business Management.

As a writer who knows something about the self publishing and traditional publishing business, I've made it my mission to help writers get published. I've been at this for six years and we've helped many first time writers get publishing contracts with McGraw Hill, Genesis Press, Archebooks, A Better Be Write, Ballantine and Llwellyn. Additionally we have clients being read at Medallion Press, Chronicle Books, Sourcebooks, Kensington, Adams Media, Square One Publishing, De Capo Press, Dutton, Grove Atlantic, St. Martin's Press, Sterling, Tristan Publishing, Santa Monica Press, Red Dress Ink, Capital Books and Broadway Books. We've been at this for quite some time before we added our names to the Guide tor Literary Agents.

I also have a book coming out in July of this year entitled Down That Aisle In Style, A Wedding Guide For Full Figured Women (WindRiver Publishing (ISBN 1-886249-13-X). I try to use my experience getting published to help give my clients the edge they need.

I am the managing partner so I deal with the day to day business of pitching editors, contacting clients, researching the markets and heading into NYC to talk to editors and bookstore managers to see what the trends are down in the trenches, where real people buy books. I do apologize for those who have sent us queries by snail mail. I am in the process of looking for an intern to help deal with the mail. On average I receive 20 to 25 queries a week

As for getting in touch with us to inquire about representation, it's much easier to reach us by email. So if we sound like an agency you'd be interested in querying send it via email to [email protected] or [email protected].

I hope this has clarified things a little. I never have the time to really delve into what's being said on the web about me, but after one of my clients brought it to my attention, I knew I needed to make the time.

Best wishes to all of you

Chamein Canton
 

victoriastrauss

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Thanks for posting here, Chamein.

chamein said:
I've been at this for six years and we've helped many first time writers get publishing contracts with McGraw Hill, Genesis Press, Archebooks, A Better Be Write, Ballantine and Llwellyn.
Some more information would be very welcome, since it's impossible to evaluate nonspecific claims of publishing sales. Could you please provide authors and titles for those published books?

I'm also interested in knowing why you are willing to work with publishers that don't pay advances and issue nonstandard contracts, such as Archebooks.

Thanks.

- Victoria
 

chamein

Titles Published

101 Youth Soccer Drills- Robert Koger McGraw Hill
Love After Sex -Olivia Llwellyn
Numbers and You- Lloyd Strayhorn
Cassies Creepy Candy Store- Sheila Smestad A Better Be Write
Rain, Rain What A Pain- Sheila Smestad A Better Be Write (late spring release)
The Plight of the Queen Bee Simone Fairchild A Better Be Write
The Queen Bee and the Midnight Caper- Simone Fairchild A Better Be Write (late spring release)
Rehoboth Road Anita Ballard Jones Genesis Press (July 2006)
Someone Who knows- J L Ross Archebooks
Down That Aisle In Style, A Wedding Guide for full figured women (WindRiver Publishing)

Over the years the size and frequency of advances has diminished, which is why my senior partner made the decision to go with Archebooks for JL Ross. We've begun receiving royalties for her and expect them to increase as time goes on.

I realize there are many fly by night and untrustworthy individuals in this business. However I can assure you we aren't one of them. We don't charge reading fees. The agency is a labor of love for us and we do our best for every client. We won't be satisfied until every client is published.
 

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chamein said:
101 Youth Soccer Drills- Robert Koger McGraw Hill
Love After Sex -Olivia Llwellyn
Numbers and You- Lloyd Strayhorn
Cassies Creepy Candy Store- Sheila Smestad A Better Be Write
Rain, Rain What A Pain- Sheila Smestad A Better Be Write (late spring release)
The Plight of the Queen Bee Simone Fairchild A Better Be Write
The Queen Bee and the Midnight Caper- Simone Fairchild A Better Be Write (late spring release)
Rehoboth Road Anita Ballard Jones Genesis Press (July 2006)
Someone Who knows- J L Ross Archebooks
Down That Aisle In Style, A Wedding Guide for full figured women (WindRiver Publishing)

Over the years the size and frequency of advances has diminished, which is why my senior partner made the decision to go with Archebooks for JL Ross. We've begun receiving royalties for her and expect them to increase as time goes on.

I realize there are many fly by night and untrustworthy individuals in this business. However I can assure you we aren't one of them. We don't charge reading fees. The agency is a labor of love for us and we do our best for every client. We won't be satisfied until every client is published.

Interesting. Did a little research and came up with this:

Numbers and You, Lloyd Strayhorn - Ballantine Books. But it shows on Amazon and on the Random House site only a 1987 edition.

A Better Be Write (http://www.abetterbewrite.com) had in their FAQ that they accept unagented submissions.

Genesis Press (http://www.genesispress.com) also accepts unagented submissions:

The following are our submission guidelines for writers interested in being published by Genesis Press, Inc. Please follow these guidelines if you wish to have your work considered for publication. We do accept unagented material and multiple submissions; however, you should indicate that the proposal is a multiple submission.

Love After Sex, Olivia Llewellyn - Olivia Llewellyn Publications. Looks like she has her own imprint going; has a few other authors being published. Books are distributed by Airlift Books (in the U.K.), which describes itself on its website as a specialist distributor. (Not sure that really means anything, but I thought I'd throw it in just for the heck of it.)

Those are the ones I had time to research.

Not to be flippant, but why would an agent send mss. to pubs that don't require agented submissions?

~Nancy
 

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chamein said:
Over the years the size and frequency of advances has diminished,
I don't think you know what you're talking about.
which is why my senior partner made the decision
I got the impression it was J. L. Ross's decision.
to go with Archebooks for JL Ross.
Your "senior partner" sold J. L. Ross's book to a publishing house which doesn't have a distribution deal, and which pays advances in shares of company stock?
We've begun receiving royalties for her and expect them to increase as time goes on.
That's quite an achievement, given how few copies are usually sold of books written by grass-green newbies which are published by houses that don't have proper sales & marketing or distribution setups. It's even more remarkable when you consider that the advance must have been paid off before additional royalties could be earned. So tell me: how many copies to date have been sold?
We won't be satisfied until every client is published.
The most powerful and accomplished agents I know don't count on being able to sell everything.
 

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chamein said:
We don't charge reading fees.
What fees do you charge? And do you receive referral fees from publishers or editors?
 

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You definitely don't need an agent to be published by Ragged Mountain Press (the division of McGraw-Hill under which 101 Baseball Drills was published).
 

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