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Claire Gerus Literary Agency

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

p0rtia

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I'm sorry to have to give Claire a thumbs down. She contacted me about three years ago on another matter, and I eventually asked her to represent me. Very sweet, very direct, very enthusiastic, though she did not read the entire MS. She sent my MS/proposal via e-mail to half a dozen publishers, then disappeared, not answering the couple of e-mails I sent. Almost a year later I e-mailed again and she replied, saying first that the MS had been rejected by various pubs--including a couple that she had not sent it to. When I called her on this, she admitted that her computer had crashed and that there had been illness in the family; she apologized for abandoning, admitted that she had no record of feedback from the publishers, and offered to try again.

I researched her a bit more carefully this time around, and read the glowing reports on this site (which is why I've come back with my thoughts now). She promised to report back monthly on submissions, and I stuck with her. She sent out another half dozen submissions in October, and then disappeared again (after forwarding one prompt email rejection). No follow-up, despite her rocky history and my request for written (as in e-mail) rejections. I e-mailed in Feb and she told me she was just in the process of following up. I emailed again yesterday (late April), and she sent me a breezy email saying that there had been no positive responses to her phone calls. No names, no dates, no emails, no explanation of why on Earth she had not kept me posted if she had been getting rejections.

Bottom line, yes, she replies quickly, but she never e-mails unless you email first; she does not read your book (which may or may not be standard--I'm just saying); because she did not read the book, there was a lack of focus in her submissions; and she does not keep you updated. Worst of all, she gives the impression, because of that lack of names and dates and emails, that she is not really following up at all, so you are left not knowing who has actually read your book and who has actually rejected your book. Sorry to say, very unprofessional. Inexplicably so. She has a great manner, and she had a few sales last year, but I can't imagine less actual effort.

Let me add that it's not the lack of a sale that distresses me, it's the lack of communication and follow-up on agreed procedure. I feel like I've wasted two years for the privilege of being told "no one has stepped forward and my calls have netted a similarly negative response". Which is exactly the sort of dubious language someone would use if they had never followed up at all.
 

Maddie

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I queried Claire on a novel back in the beginning of January 2010, and didn't receive any reply whatsoever, not even a "too busy" (though no answer seems to be the new standard in the industry of "too busy" or "not interested"). Going down my list, I was going to resubmit a query, but the experience of pOrtia is definitely an eye-opener. It would be more frustrating to have an agent who isn't communicative, especially when you consider that a.) sales of an author's work should be a legit agent's livelihood; and b.) an agent's rep among authors might hinder making that bread-and-butter.
 

happywritermom

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It seems that the "my computer crashed" excuse is a common one with her. That's the excuse she gave me a year ago. I would rather have heard, "Oops. I forgot about your submission and I have no idea where I filed it. Could you send it again?"
My agent keeps a good, solid database of submissions along with names of editors and dates of contacts. Whenever I get curious, he simply sends me a copy so I know where I stand. We talk on the phone every two to three months unless I get antsy earlier.
 

Maddie

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Lori,

It sounds like your agent is well organized. Perhaps Claire isn't, and wow, that's another impediment to carrying on a livelihood. Aside from that constantly-crashing computer....
 

Miss Plum

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Queried 4/7/10
Partial requested 4/8/10
Rejected 4/13/10 -- she was intrigued by my query, but backed off when she saw what a tricky genre a graphic novel is
 

Hip-Hop-a-potamus

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Yeah, the crashing computer thing is problematic here. I was researching some different agent choices tonight. Was ready to add her to my list on QueryTracker, but now I'm not so sure. The few negative reps here are real eye-openers.

#1- Does she keep back-ups, for God's sake? Redundant data will keep you working, and keep your clients happy.

#2- If it's just an excuse, that's even worse. Just own up and say you forgot.
 

wheelwriter

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This is kind of old information, and things change, but I had a positive experience with the Claire Gerus Literary Agency. I sent a query in April of 2009 and got a request for a partial (first three chapters and a synopsis) a little over a week later. This was from Lora Rivera. I sent it right away, and five days later Lora emailed again, thanking me and asking for a bio. I sent the bio and Lora sent me an email the same day to thank me. Less than two weeks later (so slightly over a month from my initial query) I got a personalized rejection with an offer to look at it again if I revise. It was obvious from the rejection that Lora (or someone) had read the partial because she was quite specific about what wasn't working. Every interaction was professional, and the critique was right on. That's just my experience with her agency, and I can't speak to how she is at selling her clients' books.
 

ether

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I don't have any experience with Claire, but just got a partial request from Lora Rivera on a YA contemporary query, like, within the hour I queried her. (Per their PM page, all fiction queries are to go to Lora now.) She was prompt and polite. Just sent the material off, so I'll keep everyone updated.
 

KelleyVitollo

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I don't have any experience with Claire, but just got a partial request from Lora Rivera on a YA contemporary query, like, within the hour I queried her. (Per their PM page, all fiction queries are to go to Lora now.) She was prompt and polite. Just sent the material off, so I'll keep everyone updated.


Yay! Congrats!
 

SafetyDance

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I have just had a partial request from Lora too. I will post back when I hear anything :)
 

RMeridian

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Got a partial request from Lora on 11/12 and just received a really nice rejection today. I don't know if she's always that nice or what, but it kind of felt good despite the rejection. :)
 

ether

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Got a partial request from Lora on 11/12 and just received a really nice rejection today. I don't know if she's always that nice or what, but it kind of felt good despite the rejection. :)

Sorry for the R, but I'm glad it was a kind one! I hope she gave you some good feedback on it.
 

dreamer89

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so I queried Lora Rivera back in August, and me making a mistake thought I hadn't queried her yet and requeryed tonight for the same novel. Was that a major error that I made? Or should I not be too worried about it? The worst they can say is no again right?
 

Erin

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so I queried Lora Rivera back in August, and me making a mistake thought I hadn't queried her yet and requeryed tonight for the same novel. Was that a major error that I made? Or should I not be too worried about it? The worst they can say is no again right?

I wouldn't worry about it. People make mistakes. I've done the same thing.
 

dreamer89

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thanks Erin! I'm sure Ms. Rivera gets tons of queries a day since August and probably won't remember mine anyway.
 

Dahlia

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I got a full request from Claire a week ago. I sent it off and she had trouble opening the attachment. I sent it again. Haven't heard back yet, but hoping that she didn't write me off cause of our email troubles :)
 

foliogal

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Enjoyed the interview, Monica. Very helpful. Thanks for posting.
 

Kmarshall

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Agreed. I just fired off a query. Hope she likes fantasy ;)
 

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