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Hill and Hill Literary Agency (Christopher Hill)

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lyndsay

Has anybody signed a contract with Christopher Hill in Scotland, UK? Does anybody know anything about them?
 

victoriastrauss

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If this is Hill and Hill, they charge upfront fees. There are also a number of red flags at their website, including a total lack of information on who's actually running the agency; reference to a "proof reading and editing service"; and no sign of sales. A spot check of their listed clients doesn't turn up any publications.

- Victoria
 

Stuart Hades

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Don't know whether this is still live, but I have found some of the authors mentioned on the site,

Robert Mills, Geoff Nelder, Eric George, Bettine Manklelow etc.

Must admit the sire insn't helpful but I did recieve a company profile via e-mail which has checked out.
 

zmythoughts

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Question about Hill and Hill Agency

Has anyone heard anything bad or good about Hill and Hill Literary Agency @ hillandhilllitagency.com ?
 

Aconite

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From the Index at the top of the board: <snipped>
 
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zmythoughts

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When signing with an agency, aren't they suppose to pay you?
 

Aconite

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zmythoughts said:
When signing with an agency, aren't they suppose to pay you?

No. The way it usually works is that an agent accepts you as a client, and you both sign a contract that spells out the terms of the relationship, including what the agent's commission will be. The agency then sells your manuscript to a publisher and takes the agreed percentage.
 

zmythoughts

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Oh, but you're not suppose to pay an agent out of your own pocket, right?
 

Aconite

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zmythoughts said:
Oh, but you're not suppose to pay an agent out of your own pocket, right?

Right. Absolutely right.
 

victoriastrauss

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Hill and Hill asks for £80 upfront for a 6-month contract, and £120 upfront for a year. Charging upfront is not accepted practice in the UK, any more than it is in the US.

Hill and Hill's website also mentions a "proof reading and editing service", though I haven't gotten any reports of anyone being asked to use it. This is a potential conflict of interest. Another red flag: the website offers no information about who's behind the company, so it's impossible to verify whether or not they are qualified to be literary agents.

There are no apparent sales.

- Victoria
 

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Christopher Hill is the same as Hill and Hill. They offered me a contract a few months ago, which I turned down.

A number of factors played into my decision. One was the 'upfront fees' which they'd previously not mentioned. Another was the fact that one week after I received the contract, they sent me an email and said if I didn't sign by end of business that day, they were revoking their offer. I did not like the strongarm tactics being employed, and said so. It has always been my understanding from other agents and authors that you should take time to make sure the agency is right for you and not just sign the first offer you get necessarily.

Now, in subsequent email bickering, they insisted to me they had numerous sales, but none were listed on their website. You should never sign a contract with someone without asking where they've sold to in the past few years. And they didn't offer me names.

They also said they'd sent numerous emails to me and that I must not have received them yet (the threat to revoke the offer was explained as an attempt to get me to respond). It's been months, but I still haven't received those alleged emails...

I think you'd be wiser to go through a small publisher than a questionable agency.

Bottom line about paying for representation is that publishers don't take those agencies seriously because they know the agents don't really believe in the work - they just cash the cheque and fulfill their obligations. And I can forward a copy of their contrat to anyone who wants to see it.
 

waylander

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I have met Geoff Nelder who is listed above as one of their clients. I know he has a book out. It was my impression that it is either a small press publication or even self-published.
 

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Stuart Hades said:
Don't know whether this is still live, but I have found some of the authors mentioned on the site,

Robert Mills, Geoff Nelder, Eric George, Bettine Manklelow etc.

Must admit the sire insn't helpful but I did recieve a company profile via e-mail which has checked out.

I took this list to Bookfinder.com, my preferred book-search engine.

Robert A. Mills has a book (Escaping Reality) out from Authorhouse/Lightning Source, print-on-demand.
There's also a Robert E. Mills, who seems to be a moderately prolific genre writer (sf and westerns), but I'm suspecting it's A who's referred to above.

The only Eric George I could find was an art historian writing in the late 1940s, probably not the same guy.

Geoff Nelder has a book out from Brambling Books, which appears to be a print-on-demand.

Nothing for Bettine Manklelow (or Mankelow) on Bookfinder.

From their client list online:

Jeffery Taylor, if the writer on Canadian labour history, a couple of academic titles in 1994 and 2002. Maybe not him, though?
If spelt Jeffrey rather than Jeffery, could be the travel writer published by Little Brown and Houghton Mifflin ...
or the author of A Gentlemen Drunk, from Lightning Source.

Timothy Spires, couldn't find anything.

Micheal Rowan, I got nothing, even with the first name corrected to Michael.

Suzan St Maur - paydirt! Writing Words That Sell, from Mercury Books; Writing Your Own Scripts and Speeches, from McGraw-Hill(!); Powerwriting, from Trans-Atlantic Pubns; Canine Capers, from Half Halt Press; Horse Lovers Joke Book, ditto; and in 2006, Wedding Speeches for Women, from How To Press.

Andrew Dilks - nothing.

Lisa Cunningham - four inspirational books, all from Lightning Source

David Walker & Micheal Cope - nothing, at least under the surnames. (and that's their spelling of Michael, again)

Andrew Greer - hm. If it's Andrew Sean Greer, he has four books out from St. Martins, legit. But is it Andrew Sean, or just Andrew? Ah, it can't be Andrew Sean, because he's represented by Janklow & Nesbit, according to his website.

Amanda Black - nope.

Yousef Imali - nothing, even searching with just the last name to avoid possible confusion over spelling of Yousef, or with alternative spelling Ismali.

Kensi Kallama - nothing, again, even with just the surname, or alternative spelling Kalama.

In most instances, googling the more distinctive names only brings up the Hill & Hill client list.

-Barbara (not without some experience in searching for obscure books)
 

victoriastrauss

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Great research, Barbara!
batgirl said:
Suzan St Maur - paydirt! Writing Words That Sell, from Mercury Books; Writing Your Own Scripts and Speeches, from McGraw-Hill(!); Powerwriting, from Trans-Atlantic Pubns; Canine Capers, from Half Halt Press; Horse Lovers Joke Book, ditto; and in 2006, Wedding Speeches for Women, from How To Press.
The pub dates on these books go back to the 1980's. The only one that Hill and Hill could possibly have sold is the most recent, Wedding Speeches for Women. And frankly, I doubt they did. There's nothing whatever to indicate that this agency is qualified to sell books to publishers--and there's much, including the fee and the promised minimum submissions, to suggest that it isn't.

- Victoria
 

batgirl

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Thanks! I tried to find the submission requirements for Half Halt on their website, but no luck. It does seem to be very small, and I wonder if it doesn't work by personal recommendation, within the horsey world. How To Press is unfindable by me, not surprising with that generic a name. But I'd be very very surprised to hear that either Half Halt or How To required agented submissions.
I'm sure that Lightning Source doesn't.

I may have been reading too much into it, but when the only non-pod-published author on this agency's list turned out to write books that looked like how-to-write, or how-to-get-published books, I wondered if there was some connection between her and the agency, beyond the obvious.
But perhaps not, because they don't seem to play up her books or shill them on the website, so that was probably paranoia on my part.
-Barbara
 

Aconite

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I've got at least one book by Half Halt Press on my bookshelves: Dressage in Harmony: From Basic to Grand Prix, by Walter Zettl; it's book four of their Masters of Horsemanship series. Zettl is one of the great names in dressage (among other achievements, he was the dressage coach for the Canadian Olympic eventing team), but while this book is respectable in format (decent typesetting, well bound), it's got one of the most boring covers you've ever seen. Unless you already know who Zettl is and know that you want this book, you'd never pick it up and look at it. The illustrations are obviously computerized. In addition, it's roughly translated from the German, and could have used a good editorial smoothing. I suspect it was published just as it was received. I bought it from a tack shop, and IIRC, I've seen a few of HHP's books advertised in Dressage Today, but I may be remembering wrongly. Specialty market, definitely.
 

Halla

Cheers chaps and chappesses. I wandered in here after looking for H&H on google. I shall now go and write out 'Must google *before submission' a few hundred times, until I learn.

I was never going to pay an agent upfront for selling a book, but I'm a bit flummoxed now. I don't know quite what to do next, except to refuse any contract offers that come my way in the next week or so. :-/
 

cptbbear

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Need urgent advice on this contract received

Hi, I recently received this contract (attached) from a literary agency, but have had little experience as to whether this contract is a valid and honest contract or not. I left off their names so as not to colour any opinions. I could really use some sage advice as soon as possible.

Thanking you in advance
Cpt B Bear
 

aka eraser

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Thumbs down from this corner. They want money up front and a fairly substantial amount at that. Their percentage is (suspiciously) low. I expect that's supposed to make them look attractive. So they're dangling a carrot in one hand to distract you from the one that's picking your pocket.

I had a quick peek at their website (you left their name in one paragraph) and while they list authors' names, I didn't see any books mentioned.

You can do better.
 

Lauri B

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There's a whole thread devoted to this agency--do a search under "Christopher Hill." Bottom line: don't sign the contract.