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Literary Solutions (Deborah Arrowsmith)

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sandholme

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Hi,

I would like to hear from anyone who has any information on Dr Deborah Arrowsmith, of Literary Solutions as part of my research.

Any information greatfully recieved.
 

victoriastrauss

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During 2002 I got a number of complaints about this agent, who, among other things, lied about her background and her track record, falsely claiming to represent a number of well-known children's writers and illustrators. In late 2002 she disappeared--her website vanished and her phone number was disconnected and her clients were unable to get hold of her. I heard nothing more about her until this past January, when I began getting inquiries again.

Have you had a recent contact with her?

- Victoria
 

sandholme

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Arrowsmith

Can you be more specific about the complaints?

Ms Arrowsmith tells me the complaints came from a disgruntled writer whom for various reasons she would not represent.
 

victoriastrauss

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No, they came from clients, and also from writers who got a contract offer and decided to research her. These reports and complaints--eight in all--were received over about a six-month period in 2002.

The complaints mostly involved unprofessional behavior--nonresponsiveness, lack of contact, and then just vanishing without a word to clients. In her initial contact with clients, Ms. Arrowsmith claimed extensive publishing industry experience, including a PhD in Creative Writing; however, I did some digging, and found this online resume that lists very different credentials. She claimed to represent a list of well-known children's authors and illustrators; one client and one potential client took it on themselves to contact some of these people and they had never heard of her.

To my knowledge, she never made any sales.

She also runs, or ran, an editing service, which is a potential conflict of interest for a literary agent.

And here she is again, with a resume service.

- Victoria
 

sandholme

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Arrowsmith

Are Deborah Arrowsmith and Deborah Armstrong one and the same person?
 

sandholme

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Arrowsmith

Just one thought, if Deborah Arrowsmith is unprofessional, then what is she getting out of it.
She does not charge a fee and her agency percentage is just the normal 15%.

Plus she maintains that any costs she makes on a client's behalf will not exceed $200.

I can't imagine why someone would go to great lengths in pretence of being what she is not, when so little cost is involved.

Do you know if she literally has contacts with publishers?
 

sandholme

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PS

Incidently, the costs involved are only incurred IF she gets the client a publishing deal and then the costs are subtracted from the check from the publisher.
 

sandholme

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Arrowsmith

Im confused.

I'm not disputing the advise I am recieving here and elsewhere but I have been led to believe that Deborah Arrowsmith changed her phone number email addy and phone number when problems first arose a few years ago.

Under agents actively seeking I found this:

6/02

New Agency: Literary Solutions, Inc.

"I would like my agency listed on your site. I meet the 3 criteria you list: I do not charge any upfront fees, my commission fee structure is 15% for BOTH domestic and international, and my only income is derived from the sale of a client's work.

I have been getting the business up and running since September, 2001; officially began advertising as of January, 2002, and I have several children's and adult authors under contract. I am actively promoting their work to publishers."


Dr. Deborah K Arrowsmith
Literary Solutions, Inc.
7613 Nuthatch Circle, Mailbox #2
Parker, Colorado 80134-2705
720-851-9155 (Office)
303-841-9503 (Fax)
303-907-7236 (Cell)
[email protected] (Email)
www.literarysolutions.com (Website)



The reason I am confused is that this was posted in 2002, yet, today in 2005 her details have not altered.

If as has been suggested she fell off the face of the earth and no contact with her cold be made (I even heard she moved from California to Colorado which doesn't appear so now) then why does she still use the same contact details to date?

What absolute proof is there that reports of misbehaviour are not as she says disgruntled clients making waves?

I wouldn't like to be contributing to slanderous allegations for someone that doesn't deserve it.
 

victoriastrauss

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Sandholme, I don't know what to tell you, apart from what I've already told you. The information I provide isn't fabricated: it's all supported by documentation, and I think I've established a reputation for reliability. At any rate, it's a lot easier to research me than Ms. Arrowsmith.

Leave aside all issues of truthfulness, credentials, disgruntled clients, etc. Focus on just one thing: no sales. This is an agent who has made no sales. That's about as unambiguous as these things get.

I have no idea who Deborah Armstrong is.

- Victoria
 

JennaGlatzer

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reports of misbehaviour are not as she says disgruntled clients making waves

Reports of misbehavior SHOULD come from disgruntled clients... you know, the ones who've actually worked with this woman. Of COURSE scammers are going to tell you that anyone who speaks against them is just some disgruntled loony... what other defense do they have?

But really, you can be as stubborn on this as you want to be; you came here and asked what we know, and Victoria (a reputable writer's advocate) told you a very clear reason to stay away. If you want to submit anyway, go right ahead, but this is beating a dead horse.
 

Kasey Mackenzie

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Whether this agent is "honest" or "dishonest," I certainly wouldn't want to hire someone with NO proven track record of sales. I would never hire an attorney who has a 100% loss record, or a plumber who has never successfully repaired a leak, or a real estate agent who has never sold a house! I am certainly unwilling to hire a literary agent without a track of proven sales.
 

sandholme

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Arrowsmith

know you will think I'm crazy and not hearing you, but everyone has to begin somewhere. If Deborah Arrowsmith has not yet been successful in finding publishers for her clients does it mean she hasn't tried?

It must be hard to be the middle man/woman after all.

Over and above everything, I fail to see what I can lose financially speaking by giving her the benefit of the doubt.

Unless you know otherwise.
 

DaveKuzminski

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Giving the wrong agent a try can still cost you financially if someone else sells a book similar to yours to a publisher. Yours can be a better book, but the public will treat you as a "me-too" author if you should then succeed in getting published. However, you're just as likely to meet rejection based upon that other book having already taken that market.

Can other arguments be made on both sides of this? Certainly. Still, it's better to work with an agent who's experienced and has a track record.
 

Lauri B

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sandholme said:
know you will think I'm crazy and not hearing you, but everyone has to begin somewhere. If Deborah Arrowsmith has not yet been successful in finding publishers for her clients does it mean she hasn't tried?

It must be hard to be the middle man/woman after all.

Over and above everything, I fail to see what I can lose financially speaking by giving her the benefit of the doubt.

Unless you know otherwise.

What you can lose is the opportunity to be reviewed by editors at major houses. If your agent has no connections, is unprofessional, has never made a sale, and you finally get sick of her and land an agent who DOES have a professional history of making sales, you may have burned your bridges at any publishers to which the clueless agent already submitted on your behalf. A bad agent can often be worse than no agent at all. If you already know this woman isn't successful, do you really want to put yourself in the position of being the next test case for her success? Why not shoot higher and go for an agent with a track record? Or for that matter, just shop your work around yourself. You certainly can't do worse than this agent has apparently already done.
 

sandholme

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Nomad said:
What you can lose is the opportunity to be reviewed by editors at major houses. If your agent has no connections, is unprofessional, has never made a sale, and you finally get sick of her and land an agent who DOES have a professional history of making sales, you may have burned your bridges at any publishers to which the clueless agent already submitted on your behalf. A bad agent can often be worse than no agent at all. If you already know this woman isn't successful, do you really want to put yourself in the position of being the next test case for her success? Why not shoot higher and go for an agent with a track record? Or for that matter, just shop your work around yourself. You certainly can't do worse than this agent has apparently already done.

Sorry I don't buy this.

To me it doesn't matter who the agent is that represents a person. The agent is just someone who acts on the behalf of another. If any story is submitted and a publisher likes it then they will publish it regardless of whom the agent is.
They may have their favourites but thats not to say they are not open to fresh faces.

Or if someone else writes a similar story and has it published first, the other writer can prove that they wrote theirs beforehand from copyright dates. (one can also achieve this by posting a story to oneself and never opening the parcel and logging that parcel with their solicitor - I do this).

However, it would be sour grapes on the part of the unpublished writer (I think) if another writer with a similar story got there first. Good luck to them, I say.
Like my mother says, if you are meant to have something it will be there waiting for you, you just have to be patient.

True, there may be publishers that will trust the say so of any particular agent, but it doesn't mean to say that an (until now) unproductive agent won't find a writer with something wonderful to be published, (not saying its me either). And as I said before, every agent has to start somewhere.

I'm a great believer in helping others especially others who have been discredited simply because they have not delivered what they set out to do - YET.

I don't know for an absolute certainty that deborah arrowsmith cannot deliver, I only know from what I have been finding out on writers forums, that there is some doubt. However, I have managed to find and emailed one of her clients and have received a favourable reply from them. Okay, Deborah hasn't found them a publisher but the writer had nothing detrimental to say about her.

In fact they said to quote: 'My personal dealings with her told me she was very professional, and business like. I was impressed.'

I have to admit from my dealings with deborah arrowsmith I have to agree, and it is only the advice recieved from writers beware that put the cat among my particular pigeons. There is no other source that discredits deborah arrowsmith, AND I have to say that in actual fact the complaints recieved by writers beware related to a debbie armstrong and not deborah arrowsmith.

I would very much like to speak with those that made the complaints, to verify for an absolute certainty whether debbie armstrong is AKA deborah arrowsmith or not and that will be where my next stint of research is headed.

Over and above everything I would not wish to add to allegations about DA if her greatest crime is not yet having found a publisher for her clients.

Everyone has to make their way from the bottom to the top sometime, there's no other place to start.
 

DaveKuzminski

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sandholme said:
Sorry I don't buy this.

To me it doesn't matter who the agent is that represents a person. The agent is just someone who acts on the behalf of another. If any story is submitted and a publisher likes it then they will publish it regardless of whom the agent is.

Your objections just don't hold water. You need an agent who is more than just someone representing your book. You need an agent who knows literary contracts. Someone coming in off the street won't know those well enough to do you any good. Even a number of lawyers would be useless since literary contracts are different in several ways from other contracts.

You need an agent who can responsibly account for funds paid by a publisher to you the author. You need an agent who is not only responsible, but honest and prompt in rendering those royalties. You need an agent who will stand up for your rights and know which rights those are should a publisher make a mistake in your dealings.

You need an agent who knows the industry well enough to know that you don't submit a Harry Potter story to a publisher that specializes in chains and bondage just because both stories might have a dungeon because it's not a match in publishing needs.

You need an agent who keeps on top of how your work is progressing on subsequent manuscripts so those can be sold to prospects the agent may have already lined up.

You need an agent who likewise keeps on top of what publishing houses are doing. You want your agent to wisely send your work only to those places it's best suited for in as little time as possible and to advise you when your work needs adjustment.

As far as my other comment, I stand by it. Publishers have frequently advised writers that they would have accepted and bought their manuscript had they not just bought one recently in the same vein.

If a poor man's copyright makes you feel comfortable, go right ahead and use that method. However, it won't stand up in court in the US. If you're in the UK, it might still work, but I believe they've also advanced beyond that usage.

Keep this in mind. There are several paths that agents can follow in order to become agents. The better paths provide experience, training, and track records. Those paths are from positions in publishing houses and as associate positions with existing agencies. Anything else is unlikely to provide any of those three very important ingredients. Lacking those, an agent is very unlikely to succeed in making enough sales to remain in business as an agent unless they charge their writers. If they do that, then they're in scammer territory.
 

JennaGlatzer

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Sandholme, please don't ever post here asking for information if you're not open to listening to any of it.

What Nomad wrote was not what you interpreted.

A bad agent cannot get you in the door at the major publishers. What she is telling you is that real agents have real connections, and bad agents do not. A good agent can get your work read; a bad agent is worse than having no agent at all, because you can get read at the same places without one, and likely with less of a bias against your work from the start. (Editors know who the bad agents are, and they typically ignore whatever they send.)

You are asking about an agent who's apparently been in business for FOUR YEARS and has not made a single sale, and still trying to tell us that she has to start somewhere? Well, yes, the place to start was four years ago.

You purposely want to go out and "help" people with bad reputations? Go right ahead. Let your publication chances go down the toilet in the name of being charitable toward failed entrepreneurs. I suspect there's more to this than you're telling us, but whatever.

What you've seen in this thread is two well-known writers' advocates and one acquiring editor at a publishing house giving you free, solid advice. Go ahead and ignore it, but stop fishing here. And how in the world do you now know that "in actual fact the complaints recieved by writers beware related to a debbie armstrong and not deborah arrowsmith"?

You're being disrespectful to people who are trying to teach you something. Everyone who's posted in this thread has more experience than you do and is TRYING TO HELP, just for the sake of trying to help. I'm through with this one.
 

Lauri B

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Sandholme,
It sounds like you really want to go with this agent, so good luck to you--I hope you and she make lots of sales and you're both very successful. It would nice to be proven wrong.
Lauri
 

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I suspect this poster is more than a troll. I believe it is Deborah Arrowsmith herself.
 

victoriastrauss

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sandholme said:
I have to admit from my dealings with deborah arrowsmith I have to agree, and it is only the advice recieved from writers beware that put the cat among my particular pigeons. There is no other source that discredits deborah arrowsmith, AND I have to say that in actual fact the complaints recieved by writers beware related to a debbie armstrong and not deborah arrowsmith.
Excuse me. Exactly how do you know this for a fact? Have you been to my house and looked through my files? No, that can't be it, or you wouldn't be making such a silly claim. Or maybe you're one of those telepathic remote viewing people--you know, like the ones the CIA was supposedly training to spy on Russia during the Cold War--and read my files from afar. If so, you'd better brush up on your psychic skills, 'cause they're a bit rusty.

Wait--I have it. This "fact" was actually provided to you by Ms. Arrowsmith herself! Who of course has no self-interest whatever involved in the outcome of your inquiry.

I won't even address the rest of your ridiculous post. I'm not often this blunt, but I think you deserve this agent.

- Victoria
 

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victoriastrauss said:
I'm not often this blunt, but I think you deserve this agent.

- Victoria

As a longtime reader of Ms Strauss' posts I believe I'm qualified to translate this. This is genteel, refined, Victoria-speak for "you're a poopiehead."
 

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sandholme said:
know you will think I'm crazy and not hearing you, but everyone has to begin somewhere. If Deborah Arrowsmith has not yet been successful in finding publishers for her clients does it mean she hasn't tried?

It must be hard to be the middle man/woman after all.

Over and above everything, I fail to see what I can lose financially speaking by giving her the benefit of the doubt.

Unless you know otherwise.

someone else mentioned that you can misout on being reviewed by legit editors and publishing houses, and you may also loose money. go through and read her fine print . . . that 200 dollar costs to clients, that is what i fear you will loose. scammers and non-truthful folks often slid a bill your way after a few months, saying that business costs have accumulated.

and anyone claiming that having a phd in creative writing makes them a better agent . . . she may or may not have a phd, but the letters do not give her an added advantage in the field. phd work is vastly different from agenting, editing, and freelance. this, i can tell you from experience (i.e. see my profile).

just a few thoughts.
 

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