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Marianne Strong Literary Agency / Marianne Strong & Associates

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Guido

Does anyone have any personal experience or information on the Marianne Strong Literary Agency?

Thanks so much. :)

G
 

CaoPaux

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P&E's got 'em as both having sales and charging fees. Good clients though (crime stories and non-fiction), and good sales.

Here's a chuckle from a NY gossip page:

Brits are coming.

Lord Colin Campbell (daddy's 11th Duke of Argyll, mommy's President James Madison's great granddaughter, ex-wife's author Lady Georgie Campbell) and Sir Edmond Harmsworth (son of Viscount Rothermere and Texas heiress mom Mary) joined New Yorker Marianne Strong's literary agency . . .
WITH the imminent ar rival of the Prince of Wales and his new bride the Duchess of Cornwall, New York's Brits have a busy social season coming up. Sure to be making the scene is Lord Colin Campbell, son of Scotland's late 12th Duke of Argyll and an agent with the Marianne Strong Literary Agency in New York. We hear His Lordship will have plenty to talk about at the upcoming soirees. He's working on a series of books based on the 20,000-piece collection of presidential memorabilia assembled by Barry Landau. Campbell, half American and a descendant of Presi dent James Madison, has reportedly struck a deal with HarperCol lins President Jane Friedman to publish the series, which con tains rare menus, guest lists and ephemera dating back to George Washington.
And, FWIW, the confirmation of the sale from a less breathless source:

Former presidential aide to every president since Lyndon Johnson Barry Landau's three-part series of illustrated books describing his largest private collection of White House and presidential memorabilia, to Phil Friedman at Collins, by Lord Colin Campbell, on behalf of the Marianne Strong Literary Agency.
I expect this is one of those cases where they charge a fee Because They Can.
 

victoriastrauss

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This is one of the few established agencies that asks for an upfront fee: $100 on contract signing to cover the usual stuff.

There's also a serious concern for authors--the contract. I have a recent copy, and it's a confused and confusing document. Among other things, it appears to incorporate a perpetual agency clause (wording by which the agent claims the right to represent a work not for the life of a publisher's contract, but for the life of copyright) (I say "appears," because the wording is unclear). It also includes as billable expense "possible travel and entertainment" following the sale of the book; includes no discussion of co-agents and split commissions; claims commission on secondary rights and "subsequent products" generated by the book, whether or not the agent was responsible for selling these; and claims an unspecified "participation fee" for dramatic works that result from the book.

I wouldn't sign the contract as is.

- Victoria
 
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CaoPaux

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Bleah! Best smack 'em with a "Poor Contract" too, Dave.
 

Maryn

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Boy, answers don't come any more complete than that one, Victoria. Quite the eye opener. On behalf of all who mostly lurk on this thread--way to be!

Maryn, most appreciative
 

FGwynplaineMacIntyre

Marianne Strong Literary Agency (MSLA)

Hello to all you Absolute Writers; this is my very first post to Absolute Write, but I've been a professional author since the 1960s. My name is F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre; I've published a lot of work under my own name, and more work under various pseudonyms or as an uncredited ghost-writer. For the moment, though, I'm not here to talk about me.

I've been a (more than satisfied) client of the Marianne Strong Literary Agency (MSLA) since 2002. Earlier today, I Googled the agency's name and I was gobsmacked to see a hit for Marianne Strong containing the phrase "Bewares and Background Checks" ... implying that MSLA are an agency to be Bewared of and meriting investigation. I rushed to the website (which turned out to be this discussion board) to find out who's dissing my agents.

Now that I'm actually here, I understand that Absolute Write are (commendably) making open-mind inquiries about a wide spectrum of agents and agencies, with each agency entitled to the presumption of innocence unless proven guilty by their own inactions or incompetence, and that no complaint has been lodged by this site against MSLA. Frabtastic!

Just to be absotively posilutely clear on this, though: I speak as a client of the Marianne Strong Literary Agency when I tell you that Marianne (a.k.a. 'Mimi') and her staff are honest, energetic, imaginative, enterprising and dedicated to going the extra mile (oh, this webpage is metric? OK, the extra kilometre) for their clients. The Marianne Strong Agency have represented fiction and non-fiction writers in the consummation of hundreds of successful contracts, resulting in more than a few best-sellers. In addition to being a client myself, I've spoken with several of her other authors (some of whom are quite famous indeed) and this reflects their feelings as well as my own.

Mind you, I've got my share of horror stories about several of the agents whom I dealt with BEFORE I signed with Marianne and her merry band, so I certainly know a lousy agent when I smell one. But my experiences with the Marianne Strong Literary Agency have been entirely favourable (dare I say 'inspiring') ... and if there's anyone who has a complaint about Mimi Strong's agency, then THAT person is somebody whose background and credentials I'd want to scrutinise very scrutinatiously.

Marianne's agency rocks!
-- F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre
[email protected]
http://www.sff.net/people/fgwyn/
 

J. R. Tomlin

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However they are ALSO apparently a legit agency with a rather impressive list of sales and a very impressive list of clients.

To quote Victoria
This is one of the few established agencies that asks for an upfront fee: $100 on contract signing to cover the usual stuff.
While I would normally refuse to pay upfront fees, this particular agency might well be an exception. And plenty of agencies these days (if not most) charge for certain "stuff" as she puts it.

Victoria was very unimpressed with their contract but balanced against their impressive list of clients, I'd say they come out ahead.

There seems absolutely no doubt that this is a legit agency whatever one might criticise about them.
 
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edgyllama

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That may be, but if you are good enough to get her as an agent, you are good enough to get to get a good agent who doesn't charge fees. Just sayin'.
 

Cathy C

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"Costs" versus "fees" are things to be considered. All agencies charge authors fees. That's what a commission is, and it's paid after the sale to a publisher. Some agencies ALSO charge costs on top of the commission (actual out of pocket--like overnight mail fees, wire transfer fees, postage to foreign cooperating agents, photocopying to send out manuscripts, etc.)

While I don't necessarily *like* that some agencies charge costs up front, if they've got the contacts to make sales, and do so consistently, it turns out equal at the end. :Shrug: Sort of like whether an author gets a large advance or a small one, but earns the same money either way from royalties.

I'll remain neutral on this one.
 

J. R. Tomlin

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That may be, but if you are good enough to get her as an agent, you are good enough to get to get a good agent who doesn't charge fees. Just sayin'.
What Cathy said. :)

I certainly prefer that fees and costs come out of royalties, but you're gonna pay if you have an agent. And if it all comes out the same in the end, I can't see it's a big deal. A bigger deal is probably the contract, but it looks to me like their clients are happy anyway.
 
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DaveKuzminski

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According to email discussions I had with that agency in 2006 and have on file, they changed their contract to eliminate the $100.00 upfront fee and replaced it with an invoiced system that also limited amounts to set costs after such expenses were conducted on the client's behalf. In other words, the clients would be assured that anything they paid would have actually occurred on their behalf. Since then, P&E has had that agency listed with a neutral rating. If anyone has signed on since then and received the contract with the $100 up front, please let me know.

As far as this writer who started this thread, the most important thing the writer could say is that the agency actually sold one of the writer's manuscripts. I find it interesting that wasn't stated.
 

LittleGinaT

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F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre: Just wondering: what other lousy agents/agencies have you smelled?
GT
 

allenparker

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My thought

Warning: I have never had an agent, so take my thoughts with caution.

The difference I see in paying upfront is motivation. I am a contractor. I pay many people money. the best motivator I have for my subs to complete a job is the money. Once they finish the job, they get paid. If they don't, they don't get paid.

The same process would seem to work here. An agent agrees to take on the an author. She expends time and money trying to sell the project. Once the project sells, she regains her expenses.

The author, meantime, has an expense out already. He has written a book capable of being sold for a profit, as attested by the agents willingness to invest her time and money selling the book.

When it come to an agency agreement, shouldn't both parties have something to lose if there is never a sale?
 

wordtothewise

I am a former employee of MSLA, and would strongly advise any author to look elsewhere for representation. This place is--or at least used to be--a disaster. At the time (5-6 years ago), the employees were utterly incompetent--they were rude to editors, had little idea of what editor or house might be right for a given project, and would market authors of color only to imprints that specialized in, say, Latino or African American authors but not to mainstream imprints, even if the work was suited for mainstream imprints. Marianne Strong is well-connected, as she comes from and married into money and used to be a newspaper gossip columnist, but this is the reason for the press on Page 6--and she writes those entries herself, by the way--not any particular ability as a literary agent. She communicates with editors in that overly-wordy gossip-page style, which is outdated and ineffective in today's publishing world. Her agency was at least once and possibly twice blacklisted by a *major* publishing house for incompetence on a major deal. That said, I know that the agency has hired some new people in the past few years or so, and they very well may be competent, but based on my experience there, I would strongly recommend looking elsewhere for representation.
 

Giant Baby

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Just bumping this up to see if anyone has any more recent dealings with this agency.

They now have a $ on P&E and Google pops up some recent stuff, but I'm curious if anyone has anything new. Their website lists a host of clients, but I can't tell anything about sales, etc.
 

CaoPaux

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The most recent sale for the agency I find is from 2007 by Jason (Allen) Ashlock.
 

Giant Baby

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You know something, CaoPaux? Whenever someone has a question you are always incredibly helpful, and the linking you do in this forum is amazing. Thanks, about 112 times (I lurk and lift your info a LOT).

GB
 

CaoPaux

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Most welcome. I allow myself to avoid my WIP if I'm doing Something Useful. :D
 

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Hi, this is my first posting but I wanted to let you all know what my experience was with this agency.

After querying, I submitted three sample chapters upon request. Then I saw this thread. I looked around a little more and saw some other worrisome things on other sites. So I withdrew my manuscript from consideration.
Just today I received an e-mail from Jason Allen Ashlock in response. He said he had been with the Strong Agency for a year and a half and has "worked hard to establish the Agency's credibility among publishers ...Because of successful sales over the past 18 months, I'll soon be joining the AAR, and I'm sure you understand the code of ethics that all members abide by. Unfortunately, a few lingering threads in chat rooms still speak of the Agency's flawed protocols in the past, and do not do justice to our status and intentionality in the present."

He also sent me a copy of their contract, which he says is reflective of industry standards. Having never had a contract within the industry I don't know how true that is. The contract does seem to have been revised and no longer includes odd expenses. It does cover only the terms of the contract, not the copyright. But it seems they do want the author to pay office fees and they provide a quarterly invoice listing these expenses.

He ended the letter by saying he was "sorry that we won't be seeing the rest of your material" as the agent I sent to was "enjoying it quite a bit."

SIGH

So now I've withdrawn the manuscript and don't know if I should have or if I can withdraw my withdrawal or if I should.

Any thoughts?
 

BarbJ

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So now I've withdrawn the manuscript and don't know if I should have or if I can withdraw my withdrawal or if I should.

Any thoughts?

Sorry about the delay; I've been away. I have 2 thoughts: Write back and thank the man. If you want, ask him if he would still be interested, and also ask what books/authors have led to the success.

Second thought: While waiting for a reply, follow the usual procedures. In this case, I would PM Victoria asking if she'd be willing to look at the contract, and check Publishers' Marketplace or whatever source for sales.

Either way, no harm in thanking the man.
 
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River Rat

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Thanks for answering my post, BarbJ. I haven't done anything more re: Mr. Ashlock. I guess i just don't like the payment up front of the office expenses. I should thank the man though, your right about that.
 

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Thanks for answering my post, BarbJ. I haven't done anything more re: Mr. Ashlock. I guess i just don't like the payment up front of the office expenses. I should thank the man though, your right about that.

Did the contract which you received from them still demand an up-front fee? Because, Dave K posted in October 2007,

According to email discussions I had with that agency in 2006 and have on file, they changed their contract to eliminate the $100.00 upfront fee and replaced it with an invoiced system that also limited amounts to set costs after such expenses were conducted on the client's behalf. In other words, the clients would be assured that anything they paid would have actually occurred on their behalf. Since then, P&E has had that agency listed with a neutral rating. If anyone has signed on since then and received the contract with the $100 up front, please let me know.

If they were true to their word then they should no longer be demanding that fee. If they are still demaning it, then you can add "untrustworthy" to the list of problems.
 

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