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Mark Sullivan Associates

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Dawnny

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Manhattan Literary Agency?

Hi everyone,
I'm the publicist for a few writers. One of my clients asked me to check into The Manhattan Literary Agency.
917) 837-5991

I saw the list and on there was a Mark Sullivan, NewYork Editors, Manhattan Literary

Is this agency I'm asking about that one?

My client already got a bad deal from a publisher on his first book.
so I'm checking all the agents out.

thanks
Dawnny
 

Dawnny

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Thanks

Thanks so much Victoria!
the phone number is the same!
 

CaoPaux

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Just to clarify for those playing along at home: Manhattan Literary is a ghostwriting service, not an agency, and Mark Sullivan is on SFWA's Twenty Worst list.
 

yanqui9

Thanks for the heads up! Any news on why they are on the 20 worst list?

I saw them mentioned in the special issue of "Writer's Digest: Writer's Yearbook 2007" right under an outright "pay us $200" literary agent scam in the classified section (www.e-literaryagent.net - scam, dont go there).
 

James D. Macdonald

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Why are they on the "Twenty Worst" list?

"None of these agents has a significant track record of sales to commercial (advance-paying) publishers, and most have virtually no documented and verified sales at all (many sales claimed by these agents turn out to be vanity publishers). All charge clients before a sale is made, whether directly, by charging fees such as reading or administrative fees, or indirectly, for 'editing services.'"​
 

RoccoMom

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Years and years and years ago when i first started writing they turned me down. In hindsight i'm glad. I have gotten stuck with about two agents who charged me fees and DID ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I'm trying to be wiser this time around.
 

CaoPaux

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*snerk* From his FAQs page (formatting adjusted):
Question: On the issue of the reading fee, what is your point of view? Various Internet services commenting on agents oppose this fee.

Many agencies charge a fee, and many do not. A fee can be an effective way to open doors, but make sure it is buying you a real chance at publication.

Internet reference services on literary agents, like P&E, WritersBeware, Agent Gripes, etc. express a general opposition to the reading fee, although some of them are selling their own services quite aggressively with poor research behind them. Here is our view:

Getting a good agent to look at your work is difficult because of the sheer mass of manuscripts being submitted, and the highly variant quality of those manuscripts. At MSA we never charge a fee for the initial evaluation of your work (first 3 chapters). Once evaluated, we share with you the cost of a careful analysis of your entire book for representation – a time consuming, intensive process. The system has worked very well here since we began in 1992, and because of it we are able to give many more writers our undivided attention. A reading fee can be a good thing if it is not abused and the following conditions apply:

  1. Location: the agency must have real agenting power and strong contacts in New York City publishing (the undisputed hub of American publishing) -- meaning the ability to get your work in front of editors at the major houses who know and respect the agency. There are a few exceptions, but in general this is a good rule of thumb to follow regarding location and competence. [click here]
  2. The book must be read carefully, and a written evaluation proving the agency’s attention and effort should accompany a contract or a rejection, in either case. We provide this.
  3. The fee should be reasonable.
For over a decade we have been able to review and give excellent advice to many writers, and represent those who had enough ability and dedication present in their work. There have been numerous instances where we supported a writer for years because we believed in a book.

A reading fee can be an asset to both the writer and the agency, as long as the agency has established its network in the business and is sincere in trying hard to choose and sell books. A reading fee, when properly handled, gives more writers a chance at publication.
 

Gravity

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"For over a decade we have been able to review and give excellent advice to many writers, and represent those who had enough ability and dedication present in their work. There have been numerous instances where we supported a writer for years because we believed in a book."

Doesn't say whether they ever sold a freaking thing, though.
 

victoriastrauss

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Writer Beware has gotten dozens of reports/complaints over the years about Mark Sullivan's reading fees and his referrals to his own editing firm, New York Editors. Unlike some fee-chargers, he has sold a tiny number of books over the years, but this is not what Writer Beware considers a track record.

He also owns Manhattan Literary (a ghostwriting/editing service). There's no indication of this on Manhattan' Literary's website, but the site's URL is registered to Mark Sullivan Associates.

Now he seems to have created a clone of Manhattan Literary called Pantheon Literary. The URL registration is privacy-protected, but the websites are identical.

One of the books/authors listed on the Mark Sullivan Associates website as a sale/client (Barr McClellan, Blood, Money & Power) also appears on the Manhattan and Pantheon Literary websites as an editing project.

Robin Buckner's Sade, another editing project at Manhattan and Pantheon, is listed at B&N.com as being published by New York Editors--Sullivan's own firm. Ditto for The Baby Garden by Sharon Schovanec. Ditto for Phenomena by Charles Nevison.

Plenty of conflict of interest here.

- Victoria
 

CaoPaux

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Sites for Mark Sullivan Associates and Pantheon Literary are gone. Manhattan Literary survives, but no recent activity.