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Metamorphosis Literary Agency

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JKeller

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Any updates or good news? I have a full out with them.
 

mafiaking1936

Nihil debetur. Nihil debens.
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...from inside the house!!!
UPDATE 9th Feb:

I received a response from Jana in a little over a week, it was a personalised response but there were a few red flags (to me) that I was right in my initial assessment that she thought the piece would be something it's not (i.e. she was trying to let me down gently rather than admitting her mistake). Take my words with a pinch of salt, from what NervousAnonymous said, I'm not too bothered to have missed the boat on this one.

Don't feel bad, I once got a pitch like for my grimdark revenge fantasy from what turned out to be a Mormon press. That was...amusing.
 

techy

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I submitted to them after seeing Stephanie was this month's (April) Writer's Digest "Meet the Agent" spotlight. Then I came here. She has requested a full synopsis based on my query, not I'm very conflicted. WD wouldn't spotlight a questionable agent, would they? I guess I would like to believe whomever they feature would be fully vetted.

- - - Updated - - -

Stephanie is this month's "Meet the Agent" profile in Writer's Digest. She has requested additional materials from me. Any update on your end?
 

NervousAnonymous

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Techy,

Writer's Digest likely wouldn't feature a "questionable agent"--unless, of course, they don't know that agent is questionable. The key difference I've noticed between Metamorphosis and other agencies that have been called out for sketchy practices is that Metamorphosis doesn't do anything that is technically "wrong." They sign clients and then sell those client's books--which is what an agent is supposed to do. The issue with Metamorphosis, in my opinion, is that they push to appear as an agency that is in the "big leagues." As in, they sell to Big 5 publishing houses, when the simple truth is that they don't. To me, this is false advertising.

They also do strange things other agencies, ones that actually DO sell to Big 5, don't do such as putting author interviews on Wattpad.

If you're comfortable with your book landing with an indie or very small publisher, then by all means, go ahead and send Stephanie your materials! Some people prefer the small publisher route. However, if you're looking for a shot at a Big 5--or even slightly below Big 5--then I'd seek representation elsewhere.
 

NervousAnonymous

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As nervous as I am to be posting this, after months of watching this unfold, enough is enough. I strongly caution writers against submitting to this agency. To start at the beginning, I learned of Metamorphosis through the agency’s owner, Stephanie Hansen. Without doing proper research, I submitted to her and quickly received an offer of rep. My first red flag was that the offer was made via email without a phone call. The email basically said “I’d like to offer you rep. When you’re ready to sign I’ll send over a HelloSign request.”

It was then that I decided to do some digging. I asked Stephanie for a list of her clients. Her agency website claims she represents many authors, including NYT best sellers. However, the client names she gave me were a Picture Book writer and an author whose first book came out through a small press. I figured maybe her other clients weren’t comfortable with having their contact info given out, so I gave Stephanie the benefit of the doubt. As I did more digging, I found a Wattpad profile for Metamorphosis. This was very strange in itself, as Wattpad isn’t really considered a professional platform. On their profile there were interviews with Stephanie’s clients. There were around a dozen of them, so I searched each of those names. All of them were published with small presses that accept un-agented submissions, or through e-book only. This drove me to Publisher’s Marketplace, where Stephanie has not reported a single sale to a larger house except for a couple e-book-only sales. I searched high and low, and found no indication that this agency reps ANY best-selling authors, let alone several.

In my digging, I also found that all the agents at this agency are writers and they represent each other’s work. What this means to me is that none of their agents have many connections within the publishing industry. It’s not normal for agents to represent agents within the same agency. Yes, some agents are also writers, but they usually seek representation at other agencies (ex: Eric Smith and Rebecca Podos). Furthermore, this agency has a lot of interns, and those interns graduate to junior agent very quickly. One of their agents was just a Wattpad writer less than a year ago, and now she’s moved on to representing other writers? This particular agent may be well-intentioned and passionate about her client’s work, but my point is this isn’t a normal career progression.

The last thing I did before making my decision was reaching out to other writer’s on QueryTracker who recently received offers of rep from Stephanie. There were a few other YA writers that she offered rep to around the time she made me an offer. I reached out to them and they all had similar reservations, but one in particular managed to schedule a phone call with Stephanie. When this writer asked Stephanie about the submission process, Stephanie didn’t name any specific houses she wanted to submit to and also said the manuscript was ready for submission without any edits. This is NOT NORMAL.

With all this information, I ultimately declined the offer with the thought that this agency was well-intentioned but perhaps naïve and not established enough, but that they’d get there in the future. However, since rejecting Stephanie’s offer, I’m worried something a bit more deceptive may be going on at Metamorphosis.

To warn my fellow querying writers, I posted on QueryTracker about my experience. Shortly after I posted my comment, Stephanie posted a blog on Metamorphsis (a “year in review” style post highlighting all that the agency had accomplished in 2018). The post almost point-for-point responded to my comment on QueryTracker, signaling me that someone in the agency had likely seen my comment. THEN, someone on QueryTracker (thus dubbed “BB”) copied & pasted Metamorphosis’s blog post into the comments, as if purposely trying to make people second-guess what I’d posted.

Shortly after, I updated my comment on QueryTracker with new information I’d discovered (that all Metamorphosis’s big-5 sales are e-book only). If you’re unfamiliar with QT, the most recent comment appears at the top of the feed—including recently-updated comments. At this point, my negative comment was back at the top of Stephanie’s QT comment page. The very next day, BB updated their comment—however, they didn’t edit the content, which tells me they just wanted their comment to appear on top of mine. Figuring it was a fluke, I shrugged it off. However, a few days ago, a different user posted a negative comment on Stephanie’s QT profile. Again, BB updated their comment to make it move above the negative one. Suspicious of what was going on, I updated my comment again a couple days ago, making it move to the top. Yesterday, BB updated their comment again, making it appear first in the feed—someone is trying to bury negative comments about this agency.

Make of all this what you want, but writers need to know what they’re doing when they sign with this agency. Metamorphosis makes their clients sign a contract for one year that is automatically renewed unless prior notice is given in writing thirty days before the initial contract expires. In the publishing industry, a year can easily become a lifetime when you see the work you poured your heart and soul into is going nowhere. I’m not sure what this agency’s goal is, but something isn’t right here.

UPDATE: since I’ve typed this, people have been flooding Stephanie’s QT with positive comments. They all sound similar, as if written by the same person. One even states they signed with her back in October—so then why are they commenting NOW? It seems the agent may have requested her clients to post positive feedback on her behalf. Though my theory is purely speculation, it’s obvious something fishy is going on.

UPDATE: Recently, another QT user has expressed concern about the legitimacy of Metamorphosis after a flood of positive comments of dubious intent have filled Stephanie's QT profile. BB, after months of no activity, is back at updating her comment to bury negative ones.

UPDATE 2: A QT user recently posted that they've read this thread and have crossed Metamorphosis off their query list. After months of silence, BB has once again updated their comment to bury the negative comment.

UPDATE 3: BB (who at this point I suspect is Stephanie Hansen herself, because who else is this invested in a single agenct at an agency who mostly sells to small presses?) is once again up to their shenanigans. They've spammed Stephanie's QueryTracker with multiple links to deals Metamorphosis has made recently, and rather than putting all the links in one comment, they posted four separate comments, again moving negative comments further down the feed.
 
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kittymowmow

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Some of the books on their website, like the Immortal Sleepers, go to a Simon & schuster page, but if you scroll down to the product details, it says the book's publisher is Torrid. So... not being honest about where they're publishing. Or taking pains to make it look like the books are with top 5 pubs. This agency, while meaning good things I'm sure, can't make top 5 deals. Don't waste your time. If you want a small pub, you can do that yourself. Submitted to a "senior agent" who'd never been trained, other than what Metamorphosis taught them. That's not enough, folks.
 

NervousAnonymous

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UPDATE: Recently, another QT user has expressed concern about the legitimacy of Metamorphosis after a flood of positive comments of dubious intent have filled Stephanie's QT profile. BB, after months of no activity, is back at updating her comment to bury negative ones.

UPDATE 2: A QT user recently posted that they've read this thread and have crossed Metamorphosis off their query list. After months of silence, BB has once again updated their comment to bury the negative comment.

UPDATE 3: BB (who at this point I suspect is Stephanie Hansen herself, because who else is this invested in a single agenct at an agency who mostly sells to small presses?) is once again up to their shenanigans. They've spammed Stephanie's QueryTracker with multiple links to deals Metamorphosis has made recently, and rather than putting all the links in one comment, they posted four separate comments, again moving negative comments further down the feed.

UPDATE 4: BB has, at this point, posted six separate comments in the last week, all containing links to deal announcements from Metamorphosis or Stephanie specifically. They're all audio-only/eBook-only/small-press deals, so idk what exactly this person thinks they're proving, but it's so ridiculously obvious this is Stephanie herself. Another QT called BB out for this behavior, and BB has since continues to post links to Stephanie's every deal. QueryTracker really needs to do something about this blatant misuse of their platform.
 

NervousAnonymous

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As of November 5, Stephanie Hansen's QueryTracker has been deleted. She's clearly trying to wipe any evidence of her agency being shady.
 
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Sonya Heaney

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I know nobody's really commenting, but we *are* reading, and I'm so grateful for your posts! I'm a bit annoyed the account is gone, because it was extraordinary. Thank you for everything you've shared. I've seen people all over the internet linking to this thread.

Editing to say that I think several people have deleted their accounts.
 
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