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Robert Astle & Associates Lit. Mgmt / Astor + Blue Editions

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novellabob

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Hi all. Robert Astle is new on the block. He lists a few credits but I am not finding much info at all on his practices, client satisfaction, etc. Website is rather general, with all the same caveats about how to query etc. P&E lists no recorded sales despite the agent's claims to have "made a dent." Anyone had any dealings with him yet? Thanks. ~Bob.
 

schoonerbabe

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Read his website and took a pass because his only experience seems to be 33 years in the theatre. Needs some past agenting apprenticeship or editing creds, imho. I only go with agents with track records. Good luck, Bob.
 

wordz

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hmmmm. looks like he is representing some poets on a very short list of new unpub'd clients. is that a way to start an agency? poetry is what ... 2% of market??? theater experience, poets, few clients, not many pub credits? red flags 2 me. i agree with schoonerbabe. stick with experience.
 

novellabob

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Thanks, schoonerbabe and wordz. The poetry client looks like she is trying to publish novels, not poetry. Astle's bio does say he has done some subsidiary rights work, plus a (brief?) stint with a New York Agency, but no company names are given. He lists three books as "forthcoming," and they are with respectable independent presses (Overlook and Sourcebooks), but I don't see any larger houses listed yet although his website is copyrighted 2006-2008. Three forthcoming books with independent publishers--that's it for two entire years of work as an agent in NYC. Has ten clients, and no actual recorded sales (I would think that these would be featured on his website). He's interested in a project of mine and offers a one year contract with a 30 day opt-out. I was rejected by about fifteen A-list agents before I stumbled across Astle, who liked my verbal pitch but the not written proposal or sample chapters. Says, too, he has sub-agents and is "training readers." Sub-agents and still no recorded sales? Looks like someone who may have some level of competency but just doesn't seem to be performing. Am I being paranoid?
 

schoonerbabe

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No Bob, you're not being paranoid. That's not much to show for two years. Jeff Herman advises using agents with a good track record. If his sales are that low, he is either doing something wrong or doesn't have the contacts to develop his client list.
 

wordz

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so how is he paying the rent for two years? or his subagents? (never heard of an agency with no "recorded" sales and ten clients having subagents.) agents like this usually have other income in the form of kickbacks from book doctors, rep fees, affiliated editing agencies, etc.
 

rathhaven

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Got a request for 50 pages from his assistant Rayna Erlick. She gives great feedback.
 

Krista G.

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Got a request for 50 pages from his assistant Rayna Erlick. She gives great feedback.

If you don't mind my asking, rathhaven, how do you know she gives great feedback...if you just got the request yesterday?
 

Krista G.

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I sent a query to Mr. Astle last week, got a request for a partial on Tuesday of this week (from his assistant), and just received my rejection today. So the turnaround time on the query was less than a week, and only three days on the partial. At least it was quick, if not the response I would have liked.

P.S. Mr. Astle's assistant did give some very personalized feedback in her rejection, which is always nice. Frustrating when it doesn't correspond to what other agents have said, but nice nonetheless.
 

tracythewriter

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I sent in a query for a YA book on 2/3 and a request for a partial on the 16th from Rayna Erlick, his assistant. I believe she may be building her own client list too, but not sure. I haven't heard back on my partial yet, but I've got my fingers crossed that they want to see more.
 

Roly

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I got a request for the first 50 pages too. I only sent going off of what others have said here, though I was a little bothered by theatre being his major experience. He doesn't have a dollar sign next to his name, but does have some sales on pm.

But for agents that don't have the dollar sign next to their name on PandE, is that considered 'ok' or is it a bad sign?
 

Stikan

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I'm not sure if the dollar sign it's OK or not, but I'd say it's better. What bothered me also was Rayna's twitter said she was onerly and the author didn't have her by page ten, she was rejecting it, though she feared that she was rejecting it due to her orneriness. Just seemed a little unprofessional to me.

Edited: Just got my R from my partial with some suggestions.
 

Roly

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Okay, but one thing I learned from Nathan Bransford is that agents are people, (and warned against doing certain submission stuff wrong so as to not make the agent cranky while reading your stuff). Personally, I think crankiness only becomes a factor when the agent really is on the fence about the manuscript in the first place, but again you never know. Plus just because agents don't say so on twitter or on their blogs doesn't mean they don't go through and reject stuff for similar reasons.

The whole thing, sadly, is a crapshoot :(

But what I'm more concerned about with these people is experience, connection and sales.
 

Stikan

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Agreed 100%. You just got to take it for what it is, and keep going!

Experience, connections and sales are key. I like to be able to type in the agent's name in Google and have a bunch of stuff such as interviews, blogs and the like come up about them.

Good luck on your partial! She gets back to you fast and do keep me posted! :)
 

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