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Robins Agency / Writer for Hire (Cris Robins)

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

maestrowork

OK, I did a search but nothing came up.

I remember reading something here about this agency and Cris J. Baker Robins...

Any yays or nays?
 

vstrauss

Re: Robins Literary Agency... Inquire

Nays.

This agency makes its living solely from fees--editing fees, and astronomical "management" fees (anywhere from $500 to $3,200). It has never sold a book to a commercial publisher.

- Victoria
 

Savvy

Re: Robins Literary Agency... Inquire

You don't mean BJ Robbins, right?
 

maestrowork

Re: Re: Robins Literary Agency... Inquire

No. As I understand, Robins is different than BJ Robins.
 

vstrauss

Re: Re: Robins Literary Agency... Inquire

Yeah. B. J. Robbins is a successful agent in L.A. Cris Robins is a scam agent in Arkansas.

- Victoria
 

christinedg

The agency is listed in Jeff Herman's 2004 Guide

just fyi . . .
 

maestrowork

Re: The agency is listed in Jeff Herman's 2004 Guide

It's kind of bothersome that Jeff Herman's guide would include such agencies. Because they went through the whole Q&A (probably via a form and not actual interview), you'd think the agencies are all legit. In addition to Robins, they also listed Harris Agency, which according the P&E and here isn't up and up either.
 

Savvy

Joy Harris

Joy Harris isn't up and up? Maestro, can you explain?
 

maestrowork

Re: Joy Harris

My bad. I'm sorry for the wrong information (and have edited my post). I meant the "Harris Literary Agency" not the Joy Harris (who is just fine).
 

vstrauss

Re: The agency is listed in Jeff Herman's 2004 Guide

>> It's kind of bothersome that Jeff Herman's guide would include such agencies.<<

Agreed. But I don't know of a single guide that doesn't include a few questionable and/or marginal agents--in some cases, like Writer's Market, many. The authors of these books tend to take the agents' responses at face value, and if the "agent" chooses to give false or misleading information (like Robins calling her agency "the largest literary agency in the Midwest"--which actually probably is literally true, given that she probably has at least a couple of hundred clients), it'll be assumed to be true.

IMO, the Herman book, Rachel Vater's book (she used to author the Writers Digest "Guide to Literary Agents" but seems to have struck out on her own with her own book), and Literary Marketplace are the most informative and the most updated, and contain the smallest number of questionables.

- Victoria
 

christinedg

Re: The agency is listed in Jeff Herman's 2004 Guide

Victoria,

I've been wondering about Writer's Market. When I first started trying to figure out how to find an agent, a friend of a friend said Writer'sMarket.com was an absolute must. I subscribe to it but take everything in it with a grain of salt. I guess that's the right attitude.

I also heard Jeff Herman's book was an absolute must. I feel more confident in it, but there are still some clinkers, apparently.

I am so interested in Rachel Vater's book. I'm going to pick up a copy today. And, I assume Literary Marketplace is a book - not a website, yes?

Thank you so much for the suggestions
 

vstrauss

Re: The agency is listed in Jeff Herman's 2004 Guide

>>And, I assume Literary Marketplace is a book - not a website, yes?<<

It's a reference book that should be available in your local library. Some libraries don't order a new LMP every year; if it's a year or more old, you'll need to double check addresses, because these do change.

LMP also has a website with online listings, but it costs quite a bit of money to subscribe.

I should have said that my criticism was for the print Writer's Market. I've never really explored the website (I would if it were free, but I don't want to pay).

- Victoria
 

Nameless65

Re: Robins Literary Agency... Inquire

My biggest gripe with WM had been that they covered too much – poetry, novels, magazines, children, everything in one book. Now they seem to have broken the material up into separate books.

As far as listing iffy agents, don’t they also include whether they are AAR members? Another question – how does AAR police its members? Does it? What’s to prevent an agency from changing its policies after it becomes an AAR member?
 

christinedg

Re: Robins Literary Agency... Inquire

The online WM does indicate AAR membership. RE the AAR monitoring members, I have no idea how/if that is done. Good question, though!
 

vstrauss

Re: Robins Literary Agency... Inquire

AAR has fairly strict membership requirements--members must have been agents for at least 2 years before joining, and have sold a minimum of 10 properties within the past 18 months. The AAR doesn't police its membership--it's a voluntary trade association, not a union or a group that licenses or accredits people--but if there's a credible complaint it will investigate, and agents have been kicked out of AAR for violating the Canon of Ethics.

10 properties in the past 18 months isn't a large number of sales, and as you can imagine some fairly marginal agents do squeak by. Also, AAR can't screen for assholery, so there's no guarantee an AAR agent is going to be a nice person. And while AAR doesn't allow members to charge reading fees or editing fees or make referrals for kickbacks, there's enough vagueness about the charging back of submission expenses to allow for a wide variety of practice. It's still the most common thing among successful agents to let expenses accrue and deduct them from writers' advances. But there are some AAR members (and successful agents who aren't AAR members) who ask for an upfront deposit or require writers to reimburse expenses as incurred. I personally feel very strongly that this isn't in the writer's best interest. But it does happen.

Just another sign that there's no black and white in this business, only shades of gray.

- Victoria
 

EDITORINCHIEF0103

Re: The Robins Agency?

Sigh..... I knew it was too good to be true and just saw the earlier post.....
 

EDITORINCHIEF0103

Re: Robins Literary Agency... Inquire

Is this the same Robins agency in St. Louis?
 

vstrauss

Re: Robins Literary Agency... Inquire

Yes. Sorry. The switch to St. Louis is fairly recent, and my memory just defaulted to Arkansas, where they had an address for many years before the change.

- Victoria
 

James D Macdonald

Re: Robins Literary Agency... Inquire

Back when they were in Arkansas they were claiming a Pulitzer nomination even though the Pulitzer people somehow didn't list them as nominees, and four Communicator Awards (one of those You Pay The Money, You Get the Award places). That's as impressive as saying that you were published by the International Library of Poetry.

See also:

<a href="http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=lang_en&ie=UTF-8&safe=off&threadm=19990820172736.16584.00001155%40ng-cl1.aol.com&rnum=1&prev=/groups%3Fq%3D%2522robins%2Bagency%2522%26hl%3Den%26lr%3Dlang_en%26ie%3DUTF-8%26safe%3Doff%26selm%3D19990820172736.16584.00001155%2540ng-cl1.aol.com%26rnum%3D1" target="_new">here</a>, <a href="http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=lang_en&ie=UTF-8&safe=off&threadm=20001105234817.09193.00000741%40ng-ce1.aol.com&rnum=4&prev=/groups%3Fq%3D%2522robins%2Bagency%2522%26hl%3Den%26lr%3Dlang_en%26ie%3DUTF-8%26safe%3Doff%26selm%3D20001105234817.09193.00000741%2540ng-ce1.aol.com%26rnum%3D4" target="_new">here</a>, and <a href="http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=lang_en&ie=UTF-8&safe=off&threadm=20010712103647.16381.00002275%40ng-fn1.aol.com&rnum=2&prev=/groups%3Fq%3D%2522robins%2Bagency%2522%26hl%3Den%26lr%3Dlang_en%26ie%3DUTF-8%26safe%3Doff%26selm%3D20010712103647.16381.00002275%2540ng-fn1.aol.com%26rnum%3D2" target="_new">here</a>.
 

HapiSofi

Re: Robins Literary Agency... Inquire

Jim, I know you know this, but for everyone else's benefit: There's no such thing as a Pulitzer nominee. Material gets entered for consideration (there are non-onerous requirements for who can and can't do that), and then organization makes its decisions. People who claim to be Pulitzer nominees are either confused, humbugs, or both.
 

Deb Ruth

Harris Literary Agency

I wrote to Jeff Herman. Below is his response.

Thanks for feeding this to me. When organizing my book, I am as vulnerable as any trusting writer when it comes to the statements made to me by "agents". We try to weed them out as their true intentions become evident. It does not serve my agenda to give these firms a platform from which to promote what they do. To the contrary, it somewhat tarnishes my own hard earned credibility. Feel free to share this statement. Best wishes, Jeff Herman