S.T. Literary Agency / Stylus Literary Agency

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

Renee777

Re: S.T. Literary Agency are Vultures!

Hi again.:D

Yes, I've done all those things.;)

I've had my time wasted though for just about 2 years due to the scammers..
Since I thought I was working with a real agent each time, I was not sending out Queries to others.

I'll have to get back in the saddle.
That'll be easy for me since I'm a Texan/Cowgirl.
:rollin
 

mikl84

FTC Complaint

I just registered my complaint about ST with the FTC at www.ftc.gov so hopefully if enough people do it they'll go the way of Janet Kay...
 

victoriastrauss

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ST's New M.O.

As noted a few pages back, ST is going through some leadership changes, or at least a shuffling of the names on its letterhead. There's also been evidence that it is changing its procedures. Here's what seems to be the new M.O.

- There's still a $129 "intake" fee due on contract signing ($79 for the Online Pitch Page, $50 for entry in ST's database).

- Thereafter, clients pay a $150 "administrative" fee for "each marketing cycle". Marketing cycles are described thus: "...we research, pitch and submit your work to a group of qualified buyers who have specifically expressed interest in receiving it." I assume this is basically the same as before--10 or so submissions sent out at once to a randomly chosen list of publishers or production companies--but with a flat fee rather than a per-submission fee.

- Editing services are really being pushed. Sometimes they're offered before an agency contract. Sometimes they're offered after a couple of rounds of submissions. The pitch is a $99 "introductory" package that evaluates the first 50 pages of a ms., and allows the client to determine if they "wish to go further {sic}". No doubt "further" (or "farther") involves much larger costs.

The editing service, My Editor is a Saint, is run by an ST employee. This isn't disclosed.

ST also seems to be soliciting writers directly now, which suggests to me that the warnings on threads like this one are having an effect...Writer Beware still gets 5-10 e-mails about ST a week, and more and more of them are from people who did a websearch on ST and found enough information to convince them to turn down a contract offer.

- Victoria
 

reph

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A bit off topic, but, about the "sic": "Further" is correct there. "Farther" applies to comparisons of literal distance. You know how attorneys in court say "I have nothing further to ask of this witness, Your Honor"? They're using the word correctly.
 

brightspeak

ST Literary Agency

I'm glad I came upon you guys here, even though I'm based half a world across. If not, I'd be another unfortunate victim of the above. They seemed so genuine on their eagerness for representing new authors, citing their representation of new author Dario Castagno of "Too much Tuscan Sun". Can't imagine I was that close to potential massive heartache and financial drain. Thank you people; it's better for me to walk away from a nightmare now, than to have never woken up from these dreams gone astray, put to shame by these very manipulators who toy with our emotions and psychology.
 

James D. Macdonald

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brightspeak said:
... citing their representation of new author Dario Castagno of "Too much Tuscan Sun".

Victoria would probably know for sure, but I believe that Dario sold the book on his own, then asked Boppin' Bobby Fletcher to represent him in negotiations (with what results we've seen).
 

victoriastrauss

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Uncle Jim is right--Writer Beware confirmed that Dario Castagno sold his own book to Globe Pequod (a reputable independent publisher that accepts submissions direct from authors), and then hired ST to deal with the contract. ST is touting recent foreign sales for this book, but I suspect those rights were sold by the publisher, not ST.

I'm now just about positive that our friend Fletcher's got a brand new bag. It's called Children's Literary Agency ("Focused Exclusively on the Children [sic] and Young Adult Marketplace"). Its M.O. is to encourage clients to pay for editing and "sample illustrations" (a children's author who has researched the marketplace will know that this is not what publishers want). The agency's address is New York City, not Florida--but it's an office building that offers "Virtual Office Solutions designed for individuals and companies desiring a prestigious presence in New York", so that doesn't mean anything. Plus, writers whose submissions are larger than 5 megabytes are advised to "snail mail to our evaluation person located at 851 SW 7th Street, Boca Raton, FL."

I've seen some of Children's Literary Agency's correspondence, which is really, really similar in tone and phrasing to ST's canned materials. I've also seen the contract, which, apart from a few key details such as a different commission percentage, is identical in wording to the ST contract, and includes several elements, such as a nondisparagement clause, that are unique to the ST contract (and which you won't find in the contracts of reputable agents).

So I guess now we know why Fletcher claimed to be "moving on" from ST.

- Victoria
 
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James D. Macdonald

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victoriastrauss said:
ST is touting recent foreign sales for this book, but I suspect those rights were sold by the publisher, not ST.

Or perhaps they were sold by Mr. Castagno himself. He lives in Europe, and prior to the Globe Pequot sale had self-published a European edition of Too Much Tuscan Sun.

Also new on the ST page (and in ST's sock-puppetry) are books from Victor Stenger.

First, the sock-puppets.

This is from "Melvin Wilson," posting at Writers.net:

Melvin Wilson said:
For some reason my first message never made it. If heard a lot of negative comments about St Literary Agency. I am currently signed with them and I can say that I am pleased with them so far. When I got the contract and saw that they wanted $129 for a webpage, I though no way. But then I thought, I like to give everyone a fair shake, so I did some research. Of course, I did not use any of their references. I did, however, go by some of the book they mention. One "Too Much Tuscan Sun" by Dario Castagno sounded like a good one. I found the authors official webpage (not the one through the agency) and sent Mr. Castagno a message asking him of his experience with St Literary Agency. Here is his exact quote: "All I can say is that I'm currently doing a loooong book tour I the US...so that means all went well". I then did research on Victor Stenger. He has several physics books to his credit. So I signed with them. I have not been charged one cent more than the original $129. And the agency does not just there and do nothing after they get it. They do work to sell your book. Do the math. If they even half way try to sell your book, the $129 would not pay the salary of the agent, not to mention mailing the manuscripts. And I'm wholly convinced by talking to Mr. Castagno that they do work to sell your book. Now, I'm not trying to give all praise to St Literary Agency and I don't work for them. I just think there is another side to the story. I don't think the webpage is needed. It is a waist of space and money. But I took a chance.


This is from
"Stratton Jones," posting at Speculations.com:

Stratton Jones said:
That's not quite true. St Literary Agency has sold many books--and many have been successful. Many of their clients are satisfied. Check out "Too Much Tuscan Sun" by Dario Castagno. I asked the author personally of his experience with the agency. His reply: "...I'm doing a looong US book tour. So everything went perfectly." Victor Stenger has a long line of Physics books. There are many more. It's fine to to to put down an agency and warn people of problems, but one should check his facts before making statements. There are two sides to the coin. Yes, the agency does charge a fee for a webpage which I personally feel is not needed. However, after doing some research (yes, I've read the bad reviews as well as the good) of the agency, and contacted Mr. Castagno, I decided to sign with them. I have no regrets as of yet. They may be scam artists, but they are scam artists that get results. What they do with the authors money, I could care less. Your manuscripts WILL be shown to publishers.

Goodness, but those two seem similar. Both Jones and Wilson appeared recently. Neither Jones nor Wilson appear to have any interests other than defending ST's honor.

Do you think their names are really Jones or Wilson?

Me neither.

But back to Victor Stenger. The gentleman in question has, indeed, sold a good number of books about physics. They've all (including his forthcoming book) been published by Prometheus Books. And they've been coming out at regular intervals since 1988.

Why would Dr. Stenger need an agent to sell another physics book to Prometheus? And, seeing as his relationship with Prometheus dates back to 1988, in what possible way could ST Literary have been involved?

A mystery. I love mysteries.
 

Tom Drake

ST Lit

Thank you all very much! I had gotten my ST Lit. contract and was going to sign up with them but my wife suggested I do a Google search on their name. The first on the list (after ST Lit) was WriterBeware, and the second was your pages. I read for 4 hours, getting more and more agast at the narrowness of my escape! Thank you!!

I agree that keeping the post up-to-date greatly helped the believability of the posting (otherwise, I might have decided that it was old business and discounted it). The quality of the writing was high, and some of you *really* know your stuff!

Victoria, Uncle Jim, can you direct me to some of the threads useful for finding an agent? Uncle Jim, you mentioned other places on the board where you all talk about how to do it right - can you direct me to them?

Again, thanks.
Tom
 

CaoPaux

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James D. Macdonald

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Hey, Tom.

Depends on what you're after, but ... Cao has a couple of good suggestions there.

Also, on this board, if what you're into is Novels, go on up to the Novels area. If you write something else, Jenna probably has a place for it.

And congrats on your narrow escape.
 

sgtsdaughter

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FYI on ST lit

just so you know, anyone that ever contacted ST lit (yes, i was one of them--but woke up and ran before it was too late) will start receiving spam email from syndra technologies (i spelled the first one wrong). it's someting about stocks and what not, and as of yet i have been unable to get my name removed from thier server. the link is either broken, or the email is returned as undeliverable.

just thought you might want the heads up.

Annessa
 

Tom Drake

Annessa,

Thanks for the heads-up. I get so much spam that a little more won't hurt me. Just a bit more work for my filter.

Tom
 

Tom Drake

Uncle Jim,

Already done. She has a raincheck for dinner out. And if I get the stock spam, I'll foreward it to the agencies you mentioned.

Tom
 

Danon

My Editor is a S T ain

victoriastrauss said:
...The editing service, My Editor is a Saint, is run by an ST employee. This isn't disclosed....
This doesn't seem to be as well publicized as we might hope. Google hasn't indexed the absolutewrite.com archives, though there are some hits on the ezboard site for myeditorisasaint.com. Ironically, searching for "myeditorisasaint.com" and "writer beware" turns up an Amazon listing for Jeff Herman's book. The cache has a sponsored ad for myeditorisasaint.com.

It seems odd to me that Mark Bredt--I assume that's the employee you mean--seems to be a real writer/photographer when he's not wh04king for Sydra / S T Literary. I guess when the pubs don't pay the rent, you have to sell your air of legitimacy.
 

sgtsdaughter

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ah yes, i seem to remember a very big deal being made about the state of washington securities fraud conviction. and i do believe that there is another case going on . . . was it here, or somewhere else, that an individual was sending his zip file to anyone who requested it?

Annessa
 

ymmatrysk

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My Editor...

Regarding My Editor is a Saint, I think I posted this before, but I was 'duped' into using them from ST, and I ultimately had a very decent experience with them. Mark and I (at least I think/hope it was Mark) emailed back and forth a few times. Thank all the Gods I didn't get involved with ST, but My Editor did help me pull together my manuscript. Just for whatever its worth...
Ymma
 

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victoriastrauss said:
Ymma, just out of curiosity--did you buy a whole book edit (as opposed to the first 50 pages)? If so, how much did it cost?

Thanks--

- Victoria
I did the whole book, which is really only just over 200 pages. It cost $600, which they let me pay in three installments over time (which was the only way I could do such a thing!). They edited it in Word with Tracked Changes, so I could work with it and reject/accept what they changed. They also posted comments within the text, which I usually found helpful (some were even just positive 'I like this' kinds of things).

The very first thing I asked Mark when I was considering working with them was if I was in any way beholden to ST if I chose to work with My Editor, and he said they were a seperate entity. I was, and still am, VERY green, so I really don't know how my experience would compare to other editing services. But I haven't ever received anything from ST, or anything unsolicited from My Editor.

Now that its totally after the fact, what is the 'going rate' for editors? Just curious, I'm prepared to be really bummed if I paid way over the market rate...
Thanks!
Ymma
 

Roger J Carlson

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ymmatrysk said:
Now that its totally after the fact, what is the 'going rate' for editors? Just curious, I'm prepared to be really bummed if I paid way over the market rate...
Thanks!
Ymma
Prices I've seen on the web have been between $1 and $2 per page. I don't know if these are 'legitimate' or not. Based on that, you over paid a little. (However, I've proofed a novel for a friend of mine, and I'd need a whole lot more than that per page to do it for a living!)

On the other hand, if you took a creative writing class at a university, you could easily pay $750 and share the professor with 12-300 people.

Bottom line? If the experience really helped your writing, and you can apply those lessons to future writing, then I don't think it was a horrible price to pay.
 

maestrowork

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$1-2 per page is a decent price, depending on what you accomplish with the editing -- is it just line edit, or more?