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[Submission Service] Australian Literary Talent

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Little1

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Ghost, I found the owners are Michael Dalvean; Anne Clarke; and John-Henry Te Hira.. I will do some goole-fu and see what I can come up with :)

After reading there bios IDk about sending my MS to them. None of them have a publishing background. Let alone an editing one. They studied music, history, and finance/marketing. None have worked with a publishing house or as editors. This sounds like friends getting together to start a business.
 
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ghost

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Yeah, that's what I thought too.

I've also never seen a company that offers itself as a go-between for writers and agents. They're trying to say that they can get writers in to agents who have closed their doors to submissions. They claim the fee will be paid by the agent.
 

Little1

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Yeah, that's what I thought too.

I've also never seen a company that offers itself as a go-between for writers and agents. They're trying to say that they can get writers in to agents who have closed their doors to submissions. They claim the fee will be paid by the agent.


Thats the other thing. What agent would pay a "finders fee"? That is just ludacris. I have also seen agents say they wil auto reject subs that come from someone other then the author. They don't want to hear from 3rd parties. They want to hear from YOU.
 

ghost

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I can't see that either. It's not like agents are making millions of dollars off of unknown writers.

They told her to keep things a little 'hush hush' too. That many agents don't want people knowing they're using headhunters to find clients.

And apparently they've already lined her up an agent....I told her to be careful. I hate to be the type who isn't supportive (she's so excited) but at the same time I keep wondering when they're going to ask her for money.
 

Momento Mori

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Australian Literary Talent:
We are a literary talent evaluation service for writers of fiction. This is a new concept in Australian publishing.

And what, precisely, is its qualifications for evaluating literary talent? None of the three founders are commercially publisher authors, none have worked for a commercial publisher in an acquisitions or editorial capacity (or, indeed, any capacity from the look of it) and none have worked for a literary agency. How then do they know what they're looking for? Answer: they don't.

Australian Literary Talent:
What we do is we find literary agents or publishers for writers we feel have high commercial or literary potential.

Australian based authors are perfectly capable of finding their own agents and publishers. They've been doing it for years without the assistance of a business such as this.

Australian Literary Talent:
You will notice that many literary agents do not accept unsolicited material from unpublished writers.

I'd suggest that literary agents in Australia (like agents anywhere) want you to go down the query letter route first in accordance with their submissions guidelines. If they're interested in what you've got, they'll ask for a partial/full (as the case may be).

Of course, this isn't nearly as scaremongering and inaccurate as to suggest that agents don't want new authors.

Australian Literary Talent:
This is because they tend not to have the resources to assess large numbers of manuscripts from new authors.

That's why they usually want a query letter first.

Australian Literary Talent:
Their specialty is representing the interests of established authors.

This completely overlooks the fact that every established author was once a new author and agents usually want new clients to keep their business growing.

Australian Literary Talent:
the publisher’s primary role is not to assess new material, but to produce, distribute and promote a book once it has been accepted for publication.

Erm ... publishers assess new material submitted to them by agents all the time. That's how they get new books.

Australian Literary Talent:
This is why in many cases they do not accept unsolicited manuscripts.

No. That's not why. Many publishers don't accept unsolicited manuscripts because they already rely on agents to sort through the slush.

Australian Literary Talent:
At Australian Literary Talent we do nothing but assess the commercial and literary potential of your manuscript. If we think your writing has potential we approach a literary agent or publisher directly.

And? Why would any agent or publisher take a manuscript from Australian Literary Talent? Does the business have contacts or established relationships? I'd suggest not. Therefore, you're no better off using these people than you are going through the normal query and submission process.

Australian Literary Talent:
Michael Dalvean
Most of my working life has been spent in two very different fields: financial research and music teaching. These days I try to spend as much time as possible playing music and reading. Over the years I have accumulated degrees in economics, philosophy and political science. I am currently writing a PhD thesis on the selection of ministers in the Australian Federal Parliament.

All very nice, but no publishing or agency experience there to back up what he's offering to people.

Australian Literary Talent:
John-Henry Te Hira
I was raised in the Far North of New Zealand. At school I excelled in history and music, later taking these up at The Christchurch Jazz School and Canterbury University respectively, while working part time at The Christchurch Press. At the age of 23 I left New Zealand for England, working and travelling. These travels took me through Borneo, Japan, The Middle East, Macedonia and Western Europe. During one of these excursions I met my fiancée in Italy and we now live together in Canberra, ACT Australia. I am currently working for The Canberra Times..

All very nice, but no publishing or agency experience there to back up what he's offering to people.

Australian Literary Talent:
Anne Clarke
Originally from Sydney, I decided after a career in marketing and sales that a degree in liberal arts at the ANU would be help me discover the passion that was missing from my working life. Now, 16 years later, my involvement with Australian Literary Talent speaks to a lifelong love of literature.

All very nice, but no publishing or agency experience there to back up what she's offering to people.

ghost:
They claim the fee will be paid by the agent.

Is that what they're saying in their promotional literature (because I couldn't see it on their website)?

I don't see why an agent would want to pay that fee, unless they've established a contract to specifically read their slush.

MM
 

Momento Mori

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ghost:
They told her to keep things a little 'hush hush' too. That many agents don't want people knowing they're using headhunters to find clients.

Oh really? So assuming that this agent signs your mate, does this mean that your mate doesn't disclose that she got it through ALT? If so, how does that assist ALT's credibility? If not, doesn't it all become public once she signs?

Sounds a little ... stupid to me. (Note - their attitude is stupid - not saying your mate or you are stupid).

ghost:
And apparently they've already lined her up an agent....I told her to be careful. I hate to be the type who isn't supportive (she's so excited) but at the same time I keep wondering when they're going to ask her for money.

I hope your mate finds out who this agent is before either paying anything or signing anything.

I've honestly never heard of this kind of thing working before. I know that Cornerstones in the UK refers some people who've used its editing service to agents who it has a good relationship with (in return for a portion of the manuscript sale, I think) but Cornerstones is run by and employs people with loads of industry experience and the contacts to go with it.

These people at ALT don't seem to have any of that.

I'm pegging them as clueless but well-meaning amateurs for the time being.

MM
 

ghost

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They told my friend that their finders fee would be paid by the agent when I asked her whether or not they wanted money from her.
 

Little1

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Momento: On the "About Us" tab -

"Payment
You do not pay us. Instead, we negotiate a finder’s fee directly with a literary agent or publisher. "
 

Momento Mori

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Ah, I see. Thanks, Little1.

Still don't see how this is going to work. Why would any agent or publisher want to pay a finder's fee - presumably it's paid on acceptance of the manuscript by the agent (in which case, the agent is taking a risk that the manuscript won't sell). I find it difficult to believe that any publisher would accept a manuscript from ALT if they're already inundated from proper agencies.

Australian Literary Talent:
If we feel that the novel has commercial or literary potential we will request a meeting with you to discuss the possibility of working together.

What's to discuss? The only working together that the business is offering is to submit your manuscript to agencies/publishers. What more is needed? (And I should mention that given ALT is expressly stating that it isn't a literary agency, I don't see the point of their submitting to publishers direct because it doesn't seem as though they're going to do any of the contract negotiation and post-contract admin and relationship stuff that an author actually needs).

MM
 

DaveKuzminski

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P&E recently had a company inform us it was changing from publishing to becoming an agency that finds agents for writers. Consequently, P&E considered the ramifications and concluded it's just a bad idea too prone to abuse.

In the case above, we can see the agency becoming a funnel to scam agents who might not mind paying a small fee to get writers into their clutches. After all, if you're hooked up for no charge with an agency, then you'll probably feel grateful and won't question any fees you're charged.

I just don't see any legitimate agents going along with this if only because such an "agent agency" will have no reason to qualify any submissions because they'll eventually realize that it's a numbers game for them. The more writers they submit to agents, the more likely one of them will succeed. So they'll accept more and more slush to represent to agents until they're totally ignored because they don't know how to differentiate between good and bad writing. By the time they know how, it will be too late.
 

victoriastrauss

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That's just what we need--another middleman between authors and publishers.

They do get points for not charging authors upfront, but I can't see agents paying a finder's fee to a submission service. Plus, there's nothing in the staff's backgrounds to suggest they have publishing industry contacts.

- Victoria
 

ghost

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Thanks everyone. I passed on the information to her but she's decided to go ahead and try anyway. There's nothing else I can do at this point.

But at least I tried.
 

Little1

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Ghost, that is all you can do. As they say you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. Tis sad.
 

DeadlyAccurate

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Ooh, what happens when all the submission services get inundated and start closing to submission? Will we then start seeing pre-submission services who submit to submission services who then submit to agents who submit to editors?

I smell a new business opportunity! ;)
 

HapiSofi

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What this idea collapses down to is disintermediating slush reading for literary agents. Victoria, I can't remember the name of the thread where we already thrashed out the problems with this idea.

Short version:

  • Nobody's going to pay enough for slush reading to support a business.
  • Why should agents trust their judgement? They've got no track record.
  • If they became popular and successful, how would they decide which agent gets which promising book? Conflict of interest is built into the system.
It's just another re-invention of a bad idea.
 

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I agree with HapiSofi completely.
 

CaoPaux

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Site's gone down under. Not finding the principals elsewhere.
 

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