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The Barnard Agency (Wendy Barnard)

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

JerseyGirl1962

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Agency is located here.

What I didn't like is that she talks about being an editor at multiple print and online publications, but she doesn't list any of them. (Even 2 or 3 would've been helpful.)

I mean, were they start ups that went out of business after a couple of months, or...?

Tread carefully.

~Nancy
 

herdon

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Looks she only has two clients at the moment, so it is a very new agency. Not someone that should be high on the list since there is nothing on the website to indicate that she has the right connections to be successful.

She does have a few publishers listed in her links section. Perhaps those are the ones she worked for? Without her specifically saying it, who knows?

You could always ask her for her qualifications, but I wouldn't bother until I'd gone through all the reputable agents that are appropriate.
 

victoriastrauss

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I see some red flags--

- As has been noted, Ms. Barnard claims experience without providing specifics. If you don't know exactly where someone has worked, you have no way of knowing whether their work experience is relevant to literary agenting.

- The agency's "About" page has the familiar "I set up this literary agency because I know there's a huge amount of overlooked talent out there" stuff. This kind of verbiage is more likely to come from someone at the margins of the industry than from someone at the center. (I note without comment Ms. Barnard's goal of "hopefully influencing the evolution of [the publishing] industry with her own perspective.")

- She has donated "a complete critique and edit package" to a charity auction. To me at least, this raises the specter of paid editing services.

I'm not necessarily saying there's a problem with this agency--just that a lot more information is needed.

- Victoria
 

CaoPaux

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From her blog (Oct 30):

Let me stress a few points regarding some feedback I have seen on other sites regarding my agency.

1. Yes, we are new. But everyone starts somewhere. If you are looking for an established agency, we are not that. I only have two clients, but they are clients I firmly believe in. I have rejected 10 submissions in the last week. This is because I do not believe in them. So really, my size is a reflection on my judgment.

2. The reason I have never listed the previous places I edited for is because we parted ways on bad terms. As stated on my website I left those positions because I was unhappy publishing and rewriting the crap the owners tried to pass off on my simply because it came from their friends and family. They were not large publishing houses, and most are closed now. I feel I can leave it at that.

3. I do have contacts at major publishing houses. I may not be best friends with them, but they tend to know my name.

4. I do not require any upfront fees of any sort. There are no reading fees, no hidden costs, I don't make money unless you make money. The only time charges come into play is if you sign a contract, have me completely edit your manuscript, and then cancel that contract. At this point you are clearly trying to waste my time. Upon cancellation of our contract under these terms there will be an editing fee charged to the writer at the rate of $1.00 per page. I feel that is fair. Of course this is listed in the agent/author contract.

I think that about covers everything for now.
 

Saskatoonistan

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Is it normal for an agent (even one with a mysterious background) to give the titles of the manuscripts they've rejected on a blog? http://barnardagency.livejournal.com/28251.html

I don't think I'd like the title of something I'd written and that has been rejected by an agent slapped on that agent's blog.
 

Stlight

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It’s true she offers to remove if you ask, but how would you know your rejected title was there? Who bothers to rush over to the blog of an agent who rejected them? Okay, maybe everyone except me. I just have my regular reads and any I'm querying before I do, not so much after.

This listing appears to be of no real use to anyone except to embarrass people who query her.

Just my take.
 
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EgyptianGoddess

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I wouldn't even bother to query her after reading this. No thank you very much.
 

Turtle's_Daddy

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I'm still on a search for an agent, and with all the newbies, scammers and snobs I've crossed off my list, this one put me over the edge. Perhaps because my blood's already angried up this afternoon, I just sent this email (NOT from the address I use for writing projects):


I'm doing some research on some agencies and stumbled across your web site. While I realize you're no longer seeking submissions, I nevertheless feel compelled, as a writer and advocate for writers, to express my concern regarding the page you keep on livejournal.com listing rejected submissions (http://barnardagency.livejournal.com/28251.html).

Submitting to an agency can be a leap of faith. Writing is a solitary craft, and sending it to an agent can be a big step. Listing the titles you've rejected as an agent betrays the trust a writer places in you when sending a query or manuscript. It can make the rejection letter, already a devastating moment in beginning writers' lives, a tool of public scorn, one that could potentially make a writer choose to toss a manuscript in the wastebasket or the bottom of a desk drawer rather than rewrite and soldier on. And what of the writers who've made simultaneous submissions?

Of greater importance is the image it expresses to professional writers and other agents. No existing or folded agency that I've ever encountered engages in such a practice. It displays a lack of understanding of the industry, one that a writer with minimal experience will recognize as a red flag; one that a fellow agent will see as an attempt to say "don't waste your time" to colleagues. Was posting this list a means of demonstrating that you're the "real deal"? If so, that's usually done by listing books you've actually sold, which is, at the end of the day, the truest measure of an agent's worth.

While I realize you've had a "change of direction," leaving this list posted is nevertheless a tacky - and potentially damaging - legacy for your stint as a literary agent.

Sincerely,
A Concerned Writer and Editor
 

Saskatoonistan

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Well here's an update. Apparently they're no longer a literary agency. From her blog/site dated September 8th, 2009:

The Barnard Literary Agency is switching gears. As of this moment we will no longer be considered a “Literary Agency”. We will therefore no longer be accepting any submissions for representation.

That being said, all submissions currently on our reading list are released. We will try to send individual emails out to all authors, but this post serves as our official notice to all.

Moving forward, The Barnard Agency will now focus solely on our editing and critiquing services. As a literary agency it was impossible to offer these services to the public due to publishing morals.

This website will be updated soon to reflect these changes.

Also, we will soon be announcing a combined project with our sister site at www.blacklighthorror.ca.
 

DreamWeaver

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"[P]ublishing morals"? Shouldn't that be "publishing ethics"? Or am I quibbling?
 

Eirin

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From her blog (Oct 30):

2. The reason I have never listed the previous places I edited for is because we parted ways on bad terms. As stated on my website I left those positions because I was unhappy publishing and rewriting the crap the owners tried to pass off on my simply because it came from their friends and family. They were not large publishing houses, and most are closed now. I feel I can leave it at that.

This does not inspire confidence.
 

Turtle's_Daddy

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Here's her response, if you're interested:

Dear A Concerned Writer and Editor aka [My name]
I am sorry you feel that way. Please note many of the people I deal with in the industry applauded my use of the list as most agents rarely kept in contact with people regarding where their pieces stood in line. You are one of only 2 people who have ever expressed an issue. Please also note, as it clearly states, an author can have their titles removed at any time by simply requesting so by email. Many have already placed those requests and have been dealt with in a timely fashion. Some have actually requested me to keep their title listed so they can link to it to show it's made it where it has on the reading list.

Other than that I merely have to say it is my Blog and I will keep it as is unless specific people would like their information removed. As you can see no names are listed and there are many manuscripts with similar names.

Now, is there a title that is yours that you would like removed?


1. Yes, lots of people are concerned because they never hear from the agencies to whom they've submitted. It doesn't mean this is the alternative they'd choose.

2. If you're no longer in the agency business, shouldn't the entire list just come down right away?

3. No, I don't have anything on the list. The point is that this is a tacky way to do business, lady.
 
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