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The Grant Agency (Steve Grant)

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victoriastrauss

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According to the agency's website, Mr. Grant's qualifications for being an agent are "Extensive experience in sales and the love of the written word." This is great, but it's not enough. Agenting isn't about selling in the insurance sense of the word, so sales skills aren't necessarily transferrable--also, agents need specialized expertise (such as a knowledge of publishing contract terms) and professional industry contacts that are hard to acquire without actually having worked in publishing or for another agency. An agent who lacks that kind of professional backtround is at a major disadvantage. People who come to agenting from non-publishing-related fields rarely manage to make a go of it.

None of Grant's listed clients appear to be print-published.

- Victoria
 

Rhush

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Steve Grant?

I know I've asked about this agency once before, but they seem to have gained a little experience since my last post. I'm not certain though. What is ComStar Media? And the site says that you are not required to sign a contract, but instead enter into a "verbal aggreement". Hmmm? They are not yet AAR, but say they hold to the ethics. I ask because they are requesting my proposal and I want to know if I'm wasting my time. Thanks!

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Steve Grant
The Grant Agency
3621 Huntwick Drive
Orange, TX 77632
www.thegrantagency.com
 

victoriastrauss

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ComStar Media is here. They're an anthology publisher (very new; they don't seem to have put out any actual books as yet, and the company's principals don't appear to have any book publishing experience) that also has a novel publishing program through Windstorm Creative, an indie publisher that I consider at least somewhat questionable. I see plenty of red flags at ComStar's website, including the fact that they "recruit" from fan fiction lists...but the salient point is that no agent is needed to place a work with this publisher.

I think I've already given an opinion of the Grant Agency; the "sale" to ComStar doesn't change it.

- Victoria
 

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victoriastrauss said:
ComStar Media is here. They're an anthology publisher (very new; they don't seem to have put out any actual books as yet, and the company's principals don't appear to have any book publishing experience) that also has a novel publishing program through Windstorm Creative, an indie publisher that I consider at least somewhat questionable. I see plenty of red flags at ComStar's website, including the fact that they "recruit" from fan fiction lists...but the salient point is that no agent is needed to place a work with this publisher.

I think I've already given an opinion of the Grant Agency; the "sale" to ComStar doesn't change it.

- Victoria

Greetings,

I just wanted to offer a couple of quick clarifications about ComStar Media. First, one of our authors uses Mr. Grant as her agent, but that is the extent of our business relationship with him. While she seems very happy with him, we are not affiliated with Mr. Grant beyond our mutual business relationship with that particular author.

We are also no longer in business with Windstorm Creative. We signed on with Windstorm when we were quite new, and it was a mistake that we regret. Our website is being updated to reflect that we are no longer in business with that company.

We do recruit writers of "fan fiction".

As a new company, it is very understandable why people would be very cautious about dealing with us. While all companies must be new at some point, there is an understandable worry about doing business with a company that is yet to establish itself. If you experience such a worry, then we would ask that you give us some time to prove ourselves. You can also contact nearly all of our writers simultaneously thru our writer's yahoogroup comstarwriters.

Respectfully,
William Andersen
ComStar
 
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jfreedan

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Forgive me if this sounds ignorant, but how is fan-fiction publishable?
 

batgirl

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Fanfic itself isn't publishable, for copyright reasons (there are exceptions - I think Phantom of the Opera fanfic is safe, because the original novel is out of copyright, so unless one had direct refs to the stage play or film, it wouldn't be a violation).
But fanfic writers may write original fiction, and since a lot of fanfic is readable on websites, it's possible to get an idea of someone's skill pretty quickly. Much of it is dreadful, yes, but some of it is very good indeed. There are a few pro writers who also write fanfic, just for the love of the various worlds.
So my guess is that they are talking about encouraging fanfic writers to make the jump to profic, but that is just a guess.
-Barbara
 

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I understand that there are some fanfic writers who are quite popular and skilled.

But, my point was that whereas the fanfiction is based on a world that was already created by someone else, authoring an original story is arguably a longer process; and one where the work is marketable.

Why look for talented fanfiction writers who would need to spend anywhere from a month to several years to write an original story when you can just find writers of original fiction who already have original stories either completed or in a state of completion that just requires editing? :p

The only possible advantage I can see is that you might assume the fans of the fanfiction which the writer has already written can become customers who purchase the books of the writer...but the fans are reading the fanfiction for free, and the only reason they even found those fanfiction stories was because it was based on the original work they already like. So, I dont really see much of an advantage to it, and more of a disadvantage really. Isn't world-building an important part of fiction writing? I'm not sure that fanfiction offers much in the world-building department, since the world was already built by the original author of the work.

That is just my opinion, anyway.
 

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jfreedan said:
Why look for talented fanfiction writers who would need to spend anywhere from a month to several years to write an original story when you can just find writers of original fiction who already have original stories either completed or in a state of completion that just requires editing?

The key word there is "talented."
 

badducky

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I actually abused fanfic when I was "honing my craft" in a Creative Writing program.

A person in a workshop will read your text like a writer. They will look for ways to make your work resemble what they desire in their own writing.

Fanfic fans will get behind quality writing, and openly spurn bad writing. They will occasionally contact you with kudos, and you'll be able to get honest feedback from people who just like to read.

I never spent a great deal of my energy on such tasks, but I found it useful as a quick aside now and then to stay close to my desired audience while sitting through workshops of various quality and diversity of intent.

The way I see it, to hone our craft we must attempt to tackle a little bit of everything. This includes fanfic.
 

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I actually wrote a fair amount of fanfic back in The Day. To me, it was a good writing exercise. One of my first ones was roughly 42K words, and it was the first time I had come up with a semi-complex plot and followed it through to the end. I sort of looked at it as training wheels - being able to use already established characters and settings, I was able to concentrate just on telling the story. It was fun, and I actually got "fan mail" for some of my work.

Once I started my own novel though I got "over" writing fanfic, because I wanted to play in my OWN sandbox instead of someone else's.
 

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The odd part for me is not the fanfic, it's the recruiting. To expand the question, why recruit any sort of writer, when most agents and publishers reportedly have to beat writers off with sticks?
Are there real agents/publishers browsing YADS? Surely not?
-Barbara (now fussing over whether 'Surely not' should have a query or an exclamation mark.)
 

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From what I've seen, it's not uncommon for niche-anthology publishers to frequent fan/genre sites, both with "calls for submissions" and private invitations. I doubt they shovel through YADS, since they (should) already know where to find their market and the writers that market likes.

I'd be reeeally leery of an agent who trolled for clients in any venue. :e2fight:
 

HapiSofi

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Fanfic is defined by its content and unpublishability, not its quality. Writers like A. J. Hall and Barb Cummings are easily as good as the top 10% of the authors you'll see on bookstore shelves.

I"m leery of the idea of an "anthology publisher." Anthologies are a tough sell for any publisher, including major houses that have professional marketing and promotion departments, and real distribution deals. The only way I can imagine an operation like that staying afloat would be if they're counting on selling the standard friends-and-relations quantities (70-75 copies, usually) times the number of contributors.
 

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...
06-08-2006, 09:18 AM
j314
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Hi everyone,

I just so happen to be the author that is the client of Steve Grant. I wanted to clarify some things here. Mr. Grant became my agent after I had become contracted with ComStar Media for my short story, The Wraith's Forest, in the Tavern Tales anthology. At the time, I had already submitted my manuscript, The Changeling, to ComStar for review. When they contacted me about possibly publishing my novel, I had my agent work out the details.

If you check out Steve's site, you will see that since then he has sold a two book deal to Kensington for one of his clients. He is a great agent. Always there when I need him and I have the utmost confidence that he will represent me the same as any of the better known agents.

As far as ComStar Media is considered, they are a new publisher. Like all newbies, it will take time to see how well they do. I have my short story, The Wraith's Forest, with them and my upcoming novel, The Changeling, also. So far, I have been very pleased with what they have done for me. They are a great group of people and wonderful to work with. They pay royalties and the books come out in Trade paperback size. They even have them on Amazon and can be ordered for the shelf in bookstores. I know Walden books can have them on the shelf. The only problem, because I am and the publisher is new, I have to call the book store, have them order the books, set up booksignings, etc. The stores do not have them on their list to stock in the store. Not good for me, but as a new author, I can understand. This where my marketing skills have to come to the surface.

If anyone has any questions, they can email me or ask here. I just wanted to clarify what is going on. ComStar is not a rip off and Steve Grant is a great agent. I don't think he's taking submissions right now though, his home was damaged by Hurricane Rita (as was mine - he lives is East Texas, I live in SW Louisiana). Also he lost his mother about a month after the hurricane struck. I know he stopped taking submissions during that time. He should put a notice up on his web page announcing that he is accepting them again.
06-08-2006, 10:39 AM
CaoPaux
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None of Grant's sales required an agent, and the majority are to e-mags or POD publishers. Sorry, but not impressed.
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06-08-2006, 11:24 AM
j314
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaoPaux
None of Grant's sales required an agent, and the majority are to e-mags or POD publishers. Sorry, but not impressed.
So selling to Kensington Editor, John S. is not a legit sales? A two book deal? Check out Kate Perry website as well as Steve. Do your homework.
06-08-2006, 11:42 AM
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They even have them on Amazon and can be ordered for the shelf in bookstores. I know Walden books can have them on the shelf. The only problem, because I am and the publisher is new, I have to call the book store, have them order the books, set up booksignings, etc. The stores do not have them on their list to stock in the store. Not good for me, but as a new author, I can understand. This where my marketing skills have to come to the surface.
This sounds just like Publish America. Not very promising.
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06-08-2006, 12:00 PM
CaoPaux
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Kensington is indeed the most "legit" publisher listed, since, unlike ComStar Media, they actually put books on shelves. That doesn't negate the fact that Ms. Zolfaghari could have closed the deal on her own. It's good to have an agent assist with contracts, etc. (assuming he has the industry knowledge to negotiate effectively, e.g. declining payment on net), but the main purpose of having an agent is to get you into publishers you couldn't approach by yourself.

When Mr. Grant demonstrates he can sell books to publishers that require agented submissions, we'll be the first to applaud.
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06-08-2006, 01:46 PM
j314
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaoPaux
Kensington is indeed the most "legit" publisher listed, since, unlike ComStar Media, they actually put books on shelves. That doesn't negate the fact that Ms. Zolfaghari could have closed the deal on her own. It's good to have an agent assist with contracts, etc. (assuming he has the industry knowledge to negotiate effectively, e.g. declining payment on net), but the main purpose of having an agent is to get you into publishers you couldn't approach by yourself.

When Mr. Grant demonstrates he can sell books to publishers that require agented submissions, we'll be the first to applaud.
That is your choice and I appreciate your opinion.

Please take into consideration, a lot of the epublishers or small presses that cannot afford to promote or have their books in every book store are not at fault. Just because the publisher is small doesn't mean it's not legit. There are a lot of authors that have sold, some alone and some with an agent, to these small presses (Imajinn, New Concepts, Elora's Cave-when they first started). Are you saying that these sales aren't legit? They were new at one time yet they have worked and done an excellent job with their books and their authors. Everyone has to start somewhere. And do you honestly believe that a well-known literary agency doesn't sell to these smaller publishers?

Also, just to make sure it's clear. ComStar is not a POD. They are listed as a small press. They utilize POD presses, but if you do some research, alot of the larger publishers are doing the same thing with trade paperbacks. So is it wrong for them to use that type of printing services instead of having someone else do it? They have print runs just like a larger publisher, just not as large.

So, no, they are not like Publish America.

As far as Steve is concerned, I sent him a list of publishers that I want to submit my newest novel in a 5 book series and he assured me that he had contacts with every one but one. My list included all the major publishers. Contacts? Yep, I'd say he has them.
06-08-2006, 03:31 PM
Tilly
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15% on sales to e-mags and PODs? At the very least, I'm concerned for Mr Grant's financial situation. How long has he been running his agency?
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06-08-2006, 03:50 PM
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j314, the matter isn't so much whether the agent and publisher in question are "legit" (as in "not scammers"), but rather how effective they are.

However...I'm concerned about some of the things you've said about your agent. He represented a short story of yours? To an e-publisher? A publisher that pays royalties, but no advance? And when he said he had "contacts," how do you know that what he meant by that is what you supposed he meant by that?

Do I honestly believe that a well-known literary agency doesn't sell to small publishers? Well, yes, I find that entirely believable. 15% on the small advance and royalties offered by those publishers isn't worth an agent's time, which is why most authors who sign with small presses are unagented.

Anything with an ISBN can be listed on Amazon. It's not hard to do, it's no sign of legitimacy, and it's not impressive. "Available for order by bookstores" means "not stocked in bookstores." That is usually a bad sign. A small publisher that can't get its books in stores is not much better than a vanity press.

I know it sounds like we're just ragging on you, but we're concerned that this deal is not as good for you as you've been led to believe. Check out some of the other threads on this board, like the "How Real Publishing Works" thread at the top of this page. Check out the articles on Writer Beware's blog, and read Miss Snark's blog, too, or Torgo's Honest Critiques, or Agent 007's. You'll soon see why we're concerned.
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06-08-2006, 04:07 PM
j314
Esteemed New Member

Thanks for the concern, but sometimes you have to take a chance. Or even to give someone a chance.

We'll have to see. I am pleased with my choice of agents and I believe in loyalty. He has been great for me and as our careers move forward and upward, we will both benefit from the other.
06-08-2006, 04:13 PM
Tilly
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j314, I very much hope that things go well, and please do keep us updated.
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06-08-2006, 04:20 PM
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Best of luck to you. I hope it all works out.
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06-11-2006, 10:34 AM
ptib
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Hey All,

Just thought I'd drop in on this thread with MHO concerning both ComStar Media and Steve Grant of The Grant Agency.

First off, tagged as Inspirational with an Edge! and reviewed as "steamier and grittier than the typical Christian novel without decreasing the message," my writing is different and not easily accepted by the genre of my choice, therefore I had to look for new avenues with which to get my work out there.

Initially E-published by Writer's Exchange Epublishing, I found Com Star Media after being tied up for 18months in a contract that never manifested with a company that never got off the ground, and I am proud to be associated with them!

My novels Tempered Hearts and Tempered Dreams (books 1&2 in a 5 part series) were released in Nov. 2005 and are continually escalating in sales. Edits for Tempered Fire are underway and the book is anxiously awaited from not only fans who bought the original e-published versions of TH & TD, but new readers as well!

Though small, William, Jennifer and Jack work tirelessly to get their products out in a timely manner and with impeccable quality. I recently received my first royalty statement and check which adds to their credibility as honest, upright people doing their best to make a go of their company and doing right by their authors.

As for Steve Grant, he graciously offered me representation after signing my friend J314. Unfortunately, I was at a crossroad in my career and declined his offer.

FYI, I kick myself daily! for that!

Hope my testimony gives you all something to think about as well as encourage you to open your hearts and minds to give CSM and TGA a chance to prove themselves as genuine, reputable entities. Afterall, no one gets to the top without climbing a few ladders...one-rung-at-a-time.
06-11-2006, 06:57 PM
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pitb posted the same message in the ComStar Media thread. See the responses there.
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jodiodi

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Has anyone else had any experience with The Grant Agency? I checked their website and it seems they have some books sold in my genre. I'm thinking of querying them.

Thanks.
 

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No sign of sales to publishers which you couldn't approach yourself, and no sales at all in over a year. Not good, IMO.
 

joyce

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I was just wondering has anyone heard anything new about the Grant Agency. Before I was an informed person, I sent them a query and he requested a partial ( I haven't heard back yet). I don't see any new sales on their website, which in iteself is a red flag. I could not find mention of them on P&E, but perhaps I was looking in the wrong place. Thanks for any info. someone might have.
 

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Nothing's changed. Unless they can supply you with verifiable sales to commercial publishers in the last six months, keep looking.
 

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Has new sales posted. ("Love Inspired Historical" is the new line under Christian-oriented imprint Steeple Hill. No agent required.)
 

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