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The Knight Agency (Deidre Knight)

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

rugcat

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If an author has an issue with how the agency handles the self-pubbing of the book (whether it's the copy-editing, cover work, collecting of revenues, etc...), who does the author turn to for help?

Their agent?

At that point, the agent is caught in a complete conflict of interest between their obligations to their client and the agency, who pays their salary.

Acceptable practices for this kind of thing really need to be hammered out.
I quite agree.
 

SteveCordero

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The practical dynamic of agents getting into epubbing undermines the conflict of interest argument IMO.

Take TKA's formula of charging 15% for "assisting" their client epub. Where is that 15% coming from? From consumer purchases, correct?

Now, where is TKA's 15% commission coming from when they sell a client's book to a pub house? From an advance.

So, TKA's client could not make a single consumer sale, but both the client gets the advance and TKA gets it's commission traditionally. BUT, in order for TKA to get get a commission on the epub, the client needs to have consumer purchases.

I'm having a hard time seeing a situation where it would be beneficial for TKA to avoid getting upfront money via an advance from a pub house and seek to get the 15% commission from the client selling via epub.

If there is no tangible benefit for TKA doing that, then there is no conflict. In other words, if the conflict arises from TKA putting it's own financial interest above their clients and it is in TKA's financial interest to have a client get an advance from a pub house, then there is no conflict.
 

blrude

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I see your point -- that if there's an in-house option, maybe she won't try as hard. But one, it's an option The agent can't decide to go that route; it's the author who gets to make that decision.

That's I think what a lot of writers are afraid of, is that an agent can unethically "take" that decision out of their hands by not pitching their work as well as the agent might have if the publishing arm wasn't available. It takes a whole lot of trust on a writers part for an agent to say "sorry, but we genuinely exhausted all the options for publishing your novel" when they follow it up immediately with "but here, you can publish through us!"

Priceless, thank you for your views and discussion on the topic. I'm glad you weighed in.
 

Twizzle

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I'm having a hard time seeing a situation where it would be beneficial for TKA to avoid getting upfront money via an advance from a pub house and seek to get the 15% commission from the client selling via epub.

Unless it's a big enough deal, I completely see it.

As someone who's self-epubbed some stuff (w no promo/marketing under psuedos) profitably. . .consider how long it takes to get advances paid out and typical genre advances. Given this is TKA (and BookEnds), I'd check out Show Me the Money.

Now, figure out how much a self-e-pubber needs to sell to equate to what their advance might have been, minus agent commission.

I used an estimated figure my agent gave me, and I got there in less than two months. And I suck. Plus. No promo. No nothing. In that same time period, I doubt I would have even rec'd my first advance payment from a trad deal.

There's a lot of "smaller" books (and novellas and short stories) out there that agents wouldn't take on before, or couldn't sell. Now. Eh. Keep costs and effort down. They could make money on them now, when before they really couldn't. It wasn't worth it. Or it couldn't be done.

Add in that an agency might not be stipulating a time limit for their 15%, when a self-e-pubber could have gotten the same services for a flat fee (because e-books are forever, until pulled) all while they're still attempting to sell other, "bigger" books to traditional publishers for big enough deals...and I see it. I definitely see it.

Not saying I agree with it. Just saying I see it, and obviously so do agents. Enough to put their reps on the line like this, after all.
 
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Deb Kinnard

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So, I'm just wondering...if you were a TKA client (I'm not, nor do I play one on TV), and they didn't get a deal for your project, you chose to self-publish, would you be obligated to use their assistance services, or could you simply go it by yourself without the agency's services? One wonders what that agency/author contract's necessary revision would look like.
 

kellion92

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I'm also curious about how they handle the big e-presses, some of which are equivalent to traditional publishers in genre fiction and don't usually pay advances. Would TKA be happy with 15% of the author's cut, instead of 15% of a bigger self-publishing percentage?
 

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Wow, guess I haven't checked on this agency's thread in a while. Hadn't heard anything about this whole sort-of-epublishing thing. Personally, I can see where it's not a bad business model, if the agency is "assisting" their clients with self-publishing ebooks. i actually reaad an article suggesting this model a little while ago. Didn't know there were already people trying it.

I'll have to say, I do see the points about possible conflict of interest, but agree that there can be conflicts in the standard model too. As in any business relationship, it often comes down to trust. In my day job, we often risk huge amoutns of money, just in sales, not to mention lawsuits if anything goes wrong, on our suppliers word that the product the send us is good. We get a certificate of analysis and, as long as the sample looks good, assume their data is okay. We've been wrong and it's cost us. Even when we can sue for loses, it's still a cost. But if we didn't trust, it would cost a lot more to verify each and every load that came in of each and every raw material we use.

So, sometimes you have to trust others. And once in a great while someone will burn you on it. In the case of the Knight Agency, they seem to have a good track record, so maybe I'd give them the benfit of the doubt, if I was one of their clients. sadly, I'm not. I got a very polite reject.

Actually, that was the original reason I came to the thread, to post on my results. After all the time I've lurked on this forum, I thoght I should start posting some of my own comments ad results for others to see.

So, E-queried Elaine Spencer on 7/1/11
7/6/11 Request for Full
7/6/11, sent full (less than 6 hours after request sent, because I was at work when it came in)
7/11/11 Very polite and positive personal R (called it "an entertaining and certainly accurate YA")

Sorry it didn't work out, but she seemed a very personable and professional lady, and I will probably query her in the future for any similar projects. Even with the whole "assisted self-publishing" thing going on.
 

Cyia

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I don't know if this is important to the discussion at hand or not, but I thought I'd add it, just in case. Net Galley now provides digital ARC's for TKA's assisted self-publishing arm.

From the e-mail announcement:

We're excited to welcome TKA Distribution to NetGalley! As a NetGalley member, you're among the first professional readers to request and read these digital galleys.

TKA Distribution (TKAD) is the assisted self-publishing arm of The Knight Agency, an esteemed literary agency representing New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors in the areas of non-fiction, romance, women's, science-fiction, fantasy, young adult, mystery, inspirational/religions fiction, and literary fiction. Releases from TKAD authors include a mix of both new material and popular backlist titles which reflect the agency's richly diverse clientele. To learn more about TKAD and The Knight Agency, visit www.KnightAgency.net.
 

J.B.Kantt

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Wow, there's a lot to say about this agency.

Does anyone have any more recent updates with this ageny? Should I not query this agency -- I'm not at the stage where I want to e-publish or self-publish my book.

Thanks for all the info guys :)
 

Filigree

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I still like this agency enough that if I get a publisher's offer on the space opera (which is close, I think), I might contact TKA about the project. OTOH, TKA's gatekeeper rejected the book already, a month ago. If they didn't respond to my query, then they might not be enthusiastic enough to effectively market my work.
 

LaneHeymont

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I queried Ms. Diver 3/08

Got a 3 chapter partial from Melissa today 3/24.

Didn't realize the self-pub aspect. So, we shall see.
 

Filigree

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I ended up not contacting them on my publishing offer, even though they had been at the top of my list. I figured that since they'd already rejected two of my projects at the query stage, they might not be as effective at negotiating this offer. It worked out, since I have a great agent now, anyway.

But I'll be honest: I did feel some frustration at not getting past Melissa with a query that got me five full requests out of seven publishers queried.
(Two of them advance-paying publishers, no less.)
 

LaneHeymont

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I ended up not contacting them on my publishing offer, even though they had been at the top of my list. I figured that since they'd already rejected two of my projects at the query stage, they might not be as effective at negotiating this offer. It worked out, since I have a great agent now, anyway.

But I'll be honest: I did feel some frustration at not getting past Melissa with a query that got me five full requests out of seven publishers queried.
(Two of them advance-paying publishers, no less.)

Congrats! I have to admit that after all that I wouldn't have contacted them either. Glad it all worked out for you! :hooray:
 

Al Stevens

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I queried Knight in January, 2011. I do not remember whether I got a rejection or no reply. Sometime last year I purged old files. Today I received an email from them that said, in part:

Unfortunately, it has recently come to our attention that some emails have been getting caught in our junk/spam filter and have been left unanswered. To address this issue, we are asking that if you are still seeking representation, please address queries for your current projects to Melissa Jeglinski at this email address. We are anxious to receive your ideas and will respond within two to three weeks.

That might explain some of the issues mentioned here about replies from Knight. I am impressed that they reach out this way. I'd say, give them another chance.
 

LaneHeymont

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I'm confused, because I can't find a "self-pub assistance" etc. on their website. The digital section just lists the titles, slim pickings. I'm not interested in the "self-pub" or whatever they call it, but I can't seem to find it!
 

Al Stevens

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I requeried yesterday in response to the message mentioned above. Request for partial came today.
 

LaneHeymont

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I requeried yesterday in response to the message mentioned above. Request for partial came today.

Awesome! Congrats, I submitted a 3 chap partial to Melissa on the 24th, and she said, "She'd get back to me shortly."

I only hope their shortly means short...she seems quick!
 

Drachen Jager

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She sent you a confirmation lweinberg? When did you send your three chapters off?

I'm guessing it will be a bit of a wait, it seems she has some reading ahead of her.
 

LaneHeymont

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She sent you a confirmation lweinberg? When did you send your three chapters off?

I'm guessing it will be a bit of a wait, it seems she has some reading ahead of her.

To the query? Or the partial? No to the query, and a yes/no to the partial!

It's all because my school's email system is whacky and doesn't always attach files.

I sent it without a file. She replied an hour later saying to the effect, "you dope! send it again!" (not really)

Sent it again. No confirmation.

Short story long. :)

ETA: Yeah, that's what I've gathered so far. :(
 

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