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Waverly Place Literary Agency (formerly Muse Literary Management) (Debbie Carter)

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Kaboo28

Hi All,

Any info on Mysterious content or its leader, Debbie Carter?

Thanks!
 

1walkingadverb

Re: Mysterious Content

She expressed interest in my MS about 6-months ago and came recommended by a writer I know of in NY. She also asked two other writing colleagues to send and rejected the whole lot of us about 2 weeks apart. I thought her rejection letter to me was constructive.
 

vstrauss

Re: Mysterious Content

I've only been able to discover two clients of this agency. It has been around for ages, though--I've been getting questions about Ms. Carter for nearly as long as Writer Beware has been in existence.

- Victoria
 

RejectME

Mysterious Content

I e-mailed a query to Ms. Carter last year. She was enthusiastic about the query and asked for the first 100 pages. While she rejected it, she has some very good critique for me. Aside from what can be found online, I don't know much about her either, but I can say that she was both responsive and professional with me.
 

Maddog

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Ms. Carter read my MS, rejected it, and gave me some good, constructive criticism. We even had a short e-mail chat. She was very nice and gave me some advice to help me find out what's selling in the children's market.

Oddly, one of her recent sales appears to be a self published book, and her others are quite old. She attends a lot of conferences, but doesn't seem to have many sales. Hmm...
 

Tim

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Muse Literary Management

Has anyone had any recent experience with Debbir Carter at Muse? There is a thread on the Water Cooler that is about a year old, luke-warm at best. She's requested a partial from me. I'm curious of other's interactions with her in the last year... I'm particularly interested if anyone has record of new clients or sales...
 

CaoPaux

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Well, her PM listing was supposedly updated in Dec 05, yet her sales are still meager for an agent in business ten years.

http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/members/resagent/

And I'm not quite sure what all this means:

http://www.southern-breeze.org/conferences/spring/2006/default.aspx

Ms. Carter focuses on editorial development; the sale and administration of print, performance and foreign rights to literary works; and post-publication publicity and appearances. Although Ms. Carter is not a member of the AAR, she adheres to the canon of ethics and does not charge editorial or reading fees. She is a member of The Authors Guild.
 

Maddog

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She seems to go to a lot of conferences and such, reputable ones at that. She turned down my MS, to me that's a sign of a real agent. It's the ones that accept anything who worry me.
 

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I've been getting questions about Deborah Carter for years (until recently, her agency was called Mysterious Content Literary Agency) but have been totally unable to find out anything about her other than the info at Publishers Marketplace. Of the two authors named as clients, only Wes DeMott has current publications (with Leisure Books, a mass market imprint that's known for its small advances). The other, Anne Shelby, hasn't published anything new since 1995.

If--as seems apparent--she isn't selling books, how does she stay in business without charging some sort of fee? But I've never gotten a fee complaint about her. I wonder if she has another job or source of income, and agents as a hobby.

The conference circuit is replete with marginal and/or questionable agents. Some make almost a second career of conference appearances.

- Victoria
 

Tim

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victoriastrauss said:
If--as seems apparent--she isn't selling books, how does she stay in business without charging some sort of fee? But I've never gotten a fee complaint about her. I wonder if she has another job or source of income, and agents as a hobby.

- Victoria

This is my question too, and was the first thing that caught my attention when I started to research her. She hasn't given me any word yet on my submission to her, but these concerns will definitely sway any decision I make should she return in the positive. I tend to think that she does in fact agent as a hobby and has another source of income from somewhere.
 

JerryG

Muse Literary Management

This could be a day late and a dollar short but I'd lik to contribute to this thread just the same. I've dealt with Debbie Carter. She asked for my first 100 and got back to me in less than one month. She declined to represent me but did offer constructive critisism and advice.

She also left he door open for me to stay in touch with her with future projects.

JerryG
 

HapiSofi

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victoriastrauss said:
I've been getting questions about Deborah Carter for years (until recently, her agency was called Mysterious Content Literary Agency) but have been totally unable to find out anything about her other than the info at Publishers Marketplace. Of the two authors named as clients, only Wes DeMott has current publications (with Leisure Books, a mass market imprint that's known for its small advances). The other, Anne Shelby, hasn't published anything new since 1995.

If--as seems apparent--she isn't selling books, how does she stay in business without charging some sort of fee? But I've never gotten a fee complaint about her. I wonder if she has another job or source of income, and agents as a hobby.

The conference circuit is replete with marginal and/or questionable agents. Some make almost a second career of conference appearances.
Yup. And some of those conferences can be lucrative gigs. For instance, the conference under discussion -- a February beachfront gathering in a South Coast resort area, at the height of the snowbird season, which suggests to me a moneyed clientele -- offers attendees the opportunity to have their (not terribly lengthy) work critiqued, by person or persons unknown, for only $40. Since the conference website is stern about the impossibility of getting your work critiqued if you don't register for it well in advance, and follow all their submission guidelines, I have to think they aren't hurting for business. Also, the conference's guests who aren't Deborah Carter are two women who run a critique service. They charge $5.00 a page. (Wish I were getting that much to work on my authors' books.)

How can Ms. Carter be making money? Critiquing seems an obvious guess. Unlike scam agenting, you actually provide a service, so as long as you don't misrepresent anything to your clients, you're legally in the clear. There are a lot of people out there who desperately want to be published authors. One of the most notable ways they differ from professional authors is that some of them have real money. Low-end scammers go after some poor naive author's grocery money. Up at the high end, you can't even call it scamming. Massage, more like.

Victoria, it doesn't matter that you've never gotten a fee complaint. What we can observe is that this woman has supposedly been an agent for years, but she has almost no sales. Forget whatever else she's been doing in the privacy of her own home. If she's been in the business that long, but she hasn't made any perceptible sales, she's not going to sell some other young author's first novel, either.
 

USMCWRITER

MUSE LITERARY MANAGEMENT

I got an inquiry from her about one of my books for children. Can anyone give me an update on Debbie Carter at Muse? Is she an agent to be interested in?
 

Tim

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USMCWRITER--If you take a look at this thread you'll see that there are lots of questions about her. It's obvious she's not a full time agent and her sales record hovers just this side of none. In fact, the one sale she boasts is to a publisher that doesn't require agented submissions anyway.

We recently concluded our contact together, her deciding to pass on my work. Which to be honest was fine with me. Her questionable reputation to actually sell my work was driving me to look elsewhere anyway.

I would say, if she makes an offer of representation, weigh your options carefully and get some detailed information as to what her agency can offer you and even a more detailed list of her sales (if she has any)...
 

dragonjax

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CaoPaux said:
Egad, the more recent thread is not in the Index. I shall die now.

Aw, Cao, no dying over a lack of threadage -- your Index is still King o' the Hill.

:Hug2:

Thanks very much for the more recent thread. My friend had done all the Googling research and has been very frustrated by the lack of results -- she found the same thing re sales, and was hoping to hear from someone who actually worked with Ms. Carter. I should have been more specific. Thanks!
 

Carmy

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Don't be embarrassed, Cao. You provide excellent feedback on a lot of threads so you're entitled to slip up -- once.

Luvs ya.
 

CaoPaux

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Aww shucks, y'all.
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honeycomb

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Merry Christmas All,

I just got a request for a partial from Deborah Carter. Any word on her? Updates. I'm going to wait another week to polish my ms before submitting.
 

Susan B

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Good luck, Honeycomb, and keep us posted.

You can look at the Muse Literary Management website to get more of a feeling for what Deborah Carter is doing. (You can find it in the link to her publisher's marketplace page noted in one of the posts above.) She appears to have some new clients (though little in the way of new sales) over the last year or two.

I had contact with her two years ago, when I was just starting the query process. (I went on to sign with another agent.)

Not much to add, except for one potentially positive thing, mentioned above and in an earlier thread. Ms. Carter does get very involved in ms. development (often before officially taking on a new client) and she can offer feedback that's helpful and on-target.
 
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victoriastrauss

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You can look at the Muse Literary Management website to get more of a feeling for what Deborah Carter is doing. (You can find it in the link to her publisher's marketplace page noted in one of the posts above.) She appears to have some new clients (though little in the way of new sales) over the last year or two.
Here's the website link. Since 2005, she appears to have placed just one book. As far as I can discover, her entire track record consists of four book sales for two authors. This is not (to put it mildly) a strong track record for an agent who has been in business since at least 2000 (for much of that time under a different name).

Edited to add: Just read the interview linked in below, which says she has been an agent since 1998.

- Victoria
 
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