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Winkler Literary Agency

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CaoPaux

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06-05-2006, 04:47 PM
Puma
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Winkler Literary Agency

This is a carryover from the Refuge Camp. Has anyone had any experience with the Winkler Agency (Cynthia Winkler) in Florissant Missouri? They have very little on their website but say they are specializing in historical fiction and historical romance. One of the posts in the Refuge Camp indicated Winkler was added to P&E on 5/26. My suspicion is that they're a brand new agency. Any info appreciated. Puma
06-05-2006, 05:13 PM
CaoPaux
Mostly Harmless

Cynthia L. Winkler http://www.winkleragency.com

Finding no trace of an agent before they hang out their own shingle is never a good sign. Pass.
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06-05-2006, 06:53 PM
victoriastrauss
Cud-chewing moo-derator
Absolute Sage

Red flags include no information on the agent's professional background (and thus no way to determine if she's qualified to be a literary agent), and no sign of sales. I'm guessing that this is another amateur agent.

- Victoria
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06-06-2006, 03:57 PM
Bartholomew
Board fanatic

Dear Bart,

I am awaiting my first sale.

Thanks for writing.

--Cindy Winkler
- Hide quoted text -


Bartholomew Klick <[email protected]> wrote:
- Hide quoted text -

Dear Ms. Winkler,

May I please see a list of your sales? It would help a friend of mine
make up her mind as to whether or not she'll submit her ms. to you,

Thank you for your time,

Bart
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06-06-2006, 03:58 PM
crobinator
Board fanatic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartholomew
Dear Bart,

I am awaiting my first sale.

Thanks for writing.

--Cindy Winkler
- Hide quoted text -


Bartholomew Klick <[email protected]> wrote:
- Hide quoted text -

Dear Ms. Winkler,

May I please see a list of your sales? It would help a friend of mine
make up her mind as to whether or not she'll submit her ms. to you,

Thank you for your time,

Bart
I love these forums. Way to get things done!
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06-06-2006, 04:34 PM
Maryn
Bru-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-u-uce!

I think I'm the one who suggested that both her location and the lack of sales didn't bode well, and that a legit agent would take no offense at a request for her recent sales.

I'm glad to see you following up. Keep us posted when and if she replies, okay?

Maryn, hoping to see you with a good agent
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06-06-2006, 05:05 PM
Bartholomew
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I've corresponded some more with Ms. Winkler.

She strikes me as honest, and I have a KEEN nose for honestly.

She went ON to address this very thread! =)

Quote:

"If this is in relation to Puma's question about me, be assured that just because I have not SOLD, I am submitting to editors."

She has a very livid sense of humor, by the by, and is quite pleasant.
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06-06-2006, 05:11 PM
crobinator
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In my unpublished opinion, I think it's a good reflection on her part (and less scam-tastic) that she is only interested in those two specific genres. Were she interested in "any and all genres, big or small, shoes or snails - send it to me! I'll get it sold!" type of material, then I would be more immediately nervous.

The problem arises when you want your first book to be a huge hit, but both you and your agent are still trying to get one pebble in the pot.
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06-06-2006, 07:06 PM
Puma
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Bartholomew - Thank you for doing the checking. And Crobinator - Thank you for reflecting a viewpoint I share with you. We all have to start somewhere, writers and agents alike. I think I've written a couple pretty decent novels. I also feel that the big boys are so deluged with queries that they aren't going to grab onto something, especially from an unpublished writer, unless they feel they're absolutely guaranteed a healthy return on their investment. In my opinion, that means they will probably pass on some of the best things currently available and go with the tried and true whether it be writer or story concept. So, I'd be willing to take a chance on a new agent. Puma
06-06-2006, 07:51 PM
Aconite
Full sun to light shade
Mod Squad Member

Here's the thing: bad agents are not all scammers. Some are well intentioned and honest. They just can't do diddly for you. They don't have connections, they don't know how the business really works, they don't have a detailed understanding of rights negotiations or what you can and can't get from certain houses. In some ways, an honest but gormless agent can be worse for you than an outright scammer, because scammers won't submit your manuscript, and honest-but-gormless agents will, which means that those publishers are closed to you if you later change agents.

Yes, everyone has to start somewhere, but if you want to be an agent, you start out working for a reputable agency or publisher, and get experience before you hang out your shingle as an independent agent. Come on, now, think it through. Do you--a totally inexperienced author who has never been through the publishing process before--want an agent who's in the same position you are? Better to have no agent than to be in that situation.
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06-06-2006, 08:31 PM
Puma
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Hi Aconite - I agree with you - but, in this case I'm not sure anyone really knows whether Cynthia Winkler has worked for any agency other than the one she's just started. She may be brand new or she may be experienced and now with her own new agency.

Since we know from Bartholomew's post that Ms. Winkler has looked at this forum, it would be nice if she could get guest status and let us all know what her background is. Or - it would be nice if she could get more information about her background posted on her website. Puma
06-07-2006, 10:31 AM
Kasey Mackenzie
Blonde & Bookxum

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartholomew
I've corresponded some more with Ms. Winkler.

She strikes me as honest, and I have a KEEN nose for honestly.

She went ON to address this very thread! =)

Quote:

"If this is in relation to Puma's question about me, be assured that just because I have not SOLD, I am submitting to editors."
Well, even if she is honest and submitting to editors, that does not mean she has publishing experience and is an _effective_ agent. An ineffective agent is nearly as bad as an outright scammer in regards to furthering a writer's career.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartholomew
She has a very livid sense of humor, by the by, and is quite pleasant.
"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." (Sorry, couldn't resist the Princess Bride quote...)

Does livid mean something other than what I think it means? I would interpret this as she has a very angry sense of humor. Or, stretching, livid can also mean discolored by bruising, ashen, pallid, or reddish (yes I looked it up just to make sure there wasn't a more obscure definition than angry)...Which seem even less likely. Just trying to interpret what you meant by a livid sense of humor. Maybe you meant lively?
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06-07-2006, 11:03 AM
victoriastrauss
Cud-chewing moo-derator
Absolute Sage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Puma
Hi Aconite - I agree with you - but, in this case I'm not sure anyone really knows whether Cynthia Winkler has worked for any agency other than the one she's just started. She may be brand new or she may be experienced and now with her own new agency.
So that's the next question that should be asked. With an agent who claims to be new, it's as important as the "do you have sales" question. Unless you know the answer to both questions, it's impossible to assess whether a new agent will be able to help you.

- Victoria
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06-07-2006, 11:14 AM
roach
rpia

Last week I read Jim Fishers' Ten Percent of Nothing, about the Dorothy Deering agency.* One thing that struck me about the case is that Dorothy Deering and her husband, stepson and brother were all pretty much salesmen. They spent most of their time "puffing" themselves up to prospective clients, talking smooth, name dropping, playing to the authors' dreams of what being a published author meant. They had absolutely no experience in the publishing industry, and when their clients would meet them in person the standard response was: "What are these people doing in this industry?!?" But they were smooth talkers. At times they would invoke their Christian faith, or that they were authors themselves, whatever it took to close the deal and get the contract fee from authors.

This is not to say that the Winkler Literary Agency is a scam. But just because the agent sounds nice doesn't mean anything. If she doesn't have any experience she won't have the contacts needed to make sales. Her answer about sales is that she's awaiting her first sale. Okay, fine. So now she needs to answer the question about her previous experience.


*It made very interesting companion reading while AW was down.
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06-07-2006, 11:41 AM
CaoPaux
Mostly Harmless

Experience is the key.

Editors prefer to read ms brought to them by agents they know and trust to get them what they're looking for. Anyone may declare themselves an agent, but unless and until they develop a relationship with editors, what they submit is put on the back burner. It's agented slush, but it's still slush.
Agents without the clout to get you out of the slush pile do you little good. And, worst case scenario, if their inexperience causes them to mis-target mss, they'll get a reputation for cluelessness and their future submissions could be ignored entirely.
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06-07-2006, 12:07 PM
Bartholomew
Board fanatic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasey Mackenzie
Well, even if she is honest and submitting to editors, that does not mean she has publishing experience and is an _effective_ agent. An ineffective agent is nearly as bad as an outright scammer in regards to furthering a writer's career.


"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." (Sorry, couldn't resist the Princess Bride quote...)

Does livid mean something other than what I think it means? I would interpret this as she has a very angry sense of humor. Or, stretching, livid can also mean discolored by bruising, ashen, pallid, or reddish (yes I looked it up just to make sure there wasn't a more obscure definition than angry)...Which seem even less likely. Just trying to interpret what you meant by a livid sense of humor. Maybe you meant lively?
No, I meant what I said. I appreciate her sense of humor because it runs in a same vein with mine.

Perhaps it would be better to say sarcastic? barbed?

At any rate, humorous.
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06-07-2006, 12:45 PM
Kasey Mackenzie
Blonde & Bookxum

Ahhh, I suppose I had never seen it used that way. BTW, just so everyone else knows since we discussed it via PM's, I DID think livid could be a typo since lively is pretty close. But I also sincerely wanted to know if there was another meaning to livid that I wasn't aware of and didn't find in Webster's. Just cause I love words and enjoy learning new things. Anyway, I didn't mean it as an attack on Bartholomew. =)

And P.S. I won't comment on the word anymore since it's irrelevant to the thread. Just didn't want anyone else to think I was nitpicking or trying to insult Bartholomew.
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06-07-2006, 02:20 PM
Popeyesays
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I think I found her, also in Florissant, MO.
http://www.cindywinkler.com/
She seems to be a ReMax real estate agent.

Regards,
Scott
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06-07-2006, 05:51 PM
Bartholomew
Board fanatic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasey Mackenzie
Ahhh, I suppose I had never seen it used that way. BTW, just so everyone else knows since we discussed it via PM's, I DID think livid could be a typo since lively is pretty close. But I also sincerely wanted to know if there was another meaning to livid that I wasn't aware of and didn't find in Webster's. Just cause I love words and enjoy learning new things. Anyway, I didn't mean it as an attack on Bartholomew. =)

And P.S. I won't comment on the word anymore since it's irrelevant to the thread. Just didn't want anyone else to think I was nitpicking or trying to insult Bartholomew.
Relax, ya big silly.
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06-07-2006, 07:26 PM
Puma
Board fanatic

Popeyesays - I followed your link. Afraid that pretty well explains things. Thanks! Puma
06-07-2006, 08:02 PM
Popeyesays
Board fanatic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Puma
Popeyesays - I followed your link. Afraid that pretty well explains things. Thanks! Puma
Well, it means she knows how to sell. If she actually has some contacts in publishing, maybe from her own writing or whatever, she might have some avenues open to her for representing someone. I don't know if it could hurt to give her a whirl with a six or nine week exclusive and see what she does with it. I would consider going to an alternative title and maybe a pen name for the trial. Then you wouldn't have to worry too much about resubmitting through another agent or by yourself later on.

Anyway, the first Cynthia L. Winkler I found was a prosecuting attorney for Washington County, Iowa. She'd been suspended from practicing law for three months for siezing a writing sample from a defendant during a deposition.

Regards,
Scott
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06-07-2006, 09:15 PM
Bartholomew
Board fanatic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Puma
Popeyesays - I followed your link. Afraid that pretty well explains things. Thanks! Puma
Puma,

She has a background in sales. Its a *GOOD* thing.
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06-07-2006, 09:26 PM
Aconite
Full sun to light shade
Mod Squad Member

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartholomew
She has a background in sales. Its a *GOOD* thing.
Well, not exactly. Book sales are not like any other kind of sale. Companies who've tried to run bookstores the same way they'd run shoe stores have found out it doesn't work; ditto agents who try to sell books like they'd sell houses.

She's got no experience in the publishing world, and no contacts. Bad sign. She probably means well, but that's not going to help her as much as she thinks, unfortunately.
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06-07-2006, 10:11 PM
CaoPaux
Mostly Harmless

From what I've seen, successful agents are in acquisitions, not sales. That is, they cultivate editors to learn what publishers want, then seek mss to match.

Convincing a publisher to buy something they're not looking for requires a very good relationship with the editor(s) in question.
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06-08-2006, 11:48 AM
Bartholomew
Board fanatic

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaoPaux
From what I've seen, successful agents are in acquisitions, not sales. That is, they cultivate editors to learn what publishers want, then seek mss to match.

Convincing a publisher to buy something they're not looking for requires a very good relationship with the editor(s) in question.
Ultimately, though, we're shadow boxing.

She could be great at this, for all we know, and merely in a poor location. If she goes to a lot of conventions, she might have more contacts than an apache longbow over central bagdad.
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06-08-2006, 12:18 PM
Kasey Mackenzie
Blonde & Bookxum

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartholomew
Relax, ya big silly.
Can't help it. I am the EPITOME of a Libra.
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06-08-2006, 12:23 PM
crobinator
Board fanatic

So, Bart, has she since written any more to you?
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06-08-2006, 01:10 PM
Sassenach
Inexplicability Assessment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartholomew

She could be great at this, for all we know, and merely in a poor location.
Great at this = sales.
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06-09-2006, 10:38 PM
OneTeam OneDream
Captain Charisma
Mod Squad Member

FYI-Florissant is basically St. Louis.That means two things. #1 Its not Podunk, KY or somewhere like that. New York it ain't, but things still happen in St. Louis.#2 She shares the same city as on of the 20 Worst Agents. (Cris Robins) (And the same city as me too.....)
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06-09-2006, 10:45 PM
Bartholomew
Board fanatic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sassenach
Great at this = sales.
Give her one full year. Then say she sucks.

Everyone has to start somewhere!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasey Mackenzie
Can't help it. I am the EPITOME of a Libra.
I'm a Scorpio. We should hook up.
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06-09-2006, 10:46 PM
Bartholomew
Board fanatic

Quote:
Originally Posted by OneTeam OneDream
FYI-Florissant is basically St. Louis.That means two things. #1 Its not Podunk, KY or somewhere like that. New York it ain't, but things still happen in St. Louis.#2 She shares the same city as on of the 20 Worst Agents. (Cris Robins) (And the same city as me too.....)
PLUS its only a couple hour or so commute to Kansas City, and only a six hour commute to Chicago. I know people who do it ALL the time via Amtrak.
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06-10-2006, 11:41 AM
victoriastrauss
Mod Squad Malcontentrix
Absolute Sage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartholomew
Everyone has to start somewhere!
Yup. But in a skilled profession, "somewhere" ought to be a place that qualifies the person to do the job.

Suppose we were discussing someone calling himself a building contractor. Suppose he told you, "My job experience is as a real estate agent, but I'm really interested in construction and I hang out on building sites a lot. And I make ship models in my spare time." Would you say "everyone has to start somewhere" and hire this person to put an addition on your house?

It's no different with literary agents. Literary agenting is not like selling Avon products. You can't just grow into the job with some elbow grease and a great attitude. It's a skilled profession, and to do a skilled profession, you need job skills. If someone presenting themselves as a literary agent does not have these job skills (and while it's true that there's no official training or accreditation for literary agents, there are ways to acquire those skills, such as having a job in publishing or training at another agency), it's unlikely that they will be able to do the job. It really is that simple.

"Nice" or "responsive" or "enthusiastic" are not job qualifications.

And another thing. While the well-intentioned unskilled new agent is floundering around, trying to master the intricacies of a job she doesn't have the skills to perform, whose time is being squandered? That's right. Yours.

- Victoria
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06-10-2006, 02:30 PM
Bartholomew
Board fanatic

Quote:
Originally Posted by victoriastrauss
Yup. But in a skilled profession, "somewhere" ought to be a place that qualifies the person to do the job.

Suppose we were discussing someone calling himself a building contractor. Suppose he told you, "My job experience is as a real estate agent, but I'm really interested in construction and I hang out on building sites a lot. And I make ship models in my spare time." Would you say "everyone has to start somewhere" and hire this person to put an addition on your house?

It's no different with literary agents. Literary agenting is not like selling Avon products. You can't just grow into the job with some elbow grease and a great attitude. It's a skilled profession, and to do a skilled profession, you need job skills. If someone presenting themselves as a literary agent does not have these job skills (and while it's true that there's no official training or accreditation for literary agents, there are ways to acquire those skills, such as having a job in publishing or training at another agency), it's unlikely that they will be able to do the job. It really is that simple.

"Nice" or "responsive" or "enthusiastic" are not job qualifications.

And another thing. While the well-intentioned unskilled new agent is floundering around, trying to master the intricacies of a job she doesn't have the skills to perform, whose time is being squandered? That's right. Yours.

- Victoria
Nice may not be a agent's qualification, but if they're neither responsive nor enthusiastic, why do I want them representing my book?

Also, your construction analogy really doesn't hold.

She *could* have the contacts she needs to do this. If she doesn't, time will certainly tell us, but in the meantime you're prejudging without any knowledge of the situation.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could just plunk everyone into the same cookie cutter shape and say, "either they fit or they don't?"
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06-10-2006, 09:06 PM
mistri
Sneezy Member

If she had the contacts, she would likely have experience working for publishers or agents - rather than estate agent work as reported in the link. Seems to me as though she knows she can sell houses - enjoys reading historical fiction - and believes she can sell that too.

Unfortunately, they're two very different businesses, so unless information comes out suggesting that she does have relevant experience, I'd be wary of sending anything her way - even if she is lovely.

Many editors - if they receive work from an agent they haven't heard of - will Google/research the agent's name, and unless some sales (or perhaps experience with a publisher or agent) crop up, won't be impressed. I don't think networking at conferences is going to cut it.
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06-10-2006, 09:27 PM
HapiSofi
Board fanatic
Absolute Sage

Bartholomew, if you're trying to talk yourself into it by telling yourself how long a drive it is from Florissant to KC or Chicago, you're trying way too hard. The industry's not in Florissant, but it isn't in KC or Chicago either, and anyway that's not the point. No experience, no sales, no can do.

I know you want to believe it's possible for this agent to work out. It isn't. She won't. I'm sorry. You can swallow the disappointment now, or you can waste a year or two and swallow the disappointment then. Either way, it's not going to work out.

Victoria's right. Agenting is a skilled profession. A dud agent is worse than no agent at all.
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CaoPaux

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Still no trace of sales or experience in the industry. Still a pass.
 

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A year later: no sign of any activity, sales or otherwise.
 

CaoPaux

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Site is gone without any sign of clients or sales.
 

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