• Guest please check The Index before starting a thread.
  • U.S. members: The Federal Government is offering each household in the United States four (4) free at-home Covid-19 test kits. https://www.covidtests.gov/

Wylie-Merrick Literary Agency (Robert Brown, Sharene Martin-Brown)

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

Carmy

Banned
Joined
Dec 8, 2005
Messages
1,654
Reaction score
119
Thanks for the information, AnnMB. I'll get a query ready for January.
 

victoriastrauss

Writer Beware Goddess
Kind Benefactor
Absolute Sage
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Messages
6,703
Reaction score
1,297
Location
Far from the madding crowd
Website
www.victoriastrauss.com
From Robert Brown's post at the Wylie-Merrick blog, which Jim linked to above:

"The irony here is that my partner is actually a published fantasy author who writes under a pen name (which she will not ever disclose) but until now, no one has known that. We still laugh about the fact that she still gets dues notices from the SFWA, even though she hasn't been a member for years now, having dropped her membership in protest (but that is another story for another time)."

This is...not quite accurate.

Mr. Brown's partner, Sharene Martin, applied for and was granted SFWA membership in 2004 (or possibly late 2003) as an Affiliate. From the Membership Requirements page of the SFWA website: "To become an Affiliate member of SFWA, applicants must be an allied professional (such as an agent/editor/reviewer/artist/publisher who works with Qualifying Professional Markets) with credentials acceptable to the Membership Committee and must be able to provide the names of three Active members as references." As I understand it, Ms. Martin qualified on the basis of some published nonfiction articles.

For all I know, she might indeed have dropped her membership in "protest" (I checked the current SFWA Directory, and she's no longer listed as a member), but it certainly wasn't "years" ago, and contrary to the implication of Mr. Brown's comment, she wasn't granted membership on the basis of her fiction, pseudonymous or otherwise.

I know about this because it was discovered in 2004 that Wylie-Merrick was claiming SFWA membership on its website (via the Internet Archive, here is a link to the page that had that claim). In fact, only Ms. Martin was a member. Any SFWA member can mention his or her own membership, but an agency can claim membership only if the agency itself qualifies. Mr. Brown was contacted by SFWA's Executive Director (who got in touch with Ann and me first to ask whether we had anything on Wylie-Merrick in our files) to determine whether the agency did qualify; as it had never sold into the SF/fantasy market (on Mr. Brown's admission), it was clear that it did not. Mr. Brown agreed to remove the claim.

- Victoria
 

Carmy

Banned
Joined
Dec 8, 2005
Messages
1,654
Reaction score
119
Thanks for the link, Jim.

It's interesting to read that some are finding fantasy a hard sell but it bears out what happened to a writer friend about six years ago. He had published 24 fantasy novels via one of the top agencies when the agent informed him to write in another genre because fantasy was dying. He continued to write fantasy but also wrote historical suspense under a pseudonym. At the moment, he has published 32 fantasy novels and five historicals.

I guess if the writing is good enough and you've built up a stable of readers, it doesn't matter in which genre you write.
 

victoriastrauss

Writer Beware Goddess
Kind Benefactor
Absolute Sage
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 11, 2005
Messages
6,703
Reaction score
1,297
Location
Far from the madding crowd
Website
www.victoriastrauss.com
Carmy said:
It's interesting to read that some are finding fantasy a hard sell but it bears out what happened to a writer friend about six years ago. He had published 24 fantasy novels via one of the top agencies when the agent informed him to write in another genre because fantasy was dying.
That's kinda strange. I mean, it's true that fantasy (with Science Fiction) is the smallest of the genres, but that's been true for a while. It's not my impression that fantasy is even dwindling, much less dying.

Tastes do change, of course. Traditional sword-and-sorcery would probably be a tough sell these days. Maybe your friend was writing a type of fantasy that has fallen out of favor?

I'd be inclined to suspect that agents who say "no fantasy" are doing so for reasons of taste as much as anything else.

- Victoria
 

Carmy

Banned
Joined
Dec 8, 2005
Messages
1,654
Reaction score
119
It could be, but the novels of his I've read (can't keep up with him) are in different forms of fantasy. Some involve swashbuckling and time travel, but others incorporate magic.
 

shriek

Registered
Joined
Jan 19, 2007
Messages
23
Reaction score
4
This agency requested my full manuscript (romantic fantasy, as it happens) in September, before they changed their guidelines. When I read that they no longer wanted fantasy, I tried emailing the agent who had requested my mss. I discovered that the email address I'd been given no longer works, and they don't provide any other means of getting in touch with them - the form on their site is for queries, and the only email address is 'for professional enquiries regarding literary properties and rights' only.

In some concern - they do have my full mss, after all - and unable to get through to them any other way, I tried posting a brief and polite status query on their blog. They moderate comments, and mine has never been allowed through, despite the agency making two blog posts since (so I know they have been there).

I've made plenty of queries to other agencies which weren't responded to. I understand that's how some agencies work, and given their work load I can understand it. But this is the first time I've ever had a non-response on a requested full.

And making themselves so incommunicado doesn't seem like terribly good business sense.
 

DeadlyAccurate

Absolutely Fazed
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 18, 2005
Messages
2,536
Reaction score
521
Location
Fort Worth, Texas
Website
www.carlaharker.com
I had his email address a few weeks ago, but now I can't find it. If I can, I'll PM you. In the meantime, you might want to go ahead and email that "rights" address. That's what I did when I tried to send him an email and it didn't go through. The person monitoring the address forwarded my email on to him.
 

shriek

Registered
Joined
Jan 19, 2007
Messages
23
Reaction score
4
How kind. Thank you. :)
I was wary of emailing the 'rights' address cos of the strict strict message about everything irrelevant getting deleted, but if it worked for you...
Thanks again!
 

MicheleLee

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Aug 6, 2006
Messages
208
Reaction score
20
Location
Louisville, KY
Website
www.michelelee.net
I've chosen not to submit to them on a personal basis. After having read their blog I didn't think I'd be a good match with them. The first hint was a post last year about horror being dead and that it's "thriller" or "dark fiction" now. I would never a query a horror novel as a "Thriller" perhaps once it was aimed at buyers, but not to angents. After asking around several other agents said they would be quite irritated if they read a thriller partial and discovered it was a horror novel. Dishonesty does not a good impression make. The final decision was when they stopped responding to all queries. I understand not everyone agrees with me, but I strongly believe professional conduct means I should at least get a reply with a "no" not nothing. I, peronall I'll say again, don't understand how some place can demand writers send them perfect, on target queries in a certain form and yet don't think they owe the writer a one word response. I don't want a critique I just want an answer. It's the internet equivalent of me making a professional, thought out speech and the person I'm addressing saying "huh? Did you say something?"
 

AnnMB

Living in a Dream World
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 3, 2006
Messages
311
Reaction score
28
Location
Just north of Margaritaville
Shriek, I'm surprised you're having such a hard time getting through to Robert, especially if he requested a full. Maybe I can help, since I just started as their new assistant agent. If you go to the website (www.wylie-merrick.com) you'll see there is a form specifically for comments, etc (rather than the one for queries). Send him a note on that (or you can send it to me). In the meantime, if you tell me who you are (by PM, of course), I'll follow up and see what became of the full. While it's true that non-response will typically serve as a rejection for a query (i.e. if we don't respond w/n 7 days to a query, it means we're not interested), that would not be the case with a full or a partial. You should have definitely gotten a response. Robert's always very good about communication, so I'm sure this is some kind of mix-up. I'll also PM you with my office e-mail address, so if you still can't get through for some reason, just drop me a note.

By the way, the only reason we use a form instead of e-mail queries is because of the undue amount of spam that was getting through. Wylie-Merrick is a small agency, and the agents sort through the e-mail themselves (no secretary slugging through the stuff). It was really starting to eat up too much time and productivity.

Hope this helps!
 

Robyn

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 26, 2007
Messages
276
Reaction score
8
Location
Texas (for now)
Website
www.rgporter.net
I am curious. If fantasy isn't taken is that pertaining mostly to direct fantasy only? I'm curious since my current WIP could be catagorized as either fantasy or paranormal romance (depending on the agency and how they view it). I read the blog and they referred to elves, the fae etc. Mine doesn't have either in it.

I'm a bit confused as this is one of the agencies I was thinking of sending Dragon's Desire off to once it was done and polished... :D
 

CaoPaux

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
Super Moderator
Moderator
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 12, 2005
Messages
13,769
Reaction score
1,595
Location
Coastal Desert
Ann, can you tell us what your qualifications are for being an assistant literary agent? Thanks.

- Victoria
It'd also be great to hear what sales W-M has made to publishers which require an agent to approach. Thanks!
 

Moon Daughter

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jan 8, 2007
Messages
1,864
Reaction score
263
Location
The Moon
Congrats, Barb!! Fingers, toes, and even eyes (hope they don't get stuck that way!) crossed for you. Good luck and tell us asap what happens next.
 

Julie Worth

What? I have a title?
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 16, 2005
Messages
5,198
Reaction score
915
Location
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Brown requested a partial from me last year, but never bothered to respond.
 

MissLadyRae

I vaahnt to suck your blaahd
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jun 20, 2007
Messages
244
Reaction score
28
Location
Around
That's awesome, Barb!!! Big congrats and a woo hoo!!! :hooray:
 

JAG4584

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 23, 2007
Messages
120
Reaction score
10
Wylie-Merrick my experience not as happy...

I received a very firm almost abusive e-mail from Robert as I asked for a time line and was specific about my needs etc. I have learned that honesty is the best policy but not everyone is capable of answering my requests as I ask for information and don't want to be told a "story" I would rather be honest with my expectations and have the other person be honest as well. This got abusive in a scary way though so I am not so sure about this agent.

I think far to often it is a hit or miss game with agents. The ego's in this business are so funny and often get in the way but as writers we have to be careful of who we are dealing with and look for the truth and not what we want to hear. I wish agents were regulated as it would help prevent the fears and the risk for a lot of us as its so tough to find just the right agent.

Barb I hope things go well and I would stay on top of everything as he seems very busy and gets upset when you ask for information and gets very personal. I think needlessly. A little tact= lots of $ in business.
 

rwam

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 17, 2006
Messages
1,741
Reaction score
188
Location
Glen Carbon, Illinois
I received a very firm almost abusive e-mail from Robert as I asked for a time line and was specific about my needs etc. I have learned that honesty is the best policy but not everyone is capable of answering my requests as I ask for information and don't want to be told a "story" I would rather be honest with my expectations and have the other person be honest as well. This got abusive in a scary way though so I am not so sure about this agent.

I think far to often it is a hit or miss game with agents. The ego's in this business are so funny and often get in the way but as writers we have to be careful of who we are dealing with and look for the truth and not what we want to hear. I wish agents were regulated as it would help prevent the fears and the risk for a lot of us as its so tough to find just the right agent.

Barb I hope things go well and I would stay on top of everything as he seems very busy and gets upset when you ask for information and gets very personal. I think needlessly. A little tact= lots of $ in business.

Yeah, this doesn't surprise me, Jag. Go take a look at their blog. Their last two entries - one on "Donkeys" and one on "What agents do" - seem to flame writers who either don't follow directions or have trouble writing query letters. I hope whomever is writing these blog entries is trying to be funny or is venting, but both struck me as arrogant. My dad once told me that you can get a good idea of a person's character by seeing "How well he/she treats those that he/she doesn't have to treat well." No, an agency doesn't have to treat a writer well, but it seems to be bad business (in the long run at least) if you treat them poorly.

Emails and blogs are funny things, though. Sometimes it's hard to tell if someone's trying to be funny, sarcastic or abusive, and easy to mistake one for the other.

Either way, I'm sorry this happened to you. It doesn't sound like you deserved this.
 
Last edited:

JAG4584

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 23, 2007
Messages
120
Reaction score
10
What comes around goes around

Yeah, this doesn't surprise me, Jag. Go take a look at their blog. Their last two entries - My dad once told me that you can get a good idea of a person's character by seeing "How well he/she treats those that he/she doesn't have to treat well.

I agree completely. A persons character is very important.

In this case an agent can become a preadator very easily as they are not regulated. However, what comes around goes around and when writers talk and voice their opinions its easy to to research and compare notes and to make good decisions.

It is a positive as I am not involved in a contract with this person and can sleep easy at night. I will update the group of my progress etc.
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away