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

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

rwam

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That's very sound advice, JAG. Thank you. So far, my experience with WM has been exemplary. It's unfortunate that yours fell short of that.

If I'm not mistaken, their recent blog entries have been authored by a new assistant who, as rwam suggested, is indulging in a bit of over-the-top humorous exaggerating. I'm sure no affront was intended, although --again as rwam pointed out-- it might be seen that way.

In any case, I wish you the best of luck with all your projects! :)


Yikes. Already there's a bit of backlash on their blog. Looks like Sharene posted today's entry and the 'Donkeys' post has two new comments from people (one of which is a publisher who says he's crossed WM off his list) that aren't too enamored. Guess it wasn't just me.
 
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JAG4584

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Can't get to crazy or get to big a head...

Yikes. Already there's a bit of backlash on their blog. Looks like Sharene posted today's entry and the 'Donkeys' post has two new comments from people (one of which is a publisher who says he's crossed WM off his list) that aren't too enamored. Guess it wasn't just me.

I look at this way- may be the agency is doing well with a few deals and is getting carried away.

It's like any other profession there are good times and bad and it's good to keep it real.

I think the most important part of all of this for me has been to know ahead of time that something was not right before I entered in to a contract. All of us work very hard and deserve common decency. I think this is a case of a agency that has gotten an inflated ego that needs to be grounded a bit ;)
 

aruna

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Their latest post even refers to AW! They seem to think that the objections come from the kind of writer they refer to as "donkey". I don't think so. I know how to query professionally, have had three great agents in my life and several great publishers, but I too did not like the tone of that entry; it lacked class.
 

aadams73

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it lacked class.

And professionalism. You know, we're always told to be professional toward agents and whatnot in this business, so it really peeves me off when they act like this. It makes them look like a shoddy second-rate outfit.
 

Moon Daughter

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I agree. It was very distasteful. I thought they were very inaccurate, too, in saying that every agency has a website.
 

KAP

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Assistant's blog entries aside, the agents are apparently treating Barbarique well and will undoubtedly make a great sale we'll all envy.
 

herdon

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I understood that the donkey post was meant to be lighthearted, but I don't think it captured the right voice to carry it off.

But the latest post is a little disturbing. For one, they decided to limit comments instead of removing the post, which probably wasn't a very good decision, but that's fine. A smart business person would have removed the post in question, state that they meant it as a humorous look into the agency, and apologize to those that were offended.

Perhaps the reason they didn't do that was the second thing I find disturbing. They assume that anyone that was offended was a 'donkey'. The old "if you are disturbed then you are what I am describing" line -- which is about as old and flawed as the "you are just saying bad things about this publisher because you were rejected by them" that we get here on a regular basis.

Again, I think the main issue with the first post was that it simply wasn't written well enough to pull off a light-hearted look at the ignorant things people do in querying an agency. Mainly, I think it forgot the humor.

I am sure they are agents filled with good intentions, and hopefully everyone here knows better than to judge an agency based on a single blog post, but I think they could have handled the situation better.

On a side note, here are two things I found funny with the blog posts:

1. The donkey posts mentions that donkeys (those who do things like misspelling agent names and not checking the website for updated guidelines) will inevitably lie and say their manuscript was requested. As I said, the entry wasn't well written, so I assume this was just a writing gaff or a failed attempt at humor and they really don't put people who are simply naive about finding an agent in the same category as those who lie.

2. The No More Comments entry says if you don't like what you see here then move on and ends by saying the reader is king. But, if the reader really is king shouldn't they take the comments to heart since they came from the king?

Anyway, I thought those two points were a little funny.
 

christopher00

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I queried these guys last fall (because I had a connection with Kokomo). Brown responded quickly, but I had already given a short "exclusive" to another agent. When I politely asked if I could wait for it to expire before forwarding him the partial, he had a fit. He more or less said he wouldn't read my pages now if they were the last pages on earth. When the "Donkeys" post first went up I thought it was a little offensive. If I remember correctly, it was written by a new intern - it seems to me you should have at least a few months in the business before you start rebuking writers.
 

BarbJ

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At every company I've worked at, the new assistants' work was always reviewed prior to issue. But even if it did slip through, Havlen is right; it was badly handled. I think at this point I simply wouldn't trust them to respect my work.

But that's just me. They may turn out to be wonderful. I'm willing to wait and see - but I would wait. Keep us updated, please, Barbarique, and thanks. :)
 

Momento Mori

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In essence the infamous "Donkeys Blog" is making the same points you see on other agency's websites (i.e. check the most up-to-date guidelines, don't try to pretend that you're sending requested material if it hasn't been requested etc). However, the phrasing is very unprofessional (even if you accept that it was intended to be humourous) and it wasn't particularly well written - each use of two exclamation marks reminded me of Terry Pratchett's comment regarding excessive punctuation and unsound minds ... ;) Personally, I read the Blog thinking that it takes an ass to recognise a donkey and Daniel comes across as a genuine ass.

MM
 

Julie Worth

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...and it wasn't particularly well written - each use of two exclamation marks reminded me of Terry Pratchett's comment regarding excessive punctuation and unsound minds ...

I don't agree. Multiple exclamation marks in agent writing is so common that, when I don't see it, I think something is wrong.
 

MidnightMuse

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What upsets me the most about that post - aside from the fact that, were he a writer, he would have known how to put humor in it - but if I'd stumbled over that blog post as a green newbie, it would have crushed any little hopes I had of being published.

Squashed them like a bug.

I wouldn't have seen (and still don't) any humor, only disgust and distaste for anyone hoping to write or submit a query. My only hope is that no newbies did see it and completely give up.

If you don't have anything nice to say . . . don't say it in public!
 

KAP

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Plus I hear it turns you green. Okay, I'm convinced. No envy.
 

Momento Mori

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Julie Worth - one day I hope to be in a position to find that out ... In a good way! :)
 

aruna

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What upsets me the most about that post - aside from the fact that, were he a writer, he would have known how to put humor in it - but if I'd stumbled over that blog post as a green newbie, it would have crushed any little hopes I had of being published.


What he needs is an apprenticeship with Miss Snark!
 

rwam

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See, I think Aruna has touched on something important here. What 'Daniel' was trying to say is perfectly fine if he executes it well as an anonymous blogger like Miss Snark. But on a company's website? That its prospective clients and customers read? Nah. Not without exhaustive editing to ensure it's obviously a humorous piece. The 'donkey' post, thought, didn't even appear to have been proof-read.

But I think the 'no more comments' post (and the subsequent deletion of the 'donkeys' post) did even more damage to WM's reputation. By removing the post and then using more faulty logic to brush complaints off as sour grapes, they've also insulted the intelligience of anyone who saw everything unfold. Meanwhile, they describe Jag's original post on AW as 'venomous'. Riiiiiight.

WM is lucky Jag has too much class to post the email he got from Mr. Brown in the first place.

Their behavior over the last two days prompted me to do a little more research on them. Apparently, this isn't the first time something like this has happened. I won't provide a link to it, but if you search through the forums on WritersNet, you can find a highly entertaining exchange between WM and a well-respected agent regarding the charging of fees as they are incurred.

What's it boil down to? I think Mr. Brown says what he means and means what he says. This is an admirable trait for you to have, as long as you are tactful and professional.
 

Julie Worth

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I won't provide a link to it, but if you search through the forums on WritersNet, you can find a highly entertaining exchange between WM and a well-respected agent regarding the charging of fees as they are incurred.

Why so mysterious? Why not post a link?
 

rwam

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Why so mysterious? Why not post a link?

No mystery, really. WN is a competing site, so I wasn't sure if posting a link to it (ie, an easy way to leave AW) was kosher. Plus, I'm sure there are those here that may not be interested...so I figure if anyone's really interested, they're smart and ambitious enough to find it.
 

Julie Worth

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No mystery, really. WN is a competing site, so I wasn't sure if posting a link to it (ie, an easy way to leave AW) was kosher. Plus, I'm sure there are those here that may not be interested...so I figure if anyone's really interested, they're smart and ambitious enough to find it.

I couldn't.
 

herdon

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Bah, sure, post the link after I took the time to search it down! All that work and no credit!

;)

Very interesting stuff, by the way.

I'll also note that the DONKEY post has been removed from their blog, but the assistant also wrote an entry titled 'What Agents Do' in which he does some yelling about how to write a query letter. It's as condescending and poorly written as the DONKEY post. Both could have been good entries if written better. (I chuckled when I read he rejected most queries because they were "incorrect.")
 

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