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Old 06-03-2005, 07:53 PM   #1
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The Christian Literary Agency

The Christian Literary Agency is one of several new "agencies" under the umbrella of The Literary Agency Group Inc. The Literary Agency Group Inc. appears to be a spinoff of the infamous Stylus Literary Agency (until recently known as the ST Literary Agency), owned and operated by Robert Fletcher. Writer Beware has received scores of complaints about Stylus Literary/ST Literary, which charges fees, promotes its own paid editing services, and submits in a haphazard fashion to inappropriate publishers (when it submits at all). It uses a boiler room-style operation, with clients receiving substantially identical e-mails and responses.

Right now, the Literary Agency Group Inc. umbrella appears to embrace the following:



More, no doubt, to come.

Writer Beware has documented that Children's Literary Agency promotes the same sorts of paid services, and uses the same boiler room-style methods, as Stylus; there also seems to be a vanity publisher somewhere in the mix. We haven't yet gathered any documentation on the other two, but we are betting that they operate in much the same way.

Neither Stylus Literary Agency/ST Literary Agency nor any of its spinoffs have any commercial sales, as far as we're aware--despite their claims to the contrary.

There's a more detailed discussion of the whole scheme in the ST Literary Agency thread.

-------------------------------------------

Edited on 10/11/05 to add: there are two new additions to the Stylus family:

- Victoria
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Old 06-18-2005, 05:40 AM   #2
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Post New Poster here... question about Christian Literary Agency

Greetings!

I am a novelist actively seeking representation in the Christian publishing field. I have been looking for an agent for about 4 months now.

Yesterday, I came upon a website for The Christian Literary Agency at http://www.christianliterary.com/index.html. You have to fill out an initial form with your query letter, etc. I didn't find them listed in the Christian Writers' Market Guide for 2005 or any other year, but I went ahead and queried them anyways. I got a response today.

Here is the response that I received:

Thank you for your query to The Christian Literary Agency. We
compliment
you on what you have achieved thus far, and yes, we would like to see
more.
Would you please send us a copy of your manuscript for further
evaluation?
(Note: we like to work with only one property at a time for the
evaluation,
so please just send us the one you consider your best.)

Our preference is email. If the file size is greater than 5 megabytes
you
can mail it to us, but please only send it once, either by email or
snail
mail (we prefer email). Our mailing address is: The Christian
Literary
Agency, 275 Madison Ave., 4th Floor, New York, New York 10016. If you
decide to mail your manuscript please be sure to INCLUDE your email
address
(very clearly) so we may reply and process your manuscript. Mailed
manuscripts may take up to 30 days to reply/process. Emailed
manuscripts
are processed much more quickly.

Also, so that you know a little more about us, please allow me to give
you a
bit of background on ourselves. We are part of a larger conglomerate
that
has ownership in a number of companies in the $40 billion publishing
marketplace. We are bigger than a small agency and smaller than a
large
agency. We have about 15 people total and as of 2nd quarter, 2005 we
have
over 60 active conversations ongoing with buyers and 3 option
agreements in
negotiations. We just sold our 4th work (to a publisher in England)
and we
are confident of more success later this year. We market to the larger
and
medium sized publishers and producers.

We believe we are very different than other agencies. We take pride in
the
fact that we answer every email personally within 2-3 days and we
believe
that we are unique in that we are willing to develop an author and
their
talent. We like the metaphor of a business incubator as a description
of
how we will take time to bring an author's work to the proper quality
level,
even if it takes months to do so.

Also, you may understand how a Literary Agency works, but many authors
don't, so please excuse me while I take a minute and let you know how
the
process works. As your Literary Agent, our mission is to assist you in
finding a publisher and to coach you along the way in various options
available to you. We don't edit, we don't illustrate, our mission is
to
sell for you. As for compensation, get paid on success only, meaning
we
only get paid if you get paid. Typically we will receive 15% of what
you
receive.

We do not charge fees, so our compensation is based on success only.
Along
the way, we may suggest that you continuously improve the quality of
your
work and or how it is presented. Once your work is deemed
'presentable',
then we'll start shopping it to publishers. We never promise a sale,
but we
can tell you that we have a model that works.

We look forward to receiving your materials.

Blessings,
Sherry - V.P. Acquisitions


p.s. Sorry for the inconvenience however, WE DO NOT RETURN
MANUSCRIPTS/MATERIALS due to the volume of submissions we receive.
Please
do not send us anything that you can't replace easily.

We much prefer emailed manuscripts.

Your materials are safe within our company. If we do not end up
working
together we will destroy any copies of your work that we have.

*******************

I've read the many posts on this board concerning Stylus and it's scams. And, from what I've been able to decipher, Stylus (or whatever they call themselves now) is a part of The Christian Literary Agency, or at least I think so.

Does anyone here know anything about the CLA? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Cheryll

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Old 06-18-2005, 05:51 AM   #3
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Haven't a clue. . .

but I am in the same boat as you -- looking to get published, and I will keep an eye on this post to see what those who have gone before have to say

good heads up for sure!!!!!
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Old 06-18-2005, 05:52 AM   #4
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Hi,
Unfortunately this seems to be one of the new manifestations of the notorious ST Literary Agency.
http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13514

There is more about the company in this long thread here:

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529

This isn't a good agency.

There is also a Christian Writing board here that you might like to take a look at:

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=40
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Old 06-18-2005, 05:52 AM   #5
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I strongly recommend you check out the thread already posted here about it, which can be found here: http://http://absolutewrite.com/foru...ad.php?t=13514

Basically you don't want to get involved with these guys at all.

~DragonHeart~

Edit: Heh, Trapped beat me to it. :P
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Old 06-18-2005, 05:54 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheryll
from what I've been able to decipher, Stylus (or whatever they call themselves now) is a part of The Christian Literary Agency, or at least I think so.
Hi Cheryll,

Yes, CLA is a part of Sylus. That's all you need to know. I did a quick search of this forum, and there have quite a few posts about this. They're bad, so you should stay away.
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Old 06-18-2005, 05:55 AM   #7
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Holy crap people. lol. When I hit "reply" no one had posted yet.
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Old 06-18-2005, 06:08 AM   #8
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Here's a thread dedicated to Christian Literary Agency (part of the Literary Agency Group), associated with convicted swindler Robert Fletcher and his Stylus (formerly ST) Literary Agency:

Christian Literary Agency

They claim (and were claiming back when they were still ST Literary Agency) to have sold a book (A Fulfilling Marriage by Billy Crone) to Mapletree Publishing. Mapletree is a startup LDS publisher that doesn't require an agent (Pastor Billy may well have--probably did--sell it to them himself) and may not even pay an advance. Even assuming Bobby Fletcher made the sale, it isn't an impressive one.

CLA, and the Literary Agency Group, claims to have their offices at 275 Madison Avenue, 4th floor, New York, NY 10016. I personally visited that building and determined to my own satisfaction that no such tenant is in that building.


Quote:
As your Literary Agent, our mission is to assist you in
finding a publisher and to coach you along the way in various options
available to you.
I wonder if the coaching costs money?

Quote:
Along the way, we may suggest that you continuously improve the quality of your work and or how it is presented.
I wonder if you'll get sent to other companies owned by Robert Fletcher, who'll charge money?
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Old 06-18-2005, 06:15 AM   #9
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Post Thanks...

Holy cow! Not even 15 minutes and the replies are flooding in. LOL

Thanks for the heads up, everyone. And also for the welcome. I got a little suspicious when I couldn't find anything as far as sales or representation when I did a google search on this group. Also, the thing about emailing my entire manuscript (??) That didn't sound right at all.

James, that information is amazing. So even their address in NYC is bogus?

**sigh**

It gets so discouraging when you get a "nibble" and it turns out to be a scam

Thanks again.

Cheryll
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Old 06-18-2005, 06:18 AM   #10
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Smile

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trapped in amber

There is also a Christian Writing board here that you might like to take a look at:

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=40
I will! Thanks.

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Old 06-18-2005, 06:23 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheryll

James, that information is amazing. So even their address in NYC is bogus?
It's apparently a mail-forwarding service.
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Old 06-18-2005, 06:26 AM   #12
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Post LOL

Quote:
Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald
It's apparently a mail-forwarding service.
Oh that is rich!

Thanks for the heads-up. I've scanned through the threads and I'm deleting their email right now.

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Old 06-18-2005, 07:22 PM   #13
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Cheryl

I got the EXACT e-mail response when I queried The New York Literary agency-aparrently an evil child of ST literary agency as well as the Christian lit agency!
It is frustrating after wallpaper my house in rejection letters to think you have a foot in the door and then find out it's bogus- Oh well! I think the attic still has room for more letters. LOL
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Old 06-18-2005, 11:24 PM   #14
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All the time you're sending your manuscript around to agents and publishers, you should be working on your next book. As soon as it's done, start sending it around and write another. Strive to improve your art with each new book.

Meanwhile, read Slushkiller. And Everything You Wanted To Know About Literary Agents.

=================

More threads here about the whole Literary Agency Group and its subdivisions:

New York Literary Agency
Stylus (ST) Literary Agency
Children's Literary Agency I
Children's Literary Agency II
The Literary Agency Group
The Christian Literary Agency

Use the "Search" function to find more mentions of these people.
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Old 06-19-2005, 01:20 AM   #15
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Did y'all notice this on the Christian Literary Agency's home page?

Quote:
Our focus is exclusively on the Christian market. Founded by experienced and successful agents and business people, the Children's Literary Agency is aggressively creating success across all age groups and in many niche markets. Please see our About page for one of our recent success stories. We do not charge reading fees or any other type of fee. We get paid when you get paid.
Emphasis added.

When they were cut-n-pasting from their other boilerplate scam site, they failed to change all the words.

I wonder if they'd like to mention who some of their "experienced" and "successful" agents might be? Do they have anyone who's ever succeeded in anything other than running a scam?

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Old 06-19-2005, 02:30 AM   #16
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On Mapletree Publishing:

Here's what they say about their advances:



Quote:
Q. Do you pay advances?

A. Whether or not we pay advances and, if so, the size of the advance, depends on several factors.

One factor is the amount of capital available in the company. The publishing business is in large measure a capital-management business. We have a lot of up-front expenses for which we hope to be paid months down the road. This ties up our money. Thus there is only a certain amount of money that can be committed to advances. If there is too much paid in advances, then there isn't enough left for promotion, or maybe editorial expenses have to be trimmed, which is kind of counter-productive.

A second factor is the demand for your work among various publishers. Authors that are sought by more than one publisher can use that position to negotiate the advance. New authors often aren't in that position. It's a matter of marketplace demand. However, we will add that again, it may be counter-productive for an author to put too much emphasis on the advance and smarter to put more emphasis on negotiating the royalty rate. The more that is paid for advances, the more a company may be compromised when it comes time to set a promotion budget.

A third factor is the marketability of your work. We are taking a risk with every book project that we undertake. We will be investing editorial expenses, jacket design expenses, printing expenses, promotional expenses, and so forth. Most of these we will pay up front, and then we will be paid by bookstores and distributors beginning three to five months after books are sold. Will our investment pay off? Maybe or maybe not. How sure we are of the payoff will help determine what advance we may or may not be willing to pay.
Is placing a book with this publisher as great an achievement for an agent as Robert Fletcher would want you to believe?

Y'all are aware that Fletcher was claiming this as a "success" for ST Literary Agency long before "Christian Literary Agency" or "The Literary Agency Group" was even a sparkle in his beady little eyes, yes?

Did Fletcher have anything to do with submitting a book to this publisher in the first place, or having it accepted?

Quote:
While we are happy to deal with agents, Mapletree does not require the author to have an agent before we will look at your work.
Pastor Crone's other books, listed at the Christian Literary Agency site, appear to be self-published works available only on Pastor Crone's website. Like Paul Anderson and Peter Parente, Pastor Billy Crone's main income seems to come, not from writing, but from public speaking.
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Old 09-24-2005, 09:47 PM   #17
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As of August or September 2005, a new member has been added to this lovely group: The Poets Literary Agency.

Writer Beware now has considerable documentation not just on Stylus Literary and Children's Literary, but on New York Literary and Christian Literary. The contracts used by all these agencies vary in small details, but are substantially similar. The accompanying materials are identical. All refer clients to the same editing service, Writers Literary, a so-called "sister" company run by a former "agent" with Stylus.

We don't yet have documentation on Poets Literary, but we're sure we soon will. Sigh.

And no, none of these agencies has yet sold a book...

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Old 09-26-2005, 06:48 AM   #18
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Question Don't know what to do....

Hi. I just signed a contract with Stylus Literary and a friend today alerted me to all the "bad press" that they and their parent/partner companies have received. Needless to say, I'm rather disconcerted since I was so ecstatically happy at finally being represented.

They have not requested any money from me. I'm dealing with Georgina Scott and she is based in NY. They did, however, request a critique and offered one of their "sister" companies which charged $75.

I shopped around for prices on critiques and I was quoted from $150 - $275.

I want to believe that everything will be all right. I want to have faith in them. My friend dealt with them with they were ST Literary and he told me that he was charged $99 for copies/postage several times. They have yet to publish is first book. They just accepted his 2nd novel.

I don't want to think I have to start the whole process all over again.



If anyone has any recent new, experience, referrals, etc. Please let me know.
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Old 09-26-2005, 08:32 AM   #19
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Giselle, have you read this thread yet? It's probably in your best interest to do so before you send Stylus any money.
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Old 09-26-2005, 08:45 AM   #20
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Giselle, they accept everyone. They no longer charge fees themselves -- instead, they send you around to a bunch of "sister" companies (that they all own themselves), who nickel-and-dime you to death.

They've never sold a book to a real publisher in their lives. I doubt that you'll be their first.
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Old 09-26-2005, 05:37 PM   #21
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Kasey Mackenzie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsKasey Mackenzie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsKasey Mackenzie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsKasey Mackenzie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsKasey Mackenzie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsKasey Mackenzie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsKasey Mackenzie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsKasey Mackenzie is so great that we've run out of appropriate complimentsKasey Mackenzie is so great that we've run out of appropriate compliments
I know you must be disappointed, but it really IS true that NO agent is better than a bad agent. That's especially true when the bad agent in question is actually a proven scam artist. Not only will this agency NOT sell your manuscript, but as Uncle Jim said they will ruthlessly nickel and dime you to death in the process.
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Old 09-26-2005, 08:21 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icreate
They have not requested any money from me. I'm dealing with Georgina Scott and she is based in NY. They did, however, request a critique and offered one of their "sister" companies which charged $75.
That's money, isn't it? And you had to agree to pay for the critique in order to get the agency contract. So they have requested money from you.

If you pay for the critique, you'll likely discover that it says your ms. could be improved with further editing. You'll probably then be advised by Ms. Georgina (who, depending on which agency she's responding for, is sometimes Georgina Orr) that "we are willing to take the time to work with you to bring the manuscript to a very polished point before we submit it...we have a sister company in our family that will prioritize your work and give you a discounted price. It's usually about $99 to get started." (This is an actual quote from one of Ms. Georgina's canned "you need more editing" letters.) If you have a full-length manuscript, $99 will probably cover just the first couple of chapters. A full "edit" could cost you as much as $2,000.

If you go that far, and still want the agency to represent you, you may find that you will be asked for submission fees of various kinds. Or you may get an offer of publication...and discover that you have to pay. It's probable that this offer will be described to you as a "co-publishing" arrangement, implying that the publisher contributes cash or services--but don't believe it. It's more than likely that your fee will cover everything plus a nice profit for the publisher (and, perhaps, a tasty kickback for the agency).

I can't say for certain that any of the above will happen, of course; it's all surmise, based on documentation I've gathered about Stylus and its satellites. What I can say is this: this agency will not sell your book to a commercial publisher. With all the money it can make sending you round to sister companies, why should it even try?

- Victoria
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Old 09-26-2005, 09:02 PM   #23
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If you need a critique, try joining a local writers' workshop. The cost should be free. Ask your local librarian if there are any in your neighborhood.
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Old 09-26-2005, 11:24 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by icreate
I want to believe that everything will be all right. I want to have faith in them. My friend dealt with them with they were ST Literary and he told me that he was charged $99 for copies/postage several times. They have yet to publish is first book. They just accepted his 2nd novel.
Giselle,

If they have taken you friend's money on several occasions and not managed to get him a publishing contract, why do you even want to have faith in them? You can have faith that they'll do the exact same thing for you - take you money and not get you anywhere near getting published. You may want to believe otherwise, and I'm sorry if the truth hurts. But ST/Sydra/Stylus is not going to get your book published. Period.
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Old 10-10-2005, 07:27 AM   #25
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So what should I do?

I appreciate all your comments. I wrote my 'agent' twice asking for a list of her accomplishments and she has not replied. I have not heard from her in since 9/23/05.

Should I be querying other agents?

Should I request to cancel my contract with them first?

Thanks,

Giselle
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