1. struggler
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    struggler Member

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    2 questions about the necessity of agents and about manuscript assessments.

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by struggler, Jun 3, 2012.

    I have two questions I hope some people here could help me with.

    The first is about the necessity for an agent. I know that most publishers wont look at an unsolicited manuscript but I've found a few that will. Now, does an agent do anything else except find a publisher for your book? If a publisher is willing to publish my book but I don't have an agent is this a road I want to take?

    My second question is about manuscript assessments. On one publishers website they state that they do accept unsolicited manuscripts as long as it has had a positive assessment by an accredited manuscript assessment agency.

    I've look into this and understand what they're about and found a few places to get it done. However, the cost is between $450-$700 depending on where you go.

    My question is, are these manuscript assessment agencies legit? I don't mind spending the dough but don't want to get ripped off and find out they'll give anyone a 'positive review' (ie tell them what they want to hear) just because they paid them.

    Thanks for your time if anyone could help.
     
  2. Egor
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    Egor Member

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    Wow! I have never heard of a "manuscript assessment agency." This is my opinion on it, and that's all it is, but I wouldn't give them a dime. If you can write a good story, and you have a creative and talented flair for telling stories, you will find a publisher who will pay you, or a legit traditional agent who will represent you. That's the way the game works. If you can't write a story (and I'm sure you personally can) then nothing you do will get you published in a way that will earn you money--everything will be a rip off.

    In my opinion, if you can write but can't get a publisher or agent, then self-publish and promote your work, be prolific, and eventually you will sell and when you do, every novel you've written will sell as a result of that one that succeeds.

    I review books at The Novel Report, and I love to review a new author who has competently self-published a really good story. I see very few of those. "The Death of Torberta Turchin" by Shanon Mawhiney stands out as one of my favorites like that. If she continues to write and publish, eventually a major publisher will pick her up, and when they do, all her novels will get picked up by them as well. That's what happened with Amanda Hocking (and I didn't particularly like her work).

    Good luck to you, Struggler. ;)
     
  3. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    An agent will have assessed your ms before they agree to take you on.

    If they are interested in your ms but see weaknesses in your writing they will point these out to you and possibly suggest ways to improve your writing.
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I really, really don't like the sound of that. I would be wary.
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    To answer your first question, yes, an agent does do more. He/she can negotiate the terms of the contract, which may mean better pay for the writer.

    As for the second question, I've never heard of manuscript assessment agencies. It seems like a scam to me. Stay away from those publishers/agencies.
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    ANY pay to publish scheme is at best vanity publishing. Pay to publish without publication guaranteed is a scam.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    publishers who have that as a condition are not legit... period!

    as for what agents do: http://www.invirtuo.cc/prededitors/pubagent.htm

    always check that site for any agent/publisher you're considering... and not being listed there doesn't necessarily mean they're ok, so you still should check each one's site carefully and google for negative feedback...
     
  8. struggler
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    struggler Member

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    Thanks for the quick responses guys.

    As far as I know XXX is a big player in the world of publishing so everyone's concern that this is a scam is a little confusing.

    From what I read on the XXX website I understood it as 'yes, we'll give your story a read even if its unsolicited as long as a manuscript assessment agency has said it good enough so we're not wasting out time.'

    But if you guys don't think this sounds right I'll steer clear from them and instead find an agent.

    Thanks!
     
  9. Egor
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    Egor Member

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    XXX or not, I just wouldn't go that route. I'd rather find an agent who will represent me for their commission only.

    If my writing isn't good enough to make an agent think they can sell it, then it's not good enough to publish.

    If it's good and because I'm a new author or because of their snootiness, or whatever, an agent won't read it, then they are not professional agents, and I wouldn't want them handling my manuscript.

    If my writing is good, and I can't get it into anyone's hands to read it then I'd rather self-publish and try to build an audience myself than to go around with my hat in my hand paying people to read it. It's like the old gold rush days--the only ones really making money were the people selling supplies to the gold prospectors.

    I do understand where XXX is coming from. The truth is, most people who write, write so poorly that they are simply not publishable or even editable (Is that even a word?). What I mean is the writing is so bad, you can't edit it without having to completely re-write it. A lot of people want to be authors, but they don't really understand that to be one requires about the same preparation as being a doctor or lawyer--years of desire, hard work, and academic study in literature and writing.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    after checking out the actual requirement, i see it applies only to unsolicited submissions by unpublished and unagented authors, in which case it makes good sense, for the reason egor noted above...

    so, if you want to get XXX to look at your work, you'll have to get either the assessment, or an agent...
     

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