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Posted: 6/20/2010 4:07 PM PDT
Hi DSG, sorry I didn't see your response sooner.
I think AgentInBox might work as a cafeteria plan. Choose what you like.
I don't want the query review. Any query I send out has already been reviewed and is the way I want it. I don't need another cook stirring that pot. I've heard some real complaints about the review.
I like the dashboard idea. It would be a nice convenience and I would pay a small fee for that.
All the agents in one place is a nice convenience and I would pay a small fee to have access to the directory.
A monthly subscription rather than a lump sum charge. What if something happens (like happened to me this year) and I stop querying for six months. I would be SOL if I had paid the fee.
Instead of AgentInBox charges, a small (very small) subscription fee to the entire site and all the features with a small (very small) extra entry fee to P2F. You'd get a lot fewer drive-by reviews and submissions if it was say $2.99 a month to play in all the sandboxes. I would pay that.
Posted: 6/12/2010 2:23 PM PDT
cxrterri: What premium services would you like to see? I have thought about AIAB, but I am not going to jump into anything just yet. I have done a few P2Fs, but I prefer researching agents and personalizing queries. I think I would like to see this become more of a writer's group or online conference builder. Maybe an annual fee to join, and have the list of agents with bios and information with contact data available to members only. Genre selections would limit accesses and if you wanted to add one, for a nominal fee, maybe, and more genres to select from, or detailed descriptions of each to be sure your work is in the proper category. Maybe just have guest agents each month to select from, and have the opportunity to pitch to a few. Have more guest podcasts on different issues and subjects, with followup discussions or question and answer entries. I have to ask - if the agents leave, why are we here?
Posted: 5/19/2010 1:24 PM PDT
Rethinking my participation here as well. Sad, because I was excited to find a place like this.
Posted: 5/19/2010 1:03 AM PDT
I agree with you one hundred percent. The site's going to loose a lot of users and agents soon.
Posted: 4/23/2010 9:56 AM PDT
I found this posted on one of my favorite industry forums:
The other day on Twitter I remember agents Jennifer Laughran, Jill Corcoran, Colleen Lindsay and Kathleen Ortiz discussed AgentInbox's switch to a paid-for model. All of them said they were pulling out because they found the fee unethical and/or were worried about AAR guidelines.
Okay, that's four. Now how many agents are discussing it and not Tweeting about it?
Posted: 4/22/2010 9:03 PM PDT
No offense BNA - but is the person who is going to be checking for "silly grammatical errors" the same person who wrote this headline that appears on my homepage (this is an exact copy):
"PAGETOFAME PRZIE & COUPON: Enter your first page before April 30 and you are automatically entered to win $1,000! The highest rated entry submitted before April 30 (and after March 1) wins! BONUS use this sweeeeet coupon code and get 15% off: PRIZ01"
But, then we might have a different definition of "silly" than you.
I don't need to pay someone to evaluate my query. That is my business and I shouldn't be charged for it.
BTW - I've been talking to the agent I referred to above and she told me she has already closed her AgentInbox account.
Posted: 4/22/2010 8:29 AM PDT
There are some important distinctions that we’d like to make in response:
We are not charging for access to agents. In fact we link to agency websites within WEbook agent profiles providing clear transparency to direct, free options.
The fee is related to the multiple services we provide around the query process. These include:
A basic editorial review, to assure writers have followed guidelines, avoided silly grammatical errors and included all required information. Writers who are new to the submission process (and perhaps a bit unsure) have found this to be very helpful.
In terms of the AgentInbox interface, writers are matched automatically with agents who are interested in their genre(s) and can submit multiple manuscript sample lengths to different agents in one transaction.
After writers submit, they have access to a personal dashboard which allows them to track things like when the query was sent, opened and responded to.
All of these elements are geared towards benefiting the writer during the query process, rather than the agent.
Furthermore, agents receive no money from WEbook to accept queries on our service, and all of the agents on our service maintain free avenues for accepting queries. This means that they are not in violation of the AAR canon of ethics.
While we understand that a charge related to the query process is something authors are not used to, and are told to stay away from, we hope the above information clears up some confusion. This distinction is an important one for us to make, and we will continue to work to get this message out.
-The WEbook Team
Posted: 4/21/2010 11:47 PM PDT
The new $40 fee raises my hackles for all KINDS of reasons (okay, $39.95, but really, who are they fooling?). I will list the most important.
I have spoken to both agents and editors, and there is one big warning flag for writers searching for agents:
----And this is HUGELY IMPORTANT----
NEVER TRUST AN AGENT WHO ASKS FOR MONEY UP FRONT.
I was at a writers conference where an entire panel of editors and agents alike were on stage answering questions, and this one came up. They were adamant about this; AGENTS WHO ASK FOR FEES UP FRONT ARE RIPPING YOU OFF.
This is from the website of Holly Lisle, a current well known author, quoted from her answers to questions aspiring writers ask her. The quoted paragraph that follows is hers, though I am afraid I have removed much brilliant flavor text to save space. You can read the original article in its entirety here:
"The instant an agent tells you that he charges a fee to evaluate your manuscript, RUN---do not walk---in the opposite direction. NO REPUTABLE AGENT charges a reading or evaluation fee. The AAR (Association of Author Representatives) forbids its signatories from doing so, just as it works in other ways to uphold the ethics of the field. Good agents are signatories of the AAR. Real agents make their money by taking a commission when they sell your books....Ripoff agents feed you the following lines...."$60 reading fee for first three chapters and outline or synopsis---but only when I request this material once I've read the query letter. Fees for reading complete manuscript are on a sliding scale." Gee. How generous....Never pay an agent a reading fee. Never work with an agent who charges reading fees. There are no exceptions to this rule. "
Don't believe me or her? Check out the website "Writer Beware:"
Honestly, howow different is it to say "give me $60 up front to read and edit your manuscript" or "give this website $40 up front and I'll take a cut of it." Even if all the money really did go to the website, the perception that the agent is somehow profiting too is just too easy to make. Would any reputable agent really want to be associated with such a website?
I love the idea of WEBook, especially in a publishing atmosphere where such new methods are needed in order to bring the industry into the internet age. We all know something has to give, and that the old publishing methods are no longer working. However, that they have not only asked for such fees, but a prohibitively high one makes me wary to even use their services.
Posted: 4/21/2010 11:03 AM PDT
I emailed the agent in question and will let her decide if she wants to weigh in on the matter publicly.
Posted: 4/21/2010 10:52 AM PDT
Postage? Very few agents still want mailed in subs and those who do aren't likely to sign up for AgentInbox. The fee is far from 'token'. This agent is very dedicated and doesn't want to see writers soaked when they can go to the agent's website and make the same submission via email with no charge.
Posted: 4/21/2010 10:05 AM PDT
I just had a look at postal rates and I think that $40 is not unreasonable. Shipping rates are down since the last time I sent a manuscript-sized box anywhere, but first-class mail* costs are up. So even if you sent only one page of work to 75 agents, you would spend more in mailing than you would for WeBook. Plus, WeBook offers extra services that go above and beyond just mailing things.
I am interested in knowing the name of the Agent who said he/she would quite if WeBook started charging. That sounds very illogical since having a token-fee should cause the quality of the submissions to go up. But, then again, who said agents are logical. ;)
Posted: 4/20/2010 6:18 AM PDT
Karpsy - I read it as unlimited subs for six months.
WEBookers - you said you were going to be monitoring the forums. Reconsider this one-size-fits-all fee and consider instead pay-for-play apps.
I don't need a review and edit of my query. That is between me and the agent. That alone will keep me from paying for the service. Make it a stand-alone service for a fee.
On the flip side, I might be interested in a system that let's me create and store a query that I can easily modify to a specific agent's guidelines. I might be willing to pay a modest fee for a convenient click-n-send service.
Make the dashboard separate. That might be an interesting service just to take out the is-it-there-yet paranoia.
Consider Karpsy's suggestions for differing levels of submission service, they are very good.
Consider an overall low monthly subscription fee for the entire site (ie. $2 - $3 per month). With that fee you get to enter the shortie contests, work on the collaborative projects, access the forums, etc. Have other lower fees for the special projects such as P2F. However, keep a free option for those who just want to browse. I did that on a site when I was first starting out and it worked out well.
I have read a LOT of skepticism about AgentInbox in a lot of industry blogs and forums. I was about to step up and start defending WEBooks . . . until I read last night's blog post. Now, even though I like P2F, I am a lot more skeptical myself. I'm not going to start running around yelling SCAM!, but the hey-let's-all-get-together-and-write-a-book glow is coming off the site considerably.
Posted: 4/20/2010 1:25 AM PDT
I agree completely. There should be a free option, and if you have to charge, charge for premium features such as the ability to submit samples of various lengths and styles to different agents, or the ability to choose more than say... 3 agents at once.
Also, I have a little question. Once you've paid the $39.99 - will you have unlimited submissions forever, or is it just unlimited submissions the one time?
Posted: 4/19/2010 8:04 PM PDT
Well . . . the 'introductory' period is over and here come the fees. High fees, right out of the gate.
I know at least one agent who said she would quit if authors had to pay. I'm sure others will follow.
It equates to a reading fee, even if the agent receives nothing. I know others will feel the same.
I had high hopes for this site, but the fees are jacking up quickly. Not good . . .
I don't need my query edited, I have a crit group for that! You need to really consider keeping a free option and then charging for premium services.
I think the P2F charge is too high, but have paid for a couple of subs as if it were a writing contest. However, I won't be making a habit of it. As for AgentInbox, as interesting as it seemed, I won't pay to use the service. All of those agents have websites with submission guidelines.