The link she gave me led to a service called Agent Artery.
Agent Artery is a service with both writers and agents in mind, helping literary agencies and agents manage and keep on top of requests for representation from new authors, and helping writers to easily keep track of their submissions.As readers of this blog will know, such services--all of which purport to give you an advantage by streamlining the submission process with a one-stop-shopping approach--are nothing new. I've written a number of times about query blast services (and why agents and editors hate them), and also about manuscript submission services and why they're not only unlikely to land you an agent or publisher, but may result in contacts from fee-charging bottom-feeders. Agent directories and listing services can be a better bet, at least as far as utility is concerned, especially if they let you organize and track your submissions--but they're tools, not shortcuts.
Our system has been designed to provide both agents and authors with better tracking and processing when it comes to managing submissions.
Agent Artery (could they have come up with a less appealing name?) is UK-based, and at first glance looks like a cross between a submission service and a listing service. It lets you search its "comprehensive agency directory" (and indeed, its agent directory is replete with the names of extremely reputable UK agents, though the information supplied about each agency leaves a lot to be desired). It lets you upload your submission materials and submit them to agencies of your choice with a simple click. It lets you track your submissions, and sends you an alert in the event of a rejection or a request.
So where's the problem? Well....Here's one of Agent Artery's actual submission emails, with identifying information redacted to spare embarrassment to the author.
From: email@example.comEven beyond the unacceptable word count and the issues with grammar and the bizarre salutation, this just screams "spam."
Date: 9 January 2014 17:50:33 GMT
To: [agency name redacted]
Subject: New Representation request / [book title redacted] by [author name redacted]
Reply to: firstname.lastname@example.org
[Author name redacted] is interested in representation by [agency name redacted] for their manuscript:
- [Book title redacted]
- Word Count: 444
- Genres: Crime
I am a twenty-three year old thriller writer.
With a high and true sense of imagination, I have painstakingly created this crime thriller, [book title redacted] which goes a long way to provide a gateway into a world of crime where you feel the pain of the characters.
Enjoy the upload and i hope to hear from you soon.
[author name redacted]
Download sample chapters:
- [redacted--three short paragraphs with grammatical and other errors]
Learn more about our service:
- Download sample chapters [link redacted]
Should you receive this?
- View full submission details [link redacted--leads to the author's submission page]
If there is a better contact at [agency name redacted] to receive this type of submission, please let us know:
- Agent Artery is a service with both writers and agents in mind, helping literary agencies and agents manage and keep on top of requests for representation from new authors,and helping writers to easily keep track of their submissions. To learn more please visit www.agentartery.com/uk
According to the agent who contacted me, some of the cover letters were better done. Even so, no reputable agent is likely to pay attention to something like this--especially if they're getting it five times a day. Additionally, the agent told me that her agency hadn't agreed to be listed in Agent Artery's database (which uses material copied directly from the agency's website), or for Agent Artery to use its logo.
.@mushenska we've been getting spammed by them too. Sent a firm email saying we don't accept subs via 3rd parties & to take us off database-
— Ella Kahn (@elladkahn) January 18, 2014
Bottom line: Agent Artery may seem like a shortcut, but it's actually a dead end.
Agent Artery is run by Blue Compass Limited (company founder Chris Timms appears on Agent Artery in a mildly ridiculous fashion) which "owns & operates a portfolio of Recruitment and Networking websites across the full spectrum of the UK's Arts and Media industry."