Survey Blog Blog
  The story so far

  Welcome THE STORY SO FAR. These are true tales written by AR&E
clients. (So obviously, they are printed here with the full permission of the authors!)

You'll find all sorts below. The two latest entries are from clients who got new agents in the spring of 2012 and in one wonderful example is to be published in the autumn of 2013. One in the form of an entirely new "story," the other as an update to the saga of a writer we've been working with since 2005! Talk about true grit... Others are oldies but goodies. Scroll down to dip into the treasure chest of inspiration. stop

The Story So Far by Tim Hayes - April 2012

At the end of the third year of working on my non-fiction book proposal a mutual friend introduced me to AR&E and Bill Martin. I told Bill about my proposal and some of the difficulties I was having. Bill suggested I tell Beverly what I was trying to do and after looking at samples of what I had, she agreed to take me on as a client for a Manuscript Analysis.

Then she told me that while I had a great subject and wrote well, if there was any chance of finding an agent, much less a publisher, I would need to completely overhaul the entire proposal - in Hollywood this is know as “a page one rewrite”. It was the first book I had ever attempted writing so I really didn’t know what to say. However something about Bill and Beverly – their credentials, their history, their professionalism - felt right, though I knew it would take me at least a year or more of what would end up being a new and different proposal.

I felt grateful, yet terrified to have someone both help yet confront me about my writing.

Beverly is good…very good… at what she does. Smart, meticulous, vastly experience and creatively gifted. A year later I sent her my new rewritten non-fiction proposal. She said it was ready and should would take it to a number of agents. Before doing so she sent me their names and websites to check out. I was thrilled.

Them, the day before she was supposed to approach those agents she sent me an email saying she had just spoken to another agent, a long time colleague, who happened to be one of the most successful and respected men in publishing. He represented bold-faced writers and was considered ”legendary.” On impulse she pitched my proposal. He said she should send it. In her e-mail she said she took the liberty of doing so without my prior approval because of his stature, and that the next day she would approach the other agents on whom we'd already agreed.

The next day at 10am my phone rang…it was the "legendary" agent. He introduced himself, said he had read my proposal the night before, felt he could get it published and asked me if I would like to have him represent me. Doing my best to sound unemotional I said: Yes.” I called Beverly. She actually sounded as happy and excited as I felt.

That’s the story so far and I can't wait to see what happens next.
Janie's Story:
I grew up listening to tales about ancestors that featured dragons,immortals, and ghosts. I first dealt with Bill and Beverly in 2005 after I had written down these stories and wanted to get them published. The problem I ran into was that the stories were not the usual kind of short stories,
nor did they fit into any other convenient genre. Or so the rejection letters said. By now after a few attempts to interest agents, the math was depressingly obvious. If you send manuscripts sequentially to agents, if turnaround time per agent response is 6 weeks (usually more), you can hope
to contact roughly eight or nine agents per year, max. No wonder it could take years. There had to be some other way.
There were lots of websites with advice such as "go to your local library, find a book by someone whose work is similar to yours and see if they thank their agent in their acknowledgements and write down that agent's name". Do
this enough times and if the same agent crops up a lot, then you've found someone whose interests and track record map to your writing project. Again, there had to be some other way.
At first I was cautious when I found AR&E. But by cross-referencing them with other websites for writers and writer associations, I decided that they were a legitimate matchmaking service for writers and agents, and sent in my
order for a Customized Fingerprint. AR&E had a database of agents, I did not. Besides, the fee was reasonable compared to the time I would save.

Beverly really went above and beyond my expectations for the service. Her first letter accompanying the CFP explained her choice of agents and was loaded with practical advice on how to write a query letter, full of encouragement (which we can all use at this stage of the game) and provided insights on the publishing business. She also made it very clear that should any agents phone with a positive reply, not to scream or faint or make rash commitments while incoherent, but
to very nicely stall by asking if I could set up a phone call in 1 - 2 days time when I had gathered my questions and thoughts. And then to immediately phone her for counselling. Now this is wonderful because (a) she is behaving as though there WILL be a positive phone call and (b) the umbilical support cord is still there back to AR&E although she's already delivered everything promised in the CFP service and more.

After eight or nine submissions and rejections, we decided to approach our top choice on the list of agents. Beverly helped me craft a new query package and this time, a bite! The agent, from a top firm with a track record of success with female Asian writers, made suggestions on how the
stories could be more cohesively pulled together. I spent a few months overhauling the structure of the work, and finally emailed her back to say that the book was now 3/4 complete, how much would she like to see? The answer -- the entire manuscript. So now the manuscript is in review with the firm, it's risen above the slush pile, and this may be as far as my writing career goes, but it wouldn't have gotten this far without Beverly and Bill.

Many years later, I finally got my act together and wrote a real novel. Checked in with Beverly, who confirmed that the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency was still the best one for me. By happy coincidence, Jill Marr of SDLA came to a writer's conference in our town, and I went to see her. She
took the first 25 pages of my manuscript and loved it. Jill waited another few months for me to finish the manuscript, read it and still loved it. On Monday, April 9 she sent a contract for representation.

Beverly has been cheering from the sidelines for so long and given me so much support and friendship over the years. Without knowing for sure that SDLA was the best agency for me to approach, I would not have persevered as much at that writer's conference, and would not have made contact with my

And here's the update for spring, 2013:
February 2013: Following advice from Jill Mar at the Sandra Djikstra agency, I worked with a freelance story editor to tighten up the manuscript. Result: the novel THREE SOULS has been acquired by HarperCollins Canada, HarperCollins US, and Fabbri Editori (Italy).

Editor's Note: Go, Janie!

David's Story:

EDITOR'S NOTE: David's dream agent is Peter Steinberg of the Steinberg Agency and in March of 2009 he sold the book, JOURNAL OF A UFO INVESTIGATOR, to Viking, who pre-empted an auction to get the property. Here's what David had to say back in the Autumn of 2008 when he first went with Steinberg:

I first learned of Agent Research & Evaluation in February 2006, when I came across an ad in Writers Digest® and checked out their website. Several months before that, I parted from my first agent, who had tried unsuccessfully to sell my first novel. On the recommendation of a person I trusted, I decided to give the Customized Fingerprint® a try.

And wonderful to say, with Bill and Beverly'­s help, I found a new agent on the first round of queries! He was an
up-and-coming young agent at a distinguished old firm, and for some months he gave me first-rate representation. But the book still didn'­t sell; the agent grew less and less communicative. When I sent him the manuscript of a second novel, it sat on his desk unread for months.

So last spring [20­08] I got back on the phone to Beverly,
and with her coaching I did what I could to salvage the relationship. When it proved unsalvageable, she gave me the encouragement I needed to jump ship.

Once again I signed up for Customized Fingerprint,® this time for Novel No. 2. Once again I got results on the first round of queries, from two interested agents this time. With considerable advice and hand-holding from Beverly, I picked
the right one. I flew up to New York to meet him; we spent two or three hours talking over lunch. By the time I got on the flight home, I knew this was the agent I'­d needed ever since I began to write fiction.

Really, I would call this guy my 'dream agent'® except I never dreamed there could be an agent this good, this savvy and sensitive. (I'­m now finishing a rewrite of the novel, under his guidance; we'­ll start selling it this spring.) Without AR&E, I'­m pretty sure I would have found a third agent sooner or later, but not one like this.

What do I like about AR&E's service? EVERYTHING. Start
with the detailed reports and expert recommendations of Customized Fingerprint®; go on to Beverly's sharp and skilled critiquing service; and don'­t leave out her clear and straightforward answers (in the telephone consultations) to everything you've always wanted to know about agents but
didn'­t know whom to ask.  Bottom line: the money I've spent on AR&E over the past three years are among the smartest investments I'­ve ever made.


Ellen's Story

EDITOR'S NOTE: Ellen wrote this right after we recommended Marly Rusoff and Marly took on Ellen's debut novel. Before two weeks went by Marly had gotten Ellen a million dollar two book contract with HarperCollins. So while it was the Story So Far when Ellen wrote it, it's the back story now.

So far...
I sent out unsolicited query letters to agents. The book, 31 Bond Street, is a novel based on a murder that took place in New York City just before the Civil War. The response was heartening, but confusing. I learned about Agent Research through web browsing, so I called them and by chance reached Beverly. She gave me much sound perspective on the responses to date, and after I signed up for the Customized Fingerprint, a list of more agents. Now, a top flight agent is representing the book and knock wood, will sell it... (LIKE MOST WRITERS ELLEN'S SUPERSTITIOUS ABOUT SAYING WHO THE AGENT IS UNTIL THE BOOK IS SOLD. WE'LL LET YOU KNOW.)

Where else but Agent Research could a writer get help penetrating the invisible scrim of the agent's profession or deciphering agentspeak. Both Bill and Beverly champion the writer, which is a rare thing. The vast publishing network seems to be primed to keep authors dangling at arms length. Beverly's advice is practical, personal, and extremely
generous. It gives the writer a surer footing with real information, which helps toward making a sound decision. I recommend that any writer turn to this valuable resource as they navigate the marketplace.

Ellen Horan

Brian's Story:

So far:

It is a daunting task to say the least when you make the decision that
your ms is finished and you can't bare to go through it one
more time. I'­m sure most of you have read the statistics on
actually getting a positive response to a query letter. I researched
agents and was a little overwhelmed. I was pointed to agentresearch by
a local publisher that handles cookbooks and nonfiction offerings. My
initial contact with Beverly and Bill was very positive. They were very
helpful and explained their services in detail. Their no-nonsense
approach appealed to me and I signed up for the customized fingerprint.
I sent out query letters to the five profiled agents they matched me
with and had two so far ask for my ms. Needless to say I am very
pleased that I received these positive responses. Along the way Beverly
has been extremely responsive and a real treat to work with. So far so


Marni' Story:

Oh, thank you, Beverly. Must say the folks at Da Capo (EDITOR'S NOTE:
FIND, FAYE BENDER) has been a dream. I'­ll be starting my
five-city tour in four weeks, starting in my hometown at The Tattered
Cover, in downtown Denver. Thank you so much for all your great advice
and support. Best money I ever spent.

All best,

Marni Jameson

Author, The House Always Wins (Da Capo)


Apostolos Doxiadis writes:

Living, as I do, far from the centres of publishing and so being
totally innocent of the latest, or the not-so-latest, literary and
paraliterary buzz, when the issue of finding a new agent came up, I
didn't know where to look.

I live in a country where writers sell directly to publishers, and I
had only acquired an agent when my work started being translated, about
seven years ago. That relationship eventually had to end. I had to move
on. But where was I to look for likely candidates, to start a new one?
The web was obviously the first place I turned to, but what I found
there was - as is increasingly the case with any web search for
information that really matters - undigested pieces of fact (or was it
opinion?), random comments from writers' blogs and chat rooms, bits of
this and snippets of that, gossip, hearsay, an ocean of information in
which it is much easier to drown than navigate. Then, quite by chance,
I hit upon the Agent Research website.

My first reaction, as I started to explore it, was that it was too good
to be true. But little by little I realized that it was exactly what it
said, and what I had hoped for, a digital place created by
professionals, for professionals. In fact, their "Customized
Fingerprint" service was like an answer to a prayer, exactly the kind
of thing that any writer dreams of: I'll tell you who I am, what I've
written, what I'm writing and what I want to achieve with it, and
you'll tell me who are the best possible agents for me - that good!

I spent an eminently interesting hour chatting long-distance with
Beverly, an hour that really changed my perception of what an agent is
and what he or she can do for a writer. When I received Beverly's
suggestions, a week later, as a short list of six candidates, I was
even more impressed by the detail and depth of her knowledge. Though I
must confess that for a moment I thought she might have gone too far,
by suggesting people who were probably too big or too powerful for me.
(You know, writers tend to be insecure creatures, spending a lot of
their time underestimating themselves.)

I joked with Beverly: "I feel like I've told a friend in the film
business, 'I'm making this film, see, and I want to ask you if you know
any actresses'. And the friend says, 'well, there is this girl called
Julia Roberts'." But Beverly insisted: "No, judging from who you are,
these are the people that will be good for you." As it turned out, she
was right. I asked for additional material for two of the agents I was
most interested in, promptly received a lot of in-depth additional
information, plus an intelligent overall assessment, and went ahead to
meet them. I am very happy to say that my new, wonderful agent, was an
Agent Research suggestion. And she is absolutely what they said she
would be. Thanks ever so much!


Primary Agent Hunting by Anonymous

Dear fellow scribes,

I write to tell of my terrific experience with AR&E's Dead
Reckoning reports. I wrote my first novel 18 months ago. Then went
searching for an agent. I paid for three individual reports from the
service on agents I was considering. It helped me select a very good
agent -- a highly accomplished veteran focused on thrillers (which is
what I wrote). Alas, said agent wound up with some serious
health problems in his family and, after we worked together for six
months, we were forced to part ways. I was freaked out, capital "F."
And an exclamation point. I had been six months into preparing my book
for sale and then, rug pulled.

Next I worked with Dead Reckoning to find a replacement, in this case,
an A-list agent who, while not an expert in thrillers, was ideally
suited for my personality and approach.

Punchline: she devoted herself wholly to the project and we sold it.
And for not an inconsiderable sum (though, as is obvious to most of
you, this part is gravy). Having someone who believes in you enough to
invest the time, call you late at night with "I've got a killer idea"
(even if it's not) is most of the battle. I got lucky in that I sold my
first one.

A big dose of luck helps. But so does the right agent. Dead Reckoning
reports helped make that happen.

Another thing...I strongly recommend you pick out a handful of agents,
talk to them, send them your work, get a vibe of their commitment to
YOU and your work. This is business but it's a relationship one. And
even if your work doesn't sell, it helps to be aligned with someone you
feel has your interests in mind.

PS - Dear reader, if you're wondering why I've written this endorsement
anonymously, it's because I am a journalist and my publication doesn't
allow me to write endorsements (even when they're utterly worthy).

Good luck.


Salome's Story:

Dear Beverly and Bill,

I am writing to thank you for all your help. I have officially signed a
contract with Vigliano and Associates and could not be happier. As you
know, I parted company with my former agent after two successful book
contracts, "I Choose to Stay" and "The Immortality of Influence" (at
least my wife thinks they were good), and a movie deal with Walt
Disney. I was looking for a major agent in New York City and a friend
suggested I contact you guys. After a customized fingerprint and many
emails/consults, I was in New York meeting with agents. I have never
felt so supported in my life. Although I was not comfortable fielding
calls and emails from some of the top agents in the industry, YOU never
let them see me sweat! After many conversations and emails, I decided
that David Vigliano would be the perfect agent to represent my future

I am sure you get letters like this all the time but I did not want to
move on without thanking you. Changing agents is not an easy move (even
for a chess player) but you made it much smoother than I ever imagined
it would be. I will be recommending your service to all of my
colleagues who are seeking effective representation.

All the best,

Salome Thomas-EL


Richard's Story:

I have just deposited the first of two advance checks into my bank
account, so now I think I can say, without any fear of jinxing, that I
have finally sold my novel, "GOD DOESN'­T SHOOT CRAPS: A
Divine Comedy of Dice, Deception, and Deliverance." The publisher is
Sourcebooks, probably best known for their college guides ("The Fiske
Guide to Colleges" and "The U.S. News & World Report Guide to
Colleges"), who have a small and prestigious fiction list under the
imprint of "Landmark."

The advance may be described as mid six-figures ñ but
only if you count the two figures to the right of the decimal point!
ThatĂ­s okay, though. I intend to make my money the
old-fashioned way, i.e. by actually selling copies of the book. And
since I am a direct-mail copywriter who specializes in the marketing of
books and newsletters, I might actually prove to be pretty good at it.
At any rate, I wanted to take this occasion to thank AR&E for all
the help you've given me since I first got in touch with you nearly
three years ago. I have used virtually every service you provide: the
Customized Fingerprint, the individual agent reports at Dead Reckoning,
the New Agents list, the query consultation, and I intend to continue
subscribing to your newsletter Talking Agents for life!

You helped me acquire not one, but two literary agents for this
project. The first, quite frankly, gave up too easily. The second, Kim
Goldstein of the Susan "The Corrections" Golomb Agency, put her heart
and soul into it and fought like hell for it. But even she was ready to
give up after twelve rejections. But I begged her to send it to three
more publishers, and...

To any writer thinking they already know it all when it comes to
finding agents and selling a novel, let me assure you that I thought I
knew it all, too. IĂ­ve had two non-fiction books published
by William Morrow & Company, and been a client of one of the top
agents in the business (who refused to return my phone calls about this
project). My wife has had two books published and has had two agents.
And yet I did NOT know it all. The business is too complicated and too
fast-moving for an author to stay on top of it. Beverly and Bill have
made it their life's work to do so, and I, for one, am enormously glad
they have.

Richard Armstrong


Shelly's Story:

Dear Beverly and Bill,

THANK YOU for all of your excellent work.

Your information helped me to identify literary agents who might be
interested in my first novel, Joshua's Bible, which is about an
American missionary who serves in South Africa.

I landed my first agent within days of writing to her. As a result,
Joshua's Bible was published in hardback in 2003 with Warner Books. It
also met with other success: it was subsequently released as a Books on
Tape, it sold to various online book clubs, its Dutch publication
rights were sold, and it was issued in paperback with Warner Books in
2004. In addition, Joshua's Bible garnered a starred review from
Booklist, won the 2004 Fiction Honor Book Award, and became a Black
Expressions "Members' Favorites" book.

Thank you for a job excellently done! I have recommended your company
to many others.

Shelly Leanne

(For more information:


Jerry Jenkins's Story So Far

Well, we spent a gloriously awful week in NY, and it's all Bill and
Beverly's fault. Five agencies (Editor's Note: Jerry had us do a
Customized Fingerprint for him and five's the magic number) rolled out
the red carpet for us, and we loved them all so much we signed on with
each. I hope they don't find out about each other. We're really going
to have to juggle our projects.

Of course I'm kidding, but this was the hardest decision of our lives.
As we feared given the caliber of the agents and agencies, it was
impossible to even put anyone in second place. It was as if 1B was as
far as we could go.

It came down to intuition, because as Beverly mentioned, I could pick
any one of the crop AR&E recommended and hardly be wrong.

Thanks for making our lives so miserable, briefly. It was more than
worth every penny. You provide a great service.



Ron B's Story:

After twenty years as a working screenwriter in Los Angeles with good
representation for my scripts, I found myself at a loss when it came to
finding a good literary agent for a book. Each is a specialized field
and rarely the Twain meets.

So, after I worked three years on my first manuscript, I wasn't sure
what to do next. Divine Destiny of a Common Man is the true story of my
escape from the WTC on 9/11, my subsequent days participating in search
and rescue, my return to Los Angeles only to suffer from PTSD, and
ultimately how that experience helped solve a 25 year old mystery
buried deep in my psyche.

My story was featured on the front page of several newspapers around
the country and I had many offers to write my story as an article, but
I decided to do it my way, worked with a top notch editor, and finally
completed the first draft in September of 2004.

With my manuscript in hand I began the hard part - securing a top notch
agent. My contacts and research made it clear that it had to be an
agent in New York. Maybe there are a number of good reputable agents in
other parts of the country, but when you feel you have a "best seller"
(I guess we all do), only a top, well connected uber agent will do!


Destiny took a hand! A friend told me about Bill and Beverly's service,
which I found suspect at first. I mean the idea of paying to find an
agent was not something I ever considered. However, once I looked on
their web site and checked their references ....I was hooked!

Considering the thousands of dollars I had spent on travel, research
and editing on the manuscript, the fee paid to AR&E was minimal. I
asked for expedited service. A week later, I received reports on six
agents with Beverly's well written memo of what to do next. And she
mentioned that the sixth agent, David Vigliano was an afterthought, but
someone she had a hunch might be right for me.

It turned out that David jumped on my query letter the fastest, calling
me personally three days after I mailed it! And my industry contacts
here in L.A thought very highly of him. But the most incredible thing
was that my current free lance editor had worked with him before... So
again destiny was in play.

At D.V.'s request, I submitted the first three chapters, which I hand
delivered! I just thought it was a good idea to meet him face to face,
to take his measure so to speak, and we had a great chat... (And as I
knew, one of the things agents and publishers want to see is an author
who can promote his work.)

Well, David loved the opening chapters and requested the complete
manuscript. I am elated to say he offered to represent me and expects
to be taking the book to auction and is confident it will sell! David
Vigliano is also representing my second book, The Ties That Bind, as a

The bottom line is - I owe this all to Bill and Beverly. Particularly
Beverly's guidance on the query and the intuitiveness that motivated
her to include David Vigliano at the last minute.

As the saying goes... That's the story so far. I shall keep you

*********************************************************** Dan's


On Friday at 5:30 p.m.-the time, when nothing ever happens in the
publishing world, right?-I got the call from my agent. A New York
publisher had just offered a two-book deal on a finished novel and the
manuscript I'm currently working on (of which they had seen the outline
and the first three chapters).

The moment I had dreamed of, and one that I'd begun to
suspect would never happen, happened. And you know what? It felt every
bit as good as I imagined. After a few days, the reality and
shortcomings of the offer, the modest advance and far-off
publishing date, brought me back down to earth, a
bit. But that moment was incredible. The pinnacle of my professional

Three years before "that moment" I met Bill and Beverly Martin.
Technically, I have never met them except through electronic
correspondences, but they feel very much like old friends to me. They
have guided me through three agents, several near misses, and the usual
array of rejections and heartaches that come, for me at least, with the

My career is in medicine. A field with its share of highs and lows, but
very little of the anticipation and dreaming I associate with writing.
Five years ago, when I decided to pour my soul onto paper, people
warned me of the rejection and humility awaiting me. I
didnĂ­t believe them. I was going to be different. I had a
unique story to tell. Guess what? I was no different. And when I ran
into wall after wall trying to find an agent just willing to read my
query letters, thankfully, I found the Martins.

Believe me, I was skeptical. Paying people over the Internet to find an
agent? Fortunately, I had few other options. So I turned to AR&E.

Bill helped me vet the first agent who showed interest in my first
manuscript (IĂ­m on my third agent and fourth manuscript
now). He warned me that the agent was reputable, but had no proven
clout within the industry. The agent tried (and truth was that
manuscript probably wasnĂ­t sellable), but Bill's words
proved fateful. My second agent, working with my more marketable second
manuscript, was a NYC player, worthy of a spot on AR&E's "C" group.
However, Bill warned me not to expect handholding or career guidance
the agent. After three months, and three rejections, the agent
summarily dumped me from his list, citing a personal crisis. (If
you're thinking I was a difficult client, I will say that
we only ever shared two phone conversations and fewer than ten emails,
none of which were adversarial.)

On my third manuscript, I turned back to AR&E. Beverly walked me
through the perfect query and found me a list of agents right for the
material. It took a long while, but I settled on an agent who fell
somewhere between being a player and a no-name. She sold my books, for
which I'm eternally grateful, but I soon learned the reality that
AR&E preaches. Any agent just won't do. When mine began doing
things that led me to believe she was not acting entirely in my best
interests I decided to make a change. Back to AR&E, of course. And
BINGO! this time a player.

I realize AR&E is a business, but from my perspective, the Martins
run it with the personal touch of a family-operated neighborhood store.
They keep their clients' hopes and aspirations foremost in mind. I have
always received more than what I paid for. (How rare is that?) And I
know that long after the accounts were settled, Beverly and Bill were
still pulling for me to find success. And who knows, maybe I have? If
so, I'm not sure I could have done it without Bill and Beverly.



Yvonne's Story:

I wrote my first book and didn't know what to do next. There are so
many literary agents out there I had no idea where to begin.

Then, standing on line at Lowe's, I met a man who had published five
books and was working on number six. Luckily for me, he was kind enough
to spend some time with me and the first thing he told me was to get in
touch with Bill and Beverly Martin at Agent Research and Evaluation.

I looked at their website and chose their Customized Fingerprint. They
were able to provide me with a group of agents they felt would be most
likely to take on a new author, most of them they explained - more
important, would be interested in the kind of book I wrote. I also
chose their Query Letter Edit service.

During the process so far, I have had the pleasure of speaking with
Bill anytime I had a question, and Beverly responds to my emails almost
immediately. In a business that has become so large, it was nice to get
the kind of personalized service AR&E provided.


Marcy's Story:

We writers are a funny lot: We are just fine parting with 15% of our
income (forever!) but resist laying out a modest fee for intelligent
guidance in finding the person who will represent our work and affect
our earnings. Finding an agent is something we think we can do
independently ñ and some of us can. But like love at
first sight, it is rare. Representing yourself is also possible, but
again, doing it well ñ equally rare.

Before I came across Beverly and Bill of Agent Research, I had three
agents and three cookbooks (2 published, one shelved). Agent number one
was ok until a new editor disinherited me, mid-book, which seemed to be
the exit cue for the agent as well. Agent two was someone a colleague
recommended as writer's champion, a pit bull when it came to
negotiating. Unfortunately, her pit bull tactics alienated potential
new editors as much as they alienated me.

Conversely, agent three was soft spoken and refined, but so laid back
that after some 8 months of re-writing a proposal I was still in limbo
and no closer to a deal. I also did try representing myself. Publishers
in my field knew me (after two books) and were receptive, but
uncomfortable about speaking directly to the author about advances and
terms. There was a sense that if I was established, why was I out there
on my own?

I eventually realized that I was failing to hone in on the 'right' one.
To do this better I was going to have to make a serious assault on the
problem. Admittedly, my criteria were sketchy. I narrowed it down to
agents that I could get through to on the phone, who called back, who
were polite, zealous, and attentive and had some track record. Many
agents fit that bill. The fact is, agents are in sales and all hungry
for the next, great super author. If you can leave a decent message or
manage the 7-second phone spiel, most will call back and will be
attentive and polite. Like men, while they are on the hunt, they are
all zealous, attentive, and call back.

All this took months of follow-up, research, and proposal packets
mailings and still I was nowhere closer to finding representation. Most
of the time I felt "I" was being interviewed by them, instead of me
considering their suitability to represent me. I also felt sheepish
about not having had a great agent yet, nor a great rapport with one (I
was thinking Jerry McGuire), and embarrassed that I had had three
agents. I was getting tired and discouraged, Then one day, totally by
accident, I came across the AR&E web site.

What I liked about Beverly right away is that she addressed some of the
in-between-the-lines stuff that showed me she was as much about being a
mensch as she was about doing a good job for you. This alone lifts your
spirits and re-spins your sense of the big picture. A few emails and I
suddenly saw the publishing world in a totally different vein
ñ one that had little to do with me personally but
everything to do with 'this is just what it is about'. This is totally
re-centering advice. It also repositions you to anticipate and expect a
better class of agents. Besides which, with AR&E, you approach the
agent hunt with a mentor and coach by your side. You 'look' like you
are out there alone, but you actually have support from the trenches.

Beverly is also a much-published author. This means she 'gets it'. She
knows what it is about because she is in that life herself. So, you are
in fact, coming into contact with a pal who is informed, wise, has
business smarts, a broad view of publishing, and is 'on your side'
without any agenda other than seeing you find the 'right fit' for your
work. And 15% never comes into it. AR&E isn't looking for a piece
of your action, only a modest fee for a service rendered. In this
business of numbers and sharks, finding real people, with real
expertise who stay the course is a gift.

The profiles of agents AR&E supplied listed clients, deals made,
history of the agent, etc. but also, solid advice with a context
ñ advice that pulled it together, i.e. given this
author, this project, this much track record, this sort of personality
ñ which agent might be best for the task. This blew me
away. In one wonderful, concise but substantial documents (pages!) I
had a map, with pertinent sidebars, on how to get there from here. Even
a thumbnail sketch and objective, fair evaluations of some of the
agents I had contacted on my own who had wowed me on the phone, but
whom Beverly and Bill suggested were also-rans. Seeing the bottom line
facts on my candidates and theirs was an eye opener. I realized in a
twink that I was gravitating towards 'nice' instead of
capable, and had erroneously believed some of these agents were major
players. They were not, but without AR&E, how was I to know? I
never would have known or found these people! (These were far bigger

So, I began the process again but Beverly and Bill improved my batting
average and reception - because either the agents knew of AR&E, or
my bringing it up spoke volumes about my own sense of self as a writer.
I was willing to invest to find the best agent and that meant I must
believe in myself. I was infinitely more confident and felt so, as well
as more professional. As we all know, urgency lowers the bar and
casualness insures luck.

And where is the story so far? I tried for 4-5 months to get an agent
on my own. Just six weeks after I contacted AR&E and received my
agent 'map and road guide', I wound up with one of the top agents on
her list. (By the way, having AR&E on your side does not
automatically guarantee an agent will take you on; you
have to do the courting and earn that part of the gig yourself).

The agent and I discussed all my ideas and came up with one we were
both passionate about, and that she feels the market is ready to
consider. She is a former editor with a top publisher and has taken
considerable time with my proposal. When she'­s done I will
look over her suggestions, do what I think needs to be done, then bat
it back to her court and it will go off to publishers to consider. Or,
as I like to envision it, it is off and away with my delicious dreams
tucked inside an envelope wrapped in delectable hopes.

Warm wishes and best of luck to all.

Marcy Goldman



Agent Research & Evaluation should be your first stop if
you're looking for a literary agent. My story so far? I
want to write an insider's guide to law school admissions.
That's my background: I used to be Dean of Admissions at a
top ten law school, and I now counsel applicants on how to get into the
top graduate schools. I decided that I needed to take my own advice:
when the stakes are high, you need an expert to give you the inside
scoop. Those agent directories are cheap, but, as with most things in
life, you get what you pay for. The information you find in agent
directories is entirely self-reported; they are
basically marketing opportunities for agents, and it turns out that any
shyster can hang out a shingle, call himself an agent, and submit phony

I found Bill and Beverly on the Internet. Beverly served up a helping
of brutal honesty, whipped my query letter into shape, and found the
top five agents for me to query. Interesting results: As some other
AR&E alums telling their Stories So Far have demonstrated, we
don'­t necessarily hit pay dirt with all five that B&B
recommend; that just goes to show how subjective this
business is, but we only need one to reach our goals.
And I got my top choice: David Vigliano (who, incidentally, hadn't
submitted any information to the agent directory I had on my shelf; he
doesn't need to).



Tom's Story:

I had been writing for newspapers and magazines for awhile. I've stayed
away from a novel because of the uncertainty of it. I like writing and
getting paid, and the thought of a lot of work without financial reward
seemed frightening.

The magazine work started to bore me a bit so I went after the novel. I
loved writing it and tolerated editing but absolutely hated the
business end of it.

I decided that if i was going to give this a go I was going to do it
right. I hired a private editor which helped, and then I paid for a
Custom Fingerprint from AR&E.

Friends who are novelists told me to blanket agents from the big fat
guide books and just get the queries out there. That didn't seem
professional to me.

I got my CFP and followed Beverley's advice exactly. Seven days from
mailing my first packet I got my first response from a very big deal
agent who requested my entire manuscript.

Right away I knew I had done the right thing. I felt like a
professional and my work was received like a professional's. I'm not
sure that would've been the case without AR&E.

Looks like I have some revising to do but I'm still in the game and I
still haven't heard from a couple of the agents that AR&E

Tom Schreck, author of Duffy's Nuts



In October 2000 the Israeli-Palestinian peace process collapsed. Most
of my adult life I had looked forward to its success, and in the 1990s
I had fervently believed that we were finally on the right track.
Unlike myself, my children wouldnĂ­t have to go to war, and
could live normal lives in a normal country with civil neighbors.
Suddenly I was confronted with the possibility - soon, the certainty -
that we of the Israeli peace camp had been deluding ourselves, and that
thousands of people were going to die as a result.

Struggling to make sense of the shambles of my convictions, I turned to
writing. The discipline of marshaling my facts and thoughts into clear
and precise words and sentences helped my keep my cool in unusually
trying times.

Throughout the bloody year of 2001 I stuck to my project, reading,
thinking - reconstructing a framework with which to evaluate the
surrounding events and my role as a participant in them. By early 2002
I had a completed manuscript: and now what?

For two or three months nothing happened, and I told myself that what
had started as a personal project would also end that way. One agent
told me nobody was interested in books on Israel; another curtly
informed me he had other plans. And then one afternoon I stumbled
across Since I work with databases, I was intrigued
by their system: what a brilliant idea, to follow every movement of a
professional field so as to know all its players, their strengths,
weaknesses and foibles! An intelligence system! I dashed off a brief
description of my MS with a note asking what they'd recommend. Thus
began a totally unexpected adventure.

Beverly responded immediately, encouraging me to choose the Customized
Fingerprint. Within 10 days of this first encounter I was in contact
with Danny Baror of Baror International, and 48 hours later I had a
contract with Danny and with Jimmy Vines of the Vines Agency - Jimmy to
deal with the US market, and Danny, further down the road, with Europe.
Forty-eight hours later we had our fist bid, and within a week we knew
where we wanted to go. We signed with Doubleday less than a month after
that first chance encounter, Beverly encouraging me as we went that
while things were happening at the speed of lightening, the decisions
being made were indeed the best ones possible.

If you have a high-flying agent you'll get to an up-market publisher,
who will put a top-notch editor on your MS, Adam Bellow, in my case.
Adam went off for the summer with my treatise, and came back with
far-reaching suggestions. Basically, he said, you don't want to publish
a book about your intellectual grappling with the issues, you want a
report on the results of the grappling. It should be a fighting book,
not a deliberating one. This meant tearing apart the MS and practically
starting anew, under his eagle eye and flashing editorial scissors. The
next six months were amongst the most exciting intellectual exercises
it has ever been my good fortune to participate in, as Adam taught me
how to go about the task he had devised, and I grew into it. Even the
title was changed, and became "Right to Exist. A Moral Defense of
Israel'­s Wars".

It (was) published in September 2003; if not for Bill and Beverly, it
would at best have appeared in 2000 copies in some third-rate
mom-and-pop place, and an obscure librarian would have catalogued it as
a personal memoir.

Yaacov Lozowick


Jodi's Story

When I first got my five agent recommendations from Agent Research and
Evaluation I thought, 'Hey, I just paid for five rejection letters.' I
hadn't expected to use AR&E. It seemed lazy to pay someone to do
your research. Getting six or seven rejection letters changed my mind,
so I sent Bill and Beverly the money and the vital stats on BLUE EARTH,
my crime novel. They sent back the names of five agents so apparently
good that several of them, including the Karpfinger Agency, only had
the brief name-and-address listing in the Guide to Literary Agents. I'd
taken this to be a polite way of saying "not taking new clients" and
hadn't approached any of them.

I was disappointed that AR&E hadn't taken into account. this="" was="" first="" novel="" and="" had="" steered="" me=""
toward="" agents="" too="" good="" need="" first-time="" author.=""
but="" did="" packages="" anyway.="" within="" weeks,="" as=""
expected,="" rejections="" trickled="" from="" four="" five=""
agents.="" fifth="" seemed="" have="" simply="" forgotten="" send=""
rejection="" letter.="" in="" october,="" i="" sent="" out="" batch=""
of="" query="" letters="" to="" another="" six="" agents,="" these=""
a="" little="" lower="" on="" the="" food="" chain.="">

Three days later I got an email from someone named Laurie, with BLUE
EARTH in the subject line. I thought two things: That one of the agents
I'd just queried had taken the novel step of rejecting the manuscript
via email, and that they'd done it damned fast. Then I opened up the
email, just to glance at it quickly before deleting it. The lines were
broken up in the body of the message, the way they do when someone
else's email system doesn't jibe with yours, and one phrase - "Barney
and I would like" - sort of jumped out, and suddenly I realized that
was not the kind of thing people said in rejection letters. Laurie
worked for Barney Karpfinger, one of the agents AR&E recommended to
me, and they wanted to read my book.

It's hard to put into words how good I felt at that moment; it was just
a really, really lovely feeling. Nothing else since has matched it. I
spent a happy evening printing the novel to send to Barney. Later, I
ran his name through a search engine or two to see if anything came up.
A few things did; every mention of him from authors he'd worked with
seemed to end with some variant of the phrase "... and a really great
guy, too." Everything in my experience has led me to think the same.

Speaking of nice people, Bill answered a question for me via email as I
was putting together my query packages; more recently, Beverly did a
little handholding with me over the phone. Neither of them were
required to provide these extras; and they did so really generously.
When Beverly asked if I'd do a Story So Far, I was nervous. The book
hasn't been sold yet...


From the very early days I had a really good feeling about BLUE EARTH.
I had only been writing seriously for two years: a few short stories, a
novella, a script for a comic-book series. I didn't really expect any
of those things to sell, and they didn't. But during all that time I'd
been entertaining myself with ideas about a risk-taking, emotionally
insecure rookie cop and her prickly, enigmatic lover, a preacher's son
turned homicide investigator. Their story, BLUE EARTH, was surprisingly
easy to write compared to things I'd done in the past, and I knew right
away it was head-and-shoulders above anything else I'd done.

That was confirmed when Barney called me in December, after I'd sent
him the novel. He had some ideas for strengthening the book; in April
he agreed to represent me, and in June, Bantam agreed to buy BLUE EARTH
and two more books about Sarah Pribek. It's nice to finally be a writer
without a night job, but I'm happiest with how much I've enjoyed
everyone involved.

Both Barney and Jackie, my editor at Bantam, are extremely nice people
and fun to work with.

As for AR&E, I got services above and beyond what I'd paid for.
They are much appreciated.


Mike's Story So Far:

I'm just like you, another writer out there in the night, tapping away,
creating worlds and reigning Godlike over my self-created universe,
trying to coax one more perfect sentence out of the waning moon shining
through my window, knowing that come daylight I will have to go back
into the mortal world unpublished, diminished when compared to my
nighttime divinity.

And, like me, and all the other creative people I know, you might also
share a common trait, a state of being almost absolutely clueless as to
an effective way to market your work. We may be able to recreate the
cosmos, but when confronted with such things as fashioning a viable
marketing plan, we go numb and retreat back to the safety of our
imaginations, where, as anyone with good sense will tell you, the real
world exists.

This is my third novel. The first, written on a pawn shop typewriter,
allowed me to get a lot of bad writing out of my system and remains in
a locked drawer where no one will ever see it. The second was good, but
I got stymied by the marketing process and put it aside in order to
keep writing. After I completed the third, I had to face the real fact
that it was highly unlikely someone was going to break into my house
and publish my novels.

So I bought the books--you know the ones (a costly proposition, that)
and obsessively poured over them, underlining, dog-earing the pages,
trying to decipher the secret language that would open the door to
publishing success, and an occasional dinner served by someone other
than me--one that didn't begin by boiling water or opening up a can.
Fill in your own dreams.

I wrote at least ten different query letters, agonizing over every
word, settled on one, created a full color letterhead--with color
coordinated envelopes, selected stamps honoring Alfred Hitchcock for
postage and sent them out. Twenty-six of them, in two batches. Some
disappeared into the land of agent arrogance. Some came back with a
stamped rejection message affixed to my cover letter. One came
back--Dear Ms. Firment, though my masculine name of Mike appeared at
least three times on the above stated letter. One brave and battered
letter returned, bearing the words--Please send the book. I danced, I
cheered, I bored my friends. I sent out the book, and if it were a
child, it would now be appearing on the sides of milk cartons.

Which leads me to Agent Research and Evaluation. Finally I was
determined to be smarter. After all, if I needed surgery, I wouldn't
read a book about it and try to perform the operation on myself. Ever
wary of the schemes, I researched and heard good things about Beverly
and Bill. I ponyed up and ordered a custom fingerprint and an online
query edit. Interesting things began to happen. My battered sense of
hope was undergoing restoration, and by the time I received Beverly's
amazing report, my well-earned skepticism had been miraculously
transformed into an unfamiliar can-do attitude. (People who know me
still chuckle in amazement at this.) After Beverly edited my ragged
queries, I performed a voodoo ritual in the nude and sent them out.
That was on a Monday. By Friday an agent was on the phone from New
York, requesting an exclusive. I was delirious and giddy, loved all of
mankind and celebrated with the only thing I had in the house--Cheetos
and a can of cheap beer.

Throughout it all, in my dealings with AR&E, I felt as if I was
dealing with real, caring people out there in the wilderness of
cyberspace. They remove the mystery, superstition and ignorance
inherent in this process, and arm you with hard data, bolstering this
with their vast knowledge of the publishing industry. I always had the
sense that they really enjoy what they do.

They broker our dreams. Trust them. If your work is ready--beg, cajole,
borrow the money from relatives, but get Beverly and Bill involved in
your writing life. They are a shining light in a world of low-rent
hustlers preying on earnest, but gullible writers. And remember, agents
may seem as unapproachable as emperors, but they need us and the
curious magic only we, as word sorcerers, can conjure up. May the late
night moon shine brightly on your own sentences.

Thanks for listening,

Mike Firment.


Marcus Wynne's Story So Far:

I'm a long time user of Agent Research. My first encounter with them
was two years ago, when I was shopping the manuscript that became my
first published novel. I found myself in the fortunate position of
having several agents competing for my book, and I took advantage of
AR&E's database to research those agents, and to get Bill's
recommendations on others. I still use their services. As recently as a
month ago I purchased a report on the LA agent that represents me for
books into movies.

Bill and Beverly provide a service you can'­t get anywhere
else. They comb through the massive amounts of information the crazy
publishing world puts out to find out who is selling what to whom and
for how much. And then they put it together in one place and package it
with great advice and informed opinion.

Before I knew about Agent Research I found my first agent. He
represented my first novel. I wasted a year with that hack. I shelved
the manuscript he couldn'­t sell and went to work on my
second book. When that was completed, I started the agent search all
over again - but this time I found Agent Research and their database.
So with their report in hand, I chose an agent from among the ones
competing for me.

That agent sold my first novel, NO OTHER OPTION, to a good house that
really got behind the book. They got this first time author on Oprah,
Primetime Thursday, Fox Family and Friends, Good Morning America and
the Crier Report, as well as on dozens of radio networks. I got ads in
the NYT Book Review and great reviews. The book has done well in
hardback, and is just out this month in paper. My agent sold the same
house my second book for ten times what we got for the first book. That
book, WARRIOR IN THE SHADOWS, is out this month. And we just closed a
sweet deal for book number three.

So do I recommend Agent Research? Absolutely. But remember this:
it's your career. Choosing an agent is a lot like choosing
a spouse. You can pay to get informed opinions about what you should
want and need in that relationship, but it comes down to your intuition
and your own informed decision about what you can live with.
ItĂ­s that kind of relationship.

Choose wisely. Beverly and Bill can help you do that.


Stephen's Story:

I am the author of the best selling self-published series of books
called Loving Your Long Distance Relationship (see
After eight years of successful sales & self-publishing, I felt it
was time to sell the rights to my books to a major publisher.

I knew I needed an agent, but I didn't know where to start. That's when
I found Bill & Beverly Martin's site on the Internet. I immediately
called and told them about my situation. Within ten days, using the
Customized Fingerprint, Beverly identified six agents who would be
interested in Loving Your Long Distance Relationship. Her reports and
recommendations were very professional, thorough, and insightful.

I immediately mailed all six agents. I received five declines ... and
one acceptance!

It has been about 12 weeks since I first called the AR&E office and
I have a signed agency agreement in hand from a prominent New York
literary agent. I could not have done this without Beverly's
enthusiastic guidance & support.

If you are looking for an agent, I highly recommend using Agent
Research & Evaluation's Customized Fingerprint.

Stephen Blake

Author, Loving Your Long Distance Relationship



Before encountering AR&E I had sent queries to numerous agents
listed in the Writer's Digest as being receptive to the work of new
writers. I was summarily rejected by every one. (One even sent me my
query letter back with nothing but "No thanks" written on it).

Next I fell under the influence of a sham agent who led me on with
compliments, then offered me a contract that demanded money for
"entering me into the database."

The first AR&E service I used, Free Agent Verification, helped me
to avoid that little trap.

I then signed up for the Customized Fingerprint. The price seemed
steep, but I was sure I'd written something that had merit if I could
just get someone to read it, even one agent willing to give me a chance
would be worth it.

Well, it's only been a few weeks, and I'm certainly still a long way
from becoming a published author, but the first three responses I've
gotten from the agents listed in the Customized Fingerprint have ALL
been requests to see the manuscript. Thanks to Beverly and Bill I have
gotten over a hurdle I knew I couldn't get over on my own.

Seldom today does a product or service exceed expectations. This one
did. I was hoping for one interested agent. So far I have three.

Kevin Reilly



Enlisting the aid of Agent Research was the smartest and most
productive move I've made in the agent search process.

Although I read books on how to get an agent, and had done my fair
share of web research, until I contacted the Martin's, I had nothing to
show for my efforts.

The expert advice I was given by Agent Research was worth much more
than I paid. My Customized Fingerprint Report hat contained helpful
tips and invaluable background and book deal information on agents I
would have never found on my own.

After studying the package and editing my synopsis and query letter
according to Beverly's suggestions, I sent them off to the agents
recommended by Agent Research. Two and a half days later I received an
email from an agent requesting my manuscript!

No matter what happens next, Agent Research has more than lived up to
their end of the bargain.

Tripp Wiles


Reverend Donna's Story:

Unagented life has not been kind to me. I have published 18 books on my
own, one with an agent, who then promptly abandoned me. Why? I'll never
know. We were still on contract, but she no longer returned my phone
calls. I took this neglect more than seriously. I moped it to a full
scale writing depression. When her Christmas card comes with her in a
kayak, accompanied by her golden retriever, whom I personally happen to
like a lot, I remembered our jokes. "Your next book will build the
guest bathroom." I can still weep. I really liked her. She clearly
found a sink elsewhere.

Twenty years ago I also worked with a woman who purported to be an
agent. She got me one meeting at a fancy New York publisher during
which I spilled my ginger ale. The reason? I was uptight being in a
room with so many people so much younger than I who had literary power
over me. This agent never submitted anything on my behalf: instead she
complained that my envelopes were wrinkly.

One of the books I sold without an agent went to a publisher whose idea
of marketing was to not answer phone calls. That book, SPIRITUAL
sold so few copies that the publisher recently invited me to buy the
entire run back at a cost that was astronomical, given how many books
were still on their shelf.

During this period of agent neglect and bake sales to buy my old books
back so I could sell them at bake sales, I sold two books in one year
needed no agent. I was my own agent ñ as well as being
my own lawyer, doctor, security service and priest ñ but
that overwhelming and excessive agency is another matter entirely.

Then a friend sent me the material on Agent R&E. I paid my money. I
wrote my proposal. Five agents either rejected me or neglected to
return my follow up phone calls after six weeks had passed. The sixth
one, who is now representing my book SPIRITUAL RESOURCES FOR DEALING
WITH CANCER, claimed not to have received the material the first time

I sent it again. And guess what? The day before Christmas he called me,
but we didn't connect! Then five days of telephone tag went by, during
which time I kept saying he couldnĂ­t have called to say he
didnĂ­t want to represent my book. Sure enough, we have a
deal. And I finish the proposal for him in a week. I hope he needs a
new bathroo

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