In other parts of
this site we'll tell you more about Agent Research & Evaluation and
what it does.
Here we'd like to
tell you a little about who started it, and how and why.
Bill Martin began the project that led to AR&E in the early 80's.
His wife, Beverly, is a journalist-turned-novelist. Her fiction
(some 18 full length books) has been translated into a dozen languages,
and is for sale in Europe and Asia as well as the USA. Currently
Swerling, she is working on the City series about historical New
York City, published
by Simon & Schuster (CITY OF DREAMS (2001), SHADOWBROOK
(2004), CITY OF GLORY (2007), and CITY OF GOD (2008)). CITY OF PROMISE
is the final book in the series and is scheduled for publication in
Some number of years ago Beverly was seriously unhappy with her
literary representation. Her agent sold her work, but he didn't
understand who she was as a writer or where she wanted to go.
instincts for seeing that the consumer gets a fair deal were honed by
the cooperative movement and President Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty,
decided to research the published results of various literary agents. A
year later Beverly left her former agent and signed on with a new one -
who sold the first book he marketed for her for six times the amount of
her previous advances. To the same
publisher. It was pretty obvious
that a writer doesn't only need an agent. A writer needs the right
Back then the
Martins were living most of the year in the Canary Islands. That
was back in the pre-Internet days. Doing anything commercial with
Bill's research wasn't practical, but one way or another, he continued
to accumulate data.
In 1996, after returning to the U.S., Bill was ready to turn his
"fooling around" into a business.
In early 1997
AR&E was incorporated and began serving the writing community.
The basic mandate
was and remains simple: empower authors by providing them with
extensive information about virtually every active literary and
dramatic rights agent in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., then encourage
them to use that data to select the agent who is right for them. If the
writer is currently unpublished, the data helps her/him prepare a query
convinces the agent to take a serious look at the writer's work.
THE NEW MILLENIUM
We were among the
first e-businesses on the web. (We began to accept online credit
card payment in 1998, well before almost anyone else did. Today
do so through PayPal.) By the beginning of the new century, a
changed publishing environment had impacted the nature of the services
we offer. As more and more data became available throught the
Internet, we learned that writers wanted more from us than just the
facts; they wanted information. What makes us unique is that we
offer agent expertise - a LOT of agent expertise, and the input of
folks who see publishing from the writers' point of view.
By 2003 Beverly was
mentoring a select group of authors with whom she works closely,
offering the benefits of her 25 years of experience, in the very select
one-on-one master class called Manuscript
Analysis. A short time
later we developed the Agent
Recommendation Service, where, for authors
whose work is ready, we can not just recommend the right agent, but
bring author and agent together. We also provide Copyediting at a
highly competitive flat rate. At the same time, we continue to
offer our Customized
our core product. This
is the service that looks at you and your writing at the current stage
of your career, provides the names of the top seven or eight agent
choices for you and the reasons why, along with strategies for
how to approach them.
AR&E has grown a great deal since it began 15 years ago, but the
Martins still maintain steady hands at the helm.
Bill is chief
researcher and chief of just about everything else.
Beverly brings her
writer's point of view to all the services we offer. Check out
Debbie is new to the
venture. Her presence is the most exciting development at
AR&E in many years. She brings extensive and high-level
computer expertise, as well as a love of books and reading. The
site will be changing and improving as she assumes control of its
digital future. Check out Debbie's Musings Blog.
There's a small
office staff who handle all the rest, and they're invaluable.
Finally, the spirit
of the Martins' son Michael is very much present in all parts of the
operation, particularly this website.
A Web Pioneer
Of course nowadays every entrepreneur wants a meaningful presence on
the web, but that goal has been particularly important for the Martins
because Michael who died in February, 1997, was one of
the net's true believers. He was the creative director of Online Magic,
the web design company who built the original AR&E website.
A Prime Talent
Michael came to web design from a background in TV editing, and he had
enormous belief in the power of this new medium to tell stories, by
which he meant convey information, in new and more compelling ways. He
died while in Cannes, attending an international multimedia conference
where two out of the ten projects nominated for awards were his