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  Who we are
 

 (Updated 3/29/2011)

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.

OUR STORY

The 80s
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 as Beverly 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 August 2011.

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.

Bill, whose 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 agent.

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.


The 90s
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 If the writer is currently unpublished, the data helps her/him prepare a query that convinces the agent to take a serious look at the writer's work.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 we 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 Fingerprint, 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.

The Team
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 her Blog.

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.


IN MEMORIAM

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 creations.