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Literary Agents

Literary Agents – Do you need one?

Literary Agents – Literal Warning

Some General Rules for Spotting a Scam Literary Agency

* Openly advertises for writers in print or online publications or both.

* The agency claims that it’s open or seeking first-time authors for representation.

* Claims that it has new methodology for gaining access or acceptance with book publishers, but never explains why successful agencies aren’t utilizing it.

* Does not list any sales or refuses to divulge the titles of sales for confidentiality reasons.

* Claims it performs reading and gives recommendations to agencies but does not list any sales or refuses to divulge the agency names for confidentiality reasons.

* The only sales it lists are for vanity or subsidy publishers or the sales it lists were made by the author before the author signed with the agent, often years before representation.

* Sales it claims to have made cannot be found listed in any reference lists of books that were printed by the supposed publisher.

* Sales it made were mostly to a publishing house wholly or partially owned by the agency.

* Requires an upfront payment for administration or for a web display or for later postage and copying.

* On-line forum postings never include anyone who was rejected.

* On-line forum criticism is frequently responded to by a defender of that agency.

* Representation is usually granted in less than a month or even less than a week.

* Representation acceptances are usually worded identically.

* The agency name has changed, but the same personnel still work at the same address and there was no conflict with another agency with the same or a similar name and no merger to warrant a change.

* The agency never provides original comments from publishers that manuscripts were allegedly submitted to.

* The agency never provides original invoices or receipts for postage or copying expenses it claims were made on behalf of the author.

* The agency suggests that it will grant representation if the manuscript is first given professional editing. Frequently, it will suggest who should do the editing or offer to make its own in-house editing service available for a discount price.

* The agency threatens to blacklist its authors within the industry should they mention leaving.

* The agency points out to authors that it’s a member of its local BBB. (The BBB is for consumers.  Authors are considered businesses.)

Originally Posted on December 9, 2009 at 12:56 am

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