Because we can’t be serious all the time.
10. Your offer of representation comes via form letter (somehow, you never do get his phone number).
9. Whoever typed his contract didn’t use spel chek and can’t rite real gud neither.
8. You first heard of him when [pick one: you found his ad in the back of Writer’s Digest/you saw his ad on Google/he solicited you].
7. When you asked if he’d worked for another agency before establishing his own, he said yes–a real estate agency.
6. When you asked for a list of recent sales, he told you the information was confidential, because he didn’t want you pestering his clients. And by the way, only a bad, ungrateful writer would ask that kind of question.
5. When you asked what publishers were looking at your manuscript, he told you the information was confidential, because he didn’t want you pestering the editors. What is he, anyway, your secretary?
4. When you got his contract, you discovered you had to pay [pick one: $150/$250/$450/more] for [pick one: submission/administration/marketing/circulation/other].
3. He told you your ms. was great, but when you got your contract you discovered you had to [pick one: pay for a critique/pay for line editing/pay for a marketability assessment].
2. He got you an offer from a publisher–but you have to [pick one: pay for publication/pay for editing/pay for publicity/buy 1,000 copies of your book].
And the number one sign your agent is a scammer: You got an email from his assistant telling you he’d been killed in a car crash, but when you called to ask where to send the sympathy card, he answered the phone.
(And in case you’re wondering, I didn’t make that up.)
(This list was first published as part of an interview at Writer Unboxed.)