Top Ten Signs Your Agent is a Scammer

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.)

14 Comments

  1. How about: You do a Google search on your agent’s name and find out that he’s been arrested for knocking over 7-11’s?

  2. That was outstanding. I wonder what it would take to run that as an ad in the back of well…how about Writer’s Digest smack dab between the scam agent ads.

  3. What about his offer to submit a ‘leather-bound, hand-typed’ copy of your manuscript to each and every publisher…it’s the ‘hand-typed’ that cracks me up. I mean, have you tried typing with anything else? The mind boggles…

  4. “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.”

    Wow, this one had me rolling on the floor.

  5. What a great site! Thank goodness I found it (and Miss Snark’s, which led me here). It amazes me how many folks trying to get published wouldn’t exhaustively research as much as possible before trying to get an agent or submit work, especially when so much good information is available (for free, I might add) on the Web. I will be a regular here, that’s for sure! Thanks again.

  6. I received a letter from the Dorrance Company to publish my writing. One of their researchers had discovered my manuscript registration with the Library of Congress. This happened on August 3, 2006.

    Is this a legitimate company?

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