It’s rare that I find the need to write a blog post on scam agents because sometimes I live in a bubble, feeling that anyone who has done the work to reach my blog has also done enough research to know what makes a reputable agent. Well, recently I was proven wrong. . . .
I have written two novels—well, one is technically a manuscript and the other has been published by PublishAmerica (which I seriously DO NOT recommend). My questions pertain to that of my manuscript. You see, I submitted it to the New York Literary Agency almost a year ago, knowing that a sale was not guaranteed or that being a new author. Now, after a year, I feel that my manuscript is just sitting there, idling because my agent is unable to be bothered by it. I get a monthly report in a form letter saying “…this is a normal progression of a manuscript in our care…do not get discouraged…” And I can’t help but wonder if another agency would be better suited to handle my manuscript and other future works. I am in serious need some advice on the subject.
This email makes me angry, sad, and irritated. Irritated that the author didn’t bother to do any research at all. In a simple Google search of New York Literary Agency the first three hits were writers’ message board warnings about the agency, the third was the agency’s horrible Web site, and the fourth was Preditors and Editors saying, “New York Literary Agency, The: Strongly not recommended.” I’m also angry and sad that there are people out there taking advantage of writers who are just desperate to find a home for their works.
Once I got beyond that I decided I would check out the New York Literary Agency, and let me tell you that with just a little research into what makes a reputable agency, that site alone should have you running. Why? Well, here are just a few of the things I see wrong with it. Nowhere is there a list of clients, books, or sales. Instead they seem busy touting the types of manuscripts they receive and how they will market your book. They are located in NYC, where they meet with “buyers.” Buyers? What does that mean? The only people I know who meet with buyers are sales reps from the publishing houses. What about editors? You know. The people who buy the books from agents. Oh, and I could go on and on. Take a moment to look at their diverse list of clients. Doctors and lawyers! Whoo-hoo.
I can go on and on, but the smartest thing I can do is remind everyone that when researching agents there are a couple of key places to visit. The first is the above-mentioned Preditors and Editors, the second is Writer Beware, and the third is your heart. You know when something isn’t right, so listen to those guts of yours.
And please, feel free to add to the list of scam agents you are more than happy to warn others about.
On another note, BookEnds is closing early today to celebrate the Labor Day weekend. Have a safe and happy holiday, and we’ll see you again on Tuesday, September 4.