I had a very interesting week, or should I say a very interesting experience.
Earlier this week an author got in touch to ask if I’d ever heard of an agent named, we’ll say Agent Tangerine, cousin to Agent Orange. He was emailing because Agent Tangerine had gotten in touch with him and claimed to be with BookEnds. Well clever Author knew enough to do his research and since he’d never seen Agent Tangerine’s name on our website, or anywhere else in our listings, he was checking to see if this was something he missed or if, possibly, this was a scam using the BookEnds name.
Having never heard of Agent Tangerine I was of course alarmed and asked Author to forward any information he had since she was claiming to work at BookEnds.
Author went one step further and got in touch with Agent Tangerine again to hear her side of the story. According to Agent Tangerine, she had opened an “agency business” she was calling “Book Ends.” She stressed that her agency was not to be confused with BookEnds. She did however, go on to say that she had worked with BookEnds for several years. She also claimed to have worked with the Bent Agency.
Wow. Not only was this upsetting, it was just plain creepy. None of what Agent Tangerine was saying was true. I had never heard of Agent Tangerine, she has never worked for BookEnds in any capacity, and we were definitely not in any legal battle over a website as she had claimed.
So I immediately forwarded our full email trail to both Jenny Bent and Victoria Strauss at Writers Beware to let them know about this. Certainly I was concerned about the reputation of BookEnds, but I was even more concerned that other authors were being taken advantage of.
About an hour later Author emailed again. It was a hoax. A big, fat hoax. Apparently someone Author knew was playing a “joke” on him, not realizing the lengths wise Author would go to to avoid being scammed.
So I thought about it. Should I feel like a fool? Who should I trust? Have I made a fool of myself by alarming another agent as well as Writers Beware?
There are a lot of fabulous agents in this world, there are also the few who will use any opportunity to scam unwilling authors. I cannot feel like a fool for alerting others (I also immediately let them know it was a false alarm). If this was really happening it needed to be stopped quickly.
As for the Author who originally emailed, I believe him. I believe that he was scammed and I feel bad for him. Authors work hard to learn the business and act professionally and this “joke” was just plain mean.
I refuse to feel like a fool about this and I hope Author does too. I commend Author for not jumping at a chance to have an agent, any agent, but for doing due diligence first. If this had been a scam agent he would have saved himself a lot of time and money by doing the research all authors should be doing.