From the comments section of the blog came a link to some site wherein very annoyed writers reprinted their emails with some poor fool who thought he'd found a fast way to make dough.
Herewith the list of questions asked of Agent HS:
1. How long has your company been in business?
2. How long have you been in the agent business?
3. What are your qualifications?
4. How many books did you sell in the past 3 years?
5. What publishing companies did you sell them to?
5. What are the titles and who are the authors and who were the publishers.
6. Could you give me a few names of satisfied clients that I could contact?
7. Are you a member of AAR?
Thanks for taking the time to answer these few simple questions.
For starters, if anyone sent me an email like that, I'd hang up on them too.
Tone, Snarklings, tone in your emails is important. This guy makes it sound like the fate of the free world hangs in the balance here.
This isn't an interrogation, and world peace doesn't depend on you getting straight answers.
First: the first question you ask is number 7.
If an agent is a member of AAR, they subscribe to a code of ethics and they have made verifiable sales. You can't just hang out your shingle and join AAR. They check on whether you've sold stuff. Trust me, they look. They also police their own. Screw up, and you're on the bad girl list. AAR takes that stuff seriously. (and they should)
Second, no way on hell's half acre am I giving you names and email addresses of my clients. I'll tell you what I've sold, to who and for whom, but giving out my author's contact info is the SUREST route to having the folks who've actually put cash in my slender reticule mad at me.
Third, questions 4 and 5 and 5 (interesting numbering system but ok) are all asking the same thing: What have you sold?
And this dear Snarklings is the crux of the matter. Why on gods green earth are you querying an agent if you don't ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWERS TO THE QUESTION???
Are you querying blindly off some sort of list? For all its usefullness Everyone Who's Anyone In Publishing lists names and addresses only..NOT what people have sold (mostly). Just emailing people blindly off that list gets you EXACTLY what you deserve if you end up with a scam artist.
You are not helpless children. You are NOT waifs. You are not innocents in the minefields of publishing dammit. You're adults. You change the oil in your car, you get your teeth serviced, you manage to get to work and raise reasonable replicants of human beings.
Due diligence before querying an agent isn't rocket science.
Do your homework, and you'll put the scammers out of business.
I've said it before I'll say it again:
every person who pays money to these folks could have avoided it if they'd spent five minutes doing research on the net.