Various ways to skin cats and fleece writers....

I am a devoted Snarkling (we won't discuss how often I check your blog during the day). You've recently talked about fees for postage, copies etc and agents who ask client to "pay as you go." I have a related question -- what about agents who ask clients to send multiple copies of the same manuscript for submission to editors? Basically, the client is then absorbing the cost of the copying up front. I was sure this wasn't industry standard, but after having several friends tell me their agents ask them to do this (including some very reputable agencies) . . . I'm wondering if I was wrong.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Not only absorbing copying, but paying to send it. Who are these people? Shills for the Teamsters union??

First: reputable? hmmm
Maybe well known.

But reputable?
Coughing up dough OR the equivalent thereof for copies is a shoddy business practice. You can quote me.

Two reasons I say that. The first is purely practical. Unless you Snarklings have access to very good commercial copiers and a low rate, you're paying a premium to run your manuscript through the copy machine. Unless you pay 3cents or less, it's cheaper for me, thus you in the long run to do it. And its not like any agent is standing over the copy machine in the steaming heat. Miss Snark supports the entrepreneurial economy by having a very nice gentleman down the street do it for her.

Then you have to pay postage, go to the post office mail it and hope it survives the trip unscathed. Even if you send it media mail rates, you're gonna cough up $20 or more.

If an agency can't afford to pay for copies and wants you to do it, they need to look for a different line of work. This nickle and dime stuff is low rent.

The second reason it's a shoddy practice is because agents can get away with this stuff. Authors are eager for representation and will do just about anything including standing on their hands and whistling Dixie if an agent asks for it.

That kind of power imbalance is exactly why an agent should be scrupulous in his/her business practices. That fact that you CAN be a scumbag is all the more reason to make sure you are not.

And if a big and powerful well known and reputable agency does this, they should be ashamed of themselves. They should stop. Right fucking now.


Anonymous said...

Miss Snark, you are the glass through which we view a strange and darkling landscape.
Thank you for removing some of the shadows.

Miss Snark said...

That would be "strange and SNARKLING landscape" of course.

You're welcome.

Maxwell said...

This thread leads to an obvious question:

How should a basic Agnet/Writer relationship unfold, if things were going really well?

The only 'How to get published' thing I've read, besides the pearls of wisdom here, was at soyouwanna.com.

So assuming I have completed step one:

Write and self-edit to the best of your ability one completed novel.

Then what?

anonymous said...

I can't resist the temptation to quote Mark Twain:

We see as through a glass eye, snarkly.

Anonymous said...

I know a big powerful reputable well known agency that does this =)