Well Snarklings, this book about put Miss Snark in a coma.
It's the story of Dorothy Deering, who is unaccountably called a literary agent in the subtitle and in the book when in fact she is a total con artist, but never mind that.
If you want a cautionary tale about how people can scam writers, this is the book for you. Zip down to the library and check it out ($27 for a hardcover...Miss Snark is saving her money for a side trip to Italy when she goes to Frankfort).
There are some elements of humor too: the FBI agent comments all the letters of complaint are very well written!
The prosecutor in the case sums it up: "There is nothing more vulnerable than a vain writer".
The heroes in the story are Kimberly Reese who had a website called Write Connection, and Ann Crispin and Victoria Strauss of SFWA (Ann posted a comment here on the subject of scam agents a couple days ago).
These women bravely told the truth about what was going on and created a forum for writers to tell their stories and find out they weren't the only ones. They were threatened with lawsuits, harrassed and even got death threats.
Dorothy Deering bilked people of thousands of dollars and stole millions. She ended up going to jail.
Snarklings, I know you want to be published. I know it's hard. I swear I do. But please, do your homework. Don't pay an agent. Don't pay a publisher. Ask what they've sold. Ask how long they've been in business. Look in the bookstores for their books. If they don't answer your questions, move on. You are NOT NOT NOT the exception to this rule.
No one can scam you unless you believe what they say.
When in doubt, check the websites that talk about this stuff.
In an earlier post I said it only takes one yes, but often Dorothy Deering's "clients" got only one yes...and it was from her.