I just ran across something I have never seen before regarding an agent. A friend has received a request for partial from said agent, and was asking our crit group if anyone had any additional info about the agency.
Reviewing his site, I not only found that he has no experience in publishing what-so-ever, but he included this in his FAQ section:
Would I have to sign a contract?
The (XXX) Agency realizes that different clients prefer different things. We do offer a contract for those wanting one, however, we also offer verbal agreements.
VERBAL AGREEMENTS?????????????? What the???????
Am I just crazy thinking this bizarre, or is this some new trend with agents?
Actually, it's a very old practice. Written agreements between agents and writers is the new trend. There are VERY well established and respected agencies who don't do written contracts.
What might not be clear is that the publisher includes an agency clause in contracts for books they buy. That is the legal stuff that lets agents collect their dough even if no contract exists between writer and agent.
I like written contracts and I offer them to clients, and they have to sign them before we jump in the pool and paddle for dear life. I like to have everyone understand the money part upfront. We've all had experiences with people who didn't hear the same thing in a conversation.
Of more concern to me is that the guy has no experience in publishing. Even new new new agents usually have some sort of publishing experience. How does this guy plan to sell things if he doesn't know anyone?