10.26.2006

International Independent Literary Agents Association

This is a crock of shit.
The funniest thing about it is that they list nine "top ten agencies". I wonder if they are waiting for the Sobol Agency to apply.

Judge for yourself. Read the site.


If you want a hint, start here with "an agent's job". What they talk about is less than 10% of what I do on any given day, and no, I don't count "miss snark's office hours" in that total. They focus on the ONLY part of the day that an unpublished writer knows about.

ANY agent in the world will tell you the exact same thing I'm about to say: reading the slush pile is a small part of the day; pitching manuscripts is important but it's not time consuming.

Negotiating deals; following up; making sure deals hold together; and keeping the deal moving: those take up a lot more time. And we haven't started talking about publicity, marketing, awards, royalty statements, taxes, subsidiary rights like movies, book clubs, and audio rights let alone keeping track of blurb requests, and editorial changes.

The reason they don't talk about the real work is cause unpublished writers (their targets) don't ever see or hear about it. If the only thing I had to do every day was read the slush pile and pitch manuscripts, I'd be done by noon most days.





I'm sure Victoria and Ann, the more temperatate (but scarier actually) shit kickers will have something to say about this soon.

Meanwhile, if you have any questions about why most of what they say is wrong, lies, and designed to delude you into giving them money, feel free to email me.

73 comments:

ORION said...

What is so sad is this will suck in unsuspecting new writers so fast it will make their tiny little heads spin right off.
Hopefully AW, P & E and Miss Snark will think of something.

Jean Marie said...

That's only representative of 1/2 of the 20 Worst Agents list; they smarten up and drop the other 1/2?

Nick said...

Who the heck came up with this? PublishAmerica?

-Nick

Julie Rowe said...

The first agent listed is Barbara Bauer.

Now, where did I put my ten foot pole?

p.n.elrod said...

Oops. The comment I left for this thread was sent to the cat flushing the toilet thread instead.

Dang--any way we could get the cat to flush that "agents" website?

LadyBronco said...

Well, now I know who NOT to send a query letter to...lol.

Maprilynne said...

Oooh! Look out for the SFWA! They're trying to rob us blind!!! Give me a break!
My husband, who is a computer technician looked up several things for me and shared this, which I thought you might find interesting. If you look up the registration of the domain name for, say, SFWA, you will find the official business contact and the person who created the webhosting, etc. Clear enough information that if you know where to look you can find contact information for the person who runs the site. You will fnd the same thing for inVirtuo, who hosts Preditors and Editors. However, if you look up the domain registration for iilaa.com at GoDaddy.com's whois section you will find that this organization has purchased a "domains by proxy." This means that all of their business information is suppressed and replaced with GoDaddy's information (in other words, you can't contact them directly). While not an outright indication that the business is hiding something, it is not something that most legitimate businesses and organizations do (it's more for private individuals who want to protect their children or themselves from web weirdos). Point is, whoever has created this website doesn't want you to know who they are and only a subpoena will get you that information. Perhaps not a red flag, but interesting, don't you think?
Oh, and it's not something you can get for free, you have to pay for it.
Maprilynne

Jude Hardin said...

LOL! Sligo Literary Agency reminds me a little too much of...

*Slugo Literary Agency*

Ooohhh Noooo! They're going to be mean to me!! Ooohhhhh...

Miss Snark said...

In all fairness, I do that on my website too. And remember, this is an anoymous blog.

the difference is I'm not touting for your business. I don't devote an entire page on my website to the people "out to get me" either.

The problem with these guys is they charge up front fees, tell people it's the norm (it's not) and don't have ANY SALES LISTED.

Anonymous said...

How the freakin' bleep does a writer benefit in trying to put an agent out of business?

"Agenda" my rapidly expanding, rusty red bleep.

shelby said...

You hate me! You're preying on my insecurities! I KNEW IT!

Verification word: nmxdkw--the sound of your hatred bouncing off of me and sticking to you.

Corn Dog said...

I like this part...
"If you hire an attorney for representation, you are expected to be a retainer fee. "
I've never been a retainer fee before. Could be nice, I suppose.

I've consulted my psychic sense and my psychic sense tells me Barbara Bauer and her son are making stinky web sites again. Naughty. Naughty.

Algebra Angel said...

I notice that six of the "ten" best agencies are on Writer Beware's 20 Worst Agencies List. Amusing.

mkcbunny said...

That site gave me Myst flashbacks.

Dave Robinson said...

You are deliberately anonymous, and upfront about it. Not at all the same thing as what they're doing.

There's a big difference between a class act and a crass act.

gm said...

But don't you see, Miss Snark, the sales bit is suspense! It is COMING SOON!

Jocasta said...

My morning laugh was to see Barbara Bauer listed as a Top Ten Agent... really made my day! And their condescending tone... really... as if they spoke to people whose IQ was, say, below 30... aaaaargh!!!!!

Pismo Clam said...

Sligo Literary Agency gives an address on "Poa Avenue" (Power of Attorney Ave?) in San Luis Obispo, CA. I've lived here in SLO-town for 30 years and I've never heard of any such street. So I looked it up--on three different maps. No record of it anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Loved this (as part of their justification for paying fees): "If you hire an attorney for representation, you are expected to be a retainer fee."

What a delicious Freudian slip.

Anonymous said...

Ha ha, I get it. That site's a joke, right?

Anonymous said...

I think the funniest thing about these delightful people is that they keep saying that SFWA, P&E and co. are trying to ruin independent agents 'for a reason'. Of course, they never actually say what the reason is...

Anonymous said...

The paranoia is extreme.

Is this about literary agents or terrorism?

From the Publishing Myths page of their website:

"Many “hate” websites, which consist of general information sites, blogs, chatrooms/forums, etc., are all affiliated. They are operated and monitored by the same group of people, and are financed by the same organization that is dedicated to the destruction of independent agents."

Joshilyn Jackson said...

My favorite part of this website is the typo on the RETAINER FEES---TO PAY OR NOT TO PAY page. There they state:

If you hire an attorney for representation, you are expected to be a retainer fee.

And if you "hire" this lit agency, you will indeed BE a retainer fee. Nothing more.

BadGrammerRulz said...

My favorite line:
If you hire an attorney for representation, you are expected to be a retainer fee. This is now the case for literary agents.

How does one "be" a retainer fee? Am I supposed to become a fee for my agent, or is the agent supposed to become a fee for me? How can I decided whether or not to sign up when I don't know what it takes to morph from a person into a pile of money?

Thinking about it, Miss Snark has often said her job is to turn her authors into piles of money. Silly me, I thought she did it by selling their work, not by literally asking them to become a pile of money...

Anonymous said...

This could be me, but any writer who doesn't do enough research to know that the website is a crock, well... it's not that I don't have sympathy for them, but come ON. Telling people that SFWA and P&E are BAD? Even if I had no clue, the amount of page space dedicated to denouncing "haters" is enough to make me thing, gee, why does everyone hate them so much they need to refute so adamantly? *shakes head* I would hope that more writers have enough sense to check these things out more thoroughly.

Jess

(LOL verification: "sisyay")

makoiyi said...

The International Independent Literary Agents Association (IILAA) is composed of independent agents who have formed an association for the purpose of better serving our clients. As individual and independent agents, the main priority and loyalty of each agent is to his/her personal clients, as it should be. We are proud that our members serve their clients first and foremost, rather than any organization or association.


Um, well, is it just me but did the first para put anyone else off. Their 'members' serve their clients first etc NOT any association, and yet they belong to the IILAA??? Which just happens to be an association.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

The site itself is amateurish and hard to read and navigate through. That alone turns me off.

LJCohen said...

Gotta love it--they villify SFWA and Preditors and Editors as having an agenda. What kind of agenda can a watchdog organization have versus a "business" that is actively trying to part you from your money.

A fancy website doesn't mean a legitimate organization. Caveat emptor!

Anonymous said...

When I see all the usual suspects lined up on a single page, it reminds me of "Batman: The Movie." As you may remember, Catwoman, The Joker, The Riddler, and The Penguin join up as "The United Underworld" to battle Batman and Robin. I find it very suspicous that all the independent swindlers have teamed up. I think it's more likely that all those agencies are run the same person or group of people.

Jim C. Hines said...

"Their agenda is to destroy the reputations, and therefore, the business of independent agents. They do not do this out of the kindness of their hearts, or because they truly care about you, the writer. They do this for a reason!"

Miss Snark is obviously part of the conspiracy to destroy independent agents. Why, you ask? Well, we haven't actually figured out a believable way to explain it, but trust us. They do it for a reason! Really...

Personally, I think one of the best things about the site is that the butt-ugly graphics makes it difficult to read some of the text. Perhaps they could search for an uglier background that obscured all of the text?

Termagant 2 said...

Yeah-right. Just feeling like being experimental, I went to their "authors and works we've sold" link. Want a guess? The page is "under construction," i.e., blank.

I suspect (and sincerely hope) it will remain blank for a long, long time.

T2

hanging by a thread in canada said...

I don't understand how they hope to make money charging fees for submissions. I mean, I'm broke. Aren't all writers broke? I agree it costs an agent to photocopy, etc., but I'm already footing a hefty bill just with submissions.

Are they saying they'll read manuscripts and after you've signed with them, they'll charge you for the expenses related to selling your manuscript? Isn't that the commission?

Or do they send you a bill when you submit your manuscript? In which case, how does one get blood from a stone? I wouldn't be able to pay them at this point even if I wanted to.

Niamh Sage said...

There's something rather disturbing about the tone with which they discuss the "hate sites". It's the sort of tone usually accompanied by bulging eyes and flying spittle.

C.E. Petit said...

I don't think it's Barbara Bauer alone. The iilaa server is in San Angelo, Texas... home of Desert Rose Literary Agency. Which is run by the former office assistant at Helping Hand Literary Agency. The principals of Helping Hand were convicted of felony fraud and avoided jail only through a plea bargain and promise to pay restitution.

And, as an aside, I can't imagine a legitimate reason for a trade association to hide its contact information behind Domains by Proxy. After all, with five minutes' work I know who has control over iilaa's internet connection!

stay_c said...

I couldn't look at it; the filter at work tagged it is "Sexual Content."

snicker.

Anonymous said...

More than one of those agencies is on the Writers Beware Top 20 Worst Agents list. (I recognize five names.) If they have banded together to defraud writers is this racketeering?

BuffySquirrel said...

Umm. Wow.

I'm now agog waiting for the first IILAA conference, at which writers will get exclusive access to the agents (for a fee).

Marlo said...

If you hire an attorney for representation, you are expected *to be* a retainer fee.

Actually, I wasn't expected offer *myself* in payment to my lawyer; she only wanted cash.

katiesandwich said...

I have nothing to say that hasn't been said already... except that this is fucking crazy.

Anonymous said...

That Batman/United Underworld comment is cracking me up. So true.

Kate Thornton said...

My attorney is a hunk - but he insisted on real money as a retainer. Shoot. All that plus size Victoria's Secret for nuthin.

Marlo said...

But, hey, isn't it kind of awesome how they say 'hate sites that prey on the insecurities of writers'? It's their not-so-hidden tagline! Pot, Kettle...I believe you know each other? Here, let's leave you some boiling oil and you can work it out.

Anonymous said...

I work in contracts a large NYC publisher. I have not been involved in a deal with any of the "Top Ten" agencies they list. None of them are in our system. Take that as you will.

Anonymous said...

I found a blog where each "agency" has a comment. Eight of the 10 are on the 20 worst agents list, and the last 2 are on Another Realm's "not recommended" list.

http://p-n-elrod.livejournal.com/16112.html

I just got a mental pic of them in a line up like that movie "The Usual Suspects." What we need now is a Kevin Spacey to do his thing once they're all in one place.

Anyone else notice the style of wordage on that site is very similar to what's on Barbara Bauer's site? That person SO needs to start taking her meds!

Caro said...

Well, they're obviously trying to frighten us for Halloween.

Thanks for the heads up -- I'm blogging about this today.

tlh said...

@hanging by a thread in canada: From what I understand, the up-front reading fee (or a variation like a "retainer") is how the scammers make their money.

The hopeful writer scrapes up the fee money and sends off the package. On arrival, the check is cashed... and that's it. It's never copied or sent anywhere.

The MS sits in a room somewhere while the "agent" use flattery and abuse to milk the poor writer for every penny via referred editing services (run by the agent on the sly) and "extras" like web site services (run by the agent on the sly).

These scammers don't know anything about agenting, or publishing. They are expert at one thing only -- playing the fish they've got hooked. If you haven't the money and make it obvious, you're just never offered "representation".

You can find some good stickies on the subject at Absolute Write's Bewares board.

As to the website itself -- how ugly. And not just visually; the personality behind the words comes through loud and clear as doggedly hateful and selfish.

Sheila said...

Agree with caro - it must be a Halloween prank!

Pepper Smith said...

LOL! Love the white letters, and the background that makes half of them unreadable.

One thing about this sort of site is that it will probably drive some folks to check out the "hate" sites, and they'll be smart enough to realize that what P&E and Writer Beware, etc., have to say are is for real.

Aelf'en said...

The operators/monitors of these groups have an agenda…and it isn’t to protect you. Their agenda is to destroy the reputations, and therefore, the business of independent agents. They do not do this out of the kindness of their hearts, or because they truly care about you, the writer. They do this for a reason!

Uh-huh... and they seem to have left out this "reason." Oh, the agenda...

Let's see... derail writers on their quest for publication at 10, lunch with my nemesis at noon... :P

Kerry Blaisdell said...

Personally, I love how they offer to "evaluate" our manuscripts. There's no mention of "querying" — just send in the ms and they'll tell us if it's "good." And even then, there's only the chance they'll offer representation. Like they're so superior, and we will be so lucky to even have them read our work.

Sheesh. Any self-respecting author would run screaming in the other direction. But they aren't targeting the self-respecting ones, are they? Bleah!!

Kim said...

My original comment got eaten by cyber gremlins - grr... and I'd just be echoing everyone else's.

I love how P&E and Writer Beware are out to get these oh-so-innocent agents (Are any of them members of the AAR? Why do I think the answer's a resounding NO?). And they're out to get them just for the hell of it. Oh, there are reasons, but none are listed. Does THAT make any sense?

Hello, can we say paranoid?

Catja (green_knight) said...

One of the associates, Sligo, lists a 'Dianne Nelson, Co-Agent, Nelson Literary Agency' which I'm certain is news to Kristin...

Brian Malone said...

Well, let me respond to the "when you hire an attorney you have to [pay] a retainer" part. This is only partially true and actually misleading. First, some areas of legal pratice do rely upon up-front retainers, criminal defense is a prime example; however, many other areas of practice either represent the client on a strictly per-hour basis or for a contingent fee. The writer-agent relationship is much more analogous to the contigent fee arrangement.

But this statement is terribly mis-leading, in any event, because even if a retainer is paid to a lawyer, it must be actually earned by actual effort on the part of the lawyer and any unearned retainer must be paid back to the client. Moreover, the lawyer must account for the amount of the retainer that is "earned" either on an hourly or per-item basis.

michaelgav said...

Transcript from last Wednesday's telecast of COPS:

WOMAN IN LIME GREEN HALTER AND ELECTRIC BLUE SHORT-SHORTS DESPITE 37-DEGREE WEATHER: "Hey, honey, you want a date?"

HORNY BUT NAIVE WOULD-BE JOHN: "You sure this is all right?"

WOMAN IN LIME GREEN HALTER AND ELECTRIC BLUE SHORT-SHORTS DESPITE 37-DEGREE WEATHER: "In fact, many women who climb into bed with guys and claim to not charge fees, and indeed, do not have an upfront fee, have been known to charge large amounts of money after a contract has been signed. They almost always claim this is for groceries, medical bills, etc. But a fee is a fee, whether it is an upfront fee, or a hidden one that is sprung upon you at a later time. Now you want a date with me, sugar?"

Ryan Field said...

Oy Vey! I hate trouble!

Anonymous said...

"any writer who doesn't do enough research to know that the website is a crock, well... it's not that I don't have sympathy for them, but come ON"

I have to agree with this sentiment. These days, with all the info around on the web, anyone who gets scammed has to accept a large part of the blame for being scammed.

As for the tone and content of that website, it displays in abundance the dominant trait of much of humankind: projection.

the other rick said...

I had hoped I've Rip Van Winkled away six months and this was an April Fools joke...

...I was wrong. How sad, and yet, hundreds of hungry and unaware writers WILL find this and keep these "agents" stocked with "clients".

blaironaleash said...

"Many “hate” websites, which consist of general information sites, blogs, chatrooms/forums, etc., are all affiliated. They are operated and monitored by the same group of people, and are financed by the same organization that is dedicated to the destruction of independent agents."


Those gosh-darned general information sites! And you, too, you bloggers, chatrooms, forums, so-called chatroom/forums, don't think you'll get away with it either. You know who you are! I'm onto you!

YEW BAAARSTARDS!

Anonymous said...

As an editor I can say the last reason I use agents is because everyone has a computer and can send me a submission. I use agents because they have a large group of writers who can be called upon when I develop a project, they can explain the insides and outsides of the publishing world so I don't have to, they're a barrier between me, the author and the publishing house, they can quickly negotiate a contract and most likely already have a boilerplate with our house, they're there for the author's long term career -shall I go on?

roach said...

The reason they don't talk about the real work is cause unpublished writers (their targets) don't ever see or hear about it.

And perhaps because they've never actually done any of that real work as an agent?

This Girl I Used to Know said...

I may not know a lot about what an agent's job is. But I know a whole lot about what a web designer's job is.

Job number 1 - do NOT put white text on a patterned / light / dark background. No one will be able to read your rants!

Come on... even if you're putting up a crappy, fraudulent web site... Make it look decent!

Maya said...

Writers everywhere spread the word on Barbara Bauer. When she (or a minion) created an entry for "Barbara Bauer" on Wikipedia, it was quickly edited to reveal the truth.

Now when you google her, although her website comes up first, there are tons of warnings that come up, too.

Six of the nine "Twenty Worst" are part of this new scam.

If writers everywhere would put a post on their own blogs about IILAA, we can make sure that the same thing happens with search engines for IILAA--every time someone googles the name--they'll pull up all the warnings.

I just posted a notice on my own blog.

Victoria Strauss said...

Yanno, they shouldn't make it so easy for us. Writer Beware's response.

Steve Prosapio said...

"Although reading/evaluation fees are still considered a no-no, a reasonable upfront fee became the norm."

HUH???

In other words..."I won't charge you to read your submission, I'll just charge you because I'm an agent."


If we wrote situations this ridiculous in our fiction, we'd be laughed at!

Diana Peterfreund said...

Sadly, I think many people go to websites like hte one listed here and are schnookered. I don't understand it, because there seems to be so much good information out there. But I can understand them looking at one agent's blog and saying "Well, they say ABC is bad and this person is full of crap," and then another "agent's" blog and saying, "Well, they say ABC is good and that other person is full of crap."

Also, it's surprising how easy it is to believe what you want to believe. How many of us have heard from a writer friend who received an "offer" from one of these scam artists and have said, "Oh, well, it's okay," and turned a deaf ear to everyone telling them to RUN?

I thought the website was really pretty (would have done something different with the type) and it has me worried about how many people will be taken in. Get the word out!!!!

Off to blog about it...

Maya said...

I accidentally erased part of a sentence in my previous post.

Meant to say: Six of the nine IILAA best agents appear on the "Twenty Worst" list and are part of this new scam.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this:

Their agenda is to destroy the reputations, and therefore, the business of independent agents.

A vast international conspiracy, dedicated to destroying independent agents. The CIA, Opus Dei, Skull & Bones and the Templars are all involved right up to their necks. They have A Reason, but only in the final chapter will The Reason be revealed. (Hint: it involves missing plutonium, the Marie Celeste and the sacred bloodline of Joseph of Arimathea's pet monkey.) Tonight on The X-Files, Mulder and Scully investigate...

katiesandwich said...

You know, someone said that if everyone blogs about this, it will help google recognize that it's a scam. I'd never thought about that, so now I'm off to my blog to talk about it. Oh, and that whole thing where it says that lawyers charge fees, so why shouldn't agents... well, to quote Rachel Vater's latest post, those two professions are so different, it's like comparing apples to chainsaws. (Yes! I've been waiting for an opportunity to use that line!)

Writerious said...

This is the line I liked best:

The agent’s commission for these amounts isn’t enough to make it worth the agent’s efforts without some advance help with the marketing expenses for the writer. An agent’s expenses add up!

In other words, "We're such crappy agents, we can't make it on our sales commission, so we're turning to you writers as our Agent Welfare providers. Fork it over, chumps."

Yeah, that really makes me want to do business with these losers.

Termagant 2 said...

It almost (ALMOST) makes me want to send them one of my MS query packages and a bill for $650 for my "upfront costs." I wonder--since they're stupid enough to believe Miss S, Agent Kristin et al. are part of a vast underground band of fellow travelers, maybe they'd be stupid enough to cut me a check-?

Just wondering.
T2

Amanda Brice said...

I am an attorney. I've never had any of my clients "be" attorney's fees.

Methinks that's a Freudian slip. Because essentially, that's all these poor unsuspsecting writers will be if they ever sign with any of the 9 in their Top 10.

MrsMacNeil said...

From the faq dealing with "myths about publishing" from the website link:

"Websites such as SFWA, Writers’ Beware, Predators & Editors, along with associated blogs and chatrooms/forums are operated and monitored by people who are dedicated to you, the writer.

The operators/monitors of these groups have an agenda…and it isn’t to protect you…"


That's very troubling indeed.

Sarabande said...

I clicked, it said only "Hello there! I am currently working on the site....... Thanks for visiting!" and then it crashed my browser.

Ahem.

Anyway, I opened a new window and checked the source code. Anyone do this yet?

The meta file description says: "IILAA International Independent Literary Agents Association for information about literary agents. Learn how to spot a fake from real. Learn who is a hate site and who is real.Also learn who is associated with whom!Avoid getting scammed by choosing someone from our association!"

Charming.

[word verif: qerfut, which is what my browser did when I went to that site]