I was recently approached by an acquisitions editor for a lit agency who said to protect myself from B.S. i should have an independent critique done of my work....is this normal M.O. for agents and agencies also what exactly is a holding contract?
Did the subject of money come up?
A literary agency with an "acquisitions editor"?
That's news to me.
And I have no idea what a holding contract is.
I even consulted my trusty Kirsch's Guide and found no reference to it.
I think I see red flags waving but if any Snarklings have good intelligence about this kind of thing I'll be glad to hear about it.
basically i was trying to see if they were looking to make a fast buck off of me
they approached me after reading a poem in a magazine
the woman who contacted me claims to be the VP of Acquisitions
and then says they will "not sign" the contract for representation unless i have an independent professional critique done by a third party
supposedly a holding contract says (according to them) that they will agree to represent me (unless i don't have the critique done) in 30 days they drop me
now the contract also goes on to state that after 90 days i can drop them if they haven't sold any of my work
meanwhile somebody has gotten my 80.00 for the critique (somebody they suggested i use)
curious if all agencies work like this and if it was simply a case of the left hand feeding the right hand and leaving me sans 80.00
Red flag: they approached me after reading a poem in a magazine.
Why: agents hardly ever represent poets for poetry. There's no money in it. Agents approach writers of short stories, or people with blogs, sure, but hardly ever poets.
Red Flag: VP of Acquisitions.
Why: Literary agents call themselves agents. Agents don't acquire things. Editors acquire projects. Agents represent authors. They "sign" authors.
Red Flag: we won't sign you unless you pay for a critique.
Why: Reputable agents are not in the business of referring you to critque services.
The Association of Author's Representatives does more than frown on it; they forbid it.
Even if an agent is NOT an AAR member, look for "we follow the AAR Code" or like language on their web site.
Do NOT pay for critique services recommended by an agent.
ALWAYS look for an agent's name or company name at Preditors and Editors.