5.10.2007

Agentresearch.com



I am an agent assistant at a small agency and yesterday afternoon I got a call from a man who works for agentresearch.com who wanted some information on one of our agents. What do you know about this? It seems like a scam, or at least preying on the nitwits—an author pays $400 to get “six to eight full reports of agents who have a track record of selling similar material, are absolutely legitimate, and are open to accepting new clients.” Plus, he doesn’t seem to know what he is doing, and when I named houses my agent worked for in the past he a). seemed to have no concept of which houses was bigger b). thought Harcourt Mifflin was a company and c). didn’t seem to know anything about my agency, and clearly hadn’t even googled us or done much more than read Publisher’s Market. Nitwits in the slush pile are a pain, but I still don’t want them to throw away $400.



oh I remember the first of several calls I got from this guy. He said his name and then started asking questions. I had NO idea who he was or what he was doing. He was really miffed I didn't know him cause of his "length of time in the industry" and "industry presence" and it took me a couple minutes to figure out he wasn't a writer with a Writers Digest checklist in his hand.

Back in the day before you could google damn near everyone his biz was sort of like hiring a guy to stand in line for you. I can guess he's got an amazing data base though since every agent has heard from him at least once.


I am unalterably opposed to paying for these kinds of services. It's my unswerving belief that querying widely with good work is MUCH more effective than trying to narrow the list to agents who've sold "what you write".

I recently had a very enlightening conversation with a valued colleague who said she'd rather look at excellent work outside her normal interest area than not-excellent work for the categories she's sold previously.

In other words, write well, query widely. Spend your money on stamps, not advice.

18 comments:

Crabby McSlacker said...

So let me get this straight.

An author who could spend half an hour on google instead pays $400 to a guy who knows less than my cat (a sweet animal, but she's not particularly intelligent even for a cat) to call agents and annoy them in order to narrow the agent querying process? When said author could query every agent in the known universe for far less than $400?

Perhaps I misunderstood, as I am wont to do. But if not, this is just so incredibly stupid and scammy I can't even get my mind around it.

nancorbett said...

Sounds like the guy knows how to find loads of people who will pay good money for a ration of hope, even if it is hope of the false variety.

Tracey said...

This is so funny. I always research the agents I am going to query. And the other week I came across this guy's site for the very first time.

I was sure that there was nothing more in his reports than what is in agents websites.

I searched his list for a couple of well known agents I knew of - and there were nothing on them. I smelt a rat - and there was one.

But if I was a new writer - it could have been so easy to get sucked by this man.

Anonymous said...

Why pay to get info on 6-8 agents when some research of your own can give you many more candidates for far less money. This has scam written all over it. If you are desperate for advice, buy "Writer's Market" for $50 and get over 1000 pages of agent information. Hmmm, what is the better deal here?

Anonymous said...

The Agent Research & Evaluation blog claims that "agents, even the best ones, are probably placing something like 20% of what they take on."

Anonymous said...

What I love about it is that even if this guy actually produces six to eight agents who could, in theory, be "perfect" for your project, that's only six to eight agents. Most of us aren't lucky enough to land an agent after sending out fewer than 10 queries. Or, you know. Fewer than 4 dozen.

Anonymous said...

I'm an agent at a big agency, and this guy is rude, insulting, and deeply uninformed. He's belligerent to both assistants and the few full agents he actually gets on the phone with. And for $20 a month, you can join Publishers Marketplace and get your hands on all the info he's regurgitating. He's a total asshole and this is a total scam.

snarkfodder said...

Oh my god, is this like hiring an agent... to find an agent?!

I think I just heard a small implosion in the space-time continuum.

Kit Whitfield said...

Anyone who insists in their professional correspondence that their stuff is 'absolutely legitimate' doth protest too much. I don't see the head of Curtis Brown going around banging on about how legitimate they are, do you?

Anonymous said...

the blog at agentresearch has comments turned off so even if you want to take issue with something they say, you can't.

Interesting.

Patrice said...

How is what this guy is doing different from agentquery.com and a writer's own research?

Weird that he is still even in business.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I'm guessing the people who probably fall for his scam are the elderly who don't know how to use the Internet and are terrified/unwilling to learn. For people with no knowledge of the Internet, I imagine embarking on agent research is much more difficult and intimidating.

...unless people find this guy via his website, and they think this dude is actually personally referring them as clients to the agents and therefore giving them a better shot. Ugh. Either way, it makes my head feel like a cracked coconut. Recommend an agent who can sell writing like THAT, AR&E!

Anonymous said...

Tell him in no uncertain terms that he is a bottomfeeder and you are standing by with tartar sauce and a nice Chianti.

($400.00 buys a lot of wine [or Bombay Sapphire] and condiments.)

Anonymous said...

For $20 you can access Publishers Marketplace for a month, and search all the deals yourself. For free you can google agents, check their web sites, check out agentquery.com, verlakay.com (children's and YA), and absolute write.

Betcha I know more than he does--and I don't even have an agent (yet).

Anonymous said...

Agentresearch offers the added "service" of a critique of your query letter for ONLY $100!

can you belive these people?

A reputable online class costs a lot less, and you get information from decent people, not scam artistis.

Ellen said...

"I recently had a very enlightening conversation with a valued colleague who said she'd rather look at excellent work outside her normal interest area than not-excellent work for the categories she's sold previously."

I've often told aspiring writers to find agents who have sold books within their genre or category, assuming that these agents would have connections with appropriate editors. Was this nitwit advice?

Anonymous said...

Active agents in Canada? I thought we didn't have literary agents in Canada (or that they were pretty rare). Or maybe the book editor I was talking to was pulling my leg?

Anonymous said...

I heard this guy speak at a conference I attended three years ago--the data in his handouts was really old (many of the writers on his list had moved on from the agent he had them listed with) and he was pretty obnoxious and full of himself. It was weird, because I knew someone who'd used him a few years before that who thought he was great, and I was sitting there going "what the....?"