Pay it Again, Sam

Several days ago a snarkling emailed me the link to this agent blog.

I clicked on it and had a pretty good laugh; it was the post about the watchdog writers group. I've had calls from "agent monitoring services" before and it took me a couple minutes to figure out that they charged authors money for lists of "reputable agents". Of course, I told them in no uncertain terms that they could ...to use Sammy's oh so quaint phrase.."fuck off and die". People who charge money for lists of reputable agents have ONE goal: making money off you.

But the the fact Sammy charges reading fees is bad. A snarkling wrote to ask "Could this be true? Are there successful agents, i.e., successful in placing books rather than successful in taking in fees, like this out there?

The answer is, god knows there could be I guess. It's certainly NOT an acceptable business practice because there is so much room for downright fraud when agents to charge money up front. It took a long time for AAR to flat out ban the practice for members but they do.

I'm not going to tell this guy how to run his business. But I will say this: you should not pay an agent up front. Not for anything. A reputable agent with a solvent business shouldn't need your $100 to get your manuscript duplicated and messengered off. They shouldn't even need your $300 to get it DHLed to sub rights agents in Europe or Asia.

A solvent business means you can pay your expenses without asking your clients for money. It's pretty simple to my way of thinking.


A. C. Crispin said...

Any writers who need information on how to avoid scammy agents, publishers, book doctors, contests, etc., should visit Writer Beware's website. www.writerbeware.com

We also offer a free "anti-scam check" via email. If a writer would like us to access our extensive database of agents, publishers, book doctors, etc., just write to the email or snailmail address on the Writer Beware site. We'll check our database and get back to you quickly, and the service is free.

Writing scams are a growing problem for aspiring writers world wide. Anyone wishing to check an agent or publisher's reputation should do so BEFORE querying or submitting! After you've written that check, it's TOO LATE.

-Ann C. Crispin
Chair, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Committee on Writing Scams
Writer Beware

Peggie said...

That is one blog I will never visit again that man is disgusting!

Motherhood for the Weak said...

While he was somewhat entertaining to read there was something in the syntax as well as a certain uneveness to the logic applied that seemed to highlight some sort of personality disorder. I feel dirty after reading that blog.

There's something wrong about knowing how much an agent is 'banging'. It smacks of compensation.

I'm glad I won't have to worry about him since I don't plan to pay agents to consider my work.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I think some "successful" agents sales-wise charge reading fees--or at least some have done so in the past. When I was submitting several years ago, I came across a few agents who made regular legitimate sales (I checked them), but still charged up-front fees. IMO, most people don't seem to be good business people; most people of ANY kind don't seem good with money, period. That may be why a few agents charge fees: they spend more than they make, as Miss Snark's comments implied.

An individual could be a good salesperson but a lousy accountant. It seems obvious to me that someone should ideally possess both talents if you're looking to build a long-term relationship with that someone....

Douglas Hoffman said...

(Michelle -- now you have me wondering how often you have to shower after reading my blog.)

Definitely a high creep factor to this fellow's style. His whole concept of humor is condescension. As I repeatedly try to teach my son, the essence of humor is originality. Ya gotta be FRESH. Surprise is essential. After the third or fourth "boys and girls" or "busy little commenting beavers", I'd had enough.

Elektra said...

Miss Snark, your blog just makes my day

Elektra said...

I'm sorry I post so much. You may all lynch me if you like. But I've been meaning to ask: what is your opinion on the Shopaholic books?

Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

Miss snark, thank you for that post. You're teaching me a lot of things that I hadn't taken the time to consider.

Christine said...

I just wanna say hi to Ann up there. Hi Ann!

Miss Snark said...

Elektra, you can post as much as you want. You're the one who came up with "devotion" of snarklings, so you have a post pass for life.


PS Word verification: b sux ks!!!!!!

Ira Rosofsky said...

Ann, I appreciate your efforts, but I kind of get a kick out of anyone who can tell earnest folk where to get off. I find it a fun thing to say on the upper west side of my mind, "George Bush. He rocks."

TillyLost said...

Ewww! That blog is creepy.

This site is also a free resource for checking agents:

Anonymous said...

As an agent, you know how hard it is for most people to write 'funny.' You write funny. Congrats. What a joy to find you.