I’m not saying this agency(ies) is/are sketchy…but I am just saying…

So, back to this supposed literary agency that wants to represent me. Let’s start from the beginning, shall we? A little over a week ago, I googled (yes, I used it as a verb…that is what writers are allowed to do, make up words, turn personal nouns into verbs, and since I fancy myself a writer now, I will do so if I please J) “literary agents in New York.” I had only sent my manuscript for my book about the trials (pun is so totally intended…mainly because I’m not that funny, and when I have an opportunity to be, no matter how silly and lame, and I take it) and tribulations of law school to one literary agency, an agency a former law professor had told me about. He had taught a woman, I believe, and now she was a literary agency. But beyond that, I haven’t sent my stuff to other agents. I have sent it to a few publishing companies, but I wasn’t having luck with that, and after doing more research and speaking with people in the industry, I figured that my stuff just isn’t ready to send out yet. So, when I googled “literary agency in New York,” I actually wasn’t trying to find an agency to send my books to. I was trying to find a place I could get a job as an admin assistant or something similar. It has popped into my head that I should work at a place where I would be surrounded by writing constantly, and in the meantime, get a better understanding of the process of a writer/agent relationship. It has crossed my mind that if this whole writing thing doesn’t work, I will probably delve into the world of representation. I have that whole legal background, that I don’t remember a damn thing I learned. Still, being a literary agent, a personal agent, any kind of agent for someone has struck me as kind of cool. But that would be Plan C or Plan D (I don’t know how many plans I have, but I seem to have quite a few…oh, to be young, double degreed, and fucking confused). OK, getting to the point…the following website popped up: http://www.newyorkliteraryagency.com/. I perused the page, thought it looked fine, then actually saw a link that talked about submissions. I clicked on that, found that the process for submitting a blurb about my work to them would be easy, and so I did it. The end. A few days later, I get this long ass email from the “Acquisitions Director” saying they are interested and want to see more of my work. Woo hoo! So, my dumbass sends them a chapter or two, and a few days ago, they say they want to represent me. Yeah, something just didn’t feel right, especially when I got to the part where they were like “In order for this relationship to begin, you need to get your work critique, and it will cost $70-$90…oh, you don’t have anyone you know who can do that? Wow, we just happen to have people we can refer you to!” I have never heard of this critique thing before, and it really may be part of the industry and getting your book published. But it just felt wrong. I mean, if an agent wants to represent you, don’t they help you out with that for free?

So, with all these bad feelings I was getting, I turned to my trusty friend and sometimes verb, Google. Here is where I will show my dumbness. Please don’t hold it against me. I think I was craving some positive feedback, I really didn’t care from where at that point. So, when it came from this agency, I jumped at it. Now, if you go to this website, you will find the similar information of NY Agency, but under a different name: http://www.wlwritersagency.com/. Now try this website…what do you get? Different name, similar content: http://writersbookpublishingagency.com/.

I’m sure you get my point. I would bet they have a few other websites under different names. Well, what is the harm in this, you may ask? There may be an umbrella agency and they have different agencies underneath, right? Yeah, well, I thought that too, but I could never find one agency and a name of all the agencies that was under it. Each website, though they look legit, never actually gives you concrete information. There is no telephone number…um sketch. They never give an address of where they are located. Sketchier. They give one name, Sherry Fine. I delved deeper, using one of the many names of this agency, and came up with this website: http://www.sfwa.org/Beware/twentyworst.html. The website says to beware of agencies that do the following:

2. Paid editing or publishing referrals–including placing clients with vanity publishers, promoting their own paid editing services to clients (a conflict of interest), sending clients/potential clients to an outside editing service that pays kickbacks for referrals. Several of these agencies are no more than fronts for editing services.

And oh, nifty little site gives a list of agencies to beware of? Which one is on there? Scroll to the bottom of the list and you will see Writers Literary Agency along with ten other names it goes by.

So yeah…not feeling this agency at all. Sucks, because the only agency that seemed to show any interest in my work seems to be super sketch. I am not saying they aren’t legit. But the facts are 1) They can’t decide on who the hell they are…this umbrella concept, they aren’t using it at all…they are just being schizo; 2) You can’t contact them…even when they said that they will represent me, they sent me a damn form email…really? Am I that important to you? 3) Where are they located? This is how they explain that issue:

We maintain executive suites in New York and we work with partners in Los Angeles for our screenplay and book-to-film division. We are mainly virtual and work from home to keep our costs down. Our team is in CA, CT, FL, and many other states (and countries too actually).

Dudes, can I get an address like any other normal company? Oh, I can’t? Is that because you guys may not have any legit offices? Is that possibility? 4) Who do they represent? Oh, they don’t tell us because they are protecting their identities, like they are fucking superheroes; 5) Just go to this site and see what some other people have said about it…this Sherry Fine chic sounds like she is some alter ego for some dude named Robert Fletcher. Weird. http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/008839.html

Too many warning signs. So if you come across WL Writers Agency or Writers Book Publishing Agency or Christian Literary Agency (really? That just feels so wrong) or New York Literary Agency, or hell, I could go on, just be wary.

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Published in: on June 7, 2008 at 5:25 am  Leave a Comment  

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