I have a bad feeling about this one.
To start with, they're advertising their agency with Google AdSense. Then, when you go to their page, you read this:
After the paean to reading fees, though, farther down that same page, we find:You have worked thousands of hours on your book or screenplay, and now, no publisher or producer will deal with you unless you have a literary agent, and no literary agent will read your manuscript.
Time and money are the most obvious reasons. Most literary agents are members of associations who have rules that govern how the member agents may conduct their business, and those associations prohibit member agents from charging a reading fee to read manuscripts. In the past, agents could charge a fee to read manuscripts, bat a few unscrupulous agents were abusing the practice, so the associations banned it altogether.
So what was that little tap-dance up in the first couple of paragraphs all about?We do not charge a reading fee.
The right-hand column of the page is filled with Amazon links for a number of best sellers, by authors like Stephen King, Nora Roberts, John Grisham, and Michael Connelly ... none of whom are represented by the Dixie Literary Agency. (Though I bet you a donut that Dixie is trying to give the new and naive the impression that those authors are somehow associated with 'em.)
On the "About Us" page, we find that agent Ron Autrey's 5x Great Grandfather fought in the American Revolution. I'm sure that's a good thing, but it doesn't have much to do with Ron's ability to be an agent. There isn't a single word there about their clients, or their sales, or Ron's experience in the publishing industry. There are yet more Amazon ads for more books by more authors you've heard of, including Senator Edward Kennedy, Sarah Palin, and Patrick Buchanan, none of whom are represented by the Dixie Literary Agency.
But! There are also two great big covers of books that Ron Autrey himself has written: Lost on the Road, and Astralman: The Beginning. Both are published by Aventine Press, a vanity publisher. Neither has any sales rank at Amazon (that is to say, no sales) and no customer reviews.
On to the Submissions page. No query letter is necessary. Just send the manuscript.
Now we get to some interesting Amazon links in the right-hand column. Sure, there's still a Steven King book listed. But, oddly enough, there's a link to National Best-Selling Short Stories by Michele Campanelli.
That was published by iUniverse, a vanity press. And Michele, and that book ... were last heard from when she was being represented by Robert M. Fletcher, back when Bouncing Bobby's little hive of scams was still ST Literary Agency. It's a collection of the short-shorts that Michele had published in the various Chicken Soup anthologies. That's a real blast from the past. What's it doing here?
And what's this? Four of the links are for books by people whose last name is "Autrey," just like agent Ron Autrey (and his partner Mark Autrey).
Let's check 'em out:
Words of Inspiration to Live By by Tanya Marie Autrey
Tate Publishing (a vanity press; charges $4,000)
Upon Eagle's Light by Clover Autrey
The Wild Rose Press (small press, romance, no agent required)
What Big Teeth You Have: A Vampire Tale by Jimmy C Autrey II
iUniverse (a vanity press)
Banished Pride by Gina Autrey
PublishAmerica (do I have to say it?)
"Are you ready to get published?" Ron asks.
Not like that I'm not.
Not that they claim that they represented these books. They don't make any claims of having sold anything.
So where is their money coming from? That PublishAmerica book would have brought in a resonating one-dollar advance, giving Ron a solid fifteen cents (assuming this was a book he agented).
Back on page one we learn:
This violates Yog's Law. They can take their office expenses out of the advance. Otherwise, no dice.We do charge a one-time fee for office expenses for the authors we represent. If we are successful in placing the book or screenplay with a publisher or producer, the office fee is refunded.
Yeah, I just bet they do. Agents who offer editing services have big red flags hung on them.We also offer a limited editing service for good books and screenplays that only need minor changes. If your book is not ready to publish, we will tell you what is wrong and how it might be changed in order to make it more salable. We want you to become a successful author.
My advice ... find an agent who's sold books you've heard of that are actually on bookstore shelves.