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Thread: Lupia Literary Agency (Tony Lupia)

  1. #1
    A faithful friend & a good library AphraB's Avatar
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    Cool Lupia Literary Agency (Tony Lupia)

    Has anyone heard of Tony Lupia of the Lupia Literary Agency of NYC and/or Dayton, Ohio? I admit that I've already made up my mind about him (red flags all over the place ), but some folks in a writers' organization that I just joined think very highly of him. I told the president of the organization about my concerns (and I'm not the only one who is worried), but since Lupia seems to have a fan base *and* I'm new to the group *and* I've never had a novel published (but I am an experienced freelancer and currently work as a managing editor), I don't think my warning was taken seriously.

    I did reference Yog's Law during the discussion session.

    Aphra in Columbus

  2. #2
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Do you have a website link for the literary agency?

    He claims he has 35 years experience in the industry and refers to himself as a "certified literary agent". He's the long-time owner of "Tri-L Corp", a Computer Consultants business with 5 unidentified divisions. Yet someone is claiming that Tony knows zero about computers/websited and that he didn't pay them the agreed fee after they built his website.

  3. #3
    Hopelessly Hopeful Tromboli's Avatar
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    All I could find on him was mentioned above, a complaint about the website (though I couldn't find the site). No mention of him on publishers marketplace at all.
    http://Www.staceytrombley.com-

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  4. #4
    A faithful friend & a good library AphraB's Avatar
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    No Web site -- none presented in the material that he handed out to the class.

    And the claim of being "certified" . . . well, he had nothing good to say about AAR and claimed that the group he belongs to will not allow agent members to disclose the names of their clients.

    Uh huh.

  5. #5
    but appreciated anyway... Unimportant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AphraB View Post
    ... claimed that the group he belongs to will not allow agent members to disclose the names of their clients.
    o_0

    That right there starts "O When The Scam Comes Marching In" playing in my head.

  6. #6
    A faithful friend & a good library AphraB's Avatar
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    *SNORT!* Thank you, Unimportant yet MOST appreciated.

  7. #7
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    There's no such thing as a stealth agent. It makes absolutely no sense for any agent to claim that their clients are confidential because if they've brokered a deal, their involvement becomes public - not least when the actual book is released.

    If Mr Lupia is slagging off the AAR then it's a fair bet that he doesn't subscribe to their ethics requirements and/or can't meet their membership criteria (which is to prove that he's made sales). Of course, if he's slagging off the AAR then it raises the question as to who "certified" him. If he's touting himself as a "certified literary agent" then it's fair to ask where that accreditation comes from - especially if that body is stopping him from promoting his client sales.

    I'm not surprised to hear that your writing group is a fan - I've come across a lot of groups where it's pretty much the blind leading the blind when it comes to scam agents. You've tried to warn them, it's best to leave them to it.

    MM

  8. #8
    A faithful friend & a good library AphraB's Avatar
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    Thank, Momento. I'm afraid you are right. Lupia is charming and funny, and he has a great spiel that made him sound like a great guy. But his sample cover letter included the phrase, "fiction novel." He said that he was thinking about working with people to help them with their self-published books (for a fee). He said that real agents charged up front. He was very careful to say that he wouldn't rep anyone who took any of his classes because they were new writers. But he would refer them on to one of his agent friends if they absolutely insisted. He also designs book covers for a fee (didn't provide samples). Laughed and scoffed when one person tried to call him out on ethics. *sigh*.
    Last edited by AphraB; 11-25-2011 at 03:41 AM. Reason: Thought of more to say!

  9. #9
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    There's no such thing as a stealth agent.
    There's no such thing as a "certified" literary agent, either. There are no licensing requirements or specific education courses for literary agents.

    He seems to do a lot of lectures/classes. Scary.

    - Victoria

  10. #10
    A faithful friend & a good library AphraB's Avatar
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    Hi Victoria:

    Yes, he seems to have popped up out of nowhere. Classes all over the place, including a humor writing one at the Erma Bombeck conference. He is indeed a funny guy.

  11. #11
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    AphraB:
    He said that real agents charged up front.
    Yes. Really scummy agents charge up front. Real agents take their money from sales.

    I did a Google search and all his classes/lectures/visits seem to be within Ohio. Seems that this is where he makes most of his money, coupled with charging fees.

    Best you can do is tell people that this isn't how it's supposed to work. If he refuses to talk about ethics or his clients and their sales then that should be enough of a red flag for anyone with an ounce of common sense. You can lead people to water, but you can't make them drink. There will always be some who believe the lies because it's easier than accepting the truth.

    MM

  12. #12
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    I agree with your observations

    The person that said they saw red flags, you are very perceptive!!! Tony Lupia is a horrible little man. I have taken a few of his seminars and courses. I quit after the first course ended because he was wasting our time. He wasnt teaching, and he wasted a lot of time telling irrelevant stories. he stretches his course over 21 weeks (3 sets of 7 classes) when they could be taught over a weekend if he wasnt wasting time.

    I googled him when I first started taking his classes and one web site said he was no longer a literary agent but had been in the past. I cant find that page online anymore, it looks like its been taken down. He also uses a business card for a Lupia LIterary Agency that doesnt seem to exist?? In our classes he boasted all the time about lying to people. I dont trust him at all!!

    Yes, he has groupies that take his course every time its offered at a local community center. They dont seem to know any better but he's just milking them. When I was in his course other class members were saying among themselves that his advice wasnt working for them and publishers they contacted were giving them information different to him.

    I also know the girl that did work for him that he hasnt paid. She is a really sweet girl and of course he's taking advantage of her. Someone mentioned this above. she didnt build a website for his business, she built one that he sold to a self-published author he lied to and convinced his company does web design. Then he used my friend to do the work. She is also the one he wanted to 'use' to post the self-published books online that someone also mentioned here. She finished all the work for the first author he managed to catch in his web and he stopped communicating with her when the bill was due. Apparently he drove her prices down really low and wanted to add his own huge commission on top of her fees so he could make more money for himself from anyone gullable enough to hire him for self-publishing.

    Smart move original poster to ask the community about this guy. Ive since learned the same things mentioned above, there are no such thing as a certified literary agent, the need for disclosure, ethics, etc.

  13. #13
    A faithful friend & a good library AphraB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trace View Post
    Ive since learned the same things mentioned above, there are no such thing as a certified literary agent, the need for disclosure, ethics, etc.
    Thank you, Trace. I appreciate very much that you know something about him and added your confirmation. :^)

  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Interesting that I came across your thread about Mr. Lupia. I'm from Dayton and personally know two people he scammed. Mr. Lupia signed one of his student writers as a client (one of his students he says he can't be an agent for) on the pretense that this person doesn't tell anyone else. The writer paid Mr. Lupia $700 up front to sell the book and was not heard from again. Not once did Mr. Lupia contact that person and act as an agent on the writer's behalf. Just took the money and ran. His classic line is "I can't sign students as an agent, but for you I will. But you can't tell anyone else I'm doing this for you." I've come to the realization he uses his classes and seminars to troll for victims who can benefit him in one way or another. If he sees value in your skills or thinks he can get some easy money from you, you are a target.


    The other person he scammed is someone who did work for one of his "companies" and was never paid. Of course, he used the work provided by that person to his benefit. When asked about payment, he said the check was in the mail; the person never received it.


    I know several other people who were his students and are being "used" by him. I don't see how the man can look at himself in the mirror each morning. He uses people for his own achievement and lies to them along the way. Beware!

  15. #15
    A faithful friend & a good library AphraB's Avatar
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    Angry

    Your story confirms what I kinda thought was his M.O.: Like any good scam artist, he gets close to his "mark," and he does this by telling them that they are special and different and he'll represent them (And who doesn't want to be special and different?). In fact, the mark is so special and different that what they are doing has to be kept a secret. Because only the cool kids are let in on the secret.

    I'm keeping a wide berth from him, but I did stay on his mailing list to amuse myself. And I don't try to talk to any of the people who I know have dealt with him -- at least not anymore. I have a feeling that the one person probably has already given him some cash and that he'll keep stringing her along.

    Thanks so much for your input, WhatANovelIdea. :^)

  16. #16
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I am glad I came across this forum!

    Tony Lupia is nothing more than a scam artist. He snares students into doing digital publishing work or website building for his "clients", and then doesn't pay them. He simply stops contact after the work is complete. I personally know of two people he scammed.

    I completely agree with WhatANovelIdea on the fact that he uses classes and seminars to troll for victims who can benefit him. I took his classes at the Rosewood Art Center in Kettering. He told the class that you have "play along editors" that you will send your book proposal and submission packets to and in turn, these editors will critique your stuff and give you feedback. The class ended in March and the majority of the class still has not heard back from our "editor". When some students questioned Tony, he said the editors were doing us a favor by playing along and that it may take a while for them to get back to us. Most of us still have not heard anything back. Our class has talk amongst ourselves and we think there never was play along editors. What feedback we did get, we think Tony made up.

    I also know of two students who he took on as a “client” but neither student’s book was sold. Sad thing is when one of them tried to contact him, he won’t return their calls.

    From personal experience as well as other things I have researched (online public court records), I think it would be wise to avoid Tony. He can be charming but it is a smoke screen.

    It’s a shame he keeps getting away with this scam but it will eventually catch up with him. I hope sooner than later.

  17. #17
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Has anyone contacted the Rosewood Art Center, to let them know they are hosting a known scammer?

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  18. #18
    A faithful friend & a good library AphraB's Avatar
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    Another Internet search for Mr. Lupia turned up that he is now an instructor at the School of Advertising Art near Dayton, O. He teaches copy writing and composition.

    The owner of the school has an MA in counseling. Not art, not design. Worrisome.

    It's easy to find bad reviews of the school. It's also possible to find good "ratings" and etc. To me, it looks like a small for-profit technical college, and having taught at one for a miserable quarter, I am suspicious of all of them.

    Going on about the school is a tangent, but to me it's another red flag about Lupia.

  19. #19
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    I've heard rumblings from past students the art school owner's daughter was a student in Tony's classes at Rosewood a year or so ago. Suddenly, poof! He has a job at the school! Bet he promised the owner's daughter he'd help her sell her book, too. BTW, when I took his class he said he graduated from Notre Dame and the University of Dayton (checked back in my notes). Now he's a graduate of UD and The Ohio State University--no mention of Notre Dame.

  20. #20
    A faithful friend & a good library AphraB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Filigree View Post
    Has anyone contacted the Rosewood Art Center, to let them know they are hosting a known scammer?
    I am turning this one over in my mind. Since I personally have not been taken in by him, I am hesitant to proceed.

    However, a quick look at the Rosewood Arts Centre Web site shows pretty clearly that it receives public money from the state of Ohio through the Ohio Arts Council.

    *sigh*

    Does anyone have any ideas about how to inform/who to inform?

  21. #21
    Wilde about Oscar aliceshortcake's Avatar
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    Ohio Arts Council website:

    http://www.oac.state.oh.us/
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  22. #22
    A faithful friend & a good library AphraB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliceshortcake View Post
    Ohio Arts Council website:

    http://www.oac.state.oh.us/
    *blush*. Thanks. I should know that. (re-blushing).

  23. #23
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Rosewood Arts Centre is run through the City of Kettering, Ohio, parks and recreation department.

  24. #24
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    I'm not saying there isn't something fishy going on, but what I don't understand, is what is he holding over those who he has allegedly scammed which prevents everyone from coming forward either to the schools, the authorities, or small claims court? Why do the people who claim his wrong doing continue to keep it anonymous? If he is intentionally taking advantage and hurting people, how can this be prevented in the future if no one has the guts to stand up for themselves and future unsuspecting students?

  25. #25
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    I have no idea what Mr. Lupia thinks.

    In general cases of scam publishers and agents, the victims often don't come forward because they still believe in the scammers. The classic excuse is 'Oh, it still works, it just didn't work for me - I must have done something wrong.' Or the victims don't know what they could do to get redress, so they do nothing. Or the scammers have an aggressively litigious policy of threatening victims who do make noises, and the victims back down.

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