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Thread: Processing Fee vs. Reading Fee

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW
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    Processing Fee vs. Reading Fee

    A recent request-for-partial asks for a $35 processing fee, which it immediately points-out is "not a reading fee."

    What's the difference? Is there any? Doesn't seem like a good thing, either way.

    This is for a YA novel.

  2. #2
    I *am* Catwoman...and Gini Koch WPR Dominatrix JeanneTGC's Avatar
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    I think the bottom line is this -- money is supposed to flow TO the author, not the other way.

    If they are asking you for money, that indicates that they are scamming you in some way.

    And, the term "processing fee" begs the question -- just WHAT are they processing? $35 to open your envelope or email-- to take a look-see and either send a rejection or (more likely in this case) send a letter suggesting that your novel is "almost ready, just needs about $250 in editing fees" to be published -- seems a bit steep, even in today's competitive market.

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  3. #3
    Cultus Gopherus MacAllister Medievalist's Avatar
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    The difference is that it's a new take on an old scam.

    Avoid 'em

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  4. #4
    banned as an incurable tosspot
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    I think you should let everyone know who the agent is on the Bewares board, so that we don't waste time submitting to them.

  5. #5
    Apex Predator Jaws's Avatar
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    A "processing fee" is a "reading fee," because it's essentially required to get the agent to read the manuscript. A fee charged prior to the existence of a publishing contract is a "fee" in Writer Beware's parlance, no matter what the "agency" calls it.

    The really sad thing is that $35 bears no reasonable resemblance to the amount of time and/or resources that might be involved in "processing" an author's manuscript and "file." It's grossly excessive for opening the query, giving it a once-over, and sending a form letter; it's substantially too low for serious analysis of a query or submission package. That's the biggest hint that it's merely a profit center, much like the "deposit confirmation fees" charged by some securities brokerages and the "document processing fee" charged by virtually every car dealership in the country.
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  6. #6
    Comic guy Bartholomew's Avatar
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    I have a $1 reading fee. <Nods>

    Just because I like answering emails: "Do you take checks?"


  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW
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    Looks like Charlotte Gusay has been discussed here before in other threads. Her agency is on P&E as "not recommended" already, too. She seems to have some legit sales, but a bad rep to go along with them. The fee thing isn't helping.

  8. #8
    I *am* Catwoman...and Gini Koch WPR Dominatrix JeanneTGC's Avatar
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    The track record isn't good, and the truly legit agents do not charge any kind of fee, certainly not a "processing" or "reading" fee. I'd avoid her. There are a LOT of other options out there to try.
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  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by josephwise
    A recent request-for-partial asks for a $35 processing fee, which it immediately points-out is "not a reading fee."

    What's the difference? Is there any? Doesn't seem like a good thing, either way.
    If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...then it's probably Charlotte Gusay doing the same tired routine.

  10. #10
    What? I have a title? Julie Worth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by josephwise
    A recent request-for-partial asks for a $35 processing fee, which it immediately points-out is "not a reading fee."
    It's not a reading fee because they have no intention of reading your chapters. The "processing" is having someone to open your envelope, slip in a rejection, and take your check to the bank. This is called Gusaying.

  11. #11
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Doesn't matter if they call it a processing fee, a reading fee, a marketing fee, a submission fee, an evaluation fee, or a cheese-and-crackers fee. It's a fee.

    Cross that agent off your list and move on.

  12. #12
    empty-nester! shadowwalker's Avatar
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    This is maybe a different take on the "processing fee". I was reading through the submission guidelines for American Short Fiction

    http://www.americanshortfiction.org/...w=article&id=7

    They apparently just went to electronic submissions and require a $2.00 "submission fee" to cover admin costs. I haven't seen that before, and although it's a small amount, it just seemed odd. They go on to say "Payment is competitive", but no specifics.

    So, does this seem odd to anyone else, or reasonable? Any knowledge of the publication? (It's apparently non-profit btw).
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  13. #13
    Comic guy Bartholomew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shadowwalker View Post

    They [...] require a $2.00 "submission fee"

    [...]

    (It's apparently non-profit btw).
    It's a red flag, but it doesn't necesarilly mean they're a bad publication.

    I'd avoid it though. Paying to get a shot at getting published is silly.

  14. #14
    empty-nester! shadowwalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bartholomew View Post
    It's a red flag, but it doesn't necesarilly mean they're a bad publication.

    I'd avoid it though. Paying to get a shot at getting published is silly.
    Yeah, I thought it was strange. One would think going to electronic submissions would be cheaper than paper, and I haven't seen it elsewhere (so far).
    Je suis Charlie

    "It seems rather like wanting to be ... a writer, rather than wanting to write. It should be a by-product, not a thing in itself. Otherwise, it's just an ego trip." - Roger Zelazny

    Passion is easy; commitment is hard.

  15. #15
    smart enough to know better
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    It doesn't cost anything to "administer" or "process" a submission. Unless you count bending over and turning on my computer. Or maybe the 85 feet I have to walk to my mailbox. I read hard copy on my porch. Can I charge for out-of-office expenses? What about my cat? She sits with me when I read. Can I charge for cat cuddling expenses? It's a puzzlement.

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