I have just signed with a legitimate agency for representation my private detective novels. This agency is AAR signatory and of course non-fee charging.
I thought I'd post their agency guidelines for your referral and comparison with other maybe shady agencies. I have replaced the agency's actual name with "The Agency""
The Agency is dedicated to providing reliable service to fulfill our authors' business and artistic needs. We do not permit any conflict of interest to arise which might interfere with the service we provide to our authors.
We protect our clients' funds at all times and permit inspection of the author's book of account with respect to any and all transactions involving the author.
We provide each author with a statement of royalties and disbursements of funds at the time of payment. We pay all funds due the author within seven (7) days after the publisher's check clears.
The only fee charged by The Agency is the commission from earnings agreed to by author and The Agency. The only expense the author is responsible for paying is the cost of required photocopying.
The Agency endeavors to keep each author informed as to the status of his or her submission by regular contact with the author, and is available to answer questions that may arise during the course of the contractual relationship between author and The Agency.
The Agency will inform the author of every offer for the purchase of a manuscript. There are no exceptions. The Agency will discuss the merits of the offer with the author and negotiate with the purchaser on behalf of the author in an attempt to obtain a contract that fully meets the author's stated career goals. Every publishing contract shall be signed by the author, if at all possible. The Agency will not sign any offer made for the purchase of a manuscript unless directed to do so in writing by the author.
The Agency does not, under any circumstances, represent both the buyer and seller in the same transaction, nor will The Agency ever accept or agree to accept any fee for the placement or sale of a manuscript that is not expressly disclosed and agreed to by the author.
The Agency as an agent treats each author's financial and personal affairs as private and confidential, except for information customarily disclosed to interested parties as part of the process of placing a manuscript for possible sale. In keeping with this stated purpose of confidentiality, The Agency does not disclose the names of any authors represented or previous sales made without the author's permission.
The Agency does not charge any reading fees or author account fees