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Thread: West Coast Literary Associates / California Literary Services

  1. #1
    Teena Haywood
    Guest

    West Coast Literary Associates / California Literary Services

    Hello:

    I'm new here. However, I've been reading this message board for a few months. Have any of you ever heard of West Coast Literary Associates? I queried this Agency and received a reply from Dr. Richard VanDerBeets requesting the first chapter of my manuscript. Oops! One problem! I failed to look the agency up on P&E. They charge an upfront fee of $95. Have any of you ever dealt with West Coast Literary? If so, what were the results?

    Teena

  2. #2
    mammamaia
    Guest

    no legit agency will charge a penny up front!

    run the other way!

    real agents get you paid, when they sell your work... and they get paid when they take their fee off the top... they don't charge a single cent UNTIL that happens...

    anyone wanting a reading fee or for mailing, or copying, or anything whatever, is either a scam artist or a new, not very successful agency that can't afford to cover the standard operating costs agencies are expected to cover... some may add those expenses to their 10%, but i wouldn't ever agree to pay them up front!

    love and hugs, maia

    ps:
    Charges fee. Not recommended.
    ... that's the comment added to the firm's listing on the 'preditors and editors' site... 'nuff said?

    anotherealm.com/prededitors/

  3. #3
    AC Crispin
    Guest

    West Coast

    The "results" of dealing with West Coast Literary Agency are that you will pay $95.00 and that will be the end of it, or so the many, many complaints Writer Beware has received about this highly questionable agency indicate.

    You can use Writer Beware's free email verification service any time you have a question about an agency.

    -Ann C. Crispin
    Writer Beware
    www.writerbeware.com

  4. #4
    Teena Haywood
    Guest

    Re: West Coast

    Thanks for your candid response.

    Teena

  5. #5
    jreeswilliams
    Guest

    california literary services

    james haversham with calif. lit. services. wants entire manuscript after reading first 30 pages. his letter stresses no fees, etc. this is a new agency, anyone have more information on him or the company?

    thanks, jeff

  6. #6
    vstrauss
    Guest

    Re: california literary services

    I don't know who James Haversham may be, but the URL for California Literary Services website is registered to Richard Vanderbeets, who owns West Coast Literary Associates, a fee-charging agency about which Writer Beware has received many complaints. Much of the wording of the information sheet California Literary sends to prospective clients is almost identical to that used by West Coast on its information sheet. It seems pretty clear that California Literary is either the new face of West Coast (agencies do sometimes change their names to escape a poor reputation), or else an enterprise of it.

    - Victoria

  7. #7
    Doc
    Guest

    Re: california literary services

    Looks like I have been taken for $50. I signed a contract for 6 months with California Literary Services.......yes I was desperate and wanted something to look forward to after hearing from approx 200 agents, "sorry not taking on new clients" - "not right for me," etc. I knew better but I was so tired of the rejection - so I said "what the hey"....$50 handling fee for a new agent.....so what. I hadn't found the name of the agency or James Haversham anywhere when I briefly checked him out. Then guess what? I found this site last night. Needless to say, I am more angry with myself then the "agent" However this time the scammer made a large mistake.....I am a professional investigator and if this is in fact a scam, I will devote a large portion of my time gathering evidence to put him where he will have lots of time to write to authors.

    Doc

  8. #8
    nabnet
    Guest

    Re: california literary services

    Doc,

    I'd be interested in hearing what you learn via PM or E-mail. I think that you may find that 'James Haversham' is electronically invisible to wit: off the radar.

    So, does Vanderbeets have any record of sales at all?

    nabnet

  9. #9
    vstrauss
    Guest

    Re: california literary services

    >>So, does Vanderbeets have any record of sales at all?<<

    A miniscule one. Over the past 10 years or so West Coast appears to have sold about 10-12 books--a rate that's reduced by the fact that 4 of those sales have been for the same author. All those sales have been with reputable publishers.

    I've gotten a number of reports from former clients that Mr. Vanderbeets is unresponsive, going out of his way to discourage phone contact in particular. Others say that if the initial submission to 6 or so publishers doesn't result in immediate interest, they are simply dropped. West Coast Literary charges $95 for a 6-month contract.

    Doc, could you contact me by e-mail at beware@sfwa.org? I'd like to ask you a question about California Literary Services.

    - Victoria

  10. #10
    nabnet
    Guest

    Re: california literary services

    I sent California Literary Services "CLS" the first 30-pages of a manuscript, and I received a response requesting the rest of the document.

    I'm supportive of start-up companies, but the use of home printed letterhead that bled didn't make a great impression.

    I was also concerned that my manuscript would be "...confidentially recycled..." if representation was not offered.

    Then there was the home answering machine used to field business calls.

    Maybe all of this is a part of working the bugs out of a new company, but I'm not interested in being a test case with someone who may be operating under an alias in a field where no alias is necessary.

    nabnet

  11. #11
    DaveKuzminski
    Guest

    Confidentially recycled?

    Sounds like someone doesn't want to repeat someone else's mistakes about having stacks of manuscripts hanging around instead of returning those to the authors as the true professionals do. That's the impression I get.

  12. #12
    maestrowork
    Guest

    Re: Confidentially recycled?

    12 books in 10 years is pretty abysmal, IMHO. But hey, a sale is a sale. But do you want to be part of that statistics?

    Having a bad agent is worse than having no agent.

  13. #13
    Teena Haywood
    Guest

    Has Anyone Heard Of...

    California Literary Services. This agency has requested a full manuscript of my latest novel. However, when I conducted a search, I found the following statement on P&E:
    P&E: Literary Agents - ... Editor's note: hearing good things about this agent. California Literary Services: a literary agency. Charges fee. Not recommended. ...


    It's rather confusing :shrug since it also states: "hearing good things about this agent." Your input will be greatly appreciated.

  14. #14
    James D Macdonald
    Guest

    Re: Has Anyone Heard Of...

    "Editor's note: hearing good things about this agent."

    That appears to be part of the previous comment: "Caitlin Blasdell: an agent with Liza Dawson Agency. Editor's note: hearing good things about this agent."

  15. #15
    Teena Haywood
    Guest

    Re: Has Anyone Heard Of...

    James, thanks for clearing that up. When I accessed P&E to read feedback on California Literary Services, the line: "hearing good things about this agent," was within the same paragraph. Why it appeared as such and still does appear that way on my screen, is beyond me. I truly appreciate your input.

  16. #16
    vstrauss
    Guest

    Re: Has Anyone Heard Of...

    California Literary charges $50 upfront. It's an offshoot of West Coast Literary, which also charged upfront, and about which both P&E and Writer Beware have received complaints. I think there's a thread on this board that goes into more detail, if you do a search on "California Literary".

    - Victoria

  17. #17
    Teena Haywood
    Guest

    Re: Has Anyone Heard Of...

    Victoria:

    Thank you so much for your valuable feedback concerning California Literary Services. After comparing the letter I received from this agency with the one I received from West Coast Literary last year, I have a sinking feeling that it is predominately one in the same...just a name change. I sincerely appreciate your input.

  18. #18
    vstrauss
    Guest

    Re: Has Anyone Heard Of...

    Teena, did California Literary solicit a submission from you? I've heard from a couple of authors who turned down a contract offer from West Coast, and were subsequently contacted by California Literary.

    - Victoria

  19. #19
    Teena Haywood
    Guest

    Re: Has Anyone Heard Of...

    Victoria:
    No, California Literary did not solicit my manuscript. I found them while searching for literary agents on the Internet.

    However, it still amazes me :huh how similar their snail mail letter is to West Coast Literary.

  20. #20
    susan62450
    Guest

    Calif Lit Svces

    I submitted my mss & today recv'd an offer to represent my novel. The $50 upfront fee isn't much, however, I'm concerned about his sales record. Does anyone know about James Haversham's record (or lack thereof)?
    His contract stated the $50 is refundable upon sale of mss & the contract is for 3 months at a time, renewable w/o further fee.
    What's anyone's thoughts on this???

  21. #21
    HapiSofi
    Guest

    Re: Calif Lit Svces

    Susan, that agency's run by a guy named Richard VanDerBeets. He charges fees -- not huge, but it's real money. The other report I hear about him (technically hearsay, but I've heard it said by a lot of different sources) is that he never does anything. He isn't the most rapacious scam agent out there. He just takes your money and wastes your time.

  22. #22
    simchry
    Guest

    Re: Calif Lit Svces

    I've seen that name quite a few times on the board and it never says anything good about him. Check him in some of the older pages on the board you will find info.

  23. #23
    FrancisJDHyland
    Guest

    James Haversham...California Literary Services

    I too am another fool out of pocket $50 to James Haversham c/o California Literary Services.
    It seems that this agency is a scam. Luckily, my manuscript had garnered three other offers of representation and so I shall be able to secure a contract elsewhere. I hope that I can stop other aspiring writers from giving this thief any more money!
    I can be contacted at isol8_fhyland@yahoo.com
    If you're interested, the first part of my book is at www.francishyland.blogspot.com

    Good luck to us all.

    Francis J.D. Hyland

  24. #24
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Seattle WA
    Posts
    39

    Question West Coast Literary

    What's the latest info about Richard VanDerBeets? Like many others out there, in the dream world, I was offered a contract for only a meager fee of $75. Is this for real?????

  25. #25
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    16
    It's a scam. Run away.

    - JG

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