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Old 10-11-2005, 09:56 PM   #1
starbuck63
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Writer's Literary Screenplay Agency, Screenplay Writers' Agency,The Screenplay Agency

Hi All

Just posting this one - it's another offshoot of the Literary Agency Group (aka Children's Literary Agency).

In fact if you go to the 'about' on their websites, it's practically the same.

http://www.thescreenplayagency.com/about.html

http://www.childrensliteraryagency.com/about.html

It looks like the same scam namely: "We don't charge fees to read your work but we do pass on 'promising material' to a 'third-party' to improve (who you must then pay)"


Be warned
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Old 10-11-2005, 09:59 PM   #2
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ARRRGGGGHHHH!!

Is it not enough that there are already FIVE of these monsters? Must there be a sixth?

Now I have to go create a new file folder. And update my warning--again.

I have so much documentation on the ST/Stylus clones that I will soon need to give them their own filing cabinet.

What a waste of trees.

- Victoria
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Old 10-11-2005, 10:00 PM   #3
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P.S. Thanks for the heads-up, Starbuck.

- Victoria
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Old 10-11-2005, 10:02 PM   #4
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Let's not forget all the poor distressed pixels being mangled by that agency. Oh, the pain, the pain!

In the meantime, I'll get a listing on them made up real soon. Thanks for bringing this one to our attention.

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Old 10-11-2005, 10:04 PM   #5
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Gaah! Is there no end to this madness?

Hopefully, like PA, they'll overreach and start crumbling.

ETA: I've added this one and the "Poets" agency to my ST post, and will update the main Index soon.
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Old 10-11-2005, 10:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
About & Contact

The Screenplay Agency has numerous contacts with influential buyers throughout the industry. We are proud to represent a very diverse group of authors. Our roster of authors includes:

Doctors
Lawyers
Entrepreneurs
Journalists
Professors and teachers from universities, high-schools, and elementary schools
Coaches
Accountants and bankers
Advertising Executives
Stay at home moms...

What's missing from the list?


Screenwriters!



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Old 10-11-2005, 10:38 PM   #7
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OK, here's the full warning for the search engines.

The Screenplay Agency is one of several new "agencies" under the umbrella of The Literary Agency Group Inc. The Literary Agency Group Inc. appears to be a spinoff of the infamous Stylus Literary Agency (until recently known as the ST Literary Agency), owned and operated by Robert Fletcher. Writer Beware has received scores of complaints about Stylus Literary/ST Literary, which has charged fees, promoted its own paid editing services, and submitted in a haphazard fashion to inappropriate publishers (when it submitted at all). It used a boiler room-style operation, with clients receiving substantially identical e-mails and responses.

Right now, the Literary Agency Group Inc. umbrella appears to embrace the following:

More, no doubt, to come.

Writer Beware has documented that these agencies all operate in much the same way, using the same boiler-room-style approach as the original Stylus, with nearly identical intake materials and contracts. Right now, the main focus of the operation appears to be persuading writers to buy paid critique services (at a cost of between $50 and around $90) and editing services (anywhere from $99 to over $2,000) from a service that's described as a "sister" company but in fact appears to be under common ownership with the agencies (this is a conflict of interest: if an agency can make money by recommending critiques or editing, how can the writer trust that the recommendation is in his/her best interest?). There may also be other paid adjunct services, and it's possible that there are vanity publishers somewhere in the mix.

Neither Stylus Literary Agency/ST Literary Agency nor any of its spinoffs have any commercial book or script sales, as far as we're aware--despite their claims to the contrary.

There's a more detailed discussion of the whole scheme in the ST Literary Agency thread.

- Victoria
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Old 10-12-2005, 03:09 PM   #8
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Litigation

Hey Victoria, weren't these guys threatening the legal system on you - what happened to that?

(Sorry if I missed it in an earlier thread - just point me there and I'll obey)
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Old 10-12-2005, 09:19 PM   #9
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The idjits have been threatening for years. Nothing's happened, since Writer Beware has The Truth (and a certain law shark) on their side.
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Old 10-12-2005, 09:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starbuck63
Hey Victoria, weren't these guys threatening the legal system on you - what happened to that?
Yes, they were huffing and puffing. They may yet try to blow my house down. But so far, nada.

- Victoria
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Old 12-16-2005, 10:47 PM   #11
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In other words, they shouldn't be trusted? Don't have anything to do them?
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Old 12-16-2005, 11:06 PM   #12
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Correct.
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Old 12-16-2005, 11:13 PM   #13
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Remember, there is no cure for scamitis. You can only join Writers Anonymous and follow their 12-step program which consists of remaining at least 12 feet away from scammers so they can't reach into your wallet.

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Old 01-15-2006, 11:02 PM   #14
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I think Sherry and the others are feeling the pressure. Here's what a writer sent me from their response to the writer's inquiry:

Quote:

Here's an interesting thing about the Predators site. We can't find ANY contact information. Can you? So, here we have someone that purports to be an industry watchdog, that gives no contact information, or ability to discuss what they promulgate... doesn't that give you cause to question what THEY are saying? (We have had one author say they found a contact email, and we suggested that they ask Predators 'why?', but they never got a response.. so... we suggest that you make up your own mind based on the professionalism of our interaction, with us, as real people, not some 'shadow' person/entity that is unaccountable. We've been at this for years, and we haven't changed our name or ran, we've stayed and fought, and the only real person that loses is the first time author that can't get the time of day from most agencies.

I've heard that the Predators site is actually run by Bill Martin, the owner of Agency Research.. he runs the Predator site so as to create controversy so that people will buy his Agent Research package. If that's true, how's that for misinformation and misleading the public?

One of our clients said this, "I too did not find an area with contact information available for the Predators site. I feel they should be stopped from disseminating information about a company without explaining why they are not recommending them. I would like to continue the process with you to represent our work."

I know it's tough.. best to you in your decision.

Best regards,
Sherry Fine - VP Acquisitions

Our Pledge To You:
==================
* We respect what you have accomplished thus far as a writer.
* We believe that great authors are made, not born. We are willing to develop talent.
* We pledge straight talk in a confusing and old-school industry.
* We can't promise a sale. We can promise a professional relationship.


p.s. Missed Emails, Spam, Whitelists, and other reasons for lapses in communications. We are very, very diligent about returning every email that we receive within a couple of days. The same is true for our vendors and suppliers. IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE A COMMUNICATION AND YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE, PLEASE, CHECK WITH US AND WE WILL SEE WHAT HAPPENED. Please don't jump to negative conclusions. The Internet is not 100% foolproof and we are very sensitive to our clients' expectations and our promises about timely communications.
Hey, maybe they'll claim I'm Jenna next and give me both a name and gender change!
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Old 01-16-2006, 09:46 AM   #15
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Quote:
One of our clients said this, "I too did not find an area with contact information available for the Predators site. I feel they should be stopped from disseminating information about a company without explaining why they are not recommending them. I would like to continue the process with you to represent our work."
Perhaps that's because they failed to click on the link labeled "About Preditors & Editors" (right on the main page), described thusly: "Our purpose, who we list, and why. Also an explanation of the colors used and information about the editor of P&E."

The "About" page you come to a) tells you in some detail exactly how the ratings work, what "recommended" and "not recommended" mean, and why some agents/publishers don't have ratings at all.

But wait, there's more! People who go to the "About" page will find a link there to Dave's personal home page, where they'll find his personal email address.

Not only that ... the main page has a link that's called "Email" with this helpful explanatory text: "How to contact Preditors & Editors. Comments, Questions, Updates, and Insults. Also, how to be listed in P&E."

Bill Martin? Dave's name is on nearly three dozen of P&E's pages, including these.

Dave isn't shy about letting the world know he runs P&E. Bobby Fletcher knows darned well exactly who Dave is.

So all I can say is that Bobby Fletcher, Sherry, and their anonymous correspondent, weren't trying too hard.

(As far as "not explaining why they are not recommending them," how's "Charges fee. Poor contract. Strongly not recommended. " That's right off the listing for Stylus Literary Agency. Do you want more explanation? It'll only hurt worse, Bobby.)

One more thing. Sherry says:
Quote:
We've been at this for years, and we haven't changed our name....
Which is why you're still Sydra Techniques ... oops! ... ST Literary Agency ... oops! ... Stylus Literary Agency ... oops! ... The Screenplay Agency.

(Been at it for years? Care to mention what you've sold during those years? Anything? To anyone?)
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Old 01-23-2006, 12:47 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by starbuck63
Hi All

Just posting this one - it's another offshoot of the Literary Agency Group (aka Children's Literary Agency).

In fact if you go to the 'about' on their websites, it's practically the same.

http://www.thescreenplayagency.com/about.html

http://www.childrensliteraryagency.com/about.html

It looks like the same scam namely: "We don't charge fees to read your work but we do pass on 'promising material' to a 'third-party' to improve (who you must then pay)"


Be warned
I only wish I had known about the Screenplay Agency before I spent $95, and many hours of my time. Plus the embarrassment now of telling my friends that I really DON'T have an agent! The Writer's Guild (whom I should have checked with at the beginning) said that they sign a contract with every writer that submits. Then they ask for the critique (which I paid for) and after giving one that calls for many changes, they refer you another company (yeah, sure!) that charges fees. Strange fees. The next one was going to be for $189! Then I woke up. RATS! Back to the drawing board, but glad that I only lost the $95.
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Old 01-24-2006, 05:27 PM   #17
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Here's the cycle:

1) They accept you.

2) Critique (for money).

3) Edit (for money).

4) Edit (for money).

.
.
.

n) Edit (for money).

n+1) Author doesn't pay money.

n+2) They drop you.
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Old 01-24-2006, 10:19 PM   #18
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When a work doesn't sell.. what happens?

Dear Author:

We are keenly aware of the negative material on a lot of writer's message boards and I thought I would take a minute and give you more background than what you are getting (which as best I can tell is stuff regurgitated from years ago).

I know it is confusing to authors and I thank you for 'first seeking to understand".

I hope that you will view the professionalism of this reply, where we try to present both sides of the situation, and contrast that against the furor that will arise after this post. Hey, maybe the message board people will agree to be your Agent!


It is a fact that most authors (98%) can't get the time of day from an Agent. Why? Because invariably their work needs improvement and if an Agent takes the time to say, "I like the idea, but you need a little help" the Agent is blackballed by every writers blog on the net.


Some writers say, "it's the agency's responsibility to help the writer".. Maybe in the old days, but not anymore. An Agent's core competency is selling work and finding buyers, not editing. Do you really think that an Agent should contribute their valuable selling time to assisting a writer with editing/grammar/ and other mechanics? Some writers do, but not those that understand the power and clarity of focus on core competency in business. Most agencies go out of business in a few years, not us. Why, because we concentrate on selling, and let the editors and writers do what they do best, writing, improving, writing, improving, etc.

Furthermore, when a work doesn't sell, what typically happens is that the author adopts one of 3 postures, 1) you suck, you scammer you, 2) I'll improve, or 3) maybe I'll quit. Most of the material on the boards is from attitude 1.

At it's core, that's the real issue. Always has been. So, there's a situation where potentially great work is 'waiting in the wings' so to speak, and can't get access to the market. And, if the Agent offers to help, to coach, and to mentor, well, you see the boards reply.

What Do Buyers Think? That's what really matters.
==========================================
Buyers (publishers) love our model. Why? because they know that we've forced the writer to jump through a series of hoops to prove their mettle. And the writers whine, whine, whine, and the publishers say, "whew, thanks for bringing us great work and for filtering out the crackpots."

Where do you think the crackpots cluster? Right on the message boards because a successful writer is improving their craft, making submissions, and researching and writing.

I use the word 'cluster' in the marketing segmentation definition. Look on most of those message boards, and you will see advertising, newsletters, and other capitalistic products and services based on traffic generated by controversy. So now you understand that the point of the boards is to generate traffic and advertising revenues based on their niche in the market.


Anyway, that said, it actually does us a favor and we've come to thank these boards. They weed out two main categories of authors that we are actually glad to be rid of: 1) nervous authors that don't understand the nitty gritty of hard business and who can't make up their mind and who rely on others for their opinions, 2) the SFN's (writers that want Something for Nothing) who want it all, basically for free...

I place 4 bullets under my signature. That's our promise. It's simple and it's understandable, and I really do think you'd be hard pressed to find one of our clients that won't, even grudgingly admit that we've delivered.

Our Pledge To You:
==================
* We respect what you have accomplished thus far as a writer.
* We believe that great authors are made, not born. We are willing to develop talent.
* We pledge straight talk in a confusing and old-school industry.
* We can't promise a sale. We can promise a professional relationship.

So, in conclusion, this is what I would do, if I were in your shoes, "I'd proceed with us, eyes wide open, and see if we meet or exceed our four business tenets, A) Respect, B) Building Talent, 3) Straight Talk, and a 4) Professional Relationship.

Of course, if you'd rather us terminate our relationship now, no problem, fortunately for me, and unfortunately for you, there's 10 more to take your place, and you can go back to querying agents for the rest of your life, or you can just see what happens and see if maybe, just maybe, we are what we say we are.

Best to you whatever your decision.

Sherry Fine - VP Acquisitions

Just for grins, and so that you know we provide a service of value to aspiring authors, I would like you to see some of the unprompted quotes that we receive on a daily basis.

Our clients say it best. The quotes below are unedited and as you can see, quite from the heart. (We have lots more of these.) If you are really cynical, you will probably believe we made them up, but I promise you, we can prove every one of them.

=======================

"Just a note to say, whatever the outcome of my submission, it's refreshing to engage an agent who will a) take an email submission, b) turn it round as quick you've committed to do and c) actively work with a writer. Submissions are daunting enough anyway without having to wait ten weeks for an impersonalised slip of paper. Here's to you."

"It is refreshing to get an honest professional opinion of my work, it make me realise just how much I don't know about the written word and its presentation."

Dear Georgina, I'd like you to know how highly and gratefully I regard the clarity with which you explain the process as well as your reliability. I have complete trust in both your abilities and ethical standards. Best wishes, Judith

It's been a long time since I left school with considerable number of years passing before I became interested in writing again. I would like you to thank you for working with me and let it be known that I look at this as a new beginning and rebirth of my education.

You don't know how nice it is to have such timely responses. I am sure I am not the only writer that puts a lot of heart into their work and I have to say, I have "kept mine tucked away in the closet" for many, many years. I just enjoy writing, but didn't know if I would ever try and submit it to anyone. Making the decision to do that has been somewhat of a nerve-wracking process. Your timely responses and professional, yet "down-to-earth" responses are making the process a lot easier. At this time, I am not submitting my work to anyone else, because you have impressed me the most up to this point. Even if we do not end up working together, I felt it was important to pass this along to you.

Dear Georgina: Your professional zeal and resourcefulness cannot be overemphasized seeing the volatile-oceanic-wave called the American Hollywood with its impregnable sales frontiers.I hold you dearly to my heart in my every prayers towards our mutual success now and...very soon in sbsequent works.I doff my heart after your every professional spirit imagining the energy, sweat and travellings involved. Thanks for everything you stand for professionally.

Thank you for your constructive feedback. I found your critique of my work very informative, and it concluded many things that I already knew. I really do need to improve on my punctuation skills, and that has been something I have struggled with for some time. I appreciate your suggestions on materials to improve this, and I plan on taking an advanced grammar and puctuation class at the college I am attending. Several other points you made were also very informative. I know I have a long way to go before I am a "professional" writer, but I am glad that you agreed that the potential is definitely there. I'd also like to thank you and your company for staying in contact with me through this process. I would, and will, come back to your company if I need further material critiqued. Thank you again for your time.

I just want to say I have been rejected for years by Agents and Publishers. After awhile it all seems pointless. But I am in this for the long run and will never give up and never give in. Whether you accept me or not you have restored my faith and hope that someone out there is concerned and listening to what writings go through. I look forward to learning all that I can from you and your associates.

"After having reread all the information sent to me, I must say that I am impressed by the way your agency has handled the science, or art of appreciating new sources of writing. If only all agencies displayed your model the world may be a better place. Your FAQ has answered all of my questions and i am eager to get to work."

===========================

WE ARE CREATING THE MOST POWERFUL AGENCY GROUP IN THE UNITED STATES. Every author that we represent has been fully edited and we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that their work is good enough for publication. Unfortunately, the ones that 'wash out', tend to grouse and *****. If you can make it through our process, then you will be in an elite group that buyers respect. We never promise a sale, but we can promise that if we present your work, it will get respect from our buyers.

Best to you in your career.
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Old 01-24-2006, 10:42 PM   #19
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See my line-by-line in the other thread where this spam was pasted.
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Old 01-25-2006, 01:33 AM   #20
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Gee, you guys aren't leaving me much to do. (Not to worry, I'll deal with "Sherry" anyway.)

Before I comment on that astounding post, though, let me give a little perspective on why "Sherry" may have showed up just now.

An author at PublishAmerica commented that he was considering paying The Screenplay Agency (one of the names Robert Fletcher is doing business under). This was picked up in the NEPAT Overflow topic here:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...page=117&pp=25

and

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...page=118&pp=25

(Comments from "xhouseboy" and me, respectively.)

I went to the main Neverending PublishAmerica Thread (NEPAT), and made a request here:

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/show...ostcount=29830

I asked that someone with access to the PublishAmerica Message Board (PAMB) let the author who was thinking of using The Screenplay Agency know that Fletcher's outfit was a scam.

Soon enough, it happened, both on the PAMB and (I presume) on another board where PA authors hang out.

I'm guessing that "Sherry" got a bunch of emails this afternoon telling her to forget about it, that they weren't going to pay for that critique, or treatment, or edit, or whatever they're asking for this week.

She's here to do damage control. Why here? Because the first place you come to when you Google "The Screenplay Agency" or "Stylus Literary Agency" is right here. Any of those PublishAmerica authors who Googled got an eyeful.

I see "Sherry" posted the identical screed four times.



http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...714#post467714
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...713#post467713
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...710#post467710
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/...707#post467707




Good for you, "Sherry," very industrious.

I'll only reply in one place, but I'll put this note in all four so folks can collect the whole set. Lots of people have already replied, identifying Sherry's major fibs, distortions, and omissions.
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Last edited by James D. Macdonald; 01-28-2006 at 05:41 PM.
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Old 01-25-2006, 01:42 AM   #21
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Too many people have done excellent work debunking most of this garbage already, so I just want to home in on one statement.

Quote:
It is a fact that most authors (98%) can't get the time of day from an Agent. Why? Because invariably their work needs improvement and if an Agent takes the time to say, "I like the idea, but you need a little help" the Agent is blackballed by every writers blog on the net.

Any agent that wrote back to someone saying they need some work would hardly be "blackballed." In fact, they'd probably be celebrated for actually providing feedback other than a form letter. This "the world is a bad, scary place and we're the only ones who can take care of you" attitude is a bunch of nonsense.
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I took the rejection pledge.

2006 pledge: queries -- 27/40.

2007 Pledge:
To finish first draft of WIP. 362 pgs of an estimated 362 pgs. Finished. ROCK AND ROLL!!!
To send out 40 queries for the other completed WIP.
Currently: 0/40. This didn't happen.


2008 Pledge:
To change tons of diapers. In progress.
To edit/do first rewrite in 2007's WIP.
Also, maybe to get like 15 queries out, but it won't be easy.




"Anybody can make up statistics to prove their point. 14% of all people know that." -- Homer Simpson
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Old 01-25-2006, 03:35 AM   #22
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wow... lot of good info regarding these "agencies." I thought their methods seemed suspicious.
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Old 01-25-2006, 04:39 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jcomp
wow... lot of good info regarding these "agencies." I thought their methods seemed suspicious.
Good instincts, Jcomp.

Welcome to AW.
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Old 01-25-2006, 09:46 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherry Fine
Buyers (publishers) love our model...
...so much that they've never bought a book from you. As far as I know, of course.

- Victoria
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Old 01-26-2006, 08:22 PM   #25
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I have noticed the thread on PAMB has disappeared. Whoever wanted to know about the Screenplay Agency was told by three or more PA authors to not sign with them it was a scam, so they must have deleted their thread. Unless PA was hoping they go in to the scam and deleted it after neg. responses came up.
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