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Kazuir
06-28-2003, 02:11 AM
Can anyone tell me anything about S.T. Literary Agency? I found them while surfing on the web, through a link from a site called "Literary and Book Agents Resource." They claim to be the agents for M.W. Campanelli (of the "Chicken Soup for...: series), and not to charge reading fees etc. On the other hand, I can't find them listed on any of the usual agency listing sites, and there's no physical address -- all submissions by email. Can't tell whether they're legit or not...

georgie
06-28-2003, 03:30 AM
Kazuir:

There's PLENTY about S.T. -- or better known as --"Sydra Techniques" at:

www.rumormill.org/index.p...#section11 (http://www.rumormill.org/index.php?s=2113&show_all_topics=0#section11)

Note: Be sure to search the archives, by typing in Sydra Techniques in the "text box" at the bottom of the page.

Also, see their "not recommended" listing at the Preditors & Editors website.

Kazuir
06-28-2003, 07:26 AM
Thanks, Georgia - very helpful!

culturalecology
07-21-2003, 10:29 PM
I need info good or bad on ST Literary Agency

Michael Stephen Levinson
08-13-2003, 05:59 AM
Sydra is bogus. A scam. You simply throw away your money. But they are subtle, and they string you along. It happened to me and I am really upset because ZI sent them a rare 1st edition of a prophetic work I published in 1971.

I invite all to visit www.digidirect.com

Michael Stephen Levinson

westie
08-14-2003, 01:18 AM
For $129 I got a web site that could only be accessed by knowing the exact address. For $240, I had 2 sets of "bound" manuscripts sent to publishers. The only "feedback" every received on the submissions sent out, was that all the publishers passed. ????????

ee
08-28-2003, 03:41 AM
Thanks for your useful comments!

Grace
10-01-2003, 12:30 AM
I was just offered a contract with ST Literary Agency but decided to do a little research before I signed on the dotted line. I cannot find a single reputable agency listing that includes ST Literary, nor are they found on the LMP. I stumbled upon this page, and I am so grateful! The messages posted here saved me from becoming another victim of their scam! I am sorry that you found out too late, however I hope you will take some comfort from knowing that one less writer was seduced by STLiterary Agency thanks to the statements you shared on the web.

Stuart
10-01-2003, 03:35 AM
ST sent me a contract too, but I had already read this thread. I emailed them back asking them to list their commercial sales for the last 12 months. That was three days ago, still waiting (no surprise there!)...

BarryDavis
11-20-2003, 10:58 PM
S.T. Literary Agency (http://www.stliteraryagency.com) - Is anyone familiar with them? I sent them my manuscript. They responded with interest and a questionnaire. Before filling out the questionniare I wrote back asking if they would require any fees for their services. This is their reply:

We specialize in helping new authors get the credibility they need. I have recently joined the company and we are expanding the number of authors we represent. However, the timeframes are long and the odds are stacked against new writers so we have made a business decision to defray the administrative costs associated with maintaining our relationship. We charge a one time fee of $129 when you are accepted into our company and that covers putting you into our database, our communications, and the marketing materials we build on your behalf. There is a $14 fee for printing, binding and mailing a manuscript.
Those fees are DEDUCTED from our commission upon a sale.
I hope that helps.

What do you think?

James D Macdonald
11-20-2003, 11:31 PM
Don't bother with them, or their questionaire.

Best of luck in finding an agent.

<a href="http://www.cafeshops.com/viableparadi,yog_1,yog_2.2310900" target="_new">Get the Tee Shirt</a>

James D Macdonald
11-21-2003, 12:00 AM
I went over to S.T's FAQ page, <a href="http://www.stliteraryagency.com/index.asp?cat=64649" target="_new">here</a>, and found that they refer to themselves as "Sydra" one place.

Okay, go over to the <a href="http://www.speculations.com/rumormill/" target="_new">Rumormill</a> and scroll to the bottom of the page. Type "Sydra" into the box labeled "Text" in the search box at the bottom. Read the information.

Short version: fee-charging agency, no record of legitimate sales.

marky48
11-21-2003, 12:42 AM
Yes James! I was trying to remember that name. I tested that with one of my screenplays for the hell of it. Complete ___ well, you know. The initials are a new angle I suppose. He has no connections at all, but falls into that unregulated management zone. Don't go in. It's the pits: Tar.

Dancre
11-21-2003, 01:47 AM
RUN, PASTOR BARRY, RUN!!! one thing i've learned is, if they ask for money, i turn tail and run the other way. have you checked in the Christian writer's guide? they've got at least 90 agents and more publishers. I'm sure they've got someone to help you. plus Alive Communications might take you on, since you've already written some books. www.alivecom.com/default.htm (http://www.alivecom.com/default.htm) good luck to you, pastor. let us know what happens.
kim

vstrauss
11-21-2003, 04:06 AM
"Sydra Techniques" became ST Literary Agency only a few months ago...I have a feeling the change was due to the negative information that pops up if you do a websearch on Sydra.

ST is one of the three agencies I get the most questions about (the other two are Janet Kay and American Literary Agents of Washington). Once upon a time, it was a small, non-fee-charging agency that (I think) did have a small track record; but in 2001 it deliberately transformed itself into a fee-based operation as a way to "commercialize" (i.e., make money from) the large number of submissions it was receiving. I'm not aware of any sales it has made since its makeover.

I've been told that the WGA is or was investigating its business practices, but I've heard nothing further about this.

- Victoria
Writer Beware
www.writerbeware.com/ (http://www.writerbeware.com/)

marky48
11-21-2003, 06:40 AM
I'm pretty sure I reported that to WGA back when I looked into this guy. It's been a while.

BarryDavis
11-21-2003, 07:38 AM
Thanks Everyone,

Barry

adnerb8654
01-11-2004, 01:25 AM
:o I swear, every time I think I've found an agency worth looking into, heehee someone tells someone else they are the pits. heehee

Well, thanks guys, it saves me some time. But is there anyone out there for adventure/romance that is any good?

Bre
adnerb8654@yahoo.com

ps I am an unfortunate who fell into a pod and for my third I want a real agent/publisher, so the hard work begins! Found 336 or something like that, agents in USA. This site has ruled out ST, one I thought to look at.

SRHowen
01-12-2004, 03:56 AM
if not, I should have--look for an agent who is a member of the AAR, the have a cannon of ethics that pretty much keeps the scam dogs away.

Look at other books in your genre--those published by traditional publishing (IE those in the big book stores etc.) and then a check out the authors. Many authors sites list their agents. Then look for the agent in a google search. Google is very good for this, you will get many many listings for an agent--the good the bad and the ugliest.

Shawn

robertfletcher
01-13-2004, 07:09 PM
How about a message from the President of ST Literary formerly Sydra?

First, let me thank you for first 'seeking to understand'.
========================================
If your mind is made up, then flame on, but if you would like to hear the other side of the story, then read on (you can always flame away later).

I read last week that 80% of all books published last year were from previously published authors, 10% were from celebrities, and 5% were from journalists. DO THE MATH and you can see what the odds are for as yet unpublished authors.

We specialize in working with new authors. Why? I really don't know. It certainly seems masochistic most days, but I tell you, the joy that I get from a 'yes' from a buyer for a new author is unimaginable! I also get a tremendous amount of pleasure in helping new authors understand the rules of this game. I can't guarantee that we can sell your work, but I can guarantee that you will be a better writer/business person as a result of our interaction(s).


Anyway, A LITERARY AGENT must be an AGGRESSIVE BUSINESSMAN, that's why you hire one.
================================================== ======================
You are hiring someone who knows business, contracts, selling, and has expertise in many, many areas, including coaching, psychology, and dealing with the peculiarities of the writers' mind...

I don't want to love you, I don't want to love your work, I want to sell it for money for you and for me. How's that for crass? My job is to make money for you and for me. Period. And as long as your work is professional and has a strong core idea, then it deserves a chance to be sold.

So many agents won't work with first time authors that we at least offer a chance to get your foot into the door of a VERY CLOSED - OLD BOY network industry.


Oh, and by the way, did I mention that I am a businessman, and this is business.
================================================== ==========
We haven't always charged an administrative fee after an author is accepted, and now we do. Why? We charge $129 AFTER ACCEPTANCE and this is deductible from our commissions should we sell your work. This SEPARATES the men from the boys, and the housewives from the serious authors (my apologies in advance for any professional housewives who take offense, but you know what I mean).

If you are seriously selling your work, your postage for a year SHOULD BE much more than $129 shouldn't it? You wouldn't believe how the quality of the authors we accept JUMPED UP after we instituted this filtering mechanism. Frankly if you can't afford $129 you are going to last very long and you are writing as a hobby not a business.


So in conclusion, form your own opinion.
=============================
If you believe that 'love of the writer and the work' should prevail, then don't submit to us. If you believe that making money from writing is an uneasy truce between the art of writing and the business of selling, then please consider us.

Whatever you believe please understand that I TRULY CONGRATULATE anyone who has birthed a book. We know the time and life commitment that it takes and we applaud you, even if we never work with you. Just be careful of the innuendo out there and make up your own mind.

P.S. and hey, in the words of someone famous, 'at least they are talking about us'... if you would like us to consider your work, please visit www.stliteraryagency.com and after reading the site, submit.


This entire communication is for the exclusive use of the intended addressee only and contains proprietary, confidential and privileged information as deemed by the poster. You agree that this information will not be replicated in any form other than what is posted in this forum.

Yes, we live in a very litigious society and we know how to wield the legal sword as well as most. It's part of our job as an Agent to protect our writers' works and we know how to use lawyers very aggressively for our clients (and ourselves). If you read this far and understand the import of this paragraph then you are probably a good client for us. Ciao!

Robert Fletcher, President

ps. Did I mention that we are AGGRESSIVELY courting buyers and distribution in CHINA? Now that's a virgin market with BILLIONS of buyers! New authors are even better for them for a number of reasons, so maybe we'll find the gold for our clients after all.

Best to you once again. It's a tough world out there and there's lots of conflicting information.

And, if I could offer one piece of final advice for a writer, I will.... KEEP WRITING... WRITE FOR THE LOVE OF IT, WRITE BECAUSE IT IS THE PASSION OF LIFE. IT'S THAT PASSION, WHEN TRANSLATED THROUGH YOUR FINGERS, THAT ULTIMATELY SELLS YOUR WORK.

CWGranny
01-13-2004, 08:03 PM
Thank you so much for the morning laugh.

I met a guy who fell for a line very much like "We charge $129 AFTER ACCEPTANCE and this is deductible from our commissions should we sell your work. This SEPARATES the men from the boys, and the housewives from the serious authors." -- he told everyone that his agent only charged a fee to weed out the wienies. Of course, that agent only sent his manuscript to one publisher -- Publish America. Apparently the fee did weed out the weinies -- weeded them right into the agent's wallet. What a great investment.

What the $129 separates is that writers who understand this business (and therefore don't bite) from the ones who are easily swayed by a good line (and therefore end up with "agents" like Syndra and "publishers" like Publish America.)

Surprisingly enough, my agent didn't ask me to ante up at the beginning of our relationship. Neither did the agents of the rest of us with professional representation.

To quote Monty Python:
run away
run away

Gran

vstrauss
01-13-2004, 09:36 PM
Mr. Fletcher posted this same note in the "Ask Ann" topic on Rumor Mill (www.speculations.com/rumo...l_topics=0 (http://www.speculations.com/rumormill/index.php?t=200&show_all_topics=0) ), where it received the response it deserves.

Notice how Mr. Fletcher never mentions any book or script sales? Could it be because ST has none?

>>We charge $129 AFTER ACCEPTANCE and this is deductible from our commissions should we sell your work.<<

Sounds reasonable, doesn't it? You front the money now, but you'll get it back once your AGGRESSIVE BUSINESSMAN agent sells your work for big bucks.

Really, though, this promise is only being made to make you feel better about paying a fee (plus, it's a safe promise, since agents who make it usually have no sales). An agent who lets submission expenses accrue and reimburses himself out of your income is reimbursed only if he succeeds on your behalf. An agent who asks you for expense money upfront, with a promise to give it back if he makes a sale, is basically being paid for failing.

- Victoria

aka eraser
01-13-2004, 11:44 PM
I suppose Mr. Fletcher posts this sort of drivel for the same reason telemarketers and spammers do their things.

Most targets ignore/hang up/delete. But a few dewy-eyed naifs and/or those with room temperature IQ's will cough up the money. He'll ignore the responses and chuckle on the way to the bank just like a certain "publishing" company we know.

James D Macdonald
01-14-2004, 02:39 AM
I read last week that 80% of all books published last year were from previously published authors, 10% were from celebrities, and 5% were from journalists. DO THE MATH and you can see what the odds are for as yet unpublished authors.

I don't suppose you'd like to mention where you read this?

We specialize in working with new authors. Why? I really don't know.

Could you name three or four sales for new authors that you've made in the last year?

One sale? Could you mention one sale?

You mean you haven't sold any books for first time writers? Or any other writers?

You may not know why you specialize in new writers, my friend, but I know.

New writers are eager and innocent and haven't yet wised up to your "technique."

RealityChuck
01-15-2004, 02:33 AM
We haven't always charged an administrative fee after an author is accepted, and now we do. Why? We charge $129 AFTER ACCEPTANCE and this is deductible from our commissions should we sell your work. This SEPARATES the men from the boys, and the housewives from the serious authorsIt also SEPARATES the aspiring writer from his hard-earned money.

MysticWolf1
01-19-2004, 01:02 PM
Usually I'm depressed at my lack of funds (I rarely have 50 cents remaining at the end of the month); but I feel good knowing that I won't get caught in these traps.

While I don't have the $$ to send out mss. I know that a legit agent won't expect me to pay $$, instead he/she would take $$ owed them from my earnings (a commission, which is A NORMAL BUSINESS practice).

So, for once, I feel good! :D

JustinoIV
01-26-2004, 01:06 PM
Money should flow to the writing for his writings, not the other way around.

Many would be actors, models, etc fall prey to similiar scams. Ie, gives us money/;et us take your pictures and you'll have a fabulous modeling career!

Not! LOL.

Raywe
01-30-2004, 02:48 AM
I am also trying to find a reputable agent. Are there any out there?

I received the same info from ST Literary Agency, aka Sydra Techniques. Very disappointing.

From what I can understand, through investigating, ANY agent that requires an UP FRONT fee of any kind is not reputable.

emeraldcite
01-30-2004, 02:51 AM
that's right, raywe. any upfront fee is a sure sign. always look for a track record, that's the safest bet. a solid track record, not just any track record.

James D Macdonald
01-30-2004, 12:56 PM
ANY agent that requires an UP FRONT fee of any kind is not reputable.

I wouldn't go that far, but I would say that if you find an agent asking for any upfront fee, you aren't in a place a newbie should be messing around.

(Sort of like there are some bars you shouldn't go into wearing a Hawaiian shirt and Bermuda shorts with a camera draped around your neck and all your vacation money in your pocket, even though a guy with scars on his knuckles, tattoos on his arms, and a scuffed leather jacket can go in and have a good time.)

Queen Uhuru
02-14-2004, 08:07 AM
What troubled me about their website was the lack of a physical address for their business. It is not enough for me to have only an email address for an agent. I like to know where they are.

So this is the information available on "stliteraryagency.com" from the whois database:

LRR
699 SW 8th Terrace
Boca Raton, Fl 33486
US

Domain Name: STLITERARYAGENCY.COM

Administrative Contact:
Leslie Williams leslie@lrrenterprises.com
LRR
699 SW 8th Terrace
Boca Raton, Fl 33486
US
Phone: 561-347-8683
Fax: 209-755-3861
Technical Contact:
Leslie Williams leslie@lrrenterprises.com
LRR
699 SW 8th Terrace
Boca Raton, Fl 33486
US
Phone: 561-347-8683
Fax: 209-755-3861

Record updated on 2003-04-26 07:12:17
Record created on 2003-04-26
Record expires on 2004-04-26
Database last updated on 2004-02-13 20:04:00 EST

Domain servers in listed order:

NS1.WEBSITEMACHINE.COM 64.135.116.69
NS2.WEBSITEMACHINE.COM 64.135.116.70

ST Literary Agency seems to be owned by or affiliated with "LR&R Enterprises" and when you do a whois search on that domain name, you get the same name and address.

"LR&REnterprises" seems to be owned by or affiliated with "byteaudio.com" and the trail ends for Byte Audio here:

Domain Name: BYTEAUDIO.COM

Created: 2002-10-24
Expires: 2004-10-24

Nameservers:

THIS-DOMAIN-FOR-SALE.COM
NS.BUYDOMAINS.COM

Registrant:

BYTEAUDIO.COM
4200 Wisconsin Avenue NW #106-190
Washington, DC 20016-2143

Administrative Contact:

BYTEAUDIO.COM
Buy This Domain (http://BYTEAUDIO.COM) RN, WebReg
4200 Wisconsin Avenue NW #106-190
Washington, DC 20016-2143

Voice: +1 202-478-0990
E-mail: brokerage@buydomains.com

Technical Contact:

BYTEAUDIO.COM
Buy This Domain (http://BYTEAUDIO.COM) RN, WebReg
4200 Wisconsin Avenue NW #106-190
Washington, DC 20016-2143

Voice: +1 202-478-0990
E-mail: brokerage@buydomains.com

Billing Contact:

BYTEAUDIO.COM
Buy This Domain (http://BYTEAUDIO.COM) RN, WebReg
4200 Wisconsin Avenue NW #106-190
Washington, DC 20016-2143

Voice: +1 202-478-0990
E-mail: brokerage@buydomains.com

When your domain name has been scooped up by buydomains.com that's not a real good sign.

Gahndrielle
02-15-2004, 12:02 AM
I sent these scammers my story about a week ago and they e-mailed me yesterday saying that "readers around the world are beginning the evaluation process." How the heck do I stop them from stealing it? Help!>:

vstrauss
02-15-2004, 07:39 AM
Gahndrielle,

Don't worry, they won't steal it. Agencies like this aren't interested in your manuscript, only in your money.

New writers worry a lot about theft, but in the book world, theft of unpublished work is so rare as to be functionally nonexistent.

- Victoria

smilerscomedy
02-20-2004, 12:55 AM
Before I was aware of this website I sent these guys my recently produced show for the stage. They wrote back that they were interested in representing me. when I asked if they charged any fees, they sent me this...


We specialize in helping new authors get the credibility they need. I have recently joined the company and we are expanding the number of authors we represent. However, the timeframes are long and the odds are stacked against new writers so we have made a business decision to defray the administrative costs associated with maintaining our relationship. We charge a one time fee of $129 when you are accepted into our company and that covers putting you into our database, our communications, and the marketing materials we build on your behalf. There is a $14 fee for printing, binding and mailing a manuscript.
Those fees are DEDUCTED from our commission upon a sale.
I hope that helps.

Best regards,
Jill Mast
ST Administration


********************
I've since replied and told them I was not interested in being represented by anyone who charges me a fee. To please destroy my script. So if any of you hear of a play called "Southern Exposure" that my show...if it's not written by Thomas Amo...then something is very wrong!!!

sfsassenach
02-20-2004, 01:55 AM
unless they are hopelessly naive, would smell a rat. What agent doesn't list their clients/sales???

legendone
02-21-2004, 08:16 AM
Given the difficulties all new writers face with acceptance and just finding an Agent who will represent them, it is not surprising that these people "pop up".
As it was not really a huge amount, I paid ST their fee and have now paid for the submissions by them to publishers.
So far, they have done what they said they would do. If they manage to sell my book or its screen rights, I will give them a glowing reference everywhere. If they don't perform their function it will be very easy for them to say "Nobody wanted your work." It would be really good to hear from any authors who have had success through S.T.Literary Agency. The only other question remaining is...I have been trying to get an Agent or a Publisher to "take me on" for 18 months now, with no luck. Where do you turn to?

emeraldcite
02-21-2004, 11:47 AM
I have been trying to get an Agent or a Publisher to "take me on" for 18 months now, with no luck.

This is a very short time in the publishing world. If you exhaust all of your options with your present text, write another one, move on. Keep going until you sell something. It may not be your first book, it may not be your fifth. If you keep at it, you will eventually sell something.

I said before that finding an agent is like getting married. Finding a publisher is the same thing. It takes time and effort, and your first few dates may never pan out.

The problem is that the only good agent to have is a good agent. Bad agents are worse than scams. They may be sending out their work, but publishers may not even look at it. Read through the boards, you'll find this everywhere. A bad agent will smear your name, a scam agent never even bothers.

In most cases, if they don't have a solid track record, you should stay away.

SRHowen
02-21-2004, 11:59 AM
everything in publishing takes time---

took 4 months to find my agent
took 9 months to work out rewrites we were both happy with
has now taken 4 months of pitching so far--5 publishers are reading the complete ms--when I asked how long we could expect a sale to take--my agent said--could be a month could be 18 months.

The wheels move slow, that's one reason so many people fall prey to the scams and bad guys out there.

But, one thing is more than true--if this one didn't sell, move on. If this one didn't find an agent, move on.

The book I found representation with is my 6th complete work--or is it the 7th--it may be the 7th.

You move on. It takes time to find your voice and your style. It takes time to learn the craft--to learn what a commercial novel is.

And no I am not saying that your work is no good--but like a marriage, your agent and you must see eye to eye and love the story equally. It takes time and a lot of words to find that story.

Shawn

James D Macdonald
02-21-2004, 12:42 PM
Alas, legendone, if ST manages to sell your manuscript it'll be their first. That means that they don't have any contacts among publishers. That means that they don't have a clue how to negotiate a contract. That means ... don't hold your breath. They're making their money off fees paid by writers (which is easy), rather than by selling books (which is hard).

(There's a common name for people who take money to provide a service that they know they can't perform.)

Here's <a href="http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/004772.html#004772" target="_new">a discussion</a> of agents that you might find useful and enlightening.

Remember: Having a bad agent is worse than having no agent at all.

legendone
02-23-2004, 08:00 AM
>: Does anybody ever look at or vet the sponsors at the top of the page?
One is headed up "Literary Agent" Sydra techniques.com and another says "Literary Agency Openings" ST Literary Agency.com
They probably work on the basis that any publicity is good publicity and they may be laughing all the way to the bank, but is there any restriction or control over who advertises? If they are as unscrupulous as the comments would indicate, then they should be told where to go.:grr

legendone
02-23-2004, 08:53 AM
;) 18 months may be a short time for some Emeraldcite, but it is an interminable period of time for others.
Do you have a good Agent? Have you had anything published?
If you believe you have a good Agent and have been waiting to be published for more than 18 months then something is wrong somewhere. It has to be either your Agent or the material he is working with.
It may well be that STLiterary Agency is a scam and we are certainly not being inundated with their success stories. I would just like to hear from two of their happy writers.>:

emeraldcite
02-23-2004, 09:37 AM
the ads are content specific and done by ezboards. you could donate money to the bank and we could get rid of them forever. otherwise, it's better to ignore them.

emeraldcite
02-23-2004, 09:54 AM
Firstly, no i don't have an agent and I have had nothing published with a major publishing house. Of course, I'm still revising my manuscripts. When I feel I'm ready, I have a nice little list of reputable agents with strong sales that I will begin to submit to. If those don't pan out, then I'll go after my list of small presses. If that doesn't pan out, then I'll put the manuscript in a drawer and get my next one ready.

This is a tough industry that is a slow moving monster. as the above authors mentioned, it takes time and you need a good agent. Even with a good agent, not everything is a guaranteed sale. having a good agent is only a step.

impatience will push you out of the industry quickly, mostly because nothing is quick. it may take you a year to find an agent, another six months to find a publisher and anywhere from one year to two for the publisher to prepare the manuscript. a colleague of mine has a book coming out this year from random house. He gave them the manuscript sometime early last year or the year before.


If you believe you have a good Agent and have been waiting to be published for more than 18 months then something is wrong somewhere. It has to be either your Agent or the material he is working with.

now, this is problematic. keep in mind that this is a business and even though a book might be stellar doesn't mean that someone will buy it right away. the industry buys what's popular and what they think is the next big thing, this is business. if they bought everything that 'good agents' picked up, then agents wouldn't have such a hard job, would they?

ultimately, it's patience and perseverance that pays off in the industry. Eighteen months is a long wait when you're counting the days between letters. keep busy, work on the next thing. let your baby go, and concentrate on the next step.

I'm not trying to make light of your plight here. the wait is tough and it sucks, but sometimes you just have to roll with it and hope for that opportunity. hopefully ST sells your work, but they've have a number of 'clients' under their belt and have little to show for it. How long have they been in business? you think they would have sold something noteworthy.

HapiSofi
02-24-2004, 01:11 AM
Legendone, I'm sorry, but S.T./Sydra isn't going to do a thing for you. Sydra's been a hissing and a byword for years. I recently heard that they'd actually sold a book, and was astonished; then heard it was sold to PublishAmerica, which if true confirms what needs no confirmation. (No real agent would ever sell their client into a house of ill repute.)

I don't expect their president has continued to read this board; otherwise I'd have a few words to say to him. What separates the men from the boys isn't a $129 fee. What does it is writing a saleable vs. an unsaleable book. Real agents can tell the difference. And all those things S.T./Sydra charges for? Real agencies don't bill for those. They're part of their cost of doing business.

Still, given that you're a writer, you probably don't care about any of that as long as you think S.T./Sydra's going to sell your work. They aren't. They won't. They never do. They've been in this business for years, and they never, ever do. Your manuscript will meet the same fate as all the others they've represented.

I'm truly sorry.

LiamJackson
02-24-2004, 11:54 AM
<<<ANY agent that requires an UP FRONT fee of any kind is not reputable.

I wouldn't go that far, but I would say that if you find an agent asking for any upfront fee, you aren't in a place a newbie should be messing around. >>>

Jim, I was very fortunate in not having to go through the whole agent-query process, but my curiosity have gotten the better of me. Regarding your statment above, under what circumstances would a "reputable agent" ask for a fee, "up front"?

L

HapiSofi
02-24-2004, 11:58 AM
I can't think of any circumstances in which a reputable agent would do that. I got in touch with my favorite editor and asked him if he could think of some.

"No," he said flatly.

emeraldcite
02-24-2004, 12:55 PM
under what circumstances

i don't think there are many circumstances, but some posters have mentioned before that some good agents with solid track records asked for upfront fees (such as reading. mostly i think it had to do with hiring a slush reader, but i might be making this up). But then again, these agents probably used the tactic to discourage submissions since they had their hands full with successful clients and referrals.

legendone
02-24-2004, 05:42 PM
:) Thank you very much Emeraldcite and also HapiSofi for the time and effort you have both taken in this matter.
I have spent the last dollar and now must wait the required time for ST Literary Agency to perform. If they don't, I will be the first to admit my gullibility and will go to great lengths to let others know of my stupidity. If they do sell it, it will give me great pleasure to let you all know that too. I must say though, my confidence has been wrecked.
Thank you all again.:heart

emeraldcite
02-24-2004, 11:05 PM
I will be the first to admit my gullibility and will go to great lengths to let others know of my stupidity

legendone: I'd say that you're neither of the above. These kinds of scams work because they are so convincing. The amount does seem small and reasonable. It takes some digging and a lot of research to find out who's reputable and who's not. Take a look at the long melanie mills thread, many of these people were tricked as well. This doesn't make them gullible or stupid, it makes them victims. They did what they thought was right to find out their Agent was a criminal in the US and Canada.

Although, ST Literary Agency isn't performing criminal acts, they are not a suitable agent for anyone. good luck with the manuscript. keep up the hard work. I hope we'll all be surprised with a sale, but you might be better moving on.

vstrauss
02-24-2004, 11:33 PM
>>under what circumstances would a "reputable agent" ask for a fee, "up front"?<<

A small number of reasonably well-established agents (i.e., agents with genuine track records) do ask for a deposit or reserve on contract signing to offset submissions expense. I've collected a little list of them, based on reports I've gotten from writers who've queried them. One difference between this and an amateur or scam agent's request for upfront money is that the established agent won't promise to reimburse it if the book sells.

I also know of at least one agent who recently stopped asking for an upfront deposit, a practice she'd followed for many years, because she was concerned about how it reflected on her reputation.

I've also heard that some established agents bill periodically for incurred expenses. Another method of making clients pay out-of-pocket before their books are sold is to ask them to provide all full manuscript copies that may be needed. This seems to be becoming more and more common.

I don't approve of any of this. While it doesn't really diminish the agent's incentive to do a lucrative deal for the client, I think it does make it easier for agents to dump clients who prove difficult to sell. Lack of agent loyalty is a growing problem for writers. IMO, it's in writers' best interest for agents to front submissions expense, and reimburse themselves from the client's income--which is still how must successful, established agents do it.

All this ambiguity makes track record even more important as a bottom line.

- Victoria

DaveKuzminski
02-24-2004, 11:56 PM
Victoria, have you any suggestions for a rating system for agencies and agents?

vstrauss
02-25-2004, 04:05 AM
>> Victoria, have you any suggestions for a rating system for agencies and agents?<<

I'm not really comfortable with this idea. One might possibly be able to come up with a way of assessing the prestige of the agent's track record, based on things like number of sales, publishers sold to, and average advance--but it'd have to be done in a way that took into account a lot of other factors, like the size of the agent's client list (10 sales a year for an agency with 30 clients is fine, but for an agency with 150 clients it's poor) and the importance of specialties (a top-ranked agent for commercial women's fiction might be a really bad choice for a fantasy author).

Plus, there are so many other things that factor into an agent's performance, like responsiveness, or office efficiency, or even personality, that are really hard to assess, not only because you don't have access to all this info but because people's preferences vary. Some people want an agent who will call them every week. Some people don't. Some people want an agent who will actively guide their career. Some people want to be left alone. So much of what goes into making an agent choice is subjective.

Another problem (assuming that any complaints received about the agent would figure into the rating) is the serendipitous nature of complaint-collecting. We have to depend on the complainants to come to us. We can't be sure they will, even where there's a substantial problem. Or if they do, how widespread is the problem? Two serious complaints may indicate a problem agency, or they may be a fluke. It's hard to see how a rating system could really be reliable under these circumstances.

I think it makes more sense simply to provide the information we have, and let writers make their own decisions.

- Victoria

emeraldcite
02-25-2004, 05:08 AM
instead of a rating system, how about a check list?

for ex,

Large Track list (100+ sales)
Mid-Size Track list (25+ sales)
Small Track list
etc.

number of clients to sales ratio for a given year.

Fees: Upfront, reading, or copying?
etc.

of course, numbers could change. Ease of query, length of time, etc.

JustinoIV
02-25-2004, 07:36 AM
I'm not sure how good that would necessarily do either. An agency that sells 100 scripts a year (hypothetically), may only deal with comedies.

Giving out too much infomation isn't going to help people, and it may end up angering the agents. Just point out people who are shady and crooks, and let the invidividuals writers make up their minds.

WHat if your rating system offends some very powerful agents? Will you be sued for publishing info that affects your business?

Most places that publish lists or agents or producers don't recommend anyone, they leave it up to the individual writers to decide who to contact!

JustinoIV
02-25-2004, 07:41 AM
If you actually write a rating system that recommends an agent, and someone is extremely dissasified with that agent, you may leave yourself open to a lawsuit. On the www.wga.org's website, they are very clear not to actually recommend an agent.

DaveKuzminski
02-26-2004, 12:05 AM
Just came across this while seeking an agent URL. When you reach the page, scroll down to any of the, ahem, agent lists on the left side and select one. No matter which type of agent you choose, the box on the right with the recommended agent for that category will open a window to ST.

DaveKuzminski
02-26-2004, 02:09 AM
Somehow forgot to list the site, so here is the URL: www.literaryagentresource...gents.html (http://www.literaryagentresource.com/Science-Fiction-Literary-Agents.html)

JustinoIV
02-26-2004, 04:28 AM
Don't bother with most online sources of agents. Generally, you need a book, though sites like Done Deal, the WGA, a few other professional sites are good.

Your typical site will give you losts of "agents" in some palce out in the middle of the country, where you'll run disportionately into the Melanie types, or into simple, plain, inept types.

emeraldcite
02-26-2004, 04:34 AM
lol justino...

you're preaching to the choir. dave runs P&E

vstrauss
02-26-2004, 04:55 AM
Good gad. It's not just the links to ST. This site has a truly astounding amount of misinformation.

- Victoria

DaveKuzminski
02-26-2004, 06:45 AM
That's okay. Could be that the icon next to my name doesn't show up in the right size. I probably listed it in the wrong block.

JustinoIV
02-26-2004, 12:25 PM
Here is the misinformation I found.

"Many literary agents take electronic submissions"

You do not submit a screenplay or a manuscript via email!

"Sending scripts to production companies is a waste of time"

THat's why you've called the prodco to see if they are accepting queries, or you've just queried them. If they are accepting submissions and are interested in your project, they'll ask you to mail the screenplay. That's not a waste of time.

"A literary agent needs to be WGA signatory"

I don't see how this is true for novelists. I'm a screenwrtier and while I am shopping around for WGA signatory agents, I would think that novelists would be shopping around for AAR signatory (or however you call them).

"Screenplay producers are constantly on the lookout for fresh and unique scripts that will move a theatre and enthrall an audience."

Yes and no. A lot of movies were originally books, novels, cartoons, or comic books. In these cases a screenwriter is hired to write! Spec scripts are those thought up of by a screenwriter independantly and then put out by the writer and/or his agent on the market.

"In fact, some book agents will not open submissions sent through postal mail."

Sure. These are agents looking to polish your manuscript. Those in house "editing services:

ST Did Me Right
02-28-2004, 02:02 AM
You know . . .

I would really like to know how succesful any of you whinning babies are at actually MAKING A LIVING at writing anything . . .because, unless you are (and by inference of participating in this discussion - using an agent), you aren't qualified to give one wit of an asses opinion about making a living as a writer. That's MAKING a LIVING, not actually writing a book.

First, I personally make a good living as an author, it's all I do and I have more than a handful of books to prove it. Secondly, this vitriolic discourse here and elsewhere on the web regarding ST is irrelevant and I love it. Here is why.

First, I am an ST client and I am very happy with ST.

These negative comments are essentially sour grapes because ST has provided a way to by-pass the traditional staid foo-foo NY literary agency "let your manuscript languish until someone asks for it" crap. I am not famous, but I do make a decent living from my writing.

The fact is, and I am very qualified to state this, the traditional agency representation process disgusts me - as it should you all too. All sorts of agencies showed up at my door when I sold my first 10,000 books . . .didn't need any of them by then . . .

ST provided me with the two things I needed to get out and promote my own work - a web site and letter of representation. That's all I wanted, and needed, because what I am most, that most of you are not, is a businessman. Writing a book is fifty percent of the work, selling it the other 50%. The fact is that most of you so-called writers have no concept of selling your own art . . .you are too good for that kind of "in the trenches" dedication. Oh, I understand, "you have an agent." right . . .what a leech

Mr. Macdonald, you're a teacher, do you teach alternative marketing for writers? Using the Internet and so on? Independant publishing and real-world agency representation expectations? (note: I do not know Mr. Macdonald or of Viable Paradise, no disrespect, this is rhetorical.)

In fact, what's the difference between a writer paying for a class to learn how to market their work and paying a company like ST to actually do much of the same thing? Different purposes, same result.

Cluster functioning is what the traditional publishing industry is all about . . . doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results . . .

The fact is that majority of you wouldn't know how to hustle yourselves out of a wet paper bag . . .ST does. Where people make the mistake with their assumptions about ST is that they kid themselves about how much work ST will do for you and how much work remains for you to do for yourself. My books sell through my (ST) websites, go see how much it cost to build and administer your own web site . . oh, I see, that's not how it is "traditionally" done. Well, while you are languishing in traditionalism, I am selling books.

Most of you are simply parroting the (agency) crap that sustains the "old-ways" of doing things - this is the 21st century and most agencies are like doctors that don't accept acupuncture, or lawyers that won't use email . . .

Your bitching about ST is only a form of defense about an agency system that is broke . . .

I like ST because they are no nonsense and business oriented. I wish I didn't need a letter of representation at all to get a publisher to look at my work, or even a web site . . but some battles are best left unfought . . .because they are uneconomical to fight - remember, I am in business first, author second.

Ironically, there was an article recently in the WSJ that talks one man's difficulties dealing with the traditional publishing world and how he self published himself into a best seller.

ST offers me and their clients a clear limit of expense and none of the vagary of waiting to hear from an agent. While your manuscript is passively languishing on the floor of some agent's office in NYC, mine are active and in constant motion - and are always in a constant state of consideration by somebody. And that somebody, is somebody that can write checks, not somebody like an agent who knows somebody that knows somebody and name-dropping so on . . .

Finally, since I am a put up or shut up kind of person, if any of you wanna be authors wants some serious and genuine (no charge) advice on what it takes to be successful at writing, at least from the perspective of accomplishing what I have, you can call me directly . . .Houston time, 713.937.4125.

So, sfsassenach, Queen U, smiley and others here, tell us what kind of success you have had with agencies and, more importantly, why not be candid about what kind of failures or frustrations you have had.

Paul Anderson

emeraldcite
02-28-2004, 02:20 AM
Hi Paul, just a few questions for you. Actually just one, now that I think of it.


First, I personally make a good living as an author, it's all I do and I have more than a handful of books to prove it.

Would you mind listing a few of these books? Liking to do research, I tend to fact check, and I would like to check the facts, if you will. You mention that selling your art is 50% of writing, then you probably wouldn't mind sharing the titles of your works. You might even sell a few through mentioning them here.

I sincerely wait for your reply.

best,
emeraldcite

DaveKuzminski
02-28-2004, 02:30 AM
I will point out that I find it very interesting that I receive very few sour grapes letters from writers who have dealt with legitimate agents who have actually accomplished sales to royalty-paying publishers for many of their clients. On the other hand, I receive many such letters containing complaints from writers who have dealt with ST, Janet Kay, and others who charge writers upfront in one form or another and you appear to be the only writer who claims success with one of them. Sounds to me like you are apparently the only exception to the statistics or you are a troll.

So, Mr. Paul Anderson, what books of yours have sold that many copies? I'm interested in knowing the titles, ISBNs, publisher's name, and so forth.

aka eraser
02-28-2004, 02:51 AM
I have a hunch we shouldn't be holding our breath for the info.

DaveKuzminski
02-28-2004, 03:33 AM
Gasp!

Now you tell me.

vstrauss
02-28-2004, 04:06 AM
Mr. Anderson has a teeny conflict of interest he's not disclosing...he's an associate of Robert Fletcher, one of the people who runs ST.

Note he never actually says that ST has sold a book for him. Mr. Anderson is a self-published author whose career pre-dates ST's 2001 retooling into a fee-charging agency. Here's his latest book: www.customer3.com/custome...-book.html (http://www.customer3.com/customer-service-book.html)

- Victoria

DaveKuzminski
02-28-2004, 04:37 AM
For shame! I never would have suspected such chichanery out of an author with 10,000 sales in non-fiction.

I also noticed that you described yourself as a leading researcher, writer, futurist, and author. Duh, aren't writer and author redundant in this instance? I'd hate to see what you concocted for the corporate world you're selling to. Do any of them ask what degrees you possess? After all, anyone can self-proclaim themselves to be a leading researcher and lots of gypsies claim to be futurists. Then again, maybe your clients aren't bright enough to distinguish your buzz words and predictions from those that Dogbert uses.

So, that brings us to this. Where's your expertise in fiction? Telling us about ST? If so, it's not good enough. Poor plot, a total lack of descriptive scenes, one-dimensional characterization, pitiful ending. With writing like that, it's no wonder all those other agencies passed you over.

By the way, if you were so successful and didn't need those other agencies, then what on earth did you need ST for? I ask because I'll bet that you haven't sold nearly as many from what they've done for you than what you did on your own.

James D Macdonald
02-28-2004, 04:51 AM
I make a living as a writer.

Writing is what I do, except for the one week a year when I teach writing.

(That's writing, not whatever kind of internet marketing the latest fad might be. If you haven't written a good book all the marketing in the world won't sell it.)

Mr. Anderson, let's see if I have this straight: You've self-published a series of books on How To Be a Telemarketer? Is that right?

And, since Victoria tells me you're a partner of some kind in the ST agency, maybe you can tell me the title/author/publisher of one book (just one!) that ST has sold to a legitimate publisher? Even better if ST sold a book for a first time author.

JustinoIV
02-28-2004, 05:03 AM
Most people by novels at brick and mortar retailers, at Wal Mart, etc. People are more willing to buy the books of authors they know (like Steven King).

You need a reputable agent in order to get sales at major publishing houses.

Aslo, since many movies were orginally books, a good agent can get you a deal there as well. Or perhaps a studio, if our book sold well, would decide to contact you via your agent, or entertainment attorney.

I'm a screenwriter, and I can say that there is no way to submit to a studio, or to celebrity attached production companies without a good agent. There are a few prodcos that accept submissions without an agent, for these the writer is much better querying them himself than relying on a scam agent that has a poor reputation.

SRHowen
02-28-2004, 09:26 AM
The sad state of the world sometimes makes me ill---I see so many writers who dream of being published get hit by scam after scam--

And yes, I have an agent, a good one. I am not self published, and no do not have a book out yet. But several top publishers are looking at a requested MS. Perhaps you need to understand how the book got requested.

My AGENT, not me, sent out query letters and made phone calls, and did the foot work to get these publishers to ask for the book. He made follow up calls, and when he failed with one editor he went on to the next.

He has a good track record and a good client list--Know John DeLancie & Leonard Nimoy (Alien Voices), and Peter David--well small fish me S.R.Howen is listed there with them. Sheesh--you make the agent world sound as bad as PA makes publishers sound.

Sad very Sad that you have to come and say we are all wanna be's and make it sound as if we are just bottom feeders.

I work as an editor.

Shawn

HapiSofi
03-01-2004, 10:20 PM
Paul Anderson, you are a miserable pismire, and a liar, and not nearly as literate as you ought to be if you're going to strut the way you do. "Qualified to give one wit of an asses opinion"? Man, you've got to keep better track of your words.

Victoria's outed you. You're an associate of the crooks who run the S. T. Literary Agency, formerly Sydra Technique, which suggests unpleasant things about you. You're self-published, which suggests unpleasant things about your "agents". Your books have received some of the most flatly deprecatory Amazon reviews I've ever seen, and the Amazon aftermarket prices for them range all the way from forty cents to a buck fifty-seven.

According to your own website, your latest book, The Future of Customer Service, "...is now available for your marketing and promotional use." The site goes on:<blockquote>INCLUDED WITH YOUR ORDER:<blockquote>•Custom imprinted cover with “Courtesy of your company name”.
•Custom Cover printed in company logo color.
•Two (2) page executive introduction for your company.
•Back cover url direct and sponsor note.</blockquote>Custom chapters and papers available.</blockquote>Which is to say, it's one of those corporate giveaways nobody ever reads. You sure are the big cheese, you betcha.

You came here to tell promotional lies on behalf of ST, which as Sydra Technique has a long history as a ripoff operation. I'm not saying they couldn't sell a literary property if someone held a gun to their heads, but I'm thinking it real loud. Sydra's been defrauding would-be authors for years, taking in quite substantial amounts of money but racking up few or no real sales.

I'll give you this much: you're a sleek liar. "What's the difference," you ask,<blockquote>"between a writer paying for a class to learn how to market their work and paying a company like ST to actually do much of the same thing? Different purposes, same result."</blockquote>It could almost sound reasonable. It's nothing of the sort. First, no honest agent works that way. Second, a class in "marketing your work" wouldn't turn anyone into an agent. Third, marketing techniques aren't what an author needs from an agent, nor what an agent employs on an author's behalf. Fourth, someone who pays to take a class has a fighting chance of being able to tell whether the lesson is pure gobbledegook. More to the point, he can tell whether the teacher shows up or not.

Some general remarks:

An author never sees an agent work. On any given day, an agent might be working their tail off, or they might be doing nothing. From the author's point of view, those days would look identical. I've known agents -- the real kind, not the ST kind -- to work long and hard trying to sell a book that, in the end, just didn't sell. What they took back to their client was the same thing a scam agent would tell their clients: "I've sent it out to this, that, and the other publisher. They didn't want it." In both cases, the author's disappointed. So is the real agent, because he's out all that work and he hasn't made a penny off it.

This is, by the way, one of the things that keeps honest agents honest about their assessments of a book's chances: the agent takes the hit along with the author. If you've been rejected by an agency, it's not necessarily because they think you're without talent, or they hated your book. Sometimes it means they don't handle that kind of book. More often, it means they're sufficiently uncertain about the book's commercial prospects that they don't want to risk the investment of time and effort they'd put into trying to sell it.

But a scam agent is under no such constraints, because the author is doing the paying, and the author will pay whether or not the book sells. I never cease to be amazed at vanity publishers and scam agents who profess their big-hearted willingness to "take a chance" on unknown writers. The one thing these guys aren't doing, ever, is taking a chance. Real agents and real publishers take chances all the time.

A lot of work goes into a real agent placing a book with a real publisher, but it doesn't take a lot of work to not-sell one. Aspiring authors tend to see agenting solely in terms of selling their books, because that's the breakthrough they're currently focused on, but a great deal of a real agent's daily work is done on behalf of books and authors that are already under contract. A book that doesn't sell is ever so much less trouble by comparison, aside from the "not getting paid" part; and scam agents have figured out how to get past that little catch.

I've read slush. I've seen roughly two-point-five bazillion submissions from scam agents. Of course, those are the ones who bother to submit the manuscript. They could just as well skip that stage with some of their clients' manuscripts. They know the things aren't going to sell, or would if they read them. Maybe they do read them. You couldn't prove it by the people who open the packages at the other end.

The inexperienced or self-made scam agents put all kinds of goofy stuff into their submissions -- marketing plans, author photos, cover suggestions, sales copy. So do the ones who've had the idea of selling additional "marketing services" to their clients. But most long-term pro scammers' submissions are utterly perfunctory. All that other marketing claptrap means you have to actually do something. With straight submissions, you just mail 'em out and wait for the rejections. It gives the best rate of return for the amount of work involved.

Mind you, auxiliary "marketing services" might be profitable if what they were actually selling people were instructions on how to do this marketing themselves. The outfit still wouldn't be obliged to do any real work for their clients. In fact, what they'd have would be yetanother variant in the "Make Money Fast" class of scams: making money by selling the public bogus or unworkable or unprofitable schemes for making money.

I'm just sayin'.

phoenixstarr512
03-02-2004, 07:57 PM
Ah SCREW!!!>: see nopw I feel even worse, I'm with S.T Literary too. I was hoping I wouldn't find any bad reports about them, I had to go looking didn't I? Anyway Now I feel like crap, Okay so what you're saying is that I lost 129.00 okay I can deal with that I've lost more than that before. thanks so much for the info I now know where to go from here.

James D Macdonald
03-02-2004, 10:16 PM
Sorry about that, Phoenix. Yeah, you lost a hundred twenty-nine bucks. Chalk it up to experience.

What are other possibilities? In regards to what? If it's in regards to your writing, well, two pronged attack: First, start sending out your manuscript to publishers who are likely to buy it. (Don't bother sending it to non-traditional publishers.) Second, start trying to get a real agent. Start <a href="http://www.aar-online.org/" target="_new">here</a>.

If anyone, publisher, agent, anyone, asks you for money, run away. Money flows toward the author.

JustinoIV
03-02-2004, 11:53 PM
Another good source of agents is www.wga.org (the Writers Guild) The Agencies in California tend to rep screenwriters, while the agencies in NY tend to focus more on novelists (though some rep playrights and screenwriters).

So just contact the NY agencies, their the best for publishing.

phoenixstarr512
03-03-2004, 04:08 AM
:rollin sorry to confuse you that scandanavian thing is my siggy it's from the movie signs. Thanks for the info, I only wish I'd seen this site before the 129.00:lol

Shiva the Destroying Angel
03-14-2004, 03:10 PM
(This message was left blank)

HapiSofi
03-14-2004, 09:24 PM
Thank you, Shiva.

If Robert Fletcher's been convicted of securities fraud, moved from that to working with the thoroughly bad guys at Sydra Technique/ST Literary, and has shown a long-term pattern of lying about things like his nonexistent degree in chemical engineering from LSU, I have to think that what we're looking at is a career con man.

That's too bad. Those guys are conscienceless predators. But it does have one upside: If things get too unpleasant or unprofitable for him in the scam agenting racket, he'll move on to some other crime of persuasion -- mulcting seniors of their retirement money, perhaps, or running business blowouts, or devising some new ponzi or pyramid scheme.

So many of these fraudulent agents only know the one scam. Look at the histories of Edit Ink, or Deering/Sovereign/Daniel Craig, or Janet Kay and George Titsworth. Those guys are like something out of Night of the Living Dead. They can be repeatedly exposed and busted, and have their credibility hanging off them in rotting shreds, but they'll still keep pulling themselves together and running the fake agent scam because it's all they know how to do. Some of them haven't had an honest job in decades.

If I were running the universe -- which, unaccountably, it appears that I am not -- I'd strongly encourage judges to not only bust these people, but make any clemency or probation contingent upon their getting some serious training followed by a supervised internship in some useful, productive, and legitimate occupation.

JustinoIV
03-15-2004, 07:16 AM
"If I were running the universe -- which, unaccountably, it appears that I am not -- I'd strongly encourage judges to not only bust these people, but make any clemency or probation contingent upon their getting some serious training followed by a supervised internship in some useful, productive, and legitimate occupation."

The thing is, who would actually hire some of these people? With records like these? Some of these con artists have issues that they should work out in a mental hospital. Others will get themselves in trouble so many times that one judge will throw the book at them. And then they will be locked up until it is time for them to move into a senior citizen home.

Shiva the Destroying Angel
03-16-2004, 03:54 PM
(This message was left blank)

HapiSofi
03-16-2004, 08:15 PM
You go, Shiva.

vstrauss
03-16-2004, 09:23 PM
Um. I'm not any more impressed by the rantings of an anonymous anti-scamster than I am by the rantings of a pseudonymous pro-scamster. It's easy to cast aspersions if you don't attach a name to them (yours). Fess up to who you really are, Shiva, and how you know all this stuff, and I'll be willing to take you seriously.

- Victoria

James D Macdonald
03-16-2004, 09:39 PM
"What a web of lies we weave - when one chooses to deceive."

The correct quote is "Oh what a tangled web we weave/ When first we practice to deceive!"

It's from Marmion by Sir Walter Scott.

Also from Marmion, and curiously apropos:

<blockquote>

Vengeance to God alone belongs;
But when I think on all my wrongs,
My blood is liquid flame!
And ne'er the time shall I forget,
When, in a Scottish hostel set,
Dark looks we did exchange:
What were his thoughts I cannot tell;
But in my bosom mustered Hell
Its plans of dark revenge.

</blockquote>


Shiva, dude, forget spamming writers' boards with your diatribes. You want action? Hire a lawyer. Take your receipts and sue the man. Who knows? Maybe a class-action suit would stir up some stuff. I'm not a lawyer; ask someone who is. Meanwhile, this ranting and raving on messageboards all over the place is a losing proposition -- for you. The first notice Fletcher gets that you're after him should be when the process server shows up at his door.

candnvent
03-16-2004, 11:19 PM
It may be rantings of a very frustrated author/artist, but better to rant here and get it out of his system However, there is truth behind his message. Shiva provides the link to the Cease & Desest Order filed by the State of Washington. Take a look. The Expo he speaks of is announced on the ST site, take a look. They provide the website of the Expo. There you will find the names and contacts who are in charge of the Expo.

So Shiva rant away and get it out. That way when you do seek a lawyer you will be able to present yourself in a calm and professional manner.

By the way, the address ST provided, 669 SW 8th Terrace, Boca Raton is a RESIDENCE I was there on business in the Fall and did a drive by. A woman was watering her lawn.

candnvent
03-16-2004, 11:36 PM
Oops, make that address 699 SW 8th Terrace. And it is still a residence

Shiva the Destroying Angel
03-17-2004, 03:17 AM
Thank you very much James, I stand corrected on my wanton misuse of poetical phrases; my humble apologies to you.
Victoria - I don't need to cast aspersions, I have FACTS, simply follow the posted link, or drop me a line - vishnu@counsellor.com.:D
Further, what person in their right mind would file briefs against anyone for the paltry sum of $300 or so?

Best Regards,

Shiva

JustinoIV
03-17-2004, 03:43 AM
Only a limited number of people will read this and similiar forums.

If you have truly been defrauded by these people, then you need to file your complaints to the authorities. They may even ask you for proof of payment and any contracts. Save all emails and forward to to the appropriate people.

We all know S.T. are crooks. No one here is law enforcement, so spending a lot of time "exposing" doesn't do much to stop him.

James D Macdonald
03-17-2004, 03:47 AM
...exposing ST Literary for what they are - absolute FRAUDS.

We were years ahead of you, dude. You know what, though? I don't have any standing to bring legal action against this guy. You might. Interstate telephone and mail? Federal raps? RICO? Maybe your $300 isn't enough to interest you, but how about getting a class-action suit going, with all the hundreds of others that ST has defrauded? This guy has boasted about making hundreds of thousands a year through ST Literary. How about restitution for all of those authors, punitive measures, fines, jail time for Fletcher? You're the one who has that in your hands. Me, all I can do is expose 'em. You're situated to stop him.

Shiva the Destroying Angel
03-17-2004, 04:52 AM
James - a brilliant idea; you have a point, and the wife agrees with you.
A class action against Fletcher and Sydra is indeed possible, e.g., mail fraud, racketeering, interstate commerce violations, et cetera. I will look into it, not for my paltry loss, but for the grievous losses of others.
Thank you very much for the suggestion, I was so busy entertaining myself with this foolishness it hadn't occurred to me.
Hey - I'm only human.
Wish me luck.

Best Regards to you,

Shiva

HapiSofi
03-17-2004, 05:57 AM
Perhaps this is irresponsible of me, but I can't think that making life miserable for Richard Fletcher and the rest of the Sydra Technique/S.T. Agency people is a bad idea. So many authors subside in quiet despair when they realize they've been scammed, and the rest all seem to decide to take the high road. Why shouldn't one writer play Mad Ahab and go after the scammers' unsecured ports? It forces them to worry about and defend themselves from a much greater variety of possible attacks.

Authors aren't naturally talented at spotting scams, but they're really, really good at thinking up novel responses to what had previously been assumed to be simple transactions. It seems a shame not to encourage them to make use of that.

candnvent
03-17-2004, 06:06 AM
My philosophy is, if you can make a difference only if you are one individual, do it!

"If you build it, they will come"

Good Luck, Shiva

Chris

vstrauss
03-17-2004, 06:22 AM
>>Why shouldn't one writer play Mad Ahab and go after the scammers' unsecured ports?<<

If we're going to jump all over poor ol' anonymous Newsflash for saying crazy things that sound pro-scammish, I don't think it's right to accept at face value an equally off-the-wall anonymous anti-scam poster, just because he/she/it agrees with our opinions (and, it has to be said, our knowledge of this particular very scummy agency). I'm just trying to be consistent.

- Victoria

James D Macdonald
03-17-2004, 06:41 AM
Why shouldn't one writer play Mad Ahab and go after the scammers' unsecured ports?

This is a very bad idea; it would leave the writer open to federal hacking charges of his own, it would make the villain into a damaged party, it would dilute, and possibly derail someone else's lawsuit against that scammer. If one is planning to sue some villain, one needs to make sure one's own hands are clean.

I know that thinking about such things is tempting. Doing it would be ... not very wise. Doing it then boasting about it in public would be ... unwise indeed.

DaveKuzminski
03-17-2004, 08:08 AM
Let's not forget that this type of thinking is typified by what Hollywood and the record industry wanted the power to do recently. They wanted the right to strike out at anyone stealing their products with a computer. We could be looking at a lot of "old West" justice if this kind of thinking becomes accepted. I think it's the wrong way to go because too many people shoot from the hip at the slightest provocation without giving sufficient thought to their actions.

legendone
03-17-2004, 08:23 AM
;) Not if he speaks only the truth and is able to produce evidence of that truth James.;)

HapiSofi
03-17-2004, 09:54 AM
Eh, Jim, you and Victoria are right. Someday I'll learn to realize earlier than I do now that when I find myself saying "This may be irresponsible of me," my suspicions are always well-founded.

Shiva the Destroying Angel
03-18-2004, 05:05 PM
(This message was left blank)

solutionrs
03-18-2004, 10:28 PM
Could anyone offer any info on this?

I recently rec'd this from

Jill Mast
ST Literary Agency

ST Literary Agency has performed a top-level review of your submittal package and we believe that you have potential. However we are very particular about the authors that we choose to work with. As success in this ultra-competitive business requires the "whole package" we would like to know more about you, and about the history of your work, before we take the next step.

Below is our PreContract Author Intake Form (AIF). Would you please take a minute and fill it out?

Thank you again for your time. As always, we congratulate you on your achievements thus far, and we encourage you to continue to follow your dreams.

Best regards,
The New Author Group
ST Literary Agency
:clover

emeraldcite
03-18-2004, 10:40 PM
did you read the topic named ST Literary Agency listed a few topics down from here?

DaveKuzminski
03-18-2004, 11:19 PM
Would you mind forwarding a copy of that email with the attachment to P&E at prededitors@att.net ? Thank you.

Shiva the Destroying Angel
03-19-2004, 04:57 AM
I am very familiar with 'Jill Mast' or Mevorah, take your pick.
What was sent to you is the same form letter Sydra sends to everyone who makes an inquiry regarding their heartless con game.
Run, they have never sold one manuscript or screenplay to anyone; ask them about their sales record.
Further, their 'principal', Robert M. Fletcher, alleged ChE, was convicted of securities fraud in the state of Washington in 2001.
He of course won't admit this, yet, any more than Leslie Williams will admit that she actually makes her living as a realtor in Boca Raton.
Use Google, you will find what I say is true - I'm sorry to break such news to you.
If you need links, ask.

Shiva the Destroying Angel

StphenGee
03-19-2004, 06:01 AM
Shiva, you have destroyed another $129.00 that was headed to that crooks coffers. May he rot in hell with the Enron and WorldCom thieves. My only question is, how is he able to get away with this? All the time I was being so gullible when I recieved emails that my work had "Potential" and after the Authors Intake Form, "You are just the type of person we are looking for." He may as well have emailed me at steve@sucker.com, but thanks to all you wonderful people and your extensive research on this thief you have saved me. I just hope he has not stolen my work, but on the other hand, I don't even think it's been read. Thanks again to you all and especially Kevin B.

StphenGee
03-19-2004, 06:14 AM
Shiva, you destroying angel, you have destroyed the devil for me. I was soooo close to lessening the balance in my check book, so mark up another $129.00 check that the thief won't cash. Thanks so much for you extensive research on this idiot. I almost feel like you are talking about Tony Soprano while you are revealing his history. The one inspiration I get while I'm reading through this thread is...this would make a pretty good book. Anyone?

Again, thanks to all for exposing this low life, especially you Kevin B. May Mother Fletcher rot in hell with the thieves from Enron, WorldCom and all the rest that think they are above the law. I found it almost hillarious that he even attempted to defend himself within this thread. If you are still reading this thread Fletcher, DROP DEAD, the Devil is getting a little impatient.

Shiva the Destroying Angel
03-19-2004, 11:06 AM
(This message was left blank)

JustinoIV
03-19-2004, 11:44 AM
Why don't you just send whatever evidence you have to the FBI, as well as the relevent state authorities?

Actually, if you destroy Fletcher's business, and you don't have proof that he is what you say he is, he could sue you.

Alerting people about a problem or a con is great. Spamming or ranting is not.

Out of 300 million people in this country, I'd say only a small fraction read this website.

Even if you intend to get a class auction lawsuit going, you'll need to have documented your complaints with the government, and ideally have some sort of criminal judgement against Fletcher.

You said you were wasting your time with this foolishness, well, now you're starting to waste up space on the website with nonsense.

absolutewrite
03-19-2004, 02:25 PM
Hi Shiva!

I appreciate your anger and what you're trying to do here, but I have to ask you to stick to the facts and just the facts, please. That is, it's totally fine to say "This is what he did to me, and here is what he's been convicted of, and I can't find a single record of any sales of his... etc." but please leave the vitriol out of it (he's a con man and a clown and a fraud and probably doesn't read anything). Provable facts are fine. The rest of it isn't helping anyone. I'll let you edit your posts...

Thanks!

Shiva the Destroying Angel
03-19-2004, 03:05 PM
(This message was left blank)

emeraldcite
03-19-2004, 03:36 PM
folks like you allowing a con man to continue in operation

sadly, we're just a post board full of normal folk. i've never been burned by them so I can no legal claim to anything. As with most of us here, we can do little. I'm pretty poor and I don't have the funds to invest in lawsuits to protect people from getting conned. It's a sad fact that we just keep track of the cons and let people know when and where they occur. all writers should do mounds of research before they submit, but no one can be held responsible for that.

also, if you so feel moved, gather up your money and go after every con man, even the ones that you haven't tried. i think you'll find that there are too many cons, and if there isn't enough evidence, the law won't go after them. the court system is expensive, and they won't try anyone needlessly.

good luck with your writing career and make sure you research every place you plan to submit to very thoroughly. you'll find a lot of scams out there that nobody is doing anything about.
we all understand that you lost money, but slander and libel make your case weak, and threats can actually make the con the victim. if you want a case, you have to follow the law, as slow and frustrating as it is.

HapiSofi
03-19-2004, 09:10 PM
Shiva hasn't been asking for our approval or disapproval. That is one highly-motivated individual who has identified and adopted a clearly-defined task. We can cheer, or boo, or wring our hands, or offer useful suggestions; but Shiva is still going to be bent on exposing Sydra Technique and Richard Fletcher, and destroying their ability to continue doing business as scammers.

sfsassenach
03-19-2004, 09:38 PM
- folks like you allowing a con man to continue in operation, when you know he is little more than an individual out to steal money from hapless writers.

No, it's naive folks like YOU who let it happen.

Your anger is misplaced, Shiva. We didn't scam you. We've offered advice and support, but this is your crusade.

I wish you luck.

vstrauss
03-20-2004, 12:09 AM
>>folks like you allowing a con man to continue in operation, when you know he is little more than an individual out to steal money from hapless writers.<<

So what are we supposed to do, form a lynch mob and go down to Florida?

I personally find this pretty damn insulting. What, we're condoning fraud because we stick to factual statements and don't sling anonymous invective? Have you even looked through the posts here, and seen the responses to the many questions about ST, not to mention the slap-down that followed a foray onto the board by Robert Fletcher himself? The info I provide inspires at least two people a week to stay away from ST--and that's just the ones I hear back from (I get between 4 and 6 letters a week asking about the agency). That's not exactly doing nothing.

Wanna know how effective invective is? I got a letter the other night from someone who'd been looking for info on ST. He found this board, and read your posts. He was concerned about ST because of info he'd seen elsewhere--but your posts made him wonder if the info was credible. Blanketing the Internet with vitriolic messages DISCREDITS the kind of responsible fact-based information that I and Jim and Hapi and Dave and others provide, because it makes people wonder if all ST detractors are just pissed-off writers with a personal axe to grind.

Yeah, ST screwed you. You have every right to be angry (then again, you should have done some damn research before handing over the dough). It's also your right to post whatever you want wherever you want. But don't insult people with a much better track record than you of helping writers, just because they don't jump on your bandwagon.

- Victoria

candnvent
03-20-2004, 03:15 AM
I've been following this thread and another one from Writers.net Curious to hear your thoughts on the angle of piracy that one author points out

www.writers.net/forum/rea...74/22073Vf (http://www.writers.net/forum/read/11/22074/22073Vf)

Chris

vstrauss
03-20-2004, 03:37 AM
>>Curious to hear your thoughts on the angle of piracy<<

I think you can discount this. Agencies like this aren't interested in authors' manuscripts, only in their money. ST is a fee factory. They probably have hundreds of clients, and turn them over once a year. They don't need to pirate, nor do they want to bother. In all my years of scam-tracking, I know of just one--count 'em, one--documented incidence of piracy by a disreputable literary agency.

- Victoria

emeraldcite
03-20-2004, 03:53 AM
in order to pirate a work, they'd have to sell it, something we know most of the scammers can't do.

JustinoIV
03-20-2004, 05:47 AM
"In all my years of scam-tracking, I know of just one--count 'em, one--documented incidence of piracy by a disreputable literary agency."

Since theft is extremely rare, this is why writers should just focus on submitting and selling work. Should an unscrupolous person use your work without permission after you've sold it, the publisher, producer, or studio will deal with them in a court of law.

Also, an agency that is known as disreputable will be shunned by the industry.

I think what happens more commonly is that people do write manuscripts and screenplays that have similiar concepts. And if one is purchase, sometimes people in the past have wanted to sue.

As Victoria said, it's when your work becomes known that you really have to worry. Look at this link.

www.eonline.com/News/Item...%2C00.html (http://www.eonline.com/News/Items/0%2C1%2C1757%2C00.html)

Mattel had sued Aqua over the sexually suggestive song Barbie Girl. The song is about the plastic dolls Ken and Barbie.

I also remember reading about, a Bollywood film director who read an English novelist's book. He blatantly used the same names for the characters and everything. When she found out, she went to India and sued. His tv series was taken off the air temporarily, while they worked on her demands to be paid and to be credited.

ChunkyC
03-21-2004, 07:31 AM
:whistle Whew!

I just finished reading this thread and boy oh boy am I glad I decided early on that I wanted to submit my work directly to established publishers like Tor and DAW et al. Granted, my reason was that I wanted my stuff to be measured against the best to see how it shaped up, but SHEESH! Do I feel lucky today.

To Uncle Jim, Victoria, Hapi and all the rest of you who spend your valuable time and effort helping the rest of us, a huge THANK YOU! :heart

legendone
03-21-2004, 12:26 PM
:grr Quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
- folks like you allowing a con man to continue in operation, when you know he is little more than an individual out to steal money from hapless writers.

Not only that, both Sidra and ST Literary Agency ADVERTISE AT THE TOP OF THE SUBJECT PAGE.:cry

emeraldcite
03-21-2004, 12:57 PM
Not only that, both Sidra and ST Literary Agency ADVERTISE AT THE TOP OF THE SUBJECT PAGE.

those ads are provided by ezboard. unless we pay more money to ezboard for a better account, google supplies topic-specifi advertising.

legendone
03-21-2004, 07:41 PM
:grin
I know Emeraldcite, but isn't it a pain in the ass to think that this happens? :heart I still love you all.
If I had some money I would pay to remove those adds.:cry

HapiSofi
03-21-2004, 08:19 PM
Lege, what kind of battle-hardened first-worlder are you if you can't ignore a few ads? There've been studies done of this, and our ability to mentally block out ads is simply stellar. A lifetime of practice will do that for you.

James D Macdonald
03-21-2004, 11:57 PM
I'm seeing ads for ST and the Desert Rose agency! How can we be so blessed?

Next rule: If a literary agency advertises their services, you don't want that agency.

DaveKuzminski
03-22-2004, 01:17 AM
Interestingly enough, I saw an ad concerning Brain Tumors when I checked into this topic earlier this morning. I thought that was somewhat appropriate.

James D Macdonald
03-22-2004, 02:06 AM
Way back on page one of this thread, we read this from Robert Fletcher, the president of scam-agency S.T. Literary:

I read last week that 80% of all books published last year were from previously published authors, 10% were from celebrities, and 5% were from journalists. DO THE MATH and you can see what the odds are for as yet unpublished authors.

The math that Fletcher doesn't want you to do is this: Of that "80% ... from previously published authors," how many of those previously published authors had at one time been unpublished?

Answer: 100% of the multiply-published authors had been unpublished before they started. So ... a total of 85% of the books published in the previous year were from formerly unpublished writers. That sounds like darn good odds.

It's closer to 90% if you figure that the journalists had been unpublished before they started. Now that 10% from celebrities ... if you play your cards right you can be the author hired to write those, too.

Don't believe the lying statements of a pay-up-front agency scamster. ST Literary Agency hasn't sold a manuscript to a legitimate publisher. They don't know how. They don't have publishing contacts. They've never seen a real contract, let alone negotiated one.

If you really have $129 that you don't need, use it to buy Girl Scout cookies, then donate the cookies to your local firefighers and ambulance squad. It'll do exactly as much for selling your manuscript as sending $129 to Boca Raton, FL, ever would and it'll make more and better people happy.

legendone
03-22-2004, 07:21 AM
|I
OK Hapi. I won't mention them again. Urts tho.
I've got a feeling I'm being groomed for something big on this thread in the not too distant future. >:

8) Wonder if they paid their account.:rollin

Former Sydra Author
03-23-2004, 01:47 PM
I requested the information that shiva offered on writer's.net. Somebody named Nigel replied, sending me a zipfile. Everything he said about Robert Fletcher is true and I am going to the FBI. He has cost me over a thousand dollars. I recommend that anyone else dealing with St Literary do the same and put them out of business.

legendone
03-23-2004, 07:22 PM
8) We have to be a little cautious here Former Sydra Author. Do you mean you had ST or Sydra as your agent and they managed to rip you off for $1,000.00 before you woke up to them? Why did it take so long? Promises? Promises?
Did you actually get published?
Have you ever heard of anyone getting published through ST or Sydra?
I have a complete documented story which could be of use to you FSA. Send me a message if you think it would help.

scorpioforu
03-24-2004, 09:50 AM
Wow, that was close! I have my check for $129. in an envelope ready to go out in the morning to St. Literary Agency for their 'administration fee'.
I was referred to this site by an online writing buddy and thought I'd come see if there was anything posted here about St. Literary Agency.
I've only sent query letters and chapter submissions out to 7 agencies so far and three of the four Ive heard back from look like they are all scammers! The first, Publish America, then David Mocknick Productions (who wants a $450. contract fee upfront) and now St. Literary Agency...
I did write back to St. Literary Agency and ask them for several of their most recent sales to publishers. They sent me three (but didn't say how recent they were):
Denise Becker 'Shades of Brown'
William Powell 'The Road to Hebron'
Paul Anderson 'The Future of Customer Service'

They also gave me Paul Anderson's email and phone number to call for a reference, how convenient...

I found it interesting that twice on their own site, ST cautions new authors about agencies that charge upfront fees and yet they do it themselves. Funny they don't mention the $129. 'administration fee', of $14.00 due for each manuscript they send out for you on their website!

Add me to 'the one agent wiser' list...
And thanks for not deleting this important info before I found you!

Becki:eek

scorpioforu
03-24-2004, 10:48 AM
I just received the same email two weeks ago from Jill Mast. I filled out the 'Pre-Contract Author Intake Form' and sent it back. A few days ago, I recieved an offer of representation and their contract, with an explanation about their $129. 'administration fee'. $79. for the pitch page and $50. for setting me up in their database.
A sample of their Online Pitch Page is at: www.demo.STLiteraryAgency.com (http://www.demo.STLiteraryAgency.com)

Also, they charge $14. for each mansucript they send out for you. They also state that I have only 14 days to sign the contract and submit payment.
It says to submit payment and make payable to Rapid Publishing, Inc. Payments to Rapid Publishing can be made to Paypal using Lwilliams@rapidpublishing.com

Signed contract is to go to:
ST Literary Agency Inc.
Attn: Contracts
P.O. Box 272503
Boca Raton, FL 33427

Dave, I'd be happy to send you all correspondence that I've had with them, if you're interested. I'm so glad I found this site this evening and read all the posts about ST Literary Agency before I sent them my check!

Becki

Dragon Chow
03-24-2004, 11:15 AM
Hi, Becki!! Glad to see you here :)

DC

James D Macdonald
03-24-2004, 07:21 PM
This isn't the first time we've saved some one from <a href="http://p197.ezboard.com/fabsolutewritefrm3.showMessage?topicID=342.topic" target="_new">a costly mistake</a>.

DaveKuzminski
03-24-2004, 07:41 PM
My email address is prededitors@att.net

candnvent
03-26-2004, 10:46 PM
Here is something interesting that I found on the Writers.net message board regarding ST Literary.

Author: vlyric (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: 03-25-04 23:04

If only I had checked this site a couple weeks earlier and I wouldn't have gotten my hopes up, nor would I have sent my manuscript to these crooks!
On one of their sites they advertised that Genesis Publishing Inc. was interested in one of their writers and it just so happened Genesis was reviewing my work at present so that was an excuse for me to call Genesis up and inquire of my 'ms' status.
"By the way" I asked the rep. "Have you heard of ST Literary Agency?"
She asked, "Who?"
After explaining my situation to her and informing her of their claim to have business relations with Genesis. She stated and I quote, "I'm sorry I have no knowledge of ST Literary". God bless'em! That's all I can say without cussing! God bless'em!!!!!!!!!!

lillicrow
03-30-2004, 12:27 AM
Oh, I feel like a dip now. I didn't actually send these people any money, but I feel ashamed that I believed their rubbish. Sigh. Guess it's back to the agent board...

What exactly are people reporting to the FBI? And if you haven't sent these people any money is there still a way you can complain and hopefully get these guys out of business?

1ha11ca
03-30-2004, 07:56 AM
I made the mistake of sending my manuscript to STL before researching google. However, I think I've rectofied the situation in a follow-up email:


Earlier today, I submitted a digital copy of my manuscript, "_____________".

Only after I forwarded the work to you did I begin to use Goggle to acquire more information about your firm. Due to reading information on the following site: pub43.ezboard.com/fabsolu...61&stop=80 (http://pub43.ezboard.com/fabsolutewritefrm11.showMessageRange?topicID=210.t opic&start=61&stop=80) I am beginning to have serious reservations I will now provide you the opportunity to address in the next paragraph.

Please forward a complete list of authors who you have DIRECTLY represented and are responsible for the successful publication of their works and the names of these publications. If you cannot forward this information, PLEASE DO NOT READ OR IN ANY WAY UTILIZE THE submission I sent to you this afternoon. In the event that I do not receive the requested statistics, I expect that the "submission" email and its attached pdf digital rendering of my work will be destroyed on your end. I do take the protections offered by the federal government seriously. I did began my efforts by copyrighting the manuscript.

Your firm should be very concerned about information which appears on the Internet about your ownership and tactics. I am.



If I receive a response, I'll be glad to share the information. I'm not a betting woman - but, what do you think of my odds?
According to what I've read so far, I'll have a better chance winning the California Lottery.

1ha11ca
03-30-2004, 08:10 AM
I made the mistake of forwarding a copy of the work to ST Lit before doing the google research. When I did read the bountiful info here, I found it to be VERY timely! So, I composed an email to them - just to be fair.
_________________________________________________

Earlier today, I submitted a digital copy of my manuscript, "________________".

Only after I forwarded the work to you did I begin to use Goggle to acquire more information about your firm. Due to reading information on the following site: pub43.ezboard.com/fabsolu...61&stop=80 (http://pub43.ezboard.com/fabsolutewritefrm11.showMessageRange?topicID=210.t opic&start=61&stop=80) I am beginning to have serious reservations I will now provide you the opportunity to address in the next paragraph.

Please forward a complete list of authors who you have DIRECTLY represented and are responsible for the successful publication of their works and the names of these publications. If you cannot forward this information, PLEASE DO NOT READ OR IN ANY WAY UTILIZE THE submission I sent to you this afternoon. In the event that I do not receive the requested statistics, I expect that the "submission" email and its attached pdf digital rendering of my work will be destroyed on your end. I do take the protections offered by the federal government seriously. I did began my efforts by copyrighting the manuscript.

Your firm should be very concerned about information which appears on the Internet about your ownership and tactics. I am.

_______________________________________________
Should I receive a response - get the list -- I'll be glad to share it, immediately! What do you think about my odds in this case?

I feel more confident about winning the CA Lottery with my usual $1 bet.

DaveKuzminski
03-30-2004, 09:15 AM
To 1ha11ca, please note that your manuscript is already copyrighted in the US. You don't need to actually register the copyright unless you intend to go to court.

1ha11ca
03-30-2004, 09:44 AM
Thanks Dave. Yes, I did my homework before slapping down the copyright fee. I'm still learning, but my business background always forces me to dot all the i's and cross all the t's.

I don't think I've written the next great American novel by any means, but good or bad, it is MY work.

If the company is as unethical as the comments in this section indicate.... I'm a few dollars poorer, but you gotta admit that evidence with a seal from the Library of Congress is pretty hard to dispute.

absolutewrite
03-31-2004, 02:05 AM
Just as an addendum here-- yes, I'm annoyed. Shiva (and of course, I do know who you are), I would think you know me well enough to realize that I did not suggest that you edit your posts because I want to keep baddies in business. Quite the opposite. I work damn hard behind the scenes at helping writers stay away from scammers and deadbeats. This whole board puts me at a tremendous risk, and you also know how many people have come after me personally because of things other people have posted on my board. I suck it up and deal with it because I think this is IMPORTANT. But I won't have you or anyone else put me or this site in danger because you can't stick to the facts.

James D Macdonald
03-31-2004, 04:40 AM
Hey, Jenna, long's you're here, could you whisper in my ear the ISP that "Newsflash" (in the "Agents Charging Fees" thread) used, particularly if it's the same as the one Robert Fletcher used in this thread?

absolutewrite
03-31-2004, 05:19 AM
Hi James! Nope, they're not even close. Newsflash's IPs have remained in the same range since the beginning, totally different from the one Fletcher used.

James D Macdonald
03-31-2004, 06:36 AM
Hmmm.... Is Newsie in the New York area?

absolutewrite
03-31-2004, 12:57 PM
Nope.

Shiva the Destroying Angel
04-01-2004, 03:51 PM
Sorry Jenna - I wrongly assumed you canned my latest post.
You may be interested to know Robert Fletcher of Boca Raton and his friend Paul Anderson of Houston, Texas are on the run!
I have indeed reported ST Literary to the FBI; so have several others.
If anyone wants my latest 2.7 megabyte zipfile regarding Robert Fletcher, ST Literary, Byteaudio.com, and Sydra-Techniques, feel free to contact vishnu@counsellor.com
I'm BACK!
I intend to DESTROY Robert Fletcher, ChE, once and for all, using the FBI, lawsuits of every variety, and anything else at my disposal.

My sincere apologies to you Jenna,

Shiva the Destroying Angel

1ha11ca
04-01-2004, 11:23 PM
Earlier, I promised to share any response to my request for a list of authors, etc. from ST Lit. Below is an excerpt from an email they forwarded to me:

____________________________________
3 Recent sales...

Denise Becker Shades of Brown Genesis Press
William Powell The Road to Hebron The Lighthouse Press
Paul Anderson The future of CustomerService Dole Printing & Press

As a reference contact one of our authors, Paul Anderson, 713-937-4125, PaulAnderson@houston.rr.com. Paul is quite busy so be persistent
____________________________________

The email was signed by: Jill Mast, Administration (VP).

sfsassenach
04-02-2004, 12:30 AM
Can't find anything for Dole.

Genesis accepts unagented material.

Lighthouse: "Current status: Submissions suspended."

Not exactly impressive agenting work on the part of ST.

James D Macdonald
04-02-2004, 08:17 AM
Paul Anderson The future of CustomerService Dole Printing & Press

They meant "Doyle Publishing."

Paul Anderson, of course, is a partner in ST Literary, and Doyle Publishing (http://www.doylepublishing.com/book.html) is a pay-to-publish company. Not all that impressive....

robertfletcher
04-07-2004, 11:21 PM
:teeth

From: Robert Fletcher, President, ST Literary Agency

Yes, here we go again. Truthfully, i'm torn by even responding to these but there is so much untruth that is hurting innocent people that I have to step in.

So here goes. For those of you just joining in my name is Robert Fletcher and I am the President of ST Literary Agency, Inc. We've been incorporated since early 2003. I took over the company from a prior owner (SYDRA) and changed the way it did business. He had been in business since '97.



=================
Here's a challenge... Just for grins, my name, my phone number and my background are spread out on the web more than enough.

I certainly challenge any detractors to come out from under their cloaks of emails and post their names and phone numbers and addresses.

Let's quickly see who has the cojone's to play this soon to be rough little game. Our materials are covered by trade secret laws and I absolutely guarantee the lawsuits are going to fly.. let's see who cares to play.

Prior to this I have been the CEO of a number of companies, and yes, in America, we have a game called 'tag the CEO' with lawsuits. I've been in lawsuits, i've appealed lawsuits and I've won lawsuits. I have lawyers, I use them a lot, and if you can't stand the heat, don't step up to the fire. That's what it takes to be a CEO in America today.

You hire me to be your Agent. You hire me to understand the legal aspects of any business decision. If I am your Agent you want me to be able to kick serious legal butt in your behalf. If I hired an Agent, i'd like for him to have been around and been kicked around a little bit. I'd want an experienced pit bull who has both won and lost.. sort of the Kennedy quote about "the credit belonging to the man in the ring, with sweat and blood... "

Also, just a little advice in the proper business use of lawsuits. Lawsuits aren't about the law, they are about money... how much you have, and how much your opponent has.

So, all the innuendo about FBI, lawsuits, etc. are just that, innuendo. I've already submitted support documentation to a number of legal agencies and gotten clean bills of health. I keep exquisite documentation and can 100% of the time show the supporting documentation for services paid for, services delivered.



After that warmup, some of you may be wondering what all this brouhaha is about. It's laughable really.

Because we have decide to help new and unpublished authors, we have the audacity to cover our admin costs ($129) and you wouldn't believe the ire we have raised in the industry.

Well, an Agent had better have thicker skin than his writers because we take a lot more rejection than a single writer ever will.


============ And now, for the fun stuff, some positive stuff, we're really not the green meanies that everyone supposes, we're real people, with kids, and we go to work every day.. of course according to some, we slither to and from, but hey, opinions are like ass..oops.. =======


If you have half a mind to listen to both sides of the story, then this should give you pause. (of course, if you disagree, hey, this is the web, just be careful to keep it within the realm of professionalism. I don't mind disagreement, I do mind attacks and lies and I am already spending legal dollars to clean this up. If you are in the latter category, did you even read the Terms of Usage at this site. They aren't going to share your liability.)


====================
First i'm going to give you some references from good clients.

Then, i'm going to show you the deal memo on the most recent deal that we are concluding. Most authors have never seen a live offer.. This is what a decent one for a new author looks like. THIS DEAL MEMO IS SPECIFICALLY TO DEAL WITH THE 'WHAT HAVE YOU SOLD - NOTHING' DETRACTORS. The sales cycles are long and our pipeline has just filled enough to start squeezing out regular sales.


This group of references has agreed that they can be contacted. However, I am wary of just sending someone over that may prove to ruin my relationship. I'm sure you understand. I've lost a good client before to an overaggressive reference seeker so I'm going to play intermediary. If you don't like it, we understand, but we're not changing our policy. I'd rather not have a new client than ruin an existing one. ok?

If you wish to contact Mr. Anderson, please do so directly. Any of the others, send me the email that you wish to have answered. I will forward it to them.



Michael Sears
==============
I'm a client of ST Literary Agency and have been for a while. They have been extremely honest and fair in their dealings. After researching what to expect from a Literary Agency agency from the Idiot's Guide To Getting Published and the 2003 Literary Agents Guide, I've found that ST not only complied and met industry standards on how to act towards me as a client, but often exceeded them. For just one example of them going the extra mile, the first thing they promised and delivered on was a professional website for my work (the Online Pitch Page). For another, they have always kept me well informed, without infringing on the publishers rights in any way. The process of finding an agent is long and confusing, the process of putting your creative work out there is going to be no less stressful.
Since I've joined ST Literary Agency, we have been putting my work in front of buyers. We don't have a sale yet, but we've had some good reviews, and we have almost cleared the very last hurdle on multiple occasions. ST has kept me informed along the way and they have always responded to my questions very quickly, usually within a day or two. This is a huge help considering the huge emotional investment you make in putting your work up as a writer to be reviewed by the publishing market.

This is a stressful process, with a long waiting period, as you attempt to find the right buyer for your work. I couldn't think of a better team to be with during this process, and when I do sell, after reading what I have about the industry's standards, I have no intention of going anywhere else, ever...

In short, they've done what they said they would do and if they are considering you, then I would definitely suggest that you let them prove themselves to you. You have enough stress in the marathon of creating a novel, let ST help you with the longer race to sell it. I hope that this helps.

-Michael Sears



Rev. Amy Snow, MA
================

To Whom It May Concern:

Yes, I am a client of ST Literary Agency and have been for some time now. They have been honest and fair in their dealings. The first thing they promised and delivered on was a professional website for my work (the Online Pitch Page). Since that time we have been putting my work in front of buyers. We don't have a sale yet, but we've had some good nibbles. ST has kept me informed along the way and they have always responded to my questions very quickly, usually within a day or two. In short, they've done what they said they would do and if they are considering you, then I would definitely suggest that you let them prove themselves to you. I hope that helps.

Sincerely,
Rev. Amy L. Snow, M.A.
author of The Endless Tour: Vietnam, PTSD, and the Spiritual Void


====================
Yes!! Without a doubt I would be honored to be a reference. Basically everything that you stated in the verbal dialogue is the truth and I really do appreciate the STL Family. Sincerely, Carl Bell - STL Author


=====================
I would be happy to give a reference. ST Literary has always been upfront and proactive whenever I
communicate with them. I always receive a timely response whenever I ask a
question or for ST Literary to do a follow-up with a production company.

In the business of writing...I have learned the following. As a new writer
(even though I have been pursuing the craft of screenwriting for six years)
you must actively market your work on your own. There is no magic pill or
quick elevator to the top. To reach a level that is expected in Hollywood, a
screenwriter must constantly write and learn from each creative task via a
screenplay.

An agent is only as good as one's work...I have found your responses to
producers and production companies on my behalf to be professional and
courteous.

I am currently writing screenplay number eight (the industry average for a
first time sale is nine)...I feel that I am getting close to my goal. I look
forward to the day when I make that first sale and I know I will be good
hands with ST Literary as they will be there to look after my business
interests.

I would say to new writers that sign with ST Literary...don't expect things
to happen quickly...if they do that's great...becoming a great writer is
like becoming a great doctor...it takes study and training over a number of
years. An agency (any agency) is only as good as the writers they
represent...naturally they're those writers who don't write with an
intensity that separates them from the masses and the elite number of
professionals...I strive to tell the best story I possibly can that will be
entertaining and also be marketable. In other words..."don't quit your day
job...the one that pays the bills"...but work on improving one's skill
level...and to be honest...it takes time.

Best Regards,
Gary Dover



======================
Publisher - Lighthouse Press
Ron Richard, President
Lighthouse Press, Inc.
www.TheLighthousePress.com
lighthousepress@bellsouth.net

We are in the process of formalizing a relationship with ST Literary Agency but have not worked out all the details as of this writing. As to our publishing company, we are a four year old company with forty three titles currently in print. All of our titles are available through Ingram and Baker & Taylor, our wholesalers to the book trade. We are members of Publishers Marketing Association.
Please visit our web site linked below for more information about us.
Thanks for writing and perhaps we may communicate again in the near future.
Ron Richard, Publisher
Lighthouse Press, Inc.
www.TheLighthousePress.com
(ps. we don't accept unsolicited or unagented materials.)



Paul Anderson,
Author of The Future of Customer Service and 5 other books, 30,000+ Sold
================================================== ====
Paul has agreed to be a main reference. You may email him at paulanderson@houston.rr.com or call him at 561.703.2550.

Here's his ISBN numbers for all the sleuths out there.
"What is success? First and last, it is personal happiness." p. 128



A Call From the 21st Century, F Ed., ISBN 0-9653359-0-9

The Executive’s Guide to Customer Relationship Management ISBN 0-9653359-5-X

The Executive’s Guide to Customer Relationship Management, SBC Special Edition, ISBN 0-9653359-5-X

The Demand Generation, Return on Relationships, F Ed., ISBN 0-9653359-6-8

The Demand Generation, Customer Managed Relationships, Siemens Ed., ISBN 0-9653359-6-8

The Demand Generation, Return on Loyalty, Avaya Ed., ISBN 0-9653359-6-8

The Digital Call Center, Gateway to Customer Intimacy, ISBN 0-9653359-1-7

Telecommunications, (ed. Bayche), ISBN 0-9704287-4-X

The Future of Customer Service, pub. date May 2004 ISBN 0-96553-x-x

Shihan Te, The Bunkai of Karate Kata ISBN 1-886969-84-4







========Did that look real, or do the cynical think I made all that up... ====================
Ok, now take note, these are real clients and a real publisher who has done 43 books.
=============================




Now, here is a real live deal memo.. i've blanked the names because .. well, because you guys could blow the deal and I don't want that to happen. The lack of professionalism that I see in these forums is scary.


========== Current Deal Memo =====================

Dear Robert,

It was good talking with you yesterday about D. and the travel/tour book.
I'm excited about the prospect of publishing this wonderful little book in
the U.S., and I think it would be a great fit for our list. I also think
bringing it out this fall makes a lot of sense, since it was published
overseas last year.

I appreciate your suggestion to structure the deal as favorably as possible
for D. Here's what we can offer:

Advance of $5,000 against the following royalties:

10% of net through 5,000 copies sold
12% of net from 5,001 to 10,000 copies sold
15% of net from 10,001 to 20,000 copies sold
17% of net thereafter

Regarding the marketing/publicity plan, we would:

Feature the book at the Book Expo in June by creating a large poster to
display in our booth and bringing a supply of advance copies to give away to
booksellers (we would produce these copies ourselves or buy them from
D.

Mail advance copies to select media three to four months prior to
publication.

Mail approximately 100 copies to targeted media once the book is published.

Attempt to set up interviews with print media and on radio. These
interviews could be conducted by phone.

If D is planning to come to the U.S. sometime this fall, we would
arrange signings at bookstores and try to arrange interviews to coincide
with his stay (probably in New York and the tri-state area).

Let me know if you need any other specific information. I learned today that
the deadline for making additions to our fall '04 catalog is the end of this
week.

Thanks very much for your help.

All the best,

T.



======Conclusion ===============
So, what have we seen? Do you have an open mind, or is it shut?

We've seen exising clients that have paid their $129 and they are satisfied enough to be featured as a reference.

We've got a publisher that will tell you we are certainly doing deals and are real.

And we've got an author with 30,000+ books sold, who absolutely will kick ass for himself and for us.

And on the other hand, we have innuendo, threats, lies, and personal attacks from people who won't put out their name and contact info like we do.


The negative comments on the web are from 1) people we didn't accept, 2) people we fired, 3) people that don't understand the real ins and outs of running a Literary Agency that will even work with brand new, unpublished authors.

We have sales, we defray our costs, we give you personal and timely communications (like this one).

Professionals see through the innuendo and misinformation. Our goal is to have relationships with writers that understand this is a business.

And, as always, I congratulate anyone that has penned thought to paper and created something from nothing. The world is a better place because of writing. I just wish more writers could be heard, but the game is not rigged that way.

Sincerely,
Robert Fletcher
President
ST Literary Agency
www.stliteraryagency.com

p.s. what do I wish would happen.. I hope that the forum manager will be conscious of personal attacks. I hope that readers will understand that it is ok to be different, and I hope that those of you who have been really wondering about us will at reach the neutral point. I think that the personal information being posted about my employees is way off base and I ask the moderator to be alert for that type of post. It doesn't belong.

Cheers and best of luck to all of us, my final wish is for everyone to ...

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." (Plato)

Kate Nepveu
04-08-2004, 12:42 AM
Mr. Fletcher, I don't know you from anyone, and I have no agenda (and yes, this is my real name, if you care). But I can read, and setting aside the belligerent prologue, what your post boils down to is:

4 references from authors who have made a total of zero sales.

1 statement by a small press that they are "in the process of formalizing a relationship." I don't know what that means, and it's not my understanding that agents have "formal relationships" with publishers beyond sending them submissions, but whatever it is, it's not complete yet.

1 author whose publications all appear to be through Doyle Publishing (a few didn't turn up on an ISBN search of Amazon, and excepting the anthology), which is a pay-to-publish company.

and

1 memo talking about a deal not yet completed, with royalties to be calculated against the net rather than the cover price.

If this is your evidence, I suggest that it's not going to be very convincing, and perhaps you should revisit this conversation when your agency has had more time to accumulate a track record.

emeraldcite
04-08-2004, 02:22 AM
after reading the letter I still have only one question:

After being in business for so long, what sales have you made?

I don't care about working relationships, associations with presses, or with published authors. I think the major concern is what have you sold?

A direct statement listing titles and authors is all you need to reply. Maybe I missed them in the letter (and the similarly worded testimonials).

James D Macdonald
04-08-2004, 06:20 AM
Where to start, where to start?

Hi, Robert. Good to see you back. Sell any books lately? To anyone?

<blockquote>
I certainly challenge any detractors to come out from under their cloaks of emails and post their names and phone numbers and addresses.
</blockquote>

That's my real name over there to the left; since your pal Paul Anderson (or someone claiming to be him) emailed me today, I assume that you won't have any trouble finding me. I'm listed in the phone book.

<blockquote>
I absolutely guarantee the lawsuits are going to fly.. let's see who cares to play.
</blockquote>

Come off it, Robert. You aren't going to sue anyone. See, there's this little thing called "discovery," and you don't have the cojones to get near that "fire."

By the way, have you ever sold a book to a publisher? Any book? Any publisher?

<blockquote>
Because we have decide to help new and unpublished authors, we have the audacity to cover our admin costs ($129) and you wouldn't believe the ire we have raised in the industry.
</blockquote>

Can you name a new (and they continue to be unpublished, right?) author you've "helped"? Tell you how real agents cover their costs, Robert: They sell books to publishers. That's how legitimate agents make their money. You haven't raised ire: You've garnered contempt. What you're doing isn't audacious -- hundreds of bottom-feeding scam agents do the same thing every day.

<blockquote>
First i'm going to give you some references from good clients.
</blockquote>

Okay, let's see what you've got. Show me some sales.

<blockquote>
Michael Sears ... We don't have a sale yet...

</blockquote>

Strike one! Let's see how the next one goes.

<blockquote>
Rev. Amy Snow, MA ... We don't have a sale yet...

</blockquote>

Strike two!

<blockquote>Carl Bell - STL Author</blockquote>

Did Carl sell something? No? If he did you'd think he'd mention a sale, wouldn't you? Ball one.

<blockquote>I look
forward to the day when I make that first sale ... Gary Dover</blockquote>

That's a clean miss. Three strikes, yer out. Didn't you have even one author who sold something thanks to you? It looks to me like all four of those guys wasted their $129 (plus whatever else you charge ... it isn't just $129, is it, Robert?).

(Shall we talk, briefly, about that "Online Pitch Page" that these guys do mention? If there were a contest for the most useless thing that an author could have in his quest to sell a book to a traditional publisher, an Online Pitch Page would take second place. Why second place, you might ask? Because it's such a useless thing.)

Let's see what your next point is ... after you've proved out of your own mouth that you haven't managed to sell anything for any new writers.

Lighthouse Press is "in the process of formalizing a relationship with" y'all. Whatever that means. (I have my suspicions ....)

Lighthouse Press has its mailing address in Deerfield Beach, Florida. ST Literary is located in Boca Raton, Florida. Boca Raton is five miles by road from Deerfield Beach. How about that?

Lighthouse appears to be a miniscule local press; they boast of getting books into local bookstores. I imagine that means that if you aren't living in the Boca Raton area, you won't see your book on the shelves anywhere. They also boast that their books are available via Amazon and BN.com. Big whoop-ti-doo. So does PublishAmerica. So does every two-bit vanity PoD. No prize for that.

"While we have published authors with established credentials, generally our authors have built their reputations through The Lighthouse Press," says Lighthouse on their web page. This may not be the coup that you're building it up to be, Robert.

"All of our titles are available through Ingram and Baker & Taylor," Lighthouse says in the letter you quote here, which is the very minimum definition of "available for sale." Color me unimpressed. And yet ... you haven't even managed to sell a book to them. Oh, Robert, I'd weep for you if I weren't laughing so hard.

Now, let's look at Paul Anderson's books. Paul is a partner in your business, isn't he, Robert?

Let's see if I understood what you said here:

<blockquote>We've been incorporated since early 2003. I took over the company from a prior owner (SYDRA) and changed the way it did business.</blockquote>

Here's Paul's list of books, as you've given 'em:

<blockquote>A Call From the 21st Century, F Ed., ISBN 0-9653359-0-9</blockquote>

Doyle Publishing Company; (1997). A pay-to-publish place, before you took over Sydra. Not impressive, and not yours.

<blockquote>The Executive’s Guide to Customer Relationship Management ISBN 0-9653359-5-X</blockquote>

Not listed at Amazon. Not listed at BN.com. Not found at bookfinder. com.

<blockquote>The Executive’s Guide to Customer Relationship Management, SBC Special Edition, ISBN 0-9653359-5-X</blockquote>

Not found, as above. This is a special-order, small run, pay-to-publish deal for a corporate customer, isn't it?

<blockquote>The Demand Generation, Return on Relationships, F Ed., ISBN 0-9653359-6-8</blockquote>

Doyle Publishing, 2001. Pay-to-publish, and two years before you took over Sydra. How were you involved in selling this book? Why was an agent needed at all? All Doyle Publishing asks is that the check clears, right?

<blockquote>The Demand Generation, Customer Managed Relationships, Siemens Ed., ISBN 0-9653359-6-8</blockquote>

Doyle Publishing, 2001. Same as above.

<blockquote>The Demand Generation, Return on Loyalty, Avaya Ed., ISBN 0-9653359-6-8</blockquote>

Same as the last one. Doyle Publishing, 2001.

<blockquote>The Digital Call Center, Gateway to Customer Intimacy, ISBN 0-9653359-1-7</blockquote>

Doyle Publishing, 1999. Again, this was pay-to-publish, and before you took over ST. Why do you want credit for this book?

<blockquote>Telecommunications, (ed. Bayche), ISBN 0-9704287-4-X</blockquote>

HIMSS, 2001. Anderson appears to be one contributor to a compilation published by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. Exactly how an agent would be involved in this is obscure to me, and what role you specifically played, given the 2001 publication date, is likewise obscure.

<blockquote>The Future of Customer Service, pub. date May 2004 ISBN 0-96553-x-x</blockquote>

That isn't an ISBN, and the title isn't listed at Amazon or Barnes&Noble. The first few numbers of that partial ISBN tell me that it's Doyle Publishing again.

<blockquote>Shihan Te, The Bunkai of Karate Kata ISBN 1-886969-84-4</blockquote>

The correct ISBN is 1-886969-88-4. YMAA Publication Center, 2002. Again, before you took over ST if I'm to believe what you posted above. A small press specializing in oriental martial arts. No indication that an agent is required.

<blockquote>Did that look real, or do the cynical think I made all that up...</blockquote>

It didn't look particularly real, Robert. It looks a lot like No Sales. I also note that among those ten titles, two share one ISBN and three share another. That looks ever-so "made up" to me.

<blockquote>
...scary... </blockquote>

You know, that was one of Newsflash's favorite words too.

Now that "deal memo." You're making a deal with a guy who just found out that his own catalog deadline was the end of that same week? No publisher mentioned, no title mentioned, no author mentioned.... tell you what, come back when the book comes out, okay? Until then I'm sure you'll forgive me if I don't believe you. But let's say that's a real deal that you've got lined up. He's offering a percentage of net and you're accepting that? Man, you let that publisher screw you, and screw your author, big time.

<blockquote>We've seen exising clients that have paid their $129 and they are satisfied enough to be featured as a reference.</blockquote>

Paid $129 (or more, right, Robert? How much more?) and don't have a single sale to show among them. Poor naive newbie authors!

<blockquote>We've got a publisher that will tell you we are certainly doing deals and are real.</blockquote>

You mean Lighthouse? That isn't a small press, it's a miniature local press. Is he your golfing buddy? And why hasn't he bought a book from you yet?

Or do you mean that "deal memo," where some guy high-pressured you into taking a bad deal (Royalties based on net? Hoo-hah!) by telling you that you had Act Now to get into the catalog by the end of the week? You're a super-deluxe businessman, Robert? I've seen hamsters who were tougher negotiators.

Here's something for every writer to understand down to the core of his soul: If you can't walk into your local bookstore and find a book from a given press already on the shelf you aren't interested in publishing with that press.

<blockquote>And we've got an author with 30,000+ books sold, who absolutely will kick ass for himself and for us.</blockquote>

Is that 30,000 divided among ten titles? 3,000 copies each? Oh, man. And who's primarily published by a pay-to-play press? A guy who's your partner? And whose sales predate your takeover of Sydra? Come on, Robert, is that the best you can do?

<Blockquote>The negative comments on the web are from 1) people we didn't accept,</blockquote>

I'm not one of those people, Robert. Strike one.

<Blockquote> 2) people we fired, </blockquote>

I'm not one of those people either, Robert. Strike two.

<Blockquote>3) people that don't understand the real ins and outs of running a Literary Agency that will even work with brand new, unpublished authors.</blockquote>

I'm not one of those people either, Robert. You aren't batting too well today. Strike three. Yer out.


Here's the take-home lesson for every writer, young, old, unpublished, pro: ST Literary Agency takes your money and gives you nothing in return. You've heard the proof from Robert's own mouth.

<blockquote>We have sales...</blockquote>

Name one, Robert. I'm still waiting.

All that sending $129 (or more ... How much more, Robert?) to ST Literary gets you is your bank account $129 lower, and Robert's account $129 higher.

Real, traditional, legitimate agents are looking for promising new writers. New writers are getting legitimate agents every day. First-time writers are getting published by major traditional presses every day. All that it takes is writing a good book.

Listen up, people: Money flows toward the writer. The only place a writer signs a check is on the back.

vstrauss
04-08-2004, 06:54 AM
Nothing to add to Jim's comprehensive rebuttal...just raising my hand as someone who a) posts my real name and contact info; b) isn't someone who got rejected by ST; c) isn't someone who got fired by ST; d) isn't someone who's ignorant of the "real ins and outs of running a literary agency".

- Victoria

DaveKuzminski
04-08-2004, 08:34 AM
Mr. Fletcher, why would anyone purchase an agency known for running a scam when it's so easy to start up a new agency without any stains on its reputation or is that just another scam?

Please notice that my real name is likewise posted. You've sent me emails before, so you know that as well.

In the meantime, your agency is remaining "not recommended" at P&E where I regularly receive emails from writers thanking me for posting that information because they saved their money from you. I'm proud of that.

richardmartin555
04-08-2004, 11:36 AM
Who owned SYDRA? How many writers has Fletcher
"represented"?

Robert Neville
04-09-2004, 04:29 AM
James MacDonald you are the man!

You took Mr. Fletcher's asinine post and reduced it to the empty claptrap it is.

Please notice how Fletcher deftly sidestepped the byteaudio business, evasively claiming that "CEOs" are lawsuit targets. Yeah, right. If it weren't for ST and his other pursuits, Fletcher would be the "CEO" of a gas station, maybe.

Notice how angry and threatening he was. With his colorful past exposed to everyone, he couldn't bring a libel case before a court of kangaroos and expect to win a dime.

Notice how he sidestepped the fact of ST Literary having no legitimate sales. Notice how he neglects to mention that Paul Anderson is his business partner.

Notice how he attempts to elicit sympathy for his "employees" being hurt. The only thing that has been hurt has been his personal income.

My heart bleeds for him; Mr. Fletcher, Robert Neville is my name, I live in New York state, and it is a shame we share the same first name.

legendone
04-09-2004, 05:59 AM
:rofl :jump
An excellent post James.
Thank goodness there are people such as yourself and Victoria about who no doubt do much to stem the flow of the $129.00's +++ into the bank account of Mr Fletcher. (Sentence is too long I know, but so should Mr Fletchers' sentence be.)

HapiSofi
04-09-2004, 07:08 PM
First blood goes to Kate Nepveu, but Red Mike gets the ears and the tail.

Dave K.: I can only think of three reasons why someone would claim to have purchased an agency that was already known far and wide as a scam operation. The first and least likely is that he's so completely clueless that he doesn't know how bad an idea it is, in which case he's not going to be much use as an agent. The second, somewhat less unlikely, is that he's a scammer himself, and is knowingly purchasing an established operation. The third, and this is the one I incline to, is that he's been part of the operation all along, and is only claiming to have recently bought into it so that he can disavow the outfit's earlier misdeeds and put up a sign saying UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT.

Mr. Fletcher: If you want to grow up to be a really good scammer --the kind that might, in a dim light, be mistaken for a legitimate agent --you'll drop that rude, bullying, hectoring tone. In this field, the only people who use that kind of language are fake agents, vanity publishers, and the minions thereof. What I know perfectly well, and (I am amused to note) you don't know at all, is that real agents never talk that way.

Now let's talk about ISBNs, and that list of books you presented that were published by your business partner, Paul Anderson.

As Jim Macdonald has pointed out, there are serious irregularities in their ISBNs. Both editions of the Executive’s Guide share the same ISBN. Even more startling, all three titles in the Demand Generation series have the same ISBN. The book on the future of customer service has a severely defective ISBN that’s a truncated version of the Doyle prefix followed by an impossible double check digit.

Real books, the kind that get warehoused by distributors and sold in bookstores, don’t share ISBNs. There are many good reasons for this, but the big one is that in sales and distribution systems, the ISBN is the book. Titles are secondary. If Paul Anderson's sold the 30K copies he claims, he didn't do it through normal distribution channels.

The other thing I’d guess, unless you’ve really screwed up the format on those ISBNs, is that Doyle Publishing is Paul Anderson’s own imprint. Why? Because the first eight digits of those ten-digit ISBNs are taken up by the publisher prefix, and the last digit of an ISBN is always a check digit mathematically generated from the preceding digits. Bowker assigns prefix lengths based on the size of the publishing operation. Doyle must be tiny, because its long prefix means it can only generate ten ISBNs, 0-9653359-0 through 0-9653359-9, and it appears that Paul Anderson’s used them all up on his own titles.

Is that your idea of impressive credentials? Pretty pathetic, guy.

James D Macdonald
04-09-2004, 08:01 PM
Doyle Publishing looks like a commercial short-run printer. I wonder if it's possible that they just buy ISBNs in blocks of ten, when they need 'em?

Kate Nepveu
04-09-2004, 08:01 PM
HapiSofi wrote:
Bowker assigns prefix lengths based on the size of the publishing operation. Doyle must be tiny, because its long prefix means it can only generate ten ISBNs, 0-9653359-0 through 0-9653359-9, and it appears that Paul Anderson’s used them all up on his own titles.Going slightly off-topic for a moment out of curiosity: so what would happen if Doyle, or anyone else, ran out and needed more? Do they go back and have a digit chopped off their prefix? Do they get a different, equally long, prefix?

(And are these new, the tag-lines under one's name on the left, such as "Tells it like it is"?)

[Edit: Uncle Jim and I cross-posted, it looks like, and I think his post answers my question.]

James D Macdonald
04-09-2004, 08:39 PM
The smallest block of ISBNs you can get is ten ($225), the largest is 10,000 ($3,000) (see <a href="http://www.bowker.com/bowkerWeb/" target="_new">Bowker.com</a> for more details). I had thought of buying a block of ten and selling them off one by one on eBay, but Hapi, in private correspondence, tells me it would be Wrong.

As far as Sydra -- I seem to recall that Sydra started out as a small-but-honest agency, no fees, minor track record. Then one day they changed: Started charging fees, accepted everyone who submitted (and included a check), and stopped making legitimate sales. They also automated their call-backs, so that anyone who'd ever contacted the agency got repeat letters and sales pitches. The company that set up that system, Zephyr Associates and Partners (www.zap-inc.com), claimed that Sydra Techniques had boosted their income into the seven figure range ... but who believes boasts from a dot com?

So perhaps no one bought a scam agency. Perhaps a scammer bought an honest agency, to trade on that agency's name and sales.

vstrauss
04-09-2004, 08:56 PM
>>So perhaps no one bought a scam agency. Perhaps a scammer bought an honest agency, to trade on that agency's name and sales.<<

That's my impression, based on the research I've done. Part of the appeal may have been that Sydra already had a WGAE member number. However, the previous owner was aware of the change in business model, because I received a letter from him not too long after WB started warning about Sydra's fee-charging, defending the practice. And Sydra's fee-charging contracts were initially issued under his name.

- Victoria

TruthSeekerSTLit
04-10-2004, 05:05 AM
I'm an ST Literary author interested in seeing whether or not other ST Lit authors are receiving the same exact emails that I am. This is not including the Author Intake Form or the original correspondence, but subsequent emails such as the "ST Lit Submittal List" and the follow ups. Are we all being told exactly the same things?

Please forward your ST Lit emails to:
truthseekerstlit@hotmail.com

Feel free to delete identifying into if you like. I'm only interested in the body of the emails.

Truth Seeker

legendone
04-10-2004, 07:14 AM
:smack
The truth is on the way TruthSeeker.

MacAl Stone
04-10-2004, 07:23 AM
...I dunno...I'm still trying to let go of this idea--I think it's sort of brilliant, in a skewed way.

Perhaps I'm morally challenged, or perhaps just ignorant, but why would it be Wrong?

The guy trying to sell his own kidney a few years ago? I could sort of understand what was Wrong with that--but still, it was HIS kidney, for cryin' out loud.

James D Macdonald
04-10-2004, 09:29 AM
It would be wrong because each ISBN not only uniquely identifies the book, it uniquely identifies the publisher.

MacAl Stone
04-10-2004, 11:58 AM
aHA. Okay, thank you, Unc. I'm not usually so obtuse. For some reason, even after Hapi's post to that effect, I missed the significance.

James D Macdonald
04-10-2004, 09:56 PM
Lookit this! Robert has been holding out on us. He has another author!

Over at <strike>Sydra</strike> ST Literary's home page (http://www.stliteraryagency.com/), in addition to the so-far-unsold writers Gary Dover, Michael Sears, and Rev. Amy Snow that you've brought up, and your self-published partner, Paul Anderson, you list another person: Michele Campanelli (http://www.michelecampanelli.com/custom4.html).

I'm surprised you left Michele off your list above ... she's the most impressive of the lot.

She has four books available from Fictionwise.com (http://www.fictionwise.com/eBooks/MicheleCampanellieBooks.htm) (an ebook publisher).

These seem to be reprints of earlier works. Tell me -- does Fictionwise require an agent to submit? Are these deals that you worked out for Ms. Campanelli?

What has she got on the shelves? <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1589430174/ref=nosim/madhousemanor" target="_new">Keeper of the Shroud</a>, which came out in 2002 from Americana Publishing, Inc., back before you took over ST. How were you involved in selling this book?

She's got Margarita: The Case of the Numbers Kidnapper (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1928781195/ref=nosim/madhousemanor), a December 1999 release from Hollis Books (http://www.bizwiz.com/cgi-bin/bizxsrch.pl?terms=ARKjMnLYfJNJEARMs5nkk7Ml4oARKe6q EbMBwvA). Hollis, regretfully now out of business, was a PoD publisher. How were you involved in selling this book?

And she's got National Best-selling Short Stories (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0595238092/ref=nosim/madhousemanor), which, alas, is from Writer's Club Press, an imprint of iUniverse. iUniverse is a pay-to-publish vanity PoD. How were you involved in selling this book?

Those National Bestselling Short Stories are a collection of her shorts that appeared in Chicken Soup for the ... Soul (http://www.chickensoup.com/StorySubmission/StoryGuidelines.htm), Chocolate for the ... Soul (http://www.chocolateforwomen.com/sendastory.htm) and similar books of inspirational shorts. Both Chocolate and Chicken Soup are flat-fee markets, and the Chicken Soup books pay on publication. An agent isn't involved in those transactions at all, it seems to me.

She also has Football Girl and Jamison, both from Ebook Castle, currently unavailable. Ebook Castle doesn't appear to have published anything that wasn't by Ms. Campanelli. How were you involved in selling these books?

So you see, Robert, I'm still one of those detractors who's claiming that ST has never sold a book, and that you make your money solely from the fees you charge of hapless authors.

vstrauss
04-11-2004, 12:56 AM
>>Hollis, regretfully now out of business, was a PoD publisher.<<

...that charged a fee.

- Victoria

debra
04-11-2004, 03:26 AM
After reading several other threads, I was wondering about the rumors of book piracy by St Literary. I sent them a manuscript nearly a year ago (no, I did not give them any money) but I never told them to destroy the manuscript. "Ms. Jill Mast" was my contact. I have read elsewhere that is not her real name, accoring to another thead her name is Jill Mevorah. A man named Harwood on one of the the writers.net threads says she or another employee makes regular trips to Asia to sell manuscripts to publishers there without the knowledege of the authors. Is there any proof of this, and if so, what can be done to stop them?

vstrauss
04-11-2004, 04:40 AM
This sounds like new writer paranoia to me. Many new writers waste a huge amount of time worrying about piracy and plagiarism. For unpublished work, piracy/plagiarism is rare to nonexistent. This truly is not something that anyone needs to worry about.

An agency like ST has a nice cash-generating business. Each client generates $129 up front, plus an average of $140 every month or two (10 submissions at $14 apiece). With hundreds of clients, this really adds up. There's no need to actually sell any books.

Plus, manuscripts--many of which I'm sure are of dubious quality, given that fee-charging agencies like ST typically sign up everyone who submits, no matter how awful their work is--are not exactly hot items on the black market. It's not like the drug trade. It's not so easy to place manuscripts with foreign publishers, even unscrupulous ones.

- Victoria

HapiSofi
04-11-2004, 08:58 AM
Debra, these are foolish worries. Have you sat down and thought about this? Which Asian market do you imagine would be buying previously unpublished English-language trade fiction or general nonfiction from Sydra?

For starters, if some Asian publisher bought one of Sydra's manuscripts from Jill Mast without your consent to the deal, it was an illegal sale, and it would have no effect whatsoever on your ownership of your book. Furthermore, if Jill Mast were capable of selling manuscripts to publishers, she'd have done it over here, and Sydra/ST wouldn't have racked up its record of zero sales.

(Selling western books into Asian markets is hard, even when they're already a finished product, and they're something obviously desirable like ESL textbooks. What I hear is that the process requires that you form many personal relationships, which is a euphemism. It takes persistence and resources: a task for a national Publishers' Association, or one of the industry's bigfoot conglomerates, not an undermotivated little nest of scammers.)

And why in the world would Asian publishers want a bunch of rejected manuscripts that couldn't get published in their home markets? They don't need them. They have their own writers and their own literature. Really. (Rule of thumb: if they make their own movies, they produce their own literature. You can count on it.) Mind, I'm not saying anything against your work. I'm sure it's wonderful. But if Sydra couldn't sell your manuscript here, they didn't sell it in Asia, either.

If you're talking about the Far East, here's another rule of thumb: Hiring experts who have high-level language skills in a foreign language is very expensive. Selecting raw manuscripts, editing them, and putting them into print is likewise expensive, also troublesome. Buying foreign rights to already-published books is cheap and easy. Depending on local law enforcement patterns, piracy may be even easier.

Let me pause here to say that I can't see where this fear of illegal Asian sales is coming from. This is odd. As far as I can tell, most westerners go their entire lives without realizing that Asian book publishers exist, much less worrying about what they're doing. To be fair, many westerners are unclear about the existence of their own publishing industry. I think they believe that books are deposited in the racks by the Book Fairy.

Being afraid that someone is going to steal your book is one of the standard irrational worries of beginning authors, but they don't usually worry about Asians. Is there any chance that the guys at Sydra claimed at some point that they were marketing their clients' books to Asian publishers? Because if that's what's driving this anxiety, you can relax: they were lying like a rug. Such a claim would qualify as a Spanish Prisoner con: "We have submitted your book to a publisher in a far country..."

Lessee...

Start with the Chinese-speaking world. English-language publishing in business centers like Hong Kong primarily consists of magazines and newspapers. They do some English-language books, but those are primarily textbooks. I hear they're now doing some reprints of public doman English-language literary classics. As I said earlier, if Chinese publishers perceive a market for contemporary English-language fiction, they'll either buy up inexpensive foreign rights on books already in print from conventional publishing houses that have an established track record, or they'll pirate them. (I've heard that their government was trying to crack down on piracy, but so far I haven't heard that it's working.)

Japanese English-language publishing is slicker and more diverse, but it follows the same general pattern, except for the casual piracy. I know the Japanese book industry also buys rights to and translates a relatively small number of titles each year. Good translations take time, and they aren't cheap. Those kind of resources are unlikely to get spent on unknown and unproven books by unknown and unproven authors.

Korea's not all that different, except that when they've pirated books, they've tended to do it in hair-raising quantities, with four-color printing and efficient global distribution systems. But they pirated books that were already an easy sell, not original titles.

Which reminds me of another rule of thumb: If someone steals, publishes, and markets your book, you'll hear about it. They might change the author's name. They might change the names of a few major characters. But rewriting an entire book is far more trouble than buying one on the cheap. If you're really worried, you should periodically google for recognizable plot points and other likely search strings. It'll give you something to do while you're indulging your irrational worries.

Onward, then, to India, which has the third-largest English-language publishing industry in the world. While I'm sure they do buy some foreign rights, and import some titles -- which, like books for the Japanese market, are going to come from established sources -- what they mostly publish are Indian authors. India has a spirited literary scene, and there are a great many Indian authors. (I hear they make movies, too.) I'm sure Indian publishers have their own uniquely indigenous heaps of authentic Indian slush. Why in the world would they want to illegally purchase someone else's slush?

Consider: First, it's alien, written by Anglo-Americans for the Anglo-American market; and in most cases the Anglo-American market will have already rejected it. That doesn't bode well for its success elsewhere. Second, they'd be betting against themselves. If the book flops, they lose money. But the more successful it is, the greater the chance that the rightful author will hear about it, with hard times to follow. Third, why should they bother? They truly have no shortage of writers there.

Neither Southeast Asia nor Indonesia nor Mongolia nor Tibet are likely markets for your book. Shall I go on? Do we draw the line at the Urals or the Caucasus, or just east of the site of the former walls of Vienna? This Asian publisher who buys Sydra slush doesn't exist. As someone once said about Spanish Prisoner cons, the wonderful thing about them is that not only is it unnecessary that the prisoner exist, it's not even necessary that Spain exist.

A man named Harwood said something on one of the writers.net threads. I could register as Harwood and say something else. So could you. So could anyone.

Do you want to know what happened to your manuscript? I can tell you right now. You didn't send them money, so they threw it away. This happened a long time ago. They probably opened the package the manuscript came in, just in case there was a check inside. They may have recorded your name and the title of your work. They did not read your book.

Book publishing doesn't happen in a vacuum. It's a commercial industry, and it's part of the world's communication system. Moreover, it's entirely staffed by people who write stuff at the drop of a hat, and leak information at every pore. If you want to know something, you can go and search it out. If you can't find the specific thing you want to know, you can find out information about everything surrounding it, which is very nearly as good, and sometimes is better.

Logic. Probability. Causality. Available mechanisms. The same things you use to build a convincing narrative can be turned around and used to examine how convincing the narratives are that others try to sell to us.

James D Macdonald
04-11-2004, 05:53 PM
As to where folks might have gotten the idea that Fletcher was planning to sell manuscripts in the Far East, it probably came from Fletcher himself, in this very thread:

"ps. Did I mention that we are AGGRESSIVELY courting buyers and distribution in CHINA? Now that's a virgin market with BILLIONS of buyers! New authors are even better for them for a number of reasons, so maybe we'll find the gold for our clients after all."

For the reasons Hapi outlined just above, if he can't sell in the US, he darned-straight can't sell in China, but it sure makes a pretty picture for the starry-eyed newbies he's trying to snare, and it would be hard for them to check up on him.

That doesn't stop him from saying on his own web page (http://www.stliteraryagency.com/), "We are currently negotiating distribution in China (there's lots of readers there!)"

For the people who aren't familiar with the Spanish Prisoner con game, here's a description. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Prisoner)

<hr>

As long as we're looking at ST's homepage, look at this bit:

<blockquote>
9) Name some of your recent/top clients who were authors.

Paul Anderson, Gary Dover, Michael Sears, Rev. Amy Snow, Michele Campanelli... the list goes on and on.
</blockquote>

That's fascinating. Three of the five top clients have yet to sell a book. I wonder what kind of sales records the bottom clients have? The other two have already been extensively discussed. Their sales seem to be a) to pay-to-publish houses, or b) prior to Fletcher's takeover of Sydra, or c) the kind that don't require an agent at all.

vstrauss
04-11-2004, 09:11 PM
Actually Harris Literary Agency, an agency that can't sell in the US--at least not often, and not to large publishers--managed to sell five of its clients' books to a Chinese publisher, and the books appear actually to have been published (in translation), if the pictures of the covers on the Harris website can be trusted. But this is the ONLY example I have ever encountered of a non-selling fee-charging US agency legitimately (or presumably legitimately--neither I nor anyone I know has been able to find anything out about this Chinese publisher) placing books overseas.

I also know of just ONE incidence of a questionable agency (which had never placed a book with a US publisher) selling a book to a foreign publisher without the author's knowledge. That's ONE, out of the thousands of reports and complaints I've received since 1998. As Hapi said, though, "If someone steals, publishes, and markets your book, you'll hear about it." The author discovered the theft when the publisher contacted her directly to ask a translation question.

- Victoria

maestrowork
04-11-2004, 09:37 PM
I guess in my case I might worry about it a bit, since my book is set in Asia with Asian characters, etc. But I am not going to worry...

debra
04-12-2004, 01:22 AM
Whew! Is that a load off my mind. (Yes, I'm a newbie) My husband told me I shouldn't worry for nearly the same reasons, but I guess I needed to hear it from my fellow authors. Thanks for all of your input.

HapiSofi
04-17-2004, 02:48 AM
Jim Macdonald quoted Robert Fletcher as saying:
"ps. Did I mention that we are AGGRESSIVELY courting buyers and distribution in CHINA? Now that's a virgin market with BILLIONS of buyers! New authors are even better for them for a number of reasons, so maybe we'll find the gold for our clients after all."Here we see all over again that Robert Fletcher doesn't know squat about agenting or publishing. The only buyers agents deal with are editors and publishers, and agents don't make distribution deals. They don't go near that end of the business. Publishers make deals with distributors. This is very basic stuff. A real agent would know it.

Victoria, what do we know about those Chinese editions Harris agented? What did we see?

vstrauss
04-17-2004, 07:50 AM
>>Victoria, what do we know about those Chinese editions Harris agented? What did we see?<<

The covers appear on the Harris website (here's a sample: www.harrisliterary.com/barton.html), (http://www.harrisliterary.com/barton.html),) and the publisher's name and address are also given. I love the little disclaimer--"translated into Chinese for world distribution". Chinese being such a common language and all.

I did some checking around the time the sales were announced, and couldn't find out anything at all about the publisher, even whether or not it existed. I guess it does exist, but I don't know any more than that.

Harris's latest foreign book placement seems to be with a publisher in Ghana.

- Victoria

HapiSofi
04-18-2004, 01:48 AM
Okay. We've seen a cover image. On the one hand, anyone with a good sense of design and a Macintosh running the right software can do that. On the other hand, that's professional-quality work, so it might be real. On the other other hand, it's rather more sophisticated than other Chinese publications I've seen, and the person who put it together is certainly up on current western-hemisphere thriller-cover tropes.

I've done more looking into the Chinese reprint market, and there is now a trickle of foreign rights getting sold into that market. Very little of it is fiction, but there is some. On the other hand, all the other books I've heard about in that context had already been published elsewhere. Also, I can't find that book listed anywhere but on the Harris site. It's not even in Amazon Japan.

There are Chinese readers all over the world. Think how far afield you have to go to find a major city that doesn't have a Chinese restaurant. When the Harris site says "for world distribution", they may mean they sold the World Chinese rights, the way you'd sell World English on a novel here.

Hearing about a sale in Ghana gave me pause. There is a small, struggling publishing industry in Ghana, but almost all the books they publish are educational. Major Ghanaian fiction writers are likelier to be in print via a European or American publishing house than by one in Ghana. The most easily imagined scenario would be selling them nonfiction reprint rights on something -- though if that's the case, I suspect you'd have to use a hand lens to see the advance.

James D Macdonald
04-18-2004, 06:37 AM
The Ghanan sale is a reprint of a non-fiction title originally printed by Llewellyn.

None of Harris's sales (they have eleven different titles listed, counting the Chinese ones) are to what you'd call major publishers, though aside from the Chinese ones (about which I've not been able to find any information) all the publishers are certainly legitimate.

HapiSofi
04-19-2004, 02:38 AM
Got it. They aspire to legitimacy, but they can't do you much good.

vstrauss
04-19-2004, 03:45 AM
>>They aspire to legitimacy<<

Based on the documentation I've gathered, this is not my impression. Harris offers clients an option of paying $250 upfront or providing 25 or 30 copies of the full ms. at their own cost. Guess which option most people seem to choose. Their M.O. doesn't seem to vary: they do a single blitz submission to 20 or 30 publishers, and about six months later, when no publisher interest has resulted, they cut the author free.

>>but they can't do you much good.<<

That I'd definitely agree with.

- Victoria

tbesemer
04-24-2004, 08:31 AM
Anybody with clues on Jill Mast?

HapiSofi
04-24-2004, 09:33 AM
Ask Shiva.

Frank Gonzalez
05-06-2004, 10:46 AM
Hi. I read some of your posts, and the guys at St are crooks. Someone from there sent me a contract last year that asked for 129 bucks and fees for submissions. I might be a novice but that smelled so I deleted it. why should I pay money? Has anyone else been foolish enough to sign with them?

Frank Gonzalez

p.s. - Who's Shiva?

legendone
05-06-2004, 01:45 PM
Frank.
Go back a page or two and you will find Shiva the Destroying Angel.:jump
and yes, there are plenty of suckers out there who have paid good money to those crooks:head
Any relation to Pancho? He was a great tennis player.:thumbs

Stace001
05-12-2004, 03:36 PM
I couldn't agree more. What a laugh!! How can he write like he's done nothing wrong? Last time i checked, Securities Fraud was against the law. Does he really think that anyone who has taken the time to read about him and his 'agency' will really trust him. This guy needs to get a life, preferably in a different area.
Authors, published and unpublished, deserve to be taken seriously, and this guy's a joke.

sfsassenach
05-12-2004, 06:24 PM
Authors, published and unpublished, deserve to be taken seriously

Of course. But we also need to pay attention to things that sound "too good to be true."

ST is no different than the schmoes selling their spams via spam mail. The people who buy hair growing tonic or "Christian Debt Removal" online should be taken seriously as well. But as long as there are scammers, there will be scamees.

sweetmags2mi
05-16-2004, 10:36 AM
Hello, my name is Maggie author and editor: What kind of book are you seeking to publish?

sweetmaggielogic@verizon.net

maggiesbusinesssupport.com (http://maggiesbusinesssupport.com)

:snoopy

PianoTuna
05-16-2004, 06:07 PM
One with less typos than your website.

James D Macdonald
05-17-2004, 03:46 AM
Maggie, what was that message a reply to? It seems entirely off-topic to this thread.

PianoTuna
05-18-2004, 12:31 AM
Comment spam. It's an ad.

Jarocal
05-18-2004, 09:19 AM
Her entire website looks like a gawdy ad to sell everything she can think of. It is way to busy on the eyes and could be laid out a lot better. The typos are easily lost among all the ads and I noticed she has a book of poetry being published by PA. I didn't bother to read who is doing her other ones

James D Macdonald
05-18-2004, 10:33 AM
I didn't bother to read who is doing her other ones

1st Books Library (now AuthorHouse), another vanity PoD.

Jarocal
05-19-2004, 02:53 AM
I still can't get over the fact that people use them when they could self publish for the same amount of money/effort that they spend on the publisher's like Authorhouse. They would sell the same amount of books (actually have a better shot at getting in a real bookstore if they set a return policy) and be able to price their books closer to what an offset press run would cost. There have been a couple POD books I thought may be worth reading but I won't spend 25 bucks on a trade paperback fiction for an unknown author when I can get three traditionally published books for the same amount.

vstrauss
05-19-2004, 07:48 PM
Hello, Writers:

Have you had experience with S.T. Literary Agency? Writer Beware wants to know about it.

If you have been a client of S.T. Literary Agency, please write us about your experience in either email or hardcopy.

Please tell us about:

1. What fees you were charged, and what they were for.

2. What communications you received from S.T. while you were a client.

3. What S.T. Literary Agency told you they were going to do for you as a result of the fees you paid, or what they claimed they had already done as a result of the fees you paid.

Please be prepared to provide documentation for what you tell us.

Also, please provide full contact information...your name, address, phone number. (Writer Beware keeps all correspondence in confidence, unless we receive your permission to divulge this information.)

We realize that this "agency" has caused feelings to run high, so a brief caveat is in order. Writer Beware is not interested in receiving opinions, rants, or hearsay about S.T. Literary Agency. Please stick with facts that can be
documented.

You can reach Writer Beware by email at:

beware@sfwa.org

Our mailing address is:

Victoria Strauss
P.O. Box 1216
Amherst, MA 01004

Writing to us will help Writer Beware to do our job -- help writers avoid questionable agents and publishers.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Best,

-Ann C. Crispin
Chair, SFWA Committee on Writing Scams
Writer Beware
www.writerbeware.com

James D Macdonald
05-19-2004, 09:07 PM
Victoria and Ann request information about ST Literary Agency <a href="http://p197.ezboard.com/fabsolutewritefrm11.showMessage?topicID=366.topic" target="_new">here</a>.

If you are a current or former client of ST, please go check it out.

candnvent
05-20-2004, 01:29 AM
Woo Wee! Lots of hot stuff happening on WritersNet

Mr. Fletcher is over there now threatening to sue WritersNet if they don't stop allowing writers like us to voice our opinions. Recent postings are 5/18 & today. The thread began in Sept 2003

Take a look


www.writers.net/forum/rea...74/22073Vf (http://www.writers.net/forum/read/11/22074/22073Vf)

toto1958
05-20-2004, 01:50 AM
We could tie them up and put a parachute on them and drop them off to the taliban.:jump

I'm not pro writer and Iknow better than to give money for any service.

Besides that , if their claiming to take money for money thats suppose to come, doesn't that make them liable to see that you make money and how much, and if you don't can't you sue them?

Those people make me mad.:teeth

I say: piss on em

Stace001
05-21-2004, 05:13 AM
I needed to vent, and where better to do that than on a website where the people understand exactly what you're going through.

I have been searching for an agent for what seems like years and I finally receive a contract offer and it's from ST Literary. (those of you who are on this site regularly will know exactly who i'm talking about) How depressing is that. I slog my guts out on my first novel, polish it up, give it to every person I've ever met to read, and go on the hunt for an agent, and the only contract i can attract is from the scammer of the decade. I do have partials with other legitimate agencies, but so far i am still waiting to hear from them. Sometimes it all gets too much. That completes my vent for the day. Thanks for listening. (um, I mean reading.)

James D Macdonald
05-21-2004, 06:58 AM
Hi, Stace --

Yeah, it gets frustrating.

ST isn't the first or the only. People who are interested in scam agents might like to read this book:

<a href="http://www.siu.edu/~siupress/titles/s04_titles/fisher_ten.htm" target="_new">Ten Percent of Nothing</a>

No, I'm not getting a kickback.

Look, best of luck with your quest. It will all work out. You'll see. Write another book while you're waiting to hear back from publishers and agents.

See also this thread <a href="http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/004772.html#004772" target="_new">on the getting of agents.</a> The four kinds of agents are listed and identified.

Stace001
05-22-2004, 04:06 AM
Thanks James. I have started my second book, and it's coming along nicely, but sometimes you just need to vent. I have no doubt there are dozens (if not more) scams out there, and I feel for every person who gets caught up in them. I mean, it's not like the victims of these scams are taking a short cut. They still go through the normal motions of finding an agent. These buggars just take advantage of them. I'd like to string them all up and leave them there.

Oh look, I guess I hadn't finished venting after all. :-)

thanks again.
stace

TruthSeekerSTLit
05-25-2004, 11:25 PM
To All concerned:

ST authors are receiving the exact same emails concerning the exact same submissions made in the exact same amounts to the exact same publishers in the exact same time frame. Sound fishy? Do you really think Fletcher is printing, binding, and submitting your work to who he claims he is? Read the emails, compare them to your own, then decide. Contact me: truthseekerstlit@hotmail.com if you wish to compare your notes to ours. In the meantime, check this out:

Let's begin with the so-called submittal list. Any of these publishers sound familiar?

"Number of contacts:&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp 13
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp We submitted your work to these
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp companies.
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Contact&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp City&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp St.
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Simon & Schuster&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp New York&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp NY
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Regan Books / HarperCollins&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp New York&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp NY
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Ballentine Books / Random House&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp New York&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp NY
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Random House / Vintage&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp New York&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp NY
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Kensington Publishing Corp.&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp New York&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp NY
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Viking&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp New York&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp NY
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Delacorte&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp New York&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp NY
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Dutton&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp New York&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp NY
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Doubleday&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp New York&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp NY
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp SOHO PRESS&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp New York&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp NY
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Fawcett&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp New York&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp NY
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp Scribner&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp New York&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp NY
&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp G.P Putnam's Sons&nbsp &nbsp &nbsp &nbsp New York"


ST Lit 1st submission email:

"As promised, we submitted <insert name of work here> to the attached list of
potential buyers after we qualified their interest.

Next begins the follow through process. Sometimes we will hear feedback
immediately. Sometimes we never hear anything (not very often though).
We will contact you in about 2-3 weeks about what we have heard, or not
heard, as the case may be. We typically will let you know when we have
received about half the responses. Of course, if we have any good news,
we will let you know immediately.

Because this is your first time to go through this with us, there are a
few things to understand about our submittal process.

First, we cannot reveal the recipients names although we can tell you
the company. If the person were ever contacted outside our channel for
any reason they would immediately terminate their relationship with us.
(And yes, it has happened). Unfortunately, in many ways this is a very
"closed door" industry, much to the detriment of new authors.

Secondly, many writers wonder why certain companies were chosen? Be
advised that we have relationships inside these companies that know the
"behind the scenes" situation. It may be that a smaller company is
really a feeder for a larger company, or that our contact knows about an
upcoming opportunity, or that our contact recently moved from one
company to another. It's a moving target out there.

Finally, if you gave us some suggestions and they are not on the list,
the reason is that we could not get authorization to send to that
particular contact. It doesn't mean that we won't ever get to them,
just for now, they weren't open to receive.

Also, we tend to target the larger companies on the first batch. We've
learned that we can work just as hard for a lot of money, as for smaller
money. We will look at smaller niches later on for additional batches
if needed.

Best regards always,

Robert Fletcher
Principal

p.s. the extras are on us."

The "extras" are a nice touch, huh? EVERYONE gets the same emails. I have 5 authors on my list so far. We have compared notes and discovered this ruse. More are welcome. EMAIL me your emails. Discretion is assured. Victims of this scam artist please contact me.

Need more proof?

2nd email:

"As promised, it's been about two weeks since we mailed for you and here
is a summary of what has happened for <insert name of work here>.

The good news is that I have one lead who has indicated that on first
glance it looked pretty good. About half have passed, and the rest have
not responded or gotten back to me. (This is normal for this time
frame).

This is actually good news. Even getting a halfway positive response is
good in this crazy business.

I will continue to followup and achieve closure on the missing
responses. Believe me, I am very diligent in the followup process.
Other than our upcoming vacation, this usually takes 2-3 more weeks.

Continued best wishes for our mutual success. Patience is a virtue in
this industry!

Robert Fletcher
Principal

What does 'looks good' mean? That means that the OPP caught their
attention (like it is supposed to do) and they want to actually spend
some time with your work. It does NOT mean that they read it and want
to buy it. Don't quit the day job, please!"

Sound familiar? Exactly how many clients does Fletcher have at $129.00 a pop?? A regular rotation of payments for non-existent hardcopy submissions that probably ranges in the thousands of dollars. ST authors CONTACT ME! We cannot allow this FRAUD to go unpunished.

Need MORE proof?

3rd email:

"Sometimes this is a tough job for Agents... unfortunately all the
recipients of <insert name of work here> from the first batch have passed.

Here are a few sample comments that we received. Unfortunately, most
are this brief. Also, quite a few of the 'pass' comments are given to
us right on the phone during our followup calls.

------------

"Thanks for the read. This one's not for us. Good luck."

Thanks for submitting your manuscript to me. It is a pass for me.

Thank you for submitting your manuscript. Unfortunately, it is not
right for us at this time. Please feel free to contact me in the future
with any new queries you might have. Thanks again,

We have read your material and enjoyed it. Unfortunately, it is not a
piece that we would be able to pursue at this point in time.

Thanks for the read. Although it is an engaging and well conceived,
unfortunately we do not
feel that it fits with our current development needs. Good luck with
this project.

--------------

I really do try to dig in and get feedback. It's an uncomfortable phone
call, and, just like all of us, they don't like to say "no", and believe
me they have to say it all too often.

We continue to believe that your material is saleable, we just need the
right combination of factors to fall into place. We believe in you so
hang in there.

At this time we have to decide if you want to send out another batch.
Because we did get the positive response we are willing to work it with
you . Some authors don't get this offer because their first batch falls
totally flat.

Furthermore, we would like to do another batch because, in our opinion,
one batch is not enough to draw conclusions from, but two are.

I continue to wish you the best and I have the highest hopes for our
mutual success. Let me know about the next batch at your earliest
convenience because it is easier to work it when it is fresh in our
minds.

Onwards, ever onwards,

Sincerely,
Robert Fletcher
Principal"

How about a "Second Round of Submissions" email:

"Good news on <insert name of work here>
>
> One of our contacts has advanced your manuscript to the next level.
> (Unfortunately, the rest have passed or not responded). What this means
> is that they liked it enough that they will show it around to others and
> try to build a consensus inside their company.
>
> You are now competing with about 5-10 other competitors,.... so....there
> is still a long way to go, and the fact that they make their decisions
> by committee is always tough, but at least you've made it to the next
> level."

Or the THIRD round of submissions:

"Good news on <insert name of work here>

Maybe the third time will be the charm ... we think we have two
interested parties at this point from the third batch. Both are solid
leads and they will now be working it through their respective
companies. (As usual the rest have not responded or passed, but so
what, it just takes one)."

Surely this is enough proof for any doubting Thomas. ST authors compare these emails to your own, realize that you've been victimized, and contact me at the above email address. The authorities can ignore one or two disgruntled authors, but can they ignore us ALL?

It's time for Fletcher to answer for these crimes. Let's see if he has postage receipts for all of these so-called submissions, hmm?

TruthSeeker

JustinoIV
05-26-2004, 02:24 AM
Forwards your complaints here to the USPS. If you've mailed anyone money, or if he/she used the Post Office or private carriers to aid in his/her defrauding schemes, that is a federal crimes that follows in the jurisdiction of the USPS.

Click on this link.

www.usps.com/postalinspectors/fraud/ (http://www.usps.com/postalinspectors/fraud/)

Jarocal
05-26-2004, 04:07 AM
Although he is obviously scamming people about intent to sell their manuscript. He probably is smart enough to at least pay the postage and mail the manuscripts. Whether or not he even cares if they sell is another matter. I would recommend having a solicitor attempt to discern whether or not any of the companies have recieved any manuscripts from ST LIT Agency. He may pay the postage and send them out just to have rejection letters in a file for the author in case of someone trying to do just this. The use of a form letter to clients won't be enough to prove fraud of he does have postal or courier expese records.

DaveKuzminski
05-26-2004, 04:56 AM
If that's the case that they're actually sending out submissions, then they'll not only have responses, but receipts for what they spent on postage and copying. Can S.T. show those for every author they've claimed to represent? Personally, I doubt it.

Also, if they're representing so many authors, as it appears to be based upon complaints, then why haven't they managed to make any significant sales to legitimate royalty-paying publishers with actual distribution channels and return policies? That is who they claim to sub to first.

Sorry, but I'm unconvinced by the correspondence they send to authors about publisher responses and such. Claiming to have a special contact whom they have to keep secret is merely a dodge. After all, the only people at the publishing houses that really matter are the acquisition editors and those names are often easy to learn. Is it possible that they're not giving out their contact names because they don't really have any? Is it possible that they don't want anyone to contact the person they allegedly submitted to and discover that the manuscript was never seen because only a query was sent, if anything at all?

Jarocal
05-26-2004, 06:53 AM
As I've already stated I think he is a scam. But I also think he may have taken the time and necessary steps to legally fufill his end of the bargain. What he is doing is not new to the industry, only has grown exponentially since the advent of the internet. It is just as likely to be that he has sent the manuscripts in as not. I am merely saying that it is better for the author who feels they may have been defrauded to take the small amount money and time to investigate the matter a bit before rushing to the USPS or other investigative authority claiming to be defrauded. Multiple authors presenting the same form letter to the USPS or other proper authority is a more plausible reason for them to open an investigation. The first thing they will probably do is ask him to produce receipts for postage on the manuscripts and if he does so they will most likely end the investigation right there.

If they are prematurely involved in an investigation and the scenario above plays out, it will then become more difficult to have another investigation into ST initiated. It would also give Fletcher's lawyers something to point to in his defense. I am not saying not to pursue an investigation into his practices, opnly cautioning to do it in a careful manner.

TruthSeekerSTLit
05-26-2004, 11:51 AM
Fletcher claims to have contacts in each publisher he "submits" to. He claims to have confirmed their interest before "submitting." He claims ongoing communication during the "submission" process. If he were blindly submitting his authors' work, it would still be fraudulent vs his claims. Apparently he used to only do email submissions. He stepped over the line when he began asking for regular printing and shipping fees.

This case is much deeper than any of us know.

Truth Seeker

JustinoIV
05-26-2004, 12:18 PM
Rather than having the defrauded authors higher a solicitor or whatever, they should just file their complaints and let the government (professionals) handle the investigation. And let things go from there.

Those of you making the complaints will need to point out that you believe Fletcher deliberately submits to get rejections.

Did he charge any of you money? Legit agents do not charge money for reading fees. That in and of itself is sufficient reason to complaint to the USPS.

Give the USPS whatever evidence you have, and then stop worrying about it. At that point it will be out of your hands, so it will be time to move on.

James D Macdonald
05-26-2004, 06:02 PM
I don't agree, Justino.

The authors who Fletcher has fooled need to hire their own lawyers, and bring suit against him. Either individually or as a class.

The government has limited resources, and one scummy "agent" in Boca Raton extracting a thousand bucks here, a thousand bucks there, is far down their priority list.

JustinoIV
05-26-2004, 10:28 PM
"The authors who Fletcher has fooled need to hire their own lawyers, and bring suit against him. Either individually or as a class."

Well, that depends on how much money he has scammed from them. I can't imagine that this is a case most lawyers would jump to. Lawyers typically are not interested in suing unless it involves truly massive amounts of money.

$1000 is a case for small claims court.

Lawyers would also want to see whatever contracts signed, evidence that he did not make submissions or act in good faith, etc.



So I think they may ultimately need to move on.

Jarocal
05-26-2004, 11:58 PM
If the case is something that is referred to small claims court then the proffessionals (government) will allocate very little in the way of resources to check the guy out. Look at what the premature investigation into Poetry.com got. It got Poetry.com a decent rating with the better business bureau and a maryland district attorney who will be more reticent to open an investigation into them or anoother company like them. Poetry.com is a scam, they happen to work their scam within the confines of the law and it makes it difficult to bring them accountable for their shady practices. Somewhere along the way Poetry.com did break a law and that is now buried under a pile of invesitigative paperwork that came to the conclusion that they are legit, they may be a businees people should be wary of doing business with, but they are legit.

The premise that agents do not charge fees is an industry thing, not a matter of law. If an agent wanted to charge $10,000 a month to represent you that is their right. They probably wouldn't get much business, but they are legally allowed to do it.

I am not saying people should not file a report or a claim against scammers like Fletcher. I am saying that they need to do it in an intelligent manner. Because the government has a large number of resources at their disposal does not mean they will use them if they feel that resource will be better utilized on something else. By continually getting complaints about the same entity they will eventually investigate like they did with Poetry.com but if the initial investigation shows only a jerk who legally found a way to prey on thousands of peoples dreams then any subsequents reports will get a minor go through the motions thing with even less resources dedicated to it.

JustinoIV
05-27-2004, 12:14 AM
"The premise that agents do not charge fees is an industry thing, not a matter of law. If an agent wanted to charge $10,000 a month to represent you that is their right. They probably wouldn't get much business, but they are legally allowed to do it."

Which is why I suggestes said people simply file their government complaints and move on.

If it appears that Fletcher charged his clients, but did make an effort to make sales (or even made some), the government may not do much, especially if it looks like that gave their clients a warning that sales wouldn't necessarily ensue.

Also, did Fletcher give his clients any services like editing (no matter how fake), etc?

This would further muddle the waters.

Truthfully, I don't think any lawyers are going to be interested. The only way they might possibly become interested is if a government investigation which concludes Fletcher is a con.

And you don't know what the results of said investigation will be. I'd advise people to basically be prepared to move on. Hasn't Fletcher wasted enough of your time as it is?

At present, the best you can and should do is just file a complaint. And then let it rest.

Jarocal
05-27-2004, 12:34 AM
So what your suggesting is that the goverment services should be flooded with a bunch of baseless complaints from disgruntled people. That will really get something done about getting the scam artists to mend their ways.

DaveKuzminski
05-27-2004, 12:56 AM
What it means is that writers have only one real recourse when it costs more to hire a lawyer than can be recovered and they're not considered important enough by the government to merit proper protections. They have to voice their complaints to watchdog sites so that when it's determined that there are truly valid complaints, a warning can be posted to alert all writers. That is the only way to force the scammers out of business. Make it unprofitable for them. Deprive them of future victims. Take hold of them like a bulldog and never let go.

candnvent
05-27-2004, 01:20 AM
Has anyone thought to bring this racket to the attention of 20/20, 60 Minutes or Dateline? I'm sure with the information posted here they might find it interesting. If anything it would be satifying to watch Fletcher run from the cameras

JustinoIV
05-27-2004, 02:31 AM
There's that old saying that a fools as his money are soon departing.

Those predators (con artists) so long as they find a willing supply of prey, will continue to con.

And yes, Dave is right. It would cost more to hire a lawyer than could be recovered ($1000 is nothing) so no lawyer would take this case.

If you can stir up media interest, it might be worth your while in at least getting things out there.

But I think ultimately, newsa covering would just have Fletcher go undercover and use a different name. There's a never ending supply of victims, and con artists usually keeping going until they are arrested. Look at some of the cases on this board.

vstrauss
05-27-2004, 02:46 AM
>> Has anyone thought to bring this racket to the attention of 20/20, 60 Minutes or Dateline?<<

Writer Beware has been contacted four times over the past few years by major TV news shows and newsmagazines purporting to want to do a story on literary scams. None of these contacts has panned out.

Two evaporated fairly quickly when the reporters realized it was a complex issue that would require a lot of research on their parts and couldn't be explained in a simple sound bite. One guy stuck with it for longer; we spent a lot of time sending him information and putting victims in touch with him. But then someone higher up the food chain must have put the kybosh on it, because he never contacted us again and didn't answer our e-mails.

One show got as far as filming a segment (they went to Ann Crispin's home to interview her). The segment was even scheduled. But it got bumped for a feature on the growing popularity of pork rinds (no, I am not making that up).

I don't mean to sound unduly negative. But literary scams are not simple or easy to explain, they don't prey on the general public or a niche group that people have a lot of sympathy for, and they don't involve a great deal of money (compared to, say, scams by the Irish Travelers). This seriously limits their news potential.

- Victoria

DaveKuzminski
05-27-2004, 04:28 AM
If we can get every online publication to include a link to any watchdog site along with a short blurb about reporting scams, we just might deprive the scammers of a few more victims. I don't care if every publication decides to send writers to someone else besides P&E so long as we save some writers from being defrauded in the process.

After all, the scammers can't afford to change their names and web sites ad infinitum. We can react to those quicker than they changed when we learn about those new identities. That's their weakness. They have to have publicity to reach their intended victims. The moment they advertise, they're going to be in the crosshairs of our sights. Sooner or later, they'll get the message. Find another occupation.

So, if you know an editor with an online website, ask them to include a link on their guidelines page to one of the watchdog sites if they don't already have one.

RichMar
05-27-2004, 04:30 AM
I've never contacted an agent, but if I did I'd be guided by the simplest of rules layed down by any writing board on the web. Don't pay for anything until the agent sells something for you. The amount you pay is a percentage agreed upon. Period.

JustinoIV
05-27-2004, 04:44 AM
"After all, the scammers can't afford to change their names and web sites ad infinitum. We can react to those quicker than they changed when we learn about those new identities. That's their weakness. They have to have publicity to reach their intended victims. The moment they advertise, they're going to be in the crosshairs of our sights. Sooner or later, they'll get the message. Find another occupation."

No, they will never get the message. A lot of would be victims are often warned by other people. For a variety of reasons, people may chose to go to con artists. Once they're involved with con artist/scams, if they've invested emotional energy into it, they may chose to stick to a clearly losing/nonviable option. In other words, some people are just plain stupid. And lack of sympathy for people will also turn off lawyers and media.

I know of my screenwriters who claimed to have signed agreements with lawyers giving them 5% of their salary, agents 10%, managers, 15%, and an accountant, 5%. THat's 35% of your income right off the bat. Mind you, this isn't standard practice for a screenwriter. This was done by a desperate sucker who had no sales history, and he was trying to expand his so called team. If he ever achieves a sale he is SCREWED.

You will not get the world of con artists any more than you will read the world of drug dealers, money launderers, or any other type of criminal.

I think most online publications would not be interested in linking to watchdog sites.

Smart people may do one or two off things, but they'll eventually figure out how to get a legit agent and get produced and/or published. There are tons of books in your local bookstore about all kinds of writing.

And then there are websites like this one.

DaveKuzminski
05-27-2004, 05:08 AM
Well, JustinoIV, if you think that's a bad idea, then come up with a better one.

In the meantime, I intend to follow through by encouraging editors to include links to watchdog sites in their guidelines. I can't imagine that they wouldn't want to receive some of the same kinds of wonderful correspondence I get from writers who are thankful that P&E is available and provides needed information. It's certainly better than doing nothing.

Besides which, I already know that public pressure does work. I've already seen some sites change their policies to avoid being lumped in with the scammers.

As for the actual scammers, they don't like being pointed at for what they are. I suppose that makes it harder for them to smile when looking at their victims. It also forces them to explain to those still on the fence about trusting them as to why they were recommended against.

Still, like I said, feel free to come up with a better idea.

JustinoIV
05-27-2004, 07:33 AM
"In the meantime, I intend to follow through by encouraging editors to include links to watchdog sites in their guidelines. I can't imagine that they wouldn't want to receive some of the same kinds of wonderful correspondence I get from writers who are thankful that P&E is available and provides needed information. It's certainly better than doing nothing."

Go head. I'm certainly not stopping you. But there will be plenty of editors that say no.

As for coming up with a better idea, you missed my point.

There is nothing that can be done to eliminate the world from scammers/drug dealers/crooks.

Those who truly cross the line will be arrested (Melanie Mills). As for others who operate in a somewhat legal manner, well, writers are going to have to use common sense.

Also, I think if you come across as a zealot on these issues, you run the risk of editors, law enforcement, and the media not taking you seriously.

Also, if you point out and call someone a scammer, without sufficient evidence, you could be in for a world of legal trouble if you do damage someone's business. Your site could even be taken down as a result (they could pressure your isp or webhost to take you down)

Some people on this thread also sound dangerously close to becoming viglantes.

DaveKuzminski
05-27-2004, 08:17 AM
Thank you for the observant warning, but I've already been through being shut down twice very briefly by an individual who made false claims. Imagine that, you can actually get someone shut down with a false claim and the ISP didn't even investigate to determine if the claim was true. Believe it or not, I actually do operate quite carefully. That doesn't mean I won't argue or insult someone, but I do measure my words and responses quite carefully. I have been wrong on occasion as well, but I've stated so when it was shown that I was.

I'm also aware that scammers and such will always be around. The point I was making is that we don't have to make it easy for them to find victims. They get their victims through advertising. We can counter that with the truth provided we make it widely available in the public. That's the point I'm making. It sounds better to state that we can drive the scammers out of business. In truth, we never will, but we can force them to work in a smaller pool of victims.

All we have to do is state what's acceptable behavior from agencies and publishers. We don't have to label anyone as a scammer. We merely state that we don't recommend them because they don't meet the criteria for fair dealings with writers. In effect, they label themselves by not adopting acceptable policies and behavior.

That is partly why P&E has written criteria for determining who P&E does not recommend. If a business wants to avoid a negative recommendation from P&E, they know what to avoid. In fact, if you peruse the P&E pages quite carefully, you might notice that the only businesses we've labeled as frauds or scammers have been judged guilty of such crimes in a real court room. In fact, that has been P&E's policy ever since it started. The rest are merely not recommended.

legendone
05-27-2004, 10:47 AM
:head I think your idea is good Dave. Those that are able, have to keep doing something to keep some sort of a spotlight on the likes of Fletcher. Pretty cheeky really though....Sydra and ST both have their adds at the top of the page we're on. If you are a new author and unaware of the history, it is Fletcher who is getting the stick while ST and Sydra are both still hooking the gullible. And we're helping his business. Joke really.>:
I provided Truthseeker with a complete dossier on the activities of ST and Mr Fletcher. He's welcome to use it any way he sees fit.
People like Fletcher are a blot on society, but unfortunately they will always be with us.:head

James D Macdonald
05-27-2004, 09:46 PM
Woo wee! Wouldja look at this!

I was checking out a rumor that ST was changing their name once again, when I found on their website a claim that they'd actually sold a book!

And Boppin' Bobby Fletcher is so proud of this that he's posted a scan of the <a href="http://www.stliteraryagency.com/1197/contract0001.jpg" target="_new">acceptance letter</a>.

Now ... notice that this acceptance is with a small press that specializes in non-fiction about sports and travel. Notice that they don't require an agent at all in their <a href="http://www.globepequot.com/globepequot/index.cfm?fuseaction=customer.author" target="_new">guidelines</a>. In other words, the author could have submitted the manuscript himself for the cost of postage. Explain to me again why he needed an agent?

That makes what, one sale? In how many years? A legitimate sale, but not a big one. Okay, Robert, do you think you can go for two? Do you think you can manage a sale at a place that says "agented manuscripts only?"

I'd really like a look at the contract, of course, to see what you missed.

vstrauss
05-28-2004, 03:46 AM
Maybe the author did submit it himself. I know for a fact that one of the books ST has claimed as a credit in its correspondence was placed by the author on her own (with a legit small publisher).

- Victoria

AC Crispin
06-04-2004, 07:39 PM
I find it odd that people are sending information to Truthseeker, but they apparently haven't done the same for Writer Beware. Writer Beware is thoroughly investigating ST Literary, and we've posted our request for information on every board we can think of!

Please, if you have information about your experience with ST Literary, sending it to Truthseeker is fine, but please ALSO send it to Writer Beware.

This is not the first such investigation we have conducted. I cannot be more specific, except to say that we have an exemplary record in these matters, and have gotten results before this.

We are really working hard on this issue. Please send us your information!

(Can someone please copy my post about sending information on ST Literary and place it after my message here? My old computer will not allow me to cut and paste into message boards, I don't know why.)

Thank you very much!

(Our contact information can be found on the Writer Beware website: www.writerbeware.com)

Best,

-Ann C. Crispin

James D Macdonald
06-04-2004, 08:11 PM
Here ya go, Ann!

<blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr> Hello, Writers:

Have you had experience with S.T. Literary Agency? Writer Beware wants to know about it.

If you have been a client of S.T. Literary Agency, please write us about your experience in either email or hardcopy.

Please tell us about:

1. What fees you were charged, and what they were for.

2. What communications you received from S.T. while you were a client.

3. What S.T. Literary Agency told you they were going to do for you as a result of the fees you paid, or what they claimed they had already done as a result of the fees you paid.

Please be prepared to provide documentation for what you tell us.

Also, please provide full contact information...your name, address, phone number. (Writer Beware keeps all correspondence in confidence, unless we receive your permission to divulge this information.)

We realize that this "agency" has caused feelings to run high, so a brief caveat is in order. Writer Beware is not interested in receiving opinions, rants, or hearsay about S.T. Literary Agency. Please stick with facts that can be
documented.

You can reach Writer Beware by email at:

beware@sfwa.org

Our mailing address is:

Victoria Strauss
P.O. Box 1216
Amherst, MA 01004

Writing to us will help Writer Beware to do our job -- help writers avoid questionable agents and publishers.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Best,

-Ann C. Crispin
Chair, SFWA Committee on Writing Scams
Writer Beware
www.writerbeware.com<hr></blockquote>

legendone
06-05-2004, 02:50 PM
:jump Love to help Ann. Soon as I have a few minutes.
Regards,
Legendone.

TruthSeekerSTLit
06-06-2004, 03:14 AM
Ann - Expect a detailed email from me very soon.

TruthSeeker

AC Crispin
06-07-2004, 11:32 AM
Thanks, Jim!

By the way, I wanted to say that Victoria and I appreciate the help you've given us on this board and the Writers.net board. It's great to have backup from folks who know their stuff like you and Dave.

Many thanks!

-Ann C. Crispin

Shiva the Destroying Angel
06-07-2004, 02:04 PM
Excellent.

I am pleased, no end.

Say goodbye Mr. Fletcher and your scurvy ilk, lurking amongst the palms of Boca Raton.

Oh - and hello again Paul Anderson, I did survive my massive heart attack, and I will DESTROY you if it's the last thing I do.

You are a fool Paul, counsellor.com is little more than a mirror I created, and I laugh at you from the ethers!

Try to sue me you fat, bloated pig, you and the joker in Florida!

:rollin

Shiva The Destroying Angel

AC Crispin
06-07-2004, 07:01 PM
Hi, Shiva. Sorry to learn about your heart attack, and hope you are feeling better.

I don't know whether Writer Beware has received your information about your experience with ST Literary yet. Please do send it on as soon as possible.

(For contact information, please see my message above.)

Thanks.

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

JustinoIV
06-08-2004, 12:36 AM
"Oh - and hello again Paul Anderson, I did survive my massive heart attack, and I will DESTROY you if it's the last thing I do."

If you do not give yourself another massive heart attack!

Chill and move on with your life. Get some counseling too. Ann, I would say Victoria is well aware of Shiva the Destroying Angel. Ask her about him.

AC Crispin
06-08-2004, 03:24 AM
Hi, Justino. Thanks for the heads up about Shiva. I'm afraid I'm often terminally clueless when it comes to spotting trolls.

I don't know what I'd do without my friends and colleagues who look out for me on these boards. Jim MacDonald, Dave Kuzminski, and the other folks who are kind enough to point it out when I have stuck my foot in it...AGAIN.

And, of course, Victoria Strauss, the other (and best) half of Writer Beware.

Writers have to stick together and guard each other's backs. There are just too many sharks out there in the waters these days, all of them wanting a nice bite out of our wallets.

And don't think your troubles are over when you manage to land a big name agent and sell work to paying publishers! There are still problems, and that's why organizations like SFWA are essential.

Best,

-Ann C. Crispin

HapiSofi
06-09-2004, 05:01 AM
Hi, Ann. You didn't goof. Shiva's not a troll. He's more like a vengeful revenant -- think Captain Ahab, or Sweeney Todd.

JustinoIV
06-09-2004, 05:19 AM
Ann said she was looking for people who had solid evidence of ST's actions. They aren't looking for rants or Captain Ahabs.:)

legendone
06-09-2004, 05:55 AM
:eek
Don't be too hard on Shiva. Being cheated by con-men gets at some more than others. It's a gut-wrenching, frustrating feeling to know that you have virtually been robbed in broad daylight and the thief has got away with it. Try to be nice to Shiva. He'll get over it soon. :hug

HapiSofi
06-09-2004, 06:58 AM
I'm not sure Shiva's going to get over it anytime soon, but I've seen so many writers left squashed and spiritless after being scammed that I can't find it in my heart to disapprove of him.

James D Macdonald
06-09-2004, 08:30 AM
It was Shiva who brought to our attention the <a href="http://www.dfi.wa.gov/sd/SDO-063-01.pdf" target="_new">court order</a> dated 04 September 2001 concerning the violation of the securities act of the State of Washington, requiring Robert M. Fletcher of Boca Raton, FL, to pay a $50,000 fine plus full restitution for "offering and selling unregistered securities, acting as an unregistered broker-dealer and/or salesperson, and making material misrepresentations and/or omissions."

legendone
06-12-2004, 08:23 AM
:jump Finished it at last. Took me hours Ann, probably because I'm not as good with this machine as I should be. Sent it all to Victoria. Hope it helps.

AC Crispin
06-14-2004, 07:01 AM
Thanks, Legend.

Much appreciated.

-Ann C. Crispin

JustinoIV
06-15-2004, 11:38 AM
Sort of. Read this link.

p068.ezboard.com/fdonedea...2934.topic (http://p068.ezboard.com/fdonedealagentsandmanagers.showMessage?topicID=293 4.topic)

mammamaia
06-15-2004, 10:50 PM
i call that, 'telling the applicable truth'!... or, as my young greek lover useta say, 'a [i]true lie'...

active32
06-17-2004, 01:17 AM
I would like to thank everyone for saving me $429. I too was excepted by ST Literary Agency. Actually they were my first submission (first red flag). I since started doing some research on them and came across this message board.

A couple of things started to make me wonder about the quality and ethical practices of their agency from the start:

1. Their website (red flag): I don't know how many of you have actually been to their website, but the verbage and writing are terrible. Especially in their FAQ section: #8. Very unclear.

2. Their Authors (red flag): I actually emailed and tried to make contact with their authors in regards to their dealing with ST, but have yet to hear from any of them.

3. The $429 (red flag): when I read that in the contract I was taken back because they say specifically that it is not a reading fee but a marketing fee. I had never heard of that before. Is this common? They also have on their contract that they have three locations across the US: New York, Los Angeles, and Boca Raton, but don't list any addresses. Does anyone know where their corporate offices are?

4. Acceptance (red flag): by reading this message board and hearing other news about ST, has anyone been rejected by them, I mean, it seems like they take anyone (which really doesn't boost my confidence).

5. Customer Service (red flag): I received an email during the "QUALIFYING PERIOD", asking me what was the last thing they had sent to me; apparently they had lost track of where my manuscript was during the process.

It seems that their whole agency carries nothing but red flags. I'm glad I came across this message board in time.

A side note: Now that I won't be signing with ST. Does anyone know of any good agencies that deal with children and youth literature? I just finished my first book a couple of months ago and would appreciate any advice anyone might have.

Thanks Again for everyones comments and suggestions in regards to ST Literary Agency.

-Active32:grin

James D Macdonald
06-17-2004, 03:56 AM
A side note: Now that I won't be signing with ST. Does anyone know of any good agencies that deal with children and youth literature? I just finished my first book a couple of months ago and would appreciate any advice anyone might have.

Go to a bookstore. See the books similar to yours on the shelves. Find out who agented them. Write to those agents.

AC Crispin
06-17-2004, 11:04 PM
Hi, just wanted to let you know that Writer Beware is continuing to monitor this board and others for info about ST Literary Agency. We are doing what we do very well indeed -- and we're in for the long haul.

So...if you are a ST Author, we'd like to hear from you about your experience with this "literary agency." Please do get in contact with Writer Beware. The more contacts we receive, the more info we get, the better.

Keep 'em coming, folks.

Best,

-Ann C. Crispin

Frank Gonzalez
06-26-2004, 02:18 PM
Hi!

I'm Frank Gonzalez, horror writer from sunny LA. I just received a zipped file from a fellow author about St Lit, and want to spread it around at his request.
In the file it states that Robert Fletcher is little more than a man who wishes to sit on his butt and bilk money from people by using the least amount of labor possible.
St Lit tried to con me last year with their offer, but after checking them out I found they were not up my alley, so to speak.
I do wish I had something to send to writer beware, but I have never felt like parting with money to get my writings published.
Anyway, if anyone wants the file, I will email it to you.

frankgonzalez@beer.com

St Lit is a total fraud, and Fletcher can't sue anybody, unless he wants me and others to countersue his ass off!
Try me, Mr Fletcher.
And to another author who asked: I'm no relation to the tennis player, my late grandfather was from Franco's Spain, and with my ash blond hair and hazel eyes people ask me if my real name is Gonzalez.
It is, but I actually look like an average Anglo-Saxon, hell, I can barely speak Spanish, and that really sucks in California!

Best Wishes,

Frank Gonzalez

legendone
06-26-2004, 02:29 PM
:hail
I don't care Frank. I still reckon Pancho was the greatest tennis player ever and yours and my opinion of Robert Fletcher are the same.
Very best regards.:hug

vstrauss
06-27-2004, 05:36 AM
>>I just received a zipped file from a fellow author about St Lit, and want to spread it around at his request.<<

Frank, please send it to me at Writer Beware: beware@sfwa.org. Thanks a million.

- Victoria