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victoriastrauss
06-03-2005, 07:26 PM
The Literary Agency Group Inc. appears to be a spinoff of the infamous Stylus Literary Agency (until recently known as the ST Literary Agency), owned and operated by Robert Fletcher. Writer Beware has received scores of complaints about Stylus Literary/ST Literary, which charges fees, promotes its own paid editing services, and submits in a haphazard fashion to inappropriate publishers (when it submits at all). It uses a boiler room-style operation, with clients receiving substantially identical e-mails and responses.

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


Stylus Literary Agency (http://www.stylusagency.com/) (formerly ST Literary Agency)
The Children's Literary Agency (http://www.childrensliteraryagency.com/)
The Christian Literary Agency (http://www.christianliterary.com/index.html)
The New York Literary Agency (http://www.newyorkliteraryagency.com/index.html)
More, no doubt, to come.

Writer Beware has documented that Children's Literary Agency promotes the same sorts of paid services, and uses the same boiler room-style methods, as Stylus; there also seems to be a vanity publisher somewhere in the mix. We haven't yet gathered any documentation on the other two, but we are betting that they operate in much the same way.

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

There's a more detailed discussion of the whole scheme in the ST Literary Agency (http://showthread.php?t=529&page=1&pp=25) thread.

- Victoria

James D. Macdonald
06-03-2005, 07:55 PM
Discussions at AW:

Children's Literary Agency I (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8286)
Children's Literary Agency II (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8312)

Christian Literary Agency (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13514)

Stylus (ST) Literary Agency (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529)

New York Literary Agency (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13516)

The Screenplay Agency (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=20359)

The Poets Literary Agency (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19104)

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

See also Strategic Book Publishing/Eloquent Books (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=101448) and American Enterprises Group / AEG Publishing Group / Authors' Edge (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=3527293).

The Florida Attorney General's investigation into Fletcher (http://myfloridalegal.com/lit_ec.nsf/investigations/31273A2F06893B9B852573760050A9EA) and his activities.

CaoPaux
06-24-2005, 03:29 AM
Check out this, from: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8286


Literary Agency Group Response

In my role as the VP of Corporate Affairs for the Literary Agency Group I am keen to respond to the postings on this message board. Some of you may know me in my other role, as the Senior Agent for our children's division (The Children's Literary Agency). Again, in our determination to minimize administration costs, one or two of the personnel within our organization are asked to wear more than one hat.

With that introduction, I apologize in advance for the length of this posting.

The Literary Agency Group is keenly aware of the negative messages on these boards and frankly we are concerned by them as well. Please allow me to give you our analysis of the situation and a suggestion about how to proceed.


There appear to be three categories of people on these boards.
-------------------------------------------------------------------
1) The first category are the 'industry watchdogs'. These are people that derive some level of psychological benefits from 'exposing' fraud, scams, etc. WE HAVE CONTACTED THESE PEOPLE NUMEROUS TIMES AND OFFERED TO ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS ON A PUBLIC FORUM FOR THE BEST INTEREST OF THE INDUSTRY AND THE WRITERS. They have refused or ignored our requests. What does that tell you? It tells me that they aren't interested in the truth, it tells me that they are interested in more visitors to their website. Also, they have blocked our rebuttal posts and deleted our prior posts. In short, a very one-sided message board!

2) The second category are people that have worked with us, for whom we haven't been successful, and they are blameful, pointing fingers, etc. Basically just jumping on the bandwagon because they would rather feel 'took' than acknowledge that their work wasn't good enough to sell. We call this the sour grapes crowd.

3) The third category, whom we feel the most sorry for, are authors who stumble into this mess. Many of these authors just decide not to continue, and may lose the one real chance that they ever had to secure representation.

So, what to do?....
------------------------
First, go through the message board and try to find anything of substance. What we see is repeat, repeat, and each time something is repeated, it gets more and more outlandish. Our favorite was that "we steal work and sell it to China". ugh.

Go through the boards and send me SPECIFIC questions. Actually, I'll save some time here, and answer them now because we've heard them all before...


Q) You charge fees.. that sucks.. no one should charge a writer anything... you should get paid only if you sell something... and various flavors of this misconception.

A) We do not charge fees. We ask writers to improve their work and a critique and editing (sometimes) is part of that process. And, we ask for mailing expenses if it happens. The odds are so against new writers that we've learned that we can only invest our time with writers that are willing to pull their own weight. Writers that aren't willing to pull their weight, we call the "something for nothing" writer, who is regurgitating old mantras about how if an agent charges anything, they are bad. Guess what, if your name was President Clinton, we'd waive our fees too.


Q) You've never sold anything... the author sold it.. blah, blah

A) We now have 4 deals. The most recent is with an UK publisher. (Note: because of the vitriolic people on these boards we don't post our deals because the instant we post a name, the really creepy and scary people that hate us start sending this crap to the posted name. We've got the documents and if ever needed our lawyers can pull them out.) We assisted every author with the contract on those 4 deals. We actually have emails from the publisher complimenting us on the fair job we did for our author. Yes, in two of the deals the author found the relationship, and in two of them, we found the relationship. In all 4 deals we provided SIGNIFICANT value to the contract negotiation and the post-publishing support. The thing that is lost in all this is that very, very few literary agents have even one deal under their belt. Also, we did a measurement in April and we had 68 open and active discussions with buyers about our authors' work. We expect a few more deals by the end of the year. You might also be interested to note that we also find really bad contracts for our authors and we recommend that they don't accept them. We've seen more contracts than anyone you know and we bring that expertise to our clients.


Q) You use Form Letters and you are impersonal...

A) True or false, we have answered every email that that our authors send us? I know the answer is true. To me, that's personal service. Yes, we use form letters for billing, acquisitions, status reports, etc. Our lawyers like us to say it the same way, every time. Should that really be held against us? By using every method possible to keep our admin costs down, we can spend our money selling for our authors, it's that simple.


Q) The people who work at your company are scam artists, thieves, and have records... etc.

A) This is the grapevine at it's worst. We aren't, we aren't and we don't. You ever heard of miss-identity and identity theft. We have learned that it's impossible to curb this situation. Also, did you ever ask why writers have used pen names since time began, and why agents are so hard to get to? One reason is because some crazy writer has stalked every agent that we know at some time.

Q) Your office in New York, isn't listed on the sign.

A) Oh, this is a good one. Have you ever rented office space in New York? You don't get signs unless you take a floor. We have phones, desks, and a shared conference room, and if you want a big office to come feel comfortable in, go to an Agency that spills money like water. We'd prefer to save our money for marketing our writers.


Q) They say you take anyone... how can that be?

A) We take anyone that is willing to take the steps necessary to improve their work. That's why we use the critique to WEED OUT those authors that want something for nothing. If an author is willing to grow and improve, then we feel that they deserve a shot at success. We are one of the few agencies that will even talk to an unpublished author. The critique is an impartial, 3rd party analysis of the work. It shows us where the author is, and it also protects us from an overzealous agent.


Q) If all this is so untrue, why haven't you done anything about it?

A) We've tried. We're filing lawsuits against Victoria Strauss and a few other message board owners, but for the most part, anyone can say anything, so we have just learned to live with it, and to hope that the real authors, the ones we want as clients, can see it for what it is.


So, in conclusion, spend time looking for any real and substantive items on the boards, and let us try to answer the question as best we can. But first, please let me repeat our business model. We want writers who are willing to help themselves, we ask for defraying administrative expenses, we have sales, and we have detractors.

However, in the end, you the writer must be the one that decides what to do. If you are unwilling to spend any money to improve your writing, then please go away. If you are willing to take a small chance with us, then give us a try.

Either way, we wish everyone the best in their writing careers.



Sincerely yours,
Georgina Orr, VP Corporate Affairs
Literary Agency Group
:popcorn:

D.J.
06-24-2005, 03:45 AM
Check out this, from: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8286


:popcorn:

Georgina, I saw your post. I have a question that has never been answered from your agency. If you would, please answer this for me? I was offered a contract with Stylus (I was also told your agency had just been bought out by The Literary Agency Group.) provided I would agree to a $50-$100 third party critique. If I didn't know of anyone I would be given one of your sister companies to use. I emailed back to Jill by two emails typed in and one by hitting "reply" so that your "filters" would not be the cause of no response. I asked how a third party critique could be done by a "sister company." Doesn't that negate the essence of "third party?" I also asked who that might be so that I could check out their credentials. I never recieved a response. Upon "googling" I found this board. I've really appreciated their honest answers. How about your answering my questions?

aadams73
06-24-2005, 03:45 AM
I was just doing a search over at Publishers Marketplace and this one popped up:

Robert West http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif The Literary Agency Group http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif years 7+ http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif ST Literary Agency specialized in working with previously unpublished authors. We work with both book and screenplay writers in all genres. We are aggressive users of technology and work with writers from all over the world using the Internet. We are not into self-publishing and we do not charge reading fees.



----------

I had a little snicker over it but easy to see how someone new might get sucked in.

CaoPaux
06-24-2005, 09:49 PM
Busy body that I am, here’s Uncle Jim’s Line-By-Line(tm) from later in above-mentioned thread (edited to remove blank lines, anal-retentive that I am).
-----

Originally Posted by Georgina Orr
In my role as the VP of Corporate Affairs for the Literary Agency Group I am keen to respond to the postings on this message board.Excellent!

Isn't it true that Children's Literary Agency was created solely to take some heat off Stylus (ST) Literary Agency? Is it true that you haven't sold any books, ever, to anyone?


Some of you may know me in my other role, as the Senior Agent for our children's division (The Children's Literary Agency). Great! What books have you sold? Which editors do you know best?

Isn't it a fact that no one knows you in any role? You're a stealth agent -- and that's impossible. An agent's job is to be visible.


Again, in our determination to minimize administration costs, one or two of the personnel within our organization are asked to wear more than one hat.Are any of those "hats" selling books to publishers?


With that introduction, I apologize in advance for the length of this posting.No, please, go on. Just remember that anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.


The Literary Agency Group is keenly aware of the negative messages on these boards and frankly we are concerned by them as well.As well you should be. Anyone searching for your web page runs into link after link of accurate information long before they find your false and misleading site.


Please allow me to give you our analysis of the situation and a suggestion about how to proceed.Yes, please do. Here's my suggestion for how to proceed: Go out of business. Find an honest job. Pay restitution.


There appear to be three categories of people on these boards.People who warn writers against scams, writers, and scammers.


-------------------------------------------------------------------
1) The first category are the 'industry watchdogs'. These are people that derive some level of psychological benefits from 'exposing' fraud, scams, etc. Yes, I admit it. Saving a new writer from making a costly mistake does feel good.


WE HAVE CONTACTED THESE PEOPLE NUMEROUS TIMES AND OFFERED TO ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS ON A PUBLIC FORUM FOR THE BEST INTEREST OF THE INDUSTRY AND THE WRITERS. YOU'RE LYING.

Names, dates, places? Oh, you mean you never did contact anyone. But since you're willing to answer questions in a public forum, here we go:

What have you sold? Titles, authors, publishers, dates.


They have refused or ignored our requests.Another lie.


What does that tell you? That you're a liar.


It tells me that they aren't interested in the truth,There's someone here who isn't interested in the truth, but that person isn't me.


it tells me that they are interested in more visitors to their website.You're aware that Writer Beware and Preditors & Editors don't sell ads?


Also, they have blocked our rebuttal posts and deleted our prior posts.Neither Preditors & Editors nor Writer Beware even have messageboards for you to post on. Your posts, and Robert Fletcher's posts, and posts from Paul Anderson and Peter Parente are still here for anyone to read. You're posting right now.


In short, a very one-sided message board! In short, a crude lie that anyone can see for themselves is a lie.


2) The second category are people that have worked with us, for whom we haven't been successful,That's "nearly everyone," isn't it? You're talking about the people who paid their money and got nothing but a run-around in return.


and they are blameful, pointing fingers, etc. Basically just jumping on the bandwagon because they would rather feel 'took' than acknowledge that their work wasn't good enough to sell.The old "Blame the Victim" trick. If their work wasn't good enough to sell why in the world would you have represented it?

If you did represent works that weren't "good enough," actually submitted it to publishers, the publishers would soon learn that you submit trash, and would treat your submissions like any other piece of unsolicited slush. So which is it, Georgina? You're lousy agents or you're scam agents?


We call this the sour grapes crowd.I call it the "eyes opened too late" crowd.


3) The third category, whom we feel the most sorry for, are authors who stumble into this mess.Have their eyes opened, and escape in the nick of time.


Many of these authors just decide not to continue,And save themselves time, money, and heartache.


and may lose the one real chance that they ever had to secure representation.A bad agent is worse than no agent at all. The ones who avoid your traps, who have commercial works, will find real agents who can genuinely represent them. That isn't any sort of tragedy.


So, what to do?....Go out of business. Find an honest job. Maybe if you make a full confession to your local district attorney, turn state's evidence, you won't go to the hardbar hotel with Robert Fletcher.


------------------------
First, go through the message board and try to find anything of substance.There's gobs of it.


What we see is repeat, repeat, and each time something is repeated, it gets more and more outlandish. Our favorite was that "we steal work and sell it to China". ugh.That claim was made by one individual -- probably based on Robert Fletcher's own claim that he was working some kind of deals in China. It was debunked right here by one of the AW regulars, well over a year ago.

The fact is that ST Literary and its little collection of daughter agencies can't sell works in China. Or anywhere else.


Go through the boards and send me SPECIFIC questions. What have you sold? Title, author, publisher?
Which editors do you work with most often? Which do you know best?
What's the actual physical location of your office?
What are the names of your agents? What is their prior experience in publishing?


Actually, I'll save some time here, and answer them now because we've heard them all before...Those are questions you've heard many times, but have never answered.


Q) You charge fees.. that sucks.. no one should charge a writer anything... you should get paid only if you sell something... and various flavors of this misconception.No misconception. Literary agencies -- real ones -- make their money by selling books to publishers. Not by charging fees. Not by having their authors pay fees to "sister companies" that you also happen to own.


A) We do not charge fees.No, you send authors to other people (who just happen to be you) to pay their fees.


We ask writers to improve their work and a critique and editing (sometimes) is part of that process.For a fee. While I can't prove that you ask your writers to pay that fee every time, it's certainly most times, isn't it?


And, we ask for mailing expenses if it happens.Real agencies get reimbursed for legitimate expenses out of the advance after the book sells. If the book doesn't sell, they eat the loss.


The odds are so against new writers that we've learned that we can only invest our time with writers that are willing to pull their own weight.That is, pay a fee.


Writers that aren't willing to pull their weight, That is, pay a fee...


we call the "something for nothing" writer,A better term would be "professional" writer or "savvy" writer, or "reasonable" writer.


who is regurgitating old mantras about how if an agent charges anything, they are bad.Which happens to be pretty close to the truth.


Guess what, if your name was President Clinton, we'd waive our fees too.Waive your fee? I thought you just said that you didn't have a fee. Were you lying before, or are you lying right now?

You know something? My name isn't President Clinton either, but I don't pay fees. Neither do other writers who know what's what.


Q) You've never sold anything... the author sold it.. blah, blahVery true.


A) We now have 4 deals.Name them. Title, author, publisher, date.

But tell me -- you've been in business (according to your man Robert West) for "7+ years." Is four deals in seven years what you're boasting of? That's pretty pathetic.


The most recent is with an UK publisher.Name them.


(Note: because of the vitriolic people on these boards we don't post our deals because the instant we post a name, the really creepy and scary people that hate us start sending this crap to the posted name. We've got the documents and if ever needed our lawyers can pull them out.)Yeah, I just bet. Those "creepy and scary" people don't seem to trouble real agents. You know, the ones who post deals all over the place, all the time.

Wouldn't the best way to take the wind out of the sails of the "creepy and scary" people be to prove that you've sold a book somewhere, to someone?


We assisted every author with the contract on those 4 deals. I just bet you did. I'd love to see those contracts to see what you missed.


We actually have emails from the publisher complimenting us on the fair job we did for our author.Really? Who?


Yes, in two of the deals the author found the relationship, and in two of them, we found the relationship.So, fifty percent of that pitiful four deals were made by the authors themselves? What did they need you for? By your own admission you've only been able to sell two books, ever?

What were those two books?


In all 4 deals we provided SIGNIFICANT value to the contract negotiation and the post-publishing support.Oh, yeah, right. You allowed poor Dario to sign a contract for royalties based on net. That's sure some significant value, you betcha.


The thing that is lost in all this is that very, very few literary agents have even one deal under their belt.Then they aren't really literary agents either. Maybe they're for-a-fee scammers, maybe they're people who woke up one morning and decided to be literary agents without having a single clue what it entailed. All of the real literary agents have sold multiple books, recently.


Also, we did a measurement in April and we had 68 open and active discussions with buyers about our authors' work.Which means precisely nothing.


We expect a few more deals by the end of the year.Sure, deals that you'll refuse to name.

Real agents announce their deals. You don't announce your deals (assuming they even exist). Therefore, you aren't real agents.


You might also be interested to note that we also find really bad contracts for our authors and we recommend that they don't accept them.Operating at the level you do, I bet you do see really bad contracts. When I recall that some of the authors you've boasted about have "sold" their books to pay-to-play POD vanity houses or e-book publishers, well, yes. You've very likely seen some lousy contracts.


We've seen more contracts than anyone you know and we bring that expertise to our clients.Are you entirely sure? I know quite a few people, and some of them have seen an awful lot of contracts. I wonder if maybe I personally haven't signed more contracts than you've ever seen.


Q) You use Form Letters and you are impersonal...It's easy to set up an autoresponder.


A) True or false, we have answered every email that that our authors send us? I know the answer is true.True or false, you've offered a contract to every one of them. Email is easily automated. Merely responding isn't a very high bar.


To me, that's personal service.To me, that's BS.


Yes, we use form letters for billing, acquisitions, status reports, etc.And, remarkably, for the rejections that you pretend to get from publishers that you supposedly sent the works to. Isn't it amazing that so many publishers respond to all your submissions with exactly the same words?


Our lawyers like us to say it the same way, every time. Should that really be held against us?Yes.


By using every method possible to keep our admin costs down, we can spend our money selling for our authors, it's that simple.And you've sold how many authors that way? By your own admisison, two. Which you refuse to name.


Q) The people who work at your company are scam artists, thieves, and have records... etc.True.


A) This is the grapevine at it's worst. We aren't, we aren't and we don't. You ever heard of miss-identity and identity theft.So you're trying to say that the Robert M. Fletcher of 699 SW 8th Terrace, Boca Raton, Florida, who was convicted of securities fraud in the state of Washington is someone other than the Robert M. Fletcher of 699 SW 8th Terrace, Boca Raton, Florida, who ran ST Literary Agency? And it never occurred to him to say, "Hey, wait a minute, that's some other guy"?


We have learned that it's impossible to curb this situation.Weirdly, other agents don't seem to have this problem.


Also, did you ever ask why writers have used pen names since time began, and why agents are so hard to get to?Writers use pen names for a wide variety of reasons, which you wouldn't know about or be interested in. Agents are hard to get because it's hard to write commercial-grade books.


One reason is because some crazy writer has stalked every agent that we know at some time.You don't know a lot of agents, do you?

Why is it that real agents make it so easy to find them? Why do they announce their deals? Why do they post their addresses and phone numbers? Why don't you?


Q) Your office in New York, isn't listed on the sign.More than that, it isn't in the building.


A) Oh, this is a good one.It is. It's a killer. I was the person who checked. Not only aren't you on the sign, the security guard didn't have you, in any of your incarnations, listed on his master list of tenants.

But since we're on the subject, could you please describe the sign in the lobby of your building? What material is it made of? Where's it located?

Where is the security guard's station?


Have you ever rented office space in New York? You don't get signs unless you take a floor.This is purest BS. Tenants who rent considerably less than an entire floor are on signs all over Manhattan. It's the only way multiple-tenant office building can work.


We have phones, desks, and a shared conference room,Really? What's your phone number? Who are the tenants who rent space to your right and left? What do you see directly across the street when you walk out of the building's lobby?


and if you want a big office to come feel comfortable in, go to an Agency that spills money like water.I'm not particularly interested in a big office. But an office would be nice. What's your physical address?


We'd prefer to save our money for marketing our writers.Name one.


Q) They say you take anyone... how can that be?By using an auto-responder to offer a contract to anyone who writes.


A) We take anyone that is willing to take the steps necessary to improve their work.That is, pay a fee.


That's why we use the critiquePaid for by the author to some company that happens to be owned by the same people as own Children's Literary Agency/The Literary Agency Group.


to WEED OUT those authors that want something for nothing.That is, the authors who wisely refuse to pay a fee.


If an author is willing to grow and improve, And pay a fee....


then we feel that they deserve a shot at success.Which they'd get if they saved the fee money, worked on their art, and submitted their work to legitimate agents.


We are one of the few agencies that will even talk to an unpublished author.Another lie. Real agents take on unpublished authors all the time.

This is also inconsistent with one of your earlier lies: If most literary agencies (as you claim) don't have even one sale under their belts, then most literary agencies talk to no one other than unpublished authors.


The critique is an impartial, 3rd party analysis of the work.How is it "3rd party" if it's performed by one of your "sister companies"? (And it's for a fee, isn't it?)


It shows us where the author is, and it also protects us from an overzealous agent.Do you have a lot of overzealous agents on staff? What does an overzealous agent do -- try to sell your clients' work to publishers?


Q) If all this is so untrue, why haven't you done anything about it?Because Robert Fletcher would do anything to avoid entering a courtroom again.


A) We've tried. We're filing lawsuits against Victoria StraussHave you actually filed a lawsuit? Or did you limit yourself to sending empty threats via your lawyer-in-a-box who charges you $17 a month for "legal insurance"?


and a few other message board owners,Who have uniformly ignored you.


but for the most part, anyone can say anything, so we have just learned to live with it, Since you know you don't have a leg to stand on.


and to hope that the real authors, the ones we want as clients, can see it for what it is.Real authors can definitely see you for what you are.


So, in conclusion, spend time looking for any real and substantive items on the boards,What have you sold?


and let us try to answer the question as best we can.How much does your typical client wind up spending?


But first, please let me repeat our business model.Charging fees to authors for worthless services.


We want writers who are willing to help themselves,By paying a fee....


we ask for defraying administrative expenses,Through fees....


we have sales,That you're unwilling or unable to name....


and we have detractors.Who have the truth and the evidence on their side.


However, in the end, you the writer must be the one that decides what to do. Work on your art, and submit your work to legitimate agents. A useful agent has sold works that you've heard of.


If you are unwilling to spend any money to improve your writing, Which happens to be the wise course....


then please go away.And count yourself lucky.


If you are willing to take a small chance with us,That is to say, pay a fee...


then give us a try.And kiss your money goodbye.


Either way, we wish everyone the best in their writing careers.And I wish you the best in your next career.


Sincerely yours,
Georgina Orr, VP Corporate Affairs
Literary Agency GroupSay I wanted to buy the movie rights for one of your clients' works. How would I get in touch with you? What's your phone number? Your street address? How would I even know you represent him? You keep your client list a secret.

Real agents don't work that way, Georgina. The sooner you realize that, the better for everyone.

------
All hail, Uncle Jim! :Hail:

sinner1047
07-14-2005, 07:59 PM
I would also like to add that Georgina is the "agent" that was assigned to my manuscript thru New York Literary Agency (just another name for all this bologna) and that I was also referred to Andrea and Sherry as contacts. Needless to say, I can't get any of them to write me back, and the NYS Division of COrporations has no active listing for this, or other affiliated, companies.

victoriastrauss
09-24-2005, 09:14 PM
As of August or September 2005, The Literary Agency Group Inc. has added a new member: The Poets Literary Agency (http://www.poetsliteraryagency.com/).

Writer Beware now has considerable documentation not just on Stylus Literary and Children's Literary, but on New York Literary and Christian Literary. The contracts used by all these agencies vary in small details, but are substantially similar. The accompanying materials are identical. All refer clients to the same editing service, Writers Literary (http://www.writersliterary.com/), a so-called "sister" company run by a former "agent" with Stylus.

We don't yet have documentation on Poets Literary, but we're sure we soon will. Sigh.

And no, none of these agencies has yet sold a book...

- Victoria

James D. Macdonald
09-24-2005, 10:09 PM
Meanwhile, in another thread, Victoria mentions this ad at Publishers Marketplace from Bobby Fletcher and his pals:

http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/cgi-bin/displayJob.pl?job_no=1521



"Copublishing addresses reducing your risk as a publisher. We have authors that desire to avoiding the self-publishing stigma and wish to work with a qualified publisher.

"Furthermore, we have determined that they have the quality and the money to match their desires.

"Our authors and their works are completely edited. We vouch for the quality of the work and the professionalism of the author.

"We have exceptional work in every genre including children's, self-help, gardening, science, romance, history, Christian, etc. ....

"Why shoulder all the risk? We have authors that will pay you to work with you. We believe that this is the new model for the future."


They're looking for publishers who are willing take the author's money. Trolling for vanity presses.

But wait! There's more!


"Writers Literary provides a complete range of editing, writing, and consulting services to aspiring authors. We've already weeded out the non-serious authors."

Weeded out the non-serious authors? We know what they mean by that. They aren't presenting authors with commercial works -- they've "weeded out" the authors who aren't ready to pay, and pay, and pay.

When Robert M. Fletcher says "serious author" he means "one who has a fat checkbook and isn't afraid to use it."

Greg Fitzgerald
01-05-2006, 06:15 PM
Last night I got an email to say from the Children's Literacy Agency to say that my work had commercial potential, after their 'evaluation team' had finished with it. Of course, I was required to get a critique done. I checked the critiquing company they used. I found it through one of their testimonials and it looked extremely suspicious with no details and editors 1-6, no names.

So I started to use my brain and do a search on them and found this message board. The more I read the more it made sense.

I definitely don't need scamming agents. I've had a short story published, which means I can get more published and build up a list of writing credits to send to a reputable agent or publisher in support of my manuscript.

I don't think writers that fall for scammers are stupid. If you can write well you are definitely not stupid. But hope can be a powerful and dangerous motivator if it's false hope and leave you vulnerable to the predator-parasites. Unfortunately enough writers will fall for it to keep the scammers in luxury.

Grumpier2
01-19-2006, 01:12 AM
I was this close to signing a contract with this company when I fortunately talked to one of my critique partners and he advised me to check out this site. I was knocked off my feet when I read all this stuff. Not only did they want me to pay for a critique, they stated in their contract (which I'm posting here) that they only charged 10% of the GROSS!!! Generous . . . don't you think???


Hopefully, this will help another aspiring writer. Here's what they sent me:

:cry: :cry: :cry:
Congratulations and my warmest wishes for our mutual success! And again, we thank you for your understanding and your acceptance of our business philosophy. We look forward to working with you and because you have indicated such a strong commitment to your work you can rest assured that we will be excited and committed to doing what we can to work just as hard for you!


PLEASE READ THIS INFORMATION CAREFULLY AS IT WILL SAVE YOU TIME AND REDUCE YOUR STRESS (and mine!):



1. Attached is our Contract for Agency Representation.
================================================== =
It is simple and straightfoward and we've used it for years. It is also non-negotiable. I'm happy to answer any questions that you may have, but 99% of the time we will not make a change to it if requested. If you want to have a lawyer look at it, by all means do so, but we've spent great time and energy with our lawyers making it simple enough for a business person to understand.

You don't have to be nervous because you can back out very easily. We very clearly state that your 'out' from the contract is that you can fire us in 90 days if we don't perform or you don't like our services for any reason. This rarely happens, but it's there for you if you want it.

Your work is completely safe and remains your work. You keep your copyright and this contract is only for the work you submit, not all your works. (You can discuss other works later with your agent).

We are not trying to tie your hands in any way, and as you will see from the contract, we only get paid if you get paid. There are no other payments to us.

We ask that you regular mail us two signed copies of the contract. The address is within the document. International authors can either fax the contract or mail it. Please allow up to 30 days to receive the counter-signed contract back in the mail. The contracts are sent to our NY office and depending on the travel schedule of our President, it may take that long to get them signed and back to you.

We ask that you get the critique started in parallel with sending in the contract. Send in your contract at the same time you are getting your critique. Don't wait for the critique to send in your contract.



2. Referral for the Critique/Evaluation
===============================================
As we mentioned in the prior email, if you have a critique or evaluation similar in format to those we sent you earlier please send it to us along with your contract. (Don't email it separately, we have a hard time matching it up. Simply print it and put it with your contract). If you want us to tell you if what you have is acceptable then email it to me as quickly as you can.

If you do not have a critique, please email the following address and tell them that we referred you.

AdminChildren@writersliterary.com (AdminChildren@writersliterary.com) All you have to say is "Sherry referred me".

They will send you a very clear set of instructions on how to proceed with the critique, send your manuscript, payment, etc.

Writers Literary offers a discounted price to referrals that we send them ($69). We send them so much business that they will prioritize your work and this will speed up the entire process. We can also lean on them if we need to make them work more quickly!

When they complete your critique they will send it to you and to us at the same time. Remember, we are unique in that we are willing to help you develop your talent, so there is no need to worry about what the critique will say.


What's Next?
=================
During the next 30 days we should receive your contract and your critique. Once we receive your contract and your critique is finished and in our hands, you will be put in touch with your Agent. At that time the Agent will review the critique with you and the two of you will develop a strategy to market your work as quickly as makes sense given the information that we see in the critique.

The Agent will then become your primary contact and will answer questions, guide you, and hopefully, before too long, come to you with the good news of a sale! (Note: we never, never promise a sale, that's a checkbox for you within the contract by the way).

I am happy to answer any questions that you have and I have enjoyed our interaction. My sincere best wishes for your writing career.

Best regards,
Sherry - VP Acquisitions




A Few Frequently Asked Questions (I can't resist, you know me by now)
================================================== ======
Please send the contract in parallel with getting the critique. That way we'll have you in the system when the critique is finished. Don't wait to send in the contract until your critique is completed. Send the contract in immediately and please allow 2-3 weeks for notification that we received it.

If you need an extension, simply email me and we automatically grant one, so don't stress if for some reason you haven't heard from me. Non-US authors are automatically granted an extension.

If you have a critique already please be sure it matches the thoroughness of the critique example we sent you. If it doesn't we will reject it. If it does, we will move forward quickly. If you want me to look at it just email it to me.

What's Next? Once the critique process is complete you will be connected to the Agent that will be working with you. You will discuss 'next steps' based on the results of the critique. As we mentioned in a previous email, we are willing to develop talent so there is no need to worry unduly about the results of the critique.

We look forward to working with you. Once we receive your contract and enter it into our system you will receive an email confirmation.

In the meanwhile don't forget to contact adminChildren@writersliterary.com (adminChildren@writersliterary.com) to get your critique started. They will tell you exactly how to proceed. Send in your contract in parallel with having your critique done.


Please note:
============
If for some reason you don't get your contract back in a timely fashion (say 30 days) please email contractadmin@theliteraryagencygroup.com (contractadmin@theliteraryagencygroup.com) and they will find out what went awry.

I have enjoyed interacting with you but my role with you is now finished. I am in charge of new author acquistions only. If you need help with something let me know though, and I'll endeavor to assist you.

Best regards,
Sherry Fine - VP Acquisitions



Best regards,
Sherry Fine - VP Acquisitions

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


p.s. Missed Emails, Spam, Whitelists, and other reasons for lapses in communications. We are very, very diligent about returning every email that we receive within a couple of days. The same is true for our vendors and suppliers. IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE A COMMUNICATION AND YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE, PLEASE, CHECK WITH US AND WE WILL SEE WHAT HAPPENED. Please don't jump to negative conclusions. The Internet is not 100% foolproof and we are very sensitive to our clients' expectations and our promises about timely communications.



-----Original Message-----
From: GRUMPIER2@aol.com [mailto:GRUMPIER2@aol.com]
Sent: Saturday, January 14, 2006 3:01 PM
To: Sherry@childrensliteraryagency.com
Subject: Re: Children's Literary: Positive Review


Dear Ms. Fine,

I want to thank you for your positive review of 'Tubby Tumbleweed's Christmas.'

I am sending you the reply you requested. I, too, believe we must trust one another if we are to do business together and that your recommendations for a professional critique editor would be a distinct advantage for both of us.

1) I understand how a critique protects each of us and will improve my writing (or validate that I'm as good as I think I am). Please send your contract and a referral for a critique service. I will get the critique
underway as soon as I hear from you. We have to start trusting each other somewhere and I am committed to my writing as a business.

Sincerely,

Bert Owens

In a message dated 1/12/2006 3:44:57 PM Central Standard Time, Sherry@childrensliteraryagency.com writes:


Thank you for everything that we have received from you thus far. Our
review team believes that your work has commercial potential and we would
like to proceed further with you. We believe we would like to represent you.

Basically, we feel that your concept and writing thus far has potential and
that if polished and presented properly, we can sell it. To take the next
step, please let us take a minute to tell you a little bit about how we
think and the way we do business.

Best regards,
Sherry Fine - VP Acquisitions

p.s. We apologize in advance for the length of this email. This is at the
behest of our lawyers. They like it when we say it the same way every time.
If this email appears truncated at the bottom, please let me know.


INCUBATING TALENT: We Are Willing To Develop New, Fresh Talent.
================================================== =======================
We did see a few improvements are needed, but don't worry, we receive very
few 'ready-to-go' manuscripts. Most manuscripts that we receive need some
level of polishing before we can submit them to buyers. Some need very
little polishing. Some need a lot. Over the years, we've learned that it
is worth our time and effort to do what it takes to develop new talent.
We've learned that incubating new talent makes good business sense.

We'd hate to lose a good writer by not accepting someone who is willing to
improve. There are very few literary agencies that will take the time to
develop talent. Most barely return emails. We've answered every email
you've sent us, and we've kept our promises regarding turnaround times. We
hope that you will acknowledge that our level of communication and
professionalism already far exceeds that of other literary agencies. We
pledge this same level of professionalism and courtesy in all subsequent
communications should we work together.


HOW CAN WE TRUST EACH OTHER?
================================================== ==
You don't know us, and we don't know you. We like your work, and hopefully
so far, you appreciate that we have treated you professionally and
efficiently. Yes, we use forms, but that's so that we have more time to
answer your questions about specific problems or nuances. We are looking
for authors that are reasonable in their expectations and in their own
evaluation of their work. We don't want prima donnas.

If we were in your shoes, we believe you should be looking for a
professional relationship with professional people who will ultimately
benefit your writing career, whether your work is sold or not. We never
promise a sale. However we do promise that we will work with you on a
professional basis and do what we can to promote you and your work to our
buyers.


What do we mean by "Polish Your Work"?
================================================== =
As you would imagine, we are very, very concerned about what we present to
our buyers. At a minimum they expect the mechanics of punctuation, grammar,
spelling, and format to meet or exceed industry standards.

I think you would agree that your work can use some level of polishing.
However, we don't think you should take just our word for it, we would like
to have an independent review of your work that shows you where the
improvements can be made.

From a trust factor, it's like an investor trusting a certified public
accountant ... if there is an independent review on the table, we can each
relax and trust each other, and spend our time strategizing marketing, not
arguing over whether the work is ready to present or not.

What we have learned over the years is that nothing is more invaluable than
having a unbiased, critical review of an author's work as a roadmap for
bringing the work to market. In writing circles this is called a critique.
We want you to have a critique of your work. You might already have one, or
you may need to get one. Here's what one author had to say about his
critique.

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

Dear Sherry: The critique was more favorable than I had anticipated. I'm a
long time editor, of academic works, and I know from experience that good
authors appreciate good critiques. As for my own writing -- again
academic -- I have always taken criticism well. I don't always go along with
everything the critic says, but I try the best I can to incorporate anything
I feel is worthwhile. And that's what I did today. Within minutes I was at
my desk and my laptop, trying to find out what I could do to satisfy this
critic. I also wanted to judge how much work would be required, how long a
re-write would take, and so on. If you have that option, you can pass along
my thanks to the critic. And you can say that I will try to turn it into a
popular book, not an academic treatise. As an academic, I'll never be able
to put that aside completely, but I'll do my best. And I suspect I can do
it within a month or two. You service is phenomenal.

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


HAVING A CRITIQUE PROTECTS YOU from unscrupulous agents. Having a critique
protects US from egocentric writers who think their work is just fine like
it is. If the critique says, "green light - good to go" then we can start
marketing immediately. If the critique says, "some improvements can be made
in grammar, punctuation, etc", then we can pause with you while those
changes are made.


WHAT DOES A CRITIQUE LOOK LIKE?
=======================================
Here are some links for sample critiques from one of our vendors that we
respect. (We realize that not all of these apply to you, but we want you to
see how versatile and powerful this critique format is.) Also, please
realize that a critique is a fast overview. It is NOT a line edit.

http://www.writersliterary.com/Critique-children-ya.rtf
http://www.writersliterary.com/Critique-children-rhyme.rtf
http://www.writersliterary.com/Critique-poetry.rtf
http://www.writersliterary.com/Critique-christian.rtf
http://www.writersliterary.com/Critique-novel.rtf


YOU MAY ALREADY HAVE A 3RD PARTY CRITIQUE A good number of our applicants
do.
(As a serious writer, you should get one every year or two).
================================================== ====================
As we mentioned, if you already have a 3rd party critique, please let us
know. It must match the level of detail that you see in the examples above.
If you have an associate that you believe can do your critique, then be sure
to send us their credentials first for approval. Please don't try to
critique your own work. (Yes, we've seen that happen and we can tell
immediately.) Also, many people ask if they can get a friend to do the
critique, or a teacher, or an associate. The answer can be yes, but the
problem is that if they don't do editing for a living, then it's like asking
anyone to do something for free, it takes longer, and it may not be done
correctly.

The critique should be inexpensive, usually around $60-$80 depending on the
company you choose. It will tell each of us if the work is ready for
marketing right away, or if more polishing is required. As we mentioned if
you have a critique already, great, if not, we can provide a referral for a
critique service.

As we've mentioned before, we need a common platform of trust from which to
begin the representation process together. Many authors wonder if the
critique just leads to more and more editing. The answer is NO! Editors are
very integrous people, if they say a work meets or exceeds industry
standards, then we can all trust their opinion. Once an editor says 'good
to go', then everyone can move to the next step.

In summary, the critique protects you from unscrupulous agents that will try
to tell you that you need endless rounds of editing. Once you have a
critique you are in a much stronger position in your writing career.


PLEASE NOTE: WE ARE NOT ASKING FOR MONEY.
We want you to have a critique by a qualified industry professional.
================================================== ====
MANY AUTHORS MISUNDERSTAND THIS SIMPLE REQUEST. We don't want you to pay
us, we want you to have a critique to start our relationship so that we can
start from the same page. (If I told you the number of writers that accuse
us of using this to take their money, you would be flabbergasted.)


Many authors ask, "why we don't do the critique as part of our Agency?".
================================================== =====
In the old days, perhaps that occurred. However in today's competitive
world we must focus almost entirely on our core competency, which is selling
your work. Our company relies on editors to work with you to bring your
work to industry standards. We are not editors, we are sales professionals.
We contract out all editing work. (As you might imagine, it turns out that
editors are usually lousy salespeople, and we love the editors we work with
dearly). This point is worth spending extra time on, we aren't editors, we
are sales professionals, and those are two VERY different skill sets.



---------- One more positive response from an author about the
critique ----------------------------------

Dear Sherry: Thank you so much for your quick responses and
professionalism. It was so refreshing to hear an unbiased critique of my
work for the first time. I have hungered for it since I've been writing.
Someone actually read the whole script and took the time and care to provide
a professional critique and show me the areas that need improvement. I am so
determined to make my work a success, and it helps me to know what my
strengths are and where I need improvement. Thank you, and please pass on a
big thank you to my editor.

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



IN CONCLUSION:
=============================================
Please review the critique sample links above. Think about how powerful an
'excellent' critique would be to the selling process and how it will give us
the confidence we need to put our reputation on the line for you.

Think about how it protects you, protects us, and how it provides a meeting
point so that we can trust each other and move forward on the same page <get
it? "same page" grin>


Thank you again for your time and consideration. We look forward to working
with you and developing your writing career together.

Sincerely,
Sherry Fine - VP Acquisitions

P.s. Instructions for the next step are at the bottom of the email after the
FAQs below




Typical FAQs that we see at this stage:
=================================

Q) I have a critique, what do I do?
A) First look at the critque and compare it to the examples above. Many
critiques are long on plot and character development. The critique that we
prefer includes that PLUS a strong focus on the mechanics.. i.e.
punctuation, grammar, format, and spelling. If your critique does not
address those mechanical elements we will ask you to get a new one. However
if your critique is reasonably close to our examples, then simply let us
know that you have one, and we'll send you the contract, and then you put
your critique in with the contract when you send it in.

Q) I need a referral.
A) We will provide you with a referral to someone we trust and who discounts
their prices to our clients. You can certainly use any qualified person to
do the critique if you know one, but they MUST have been in the industry.

Q) How long should a critique take?
A) It should take about two weeks. It should cost no more than $60-$80. It
should be thorough. Many "old style" critiques are long on plot and short
on mechanics. The critique that we desire will not only include commentary
on the plot, it will also critically review grammar, spelling, punctuation,
and the mechanics of writing. We know, we know.. it's all of our least
favorite aspect of writing, but to succeed as a writer, your mechanics must
meet or exceed industry standards.

Q) Do I have to pay for it or does the publisher provide for the final
polishing and editing?
A) Both.... As your agent, we need it to be 'great' before we will pitch it,
and then, if the publisher wants to make changes, then they will pay for the
changes they desire.

Q) What if the critique says my writing is horrible? Will you still
represent me?
A) The critique will never say that your writing is horrible. The critique
will point out your strengths and weaknesses. It will come from a coaching
point of view, not from a judgmental point of view. As we've mentioned
earlier, our Agency is different in that we are willing to develop talent.
We will not fire you because of a poor critique.

Q) My teacher/friend/pastor/writer/PhD/English Teacher...... can do the
critique right?
A) Yes, maybe... we've seen very poor work from PhD's, teachers, and most
writers. If they haven't had a stint as a true editor, then usually they
aren't going to do a good job.


Q) My work is my work, It's special and i'm not changing anything...
A) That's fine, but we do insist that spelling, grammar, and punctuation
meet or exceed industry standards. We have a saying, "if you put 10 editors
in a room you will come out with 15 opinions". Ultimately, the final
decision is yours. If you don't agree with them, we are on your side,
especially about subjective items. On the mechanics and formatting issues
we side with the editors.


Q) What do the buyers/publishers think of this model that you use?
A) Frankly, our buyers know that when we pitch a work, that we've put the
writer through the proverbial wringer! Our buyers know that our writers can
understand a contract, comply with reasonable requests, and that we've
weeded out the 'something for nothing' writers that are basically lazy about
their craft. This hyper-competitive industry will only reward the best, and
that's our commitment to our buyers, and to you.


Q) How do I know that this won't turn into endless rounds of editing that I
have to pay for?
A) At some time and some place, we have to trust each other. We believe
that this is where it has to start. Your risk is $60-$80. Our risk is that
our internal cost of our time with you at our hourly rate is easily greater
than that amount. (And you never pay us for that time, we don't charge any
fees as we've mentioned earlier). So, we'll spend the time to work with you
if you'll do your part to make sure your work is the best it can be. Unless
the critique points out the need for substantial rework, there shouldn't be
any more fees. That's why we require an independent 3rd party for the
critique. This protects YOU from an unscrupulous agent, and it protects US
from egocentric writers.

Q) I'm still nervous, what does your contract say?
A) First you keep the copyright to your work, and second, you can fire us in
90 days. Our contract includes the following two clauses designed to
protect you. There are no payments to us in the contract unless we sell
your work.

Here is the exact language in the contract:
-----------------------------------------------------------------
1)The copyright and ownership is specifically retained by the AUTHOR for
this work and all works submitted to, and accepted by, the Agent. The
Writer does not grant to Agent or any other party any right, title or
interest of any kind in any copyright, ownership and/or any other
intellectual property right contained in or as a part of any work of the
Writer submitted to the Agent. The Agent agrees to make no claim to any such
right, title or interest, however denominated.

2) The Writer/Producer may terminate this Agreement after 90 consecutive
days of no sale by Agent.

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

So, if you don't like us, or we don't perform, you can fire us in 90 days,
and we clearly state that you keep your copyright so there is no chance of
us claiming your work. We don't know how much more 'safe' we can make it.
(If you think we are going to steal your work, then you are too paranoid to
work with us anyway and we're happy if you decline). Other than that, the
contract is for one year duration, and we ask for a reasonable 10% if we
sell your work.



================================================== ============
IN CONCLUSION.. THE NEXT STEP IS SIMPLE ...
Please "Reply" to this email with one of the following three statements:
================================================== =============

1) I understand how a critique protects each of us and will improve my
writing (or validate that I'm as good as I think I am). Please send your
contract and a referral for a critique service. I will get the critique
underway as soon as I hear from you. We have to start trusting each other
somewhere and I am committed to my writing as a business.

or,

2) I have a critique already. Please send me your contract and I will
include my critique with the contract when I send it in.

or

3) "Thanks but no thanks, I've never heard of such a thing".. or some
variant of that...



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

In conclusion, no matter what your reply, I truly and sincerely wish you the
best in your writing career and I want you to know that I have enjoyed our
interaction immensely thus far. Continue to follow your dreams, and it is
my deepest hope that you succeed with your writing career.

I remain, yours truly,
Sherry Fine - VP Acquisitions







Hello Sherry,

Attached is my story, Tubby Tumbleweed's Christmas. I wrote it in
WordPerfect 12, but, I also have MSWord if you have a preference.

I'm hoping you enjoy your adventure with "a tumbleweed" and want
thank you for requesting to see more for it.

Also, thank you for not wanting long-winded e-mails about other
stuff.

Looking forward to hearing from you,

Bert Owens

ANSWERS BELOW

In a message dated 12/28/2005 10:10:40 AM Central Standard Time,
Sherry@childrensliteraryagency.com writes:

A. How long have you been writing, and
what are your goals as a writer?
I've been writing for the last 30 plus years. Once I discovered
computers in 1990's, spell checkers, grammer checkers, etc., my goals
changed.
I decided to get serious about becoming published.

My goals now are to:

1. creat encouraging, up-lifting, teaching-softly, fun
tales

2. present my stories in as near finished format as
possible

3. locating an agent to find the perfect places for my
stories

4. have them published and animated.

BIGGEST GOAL 5. to have my stories make a difference for just 1 heart


B. Do you consider your writing 'ready-to-go',
or do you think it needs some polishing.






I consider my writing as 'ready-to-go' as 'I'-can-go' with it. I am always
willing to listen to advise offered and accept criticisims with
appreciation.

.









The Children’s Literary Agency, Inc.


“Focused Exclusively on the Children and Young Adult Marketplace”


Ofc. 866-876-4488 www.ChildrensLiteraryAgency.com 917-591-1916 Fax


Greetings and Congratulations!


The Children’s Literary Agency is prepared to offer you a contract for acceptance as our

client for Agency Representation based on:

1) the manuscript you submitted,

2) the information that you have provided to us and the plan of action that we agreed

upon.

In the sole opinion of the Literary Agency, if any of these items are inaccurate or

misleading this contract may be withdrawn at any time. This contract offer is good for 14

business days from receipt. (This deadline can be automatically extended by 10 days if

you contact us via email and request an extension). We give a deadline because we accept

only a limited number of authors in any time period and we cannot have contracts “hanging

out there”.


Some authors ask “why did you accept me?” Based on our interactions, you have

agreed to follow a plan of action that will lead to your work being of the highest quality,

and we believe that our odds for success are greatly enhanced. In short, we believe that we

can sell your work. We never promise a sale, but we do believe you have a solid chance of

success.


We look forward to working with you. Congratulations again.


.

Best regards,

Sherry Fine – VP Acquisitions

The Children’s Literary Agency

p.s. What’s Next? Please execute two copies of the contract and send them, along with a

note about your critique (date started, etc.) to the address in the contract. PLEASE send in

the contract at the same time you are having your critique done. If you don’t have a

critique already please contact adminChildren@writersliterary.com . Once we have your

critique and contract you will start working with the Agent who will be assigned to market

your work.


The Children’s Literary Agency, Inc.


“Focused Exclusively on the Children and Young Adult Marketplace”


Ofc. 866-876-4488 www.ChildrensLiteraryAgency.com 917-591-1916 Fax


AGREEMENT FOR LITERARY AGENT REPRESENTATION

CHILDREN’S LITERARY AGENCY: THE LITERARY AGENCY GROUP

Page 1/3 of CLA Contract


This “Agreement” is between ______________________________ [the “Writer/Producer”] and The

Children’s Literary Agency, Inc. [The “Agent”] as of _____________, 200__ (please enter the date you

sign the contract) for only the work entitled:

__________________________________________________ ___________________

(Hereinafter “Work”)


Other Works Should Be Submitted Separately.


NOW, THEREFORE, for the consideration set forth in this Agreement Agent and Writer

intending to be legally bound hereby, mutually promise and agree as follows:


The copyright and ownership is specifically retained by the Writer for this work and all

Writer’s works submitted to, and accepted by, the Agent. The Writer does not grant to Agent or

any other party any right, title or interest of any kind in any copyright, ownership and/or any

other intellectual property right contained in or as a part of any work of the Writer submitted to

the Agent. The Agent agrees to make no claim to any such right, title or interest, however

denominated.

The Writer warrants that he is the sole and exclusive owner of the Work and that the

work does not infringe on any other copyright.


The Writer agrees to indemnify Agent against any judgments, liabilities, damages or loss

related to copyright or ownership.

The term of this contract shall be one year from the above date and must be renewed in

writing for each successive term. The Writer/Producer may terminate this Agreement after 90

consecutive days of no sale by Agent. Renewals and terminations via email are deemed

acceptable.

The rights granted in this pertain to written creative work prepared by the

Writer/Producer for print, television, radio and motion pictures to be sold in the geography of the

United States of America.

The Agent is entitled to a ten percent [10%] commission on gross compensation accruing

to the Writer/Producer from any contract negotiated under this Agreement. This paragraph shall

survive termination of this Agreement. (This means that if we help you with a deal, you can’t

fire us and take away our commission).

The Agent is not responsible for damage or loss or return of any material.

The Writer/Producer shall do his utmost to finish his work on time as per the terms of

contracts he has entered into. The Agent at his discretion may use the Writer/Producer’s name or

pen name and the name of the work in promotions for the Agent and to promote the Work.

The Writer/Producer also agrees that all leads, contacts, communications, documents,

emails, forms, and business processes employed by the Agent are considered confidential and


The Children’s Literary Agency, Inc.


“Focused Exclusively on the Children and Young Adult Marketplace”


Ofc. 866-876-4488 www.ChildrensLiteraryAgency.com 917-591-1916 Fax


trade secrets and as such shall not be disseminated in any form or format without the express

written permission of the Agent. This clause survives termination of the Agreement.

The Writer/Producer has final say on any and all proposals or contracts delivered by the

Agent. The Writer/Producer is the only signer on any contract with a buyer.

The Writer/Producer acknowledges that the Agent will act only as an advisor and

negotiator. The Agent specifically states that he is not an attorney, and is NOT providing legal

advice.

The Writer/Producer will supply the Agent with an electronic version of their creative

work in a common word processing format (rtf, doc, pdf) for the Agent to submit the work to

potential clients.

Both parties will make themselves available to each other within reason for any purpose

outlined in this Agreement. Both parties agree that any disputes will be settled in and governed

by the laws of the State of New York.

This Agreement is binding on the Writer/Producer and Agent and their respective heirs

and assigns. However in the event of a sale, insolvency or other change in the ownership or

operation of The Children’s Literary Agency, Inc., the Writer at his sole discretion may choose to

terminate this Agreement on 90 days notice. In the event of a termination both parties agree to

not disparage the other party in any form.

In the event that this Agreement is terminated for any reason, the Agent, his heirs and/or

assigns may continue to collect all commissions due on existing contracts negotiated under this

Agreement. If an existing contract between the Writer/Producer and any client is renewed, the

Writer’s Agent/heirs and or assigns may collect commissions on renewals until the existing

contract with that client is terminated.

This is the entire agreement. All changes shall require signatures of both parties.


WRITER/PRODUCER HAS THE RIGHT TO CANCEL THIS CONTRACT WITHOUT

QUESTION, WITHOUT RECOURSE, FOR 72 HOURS AFTER MAILING.


The Author may specifically EXCLUDE a contact that you have already made who might

sell or buy your work write them in here, up to a maximum of 3. If a sale occurs to, or

through, any of the following people or companies the Agent is NOT entitled to a

commission. (In other words, if we don’t find the buyer, we don’t deserve a commission.

You will find that we are very straightforward in our business dealings.)

1 __________________________________________________ ______

2 __________________________________________________ ______

3 __________________________________________________ ______


The Children’s Literary Agency, Inc.


“Focused Exclusively on the Children and Young Adult Marketplace”


Ofc. 866-876-4488 www.ChildrensLiteraryAgency.com 917-591-1916 Fax


Page 3/3 of CLA Contract


Self-Published authors please note: Your existing contract must give you the right to cancel or must

clearly state that you maintain all rights. If you are in doubt please check with your attorney or

forward us your contract for review.

THE WRITER/PRODUCER ALSO ACKNOWLEDGES THAT AT NO TIME AND IN NO FORM

HAS AGENT GUARANTEED THAT A SALE WILL BE MADE. _______ Writer Initial here.

I HEREBY CERTIFY THAT I AM OLDER THAN 18 YEARS OF AGE. _______ Initial here. If

you are not over 18, please have a parent or guardian execute the contract.


The Literary Agency Group, Inc.

The Children’s Literary Agency Writer/Producer

_____________________(sign) ___________________________(sign)

Robert West - President

Print/typed Name:_________________________

Address: ____________________________

City/State/Zip: ____________________________

Phone: ____________________________

Email: __________________________________________________ _____

PLEASE BE SURE YOUR EMAIL IS LEGIBLE!


Pay particular attention to 1,l,0,O,2,Z, etc.…

PLEASE MAIL TWO SIGNED COPIES OF THIS CONTRACT TO:

The Children’s Literary Agency

Contract Administration Department

275 Madison Ave, 4th Floor

New York, NY 10016

You will be notified via email upon receipt of your mailed copies. Please allow

approximately 30 days for the return of your fully executed copy.

Superfluous
01-19-2006, 02:14 AM
Another one here who just got 'accepted' by CLA. Somehow it all seemed to easy, given the breadth of work they 'represent', the speediness of the reply, and the fact that they never mentioned anything about my work in their responses. I was contemplating responding that I'd already had my book critiqued, just to see what their answer was, or having someone else submit, say, the Gettysburg Address, to see what the response would be. However, I googled them first and came across this. Tsk, Tsk to you board regulars/owners for defaming this obviously honest and philanthropic people! ; )

DaveKuzminski
01-19-2006, 03:04 AM
My, oh my, does this mean I can't call The Literary Agency Group a blivet? ;)

CaoPaux
01-19-2006, 03:09 AM
Dang you, Dave, making me stop and Google. :e2bike2:

http://catb.org/~esr/jargon/html/B/blivet.html

Aconite
01-19-2006, 04:01 AM
It is simple and straightfoward and we've used it for years. It is also non-negotiable. I'm happy to answer any questions that you may have, but 99% of the time we will not make a change to it if requested.
Uh, it's "non-negotiable," but 1% of the time, they'll make changes? IOW, it's negotiable.


You don't have to be nervous because you can back out very easily.
I always like it when a salesperson tells me why I don't have to be nervous. It lets me know I should be nervous.

James D. Macdonald
01-19-2006, 10:37 AM
"...we must focus almost entirely on our core competency, which is selling your work."

Gee!

Nearly nine months ago, on 04/22/05, Robert M. Fletcher said (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8312&page=1&pp=25): "At this time the process that Ms. Strauss decries as a foul scam has 68 manuscripts under request by publishers, 3 book contracts in negotiation, and 3 movie options in various stages of negotiation."

If their "core competency" is selling literary works ... these guys must be incredibly incompetent. Have any of those 68 manuscripts "under request" been sold? How about the 3 "in negotiation." Have they sold? How about the three movie options "in various stages of negotiation"? Have any of them moved on to actually being optioned?

Did all those deals fall through? If you were just batting .100 you'd have managed to sell six or seven of them. If those authors had just thrown their manuscripts into the slush piles one or two of them might have sold.

Again, Robert (or Sherry Fine, or whoever you're calling yourself this week): What have you sold? To whom? Titles, authors, publishers, dates.

(Oh, and Fletcher said he was suing Victoria. To the best of my knowledge that hasn't happened yet either.)

batgirl
01-20-2006, 01:43 AM
I read the linked critiques, and very enlightening they were. Three at least found minor errors in punctuation (in one case, an extra space between words) in the first paragraph of the story, and stuck in a boilerplate warning that such minor errors give an editor or agent the impression that the author Just Doesn't Care, and so they will throw the mss away, and never tell you why.

I guess it's one way of cutting down the slush pile - oddly, not mentioned in the all-encompassing Slushkiller (http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/004641.html) list. Yet I cannot believe that TNH would have missed it. Perhaps 'author misplaces occasional commas' is new since Slushkiller was compiled?

-Barbara (who misplaces commas and is thus DOOMED in big scary letters)

Roger J Carlson
01-20-2006, 05:25 PM
Here's an interesting statement in the Christian Critique (http://www.writersliterary.com/Critique-christian.rtf):


God’s Will: Love in the First Century strikes me as a good title. (I limit myself to “strikes” only because I’m too little acquainted with “Christian literature” as a genre to render a more certain judgment.)

Why is this person critiquing Christian literature if he or she is so little aquainted with it?

Roger J Carlson
01-20-2006, 05:31 PM
Actually, the whole idea of the boilerplate critique bothers me. It gives the appearance of dilligence on the part of the one giving the critique without any real substance.

I think most of us could come up with a few good things and a few bad things about any work. Spelling and grammar are important, of course, but what about things like story arc and character development? Once you get past simple line-editing, these things are difficult to quantify, especially in a boilerplate format.

These critiques give the novice author a sense that their work has been critiqued when in fact it has not.

batgirl
01-21-2006, 01:08 AM
The repetition, the generalisations, the concentration on the first few pages or even sentences, the way any mention of a later part of the story was quite clearly taken from the synopsis or the author-provided list of characters, the admissions of ignorance.... This is their bait, for heaven's sake! This is the best they can be bothered to do?
It annoys me greatly that they believe that's all they have to do, and that the fear-mongering (misplaced commas=DOOM!) and the tone of assurance will browbeat their clients into acceptance. It smells of arrogance and contempt.
Gah.
I think the poetry critique is written by a different person, by the way. It's much tougher, and verges on being a real critique (until the last paragraph where the rote speech kicks in). The others are fluff and have a similarity beyond the boilerplate - but it's hard to tell.

Some snippets:
"The manuscript is currently 45,900 words in length. For a story told from the first-person point of view, as this one is, the length is acceptable."
"Except in experimental works of fiction (which this is not), convention dictates that you start a new paragraph every time you change speakers. This is a simple courtesy to your reader so that he or she doesn’t have to guess each time who’s speaking. (Many contemporary writers don’t believe in courtesy – hence, many contemporary writers flaunt this dictum.)"
"Only one question remains: Can you find the modern-day equivalent of a John Tenniel to supply you with illustrations commensurate with your prosody?"
"Try to avoid using passive voice wherever possible. Editing of the manuscript can take care of these if the author finds it difficult to spot all them.
Example:
I was filled with youthful pride in my brash accomplishment.
Proposed change:
Youthful pride from my brash accomplishment filled me."


Ow.
-Barbara

James D. Macdonald
01-21-2006, 01:12 AM
...hence, many contemporary writers flaunt this dictum.

Surely they meant flout?

batgirl
01-21-2006, 01:37 AM
Gosh, would that be one of those common errors that cause editors to think a writer Just Doesn't Care and consign him/her to the round file?
I'm not sure 'prosody' is the right word for a children's story in rhyme, either.
-Barbara

James D. Macdonald
01-21-2006, 03:46 AM
I don't know about you, but if I were reading a story and it was full of sentences like "Youthful pride from my brash accomplishment filled me," it would be in the SASE and heading back to the author in about one heartbeat.

James D. Macdonald
01-21-2006, 04:00 AM
Can you find the modern-day equivalent of a John Tenniel to supply you with illustrations commensurate with your prosody?

And by golly, I bet they can!

Three gets you seven that the talented artists of RapidPublishing.com are the ones who will be recommended as modern-day John Tenniels. (By a weird coincidence RapidPublishing.com is owned by Robert M. Fletcher....)

Oh, yes ... from http://www.m-w.com/ ...

prosody


1 : the study of versification; especially : the systematic study of metrical structure
2 : a particular system, theory, or style of versification
3 : the rhythmic and intonational aspect of language

newt
01-22-2006, 05:30 AM
Ugh. And here I was kinda excited. I also got a "see potential in you" e-mail from "Sherry." Once I started reading the critiques, I noticed that it seemed like an in-house agency. I got suspicious and did a more through online search and came across this site. But here's a question: They say you can get it critiqued by someone other than a referral. Has anyone done this? What was the response?

batgirl
01-22-2006, 08:30 AM
Hi Newt, sorry to hear that you had your hopes raised by these scamsters. (but remember they'll scam good writers as well as bad - they don't care) I believe (if you check the other threads linked in an earlier post) that you'll find a few people have tried to substitute other independent, really-third-party critiques, and have either been told 'this critique is not up to our standards' or that they aren't the kind of author the agency is looking for (insufficiently spoon-fed).
I'm going from memory, though, so check for yourself and don't assume I'm right.
-Barbara

Sherry Fine
01-24-2006, 09:50 PM
Dear Author:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Best to you whatever your decision.

Sherry Fine - VP Acquisitions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best to you in your career.

DaveKuzminski
01-24-2006, 10:17 PM
Some writers say, "it's the agency's responsibility to help the writer".. Maybe in the old days, but not anymore. An Agent's core competency is selling work and finding buyers, not editing.

Sherry Fine - VP Acquisitions
So, how come your agencies have only four sales thus far? Would you like to admit how many years those sales cover?


Just for grins, and so that you know we provide a service of value to aspiring authors, I would like you to see some of the unprompted quotes that we receive on a daily basis.
So, how come you don't show the names of the unprompted quotes? Afraid that someone will contact one or more of them to learn that's no longer their feeling about your agencies?


WE ARE CREATING THE MOST POWERFUL AGENCY GROUP IN THE UNITED STATES. Every author that we represent has been fully edited and we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that their work is good enough for publication. ... We never promise a sale, but we can promise that if we present your work, it will get respect from our buyers.
What's this about the "fully edited" statement? I thought you stated above that you concentrated on sales, not editing?

It's very wise of you not to promise a sale since your agencies have only four so far. However, what about the works you present that don't sell? Are those respected, too?

Richard
01-24-2006, 10:41 PM
Our clients say it best. The quotes below are unedited and as you can see, quite from the heart. (We have lots more of these.) If you are really cynical, you will probably believe we made them up, but I promise you, we can prove every one of them.

I'll believe you. No particular reason not to.

Of course, I do wonder why you didn't see fit to include a happy author for whom you'd made an actual sale for. They do exist, right? Because that's the biggest criticism, and the one I was expecting to see debunked here. After all, if it's "stuff regurgitated from years ago", it should be easy.

Although I must confess, at least a couple of the quotes seem a bit odd, due to being people who clearly weren't clients at the time of writing to you ("Even if we do not end up working together, I felt it was important to pass this along to you.", "Whether you accept me or not you have restored my faith and hope")

Which is a bit odd. I was expecting more from happy clients making money.

And stuff.

DaveKuzminski
01-24-2006, 10:54 PM
Gee, Sherry, you're not going to refute the statement that your founding agency changed its name twice? Get with the program, Sherry. This isn't like you to miss mentioning that.

It just occurred to me that if we do a search on some of your standard claims, we just might find another LAG website, now mightn't we? Should be easy with one of those copyright infringement search programs. :)

Yes, Sherry, we're going to make it even harder for you and your cronies to hide.

Cathy C
01-24-2006, 11:57 PM
I very seldom respond on this particular thread, simply because I haven't had enough dealings with your agency to warrant a comment, Ms. Fine. However, since you have taken the time (thank you!) to state your views, I feel it's only appropriate that I should give you the courtesy of asking some questions and responding to some of your direct challenges:


Dear Author:

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


It is true that on a lot of message boards, there is information presented in a negative fashion. I don't believe that AW is one of them. We strive at all times to present information in a reasonable, polite manner. However, stating that we provide negative "material" implies that we're lying. I don't believe this is the case. We are providing what certifiable documented information we possess.


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


We seek to understand as well because many authors are confused about publishing when they first get involved. However, I am not confused by any stretch of the imagination
.

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


I'm not an agent, but there probably are some on the boards that lurk. I'll let them speak for themselves. However, I do resent the snark level of the last sentence since it implies that if the author turns you down, they will never be represented.


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


No, the agents who are blackballed aren't the ones who say that the author needs help. The ones who are blackballed are the ones who state that only by paying MONEY can they be helped.


Some writers say, "it's the agency's responsibility to help the writer".. Maybe in the old days, but not anymore.

I can assure you that the "old days" are today. I know a whole bunch of agents and they are more than happy to work with an author (for FREE) if they feel the work has enough promise that it could sell, but just needs tweaking of plot or characters or grammar.


An Agent's core competency is selling work and finding buyers, not editing. Do you really think that an Agent should contribute their valuable selling time to assisting a writer with editing/grammar/ and other mechanics?


Yep. That's part of the selling gig. Of course, no agent is going to take on a work that isn't pretty close to what a publisher is looking for. That's the difference. But no agent I know would EVER recommend a "book doctor" or paid editor to fix a book. If that level of correction is needed, how will the author then be able to accomplish later edits that the publisher requires? If the author is unable to accomplish this because they haven't learned the skill sets necessary, that will be remembered. No agent wants that reputation.


Some writers do, but not those that understand the power and clarity of focus on core competency in business. Most agencies go out of business in a few years, not us. Why, because we concentrate on selling, and let the editors and writers do what they do best, writing, improving, writing, improving, etc.


No, there are plenty of agencies that don't go out of business. The ones who begin to agent because of EXISTING contacts in the publishing business do just fine. But you're right that the ones who do little more than send manuscripts to a publisher's slush (which the author can do themselves), probably don't last long. How many editors from major houses can you name off the top of your head that if YOU, personally, called them on the phone tomorrow, they would a) know your name; and b) make time in their schedule to go to lunch with you if you asked so you could pitch your authors?


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


Admittedly, sometimes it's difficult to find a home for a book. But that doesn't mean the author needs to improve or quit. It means the agent needs to work harder.


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


Only if you charge up front or DEMAND that the author pay up front. If you do it as part of your well-earned commission, everybody here would say "More power to you! Good job, Sherry!"


What Do Buyers Think? That's what really matters.


Ah, yes . . . the "buyers." I'd hesitate to call an editor a "buyer" to their face, by the way. They prefer to be called acquisitions editors or publishers. Frankly, when the word buyer keeps popping up in your discussion, I keep wondering if you have a different meaning to the word than that established in the industry.

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

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


Name five, if you would -- by name. I know quite a few. I'd love to chat with them and see if they agree with your model.


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


I resent greatly being called a "crackpot." Yes, writers improve, submit, research and write. But your comment implies that all published authors are unwilling to share information. We don't fear competition. There's no such thing as competition in book sales. There's plenty of room for everyone, which is why people like me, and James, and Victoria and Susan and especially Jenna, take the time and effort to try to educate fledgling authors.


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


I haven't seen any advertising on this site outside of the "Promotions and announcements" board which people can view or not at their choice. The Google ads are carefully screened to make sure that no scams appear (or at least the owners TRY to make sure. Scammers are tricky beasts).



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


I guess I'm a #2, then. I expect payment from publishers for my product. I expect that payment to be offered WITHOUT REGARD to my checkbook balance. The nervous authors need to realize that #2 is POSSIBLE. When agents request money -- when publishers request money, nervous authors begin to think that #2 isn't possible. It is.


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

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


You promise to respect. You provide to develop. You promise straight talk, and you promise a professional relationship. However, your straight talk doesn't tell them about the fee. It doesn't explain that REQUESTING a fee is UNUSUAL in the industry. You can't respect them if you don't believe they're capable of revisions without paid edits. So, you've broken three of your four promises.


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


Again, you've already broken three right from the outset. That doesn't speak well to the fourth promise, either.


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


Sadly, you're right that there are ten more. We're working very hard at this forum to whittle that number down a bit. Maybe next year there will only be five more. Crossing fingers!


Best to you whatever your decision.


Thanks!



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


You are creating the most powerful agency? You're placing yourself at the same level as Writer's House or Donald Maass or Trident? Wow! I'll bet they'll be surprised. I doubt they've ever heard of you. Again, I'd love to know which editors you know personally. How many publisher mixers id you receive invitations to last Christmas? Which editors call YOU with upcoming lines to see which of your authors will fit the slots? These are all signs of powerful agencies. Where do you stand on the totem?



Best to you in your career.

Again, thanks. I'm doing fine.

James D. Macdonald
01-25-2006, 01:01 AM
Gee, you guys aren't leaving me much to do. (Not to worry, I'll deal with "Sherry" anyway.)

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

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

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15336&page=117&pp=25 (http://showthread.php?t=15336&page=117&pp=25)

and

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15336&page=118&pp=25 (http://showthread.php?t=15336&page=118&pp=25)

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

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

http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=467304&postcount=29830 (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=467924#post467924)

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

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

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

She's here to do damage control. Why here? Because the first place you come to when you Google "The Screenplay Agency" (http://www.google.com/search?q=%22The+Screenplay+Agency%22) or "Stylus Literary Agency" (http://www.google.com/search?q=%22Stylus+Literary+Agency%22) is right here. Any of those PublishAmerica authors who Googled got an eyeful.

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


(http://showthread.php?t=20359)http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=467714#post467714
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=467713#post467713
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=467710#post467710
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=467707#post467707



Good for you, "Sherry," very industrious.

I'll only reply in one place, but I'll put this note in all four so folks can collect the whole set. Lots of people have already replied, identifying Sherry's major fibs, distortions, and omissions.

MadScientistMatt
01-25-2006, 07:08 PM
It just occurred to me that if we do a search on some of your standard claims, we just might find another LAG website, now mightn't we? Should be easy with one of those copyright infringement search programs. :)

Yes, Sherry, we're going to make it even harder for you and your cronies to hide.

Not that they are always that good at hiding. Most of their front names seem to follow a standard format: The [Insert Genre Here] Literary Agency. Also, this genre is often one that many agents do not handle, such as The Children's Literary Agency, or one that most agents won't touch with a ten foot pole, such as poetry. If this pattern holds true, if any of the following agencies ever come into existance, I'd immediately suspect that they are offshoots of the LAG:

The Song Lyrics Literary Agency
The Short Story Literary Agency
The Memoir Literary Agency
The Magazine Article Literary Agency

And what could be their most lucrative offshoot...

The Fanfic Literary Agency!

James D. Macdonald
01-26-2006, 03:38 AM
Before I begin on "Sherry Fine," here are some links to previous appearances by Robert M. Fletcher, and by his surrogates:

Robert Fletcher (01-13-2004, 10:09 AM): "First, let me thank you for first 'seeking to understand'. "

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=1&pp=25

Paul Anderson (posting as ST Did Me Right 02-27-2004, 05:02 PM) "ST provided me with the two things I needed to get out and promote my own work - a web site and letter of representation."

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=3&pp=25

Robert Fletcher ( 04-07-2004, 03:21 PM) "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."

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=6&pp=25

Robert Fletcher (04-22-2005, 06:27 AM) "At this time the process that Ms. Strauss decries as a foul scam has 68 manuscripts under request by publishers, 3 book contracts in negotiation, and 3 movie options in various stages of negotiation."

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=20&pp=25

Identical post by RobertF (04-22-2005, 06:25 AM) here, (different discussion follows):

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8312

Peter Parente (MessageBoardAltView 03-17-2005, 12:01 PM): "It bothers me that you all have these expert opinions based on nothing and they are not even educated( sorry Dr., but the Dr. doesn't always account for common sense)."

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8286

"Georgina Orr" (06-23-2005, 05:41 PM): "WE HAVE CONTACTED THESE PEOPLE NUMEROUS TIMES AND OFFERED TO ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS ON A PUBLIC FORUM FOR THE BEST INTEREST OF THE INDUSTRY AND THE WRITERS."

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8286&page=2&pp=25

"Georgina Orr" again (06-28-2005, 10:46 AM): "...I am not prepared to waste time replying to any of these posts... "

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8286&page=4&pp=25



On The Literary Agency Group's track record of sales:

You'll read on these threads that they've sold both four books, and none.

Both of these statements are true. I'll explain why in a bit.

Two ads from The Literary Agency Group (Publisher's Marketplace and Publisher's Lunch):

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=24&pp=25

Lists leading clients as Paul Anderson, Michele Campanelli, and Denise Brown.

Paul Anderson is Robert Fletcher's business partner, and with one exception "sold" his books to a pay-to-play vanity press. The exception was a) before Fletcher took over ST Literary Agency, and b) doesn't require an agent.

Michele Campanelli:

See http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=7&pp=25

Here are the four books The Literary Agency Group claims to have sold (reprinted from http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=234687#post234687 ):


Denise Becker Shades of Brown Genesis Press

The author sold this book herself.


Pastor Billy Crone A Marriage Built to Last Mapletree

A startup LDS publisher, may not pay an advance. I don't know if Pastor Billy sold the book himself or not.


Victor Stenger Where Do the Laws of Physics Come From Prometheus Books

Stenger has been selling physics books to Prometheus on a regular basis since 1988. I don't know how ST was involved in this sale.


Dario Castagno Too Much Tuscan Sun Globe Pequot

The author sold the book himself.

That is, of the four books, two were definitely, and the other two probably, sold by the authors themselves.

That is how The Literary Agency Group can, simultaneously, have four books sold, and no books sold. They didn't sell those books, but they are collecting 15% of the royalties on those books. There is no possible way the income from those four books is supporting The Literary Agency Group's operations.

The Literary Agency Group advertises for vanity presses at Publishers Marketplace (09-24-2005, 12:56 PM):

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=37&pp=25

The Literary Agency Group advertises again for vanity presses (11-07-2005, 10:23 PM):

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=38&pp=25

I find it interesting that Robert Fletcher, Peter Parente, and "Sherry Fine," all use the phrase "just for grins" in their messageboard posts. Must be a grinning group down there in Boca Raton.

On how The Literary Agency Group takes credit for books that authors sell themselves:

(06-29-2005, 10:34 PM)
" From the opening of the ST Contract: we will... write you the all-important and necessary cover letter saying that you have Agent representation."

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=263709

and here (07-26-2005, 12:42 PM):

An example of that "all-important and necessary cover letter." Discussion follows.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=280041


=======

Other names, for the sake of search engines:

Jill Mast
Jennifer Dublino
John Rain
Robert West
Mark Bredt
Ann Doro
Dorothy Walker
D.A. Johnstone

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

In a bit, a line-by-line on the "Sherry Fine" twaddle.

James D. Macdonald
01-26-2006, 06:54 AM
Dear Author:


This appears to be the form letter that The Literary Agency Group (and its sub-scams) sends to authors who suspect the truth and start to ask questions.


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

I'm certain you're "keenly aware." Your friend "Georgina Orr" said the same thing, but fluffed her golden opportunity to set the record straight. To help us out, do you suppose you could point to any positive material on any writers' message boards? Happy posts from clients whose work you've sold, for example?

As far as "regurgitated from years ago," the news that your agency isn't really based in New York City (the people in the building you claim to be based in never heard of you) is from May, 2005. (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=24&pp=25 )

Your ads seeking someone -- anyone -- who'd actually sold an option to Hollywood, and looking for vanity presses willing to take your clients' money in Publisher's Marketplace and Publisher's Lunch are from May, September, and November of 2005. Those aren't "regurgitated from years ago."



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

I'm an author. I'm not a bit confused.

"Seeking to understand" is a phrase Robert Fletcher used in his very first posting here. I suspect that it's been part of ST's form letter to unhappy authors for years now (speaking of being regurgitated from years past), since you've had unhappy authors from the very beginning. The reason you've had unhappy authors from the very beginnig is, from the very beginning Stylus/ST/LAG and all its little sub-groups has been unable to sell books to publishers.

This is more evidence that your post here is just a slightly re-worked version of LAG's form letter to authors who start asking questions.



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

This isn't a "reply" to anything. That phrasing shows this is a form letter intended for authors who are asking tough questions like "What have you sold?" Nor are you "presenting both sides." The bit about "the furor that will arise after this post," well, that's probably been added for the message board version.

[Lurkers: Please do compare the professionalism of the replies to "Sherry's" post with her vague and misleading letter.]


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

Most authors (98%) haven't written a publishable manuscript. Editing an unpublishable manuscript will give you an unpublishable manuscript. If agents do offer editorial advice to authors (and many, if not most, do), it's because the manuscript is publishable, but needs editing. Agents offer this advice to their clients -- not to everyone who writes them a query letter.



Some writers say, "it's the agency's responsibility to help the writer".. Maybe in the old days, but not anymore.

Actually, no. It's the agency's responsibility to find the best publishing deal for the author.


An Agent's core competency is selling work and finding buyers, not editing.

So, how about it, "Sherry"? What have you sold? To whom?


Do you really think that an Agent should contribute their valuable selling time to assisting a writer with editing/grammar/ and other mechanics?

You might as well ... you haven't shown any ability to sell anything, so your selling time doesn't seem to me to be all that valuable.


Some writers do, but not those that understand the power and clarity of focus on core competency in business.

What's your core competency, "Sherry"? Mine's writing.


Most agencies go out of business in a few years, not us. Why, because we concentrate on selling, and let the editors and writers do what they do best, writing, improving, writing, improving, etc.

With a grand total of four books sold (by the most generous estimate possible), you should have gone out of business years ago.

The fact is, though, that you didn't even sell those books. The authors sold them on their own, didn't they? (So much for your claims that an agent is needed to sell in the first place.)


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

Do you have a reputation for trying to sell unpublishable works? Do you even submit works at all? What happened to those 68 "active conversations" you had last spring? How about the three that were "in negotiation"? Did none of those manuscripts sell? Why were you actively advertising this last autumn for vanity presses who would be willing to take your clients' money?

Are you so incompetent that you can't even find a vanity press on the Internet?


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

Access to the market isn't the hard part. Writing a good book (or even a potentially great one) is the hard part. You're turning slush into edited slush? It's still slush. Nor have you had remarkable success even with that. Where are your sales? At its core, that's the real issue: Where are your sales?


What Do Buyers Think? That's what really matters.
==========================================
Buyers (publishers) love our model.

Do they really? Then why don't they publish the books you represent?


Why? because they know that we've forced the writer to jump through a series of hoops to prove their mettle.

Writers don't "prove their mettle," nor should they be interested in "jumping through hoops." They write publishable manuscripts. Rather than "we've forced the writer to jump through a series of hoops to prove their mettle" you mean to say "we've forced the writer to write a series of checks to prove their gullibility."



And the writers whine, whine, whine, and the publishers say, "whew, thanks for bringing us great work and for filtering out the crackpots."

Crackpots have been known to write great books. But expecting an agent to actually, you know, represent books to publishers ... doesn't make a writer a crackpot. Expecting the agent to make his money on a percentage of the royalties, not on a series of checks written by the author, doesn't make an author a crackpot. It makes the author realistic, or a professional.


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

I have more books under contract to be written right now than you've sold to publishers in your life, even if I allow books that your authors sold on their own.


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

So you're claiming that various folks at writers' message boards woke up one morning, and said "Gee, how shall we generate traffic for our ads? Ah! We'll pick on a totally above-board agency, well respected in the entire publishing world and famous for their success, and call them a bunch of scum-sucking scammers who've never sold a book in their pathetic lives! The controversy is certain to draw the curious!"


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

In other words, thanks to our warnings the only people who come to you are naive newbies who fell off the cabbage truck last night. These are folks who don't know that you aren't really agents. These are folks who don't see anything wrong in opening their checkbooks again, and again, and again.

By the way, I don't want something for nothing. I provide manuscripts that a lot of folks are willing to pay money to read. That's what I bring to the table. You claim you "respect" writers? Try showing a little respect.


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

I'd be more impressed if you found even one of your clients who'll report that you've sold a book.


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

Good thing you aren't promising a sale.


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

We're back to the form letter to authors who are asking questions. I'd appreciate some straight talk: What's the source of your income?


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

Take my advice: Terminate the relationship right now. A bad agent is worse than no agent, and The Literary Agency is as bad as they come.

As to being what you say you are... what was it again that you said you were? Literary agents? If so, why haven't you managed to sell any books? That's what literary agents do.


Best to you whatever your decision.

Sherry Fine - VP Acquisitions

I have a question for you, "Sherry": Do you even exist, or are you an alias for Robert M. Fletcher?


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

Newbies in their honeymoon period, while they're still in love with the idea of having an agent.


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


No, I entirely believe that they're real. But I looked and I looked and I didn't see one of them that thanked you for selling a book. Where are those testimonials?


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

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

This looks like someone who'd just submitted a work and was waiting to hear whether you'd represent him. (You did offer a contract, didn't you?)


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


Pretty clear that this person doesn't know much about the writing world, either.


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

A letter to dear Georgina! Who's Judith? Does she have a last name? Does she have a sale? What would Judith say about your abilities and ethical standards if we were to ask her today?


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

Here's the first educational tip: A fool and his money are soon parted.


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

Even if we don't wind up working together? Does this person have a lot of experience with you? Are you sure this testimonial is one you want to display?


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

Dear Georgina, again. Any "Dear Sherry" letters? Ah, well. Still haven't broken into Hollywood either, have you? How did you make out looking for someone who'd sold something there? Anyone take your offer?


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

How much did this author pay for that "constructive feedback"?


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

"Whether you accept me or not...." I bet you accepted him. I bet his book hasn't sold, either. How many "hoops" did you make this poor guy jump through to "prove his mettle"? Is he still with you, or have you dropped him after he stopped writing checks?


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

Appreciating new sources of writing is a science? There's still only one source: Writers. And is this writer sure that the world would be a better place if LAG's model (the author pays, the agent cashes the checks, the writer has to sell his own books anyway) were displayed by all agencies?



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

WE ARE CREATING THE MOST POWERFUL AGENCY GROUP IN THE UNITED STATES.
Are there any real editors at genuine publishers who return your phone calls? Who even know your name?


Every author that we represent has been fully edited and we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that their work is good enough for publication.

Then why isn't it being published? Ah, I see. You still haven't convinced any publishers that the work is good enough to get published. Two possible reasons come to mind. Either the work isn't good enough to get published, or you aren't actually submitting it.



Unfortunately, the ones that 'wash out', tend to grouse and *****. If you can make it through our process, then you will be in an elite group that buyers respect.

Weirdly ... all those books on the shelves in real bookstores? None of them came through your process. Could you explain that?


We never promise a sale, but we can promise that if we present your work, it will get respect from our buyers.

Could you name two or three of your buyers? Folks who've, you know, bought stuff?


Best to you in your career.

And best to you in your next one.

HapiSofi
01-27-2006, 03:15 AM
Jim, do you mind if I play a couple of choruses of this song?

For purposes of this dissection, fictional dialogue will be inside quotes and italicized.


Dear Author:

We are keenly aware of the negative material on a lot of writer's message boards and I thought I would take a minute and give you more background than what you are getting (which as best I can tell is stuff regurgitated from years ago)."Damn! You're on to us. I'm not going to reply to the specific material you've read online, since replying would only get me into trouble. Besides, it would be work."
I know it is confusing to authors ..."I'm telling you now that 'it's confusing' because the rest of my letter is not going to make any sense, and I want you to think it must be your fault that you don't understand it."
"...and I thank you for 'first seeking to understand"."Oh, good -- you wrote back. I get one more chance to pull the wool over your eyes."
I hope that you will view the professionalism of this reply, ...For some reason, "professionalism" is a magic word for aspiring authors. You don't see it used a lot by real agents and editors, who definitely aren't in the habit of protesting their own professionalism. However, the word is frequently used by bad guys who are trying to intimidate baby authors. It's not on the list of red-flag words and phrases I take as prima facie evidence that the speaker is a scammer, but I'm automatically wary of people who use it.

BTW, my own definition of "professionalism" would have to include knowing that the word they want is perceive, not view, viz.: I hope you will perceive the professionalism of this reply.
...where we try to present both sides of the situation, and contrast that against the furor that will arise after this post. Hey, maybe the message board people will agree to be your Agent!They will not present both sides of the situation the author has written about, because this is a labor-saving generic response. As such, it won't work well with perceptive authors; but Fletcher won't hang on to those anyway. There are enough suckers who will fall for it to keep him in beans and bacon, down there in Boca Raton, and that's all he cares about.

They will also not present both sides of any other situation. Fletcher has no interest in the truth. He couldn't tell it even if he wanted to -- he doesn't know enough about publishing.

Predicting "the furor that will arise after this post" is a classic piece of well-poisoning. Posts by Fletcher's sockpuppets always raise a stir, because they're full of fraud and falsehood.

"Maybe the message board will be your agent" is there to throw a scare into the author: "You'd better get down off that high horse. If we don't agent you, who else will?"
It is a fact that most authors (98%) can't get the time of day from an Agent. Why?Because as Jim Macdonald has pointed out, most authors haven't written a saleable book.
Because invariably their work needs improvementNo book is perfect. The division isn't between perfect and imperfect, but between imperfect-but-saleable and imperfect-and-unsaleable. Anyway, that's not the point. The real point is that if an agency takes on unsaleable books, and thrusts their authors into the arms of fee-charging evaluators, book doctors, "professional editors", whatever they're calling them this week, that agency is dishonest.
if an Agent takes the time to say, "I like the idea, but you need a little help" the Agent is blackballed by every writers blog on the net.Liar, liar, liar. "You need a little help" is lightyears away from "Let me introduce you to my associate, whom you will be required to use, and required to pay." "You need a little help" is also lightyears away from the truth about the vast majority of these manuscripts. A little help will not make them good. A lot of help, even if done by thoroughgoing professionals, is also not going to make them good. Finally, if every writer is being remanded for "a little help," it's a scam.
Some writers say, "it's the agency's responsibility to help the writer".Yup. So do editors. So do publishers. That's why writers pay the agent a percentage of the take.
Maybe in the old days, but not anymore.Here we see the first instance of what will become a major theme in this letter: talking tough to the writers. There are times when that's appropriate, but none of them involve talking pure codswallop to the author, so that leaves Fletcher/Fine out entirely. They talk tough to writers, not to enlighten them, but to intimidate them: "Shut up! Stop whining! Who the hell do you think you are? How dare you object to my procedures! If you think you have rights, if you think you're entitled to civil treatment, you clearly don't understand how the industry works!" Et cetera. The thugs at PublishAmerica are the masters of this technique, but Fletcher's no slouch at it.
An Agent's core competency is selling work and finding buyers, not editing.This is the same letter that says, "We believe that great authors are made, not born. We are willing to develop talent" right under the signature?

An agent's core competence (not "competency") is recognizing good writers, getting their work ready for submission, selling that work on favorable terms to appropriate publishers, and in general mediating between clients and the problems of the world. Many of the best agents have significant editorial skills. It's part of what makes them good at what they do.
Do you really think that an Agent should contribute their valuable selling time to assisting a writer with editing/grammar/ and other mechanics?I think that if writers need help on such an elementary level, the agency ought not be taking them on as clients.

I think that writers who need help with the basic mechanics of writing are not going to be made saleable by the fee-charging cronies to whom Fletcher refers them.

I think that if I were going to hire someone to fix my grammar, punctuation, and other problems of that nature, the person I hired wouldn't be the author of this letter.

Finally, I have to wonder: if Fletcher's selling time is so valuable, how come he never makes any sales?
Some writers do, but not those that understand the power and clarity of focus on core competency in business."The power and clarity of focus on core competency in business" is a string of business-speak cliches that has no connection to the text around it. Remember when I said their line, "I know it is confusing to authors," was there to soften up the reader for a letter that doesn't make sense? This phrase is the kind of thing I had in mind. If you go online and try to find an explanation of it, you'll find yourself wading though oceans of executive gobbledegook. Any explanation you cobble together that attempts to relate that phrase to the rest of the letter will be entirely your own creation. And if you don't go to all the useless work of trying to figure it out, your self-confidence will be undermined, because he's said something you don't understand.

(By the way? "Focusing on core competency" just means "working on, and paying attention to, the business you're already in." Like, if you sell seeds for kitchen herbs, that's your core competence. It's okay to put up a website to help sell them, but not if you forget that your business is selling seeds, not constructing bigger and better websites. Simple, eh? Most business-speak is just a fancy way to teach executives the commonsensical principles their office managers and secretaries already know.)
Most agencies go out of business in a few years, not us.Here's one of the places where you can see that Robert Fletcher & Co. don't know anything about agenting and publishing. Real agencies don't make money fast. They make it long-term and slow, from multiple overlapping revenue streams.
Why, because we concentrate on selling, and let the editors and writers do what they do best, writing, improving, writing, improving, etc.Why, because Fletcher & Co. aren't in the business of agenting. A churchmouse couldn't live off the commissions they've earned. They survive because they make their money off the authors.
Furthermore, when a work doesn't sell, what typically happens is that the author adopts one of 3 postures, 1) you suck, you scammer you, 2) I'll improve, or 3) maybe I'll quit. Most of the material on the boards is from attitude 1.That's too painful. Let me give you the correct version of those sentences: "Furthermore, when a work doesn't sell, the author typically adopts one of three attitudes: (1.) You suck, you scammer you; (2.) I'll improve; or (3.) Maybe I'll quit. Most of the material on the boards reflects attitude #1."

There. It's still factually wrong, but at least it doesn't hurt to read it.

Attitude #1 is commonly found among former clients of Fletcher & Co.'s agencies. This has nothing to do with whether their work sells or not. They take that attitude because Fletcher & Co. are scammers.
At it's core, that's the real issue. Always has been.What's the real issue? They never say. This passage is more of that tough, knowledgeable-sounding codswallop which, on examination, turns out to not mean a thing.
So, there's a situation where potentially great work is 'waiting in the wings' so to speak, and can't get access to the market.If you've written a book that people want to buy and read, you will get published. If not, you probably won't. In no case will Fletcher & Co. make the difference. They will never, ever help you. At best, they'll just get in your way. At worst, it'll be a lot worse than that.
And, if the Agent offers to help, to coach, and to mentor, well, you see the boards reply.Liar, liar. This is the guy who's just been explaining that helping the author takes away from his valuable selling time.

Fletcher & Co.'s "help" consists of bunco-steering authors to confederates who'll charge them top prices for work of dubious quality and less utility. For this, Fletcher & Co. will receive illegal kickbacks from their cronies. The author will do all the paying.
What Do Buyers Think? That's what really matters.
========================================== Robert Fletcher, "Sherry Fine", I take you at your word! What the buyers think is what really matters:

What most buyers think of Fletcher & Co.: Nothing. F&Co. don't send out many submissions.

What most buyers think when they do receive Fletcher & Co. submissions: "Ho-hum, agented slush. ... Nope, not buying this. Where's my stash of 'agent' form rejection letters...? Oh, there it is. (*log, stuff, seal*) (*thud*) ...Next!"

What the few buyers who're aware of Fletcher & Co.'s existence think of them: They think they've met pond scum that was more attractive, virtuous, and useful.
The small number of buyers who're aware that you exist didn't find out about you because you sell them books. They know your name because they're aware of the problem of scam agents. They know you're one of the worst of them. They show your (few, author-mailed) submissions to their editorial young, to teach them what to watch out for. They feel sorry for your clients.

That's what buyers think of you.
Buyers (publishers) love our model.Liar, liar. Buyers don't give a damn about their model. Buyers care about authors and books. They don't buy Fletcher & Co.'s.
Why? because they know that we've forced the writer to jump through a series of hoops to prove their mettle.As someone said in another thread, this is utterly irrelevant. Editors don't care about mettle and hoops. Editors care about books.

This and the next bit of quoted text are prime examples of a scammer trying to sound tough, knowledgeable, and intimidating, so they can scare the marks into quiet compliance.
And the writers whine, whine, whine, and the publishers say, "whew, thanks for bringing us great work and for filtering out the crackpots."Nope. Publishers and editors don't say that. Filtering out crackpots is part of the agent's job. And if Fletcher & Co. were bringing anyone great work, they'd have sold some of it by now.
Where do you think the crackpots cluster? Right on the message boards because a successful writer is improving their craft, making submissions, and researching and writing. And a successful agent is reading slush and phoning editors? Cuts both ways, boyo.

Fletcher/"Fine" is saying that crackpots "cluster" on the online boards because that's where writers exchange information and warning about his scam "agenting" operation. Writers who don't avail themselves of such information may be sitting at home, working on their writing; but they may have unpleasant surprises waiting for them when they go to sell it.
I use the word 'cluster' in the marketing segmentation definition.See above, remarks on business-speak gobbledegook. This is another example of it.
Look on most of those message boards, and you will see advertising, newsletters, and other capitalistic products and services based on traffic generated by controversy.Wrong. Traffic is generated by perceived value. Mere flamage won't do it. And participants on these boards aren't here to generate revenue for the people running them. They're here for the value they find in the discussion. Readers are here for the same reason.

Fletcher/"Fine" is trying to suggest that the operators of this board generate controversy purely as a means of drawing in traffic so they can increase their ad revenues. This is of course untrue. Jenna's downright twitchy about controversy.
So now you understand that the point of the boards is to generate traffic and advertising revenues based on their niche in the market.We don't understand any such thing. The point of this board is to discuss writing and publishing.
Anyway, that said, it actually does us a favor and we've come to thank these boards.Fletcher & Co. hate the online bulletin boards and other venues where people exchange information and spread the word about his fake agency. That's why their sockpuppets keep turning up at AW, doing their best (which is fortunately not very good) to silence their critics.
They weed out two main categories of authors that we are actually glad to be rid of: 1) nervous authors that don't understand the nitty gritty of hard business and who can't make up their mind and who rely on others for their opinions, 2) the SFN's (writers that want Something for Nothing) who want it all, basically for free... "They weed out two main categories of authors whose fees we're sorry to lose: (1.) Authors who learn that our model of publishing is nothing like what's really out there, and that our business model is fraudulent; and (2.) Authors who expect us to be able to perform valuable and useful services on behalf of the writers we take on as clients."
I place 4 bullets under my signature.Big fat hairy deal.
That's our promise. It's simple and it's understandable,"And it's completely misleading. That's how we meant it to be."
and I really do think you'd be hard pressed to find one of our clients that won't, even grudgingly admit that we've delivered.I've seen a lot of their former clients who say just the opposite. I've never seen a long-term client of theirs ... well, I've never seen a long-term client of theirs, period. But I've definitely never seen a long-term client of theirs who was willing to say they delivered squat.
Our Pledge To You:
==================
* We respect what you have accomplished thus far as a writer."We haven't read your manuscript, nor do we plan to do so in the future."
* We believe that great authors are made, not born. We are willing to develop talent."We're willing to develop talent as long as you do all the work, pay all the costs, and let us charge a commission every step of the way."
* We pledge straight talk in a confusing and old-school industry."We make simple, false, wholly misleading statements about a complex industry we've never gotten to know."
* We can't promise a sale. We can promise a professional relationship."'No sale' is a foregone conclusion. We can promise you a professional relationship as long as you understand that our profession is not "literary agent".
So, in conclusion, this is what I would do, if I were in your shoes,"So, in conclusion, here's what I'm hoping you're sucker enough to do..."
I'd proceed with us,NO KIDDING! After all is said and done, after carefully weighing all the considerations, they come to the conclusion that you ought to keep paying them to do nothing! Will wonders never cease?
eyes wide open, and see if we meet or exceed our four business tenets, A) Respect, B) Building Talent, 3) Straight Talk, and a 4) Professional Relationship."If you're fool enough to continue with us, you will indeed find out how we do on all those counts. Mind, you won't be happy; but you will find out."

BTW, I love the ordinals on their business tenets: A, B, 3, and 4.
Of course, if you'd rather us terminate our relationship now, no problem,"If you decide to leave I can't do a thing about it, except bully you and try to undermine your confidence, hoping you'll be so squashed that you'll agree to go along with my scam."
fortunately for me, and unfortunately for you, there's 10 more to take your place,They're being a bit crude and heavy-handed there, wouldn't you say?
and you can go back to querying agents for the rest of your life,Another threat. I repeat: if you've written a book people want to buy and read, you will get published. If not, it's unlikely that you will. In neither case will Fletcher & Co.'s representation do you a bit of good, and they could do you quite a lot of harm.
or you can just see what happensWhy wait? I can tell you now. They won't sell your book, and they'll say it's all your fault.
and see if maybe, just maybe, we are what we say we are.Again, I can answer that one right now: They aren't.
Best to you whatever your decision"In spite of all my derogatory remarks and implied threats."
Sherry Fine - VP AcquisitionsRobert Fletcher's latest sockpuppet.
Just for grins, and so that you know we provide a service of value to aspiring authors, I would like you to see some of the unprompted quotes that we receive on a daily basis.These may look like references, but all they are is quotes with no names attached. There's no way you can check up on them.
Our clients say it best. The quotes below are unedited and as you can see, quite from the heart. (We have lots more of these.) If you are really cynical, you will probably believe we made them up, but I promise you, we can prove every one of them.If they were concerned about being believed, they need only have put real names on those quotes.

Note: in some cases I'm going to be excerpting bits from the quotes.
"Just a note to say, whatever the outcome of my submission, ..."This author has neither been sold nor rejected. It's easy enough to say "Yes, we'll represent your work." Doing something with it is a lot harder.
"It is refreshing to get an honest professional opinion of my work, it make me realise just how much I don't know about the written word and its presentation.""I am deeply unsure of myself, and grateful for any response."
Dear Georgina, I'd like you to know how highly and gratefully I regard the clarity with which you explain the process as well as your reliability. I have complete trust in both your abilities and ethical standards. Best wishes, Judith"Dear Sockpuppet, I'm sending you an unsolicited testimonial, which vouches for moral characteristics of yours I'm not in any position to judge, and which doesn't sound like any author this professional has ever encountered."
It's been a long time since I left school with considerable number of years passing before I became interested in writing again. I would like you to thank you for working with me and let it be known that I look at this as a new beginning and rebirth of my education."If this is a representative sample of my prose, you have no business offering to represent me."
You don't know how nice it is to have such timely responses. I am sure I am not the only writer that puts a lot of heart into their work and I have to say, I have "kept mine tucked away in the closet" for many, many years. I just enjoy writing, but didn't know if I would ever try and submit it to anyone. Making the decision to do that has been somewhat of a nerve-wracking process. Your timely responses and professional, yet "down-to-earth" responses are making the process a lot easier. At this time, I am not submitting my work to anyone else, because you have impressed me the most up to this point. Even if we do not end up working together, I felt it was important to pass this along to you."Here's my credit-card number, the key to my safe-deposit boxes, and the passwords to all my accounts. Take me, you blazing hunk of agenty goodness, I'm yours!"
Dear Georgina: Your professional zeal and resourcefulness cannot be overemphasized seeing the volatile-oceanic-wave called the American Hollywood with its impregnable sales frontiers.I hold you dearly to my heart in my every prayers towards our mutual success now and...very soon in sbsequent works.I doff my heart after your every professional spirit imagining the energy, sweat and travellings involved. Thanks for everything you stand for professionally."Dear Sockpuppet, I have a mild neurochemical disorder and am even more vulnerable than your last correspondent. Please take me for all I'm worth."
Thank you for your constructive feedback. I found your critique of my work very informative, and it concluded many things that I already knew. I really do need to improve on my punctuation skills..."Your critique has convinced me that I'm not a very good writer (even though my letter is quite passably written). I will probably give up on it. But I have very nice manners, so I'll write and say "thank you" all the same."
I just want to say I have been rejected for years by Agents and Publishers. After awhile it all seems pointless. But I am in this for the long run and will never give up and never give in."I am your natural prey. Thank you for inviting me to lunch. I'm sure it will be a learning experience."
...I must say that I am impressed by the way your agency has handled the science, or art of appreciating new sources of writing."Wow! You didn't turn me down. Everybody else has."
WE ARE CREATING THE MOST POWERFUL AGENCY GROUP IN THE UNITED STATES."We are so ineffectual at our ostensible profession that we shouldn't be called an agency at all."
Every author that we represent has been fully edited and we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that their work is good enough for publication."We are lying through our teeth. We have no shame."
Unfortunately, the ones that 'wash out', tend to grouse and *****."Unfortunately, our fomer clients and many industry professionals are wise to us, and will say so, vigorously and at length, with many colorful illustrative details."
If you can make it through our process, then you will be in an elite group that buyers respect."We're lying again. We're such chronic and habitual liars that we probably lie to our teddy bears as we're falling asleep."
We never promise a sale,"Which is only fair, since we never make them."
but we can promise that if we present your work, it will get respect from our buyers.The natural respect editors and publishers extend to writers and their manuscripts has nothing whatsoever to do with Robert Fletcher and his various criminal enterprises.

Avoid them. Don't listen to their promises. They'll only bring you to grief.

James D. Macdonald
01-27-2006, 07:17 AM
Fletcher & Co. hate the online bulletin boards and other venues where people exchange information and spread the word about his fake agency. That's why their sockpuppets keep turning up at AW, doing their best (which is fortunately not very good) to silence their critics.

Good catch there, Hapi. Compare and contrast
"Anyway, that said, it actually does us a favor and we've come to thank these boards." (Sherry Fine, 01-24-2006) with
"I absolutely guarantee the lawsuits are going to fly.. let's see who cares to play." (robertfletcher, 04-07-2004)

and
"We are beginning a series of lawsuits against her and other bulletin board moderators and posters." (RobertF, 04-22-2005)

and

"We're filing lawsuits against Victoria Strauss and a few other message board owners..." (Georgina Orr, 06-23-2005)

LloydBrown
01-27-2006, 07:27 AM
That's a lot of lawsuits. I'd love to see it happen. It's been a long time since I've heard a judge ask a plaintiff "What kind of crack are you smokin'?"

James D. Macdonald
01-27-2006, 07:58 AM
Something else I just noticed in the "Sherry" letter:

In "Where do you think the crackpots cluster?" the word "cluster" is a verb. In "I use the word 'cluster' in the marketing segmentation definition," the word "cluster" is a noun.

Good going, "Sherry." Have you thought of hiring a professional editor? I hear there are some at that "sister company" of yours you keep recommending.

James D. Macdonald
01-29-2006, 11:17 PM
"Sherry Fine" says:


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

"Sherry Fine" also posts:


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

"Georgina Orr" posts:


1) The first category are the 'industry watchdogs'. These are people that derive some level of psychological benefits from 'exposing' fraud, scams, etc. WE HAVE CONTACTED THESE PEOPLE NUMEROUS TIMES AND OFFERED TO ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS ON A PUBLIC FORUM FOR THE BEST INTEREST OF THE INDUSTRY AND THE WRITERS. They have refused or ignored our requests. What does that tell you? It tells me that they aren't interested in the truth, it tells me that they are interested in more visitors to their website. Also, they have blocked our rebuttal posts and deleted our prior posts. In short, a very one-sided message board!

Okay Sherry/Georgina/Robert: It's put-up or shut-up time.

I want Judith's full name, email address, and the title of her book. You want to call me "cynical"? Prove this is a real quote from a real person. Right here, right now. Let's see what she says about you today.

ADITDC
01-30-2006, 09:44 PM
Quote:
Dario Castagno Too Much Tuscan Sun Globe Pequot


The author sold the book himself.

This is false...

LloydBrown
01-30-2006, 09:53 PM
Quote:
Dario Castagno Too Much Tuscan Sun Globe Pequot
The author sold the book himself.
This is false...

Hi, there. Welcome to AW. Do you have more to contribute, like support, for your accusations? Do you have first-hand experience that contradicts this article from Chianti Classico Magazine?

The writer and critic Robert Rodi played a role in the enormous success of this book. It succeeded like a thunderclap. “At the beginning I auto-published and auto-distributed the book and I soon realized that it was a good idea. Three thousand books sold in 15 days and then a further 10,000. Then I was contacted by a U.S. publisher. “Why,” he asked me, “can’t we find this book in the United States?” “Yeah, why?” Because Castagno, enough but not too much of a prophet in his own country, fell, as they say, from the clouds. “Don’t worry about it,” the publisher said. “We’ll take care of publication and distribution in the States.” They tended to it and the result was as follows: Too Much Tuscan Sun sold more than 150,000 copies in the United States, it’s the bestselling book and Italian author in America and now it is being published in Germany, the Scandinavian countries and Australia And it continues to sell.

ADITDC
01-30-2006, 10:13 PM
The book was self published only in Italy, Robert Rodi's (a dear friend) agent tried for 3 years to find a publisher in the US without success.
Castagno tried himself, only Fletcher replied and got hold of GPP that contacted the author asking "How come the book has never been published in the US if it has been such a hit in English in Italy?"

Aconite
01-30-2006, 10:15 PM
The book was self published only in Italy, Robert Rodi's (a dear friend) agent tried for 3 years to find a publisher in the US without success.
Castagno tried himself, only Fletcher replied and got hold of GPP that contacted the author asking "How come the book has never been published in the US if it has been such a hit in English in Italy?"
Do you have any proof of this?

LloydBrown
01-30-2006, 10:25 PM
The book was self published only in Italy, Robert Rodi's (a dear friend) agent tried for 3 years to find a publisher in the US without success.
Castagno tried himself, only Fletcher replied and got hold of GPP that contacted the author asking "How come the book has never been published in the US if it has been such a hit in English in Italy?"

Well, a columnist for a magazine that specializes on the book's topic says one thing. Some unidentified person who won't cite sources or provide verifiable information in defense of a convicted fraud says another. Who would you believe?

Roger J Carlson
01-30-2006, 10:54 PM
The book was self published only in Italy, Robert Rodi's (a dear friend) agent tried for 3 years to find a publisher in the US without success.
Castagno tried himself, only Fletcher replied and got hold of GPP that contacted the author asking "How come the book has never been published in the US if it has been such a hit in English in Italy?"What an incredible coincidence that Robert Rodi is a "dear friend" of yours and you just happen to post here.

Oh wait. Maybe it's not so incredible. The hallmark of an internet hoax is that it is always told with one degree of separation. It usually starts with: "This really happened to a dear friend of mine." This gives the veneer of credibility without any substance.

Unless you're willing to back up your assertions with proof, please peddle it elsewhere.

Note: The next time ADITDC replies, it will be an indignant reply, blasting everyone with derogatory (and usually non-sequitor) comments that try to divert attention from the fact that he or she never answers the questions we've posed. He or she will be too busy to bother with the us small-minded, untalented hacks. All this, even though he or she wasn't too busy to start it.

Aconite
01-30-2006, 11:05 PM
Note: The next time ADITDC replies, it will be an indignant reply, blasting everyone with derogatory (and usually non-sequitor) comments that try to divert attention from the fact that he or she never answers the questions we've posed. He or she will be too busy to bother with the us small-minded, untalented hacks. All this, even though he or she wasn't too busy to start it.
Our inability to get published or get an agent will come up, too (despite easily obtainable evidence to the contrary). There will probably be a rant about how the publishing industry keeps down the talented little guy, as well. And then someone new who is definitely not ADITDC will jump in and mention how reasonable ADITDC is and how we're untalented, unpublished, unagented, bitter failures with too much time on our hands who post on messageboards and ruin the reputation of good agents.

Wow, we must've really hit a nerve with Fletcher and Co. this time, eh?

ADITDC
01-30-2006, 11:08 PM
What an incredible coincidence that Robert Rodi is a "dear friend" of yours and you just happen to post here.

Robert Rodi is a dear friend of Dario Castagno

Aconite
01-30-2006, 11:16 PM
Robert Rodi is a dear friend of Dario Castagno
Hi again. Any proof of these claims?

Roger J Carlson
01-30-2006, 11:18 PM
Wait a second. How does this:

The book was self published only in Italy, Robert Rodi's (a dear friend) agent tried for 3 years to find a publisher in the US without success. Translate into Robert Rodi being a dear friend of Castagno? If you take out the parenthetical, it says "Robert Rodi's agent..." So which is it? Robert Rodi or Robert Rodi's agent? And why is it important that he (whoever it is) is a dear friend?

And more importantly, what is your source for the statement that he tried to find a publisher for 3 years without success until Fletcher & Co. stepped in?

ADITDC
01-30-2006, 11:25 PM
take a look at the last two letters of my user name

Aconite
01-30-2006, 11:31 PM
take a look at the last two letters of my user name
That implies an answer to the question, but doesn't actually answer the question. Are you Dario Castagno?

Roger J Carlson
01-30-2006, 11:32 PM
take a look at the last two letters of my user nameYou're from the District of Columbia? You read DC comic books? You use Dublin Core citations? What?

ADITDC
01-30-2006, 11:37 PM
www.toomuchtuscansun.com (http://www.toomuchtuscansun.com) contact the author

Aconite
01-30-2006, 11:39 PM
www.toomuchtuscansun.com (http://www.toomuchtuscansun.com) contact the author
Why not just give us a straight answer? Why all the mystery?

Roger J Carlson
01-30-2006, 11:43 PM
www.toomuchtuscansun.com (http://www.toomuchtuscansun.com/) contact the authorStill doesn't answer the question. Are you Dario Castagno? Yes or no.

LloydBrown
01-31-2006, 12:00 AM
The book was self published only in Italy, Robert Rodi's (a dear friend) agent tried for 3 years to find a publisher in the US without success.
Castagno tried himself, only Fletcher replied and got hold of GPP that contacted the author asking "How come the book has never been published in the US if it has been such a hit in English in Italy?"

The book was self published only in Italy. I don't think anybody disagrees so far. Nobody has claimed that it was self-published in the U.S.
Robert Rodi's agent tried for 3 years to find a publisher in the US without success. I'm dubious that an English-languge book with a respectable sales record couldn't find a home here for 3 years, but I suppose it's possible. Was this agent Robert Blake, a "literary agent" with no sales record that I can find?
Castagno tried himself Which publishers did he submit to?
only Fletcher replied If an agent is trying to sell a book to a publisher, why would he contact another agent? How did Fletcher enter the picture?
Fletcher...got hold of GPP Fletcher contacted Globe Pequot? Why couldn't Rodi have done that himself? Or Blake? Or even the author, since Globe Pequot doesn't require an agent? Or did Rodi's "trying" not include contacting publishers?
GPP...contacted the author asking "How come the book has never been published in the US if it has been such a hit in English in Italy?" So, did the publisher approach the author? I thought you just said that Fletcher contacted GPP?

Your explanation seems to open up more questions than it answers.

James D. Macdonald
01-31-2006, 12:17 AM
I just sent a note to the author.

Roger J Carlson
01-31-2006, 12:19 AM
I just sent a note to the author.I did too. We'll see.

Aconite
01-31-2006, 12:30 AM
I did too. We'll see.I feel ridiculous asking this, but did anyone look up who the site's registered to? How much confidence should we have that anyone who answers from that site is the author? I know, I know, it sounds stupid and paranoid, but given the Fletcher and Co. activity here lately, I can't help but wonder.

DaveKuzminski
01-31-2006, 12:39 AM
The site belongs to the author.

LloydBrown
01-31-2006, 12:56 AM
The site belongs to the author.

It does have a banner ad leading to (at least) the Poet's Literary Agency, though.

James D. Macdonald
01-31-2006, 07:00 AM
I've heard back from Dario -- ADITDC is in fact him (and the IP numbers show Italy) -- and based on what he's telling me Fletcher may actually have sold this one.


More when I know more.

ADITDC
01-31-2006, 12:21 PM
The friend that created the site for me also added the link exchange, I think that the only banners that appear publicize sites that are somewhat related with publishing,editing, reading or whatsoever and I have no control. Curious that today a Poet literary agency banner materialized on the site...I didn't see it though, now their is a Greenwich village gazzette ad.

Aconite
01-31-2006, 04:05 PM
ADITDC, I'm curious. Whyever didn't you simply say you were the author at any point in the discussion? Why build up such a mystery?

Roger J Carlson
01-31-2006, 06:29 PM
I also heard back from Dario. Apparently, he does not want to talk openly on the board. His choice.

However, while he said that Fletcher was very nice and he sold his book to GPP, he also says that Bobby acted as if Dario was his only client and he never asked for a % of sales.

I don't know what kind of agent has only one client and doesn't even ask for a % of sales. Still makes me wonder how Fletcher & Co. makes any money.

LloydBrown
01-31-2006, 06:50 PM
I also heard back from Dario. Apparently, he does not want to talk openly on the board. His choice.

Fine. I have no problem with that.

I still don't understand what Fletcher did that nobody else could do. The book had already shown great promise. Anybody capable of reading guidelines and writing a letter could have sold it.

Roger J Carlson
01-31-2006, 07:04 PM
What an incredible coincidence that Robert Rodi is a "dear friend" of yours and you just happen to post here.

Robert Rodi is a dear friend of Dario CastagnoI want to apologize here openly for statements I made up-thread. We get so many Fletcher sock-puppets that I assumed you were just another one.

However, since you admit that this thread and others I sent to you privately were an eye opening experience, you might want to consider what lending Fletcher the use of your good name means.

Based on my own experience with ST Literary and multiple anecdotal posts on this board, I conclude that Robert Fletcher is indeed a scam artist who has bilked hundreds (perhaps thousands) of authors out of hard-earned money while giving them nothing in return.

I'm still not certain in what sense Fletcher "sold" your work. You haven't explained that even in private. However the fact that he did not ask for a % of sales makes me wonder what was in it for him. The only thing I can think of is to have a "legitimate" sale on record by a legitimate author which will allow him to silence his critics and perpetuate his scam.

If I were you, I would certainly not want to lend my good name to such activities.

Aconite
01-31-2006, 07:07 PM
Roger, thanks for reminding me: Mr. Castagno, I apologize for assuming you were a sockpuppet, and I wish you continued success with your book.

victoriastrauss
01-31-2006, 07:44 PM
I've heard back from Dario -- ADITDC is in fact him (and the IP numbers show Italy) -- and based on what he's telling me Fletcher may actually have sold this one.This is contradicted by information that Ann and I obtained from a source closely connected with the publisher. We were told that the Italian version of the book was passed to an acquisitions editor at Globe by one of Globe's authors, who discovered the book while in Italy. The publisher then contacted the author directly with a contract offer. Sometime after that point, the author brought in Fletcher and ST. We were also told that Mr. Castagno is being paid directly by the publisher--the monies are not funneled through ST--which would explain why Fletcher isn't getting a %.

We don't see any reason to mistrust this information.

- Victoria

James D. Macdonald
02-09-2006, 08:22 PM
Woo! Check it out!

The Literary Agency Group (http://www.theliteraryagencygroup.com/) misspelled "Literary" in the title bar of their own website!

Let's see how long it takes for them to see this note and correct it.

Roger J Carlson
02-09-2006, 08:38 PM
Woo! Check it out!

The Literary Agency Group (http://www.theliteraryagencygroup.com/) misspelled "Literary" in the title bar of their own website!

Let's see how long it takes for them to see this note and correct it.Sharp eye, Jim. BTW, they did the same in Children's Literary. (http://www.childrensliteraryagency.com/)

Roger J Carlson
02-09-2006, 08:41 PM
And another thing. If Poets' Literary Agency is an agency for poets, doesn't Children's Literary Agency imply they are an agency for children?

victoriastrauss
02-09-2006, 09:27 PM
The Literary Agency Group (http://www.theliteraryagencygroup.com/) misspelled "Literary" in the title bar of their own website!

Let's see how long it takes for them to see this note and correct it.Assuming that they know what a title bar is. Probably not a safe assumption.

- Victoria

DaveKuzminski
02-09-2006, 09:56 PM
Shhh! Don't tell them. Then we can point it out to anyone asking about their editing ability. ;)

Aconite
02-09-2006, 10:42 PM
And another thing. If Poets' Literary Agency is an agency for poets, doesn't Children's Literary Agency imply they are an agency for children?Roger, do they even use the possessive apostrophe, much less use it correctly? I think you're giving them way too much credit.

Roger J Carlson
02-09-2006, 11:19 PM
Roger, do they even use the possessive apostrophe, much less use it correctly? I think you're giving them way too much credit.I don't know if it's done correctly. Writer's Market and Writer's Digest use the singular possessive, but I don't know if that's correct either.

However, on this page (http://www.theliteraryagencygroup.com/submissions.html) of the Literary Agency Group, they list Poets' Literary Agency and Children's Literary Agency. Both are plural possessive. But their websites are actually named Poets Literary Agency (http://www.poetsliteraryagency.com/index.html) (no possessive) and Children's Literary Agency (http://www.childrensliteraryagency.com/index.html) (plural possessive).

So they really don't have any consistant naming structure.

victoriastrauss
02-10-2006, 05:30 AM
Welcome to The Literary Agency Group tentacles thread.

Any time you hear about a writer who decides to say thanks but no thanks to a tentacle of the LAG, as a result of information found online or offered by you, please let us know about it.

The current tentacle list:


Children's Literary Agency
Christian Literary Agency
New York Literary Agency
Poets [sic] Literary Agency
The Screenplay Agency
Stylus Literary Agency (formerly ST Literary Agency, formerly Sydra-Techniques)
The Writers [sic] Literary & Publishing Services Company
(That's only seven; a good octopus needs eight.)

- Victoria

Gravity
02-10-2006, 05:36 AM
(That's only seven; a good octopus needs eight.)

- Victoria

Victoria: just give Bobby some time. He'll come through for us. That boy never disappoints. Unless you want something sold, then...:D

John

Tilly
02-10-2006, 05:36 AM
There's this gentleman on writers.net who, through that website and others, was warned off the New York literary agency:

http://www.writers.net/forum/read/10/146933/146933

DaveKuzminski
02-10-2006, 05:40 AM
I was thinking of Rapid Pub and his other company as the other two arms with LAG being the bloated body. ;)

Anyway, I will start off with the one I announced yesterday.

Number of writers: 7
Amount saved by writers: $665.00 (actually, one writer said oodles)

MartyKay
02-10-2006, 07:09 AM
We need TWO figures. One is the number of people who, thanks to AW, aren't taken by the Octopus. (Septapus?). The other number is a guesstimate of how much income a person represents for the octopus over say a year.

Multiply the two together to get how much AW has saved writers, and conversly, how much writers HAVEN'T paid to the Octopus.

Taken from one of the multitude:

I had a contract with St. Literary Agency, needless to say, they got me. First they took me for $80.00, I think they called it a POP page. Then they turned around and ask me for $145.00 to cover the cost of printing up ten manuscripts for sending out to publishers. After that, they charged me another $95.00 for ten more manuscripts, then turned around and ask for another $95.00. I said enough is enough. They turn around and tell me I can get out of the contract and when I say yes, they send me a email stating that the contact is now void...what's up with that? Three days back, I sent a query and a short synopsis to 'New York Literary Agency' and they want my script. lol I'm with you

So.. a rough "initial" cost would be $80+$145+$95+95, or $415.

I've seen a few posts mentioning a range of up to $2000 though...

I signed on with NYLA without seeing any websites like this one. Their contract is on the up-and-up, but their escalating demands for fees make it clear what their real game is. They wanted $79 for a "critique", $99 for an "edit", and then -- are you ready for this? -- a "full edit" for $1750 (reduced from $1950!). Cough, cough. You bet I stopped before step #3. But let's talk about steps 1 and 2 for a minute, because it's not all bad.

Soooo... That's a little bit more than $415. That must be for "extra special" people...


If you pay for the critique, you'll likely discover that it says your ms. could be improved with further editing. You'll probably then be advised by Ms. Georgina (who, depending on which agency she's responding for, is sometimes Georgina Orr) that "we are willing to take the time to work with you to bring the manuscript to a very polished point before we submit it...we have a sister company in our family that will prioritize your work and give you a discounted price. It's usually about $99 to get started." (This is an actual quote from one of Ms. Georgina's canned "you need more editing" letters.) If you have a full-length manuscript, $99 will probably cover just the first couple of chapters. A full "edit" could cost you as much as $2,000.

A lot of variance in the amounts charged then. Plus there were some posts that people were encouraged to go with some vanity publishers who charged amounts such as $8000. Fletcher doesn't get that amount, but he might just get some commission on the sale...

Okay, given the above, let's have a rough figure of..... $1234. Yes, I pulled that number out of my.... hat.

The post above says AW saved 4 writers. Tally is: $4936 so far :)

A. J. Luxton
02-10-2006, 01:34 PM
Georgina Orr? The protagonist of LeGuin's Lathe of Heaven dreamed himself female and employed as a scam agent?

Freakish, truly.

Tilly
02-11-2006, 04:55 AM
Someone was saved from the Screenplay Agency by Warren Hsu Leonard's sting. It's comment number 5.
http://www.screenwritinglife.com/i-spy-pt-4-of-3-the-saga-comes-to-an-end

JennaGlatzer
02-12-2006, 03:11 AM
And another commenter there gave a great link:

http://www.google.com/contact/rate_advertiser.html

That's a place to tell Google about your experiences with people who advertise on Google Ads. Please, please, everyone, take a minute and tell Google why this company should be banned from advertising with them. Undoubtedly, those Google ads are how many new writers find this lousy company. That can be fixed...

Meanwhile, Vic, I heard from another saved writer about five days ago. The person was actually pretty grumpy about it, but turned down the "offer" from Children's Literary Agency after reading here. :e2woo:

DaveKuzminski
02-12-2006, 06:20 AM
Or at least recommend they be charged triple for the privilege of advertising. ;)

James D. Macdonald
02-13-2006, 09:31 PM
"Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action." -- Goldfinger
I can't really think which thread to put this in, but I do feel the need to put it somewhere. I'm going to comment on The Clone Wars ... the recent wave of trolls and sockpuppets.

As "Georgina Orr (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8286&page=2&pp=25)" says, "Please allow me to give you our analysis of the situation and a suggestion about how to proceed."

Adjudged (http://www.dfi.wa.gov/sd/orders/SDO-063-01.pdf) swindler (http://www.dfi.wa.gov/sd/orders/SDO-021-01.pdf) Robert M. Fletcher of Boca Raton, Florida, runs The Literary Agency Group (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13517&page=1&pp=25). He's graced us several times with his presence, either as himself (robertfletcher (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=1), 01/13/04; robertfletcher (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=6&pp=25), 04/07/04; RobertF (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=170545#post170545), 04/22/05 06:25 am; RobertF (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=170547#post170547), 04/22/05 06:27 am) or as one of his alternate identities ("Georgina Orr," 06/23/05 (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=232826#post232826), 06/28/05 (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=236494#post236494); "Sherry Fine," 01/24/06 12:49 pm (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=467707#post467707), 12:50 pm (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=467710#post467710), 12:51 pm (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=467713#post467713), 12:52 pm (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=467714#post467714)).

His partners Paul Anderson (ST Did Me Right (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=3&pp=25), 02/27/04) and Peter Parente (MessageBoardAltView (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=124981#post124981), 03/17/05) have also posted.

In each case, their appearance has provoked a comprehensive slapdown.

So he came up with a new tactic.

We've had a spate of trolls:

Isabellabrown (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=729&page=6&pp=25) (01/26/06) in The New York Literary Agency thread.
ADITDC (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=475598#post475598) (01/30/06) in The Literary Agency Group thread.
HorrorGirl (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=481371#post481371) (02/03/06) in the S.T. Literary Agency/Stylus Literary Agency thread.
Winter (http://showthread.php?p=487458#post487458) (02/08/06) in The Screenplay Agency thread.

Two used Yahoo.com email addresses to sign up, one used hotmail.com.

With only one exception (HorrorGirl's second post was elsewhere), none of them has posted anywhere except in the thread where they started. In every case, they joined AW and that same day posted their first post in defense of Robert Fletcher. Three of the four were posted in the same threads as where "Sherry Fine" posted "her" screed (the odd-one-out was the main Stylus Literary thread. No post from Sherry, but a series of posts from Robert Fletcher and Paul Anderson).

One of the newcomers, ADITDC, has been linked to a real person with a real book: Dario Castagno. But he went through such contortions on the board to avoid posting his real name that one has to wonder if he was under orders not to give it. (Unlike the other trolls, he also acted like a writer: He wanted to give his name, and his title, and talk about his book, and he signed up with his real email address rather than a web-based throwaway account.)

I wonder if, after "Sherry" posted "her" quadruple play (and this is pure speculation now), whether Bobby Fletcher, either as himself or, more likely under some other name (Sherry Fine, Georgina Orr, Robert West), wrote to some of his happy clients and asked them to come to specific URLs, to defend him. Two of the trolls denied ever having heard of Robert Fletcher.

I imagine that his letter said something like, "these threads are full of old rumors, brought up by jealous wannabee writers. None of them have ever published anything. They're all people we've turned down, or people we've fired, or people who have no idea how a literary agency works. Because they're all scary, creepy people who will stalk you and attack your work, you mustn't tell them your name. Go out there and shut these people up. It will help me sell your manuscript. Sincerely, Sherry Fine."

I think that's a reasonable explanation for what we've seen, and covers all the known facts.

How to proceed? I expect we'll have more Visits From St. Nicholas. (I'm frankly surprised that we didn't hear from one in the fourth thread Sherry hit, The Children's Literary Agency ... unless the post (01/26/06) referenced by Jenna here (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=471202&postcount=117) was it, with the person getting cold feet and writing a letter rather than posting to the open boards.) I'd recommend greeting them cordially, as real would-be writers, rather than assuming that they're Bobby Fletcher spoofing us with sockpuppets. Perhaps we can get some information out of them.

janetbellinger
02-13-2006, 09:52 PM
Today, I cancelled my contract with New York Literary Agency. I did it both by email and registered mail, and was worried I might meet oppositioin but Robert West replied promptly and said the contract was terminated. I have to give him credit for that.

Janet Bellinger

aka eraser
02-13-2006, 09:55 PM
Today, I cancelled my contract with New York Literary Agency. I did it both by email and registered mail, and was worried I might meet oppositioin but Robert West replied promptly and said the contract was terminated. I have to give him credit for that.

Janet Bellinger

I'm glad you got out Janet but Bobby doesn't deserve credit for realizing a well has gone dry. He's busy waggling his divining rod for new ones.

Maryn
02-16-2006, 12:25 AM
Having seen the many warnings at this site, I steered someone at IMDb away from The Screenplay Agency today--and suggested he come here.

I'm sure when he does, he'll thank you himself, but in the meantime, chalk up one more.

Maryn, standing in for Mr. Easley

Necropolis
02-25-2006, 03:10 AM
I just got solicitation from NY Literary. I've never heard of them, so I went in search of scams. What I found is this website with everything I needed to know about them. So, thanks to all who know about this so-called agency for all the information. It is truly appreciated :Hug2:

Roger J Carlson
02-25-2006, 06:33 AM
Just heard from Josvin in the Childrens Literary Thread. She was taken for $60 for a "professional critique" before she found the truth. She's going to post her work in SYW for a critique there. Add one complaint and another soul saved (metaphorically speaking, of course).

James D. Macdonald
02-25-2006, 07:03 AM
I just got solicitation from NY Literary. I've never heard of them....

That's interesting. Did they just write to you out of the blue? You didn't contact them first?

Necropolis
02-25-2006, 07:48 AM
That's interesting. Did they just write to you out of the blue? You didn't contact them first?


No, I didn't contact them first. But a while ago I contacted Dorance for more information (I'm sorry I ever did THAT...they won't leave me alone now :ROFL: ). I think I've read they're all one and the same. Lucky me :Soapbox:

Cheers!

batgirl
03-01-2006, 02:28 AM
Just heard from Josvin in the Childrens Literary Thread. She was taken for $60 for a "professional critique" before she found the truth.
I realise that Josvin may not be comfortable with this, but would she consider making her 'professional critique' available, perhaps with the identifying points blacked out? I think the texts of these critiques are a useful resource, showing what, um, level of service NYLA provides. I'd love to see one of the Screenplay critiques, and compare it to the freebie critiques on these very boards.
Just a thought.
-Barbara

James D. Macdonald
03-01-2006, 03:00 AM
I think I've read they're all one and the same. Lucky me

Whitmore and Dorrance are one and the same. So far as I'm aware Dorrance isn't connected to the ST Literary Agency or any of its incarnations. But if Dorrance is selling addresses to Bobby Fletcher, or Bobby Fletcher is buying them ... well, it's not exactly a new low for either of them.

Nunya_biz
03-02-2006, 08:50 AM
what a tangled web!

Roger J Carlson
03-02-2006, 07:24 PM
Two more in the S.T. Literary Agency/Stylus Literary Agency (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529)thread. One complaint here (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=515479&postcount=990). And one Thanks but No Thanks (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=515585&postcount=991).

RadioFreeBabylon
03-06-2006, 09:31 PM
I got duped over the weekend. Should've known better. Promptly followed up my five chapter submission to "Ms. Sherry Fine" - with a thanks but no thanks not 15 minutes later, after discovering these many posts. Not sure which makes me more angry: being stupid enough to fall for that crap or letting my hopes get up because an "agent" wanted to work with me.

First clue should've been: Why is this high powered agent sending me emails on a Saturday night?

miranda12
03-14-2006, 12:30 AM
LAG has a job posted on Publishers Marketplace for a research assistant. I wonder if they are as reliable paying their employees as they are in actually helping their authors?

CaoPaux
03-14-2006, 01:08 AM
FYI: This agency has been named one of Writer Beware's 20 Worst Agents/Agencies (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=525972#post525972).

CaoPaux
03-14-2006, 02:18 AM
I wonder what they'd need an RA for...cross-referencing spam lists?

James D. Macdonald
03-14-2006, 02:23 AM
Here's the ad:


Research Assistant For Agent Needed - Generate Publisher Lists
posted: 20 Feb 2006
http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif Offered by:
The Literary Agency Group
http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif Salary:
$17.50 per hour
http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif Benefits:
Flexible hours
http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif Duration:
Project or Part Time Basis
http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif Location:
Any City USA - Internet
http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif Requirements:
Seeking research assistant for our literary agents. Job entails generating lists of 5-10 potential publishers for authors we represent. $500 Bonus for successful sale that comes from your research. You can work from anywhere and we will train.
http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif About Our
Company:
The Literary Agency Group is proud to represent the largest group of formally edited manuscripts in the world.
http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif Contact:
Robert West - Principal
http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif E-mail:
robertw@theliteraryagencygroup.com
http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif Phone:
Email only please
http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif Special
Instructions:
Email your background and resume please.
http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/s.gif
Job #
2154

CaoPaux
03-14-2006, 02:31 AM
Generating publisher lists...the mind boggles.

James D. Macdonald
03-14-2006, 02:33 AM
I wonder if they've ever heard of Writer's Market?

oracle
03-16-2006, 06:41 PM
I was about to sign with NYLA until I read the critiques by the knowledgable members of the forum. Does anyone have something positive to say about this so-called literary agency? My novel has been professionally edited and needs minimal polishing. I have contacted several reputable literary agents and am awaiting their replies. Would it be in my best interest to hope for positive feedback from them or take a flyer on NYLA? Any advice would be appreciated.

James D. Macdonald
03-16-2006, 07:06 PM
Would it be in my best interest to hope for positive feedback from them or take a flyer on NYLA?

Are you nuts?!

You'd be better off submitting your manuscript yourself than going with NYLA. (In fact "submitting your manuscript yourself" seems to be NYLA's preferred method of getting submissions to publishers.)

Why in the world would you want to go with an "agent" who's never sold a book? Who thinks that making you "jump through hoops" will somehow magically produce a publishing contract? Do you want to jump through hoops or sell your book?

Do as you please... but don't write a check. To anyone. For anything.

Roger J Carlson
03-16-2006, 09:10 PM
What Jim said. :)

It's been said here before, but I'll repeat. A bad agent is worse than no agent at all.

Let's suppose you have a terrific book that publishers would fight over to publish. Now further suppose that NYLA is your "agent" and bulk mails it to multiple publishers. Given their shady reputation, most publishers are going to just dump it in the trash bin after extracting the SASE to send the rejection.

On the other hand, if you send it yourself, you have a chance of someone reading it and recognizing its potential. It may take a while, at least you've got a chance.

There are worse things than the slushpile.

LloydBrown
03-16-2006, 10:10 PM
Let's suppose you have a terrific book that publishers would fight over to publish. Now further suppose that NYLA is your "agent" and bulk mails it to multiple publishers.

We've also seen evidence that Fletcher and cronies don't actually send submissions, anyway. No publisher will ever look at your manuscript if it gets into NYLA's hands.

batgirl
03-17-2006, 12:34 AM
My novel has been professionally edited and needs minimal polishing.
Just curious, Oracle, did NYLA suggest that your ms. needed further editing? Because I understand that's what they do, and where they make their money.

Secondly, and I hope this isn't rude, but what I've read is that real agents/publishers don't require submissions to have been 'professionally edited', and in fact the suggestion that they should be is an earmark of scammers. So I'm a bit worried that you bring it up, and wonder if you might have been getting some bad advice previously?
-Barbara

RadioFreeBabylon
03-21-2006, 07:17 PM
After sending a "please delete my chapters and cease contact" email to "Ms. Sherry Fine," I received a "Your chapters have been deleted," reply.

Then I get a standard "We've reveiwed your chapters and find them promising. With a little polish, they would be ready for submission to a publisher." I didn't reead any further. All future emails from NYLA are headed straight to the trash.

I agree. No agent is better than these clowns.

DaveKuzminski
03-21-2006, 07:22 PM
After sending a "please delete my chapters and cease contact" email to "Ms. Sherry Fine," I received a "Your chapters have been deleted," reply.

Then I get a standard "We've reveiwed your chapters and find them promising. With a little polish, they would be ready for submission to a publisher." I didn't reead any further. All future emails from NYLA are headed straight to the trash.


No, no! Save those two emails and post those in the appropriate topic in this forum to show how incompetent they are as an agency. Be sure you copy the date and time sent when you paste each email in the topic so that people can see for themselves.

Raylb
03-23-2006, 06:07 AM
Thanks for the warning.

Ray,
www.thequestsaga.com (http://www.thequestsaga.com/)

Roger J Carlson
03-23-2006, 05:38 PM
Two more rescued: Here (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=537414&postcount=35)and here (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=537242&postcount=137).

batgirl
03-27-2006, 11:10 PM
One saved by the Viable Paradise yahoo group - does that count?
-Barbara

haefner919
03-31-2006, 02:05 AM
I am completely green in the areas of publishers and literary agents. It's just me andmy little manuscript trying to figure this whole world out. I did send a query to NYLA and of course heard back right away. I was ecstatic, but at the same time it did seem to sound too good to be true. Now I know better. I have already sent my ms via email to them. Okay, was it just the dummest move ever???? I am going to send an email asap to delete my ms and cease communication immediately. Should I be worried?????

MadScientistMatt
03-31-2006, 02:07 AM
I am completely green in the areas of publishers and literary agents. It's just me andmy little manuscript trying to figure this whole world out. I did send a query to NYLA and of course heard back right away. I was ecstatic, but at the same time it did seem to sound too good to be true. Now I know better. I have already sent my ms via email to them. Okay, was it just the dummest move ever???? I am going to send an email asap to delete my ms and cease communication immediately. Should I be worried?????

Don't worry about it. Just don't send them any money and don't sign a contract with them. If you have signed a contract, cancel it. They won't be able to cause you any further harm.

LloydBrown
03-31-2006, 02:09 AM
I am completely green in the areas of publishers and literary agents.

Don't be worried, and you're not dumb.

There's nothing wrong with being scammed by a pro. NYLA has done this thousands of times. You found AW and stopped before you were broke, right?

Your manuscript isn't going anywhere. Fletcher couldn't sell "The Secret Harry Potter Sex Diary." With pictures.

haefner919
03-31-2006, 02:44 AM
Thanks! I haven't signed anything. I just emailed my ms last night.

Thank goodness for AW!! I haven't been in here in a while, but I learn so much when I do stop in here!! I'll have to make this a daily stop from now on!

Matthew Warner
04-01-2006, 12:53 AM
I just wanted to say I have new respect for the folks on this message board after exchanging emails with a young writer who says he's represented by Stylus Literary Agency.

When I heard he was represented by them, I directed him to the threads indexed on this board concerning Stylus/ST. I was careful not to say that I can vouch for the truth of any of the allegations; I just directed him here for his information. Here's how he responded:



Yeah, I've read all the negative blogs concerning the agency, actually after I signed with them.
Everything's been quite professional thus far. The fees everyone talks about, minimal office fees for mailing purposes, and yes they suggest their own editor, which yes you have to pay for like most editing services, which was actually a hundred dollars cheaper than my previous novel I had edited by Mark Sullivan's Literary Agency, who strung me along like a tangled yo-yo. Of course, it all comes down to whether Stylus has success or not selling my current novel.
In the end, are the blogs truly warnings or just whiny complaints from disgruntled writers?
I'll find out firsthand I guess, which is a lot better than assuming these bloggers have any credibility. If it were a handful of renowned authors posting it would be whole different story.
But thanks anyways for the heads-up.
I appreciate it.
It would be nice if they were able to prove the negative hype wrong, and yes those worries are always in the back of my mind. :)

His reply sets off all kinds of red flags. "Minimal office fees for mailing purposes"? Referral to an editor? And then of course there's his initial email in which he said Stylus hasn't secured any potential sales leads for him yet. I wonder if they ever will.

In any case, I consider his message a corroboration of some of the "negative hype" about this agency. It's too bad that he doesn't realize what he's gotten himself into.

Kasey Mackenzie
04-01-2006, 12:59 AM
The questions he SHOULD be asking are "Has this agency sold several/many sales to verifiably reputable publishers?" and "Can this agency sell my book?" Well, you did the best you could do. Not your fault if he chooses to ignore valuable advice.

LloydBrown
04-01-2006, 01:04 AM
That's simply amazing.

I have some questions for this person.

What books Stylus has sold so far? What makes you think Stylus is suddenly going to become able to sell a manuscript now? They don't even submit them to publishers.

Have you checked up on these "disgruntled writers" to find out who they are? They actually write and sell books. You know, the kind you can read on bookshelves.

How do you feel about giving your money to somebody who has been convicted of fraud?

Why doesn't your agent take his fees out of your royalties, AFTER he has sold your book, like some legitimate agents do?

Are you aware that the 'editor' they referred you to is the same person at a different e-mail address?

Matthew Warner
04-01-2006, 01:04 AM
The questions he SHOULD be asking are "Has this agency sold several/many sales to verifiably reputable publishers?" and "Can this agency sell my book?" Well, you did the best you could do. Not your fault if he chooses to ignore valuable advice.

Thanks. Yeah, this is how I responded:


My feeling--the same as most
professional writers--is that you should never
subsidize an agency's "office fees for mailing
purposes." They're a literary agency, not a law firm.


As an experiment, you might try asking them a few
questions, and see if they respond:

1. Where exactly have you submitted my novel, and
what have been the responses? (Can you send me copies
of these responses?)

2. What projects have you sold for other clients
within the past year?

3. Did the editor to whom you referred me send you a
"referral fee" (kickback)?


He answered:



Thanks for the advice Matt.
I'll keep those questions in mind for future dealings with the agency.

So we'll see, I guess. :Shrug:

ThunderCloud
04-09-2006, 01:23 AM
I paid $79 for a Critique. I did a li'l research prior to securing editing services---at $145. Chalk up $79 to youthful exuberance. So it goes.

first time writer
04-09-2006, 04:23 AM
I got duped over the weekend. Should've known better. Promptly followed up my five chapter submission to "Ms. Sherry Fine" - with a thanks but no thanks not 15 minutes later, after discovering these many posts. Not sure which makes me more angry: being stupid enough to fall for that crap or letting my hopes get up because an "agent" wanted to work with me.

First clue should've been: Why is this high powered agent sending me emails on a Saturday night?


welcome to the club Radio

I came that close to sending a contract. At first I'm sure you were excited just like I was. But my wife for some reason sensed something amiss. It just so happens I found this forum and read horror stories about NYLA. Needless to say I won't be sending Ms. Fine a dime. By the way in addition to sending 90.00 for a critique, and even though Ms. Fine said there are no additional fees, once you got your critique back, she would have said you will need 100.00 for "editing".

Now I am never going to hear the end of it from wife: I told you so, I told you so.http://absolutewrite.com/forums/images/icons/icon11.gif

good luck

vulcanse
04-09-2006, 09:31 AM
I google'd literary agents and the NYLA came up so I went to it and got sucked in. I went as far as the critique for $89 and signed the contract. I feel like a rube after reading this forum. I should have checked up on them. Live and learn I guess. I am going to e-mail them and cancel contract. Thank you for the eye opener.
Can you tell me where I can find a real agent?
I would appreciate any advice.
Thanks
Pete

Aconite
04-09-2006, 09:35 AM
Pete, the Index to Agents, Publishers, and Others thread on this board has links to threads on researching agents. Good luck with your next.

bhb
04-13-2006, 12:15 AM
I too received a cyber-response from NYLA. I sent them back a form letter, and attached it below for all those out there who would like to use it. I hope it helps.

---BEGIN HERE---

Dear Sherry,

Thank you for your interest in my work. You have no idea how frustrating it is to find agencies out there with a real appreciation for new voices in writing!

Before I send you my entire manuscript, I will first need a small deposit from your agency to insure a smooth transaction of materials. This fee, of course, will be fully refunded along with the generous commission you will receive when my book gets published.

Please send a certified check for $1000 (one thousand) dollars, made out to (your name), and promptly mail it to:

(your address)

I look forward to our new partnership and can't wait to start making waves in the literary world, thanks to my new friends at NY Literary Agency!

Regards,

(your name)

---END HERE---

Gravity
04-13-2006, 12:54 AM
:::snerk::: That's pretty good! Oddly enough, I don't think Bobby, er, Sherry, will get the joke. He/she has shown himself/herself singularly lacking a sense of humor. (And yes, I know your letter is meant to get their goat).

Baaa for us, Bob; there's a good boy.

James D. Macdonald
04-18-2006, 06:03 PM
The latest Fletcherite defense post has appeared here:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19104

It's someone calling him/herself "Rey Best," but posting on the Sherryfine account.

James D. Macdonald
04-18-2006, 06:09 PM
Boppin' Bobby's latest self-defense has turned up. It's here:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19104

Posting on the Sherryfine account this time, but signed "Rey Best."

MartyKay
04-19-2006, 09:19 AM
I really don't understand why the sock puppets bother.
Posting here will not help their cause. Anything they post has to answer the very simple question of "Have. You. Sold. Anything. Ever?" which they fail to answer. Ignoring the question means they are hit with it next time. The sock puppets can then be held up to be exemplars of the moronic form.
Not posting here won't help their cause either, but it also won't hurt it.

Sock puppets, you HAVE TO POST RESULTS TO WIN THIS. Results. Not Bragging about possibilities. Not saying you are unique or special -- you are not a snowflake. Results.

Who you published. What you published. Which (real!) publisher. When. Where. How much. Names. Real names.

MadScientistMatt
04-19-2006, 02:35 PM
Marty, I think their problem is that they read their criticism only slightly more carefully than they read their submissions. So they may actually be unaware that "You haven't sold anything" is one of the most common charges leveled against them, just like they were unaware that the screenwriter blog community was using the Screenplay Agency's submission form to hold an impromptu bad logline contest.

Really, their abysmal reading comprehension skills alone would be enough to not submit to them.

DeadlyAccurate
04-19-2006, 04:15 PM
Con artists are notorious for their inability to handle being criticized. Moreso than most people, they cannot abide being called a liar and a crook.

Roger J Carlson
04-19-2006, 04:32 PM
I really don't understand why the sock puppets bother.
Posting here will not help their cause.They probably believe the Barnum Principles: 1) There's a sucker born every minute. 2) No publicity is bad publicity.

Traffic in these threads will drive a certain number of curiosity seekers. Of them, there will be a small percentage of suckers. These people will fall for the guff and give them a try despite the evidence. So in a wierd sense, it's in their interest to keep these threads alive.

Does that mean I think we should stop these threads? No. These threads help more people than they hurt. We get people all the time (myself included) who were smart enough to do a Google search and landed here. We can't save everybody, but we can warn those who will listen.

johnny quest
04-20-2006, 03:58 AM
This a copy of a recent reply from "The Screenplay Literary Agency".



Ms. Fine,
I am concerned, I have been doing a search on you and your agency, and to be quite frank the blogs are not good. (Man Bytes Hollywood: She never met a logline she didn't like) There are others not so flattering. It seems you take anyone and anything. Is this true? Please tell me you did not just rip my heart out. This means so much to me and my family. They took me to a congratulatory dinner in honor of getting an agent. I would like to think you truly liked my work. Can you send references that I my speak with? Our something to show faith? I hope and pray you answer me back with an honest original answer.


John Q.

Dear John,

There's no risk to you and I can guarantee you that we aren't what you are reading.

I'm giving you two answers to your question about what you've read. The first answer is the short one, and the second is the long one. I apologize in advance for any 'attitude' that you read in my reply, but it's a gut/core issue for us and we feel pretty strongly about certain things.


The short answer ....
We told the self-proclaimed industry watchdogs to shove it.
We've drawn the battle lines and we've said that unpublished
writers have very little chance of success unless they think differently.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
We told the so-called watchdogs that they are hurting authors by maintaining 'old school' ideas. We explained that the agency business is so competitive now, that we can only focus on one thing, selling the work. The author has to take responsibility for bringing their work to industry standards. In short, we told the industry watchdogs that they don't get it, and they are promulgating old ideas that no longer apply. It didn't go over very well and they chatter incessantly, but if you think a writer has thick skin, you should try being an agent.

We've been in business now long enough to know that our model works, and that buyers respect the fact that EVERY AUTHOR WE REPRESENT HAS BEEN THROUGH A RIGOROUS CRITIQUE AND EDITING PROCESS. What you read on the boards is just authors whining about having to do more work, which they want us to do for free. Think about it for just a minute. If you were buying an unpublished author's work, wouldn't you want to buy work that had been through the proverbial wringer? And wouldn't you want to buy work that could get to market faster, because the grunt work, the editing, had already been done.

In the end, the truth of the matter is that you really want an agency that is willing to break a few rules on your behalf. The 'old school' doesn't want you to get in, and that's the truth. We have 4 sales, most agencies only have 1 or two. We will double that this year we think and you really need to consider whether some 'anonymous' board poster really has your best interest at heart or if you should give us a try, eyes wide open, and see if we don't keep our promises which are * We respect what you have accomplished thus far as a writer, * We believe that great authors are made, not born. We are willing to
develop talent. * We pledge straight talk in a confusing and old-school industry. * We can't promise a sale. We can promise a professional relationship.



------------------------------------------------------------------
Here's one author's reply to this email. We hope you are this discerning. "Thank you for the trouble you took to explain what's on those boards. I think I understand your frustration with the critics and nay sayers now. I have reviewed again the on-line comments and sources and agree that there is really nothing substantive in either their remarks or criticisms. In fact most of them whine about nearly everyone".
-----------------------------------------------------------------


Here's the long answer:
----------------------------------------
We are keenly aware of the negative material on a lot of writer's message boards. I thank you for 'seeking first to understand". Once again, sorry for the length of this email, but there's a lot to try to communicate to you.

I know it is confusing to authors. Luckily most authors can detect that there's something very negatively one sided about most boards, and a good author will ask for more information.

I think you would agree that it's tough to even get a reply from an Agency. Most authors (98%) can't get the time of day from an Agent. Why? Because invariably the author's work needs improvement and if an Agent takes the time to say, "I like the idea, but you need a little help" the Agent is blackballed by every writers blog on the net. So, it's easier to say no, or not reply, than to actually try to help a writer with a good idea and a good start.

Successful writers of books and screenplays use editors and coaches, always have, always will.. if you've never worked with an editor, you should. I would say that 95+% of the books on the shelves today have had an editors touch, either through the publishing company or as directed by an agent. There are two levels of editing. The first is our internal level. The second is the publisher level. When you pass our first level, it means that we will put our reputation on the line for you, however, it doesn't mean that it has been exhaustively edited, like a publisher would do. Their edit is MUCH more extensive. Our edit requirements are related to pitching and selling only.

THIS IS THE REAL ISSUE: If an agent assists the writer by telling them to get editing and then the agent will represent them, they get blackballed. So, here's a situation where potentially great work is 'waiting in the wings' so to speak, and can't get access to the market because Agents are overwhelmed and gunshy.

Luckily (for those authors that can see through the bs), we've decided that the old model is dead and we want new fresh talent. We want authors that want to improve and have their chance. And, our management team is a group of business warriors that basically say, "screw the naysayers because buyers love our model".

Why do buyers (publishers and producers) love our model? Because they know that we've forced the writer to jump through a series of hoops to prove their mettle. And the writers whine, whine, whine, and the publishers say, "whew, thanks for bringing us great work and for filtering out the crackpot writers that want the world and don't have an understanding of how competitive the market is." BUYERS WANT WRITERS THAT HAVE INVESTED IN THEMSELVES AND THEIR WRITING.

But why all the negative press you might ask? In short, the message boards attract unsuccessful writers. It's quite a statistical anomoly isn't it. A successful writer isn't sitting around responding to message boards, a successful writer is improving their craft, making submissions, and writing. As I'm sure you've seen the pettiness on the boards.. That pettiness is, to me, worse than a National Enquirer that you read in the grocery line, and frankly, I think the message boards attract the same caliber of people. Also, just for the fun of it, you should ask the people that work the boards to be your agent, and see how many writers run to help you.

LET ME STATE THIS AGAIN.. ASK THE PEOPLE ON THE MESSAGE BOARDS, BECAUSE THEY ARE SO SMART, WHAT THEY'VE SOLD, AND WHO THEIR AGENT WAS... And whether they'd be your agent. <I'm sorry to be a bit cynical here, but I'm sure you can see why? Nobody on those boards is going to work for you.. they aren't going to coach you, prep you, and try to sell your work.>

That said, we've come to thank these boards. The boards weed out three main categories of writers that we are actually glad to be rid of: 1) Authors that don't have a clue, 2) Authors that can't make up their mind for themselves and don't have any "grit", and 3) the SFN's (writers that want Something for Nothing). I hope that you aren't in any of those three categories. The Something For Nothing authors really get my goat, but that's another rant. Those are the authors that think we'll bear all their expenses because they've 'written the next bestseller'... egads...


Reread the 4 bullets under my signature. That's our promise. It's simple and it's understandable, and we deliver on it all day, every day. (Like this email really).

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

Just for grins, and so that you know we provide a service of value to aspiring authors, I would like you to see some of the unprompted quotes that we receive on a daily basis. Our clients say it best. The quotes below are unedited and as you can see, quite from the heart. (We have lots more of these.) If you are really cynical, you will probably believe we made them up, but I promise you, we can prove every one of them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best to you in your career whatever your decision. I hope you give us a chance to prove ourselves. What's your real risk anyway?





Best regards,
Sherry Fine - VP Acquisitions


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


p.s. Missed Emails, Spam, Whitelists, and other reasons for lapses in communications. We are very, very diligent about returning every email that we receive within a couple of days. The same is true for our vendors and suppliers. IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE A COMMUNICATION AND YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU SHOULD HAVE, PLEASE, CHECK WITH US AND WE WILL SEE WHAT HAPPENED. Please don't jump to negative conclusions. The Internet is not 100% foolproof and we are very sensitive to our clients' expectations and our promises about timely communications.


She never answered my question! She should run for office. I told her not in a million years. BEWARE!

Gravity
04-20-2006, 05:04 AM
Just their usual cut'n'paste argle-bargle, Johnny. The Internet is proving to be their downfall, as they simply cannot plug the leaks (where the truth about them is coming out) fast enough. Must suck to be them. Not only is Bouncin' Bob a convicted conman, it seems he's cocked this up too. Pity.

Not.


John

James D. Macdonald
04-20-2006, 08:45 AM
That's Robert "`The Swindler" Fletcher's standard letter. It's already been dealt with, in far more detail than you probably care to read, here:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=729&page=13&pp=25

and here:

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13517&page=2&pp=25

She says, "I hope you give us the chance to prove ourselves."

Well, if you care to write back to them, you can give them the chance to prove themselves: Ask them for the titles, authors, and publishers of their most recent, most prestigious sales.

MadScientistMatt
04-20-2006, 02:20 PM
Just their usual cut'n'paste argle-bargle, Johnny. The Internet is proving to be their downfall, as they simply cannot plug the leaks (where the truth about them is coming out) fast enough. Must suck to be them. Not only is Bouncin' Bob a convicted conman, it seems he's cocked this up too. Pity.

Not.


John

For that matter, the Internet is also very useful for comparing notes about the LAG's emails, revealing that they send identical emails to just about everyone who acts suspicious.

What really amuses me is that Johnny's letter mostly talks about the charge that the Screenplay Agency takes any submission. And "Sherry" cuts and pastes something that mentions watchdogs, message boards, their critique services... but says absolutely nothing about the charge that they will not reject a submission.

Like I said, this agency doesn't seem to hire anyone with reading comprehension skills. Or maybe their response to complaints is just as automated as their response to querries.

HapiSofi
04-21-2006, 12:57 AM
Woo-hoo! I have here two recent submissions from The Literary Agency Group! They were passed on to me by a friend who works in a reasonably well-known trade publishing house.

===============
Dear [Editor]:

Research into your current portfolio tells us you are actively seeking to acquire [genre #1] [genre #2] novels. Our literary agency believes [title]name] is worthy of your consideration. Allow me to briefly point out a few details about this work.

>>> [title] [word length] [genre elements in this work]

>>> [setup]

>>>

>>> [author bio]

>>> This novel was formally edited by Writers Literary.
[or]
>>> This manuscript has been professionally edited and has received a great review.

I believe we have followed your submission guidelines (see attached) and I look forward to your reply within the timeframes we have set forth.

Best Regards,

[large scrawly capital G]

Georgina Scott, Group Senior Agent
(866)876-4488
Georgina@theliteraryagencygroup.com

Encl: [physical description of submission package]

[Footnote:] Our mission is to save you, the buyer, time and money. How? Every author that we represent has been through a rigorous critique and editing process. Over time, you will learn that you can tgrust what we send you, especially if you give us feedback as to what you are "looking for now".
===============

The next page is an "Agency submission fax reply" form. The header information includes title, author, agent, agent phone, publisher, imprint name, contact name, and email address. It looks like the bits that aren't specific to this title and author are the information that Fletcher's new employee has been researching and compiling.

Below the headers there's a box with five check-off questions. The first three are yes/no:
Was this submission sent to the proper person? Spelling and address correct?

Was it formatted, printed and delivered according to your specifications?

Was the pitch congruent with what you have mentioned wanting to see?
The fourth question, Would you like to see more like this, or something different?, has check-off boxes saying more like this/different.

The fifth question is Final Disposition, and the check-off options are No way; Close, but no; I didn't love it, no; and hmmmm*....

The footnote referenced by that asterisk says:
Please call or email Robert West at 888-808-6195 for more information, feedback, or any general questions about how we can help you find your next bestseller.
Between the question box and the footnote is this text:

[b] OUR VALUE STATEMENT TO YOU, THE PUBLISHER

We believe we represent the largest group of edited manuscripts and credentialed authors in the world. (We know, that's quite a claim, but we think it's true.) Our authors are realists and not prima donnas. We can vouch for their professionalism and their desire to work with you, the publisher, to do what it takes for mutual success.

On the last line at the bottom of the page, it says:
Fax (800) 759-2081 THE LITERARY AGENCY GROUP, INC. Ofc. (888) 808-6195
One of the submissions has a further cover letter on it from an editor who says that s/he/it worked on the book, and gives forth with a little imitation sales copy.

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

I get two strong impressions from these submissions. First, these are obviously form letters. TLAG is trying to automate the submission process as much as possible, including the part where they fine-tune their approach in accordance with the response they get. That's not a feasible strategy. I suspect they want to save labor, and don't want to have to actually interact with the books.

Second, it couldn't be clearer that they don't like authors, and they're sure that publishing houses don't like them either. Their biggest come-on is that they've already whipped the authors into shape, so they won't give us any trouble.

JennaGlatzer
04-21-2006, 01:18 AM
:Jaw: :roll:

And to Johnny: I'm so sorry you had to find that out. A long time ago, I had a very similar experience. I was over the moon when screenwriting "agent" Mark Maine wanted to sign me. Took me months to realize he never even read my script, and was just interested in my wallet.

James D. Macdonald
04-21-2006, 01:36 AM
Georgina Scott? Who's that? Is this a different person from Georgina Orr, who (by one of life's eerie coincidences) also had as her email address Georgina@theliteraryagencygroup.com?

On the positive side, at least they've started submitting things.

On the negative side ... Hapi, that thing makes my brain hurt.

(BTW, there is no reason to believe that Robert West and Robert Fletcher are two different people.)

JennaGlatzer
04-21-2006, 01:49 AM
Perhaps my favorite part is:


especially if you give us feedback as to what you are "looking for now".

Nonsensical quotation marks really make me giggle. I always feel like someone is winking and nudging when typing them. Like "looking for now" is really a code for something deliciously illicit.

MadScientistMatt
04-21-2006, 02:10 AM
HapiSofi,

Are you saying that the check boxes for "Final Disposition" have nothing to check to say you accepted the manuscript?

Shades of the Lee Shore agency's rejection collection ploys.

DaveKuzminski
04-21-2006, 03:26 AM
Conversely (pun intended), we ought to have a listing somewhere to keep a tally of how many $1.00 advances we've saved PA from paying by showing writers the truth about them. Heck, P&E is responsible for saving PA at least a few hundred bucks already, probably far more. ;)

HapiSofi
04-21-2006, 05:42 AM
HapiSofi,

Are you saying that the check boxes for "Final Disposition" have nothing to check to say you accepted the manuscript?

Shades of the Lee Shore agency's rejection collection ploys.It's very like the old Lee Shore auto-reject forms. You know the point of those, right? They were intended to speed up the process. After a series of fast rejections, Lee Shore's clients would be softened up like a well-pounded Salisbury steak, all ready for Cynthia Sterling's final sting.

Alan Yee
04-21-2006, 06:39 AM
HapiSofi, Bobby/Georgina/Georgina/Sherry/Rey/Ray is so pathetic! It really hurt to read that "submission" form letter. At best, the publisher would probably throw the manuscript into the slush pile. At worst, they would automatically reject anything that ever comes their way from Mr. Fake Agent. Most likely the latter would happen. Bobby's not getting one penny from me.

HapiSofi
04-21-2006, 07:08 AM
My impression was that the submissions had in fact been shunted off to the slushpile.

James D. Macdonald
04-21-2006, 07:11 AM
At worst, they would automatically reject anything that ever comes their way from Mr. Fake Agent.

Alan, you fail to appreciate the full beauty of the plan.

These guys do not want to make real sales. Dealing with real publishers, negotiating contracts, collecting and disbursing royalties, checking for reversions, arranging subrights sales -- too much work for not enough reward.

Here's the way the full scam works (and no, this isn't anything new, unique or outside-the-box-thinking ... it's been done many times by many fake agents). After picking up a bunch of fast rejections from real publishers, rejections that the author can actually see and confirm (with some more rounds of paid critiques and paid edits in between), the agent calls the author all excited ... a sale! A real, verifiable sale! Hurrah! It's a "co-publishing" deal (the next big thing, the wave of the future!) Aren't you excited? I'm excited! Your agent recommends that you not allow this opportunity to escape! What Bobby won't tell the m/a/r/k/ author is that he owns the publishing house ... so the author is paying Bobby to print his own book. After that, it's the standard pay-to-play vanity deal, with Fletcher himself as the vanity publisher. Why let someone else make the bulk of the profit on a sucker that Fletcher found and nurtured when Bobby can get every nickel himself?

If along the way some start-up small press buys a book (just because an author had the bad luck to fall for this scam doesn't mean he wrote a bad book), well, Fletcher can weather a few of those, and he'll have a real sale or two that he can list on his web page.

Hapi, could you ask your friend if there's any way to contact the author directly from the submission package Fletcher sends? (Bet there isn't. Can't risk having someone from outside the scam world talk with the author.)

johnny quest
04-21-2006, 07:15 AM
I appreciate all your input and this forum is the bomb.
Just keep writing and the real thing will find us.

God Bless you guys.

Johnny Q.

HapiSofi
04-21-2006, 08:07 AM
Hapi, could you ask your friend if there's any way to contact the author directly from the submission package Fletcher sends? (Bet there isn't. Can't risk having someone from outside the scam world talk with the author.)I don't need to contact her. I can answer this one right off the bat. While I don't think it would be terribly difficult to track down the authors, it would be improper for a third party to be privy to information about their submissions, and even more improper for a third party to contact them. While my friend is a second rather than a third party, s/he/it wouldn't be able to say anything on account of the editorial taboo against interfering between author and agent.

CaoPaux
04-21-2006, 07:16 PM
Bleah. I'd hate to be unable to tell someone they're being scammed. It'd make me feel like an accessory or something. Then again, there's so bleeping many of them, I'd spend all my time crusading, rather than writing.

Like now. :e2paperba

Berry
04-21-2006, 10:50 PM
While I don't think it would be terribly difficult to track down the authors, it would be improper for a third party to be privy to information about their submissions, and even more improper for a third party to contact them.

I don't think that's what Uncle Jim meant. I thought he was asking if the EDITOR could find enough information in the submission package to contact the author, which would not be an ethical breach (unless they were trying to shut out the agent, which is for another discussion).

James D. Macdonald
04-21-2006, 11:47 PM
I was asking if the author's address, telephone number, and email had been stripped from the submission (or "submittal," as Bobby likes to call 'em). I'm not interested in knowing the author's name, book title, or any other details, just what information was included in the package.

HapiSofi
04-22-2006, 10:40 PM
They're almost certainly findable. Both submissions had the author's full name, the title of the book, and a brief author bio.

scriptman1975
04-23-2006, 12:59 AM
Okay, here is my story with The Screenplay Agency:

I was well aware of this agency and it's concerns because I had researched it prior to starting the process.

I went through the motions, filled out the necessary forms, and received all the communications and emails that it appears everyone else has. So up to right before they sent me my contract, everything was playing out exactly as described on this board and everywhere else.

I eventually received my contract and was told that my work needed refining. I was given the usual referral to Writer's Literary to receive a "discounted" critique through them for $99.

Since I am an active member of the Zoetrope and Triggerstreet screenwriting communities, I compiled all the feedback I received from over 20 reviews of my work into one long, detailed and very complete critique. I submitted this to Sherry for approval.

Here's the kicker. Much to my surprise, I received an email (not an automated message) from Ms. Fine telling me that the critique was acceptable and I did not need to include another one with my contract.

That's where I am now. I have my contract and do not need a critique to be taken on as a client. I'd like to hear comments and suggestions from the people here as to what I should do next.

Thanks!

James D. Macdonald
04-23-2006, 01:20 AM
That's where I am now. I have my contract and do not need a critique to be taken on as a client. I'd like to hear comments and suggestions from the people here as to what I should do next.

Wait for the next request for money.

Don't pay it.

Continue in this manner until they drop you.

I'll bet you a box of donuts that Fletcher never sells your script.

Alan Yee
04-23-2006, 02:44 AM
Here's the way the full scam works (and no, this isn't anything new, unique or outside-the-box-thinking ... it's been done many times by many fake agents). After picking up a bunch of fast rejections from real publishers, rejections that the author can actually see and confirm (with some more rounds of paid critiques and paid edits in between), the agent calls the author all excited ... a sale! A real, verifiable sale! Hurrah! It's a "co-publishing" deal (the next big thing, the wave of the future!) Aren't you excited? I'm excited! Your agent recommends that you not allow this opportunity to escape! What Bobby won't tell the m/a/r/k/ author is that he owns the publishing house ... so the author is paying Bobby to print his own book. After that, it's the standard pay-to-play vanity deal, with Fletcher himself as the vanity publisher. Why let someone else make the bulk of the profit on a sucker that Fletcher found and nurtured when Bobby can get every nickel himself?

Well, the full beauty of the plan seems to be working quite well... at the moment. Bobby is a convicted con artist in my own state, so I predict it'll be only a matter of time before he gets thrown back into the slammer. It might be years before that happens, but scams like this almost never last forever (although they usually do last several years).

His alter egos aren't very convincing, at least to me. All of them come to defend him on our messageboards, and yet they all write exactly like Fletcher. I mean, it's only himself/them who are his biggest defenders.

Yes, I know, UJ, most writers who search the web for agents and publishers these days aren't as educated and informed as I am. For every writer who knows better, there's hundreds of others who the scammer reaps in as suckers. What's really sad is that Bobby and PA alike suck in really good, talented authors as well as the ones who aren't quite ready yet. Very very sad indeed.

--Alan

Roger J Carlson
04-23-2006, 03:40 AM
That's where I am now. I have my contract and do not need a critique to be taken on as a client. I'd like to hear comments and suggestions from the people here as to what I should do next.Well, the next step in the process is for them to send out a dozen or so submittals (ie submissions) which are so poorly crafted as to receive rejections in the minimum amount of time. (See this (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?p=580346#post580346)thread.) They will regretfully come back to you and suggest an "independent" script doctor to punch it up a bit.

Question: Have you actually signed the contract? If not, forget about them. If so, request in writing that they cancel your contract. Or do as Jim said. If you don't send them any money, they'll eventually dump you.

The point here is not, "Gee, they didn't scam me, maybe they ARE legit." The point is that they have never sold a script. Why would you want such an agent whether they were legit or not?

scriptman1975
04-23-2006, 05:47 AM
I have access to a host of attorney's through my job (I pay a premium per year, like an insurance policy, and I get all the legal advice/service I need). I was going to pick up a contract lawyer to write in some amendments about all expenses be paid by the agency and reimbursed upon the sale of the writer's work.

I want to see how that washes over with them.

BTW, I absolutely did not sign a contract.

Regards.

AC Crispin
04-23-2006, 09:15 PM
Some people in this thread need a good whap! with the famed "Clue Stick."

-Ann C. Crispin

MadScientistMatt
04-23-2006, 10:23 PM
My suggested next step, Scriptman:

Ask them for the list of scripts that they have sold. Not optioned for free, not "in negotiations," but sold, with an actual payment of thousands of dollars to the author. And if they actually claim to have sold one, contact its producer to make sure they aren't lying. Do you really want an "agent" who can't sell your script?

Alternate next step: Get a free email address somewhere. Go to their website's submission form. Using that new address and a pen name, submit the worst logline you can think of - something with aweful grammar and spelling, something unfilmable, or even something thoroughly incomprehensible. They'll accept it in a week or two. Ask yourself why a legitimate agent would have accepted that logline.

scriptman1975
04-24-2006, 06:24 AM
Some people in this thread need a good whap! with the famed "Clue Stick."

I think some people are a bit confused about my posts here. I know this agency is completely bogus, I knew this before I began the process. I never intended to sign a contract and never expected this agency to sell my work.

I am writng these posts and sharing my experiences purely for research and reporting purposes. I am merely asking for opinions on this process to get an idea of how I can solicit more information from these people to detail here.

Roger J Carlson
04-24-2006, 05:48 PM
I think some people are a bit confused about my posts here. I know this agency is completely bogus, I knew this before I began the process. I never intended to sign a contract and never expected this agency to sell my work.

I am writng these posts and sharing my experiences purely for research and reporting purposes. I am merely asking for opinions on this process to get an idea of how I can solicit more information from these people to detail here.Okay! Great! I for one did misunderstand, and I'm sorry. We are so focused here on keeping people from their evil clutches, that I, at least, tend to read all posts in that light.

However, Fletcher and his crew also watch these threads (as witnessed by the frequent drive-by posts), so you'll be strategizing in full view of the enemy. I suggest that if anyone has ideas for how scriptman1975 should proceed, keep it in PM.

Keep up the good work and let us know how it unfolds!

Gravity
04-24-2006, 06:09 PM
However, Fletcher and his crew also watch these threads (as witnessed by the frequent drive-by posts)

You mean it? You mean Bouncin' Bob/Sherry Fine/Rey Best/Georgina Orr/Sparky the Wonder Lizard actually peep in here from time to time? Wow.

:::furiously waving at them:::

Yo, Bob/Sherry/Rey/Georgina/Sparky! Good to see ya! Say, here's a thought! Why not find a job that isn't scamming people? You up for that?

Ya'll come back now, ya heah!

John (my, that felt good...)

terem
04-24-2006, 10:08 PM
I almost got snared into the NY Literary Agency scam. Thank you for having this thread which saved me. I actually sent them my MS and was almost ready to pay for a critique when my brain kicked in and I thought about the P&E website and went to check. That site sent me here and I was saved. Yeah!

Question: Via email, I accepted their representation. I did NOT, however, sign and return the contract. Do I need to send them an email refusing representation, or is the fact that I never sent back the contract sufficient?

I told both Amazon and Google that this agency is a scam on their 'rate this ad' links.

Thanks for helping to save me!

LloydBrown
04-24-2006, 10:54 PM
And people ask why we keep this thread going.

Answer: No, you're not obligated to anything if there's no contract and no consideration (that is, you didn't send them anything worth anything, like a manuscript).

Roger J Carlson
04-24-2006, 11:20 PM
I almost got snared into the NY Literary Agency scam. Thank you for having this thread which saved me. I actually sent them my MS and was almost ready to pay for a critique when my brain kicked in and I thought about the P&E website and went to check. That site sent me here and I was saved. Yeah!

Question: Via email, I accepted their representation. I did NOT, however, sign and return the contract. Do I need to send them an email refusing representation, or is the fact that I never sent back the contract sufficient?

I told both Amazon and Google that this agency is a scam on their 'rate this ad' links.

Thanks for helping to save me!Hi terem. Welcome to the club. This board saved me just as it saved you. There's no shame in being scammed by professionals and Fletcher and his crew are very professional.

BTW, check your private messages.

Welcome.

terem
04-24-2006, 11:39 PM
Answer: No, you're not obligated to anything if there's no contract and no consideration (that is, you didn't send them anything worth anything, like a manuscript).

I did send them my manuscript. *beats head against wall* Is there anything I need to do, such as send them an email (or a registered letter) officially refusing representation or telling them they have no rights to my MS?

Thanks.

Tere

Roger J Carlson
04-24-2006, 11:48 PM
I did send them my manuscript. *beats head against wall* Is there anything I need to do, such as send them an email (or a registered letter) officially refusing representation or telling them they have no rights to my MS?

Thanks.

TereNope. If you never signed the contract you're in the clear. I wouldn't respond. Might as well use up a tiny bit of their hard drive space.

I think what Lloyd meant was that your manuscript is of absolutely no value to them since they aren't interested in selling it. All they're interested in is checks signed by you.

terem
04-25-2006, 12:42 AM
All they're interested in is checks signed by you.

LOL! Well THAT they're not getting! *nods head firmly*

Thanks guys!

Tere

HapiSofi
04-25-2006, 02:14 AM
Don't worry, Terem. I doubt they even look at your manuscript before the check comes in. I've never seen clear-cut evidence of an LAG employee actually reading any of the books they represent. The only question is whether your manuscript will wind up in the garbage or the recycling bin.

FolkloreFanatic
04-25-2006, 03:30 AM
Don't worry, Terem. I doubt they even look at your manuscript before the check comes in. I've never seen clear-cut evidence of an LAG employee actually reading any of the books they represent. The only question is whether your manuscript will wind up in the garbage or the recycling bin.


The question I have is, if they want to keep the scam going and someone pays them for proofreading, wouldn't they *have* to have a manuscript to send back changes to at least look like they're working? I mean, if someone sent me edits, that would be impossible without the actual text. If someone sent me a cookie-cutter critique that could apply to any of my works, I would stop contacting them right away.

Don't get me wrong; I know these jerks are scammers. I'm just wondering how they get money without ever referencing the actual text.

Roger J Carlson
04-25-2006, 09:14 PM
The question I have is, if they want to keep the scam going and someone pays them for proofreading, wouldn't they *have* to have a manuscript to send back changes to at least look like they're working? I mean, if someone sent me edits, that would be impossible without the actual text. If someone sent me a cookie-cutter critique that could apply to any of my works, I would stop contacting them right away.

Don't get me wrong; I know these jerks are scammers. I'm just wondering how they get money without ever referencing the actual text.From what I've been able to piece together, the scam works something like this:

Step 1: The Critique:
They ask you to have your work critiqued. If you don't know of a critiquing service they'll suggest an "independent, third-party" to do it. (Of course, they own that too.)

The critique doesn't have to be too detailed. It's amazing how many general statements will apply to almost any first novel. (Much like horoscopes.) For example:

You have a problem with comma placement.
You have a problem with cliches.
You have a problem with spelling.
Your characters are a tad flat. They could use some punching up.
You use too many adverbs.
You have a problem with passive sentences.
Now all of these are common errors in first novels (my own included), and if they add a couple of examples of each, it is quite persuasive. Fortunately (for them), they don't have to do an in-depth analysis to find a couple of examples of each. In fact, between Word's Spell Checking, Grammar Checking, and Find and Replace, you can automate all of them (except the character thing and really, whose characters couldn't use a little punching up?) Cost: $79.

Step 2: The Edit:
Naturally, given the terrific feedback you got from the Critique, you'll want to have it "professionally edited". You can of course, supply your own, but if you don't know of one, they'll be glad to direct you to an "independent, third-party editing service" (also owned by them). At this point, someone will undoubtedly have to read the thing, but how much does it cost to hire a college student who may or may not have any experience with editing? In fact, they advertise for reader/editors in Google Ads. Talk about experience!

At the very best, you'll get a copy edit. What you won't get is any improvements to character development or story structure. Cost: $99.

Step 3: The Website:
Now that you've been Professionally Edited, you'll want to have a website where eager editors will be able to browse to see examples of your work. (Editors do this all the time, you're told.) For just $149, you can have your own website! Of course, with automated web development tools the way they are today, this costs them nothing.

Step 4: Printing:
Of course, you are now eager to have them start submitting works to "buyers" (their non-standard word for editors). But before you do, they'll have to be printed. Ten manuscripts: $95.

Step 4: Submissions
Now that you've paid for printing, they'll send out a group of 10 submissions (oh, you'll have to pay postage, of course) that are guaranteed to get you rejected. (See Hapisofi's post up-thread). They are guaranteed rejections because they include a number of red-flags for editors:

Obviously form letter submission
Not targeted to a specific publisher
Includes a fax reply checklist for feedback
Calls the editor "the buyer"
Includes mention that the work has been "professionally edited"
Step 5: Re-Editing/Full-edit:
They will regretfully show you the rejections it received and suggest you might want to get a "full edit" (between $1750 and $2000) based on the valuable feedback provided by the publishers. Again, you can supply your own editor or...

Step 6: Repeat until you run out of money.

There are indications (I tried to find a reference, but couldn't) that Fletcher is moving into the self-publishing arena as well. If that's true, the scam can include submissions to an "independent" co-publisher (who is also owned by Fletcher). But even if it hasn't happened yet, it's the logical next step.

HapiSofi
04-25-2006, 09:17 PM
It's my belief that all the hands-on text work gets farmed out to freelancers, and that the number of actual employees is very small.

DaveKuzminski
04-25-2006, 09:40 PM
I'd truly like to see someone apply for the editing position and then submit a story from a different email using a different name just to see if you could possibly be assigned your own manuscript to edit. ;)

jbhanson
04-26-2006, 05:02 AM
Why the hell can this "agency still survive with so many complaints against it???? NYLA is on every website on Google. Has anyone contacted the NY States Attorney Generals Office about this scam. My scammer was Sherry Fine. How can we prevent other writers from this pitfall? Gladly, the E I received from the agency about $70-90 "independent critique" sent off a signal, but not before I had been lifeted to such a great high that I would see my book in print. If this were a Jessica Fletcher episode, the ***** would be dead (or maybe a bastard with the name of Sherry Fine).

James D. Macdonald
04-26-2006, 06:20 AM
Have you written a letter to the New York Attorney General yourself? (And to the Florida Attorney General, where these fellows are actually located.)

Contact all the consumer help groups you know of. You're a writer... write!

Drama Writer
04-26-2006, 02:10 PM
I was about to pay up for the ST Agency a while back, then saw an old forum on this site and was warded off. I called them up and put a stop on the cheque just in time.

I think it was the same gang that still posts alot here.

I applaude you all.

Sandy
05-02-2006, 07:26 PM
You can add one more sucker to your list of people who got scammed or nearly scammed by Children's Literary Agency. Sherry Fine. I signed a contract and returned it. I was getting excited about going to meet my agent in New York. My RED FLAG! was when the critique agency wanted the security code off my credit card. I don't know about other countries, but here in Canada we are advised to NEVER give that number to anyone. It allows them to keep charging your card as often and for as much as they want. Thank God I found this site...my dreams are crushed but my wallet is safe.

LloydBrown
05-02-2006, 08:46 PM
You can add one more sucker to your list of people who got scammed or nearly scammed by Children's Literary Agency. Sherry Fine. I signed a contract and returned it. I was getting excited about going to meet my agent in New York. My RED FLAG! was when the critique agency wanted the security code off my credit card. I don't know about other countries, but here in Canada we are advised to NEVER give that number to anyone. It allows them to keep charging your card as often and for as much as they want. Thank God I found this site...my dreams are crushed but my wallet is safe.

!

That's a first, even for them. I wonder what sort of new fraud they're up to now.

Roger J Carlson
05-02-2006, 08:54 PM
!

That's a first, even for them. I wonder what sort of new fraud they're up to now.Wondered about that myself. They've skated the thin edge so well, that I doubt they'd resort to actual credit theft. On the other hand, you never know. Maybe they think the State of Florida won't care if they only fleece Canadians.

BTW, Sandy, congratulations on escaping in time. Did you check with the credit card company to make sure it didn't go through? You can challenge the charge if it did.

Sandy
05-02-2006, 10:10 PM
I didn't give them any information so I'm not in any danger. I checked it out first.

LloydBrown
05-02-2006, 10:18 PM
I didn't give them any information so I'm not in any danger. I checked it out first.

You might not have, but how many people are signing without checking them out first?

We don't have any idea if AW and other watchdog sites/threads catch 1% of their potential victims or 90%. If the LAG & tentacles are still spending money advertising, the potential is that we're just knocking the tip off the iceberg. Presumably, they wouldn't keep spending ad money if it wasn't bringing in any revenue.

This really does up the ante.

Sandy
05-02-2006, 11:04 PM
Is there actually anything that can be done to stop them?

DaveKuzminski
05-03-2006, 02:11 AM
Create a web site or post a message about them on your personal web site. It might not generate much more traffic, but it will increase the odds of a new writer learning the truth if they do an Internet search.

sherryfine
05-03-2006, 05:12 PM
Dear Message Board Citizens:

The company has asked me to tell you, in my own words, what I do and to let
you know just one aspect of what they do to help writers sell their work.

I work with Sherry Fine, our director of acquisitions, and I am using her
login for speed and efficiency with this post. One caveat, I'm in phone
sales, so if there are grammar or spelling errors in this post, please
realize that you are the writer, and that's your job to write 100%
correctly, not mine.

My job is to constantly expand the company's relationship of buyers. As you
know buyers in large companies change jobs and titles on a regular basis.
I've found that about 25%, that's 1/4 names that you can find in Writers
Market, or various public sources are INCORRECT.

So, my job is to live on the phone and email. I am paid to call buyers for
our authors and for our database of contacts.

Basically what I do is take a manuscript and a potential list of 30 buyers,
and get on the phone and qualify the list. I call, I make sure that we have
the right buyer's name, I check spelling and address, and most importantly,
I confirm what they are 'Looking For Now'. When I find a qualified buyer
with a need, I immediately communicate that to the Agents, and they
aggressively go into our roster of authors to find matches for the buyer.

Our materials are very well received by the buyers. Our buyers have learned
that we posess one of the most qualified groups of authors in the industry.
They know that all of our authors have been formally critiqued and edited.
Our buyers know that they can trust what we send them. Our buyers know that
we have filtered out the hobbyists from the authors that will do what it
takes to succeed.

Yes, we tell our authors that they have to reach industry standards.
Doesn't every agency do that in one way or another? I can tell you from
personal experience how frustrating it is to hear from a buyer that the work
we are trying to sell isn't as good a the competing works they are looking
at. So, if anything, our agency is becoming MORE demanding that our authors
take their work as far as they can from a quality perspective.

So, I hope that I have helped you see one aspect of an Agents job. The
company spends a lot of money paying me to do nothing but find buyers and
qualify them. And when I read this ongoing thread with all these bad words,
written by people that have only sour grapes to say, I just wanted to let
you know that "it ain't so".

Also, I can assure you that this company isn't a scam. I've known the
principals for years and they do the best they can for their authors. They
also pay their bills on a regular basis and they are beginning to acquire
other companies in the industry.

Here's a question.. if a literary agency buys a publishing company so that
they can publish or partner books they believe in, is that a conflict of
interest?
========================================
I can tell you right now that the company is participating in a new business
model. We're promoting a joint venture where we have put up $2500 in
partnership with the author and the publisher to get the book out the door.
That's unique! And that's how much we believe in what we are doing. The ad
is in the PMA newsletter and has been for 4 months.
A copy of the ad can be seen using this link.
http://www.theliteraryagencygroup.com/pma-literaryagencyad.pdf
This really is important for you to think about. We think that we are the
ONLY LITERARY AGENCY that has stepped up to put our own money behind
certain authors that we represent. If you can find any other agency that
has done this please let me know. This, to me, is brilliant, out of the box
thinking, that shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that our company is behind
our authors.

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


Furthermore, all this talk about who owns what is rubbish. This is
business, and it's a lot like a Darwinian evolution. You either grow and
prosper, or you go out of business and you die.

If we can sell your work, we do. If we can't, then we will tell you why we
think it isn't selling. Usually this means more work, and really, that's
what most of the whining on these boards is about.

So, in conclusion, the company is real, they've paid me a regular salary for
years, and we're putting our heart and soul (and our money) behind our
authors.

Well, that's all the time I have for this post. Best to you and your
writing career. I don't have the time to monitor this post so
unfortunately, all the carping that will occur will be ignored. I have a
real job to get back to.


RKForever

Aconite
05-03-2006, 05:18 PM
Oh, look. This same c/r/a/p/ spam, yet again. They don't even bother to change the text, do they? Tsk tsk. That's so lazy.

James D. Macdonald
05-03-2006, 05:25 PM
Hi, RKForever/Sherryfine/Robert!

I did a line-by-line on this twaddle last time you posted it. Here's the link.

http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=19104&page=1&pp=25

Come up with some new material -- this nonsense has already been refuted.

Roger J Carlson
05-03-2006, 05:56 PM
Just a few observations:


Basically what I do is take a manuscript and a potential list of 30 buyers, and get on the phone and qualify the list. I call, I make sure that we have the right buyer's name, I check spelling and address, and most importantly, I confirm what they are 'Looking For Now'. When I find a qualified buyer with a need, I immediately communicate that to the Agents, and they aggressively go into our roster of authors to find matches for the buyer. The problem with this is that REAL agencies know their "buyers" personally. (I believe the industry-standard term is "acquisition editor", but never mind.) Here, you're admitting that your agents don't have a clue about what's happening in the industry. Your "agency" isn't offering anything that I can't do myself. When I submit to a publisher, I always call to make sure I have the correct information. Although I usually talk to a receptionist rather than bothering an editor.


Our materials are very well received by the buyers. Our buyers have learned that we posess one of the most qualified groups of authors in the industry...Our buyers know that they can trust what we send them...
...I can tell you from personal experience how frustrating it is to hear from a buyer that the work we are trying to sell isn't as good a the competing works they are looking at. How do you reconcile these two statements? Your materials are well received but not as good as competing works?


Also, I can assure you that this company isn't a scam. I've known the principals for years and they do the best they can for their authors. Oh. Well if you say so, it MUST be true. Although these threads are littered with evidence to the contrary.


Here's a question.. if a literary agency buys a publishing company so that they can publish or partner books they believe in, is that a conflict of interest? Yes it is.

Would you sell your house to your real estate agent? Real estate agents are supposed to make their money by selling your house for the highest price. However, if you sold it TO your real estate agent, he or she would have a conflict of interest because it would be in his or her best interest to buy it at the lowest price.

Similarly, a literary agent is supposed to make money by selling your manuscript for the highest price and the best rights. However, if the agent is also the publisher, he or she has a vested interest in acquiring it at the lowest price and reserve as much of the rights for publisher.

This is what conflict of interest MEANS, and if you don't know that, then you don't know much about agenting.


We're promoting a joint venture where we have put up $2500 in partnership with the author and the publisher to get the book out the door. The question you've never answered is how much is the agent's and how much is the author's. And if YOU are the publisher, then ALL of the money is the author's.


This really is important for you to think about. We think that we are the ONLY LITERARY AGENCY that has stepped up to put our own money behind certain authors that we represent. Legitimate publishers are not interested in co-publishing deals. Any publisher who co-publishes is a scam as well. I don't need an agent to place me with another scam.



Furthermore, all this talk about who owns what is rubbish. This is business, and it's a lot like a Darwinian evolution. You either grow and
prosper, or you go out of business and you die. Er...what?


If we can sell your work, we do. But you never have, so this point is moot.
If we can't, then we will tell you why we think it isn't selling. Usually this means more work...And of course it means sending YOU more money for editing services provided by your other hand Writer's Literary.


... and really, that's what most of the whining on these boards is about. No, there isn't a single post in any of these threads that say, "They asked me to do more work." All of the posts say, "They took my money and didn't sell my work. Then they asked me for more money."


I have areal job to get back to.Yup. Scamming authors.

James D. Macdonald
05-03-2006, 10:09 PM
I'm thinking of gathering all the line-by-lines from the various Literary Agency Group threads here, for easy reference.

Devangel
05-04-2006, 11:25 AM
Allow me to offer this board my most esteemed gratitude. I was rather close to giving in to this scam. It was rather foolish of me to believe it was that easy, but I bet we have all fallen prey to starry eyed dreams when we are to be weary, such is the way the shimmering serpent of deciet jeweled in fraud tempts of all.

If not for this board and sfwa.org beware I probably would have become a victim. However they have not recieved any payment but are in possession of the first 2 chapters of my manuscript. What I can do about this I am unsure, perhaps you may assist me on that as well. I have multiple copyrights and luckily none of the characters were even introduced or any setting for that matter (It's technical but should any of you ever read it for yourselves you will see what I mean ;) ). Once again I give my most hearted thanks.

-Devangel

Aconite
05-04-2006, 04:02 PM
Devangel, don't worry about it. As soon as they realize they're not getting money from you, they'll throw out your manuscript. Besides, they haven't been able to sell anything to save their lives, so even if they wanted to try to rip off your MS, they wouldn't be able to manage it.

James D. Macdonald
05-04-2006, 05:03 PM
It's unlikely that anyone there has even glanced at your manuscript. If I were making a guess I'd say you've been corresponding with an autoresponder so far.

Hez
05-04-2006, 11:33 PM
I'm a tad embarrassed to confess that at 76 (last week) that this my first ever post. If I get it all wrong, I'm certain someone will tell me.

I got sucked into the NYLA whirlpool last weekend, filled in the little boxes, sent them some excerpts (only) and sat back expecting to get the one to two day reply promised. Nada. It may be that because I'm published via AuthorHouse, and copyrighted, that I'm not a good candidate (sucker) for them to pursue. Now six days on, I tried to get an e-mail off to them and OE said their address ain't legit. Time to dig deeper. It's then that I ran across all this stuff about these folks, and all the help you've been, Mr. Mac, to lost souls over the past couple of years. The "whew" is that book two of my trilogy is still within days of being copyrighted so it was comforting to find out that these turds apparently aren't interested in pursuing exposed properties. That my first book, Deliberate Steps, is up on B&N and Amazon, and I have a web site, www.dg-books.com (http://www.dg-books.com/), may also be a deterrent. But, I should think by now that the AGs in both NY and FL would have these people by the nose. Thanks for all you're doing to expose people like this--and for saving me some dough in all liklihood. Hez in Luxembourg

ruthy
05-07-2006, 03:51 AM
I'm afraid that this miserable outfit is still going. They are posting links on various writing comunities. Please, please be aware! There are so many terrible stories about how they try to con new writers. Just remember real agents don't need to go looking for clients!

Bartholomew
05-07-2006, 04:01 AM
Its occured to me that, perhaps the NYLA isn't a scam. Maybe they're just so stupid and obtuse, so neanderthal-like, that they just fail repeatedly.

That said, I wish they would stop E-mailing me.

James D. Macdonald
05-07-2006, 05:00 AM
They are posting links on various writing comunities.

Are they actually posting, or is it just Google AdWords?

If it's Google Ads, the webmasters can block them.

If you have been scammed by them, please go here and tell Google:

http://www.google.com/contact/rate_advertiser.html

Aconite
05-07-2006, 06:32 AM
Its occured to me that, perhaps the NYLA isn't a scam. Maybe they're just so stupid and obtuse, so neanderthal-like, that they just fail repeatedly.It's possible. But since Bobby Fletcher committed securities fraud and was caught, it's likely they're both dishonest and inept.

DanielDives
05-07-2006, 11:46 AM
My run-in with NYLA lasted two e-mails, because …

….in it ‘Miss Fine Sherry’ adds:

- p.s. You might as well get used to these long emails. Part of our filtering
process is to see if you actually read them <grin>.

As nice way to try and cover up bulk mail tracks.

- So, please rest assured that there will be plenty of personal interaction
with your agent but not with me.

Well, if you aren’t around, Sherry-dear, how could we ever meet you?

- If you would like to talk with someone for the reassurance of hearing a voice, just email me and I'll connect you to the proper party.

But … but … but that means only a voice. Could be your grandmother for all I know, FS

- Q) Why aren't you in the Yellow Pages? I can't find you listed anywhere?

A) We use toll free phone numbers and cell phones. Those simply aren't in any phone directories.Yellow Pages are 'old technology', and they cost money.

Here they say it very clearly, ‘our main focus is on money’, not you. Always a dead giveaway.


- We prefer that you judge us on the professionalism of our communications and not whether we belong to an organization.

Well, Sherry. If we can’t call, see and talk to you, how professional do you think you are?


- The next item we look for in our filtering process is your willingness to listen or whether you are a prima donna (Donna) who wants it 'their way'. We will very quickly wash out a great writer with a bad attitude. Life's too short for drama and overly demanding writers.

And here’s where they openly try to stifle any and all questions, comments and opposition. A very bad attitude for someone who’s supposed to care about and nurture his investment and commitment in ‘you’ and ‘your book’ …. Ahhhh …’His profits’. How could I forget?

- In today's connected world, our physical location is meaningless. We maintain executive suites on Madison Aveneue in New York, NY where we receive mail and meet with buyers. Other than that, we travel extensively and we have the good fortune to live in Florida, North Carolina, and California depending on the time of year. Sometimes we think that we live in airports.

1 - Ahhhhh, the fresh smell of ‘Heaven’s Gate’, ‘Jones Town’ and other places where physical presence is irrelevant.

2 - The Royal use of ‘we’.

3 - … live in Florida, North Carolina, and California. Wow. Those are big mansions, Sherry-dear.

- We are proud to represent a very diverse group of authors + Here are just a few bios:

No names, no titles, no awards, no nothing but as much air as in a burst tire.




I don’t know if everybody receives/has received the exact same kind or similar response, but I think it’s always advisable to read (very carefully) what scam artists actually say or tell you.

Scam artists thrive on hope (of others). Therefore, jump, but never too high …

Most sincerely,

Daniel

New NYLA-member discovered across the pond:

LONDON - A mystery detainee who allegedly created a bogus identity as an English nobleman by assuming the name of a dead baby is actually an American who went missing from Florida more than 20 years ago, his relatives say.


The man being held in a jail in Kent, England, goes by the title of the Earl of Buckingham but he is really an Orlando native named Charles Stopford, his father, Charles, and sister Rebecca Davis say in a documentary to be broadcast Sunday on Sky One television.

:o)

LloydBrown
05-07-2006, 06:52 PM
Its occured to me that, perhaps the NYLA isn't a scam. Maybe they're just so stupid and obtuse, so neanderthal-like, that they just fail repeatedly.

Writers on this board have confirmed with pubishers that the LAG group do not actually send out submissions.

They're taking money, and they're not doing work.

DanielDives
05-07-2006, 07:20 PM
Dear LB,

Q; They're taking money, and they're not doing work.

R: Hence their TM "Money makes our World go Round ...

ruthy
05-07-2006, 07:48 PM
The dreaded New York Liteary Agency is still alive and well and scamming. They are now advertising of various writers forums. Everyone beware! Don't send them ANYTHING! I have sent them a page of XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXxx and they want to see the full manuscript. Pathetic!

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 01:20 AM
I'm about to gather a good number of the line-by-line dissections we've done over the years on Robert Fletcher's whines.

Personal for Robert (and his sockpuppets and clones): If you can't come up with a post that hasn't already been refuted, don't bother to post at all.

May I recommend Ten Percent of Nothing (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0809325756/ref=nosim/madhousemanor/)while you're waiting?

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 01:31 AM
Originally posted by vstrauss, 01-13-2004, 12:36 PM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529).

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

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

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 01:33 AM
Originally posted by James D Macdonald, 01-13-2004, 05:39 PM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529)

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

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."

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 01:47 AM
Originally posted by Kate Nepveu, 04-07-2004, 04:42 PM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=6&pp=25).

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

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.

Bartholomew
05-08-2006, 01:52 AM
James D. MacDonald: Keeping it Real Since Feb of 2005.

(In a bookstore near you soon!)

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 01:56 AM
Originally posted by James D Macdonald, 04-07-2004, 10:20 PM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=6&pp=25).

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

Where to start, where to start?

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



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


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.



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


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?



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.


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.



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


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



Michael Sears ... We don't have a sale yet...



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



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



Strike two!


Carl Bell - STL Author

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


I look
forward to the day when I make that first sale ... Gary Dover

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:


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

Doyle Publishing, 2001. Same as above.


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

Same as the last one. Doyle Publishing, 2001.


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

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


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


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

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.


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

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.


Did that look real, or do the cynical think I made all that up...

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.



...scary...

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.

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

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


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

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.


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

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?


The negative comments on the web are from 1) people we didn't accept,

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


people we fired,

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


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.

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.


We have sales...

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.

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 02:03 AM
Originally posted by James D Macdonald, 04-11-2004, 09:53 AM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=7&pp=25).

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

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:


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.


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.

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 02:06 AM
Originally posted by HapiSofi, 04-16-2004, 06:48 PM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=7&pp=25).

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

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?

xhouseboy
05-08-2006, 02:17 AM
[QUOTE=sherryfine]

Also, I can assure you that this company isn't a scam.


And I can assure you that they are.



This, to me, is brilliant, out of the box thinking, that shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that our company is behind our authors.


Most criminals think out of the box. It's standard procedure. They get behind their victims in order that the target can't see what's about to happen to them.



I have a real job to get back to.

RKForever

No you don't. Stop kidding yourself on. Unless you think that being a lying puppet hound with Sherry's hand up your *** working the controls counts as a real job.

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 02:17 AM
Originally posted by HapiSofi, 10-18-2004, 10:36 PM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=11&pp=25).

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

Callalily posted a follow-up to yesterday's post:
I sent STL a frosty email yesterday severing any potential relationship I had with them. Today I received the following from Jill Mast. (All other emails had a week's lag.):

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).I've posted plenty of negative comments about STL, and I (1.) have never submitted my writing to an agent, (2.) wouldn't work with STL on a bet, and (3.) know more about publishing than their entire agency put together.
Professionals see through the innuendo and misinformation. Our goal is to have relationships with writers that understand this is a business."We're hard-headed businesspeople" is ST's usual pose. This combines oddly with the fact that their only two sales appear to have been so unremunerative that the agency's cut wouldn't buy more than a few Happy Meals. If they're hard-driving businesspeople, the business they're in isn't agenting. But we knew that already.
We deleted your materials per your request. If you should happen to get another email from us, please disregard it and that will remove you from our process completely.

Our company has a time lag in certain communications from department to department.

Best to you in your career.Isn't that slick? Jill Mast is a professional con artist.

Do you ever wonder whether, back in junior high school, little Jill dreamed of growing up to be a liar and a thief?

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 02:25 AM
Originally posted by Barrelofagun69, 12-11-2004, 07:01 AM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=13&pp=25).

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

Just a quick side-note. A few pages back, our old friend Robert Fletcher posted an angry letter demanding our respect or else lawsuits "were gonna fly." Of course that was April, and he hasn't sued anyone yet. Apparantly hasn't sold a book either.

I am a screenwriter, and I nearly fell victim to Robert until checking this site before making a move. Thank God.

For any fellow aspiring scribes out there, don't be fooled by ST's b.s. or the alleged testimonial of a "screenwriter" client of Robert's.

This pseudo-screenwriter said of ST, and Robert quotes:

"I would be happy to give a reference. ST Literary has always been upfront and proactive whenever I
communicate with them."

--- From what other members have posted, ST has been sending out the EXACT same generic e-mails some 2-3 weeks after sending out a "batch." And not one former, disgruntled ST client has ever spoken on any telephone conversation with anybody at ST.

In the film world, next to NOTHING is communicated by e-mail, even today. The film industry, especially with spec sales, is still a face and phone industry. So, scribes, don't be fooled by rising technology. This would-be scribe is full of it.

"I always receive a timely response whenever I ask a
question or for ST Literary to do a follow-up with a production company."

--- Of course, if this writer was smart, he'd be using his agented credentials and talking his way into the prodco's doors, and selling himself like a pair of shoes. That's Hollywood. But it's clear from the first sentence that we're not talking about the loftiest of career standards/expectations.

"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."

---Which he is clearly not doing. No mention whatsoever as to whether or not the guy is even L.A., which is THE place to market your script strengths. If he was, he would surely know that ST is not, and thereby be on to the scam.

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."

---Gee thanks, Mr. McKee. We asked for a testimonial on the genius of Robert Fletcher. Not a how-to, common sense guide. Who died and made you Syd Fields? And what exactly is an "expected level" in Hollywood? Everyone expects you to fail. The industry thrives on kicking fallen bodies (see the new docu: "Overnight"...woah boy).

"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."

---Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Nowhere is it documented that it takes at least 9 specs to get it right. Very few agencies stick around long enough for the ninth script, especially when the previous 8 couldn't open a can of tuna fish, much less the eyes of a studio exec/"name"/prodco., etc. In today's increasingly competative industry, agents are looking for a ball right out of the cannon, which is alternately productive and counter.

Or, at the very least, they're trying to get their writers in the door for possible assignments, re-writes, pitch meetings, or anything resembling a paid gig if the specs aren't moving. Doesn't this writer realize what ST is not doing?

"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."

---And what an amazing job they've done so far. He didn't specify how long he has been a client, but I hope to God he didn't have ST "moving" the previous 8 specs that nobody read (obviously because ST never sent them), which would mean that he paid...I don't even want to do the math. At this point, I'm hoping this testimonial is completely false.

"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."

--- The difference being, of course, that one spends truckloads of money on med school and comes out with guaranteed employment. You're not supposed to spending hundreds of dollars on a third-rate con artist to pretend to be pushing specs in Boca Baton, FL. And what exactly are you learning about screenwriting in the process?

"An agency (any agency) is only as good as the writers they
represent..."

---With scribes like you on board, cowboy, your advice is well taken. And consider yourself a nice example for all of the other screenwriters on this board that agencies like ST do, in fact, exist. It took me two or three attemped scams to realize it myself, but it truly is a take-no-prisoners industry.

"Naturally they're those writers who don't write with an
intensity that separates them from the masses and the elite number of professionals..."

---An obvious positive/negative typo that actually sums you up nicely, Gary. Not to mention that the selected passage makes precious little sense. Man, I can't wait to see Spec #9!!!

"I strive to tell the best story I possibly can that will be
entertaining and also be marketable."

---But when you're paying your way in and thinking you're making productive strides, you're only swallowing your own tail. If you really do exist, Gary, and are not just a figment of Fletch's imagination, I hope to God you're reading this. A marketable script isn't marketable by itself. Pages don't pitch themselves. Writers do. Please, for the sake of humanity, get out from ST's bank-breaking grasp.

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.

---What shouldn't take time, Gary, is one's b.s. barometer. If you trust a guy like Fletch, you're going to end up like the greatest screenwriter who's ever lived, who, by the way, is sleeping unsoundly on a cement floor tonight, because he was almost as gullible and clueless as you.

I wouldn't quit my day job either.

RESPEKT
----cdr---

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 02:43 AM
Originally posted by Barrelofagun69, 12-27-2004, 07:22 PM (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=929&page=1).

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

I have very much enjoyed the massive thread dedicated to ST Literary Agency, those wannabe third-rate con artists.

I stopped by the site and saw more lies posted. And apparantly they have a new CEO, and an urgent request for manuscripts

From www.stliteraryagency.com/-children: (http://www.stliteraryagency.com/-children:)

<<<<<INFORMATION REQUEST:
Publishing Company Looking For School Focused Manuscripts to Publish or Distribute
================================================== =================

Your Name:
Your Phone:
Your Email:


Title of Manuscript or Titles of All Manuscripts that you believe would sell to School Systems:
================================================== ================= >>>>>>

I'm a screenwriter, so this seemingly enticing post doesn't mean anything to me. But I wouldn't want some newbie novelist falling for their lies. Any of the experienced writers on this board want to check out the link and shoot the appropriate holes?

Also, and I don't think this has been brought up before, but our old friend Fletch is stepping down "to pursue other projects in the industry." I suppose the scam business isn't bringing in enough cash?

From the press release:

<<< ST Literary Agency Announces New CEO:
Founder Steps Aside to Pursue Distribution Company.

ST Literary Agency, Inc. is proud to announce the appointment of Ms. Jennifer Dublino to the role of CEO. The founder, Mr. Robert Fletcher, is stepping down to pursue other projects in the industry.

"Every growing company must realize when the entrepreneur needs to step out of the way and let the company grow," said Mr. Fletcher.

As we've all seen first hand, Fletch, you've done an amazing job thus far. Was it four writers your profiled on this very board just eight months ago who hadn't a single sale between them?

By the way, real literary agencies grow by expanding their staff, selling books and screenplays, everything but making the writer pay their way in. They don't succeed with constantly-changing management. Clear-cut sign of disorganization.

"ST is rapidly becoming a major force in the publishing industry. My skill set is different than what the company needs now. We need more organization, more quality control, and more planned growth.

Where's James MacDonald at? Haven't we already established over and over on this board that ST is the antithesis to a major force in the publishing industry?

The need for more organization, control, growth, etc. is just corporate babble. Another way of saying "I don't know what I'm doing."

I've known Ms. Dublino for years and she can provide what our clients need. My decision is based on what is best for our clients."

This is the first time that name has cropped on on any ST-relate thread, at least to my knowledge. Has anybody dealt with this woman before? There's a novelist at Writer's Net (www.writers.net/forum/rea...4/22073Vf) (http://www.writers.net/forum/read/11/22074/22073Vf%29) who has done extensive background checks on ST, exposing their fraud piece by piece. But I haven't seen that name before. Perhaps just another alias?

Mr. Fletcher will no longer be involved in daily management. Mr. Fletcher will be focusing on the Platform Program, certain key accounts, and creating a distribution company.

And this relates to selling books and screenplays how...

"Distribution is key," added Mr. Fletcher. "I have seen great work not make it to the consumer and I'm going to change that".

Huh? Are they now fancying themselves a production company/publishing house as well? How many literary agencies have a distribution company? Perhaps things are a tad different in the literary world, but I haven't heard of any agency that does this?

And distribution to where? To bookstores? Don't legit publishing companies already have that end taken care of?

Ms. Dublino is a writer, an editor, and a self-employed entrepreneur. Most recently she was the CEO of Pro Creative Marketing Group, Inc., a creative marketing and technology company. She has been associated with the writing industry for over 10 years.

Anbody feel like fact-checking this? Seems like everybody Fletch does business with is a writer and CEO, completely self-made, like our old friend Paul Anderson, the rabble-rousing self-help "futurist" / bottom-feeding public speaker. And what does a marketing CEO know about selling manuscripts?

"I know what writers go through", said Ms. Dublino. "I plan to provide more coaching and more feedback and increase the quality of our offerings".

Based on your predecessor's track record, honey, your company's problems are far greater than feedback and quality control. How is coaching going to help your business when you haven't sold a book yet?

Ms. Dublino added, "Also, the sales team and processes that Mr. Fletcher has put in place are working nicely. Our sales team is working with the top buyers in the world and I just need to give them more quality product to work with".

Sales team? Top buyers in the world? Are you a literary agency or Coca-Cola? And why haven't these top buyers in all over the world bought a book from you yet?

Ms. Dublino does plan to make changes. "One of the first changes that I will be implementing is that ST will only take edited work, or work that is given a passing grade by one of our editors. I plan to be more selective."

No mention whatsoever to a change in the laughable fees mandate or the needless "pitch page" that ST boasts about.

But wait, folks, it gets better. I present to you, Fletch's final speech to the troops. Light it up, Bobby...

A Mid-Year Letter From the President of ST Literary Agency, Inc.

To: Prospective and Existing Clients
From: Robert Fletcher, President
Re: Some Thoughts For Our Mutual Success


Whew! What a whirlwind the last few years have been for St. Literary! Book sales have been made, screenplay option agreements have been signed (and refused), and we’ve hired another four people in various capacities.

Is this guy out of his mind? And this is the "mid-year report"? That would place the date of this letter (which was undated) at about May or June 2004, about the time he was posting angry, empty threats on this board, and having every single of his non-arguments shot to hell by the educated among the board members.

This would also be about the time where he provided testimonials from at least 4 authors who hadn't a single sale to speak of. So did these sales magically occur at about the same time, Fletch?

Oh, and by the way, for clairty purposes, producers option screenplays. Agents sell them. Just thought I'd let you know.

We’ve just signed a lease on a new office and we're growing quite smoothly. We continue to get praise letters about the efficiency of our electronic methods.

But where are the SALES, Fletch? Efficiency of our electronic methods can mean a lot of things, but it doesn't mean you're selling books. I send e-mails to my grandmother twice a week telling her how proud I am that she's gotten the hang of using e-mail. Her electronic methods are growing in efficiency also. Have you sold a book yet?

The professional level of our client base is still climbing as well. At this point in time we have a dozen lawyers, as many doctors, and many, many accountants, engineers and other professionals on our roster.

Doing what? The guy posts this letter on the website of the company he's stepping down from, and what? Are we supposed to be impressed by the litany of "clients"? Are these supposed to be writers or agents?

I guess it does take a lot of accountants to calculate all the money you've ripped off of vulernable writers, Fletch, but engineers and doctors? Doing what? Selling books?

We also have teachers, ministers, stay-at-home moms, military officers, business owners, and a wide cross-section of talents that we can turn to for any writing assignments that we receive.

In my experience in film, writing assignments come up through production companies who deal with known writers with at least somewhat of a track record. They don't go to agencies with completely unknown and unproven talent, so on the film end of that statement, he's lying again.

We are becoming known for our ‘depth-off-the-bench’ by the buyers as well. We easily have 3-5 authors in every genre, both fiction and non-fiction. If one work doesn’t fit, we can offer others and cross-sell our authors on every sales call we make. Furthermore, we have a growing group of international authors whose non-US-centric view is quite often a refreshing change for our buyers.

I guess this really is how some people move up in the world, by any means possible. Most of you are going to laugh when you read these disgracefully self-aggrandizing statements. He goes on and on using every corproate cliche in the book, but not one sale to speak of.


On the darker side, we’ve now been around long enough that there are numerous detractors out there. One of my favorite rants, is that ‘we steal manuscripts and send them to China and Europe where they are hungry for anything American’. Yikes! Can you imagine?! . ..

I knew he read these boards. But that was a concern of a writer on Writer's Net, while the novelists here to seem debunk the theory that Chinese and European readers would care about unknown U.S. authors. I don't know. I've heard different sides to this argument.

If you see these comments please take them with a grain of salt. I easily have 20 letters of praise for every bad apple that we have terminated and who is ranting and I’m happy to share references at any time.

How about 20 letters or praise from 20 different people for each and every person who has complained on the 17 pages of the S.T. thread, Fletch? Now that would be showing me something.

And who cares about letters of praise? If I were a legit agent who was constantly being hounded like this, I'd show 20 letters of sales to shut up the detractors. Who cares what nice things people have to say about me if I'm selling books? Alas, Fletch...


What’s next? ….


There is only one acceptable answer to this question, and that answer is, MORE SALES FOR OUR AUTHORS!!!!

Good luck, Fletch, perhaps you could "sell" three books in 2K5 to PoD houses. That would be three more than your 2004 sales seem to indicate.

As our first plan of attack we’re exhibiting at Book Expo in June in Chicago. Secondly, we’ll be attending the Frankfurt Bookfair in Germany in October.

I think a German novelist on this board saw them in Frankfurt, but nothing happened. And apparantly they didn't sell any books as a result of their presence there.

International rights management is a very rapidly growing aspect of our business. This featured very prominently in the book we sold to Globe-Pequot, “Too Much Tuscan Sun” written by a tour-guide in Italy with strong European sales already.

First time I've ever read anything by Fletch where he mentions a sale. It is available on Amazon, with some genuinely flat reviews which seem to sum the book up nicely. The positive reviews look like plants.

But I don't get it, guys. If this letter is dated mid-year, when he posted that memorable letter to his "detractors" on Page 5 of the ST thread, how come these authors weren't mentioned? Why not go for the author for whom you have sold a book to sing your praises? What's the real story on this?

And finally, perhaps most interestingly, we are putting our own money behind authors that have a viable ‘platform’. What? An Agent that will back an author with capital?… Yes, that’s right.

Huh? First they make "informed business" decisions to charge $129 for them to not represent you, but now all of the sudden they're putting "capital" behind authors? What's up with this?

"Some authors have the ability to move 1000+ books based on their track record, constituency, or another marketing factor. If we see this situation, we will sometimes offer to step in and back the author with resources."

He makes less and less sense everytime he opens his mouth. I thought S.T. only wanted to deal with authors with no track record, thus making it more enticing for vulernable authors to pay up. Now he drops a vague notion about taking the extra step to ensure the author gets out there?

Is ST going legit? The horror...


Sorry for the length. Just figured you'd all get a kick out of it.

RESPEKT
---cdr---

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 02:45 AM
Originally posted by Barrelofagun69, 12-27-2004, 07:27 PM (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=929&page=1).

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

In my last thread, "ST Lit: Fletch Walks" I re-posted Fletch's letter about their new platform program, which is designed to put "capital" behind authors with track records.

Just thought I'd share this new scam with you guys:

Do You Think You Qualify For Our "Platform" Program?





To: Prospective and Existing Clients

From: Robert Fletcher, President




Re: Platform Application

This is a very aggressive and unique program where we will consider backing your manuscript with our resources and capital.

Pardon me for being a screenwriter, but aren't literary agencies supposed to do this anyway?

The gist of the program is that if we can assist you in reaching between 1000 and 3000 sales, you are much more interesting to the traditional publishing community as their risk is less and their odds of success are greater.


1. The program is only designed for authors that have demonstrated sales of their work. We'd like to see a minimum of 500 sold..... 1,000 sold is very good, and 5,000 plus sold is very powerful.

2. Repeat: The program is only designed for authors that have demonstrated sales of their work. If you don't have existing sales, please follow the regular submission requirements.

IF YOU DO NOT HAVE THIS LEVEL OF SALES, DO NOT FILL THIS APPLICATION OUT. I'm sorry, this program is NOT for ideas or proposals.

Also, we're looking for niches that we can mine and market to with our resources to assist you. Straight fiction is tough due to the difficulty in differentiation.

If you would like to enter into a dialogue and see if we are a fit for each other, please answer the questions below and then email.


When answering the questions below, feel free to paste any existing writeups that you have. I don't mind if you send me a very long email (or very short for that matter).

A. Describe the work... title, synopsis, market focus, etc.

B. Describe yourself... background, career, etc

C. Describe Sales to Date, and Selling Activities to Date.

D. Describe what you would like to do in the future if you had the resources.


Upon receipt of your email we will get back to you within 48 hours. All information that we receive will be kept in the strictest confidence. If you want more protection please feel free to request a non-disclosure form.

We look forward to a stimulating conversation with you.


Robert Fletcher

President



Anybody want to shed some light on this nonsense? This seems way outside the realm of what lit agencies are supposed to do.

But wait, here's the best part:

p.s. Our protege in this arena has sold 30,000 books and is still going strong. This program works.

I tell you, that Paul Anderson just doesn't go away, does it? I knew he was involved in this somehow. Is this another one of us his Customer Service mish-mash ideas?

None of this even makes sense. Why don't these guys just do business the legit way. It's a lot easier.

RESPEKT
---cdr---


p.s.s. Even if you don't qualify for the Platform Program, we still may be interested in representing you. Please feel free to submit your work to us. Visit the Submit Page for more information.

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 02:50 AM
Originally posted by vstrauss, 12-27-2004, 09:12 PM.

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

Mr. Fletcher will be focusing on the Platform Program, certain key accounts, and creating a distribution company. "Distribution is key," added Mr. Fletcher. "I have seen great work not make it to the consumer and I'm going to change that".

Distribution for what? Books? Llamas? One thing's not a question: a fee will be attached.

So far, I've heard from four people who queried ST's Platform Program (supposedly a promotional program for self-published authors with sales in excess of 500 copies). Three of the four fit the criteria. All were strung along for a bit and then offered ST's standard "representation" contract.

Ms. Dublino is a writer, an editor, and a self-employed entrepreneur. Most recently she was the CEO of Pro Creative Marketing Group, Inc., a creative marketing and technology company. She has been associated with the writing industry for over 10 years.

There's no such thing as "the writing industry" (unless you mean the industry of people who prey on writers). If "the publishing industry" is what's meant here, a bit of searching doesn't turn up any publishing connections for Ms. Dublino: no books written, no articles published, no membership in professional editorial associations. She racks up zero hits on Amazon, and a grand total of four on Google--two of them Yellow Pages address listings.

Here's the website of Pro Creative Marketing Group, Inc.: www.procreative.com/proindex.htm (http://www.procreative.com/proindex.htm) . It's an Internet marketing firm. Notice what's missing? Any experience with books or manuscripts, or publishing in any form. The website also appears to be seriously in need of updating: the Portfolio page hasn't been modified since 1999 and most of the links don't work.

I don't mean to rag on Ms. Dublino--who knows, she may be yet another of the many folks bamboozled by Fletcher and his merry crew. From what I can tell, however, well-intentioned or not, she has zero qualifications to run a literary agency.

"I know what writers go through", said Ms. Dublino. "I plan to provide more coaching and more feedback and increase the quality of our offerings".

Hmmm. Is she suggesting that the quality of ST's offerings is not up to par? Say it ain't so!

Ms. Dublino does plan to make changes. "One of the first changes that I will be implementing is that ST will only take edited work, or work that is given a passing grade by one of our editors. I plan to be more selective."

Translation: "ST will recommend paid editing services to everyone who queries." Need I mention that the paid editing service is run by one of ST's employees, and that ST doesn't disclose the connection?

This has already begun--I'm starting to get letters from writers who were offered paid editing before signing on with ST, as opposed to somewhere in the middle of the "submission" process.

So has the water gotten too hot for Fletcher, with all the BBB complaints and so on--is he bailing before ST goes down the tubes? Or is this all a shell game, designed to make ST look successful? Only the Shadow knows (but I'm sure we will too, soon, given our godlike powers of scam detection).

- Victoria

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 04:57 AM
Originally posted by DaveKuzminski, 04-22-2005, 07:55 AM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=21&pp=25).

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


We are beginning a series of lawsuits against her and other bulletin board moderators and posters.

Obviously, the bit about "Esteemed new member" doesn't actually apply here. Hey, Robert, where's my letter? You don't want to make me feel left out, do you? I've told plenty of writers to avoid you as well. I also tell them to avoid the plague. See any parallels?

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 04:58 AM
Originally posted by Roger J Carlson, 04-22-2005, 08:46 AM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=21&pp=25).

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


At this time the process that Ms. Strauss decries as a foul scam has 68 manuscripts under request by publishers, 3 book contracts in negotiation, and 3 movie options in various stages of negotiation. Our lead author from Italy has just finished a US book tour and is a finalist in the Ben Franklin awards in New York. His work has now sold German and Australian and UK rights ... The totals given above are referenceable and documentable. We have to document everything given the scrutiny that we live under.Hmmmm. All that and they haven't sold a book -- "under request", "in negotiations". Notice that he didn't say that THEY sold the foreign rights for their "lead author from Italy" (does he have a name?). No, RobertF says that the AUTHOR has sold the foreign rights.

Let's see if I can be a reputable literary agency.

I have 3 manuscripts under consideration by various publishers.
Ok, I have a novel and two short stories that I've submitted to publishers. I haven't heard back yet, so technically they're still "under consideration." One publisher actually requested sample chapters, so at least one of them is "under request."

I have 3 book contracts under negotiation.
Ok, I've been contacted by a number of vanity presses and POD publishers (is there a difference?), two of which sent me contracts. I've also received the imfamous contract from ST Literary (this is a contract for my book). Since I haven't formally turned any of them down yet, they are still "in negotiation."

I have several movie options in various stages of negotiation.
I DO have a legitmate Hollywood agent who is trying to sell the screen rights for my novel even though it isn't published. He has contacted several production companies about an option. This is a stage in negotiation.

There. I'm a reputable agent.

What I'd like to see is a list of books and authors that THEY have sold to named, reputable publishers.

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 05:00 AM
Originally posted by James D. Macdonald, 04-22-2005, 09:24 AM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=21&pp=25).

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


At this time the process that Ms. Strauss decries as a foul scam has 68 manuscripts under request by publishers, 3 book contracts in negotiation, and 3 movie options in various stages of negotiation.

Bobby! I've missed you! Where've you been? Didn't I hear that you stepped down from ST aka Stylus Literary Agency?

But tell me ... what does "various stages of negotiation" mean? Just sending something could put you in a "stage of negotiation" -- the one that comes before the "instant rejection." All I'm seeing here are weasel words. "Under request." "In negotiation." Great! Ever sell anything? To anyone?

What happened to your claims about that preacher who sold a book to a start-up LDS publisher? What about the physicist? What happened, Bob?


Our lead author from Italy has just finished a US book tour and is a finalist in the Ben Franklin awards in New York. His work has now sold German and Australian and UK rights ... The totals given above are referenceable and documentable. We have to document everything given the scrutiny that we live under.

Isn't it true that your "lead author" sold his book himself, then made the mistake of asking you to negotiate the contract? And "has now been sold" is different from "sold by ST" (oops! I mean Stylus Literary Agency). Isn't it true that the publisher made those deals, not you?


I feel very sorry for new and emerging authors who have taken Ms. Strauss' advice and missed their chance to be included in the above totals.

Those totals are a whole lot of nothing. I feel very sorry for those new and emerging authors who fall for your scam, Bobby.


Anybody here try to get to a literary agent that will actually talk to a new author? It doesn't happen.

Happens every day, Bobby, and doesn't involve money changing hands.


So what happens because of Ms. Strauss and others, is that a new author goes through our process, does some research and then gets scared off.

And I count that as scoring one for the good guys.



What's next for that new author? another 100 query letters to Agents? Another round of postage and time lost. We would have that author in front of real buyers within 30 days. That's the real truth, you can spend the rest of your life looking for an agent that will take you on for 'free', or you can get into a process that will tell you if your work is sellable very quickly.

What the author really ought to do is write a book that people want to read. As your "lead author from Italy" proved, it's possible for an author to get published all on his own. I'm sorry that he didn't get an experienced agent to negotiate it, though. Is it true that you let him sign a contract with the royalties based on net?

And I'm here to tell you, if you have a good manuscript, getting a good agent isn't a problem.



Our Agencies are willing to incubate new authors. We're willing to spend time working with them to improve their work We present options to them and they can choose any company that they choose for the services they need. We don't force it down their throat, what's the point in that? If an author is willing to be critiqued by a third party, edit and fix their writing, etc. then we're willing to give that author a chance. Otherwise, where does that author go... Maybe some of the bulletin board posters will start to help these authors free of charge.. .hmmm...


Ah, yes! The Professional Editor scam. And yes, some of the bulletin board posters here do help authors free of charge.



That said, we're about to educate the bulletin board moderators and posters on what's fair play and what's foul.... we support fact based discussions.. we've offered to publish an interview with Ms. Strauss on numerous occassions. Frankly, she gets more validation from maintaining her point of view, than in really helping the industry, and recently she's crossed the line.

Why would she want to be published by you? But yes -- let's have a fact-based discussion. Start with these facts: Have you, Robert Fletcher, ever been convicted of a crime? And have you ever sold a book, to anyone?



We are beginning a series of lawsuits against her and other bulletin board moderators and posters.

Woo!





April 15, 2005

VIA CERTIFIED MAIL









To: Victoria Strauss

[address deleted]






Re: Our Client: Robert Fletcher

Our File #: 314491






Dear Ms Strauss:



Please be advised that the Law Offices of Glantz & Glantz, P.A. represents Robert Fletcher.

That's one of those "Lawyer in a Box" firms. You hire 'em to write scary-sounding letters.


The firm is writing on Mr. Fletcher’s behalf with regard to defamatory statements about our client made by you to a third party.



Mr. Fletcher advises that you have contacted one of his clients Michael Graham, and circulated untrue and derogatory statements about him and his businesses. These statements include, but are not limited to, untruths such as that he is engaging in unprofessional conduct in the publishing industry, that he does not disclose his interest in services he recommends to clients, and that he and his company are dishonest and guilty of unfair business practices.

Funny -- all of those things sound true on the face of 'em. Do you happen to have a list of untruths? And did you inform Glantz & Glantz of your actual business practices?


These statements adversely affect the reputation of Mr. Fletcher and his businesses. We have advised Mr. Fletcher of his rights under applicable defamation laws for such statements in the form of injunctive relief and the award of money damages.

How could your reputation be adversely affected, Bobby? You'd have to have a reputation first.


Accordingly, demand is hereby made that you immediately cease and desist circulating any further derogatory statements about Mr. Fletcher and his businesses. Demand is also hereby made for a public retraction and apology for these statements, within ten (10) days.

Ten days from the fifteenth? Monday? I am so looking forward to that.


Your failure to respond as demanded herein shall be considered as an intention on your part to refuse to amicably resolve this dispute between you and Mr. Fletcher. You will therefore leave us no choice but to advise our client concerning the avenues available under Florida and other applicable laws to enjoin publication of defamatory statements and recover money damages.

The advice they're likely to give you is to "Give it up, Bob, and crawl back under your rock."



PLEASE GOVERN YOURSELF ACCORDINGLY.


I'm just betting she will.




Very truly yours,

LAW OFFICES OF GLANTZ & GLANTZ P.A.

Oh, this will be fun. If I recall correctly you had these same folks write a similar letter to Writers.net sometime last year. They didn't retract or delete anything, and your pet lawyers haven't done a thing about it.

They may know something you don't, Bobby: You don't have a leg to stand on.

Oh -- and have you ever sold anything? To anybody?

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 05:01 AM
Originally posted by Roger J Carlson, 04-22-2005, 09:48 AM.

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


Our Agencies are willing to incubate new authors. For a fee.


We're willing to spend time working with them to improve their work For a fee. Besides, they don't actually sell any books, so what else have they got to do with their time?


We present options to them and they can choose any company that they choose for the services they need.How many of these "options" are in fact divisions of ST Literary -- sorry -- Stylus Literary?


We don't force it down their throat, what's the point in that? Swindling is so much cheaper, easier, and a LOT more fun.


If an author is willing to be critiqued by a third party, edit and fix their writing, etc. then we're willing to give that author a chance. Sure. They've proven their gullibility. Suckers always come back for more.


Otherwise, where does that author go... Perhaps to a reputable agent who has actually sold real books to real publishers for real money.

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 05:03 AM
Originally posted by victoriastrauss, 04-22-2005, 11:43 AM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=21&pp=25).

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

Dear Robert,

Your letter is dated April 15th. Interestingly, I haven't yet received it. Gee, certified mail takes an awfully long time.

Thank you, by the way, for posting my street address. That was thoughtful. I've edited your original post to remove it.

Though others have already done so, I feel compelled to respond.


The totals given above are referenceable and documentable. We have to document everything given the scrutiny that we live under.Same here.

Anybody here try to get to a literary agent that will actually talk to a new author? It doesn't happen.Nonsense.

So what happens because of Ms. Strauss and others, is that a new author goes through our process, does some research and then gets scared off.That's the idea, yes.

We would have that author in front of real buyers within 30 days. That's the real truth, you can spend the rest of your life looking for an agent that will take you on for 'free', or you can get into a process that will tell you if your work is sellable very quickly.It that's the case, you have a unique knack for taking on unsellable manuscripts. Let's see, in nearly four years of operation (you took over ST Literary Agency--oops, Stylus Literary Agency, then known as Sydra Techniques, in 2001) you claim, what is it, three sales? Four? The Literary Group, the successful agency whose name is similar to the name of your new enterprise, probably sells that many manuscripts in a month.

Our Agencies are willing to incubate new authors. We're willing to spend time working with them to improve their work We present options to them and they can choose any company that they choose for the services they need.Services you own and/or run, from which you make a secret profit (since the connection isn't disclosed to clients). Documentation I've collected shows that you're referring clients to (at least) two different editing services, both run by the same individual, who also worked or works as an agent for ST Literary Agency--oops, Stylus Literary Agency; and (at least) one illustration service, run by RapidPublishing, which processes ST Literary Agency's--oops, Stylus Literary Agency's--invoices. Recommending that clients use a third-party service from which the agency receives a profit is a practice that has been so extensively abused that it's prohibited by the AAR.


we've offered to publish an interview with Ms. Strauss on numerous occassions.That must have been some other Ms. Strauss, because I don't remember ever getting such an offer.

Seriously, though, this sounds like a great idea. I accept your offer. I'd love to do an interview. Bring on the questions!

We are beginning a series of lawsuits against her and other bulletin board moderators and posters.This I will believe when I see it.

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

Responding now to the lawyer letter:

April 15, 2005Gosh, the US mail is inefficient! I'm still waiting.

Mr. Fletcher advises that you have contacted one of his clients Michael GrahamMr. Graham is not a writer, but an illustrator who worked on the self-published book of a business associate of Mr. Fletcher's. I somehow doubt he's a client, but since the empire is obviously expanding I suppose it's not beyond the realm of possibility.

I did contact Mr. Graham, because I found Mr. Graham's illustrations on the website of RapidPublishing.com (the service that clients of Fletcher's Children's Literary Agency are encouraged to use), and wondered if he was aware of this.

and circulated untrue and derogatory statements about him and his businesses. These statements include, but are not limited to, untruths such as that he is engaging in unprofessional conduct in the publishing industry, that he does not disclose his interest in services he recommends to clients, and that he and his company are dishonest and guilty of unfair business practices.I've made these same statements many times in many different venues. They're either fully supported by documentation in my possession, or identified as my opinion. (Jaws has trained me well.)

These statements adversely affect the reputation of Mr. Fletcher and his businesses. We have advised Mr. Fletcher of his rights under applicable defamation laws for such statements in the form of injunctive relief and the award of money damages.OK. But it's not defamatory if it's true (you knew that, right?)

Accordingly, demand is hereby made that you immediately cease and desist circulating any further derogatory statements about Mr. Fletcher and his businesses. Demand is also hereby made for a public retraction and apology for these statements, within ten (10) days.I'll note (again) that I haven't received this letter.

Lessee. April 15th to April 22nd is seven (7) days. Time is running out!

Your failure to respond as demanded herein shall be considered as an intention on your part to refuse to amicably resolve this dispute between you and Mr. Fletcher. You will therefore leave us no choice but to advise our client concerning the avenues available under Florida and other applicable laws to enjoin publication of defamatory statements and recover money damages.Be my guest.

Very truly yours,

- Victoria Strauss

Bartholomew
05-08-2006, 05:07 AM
Mr. MacDonald, you've been on the warpath all day. What's prompted this?

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 05:08 AM
Originally posted by IWrite, 04-22-2005, 02:16 PM.

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


At this time the process that Ms. Strauss decries as a foul scam has 68 manuscripts under request by publishers, 3 book contracts in negotiation, and 3 movie options in various stages of negotiation.

Question about the 68 - did you send an unsolicited query or did you pick up the phone and call the editors? I don't need you to send a query and it's cheaper for me to do it than have you do it for me - as you apparently charge for this.

Question about the 3 books - are they traditional publishers or Publish America? Any requests from Simon & Schuster or Bantam?

Comment about the 3 options. Options mean nothing. It's sales that count and one thing a screenwriter wants an agent to do is close a sale.


I feel very sorry for new and emerging authors who have taken Ms. Strauss' advice and missed their chance to be included in the above totals.[/b]

Based on the amount of time you've been in business and the number of authors you've sucked in your above totals are.... pathetic.


Anybody here try to get to a literary agent that will actually talk to a new author? It doesn't happen. So what happens because of Ms. Strauss and others, is that a new author goes through our process, does some research and then gets scared off.

You are the one spreading false and erroneous information on this point. Brand spanking new authors get signed by real agents and get real publishing contracts every day. Yes it's a tough process - nothing worth having is easy. And there really is no point in having an agent who knows nothing about the business and/or knows nobody in it. If you knew about the film biz - you would not be bragging about getting 3 options. At most agencies, if that's the best you can do - you'd be hanging your head in shame or seeking another career - 10% of option money doesn't cover an agency's cost for brads. If you knew about the publishing industry - you would not be saying that real agents won't talk to unpublished writers.


What's next for that new author? another 100 query letters to Agents? Another round of postage and time /lost. We would have that author in front of real buyers within 30 days. That's the real truth, you can spend the rest of your life looking for an agent that will take you on for 'free', or you can get into a process that will tell you if your work is sellable very quickly.[/b]

Yes, Mr. Fletcher another round of queries, this is the process - this is how it works. You can't become a famous actor unless you send out hundreds of headshots and go on audition after audition. And you can't get an agent until you send enough queries to finally hit the right one.

As for agents taking you on for free. Hoisted with your own petard on this one. A real agent will believe enough in your work, that they are willing to take the chance that they will not make a dime off you. It's a huge act of faith AND it insures they will work damn hard to get your work out there, because their payday is dependent upon yours.

You on the other hand get a nice chunk of change from every sucker.. uh client you reel in. You don't have to sell a single book to make wads of cash. You don't have to limit yourself to those who you think are good enough to be published, because your income comes from their fees. You have no incentive to sell anything but your services.


Our Agencies are willing to incubate new authors. We're willing to spend time working with them to improve their work We present options to them and they can choose any company that they choose for the services they need. We don't force it down their throat, what's the point in that? If an author is willing to be critiqued by a third party, edit and fix their writing, etc. then we're willing to give that author a chance. Otherwise, where does that author go... Maybe some of the bulletin board posters will start to help these authors free of charge.. .hmmm...[/b]

Umm.. no offense Mr. Fletcher, but I'm looking for someone to represent and sell my work - not incubate me. And many, many agents will give suggestions to writers on how to improve their ms if they believe the writer has promise.

And just what is the background of you and your employees that puts you in a position to help writers "improve their work"? From what I know about your background - you don't come from the literary world - although since it appears you got in a little bit of trouble with securities fraud - you may have some experience with fiction. Your new CEO has a background in marketing - not literature. The sale you're so anxious tout was made to a publisher that eagerly accepts unagented work.


We are beginning a series of lawsuits against her and other bulletin board moderators and posters. A literary agent must be facile in their use of lawyers. We keep 'em on retainer.[/b]

Dude, save your time and your money. Do you really want a parade of all your dissatisfied clients marching to the witness stand? From what I've seen on the net - there appear to be alot of them.

The fact remains - you do CHAGE fees and you have almost no verifiable sales.

Scammer or not you are what many would deem a lousy agency.

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 05:11 AM
Originally posted by James D. Macdonald, 04-23-2005, 11:59 AM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8312&page=2&pp=25).

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


The President of the Children's Literary Agency, Dorothy Walker, has successfully sold her work to Scholastic, Henry Holt, and Tree of Life publishing. Her work has also appeared in publications such as Highlights for Children, Child Life, Jack & Jill, Wee Wisdom, and Humpty Dumpty.


The listed president of Children's Literary Agency is Dorothy Walker.

Here is a list of her sales of book-length works:

As Ann Doro:

Charlie The Lost Dog, Scholastic, 1990
Twin Pickle, Henry Holt, 1996
The Missing Canary, Tree Of Life Publishing, 2005

As D.A. Johnstone:

Trio, PublishAmerica, 2003

DaveKuzminski
05-08-2006, 05:12 AM
Damn, I still haven't received any papers from Fletcher or his lawyers. I guess Fletcher's efforts at sending out submissions must have infected his lawyer's ability to send out civil suit papers. ;)

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 05:21 AM
Originally posted by HapiSofi, 05-05-2005, 09:02 AM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=22&pp=25).

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


At this time the process that Ms. Strauss decries as a foul scam has 68 manuscripts under request by publishers, 3 book contracts in negotiation, and 3 movie options in various stages of negotiation. Our lead author from Italy has just finished a US book tour and is a finalist in the Ben Franklin awards in New York. His work has now sold German and Australian and UK rights ... The totals given above are referenceable and documentable. We have to document everything given the scrutiny that we live under.Woohoo!

A manuscript "under request" is nothing, absolutely nothing.

Three contracts supposedly "in negotiation," but none sufficiently complete that you can talk about them by name, is a pathetically thin piece of flimflam. Sydra/ST/Stylus has been around for years. Can it be that they're just now getting around to negotiating some contracts? Naaaah. They never get out there and sell books. Those three contract negotiations don't exist.

To cap it all off, a "lead author" (Fletcher's use of industry terms is Publishing As She Is Spoke) who's just finished a US book tour and is a finalist for some award, but whose name his own agent never gets around to mentioning, is a plain and simple impossibility.

If you surgically removed the mouth and throat from the corpse of a real but dead agent, then ran a galvanic current through it, the mouth would automatically say "Let me tell you about my authors."
We are beginning a series of lawsuits against her and other bulletin board moderators and posters.Awwwww. That's so cute. Takes me back, it does. Some of the earliest thrashes I got into on the AW boards featured Robert Fletcher spouting his usual mixture of empty threats, legal gobbledegook, and imitation publishing-speak.

(Hiya, RF! Remember me? Didn't we have fun back then? I did, at any rate.

I like the latest gobbledegook. It still doesn't sound like a real letter from a real lawyer, but it flows well, and the grammar mostly parses. I expect it does fool some people, though, so you're still in peril of going to Hell for writing it. Please govern yourself accordingly.)
Quoting CaoPaux, who quoted Sydra/ST/Stylus's own press release: "The Literary Agency Group, Inc. (LAG) announces the acquisition of ST Literary Agency. Mrs. Jennifer Dublino is being promoted to Corporate CEO, and Ms. Georgina Orr is promoted to Corporate - Senior Agent."

This is such crap. The Literary Agent Group is Robert Fletcher (Children's Literary Agency is also "a division" of The Literary Agency Group). It's just a consolidation of all the scams under one umbrella.Didn't PianoTuna establish that Jennifer Dublino doesn't exist? It makes me dubious about Ms. Georgina Orr. Real people don't commonly hang out with fake ones.

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 05:40 AM
Originally posted by Richard, 06-23-2005, 07:19 PM (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8286&page=2&pp=25).

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

Georgina, really, I make no claim of following your company's activities in any way more than reading the occasional post about it, so I apologise if any of this sounds in any way misunderstanding your situation. Still, that sprawl makes little sense to this humble writer...

As such, since you offer to answer questions:


"That's why we use the critique to WEED OUT those authors that want something for nothing."


"The odds are so against new writers that we've learned that we can only invest our time with writers that are willing to pull their own weight"


If you are unwilling to spend any money to improve your writing, then please go away

"Pulling their own weight"? "Something for nothing"? Shouldn't words like 'quality' or 'marketability' be putting in something of an appearance there?


Note: because of the vitriolic people on these boards we don't post our deals because the instant we post a name, the really creepy and scary people that hate us start sending this crap to the posted name.

...except that isn't the main, number one complaint people seem to have that they can't find any evidence of you guys selling a book? It seems to me that being able to give a good, high-profile example of a title for which no money changed hands would be an obvious way of quashing the majority of those critics.


Q) Your office in New York, isn't listed on the sign.

If this is a reference to the post I think it is, that wasn't Jim's claim. His story involved going into the building and working through the full tenant list with the security guard in the lobby. Where is the New York office?

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 05:41 AM
Originally posted by LloydBrown, 06-23-2005, 08:25 PM (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8286&page=2&pp=25).

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


very few literary agents have even one deal under their belt



That’s so patently untrue as to be ridiculous. If they don’t get deals for a period of time, they go out of business. Any company must have revenue to sustain itself. The alternative is a revenue stream that depends on a source other than book sales—like the authors, for example.



Writer’s Market lists about 225 agents that have made deals.




Also, did you ever ask why writers have used pen names since time began, and why agents are so hard to get to? One reason is because some crazy writer has stalked every agent that we know at some time.



One reason writers use pen names is because some crazy writer has stalked every agent that you know? That doesn’t seem to make sense. Since you used and to link your independent clauses, the following sentence should be construed to apply to both clauses. We call it parallelism. Literary agents should be familiar with it, because publishers certainly are.




We now have 4 deals.



With which publishers would those be? You’ve stated that you don’t want to release the author names, which is remarkable since actual book sales are a legitimate literary agency’s best marketing tool.




We are one of the few agencies that will even talk to an unpublished author.



You have a strange definition of “few.” Again, Writer’s Market alone lists about 200. I’m sure your claim is a very convincing line unless your audience does about 12 seconds of research.



Now I’ll agree if you say “author whose work he doesn’t feel he can place.” Of course the agents that earn money through book sales turn those down. Only agents that earn money through self-referential editing fees take those authors on.




Your office in New York, isn't listed on the sign.



I believe the accusation was that your office in New York *doesn’t actually exist*. I noticed that you don’t have a phone listing there, either, which comes free with a phone. Do you not have a phone in your office? Here, I’ll make it easy: who are your neighbors on the left and right?



The question is also a run-on sentence.




This is the grapevine at it's worst



Its. Possessive, not a contraction (the pronoun without an antecedent is a minor point, hardly worth mentioning).




If an author is willing to grow and improve, then we feel that they deserve



Should be “he deserves.” Author is a singular noun. They is a plural pronoun.




if an agent charges anything, they are bad



You did it again.



Are you sure you work for a literary agency? Maybe you should contact that editing service. Or a middle-school grammar teacher.

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 05:43 AM
Originally posted by victoriastrauss, 06-23-2005, 09:54 PM (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8286&page=2&pp=25).

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


1) The first category are the 'industry watchdogs'. These are people that derive some level of psychological benefits from 'exposing' fraud, scams, etc. WE HAVE CONTACTED THESE PEOPLE NUMEROUS TIMES AND OFFERED TO ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS ON A PUBLIC FORUM FOR THE BEST INTEREST OF THE INDUSTRY AND THE WRITERS. They have refused or ignored our requests.Now, I'm a fairly modest person. I never assume that anyone will know who I am or what my accomplishments are. However, I know that your boss knows who I am, Georgina, because he has tried to scare me with threats of legal action. So I'm raising my hand as one "industry watchdog" who has not been contacted even once by anyone at your agencies with an offer to answer my questions.

Since you are so willing to answer questions, I will come up with some. But later. Tonight I'm too tired.


Also, they have blocked our rebuttal posts and deleted our prior posts. In short, a very one-sided message board!This may have happened to you on some other message board. I don't know. But it has never happened on this one.

I actually really like your posts, Georgina, and I like your boss's too. They say more about your operation than I ever could.

- Victoria

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 05:45 AM
Originally posted by James D. Macdonald, 06-24-2005, 01:54 AM (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8286&page=2&pp=25).

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


In my role as the VP of Corporate Affairs for the Literary Agency Group I am keen to respond to the postings on this message board.

Excellent!

Isn't it true that Children's Literary Agency was created solely to take some heat off Stylus (ST) Literary Agency? Is it true that you haven't sold any books, ever, to anyone?


Some of you may know me in my other role, as the Senior Agent for our children's division (The Children's Literary Agency).

Great! What books have you sold? Which editors do you know best?

Isn't it a fact that no one knows you in any role? You're a stealth agent -- and that's impossible. An agent's job is to be visible.


Again, in our determination to minimize administration costs, one or two of the personnel within our organization are asked to wear more than one hat.

Are any of those "hats" selling books to publishers?


With that introduction, I apologize in advance for the length of this posting.

No, please, go on. Just remember that anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.



The Literary Agency Group is keenly aware of the negative messages on these boards and frankly we are concerned by them as well.

As well you should be. Anyone searching for your web page runs into link after link of accurate information long before they find your false and misleading site.


Please allow me to give you our analysis of the situation and a suggestion about how to proceed.

Yes, please do. Here's my suggestion for how to proceed: Go out of business. Find an honest job. Pay restitution.



There appear to be three categories of people on these boards.

People who warn writers against scams, writers, and scammers.



-------------------------------------------------------------------
1) The first category are the 'industry watchdogs'. These are people that derive some level of psychological benefits from 'exposing' fraud, scams, etc.

Yes, I admit it. Saving a new writer from making a costly mistake does feel good.



WE HAVE CONTACTED THESE PEOPLE NUMEROUS TIMES AND OFFERED TO ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS ON A PUBLIC FORUM FOR THE BEST INTEREST OF THE INDUSTRY AND THE WRITERS.

YOU'RE LYING.

Names, dates, places? Oh, you mean you never did contact anyone. But since you're willing to answer questions in a public forum, here we go:

What have you sold? Titles, authors, publishers, dates.


They have refused or ignored our requests.

Another lie.


What does that tell you?

That you're a liar.


It tells me that they aren't interested in the truth,

There's someone here who isn't interested in the truth, but that person isn't me.


it tells me that they are interested in more visitors to their website.

You're aware that Writer Beware and Preditors & Editors don't sell ads?


Also, they have blocked our rebuttal posts and deleted our prior posts.

Neither Preditors & Editors nor Writer Beware even have messageboards for you to post on. Your posts, and Robert Fletcher's posts, and posts from Paul Anderson and Peter Parente are still here for anyone to read. You're posting right now.


In short, a very one-sided message board!

In short, a crude lie that anyone can see for themselves is a lie.




2) The second category are people that have worked with us, for whom we haven't been successful,

That's "nearly everyone," isn't it? You're talking about the people who paid their money and got nothing but a run-around in return.



and they are blameful, pointing fingers, etc. Basically just jumping on the bandwagon because they would rather feel 'took' than acknowledge that their work wasn't good enough to sell.

The old "Blame the Victim" trick. If their work wasn't good enough to sell why in the world would you have represented it?

If you did represent works that weren't "good enough," actually submitted it to publishers, the publishers would soon learn that you submit trash, and would treat your submissions like any other piece of unsolicited slush. So which is it, Georgina? You're lousy agents or you're scam agents?



We call this the sour grapes crowd.

I call it the "eyes opened too late" crowd.



3) The third category, whom we feel the most sorry for, are authors who stumble into this mess.

Have their eyes opened, and escape in the nick of time.


Many of these authors just decide not to continue,

And save themselves time, money, and heartache.


and may lose the one real chance that they ever had to secure representation.

A bad agent is worse than no agent at all. The ones who avoid your traps, who have commercial works, will find real agents who can genuinely represent them. That isn't any sort of tragedy.



So, what to do?....

Go out of business. Find an honest job. Maybe if you make a full confession to your local district attorney, turn state's evidence, you won't go to the hardbar hotel with Robert Fletcher.


------------------------
First, go through the message board and try to find anything of substance.

There's gobs of it.



What we see is repeat, repeat, and each time something is repeated, it gets more and more outlandish. Our favorite was that "we steal work and sell it to China". ugh.

That claim was made by one individual -- probably based on Robert Fletcher's own claim that he was working some kind of deals in China. It was debunked right here by one of the AW regulars, well over a year ago.

The fact is that ST Literary and its little collection of daughter agencies can't sell works in China. Or anywhere else.



Go through the boards and send me SPECIFIC questions.

What have you sold? Title, author, publisher?
Which editors do you work with most often? Which do you know best?
What's the actual physical location of your office?
What are the names of your agents? What is their prior experience in publishing?



Actually, I'll save some time here, and answer them now because we've heard them all before...

Those are questions you've heard many times, but have never answered.


Q) You charge fees.. that sucks.. no one should charge a writer anything... you should get paid only if you sell something... and various flavors of this misconception.

No misconception. Literary agencies -- real ones -- make their money by selling books to publishers. Not by charging fees. Not by having their authors pay fees to "sister companies" that you also happen to own.


A) We do not charge fees.

No, you send authors to other people (who just happen to be you) to pay their fees.


We ask writers to improve their work and a critique and editing (sometimes) is part of that process.

For a fee. While I can't prove that you ask your writers to pay that fee every time, it's certainly most times, isn't it?


And, we ask for mailing expenses if it happens.

Real agencies get reimbursed for legitimate expenses out of the advance after the book sells. If the book doesn't sell, they eat the loss.



The odds are so against new writers that we've learned that we can only invest our time with writers that are willing to pull their own weight.

That is, pay a fee.


Writers that aren't willing to pull their weight,

That is, pay a fee...


we call the "something for nothing" writer,

A better term would be "professional" writer or "savvy" writer, or "reasonable" writer.



who is regurgitating old mantras about how if an agent charges anything, they are bad.

Which happens to be pretty close to the truth.



Guess what, if your name was President Clinton, we'd waive our fees too.

Waive your fee? I thought you just said that you didn't have a fee. Were you lying before, or are you lying right now?

You know something? My name isn't President Clinton either, but I don't pay fees. Neither do other writers who know what's what.



Q) You've never sold anything... the author sold it.. blah, blah

Very true.


A) We now have 4 deals.

Name them. Title, author, publisher, date.

But tell me -- you've been in business (according to your man Robert West) for "7+ years." Is four deals in seven years what you're boasting of? That's pretty pathetic.


The most recent is with an UK publisher.

Name them.


(Note: because of the vitriolic people on these boards we don't post our deals because the instant we post a name, the really creepy and scary people that hate us start sending this crap to the posted name. We've got the documents and if ever needed our lawyers can pull them out.)

Yeah, I just bet. Those "creepy and scary" people don't seem to trouble real agents. You know, the ones who post deals all over the place, all the time.

Wouldn't the best way to take the wind out of the sails of the "creepy and scary" people be to prove that you've sold a book somewhere, to someone?



We assisted every author with the contract on those 4 deals.

I just bet you did. I'd love to see those contracts to see what you missed.



We actually have emails from the publisher complimenting us on the fair job we did for our author.

Really? Who?


Yes, in two of the deals the author found the relationship, and in two of them, we found the relationship.

So, fifty percent of that pitiful four deals were made by the authors themselves? What did they need you for? By your own admission you've only been able to sell two books, ever?

What were those two books?


In all 4 deals we provided SIGNIFICANT value to the contract negotiation and the post-publishing support.

Oh, yeah, right. You allowed poor Dario to sign a contract for royalties based on net. That's sure some significant value, you betcha.



The thing that is lost in all this is that very, very few literary agents have even one deal under their belt.

Then they aren't really literary agents either. Maybe they're for-a-fee scammers, maybe they're people who woke up one morning and decided to be literary agents without having a single clue what it entailed. All of the real literary agents have sold multiple books, recently.



Also, we did a measurement in April and we had 68 open and active discussions with buyers about our authors' work.

Which means precisely nothing.


We expect a few more deals by the end of the year.

Sure, deals that you'll refuse to name.

Real agents announce their deals. You don't announce your deals (assuming they even exist). Therefore, you aren't real agents.


You might also be interested to note that we also find really bad contracts for our authors and we recommend that they don't accept them.

Operating at the level you do, I bet you do see really bad contracts. When I recall that some of the authors you've boasted about have "sold" their books to pay-to-play POD vanity houses or e-book publishers, well, yes. You've very likely seen some lousy contracts.


We've seen more contracts than anyone you know and we bring that expertise to our clients. Are you entirely sure? I know quite a few people, and some of them have seen an awful lot of contracts. I wonder if maybe I personally haven't signed more contracts than you've ever seen.




Q) You use Form Letters and you are impersonal...


It's easy to set up an autoresponder.


A) True or false, we have answered every email that that our authors send us? I know the answer is true.

True or false, you've offered a contract to every one of them. Email is easily automated. Merely responding isn't a very high bar.


To me, that's personal service.

To me, that's BS.


Yes, we use form letters for billing, acquisitions, status reports, etc.

And, remarkably, for the rejections that you pretend to get from publishers that you supposedly sent the works to. Isn't it amazing that so many publishers respond to all your submissions with exactly the same words?


Our lawyers like us to say it the same way, every time. Should that really be held against us?

Yes.


By using every method possible to keep our admin costs down, we can spend our money selling for our authors, it's that simple.


And you've sold how many authors that way? By your own admisison, two. Which you refuse to name.


Q) The people who work at your company are scam artists, thieves, and have records... etc.

True.


A) This is the grapevine at it's worst. We aren't, we aren't and we don't. You ever heard of miss-identity and identity theft.

So you're trying to say that the Robert M. Fletcher of 699 SW 8th Terrace, Boca Raton, Florida, who was convicted of securities fraud in the state of Washington is someone other than the Robert M. Fletcher of 699 SW 8th Terrace, Boca Raton, Florida, who ran ST Literary Agency? And it never occurred to him to say, "Hey, wait a minute, that's some other guy"?


We have learned that it's impossible to curb this situation.

Weirdly, other agents don't seem to have this problem.


Also, did you ever ask why writers have used pen names since time began, and why agents are so hard to get to?

Writers use pen names for a wide variety of reasons, which you wouldn't know about or be interested in. Agents are hard to get because it's hard to write commercial-grade books.


One reason is because some crazy writer has stalked every agent that we know at some time.

You don't know a lot of agents, do you?

Why is it that real agents make it so easy to find them? Why do they announce their deals? Why do they post their addresses and phone numbers? Why don't you?



Q) Your office in New York, isn't listed on the sign.

More than that, it isn't in the building.


A) Oh, this is a good one.

It is. It's a killer. I was the person who checked. Not only aren't you on the sign, the security guard didn't have you, in any of your incarnations, listed on his master list of tenants.

But since we're on the subject, could you please describe the sign in the lobby of your building? What material is it made of? Where's it located?

Where is the security guard's station?


Have you ever rented office space in New York? You don't get signs unless you take a floor.

This is purest BS. Tenants who rent considerably less than an entire floor are on signs all over Manhattan. It's the only way multiple-tenant office building can work.


We have phones, desks, and a shared conference room,

Really? What's your phone number? Who are the tenants who rent space to your right and left? What do you see directly across the street when you walk out of the building's lobby?



and if you want a big office to come feel comfortable in, go to an Agency that spills money like water.

I'm not particularly interested in a big office. But an office would be nice. What's your physical address?



We'd prefer to save our money for marketing our writers.

Name one.



Q) They say you take anyone... how can that be?

By using an auto-responder to offer a contract to anyone who writes.


A) We take anyone that is willing to take the steps necessary to improve their work.

That is, pay a fee.


That's why we use the critique

Paid for by the author to some company that happens to be owned by the same people as own Children's Literary Agency/The Literary Agency Group.


to WEED OUT those authors that want something for nothing.

That is, the authors who wisely refuse to pay a fee.


If an author is willing to grow and improve,

And pay a fee....


then we feel that they deserve a shot at success.

Which they'd get if they saved the fee money, worked on their art, and submitted their work to legitimate agents.


We are one of the few agencies that will even talk to an unpublished author.

Another lie. Real agents take on unpublished authors all the time.

This is also inconsistent with one of your earlier lies: If most literary agencies (as you claim) don't have even one sale under their belts, then most literary agencies talk to no one other than unpublished authors.



The critique is an impartial, 3rd party analysis of the work.

How is it "3rd party" if it's performed by one of your "sister companies"? (And it's for a fee, isn't it?)


It shows us where the author is, and it also protects us from an overzealous agent.
Do you have a lot of overzealous agents on staff? What does an overzealous agent do -- try to sell your clients' work to publishers?



Q) If all this is so untrue, why haven't you done anything about it?

Because Robert Fletcher would do anything to avoid entering a courtroom again.


A) We've tried. We're filing lawsuits against Victoria Strauss

Have you actually filed a lawsuit? Or did you limit yourself to sending empty threats via your lawyer-in-a-box who charges you $17 a month for "legal insurance"?



and a few other message board owners,

Who have uniformly ignored you.


but for the most part, anyone can say anything, so we have just learned to live with it,

Since you know you don't have a leg to stand on.



and to hope that the real authors, the ones we want as clients, can see it for what it is.

Real authors can definitely see you for what you are.


So, in conclusion, spend time looking for any real and substantive items on the boards,

What have you sold?


and let us try to answer the question as best we can.

How much does your typical client wind up spending?


But first, please let me repeat our business model.

Charging fees to authors for worthless services.


We want writers who are willing to help themselves,

By paying a fee....


we ask for defraying administrative expenses,

Through fees....


we have sales,

That you're unwilling or unable to name....


and we have detractors.

Who have the truth and the evidence on their side.


However, in the end, you the writer must be the one that decides what to do.

Work on your art, and submit your work to legitimate agents. A useful agent has sold works that you've heard of.


If you are unwilling to spend any money to improve your writing,

Which happens to be the wise course....


then please go away.

And count yourself lucky.


If you are willing to take a small chance with us,

That is to say, pay a fee...


then give us a try.

And kiss your money goodbye.



Either way, we wish everyone the best in their writing careers.

And I wish you the best in your next career.




Sincerely yours,
Georgina Orr, VP Corporate Affairs
Literary Agency Group

Say I wanted to buy the movie rights for one of your clients' works. How would I get in touch with you? What's your phone number? Your street address? How would I even know you represent him? You keep your client list a secret.

Real agents don't work that way, Georgina. The sooner you realize that, the better for everyone.

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 05:50 AM
Originally posted by HapiSofi, 06-25-2005, 03:50 PM.

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


Does it strike anyone else odd that a publisher would call an agent to compliment them on the negotiation? Shouldn't they, hmm . . . I don't know, maybe be on opposite sides? :box:

This sort of implies to me that the author got a really bad deal.Yes. Her remarks strike me as damned odd. However, I'm going to explain something else first.

The reason I find her remarks so dubious is not because the relationship between agents and publishers is necessarily so adversarial that neither side would ever acknowledge the other's virtues. Far from it.

I once heard an editor praise an agent at length, in the wake of a hard-fought auction where one bidder offered a higher price for the book, and another bidder responded with a huge package deal for that one plus the author's next three books that worked out to slightly less per book, but had other very desirable features. All sorts of issues got brought in: royalty rates, promotion budgets, accounting methods, author/editor compatibility, et cetera. That's just heinously complicated; and auctions move fast.

The agent never faltered. He knew exactly what he was doing, was scrupulously fair, never failed to let everyone involved know what was going on, understood the issues in depth, and was on top of the numbers the whole time. That last is the really impressive one.

IIRC, the editor who was singing this agent's praises was the one who'd just lost the auction. He wasn't happy about that; but it didn't keep him from noticing that the agent had turned in a virtuoso performance.

Publishers and editors recognize all sorts of virtues in agents: knowing the industry in detail. Being willing to work on coming up with solutions that benefit everyone. Knowing what's important and what isn't. Remembering favors done them as well as they remember favors they're owed. Being honest, thoughtful, prompt, sober, communicative, diligent, reliable, far-sighted, memorious, and polite. Understanding that the game only works if everybody wins, and that we share a common interest in profitable books and successful careers.

That's the thing I was going to explain first. Onward, then, to Georgina Orr's remarks, which don't sound the least little bit like an agent talking:
We assisted every author with the contract on those 4 deals. We actually have emails from the publisher complimenting us on the fair job we did for our author. That just sounds weird. Doing a fair job for their clients is what agents are all about. That's like sending a thank-you not to a restaurant for serving you dinner.

Can I imagine any circumstances in which a publisher would send an agent e-mail complimenting them on the fair job they did for an author? Just barely -- and it only works if I imagine that this is a "publisher" who's so ignorant that he's never noticed there are unfair provisions in his standard contract, and so inexperienced that he thinks it's remarkable that an agent would question them.

These days, anyone can call himself a publisher. Just like anyone can call himself an agent.

Let's go through that whole paragraph of hers. But first, a word on language. There are two reasons why the exact language she uses is a significant diagnostic tool. One is that its assumptions and emphases tell us a lot -- more than she'd ever tell us directly -- about how she imagines agenting works.

The other reason to look closely at Georgina Orr's language is that she claims to work in the publishing industry, and to interact with other industry professionals on a constant basis. It is therefore reasonable for us to expect that she'll use the language of that industry, and to doubt her claims if she does not.

Here's her paragraph in full:
We now have 4 deals. The most recent is with an UK publisher. (Note: because of the vitriolic people on these boards we don't post our deals because the instant we post a name, the really creepy and scary people that hate us start sending this crap to the posted name. We've got the documents and if ever needed our lawyers can pull them out.) We assisted every author with the contract on those 4 deals. We actually have emails from the publisher complimenting us on the fair job we did for our author. Yes, in two of the deals the author found the relationship, and in two of them, we found the relationship. In all 4 deals we provided SIGNIFICANT value to the contract negotiation and the post-publishing support. The thing that is lost in all this is that very, very few literary agents have even one deal under their belt. Also, we did a measurement in April and we had 68 open and active discussions with buyers about our authors' work. We expect a few more deals by the end of the year. You might also be interested to note that we also find really bad contracts for our authors and we recommend that they don't accept them. We've seen more contracts than anyone you know and we bring that expertise to our clients.Have at you, Georgina:

1."We now have 4 deals." Nothing could make it clearer that these guys aren't legit, given that they've been in business for seven years and have multiple employees. No way are the commissions off four minor sales enough to keep a whole agency afloat -- and even if we take their claims at face value, that's a stunningly low success rate. Books get bought out of the slush pile far oftener than these guys make a sale.

2. "The most recent is with an UK publisher. (Note: because of the vitriolic people on these boards we don't post our deals because the instant we post a name, the really creepy and scary people that hate us start sending this crap to the posted name." The one and only way an agent can establish legitimacy is by making legitimate deals. If an agent whose legitimacy has been questioned responds by saying he or she has too made deals, but (for any reason imaginable) can't say what those deals are, they're not a legit agent.

The same goes for agents who say they do too have selling clients, but that who they are is a secret. An agent is an author's public representative. Their relationship cannot be secret.

As for the "creepy and scary people" who supposedly send nastygrams to participants in the deals she makes? A complete lie. It's never happened. The real reason this band of career criminals consistently refuses to talk about the deals they've supposedly made is that those deals mostly don't exist, and the few that do are risibly puny.

If you're an author, there's nothing good these guys can do for you.

3. "We've got the documents and if ever needed our lawyers can pull them out.)" They have no documents, because none were ever written or sent. They don't have lawyers, either, unless you count Robert Fletcher's defense lawyer.

Fletcher's bunch are in the habit of hinting at or threatening legal action. They don't know any law, and they never act on their threats. They don't even keep track of which threats they've made. You'll probably have noticed Victoria blowing raspberries at them for their latest mutterings about lawsuits. Feel free to join in. It's safe, it's fun.

4. "We assisted every author with the contract on those 4 deals." A real agent would never say that. First, contract negotiations are so basic a part of what agents do that a real agent wouldn't think it needed to be said at all. Second, agents don't "assist with" contracts. They negotiate contracts. This is one of the most important tasks they handle for their clients. They oversee the process, and have quite a lot of control over it. They don't just lend a hand. Third, and laying aside all her other grammatical infelicities, a literary agent would say each author, not every author.

5. "...complimenting us on the fair job we did for our author." See above. Also, Publishers and editors say "our author." Agents will sometimes say "our author," but they're likelier to say "our client."

6. "Yes, in two of the deals the author found the relationship, and in two of them, we found the relationship." Found the relationship? Malarkey. Literary agents make submissions. They receive offers. They enter into negotiations. They make deals. They go to contract. They do and say lots of other things. But describe their deals in terms of "finding the relationship," they do not do.

By the way, what Georgina is actually saying there is that in half of all the deals they've ever made, the client had already submitted the book and gotten the offer of a contract before the agency was involved. That leaves them with a record of two sales in seven years. No wonder they're always going on about how hard it is to sell books: they're mind-bogglingly bad at it.

7. "In all 4 deals we provided SIGNIFICANT value to the contract negotiation and the post-publishing support." See above, point #4. This is an even bigger smoking gun. To reiterate my earlier point, real agents don't lend their authors a hand while the authors conduct contract negotiations. Real agents negotiate the contracts. And again, providing services that are of vaue during contract negotiations, and doing post-publishing support, are so completely basic to the job of being an agent that they ought to go without saying. Georgina thinks they're noteworthy because she has no idea how agenting works. That's because she's not an agent.

8. "The thing that is lost in all this is that very, very few literary agents have even one deal under their belt." The smoking guns get bigger, and have more bullets in their clips. Georgina Orr has been keeping very bad company.

The way real agents learn their trade is by working for other real agents. They come up through a professional world where an agent is someone who sells books to publishers, articles to magazines, or screenplays to studios. That's not all they do, but it's central: agents sell. For them, class of people who don't make sales isn't "literary agents." It's "people who call themselves agents," or "people who want to be agents,"

If your internal picture of "literary agents" is primarily composed of people who've never made a sale, or who've only made one or two sales, you don't hail from the Land of the Real Agents.

9. "Also, we did a measurement in April and we had 68 open and active discussions with buyers about our authors' work. We expect a few more deals by the end of the year." As various people here have pointed out, most recently and emphatically Uncle Jim, this means eactly nothing. Fletcher & Co. are forever claiming to have some large number of deals under discussion, but they never pan out.

What can this mean? Possibly that they're lying. Possibly that by "discussions" they just mean they've submitted stuff, though that's hardly the same thing. And possibly it means that they're the most stupendously bad salesmen in the history of publishing. They'd have to be doing something awful if they're managing to have that many discussions not turn into any sales at all.

But you know what? They're not the worst salesmen in publishing history. If they had that many discussions going with people who have the authority to acquire books, but they never wound up making a deal, they'd be the talk of publishing. They aren't.

10. "You might also be interested to note that we also find really bad contracts for our authors and we recommend that they don't accept them." This is a new boast they've added to their repertoire. I think it's because they've noticed white hat scamhunters like Ann and Victoria and Jim recommending that authors not accept bad contracts, so they've decided to claim they do it too. And why not? It's an easy claim to make, and since it leaves no physical evidence either way, you can't prove they're not actually doing it.

11. "We've seen more contracts than anyone you know and we bring that expertise to our clients." Nope. People who don't make deals don't see contracts. Also, I've seen them make too many blunders to believe they know from publishing contracts, or publishing law. They've got no expertise at anything but running con games.

Thus for one of Georgina Orr's paragraphs. She doesn't work in publishing, she doesn't work with publishing people, she doesn't know jack about publishing. She also has no history and no independent existence. Nevertheless, Fletcher & Co. vouch for her. That doesn't establish her credit. It just confirms them for the cynical liars that they are.

(Are you listening, Georgina? You claim to be a literary agent. Here, the word for world is word. Come back and dance with me some more.)

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 05:56 AM
Originally posted by Roger J Carlson, 06-28-2005, 10:50 AM (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8286&page=4&pp=25).

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


In response to the reactions that my posting ofl ast week has generated.....

LAG is a privately owned companyand our business model is working for our authors. We are more concerned about the authors that we are currently representing than we are about people who choose to make defamatory statements about us and so I am not prepared to waste time replying to any of these posts which do no more than nit pick. It is unlikely that I will attempt to carry on a meaningful discussion with people who have already made up their mind.

My time, and my company's time is better spent selling and pitching for our authors.


Sincerely yours,
Georgina Orr, VP Corporate Affairs
Literary Agency GroupIn other words, you concede defeat.

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 05:58 AM
Originally posted by Richard, 06-28-2005, 11:07 AM (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8286&page=4&pp=25).

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

Nobody asked for a meaningful discussion, Georgie-poo. Merely the answers to questions you promised you'd answer, and not even holding your pathetic attempts to rewrite peoples' criticisms against you. Much. How much more generous can a forum be? If you want to find one that will actually take your comical excuse for a rebuttal seriously, try www.ispentmywholechildhoodeatingpaintchips.com (http://www.ispentmywholechildhoodeatingpaintchips.com/).


We are more concerned about the authors that we are currently representing than we are about people who choose to make defamatory statements about us

And we pity them for it.

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 06:00 AM
Originally posted by James D. Macdonald, 06-28-2005, 12:24 PM (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8286&page=4&pp=25).

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

First, let me remind Georgina of one thing she said in her first post:


WE HAVE CONTACTED THESE PEOPLE NUMEROUS TIMES AND OFFERED TO ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS ON A PUBLIC FORUM FOR THE BEST INTEREST OF THE INDUSTRY AND THE WRITERS. They have refused or ignored our requests. What does that tell you?

Now....


In response to the reactions that my posting ofl ast week has generated.....

Looking forward to your response, Georgina!

LAG is a privately owned company and our business model is working for our authors.

Outstanding! Could you name some of the authors it's worked for?

No, wait, I've found some.... a list of more books allegedly sold by Children's Literary Agency!


Some books we've sold are: The Worry Stone and Fiddlin' Sam, for Marianna Dengler. Gift of the Dove and a four-book series, Tales From the Bayou, for Betty Hager. Twin Pickle, for Ann Doro.


This comes from http://www.writers.net/forum/read.php?f=10&i=125162&t=125097

Interestingly, Georgina here claimed that they'd sold four books (and the authors had sold two of them), but here this other representative of CLA was claiming eight books.

Well, let's see what we've got:

The Worry Stone by Marianna Dengler, Rising Moon Books, 1996
Fiddlin' Sam by Marianna Dengler, Rising Moon Books, 1999

Gift of the Dove by Betty Hager, Zondervan, 1991
Old Jake and the Pirates Treasure (Tales from the Bayou #1) by Betty Hager, Zondervan, 1994
Marcie and the Shrimp Boat Adventure (Tales from the Bayou #2) by Betty Hager, Zondervan, 1994
Miss Tilly and the Haunted Mansion (Tales from the Bayou #3) by Betty Hager, Zondervan, 1994
Marcy and the Monster of the Bayou (Tales from the Bayou #4) by Betty Hager, Zondervan, 1994

Twin Pickle by Ann Doro, Henry Holt and Company, 1996

Hmmm....those books were all published long before Children's Literary Agency was founded. All but one were published before Sydra Techniques was founded.

It looks very much as if Children's Literary Agency had nothing to do with selling any of them.



We are more concerned about the authors that we are currently representing than we are about people who choose to make defamatory statements about us and so I am not prepared to waste time replying to any of these posts which do no more than nit pick.

Nothing more than nit pick? I'd think that "You've never sold a book to anyone in your life, you're lying about where your office is located, and your boss is a convicted criminal" are a bit more than "nit picks."


It is unlikely that I will attempt to carry on a meaningful discussion with people who have already made up their mind.

But you can change my mind, Georgina! And how about the lurkers, the people who come here to research Children's Literary Agency. You can answer the SPECIFC questions, like you promised!

My time, and my company's time is better spent selling and pitching for our authors.
Is it really? I mean, c'mon, if you were spending your time pitching and selling your authors you'd have sold one or two of them by now, wouldn't you?

Listen: You say you have those 68 "open discusssions" going. If you were just batting .100 (and being in severe danger of getting sent back to the minors) you'd sell 7 of 'em by the end of the year. That would be close to twice as many as you claim you've made in your history. How about it, Georgina, come back next year and tell us about your six or seven new sales this year. I mean, you're devoting your time and your company's time to selling them....

Unless you're a total fraud and con artist, that is.


Sincerely yours,
Georgina Orr, VP Corporate Affairs
Literary Agency Group

G'bye, Georgina. And here I thought you wanted to set the record straight. After all, those other message boards (that you are unwilling or unable to name) delete your posts and block your rebuttal posts. Why not take this golden opportunity?

For the record, here are some of the SPECIFIC questions (as she demanded) that Georgina won't/can't answer:




How much does your typical client wind up spending?
What are the names of your agents?
What is their prior experience in publishing?
How many sales have you made to commercial publishing houses? Please give the names of the authors, the titles of the books,and the publishing houses they were sold to.
Isn't the main, number one complaint people seem to have that they can't find any evidence of you guys selling a book?
Wouldn't the best way to take the wind out of the sails of the "creepy and scary" people be to prove that you've sold a book somewhere, to someone?
Which editors do you work with most often? Which do you know best?
What is the name of the publisher who complimented you on the "fair job" you did for your author?
How can a "third party critique" be done by a "sister company?"
Is Writer's Literary and Publishing Services (the "sister" company you recommend for "independent 3rd party critiques") in fact owned by Robert Fletcher?
Is My Editor Is A Saint (another "sister" company that provides editing) in fact owned by Robert Fletcher?
If he doesn't own these companies, does he get a cut of their income?
Are you (meaning any of the agencies under the "umbrella" of The Literary Agency Group Inc.) offering vanity publishing deals to clients via Peter Parente's Tree of Life Publishing?
Is Robert Fletcher an owner or co-owner of Tree of Life Publishing?
If Robert Fletcher is not an owner or co-owner of Tree of Life Publishing, does he get a cut of the income from clients you steer into publishing deals?
What is the exact nature of the relationship between The Literary Agency Group, its principals and subsidiaries, and The Lighthouse Press of Deerfield Beach, FL, its principals and subsidiaries?
With which publishers have you made deals?
Why is it that real agents make it so easy to find them? Why do they announce their deals? Why do they post their addresses and phone numbers? Why don't you?
"Pulling their own weight"? "Something for nothing"? Shouldn't words like 'quality' or 'marketability' be putting in something of an appearance there?
Isn't it true that Children's Literary Agency was created solely to take some heat off Stylus (ST) Literary Agency?
Isn't it a fact that no one knows you in any role?
Are you aware that Writer Beware and Preditors & Editors don't sell ads?
"People ...for whom" you "haven't been successful" is "nearly everyone," isn't it?
Do you ask your writers to pay an editing fee most times?
Is four deals in seven years what you're boasting of?
Given that fifty percent of that four deals you claim were made by the authors themselves: What did they need you for?
Do you offer a contract to everyone who writes to you?
What's your physical address?
Where is the New York office?
What's your phone number?
Who are your neighbors on the left and right?
Could you please describe the sign in the lobby of your building? What material is it made of? Where's it located?
Where is the security guard's station?
What do you see directly across the street when you walk out of the building's lobby?
What happened to the WGA number that Robert Fletcher inherited from Sid Buck, the original owner of Sydra-Techniques?
When will you be filing that lawsuit against Victoria?
Robert Fletcher has claimed to be a Chemical Engineer. Where did he earn his degree? What year?

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 07:04 AM
Originally posted by James D. Macdonald, 11-07-2005, 10:23 PM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=38&pp=25).

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

I guess his last ad didn't get any takers.

Here's the old ad, from this September:

http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/cgi-bin/displayJob.pl?job_no=1521


"Copublishing addresses reducing your risk as a publisher. We have authors that desire to avoiding the self-publishing stigma and wish to work with a qualified publisher.

"Furthermore, we have determined that they have the quality and the money to match their desires."

(Emphasis mine.)

Now he says:


Our 'out-of-the-box' thinking literary agency is willing to assist you with printing costs or publicity costs up to $2500* per book to publish and promote our authors' work.

That would be the out of the Cracker Jack box, mind you.

Now we know that Bobby hasn't sold any books to date. His only income has been from his hopeful authors. I'm willing to bet that the $2,500 is coming straight from the authors' pockets, not from his.

If Bobby gets any takers, that is. (And, Bobby, we're prepared to laugh at the publishers you dredge up, too. If you want I can save you some time and give you the addresses of American Book Publishing Group and Trident Media of Washington, D.C. right now.)


Please email me and let me know what kind of manuscript you'd LOVE TO SEE....


I can answer that for you, Bobby. A well-written book that's likely to find a wide readership. Want to know what genres specific publishers are looking for? Get a copy of Writers Market. I bet the bookstores in Boca Raton either have 'em or can order 'em.


If you have any well-written books that random strangers might want to read ... hey, guy, want to hear something radical? A whole new paradigm? The publisher will pay you!

Last spring Bobby said:

At this time the process that Ms. Strauss decries as a foul scam has 68 manuscripts under request by publishers, 3 book contracts in negotiation, and 3 movie options in various stages of negotiation. Now, in his latest ad at Pubishers Market, Bobby says:


I have 3 of these in early stages as we speak, and I'm only doing 12 next year, so only 9 are left.

What happened to the 68 manuscripts you had "under request"? Did they all fall through? Oh, Bob, I'm sorry to hear that.

Are the "3 book contracts in negotiation" the same as the "3 of these in early stages as we speak"? Nothing's changed from 4/22 (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8312&page=1&pp=25) to date (http://www.publishersmarketplace.com/cgi-bin/displayRights.pl?rights_no=3405)? Say it's not so!



Joint Venture Publisher Wanted: =========================== Our 'out-of-the-box' thinking literary agency is willing to assist you with printing costs or publicity costs up to $2500* per book to publish and promote our authors' work. What? Huh? A Literary Agency pays $2500? To a publisher? Did I just read that correctly? ==================================== A literary agent wants to partner with a publisher and pay money on the author's behalf?!?. .. wait a minute.. ... what is this? it's not self-publishing..it's not vanity either.. what is this?

Ok, here's the deal, by putting my money where it counts, SELLING BOOKS, the publisher wins, the author wins, and my agency wins. I call it 'priming the pump', it's a simple concept really, and I wonder why no one has thought of it before. Put yourself in my agent shoes for a minute. I could pay an employee-agent $5,000 per month to sling manuscripts at the publishing community with only sporadic results, AND the negotiation is adversarial. However, if I can put that same money behind a book that I believe in, well, that creates a serious win-win-win for the author, the publisher, and our agency.

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 07:05 AM
Originally posted by James D. Macdonald, 11-08-2005, 09:54 PM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=38&pp=25).

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


I could pay an employee-agent $5,000 per month to sling manuscripts at the publishing community with only sporadic results, AND the negotiation is adversarial.

M'boy, didn't anyone explain it to you? Agents work on commission. If that employee-agent wants $5,000/month he's going to have to sign $33,333 worth of contracts that month. (Not at all impossible, especially if you have "depth off the bench" as you like to put it.) If he doesn't sell books, he doesn't get the commisssions, he gets a job in some other field. Really.

Meanwhile:




And, I Guarantee the Quality and Commercial Viability. I believe in these books and authors. ================================================ I'm guaranteeing it with my money, aren't I? Every book that I would support has been formally edited and is ready to go. Take a look at these sample bios and books.

* * * * * . The author is a Fellow of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of Edinburgh, and of Canada, and a Member of the American Societies of Hematology, Clinical Oncology, Blood and Marrow Transplantation and the International Society for Cellular Therapy. For the year 2004-5 he was a scientific advisor to the Cancer Vaccine Consortium. He was a past recipient of the Elmore Research Scholarship of the University of Cambridge. * * *

* * * * The author was born in Baltimore, Maryland and is a Professor at a major university. She is an author and editor of 16 books and 12 proceedings and monographs. She has written 50 chapters and 100 papers, and given more than 150 presentations nationwide. She has graduate degrees in Music, Science, and Education. She and her husband are now living in the British Virgin Islands, where her time is spent sailing and writing. She has published scientific articles and written more than a hundred concert reviews as a freelance music critic. * * *

* * * * * The author is a retired veterinarian living in Bethlehem, South Africa. He was in rural private practice in various towns before settling down in Bethlehem where he practiced for 35 years. For ten years or more he had a monthly column in “Veterinary News”. He also was the script-writer for the SuperSport TV series The ABC of Golf. * * *

* * * * * The author has sold 4,000 of his motivational and self-help books through seminars and tradeshows abroad. The author is actively promoting his work in the UK and is looking for a partner to expand his work into the US. He will support sales with extensive travel and personal promotion. * * *

* * * * * This author has a definitive book on the people and history of Poland. According to the 2000 Census there are at least 10 million Polish-Americans in the US. We are test marketing to Polish-American clubs as we speak.



What do I notice about this?

In the cases where Fletcher gives the qualifications of the writer, he doesn't mention what the book may be about. In the case where he mentions what the book is about (a definitive history of Poland!), he doesn't mention the author's qualifications.

For all we know the books those eminent folks are hoping Bobby will sell are children's books: The Adventures of Patsy the Poodle or some such thing. Or perhaps a 16,000 line epic in heroic couplets on the discovery of lactose, or a book proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that the works attributed to William Shakespeare were really written by William McGonagall. Who knows what pigs may be lurking in those pokes?

Isn't it odd that he didn't team the author with the book?

Qualifications don't make a book: The slush pile is full of unreadable manuscripts by PhDs.

Alas, the world is full of venal "publishers" who only ask that the check clears.

(Hey, Bobby, did you check with Doyle Publishing? You know, the guys who did Paul Anderson's books? I bet they'd take this deal. How about Lighthouse Press? Weren't they signing some kind of agreement with you? This deal was exactly the sort of agreement I expected to see. How about Tree of Life? I thought that you and the publisher were pals.)

DanielDives
05-08-2006, 07:11 AM
Dear James,

Thanks for re-posting a thorough rebuttal.

One question thought: how come nobody has dragged Rob and has ilk to the nearest court?

I find it hard to believe these maggots are sailing under a cloak of immunity …
Would it help if we ‘bundle’ our efforts and harass Ron and his ilk in return?

Most sincerely,

Daniel

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 02:46 PM
Originally posted by LloydBrown, 01-24-2006, 01:10 PM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8312&page=7&pp=25).

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


We are keenly aware of the negative material on a lot of writer's message boards Beware publishing "professionals" that make basic grammatical and punctuation errors!

Also, "agent" shouldn't be capitalized through this post, but the errors are too numerous to point out.


It is a fact that most authors (98%) can't get the time of day from an Agent. Why? Because 98% of the material written isn't publishable, or the agent doesn't work in same field as your writing, or the agent is not accepting new clients. If your work is publishable, you can get an agent that won't scam you.


Do you really think that an Agent should contribute their valuable selling time No, I think an agent is singular, and so his (or her) pronoun should also be singular.


Most agencies go out of business in a few years, not us. If you relied on sales to publishers for your income, you would be out of business.


Why, because we concentrate on selling, and let the editors and writers do what they do best, writing, improving, writing, improving, etc. That's great! What have you sold?


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


And, if the Agent offers to help, to coach, and to mentor, well, you see the boards reply. That should be "board's". Also, if a writer needs work, you should follow standard business ethics and refer him to an editor whose bank account is different from your own.


What Do Buyers Think? That's what really matters.
==========================================

Buyers (publishers) love our model. Really? Which ones? To whom have you sold anything?


because a successful writer is improving their craft, Pronoun consistency issue again, Sherry. Did you skip the day they taught that in junior high school?


So now you understand that the point of the boards is to generate traffic and advertising revenues based on their niche in the market. Now you're just being stupid and hoping nobody notices. Ad income is the web host's goal. Helping writers is the board's goal.


Our clients say it best. The quotes below are unedited and as you can see, quite from the heart. (We have lots more of these.) If you are really cynical, you will probably believe we made them up, but I promise you, we can prove every one of them.
Oh, I fully believe that those quote are real. It's quite evident by the total lack of any writer saying "Thanks for selling my work. I made a ton of money through your agency." Strangely, none of them is addressed to you, either.


WE ARE CREATING THE MOST POWERFUL AGENCY GROUP IN THE UNITED STATES. ...Every author that we represent has been fully edited and we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that their work is good enough for publication. First, those statements form a non sequitur. Secondly, by "most powerful", you mean what, exactly? No sales to publishers. No income from sales. Your only income is from writer fees. What is it that makes you so "powerful"? Finally, on this topic, if that work is good enough for publication, and you still can't sell ANY OF IT, your agency must be the worst literary agency ever run.

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 02:49 PM
Originally posted by MadScientistMatt, 01-24-2006, 01:44 PM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=729&page=6&pp=25).

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

Flame war time. I've got some gasoline sitting around. Any of the regulars care to bring the acetylene?


Dear Author:

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

Welcome. As for background - how about a list of what you've sold? Come on, tell your side of the story by showing you can actually sell an author's book!


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

Ok, so let's see you demonstrate your core competancy! How many books has your agency sold? Don't be shy - trot out your sales figures! You say you focus on selling. Prove it.

The claim here is that your agency has only sold four books in its entire existance. That's not a good demonstration of your core competancy. Go ahead, try to refute that.


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

Ok, so can you tell us how many books you have brought to the market and sold?


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

You say buyers love your model. If so, why has your agency sold only four books?


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

Where do your clients who actually have made money from your "services" and had their books sell because of your agency cluster? Shangri-La? Erehwon?


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

I find it interesting, and rather telling, that you do not pledge to submit your clients' work to appropriate markets.Just for grins, and so that you know we provide a service of value to aspiring authors, I would like you to see some of the unprompted quotes that we receive on a daily basis.


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

It is also very telling that not one of these testimonies says anything along the lines of, "Thanks to the New York Literary Agency, I just recieved a six figure advance from Random House!" Or even "I just recieved a $5,000 advance from a small press!" Not one of the testimonies even imply that you have made a sale.


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

Best to you in your career.


This is reminiscent of PublishAmerica's defiant boast, "We are darfing them!" How can "the most powerful agency group in the United States" have such an abysmal record of sales?

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 02:51 PM
Originally posted by Roger J Carlson, 01-25-2006, 12:42 PM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=729&page=6&pp=25).

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

Dear Sherry,

If you really want to convince your marks that you are professional, perhaps you should make the following corrections to your letter. Bold indicates things to be deleted and replaced with the text in [red].

You're welcome.


Dear Author:

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

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

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

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

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

Furthermore, when a work doesn't sell, what typically happens is that the author adopts one of 3 postures, [:] 1) y["Y]ou suck, you scammer you, ["] 2) ["]I'll improve,["] or 3) m["M]aybe I'll quit.["] Most of the material on the boards is from attitude 1.

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Best to you[,] whatever your decision.

Sherry Fine - VP Acquisitions

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

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

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

Best to you in your career.


By the way, you really need to work on your over use of "that" and your comma use. Also, profanity (i.e., *****) is not really considered professional.

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 02:55 PM
Originally posted by Aconite, 01-18-2006, 07:01 PM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13517).

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


It is simple and straightfoward and we've used it for years. It is also non-negotiable. I'm happy to answer any questions that you may have, but 99% of the time we will not make a change to it if requested.
Uh, it's "non-negotiable," but 1% of the time, they'll make changes? IOW, it's negotiable.


You don't have to be nervous because you can back out very easily.
I always like it when a salesperson tells me why I don't have to be nervous. It lets me know I should be nervous.

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 02:56 PM
Originally posted by James D. Macdonald, 01-19-2006, 01:37 AM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13517).

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


"...we must focus almost entirely on our core competency, which is selling your work."

Gee!

Nearly nine months ago, on 04/22/05, Robert M. Fletcher said (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=8312&page=1&pp=25): "At this time the process that Ms. Strauss decries as a foul scam has 68 manuscripts under request by publishers, 3 book contracts in negotiation, and 3 movie options in various stages of negotiation."

If their "core competency" is selling literary works ... these guys must be incredibly incompetent. Have any of those 68 manuscripts "under request" been sold? How about the 3 "in negotiation." Have they sold? How about the three movie options "in various stages of negotiation"? Have any of them moved on to actually being optioned?

Did all those deals fall through? If you were just batting .100 you'd have managed to sell six or seven of them. If those authors had just thrown their manuscripts into the slush piles one or two of them might have sold.

Again, Robert (or Sherry Fine, or whoever you're calling yourself this week): What have you sold? To whom? Titles, authors, publishers, dates.

(Oh, and Fletcher said he was suing Victoria. To the best of my knowledge that hasn't happened yet either.)

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 02:59 PM
Originally posted by DaveKuzminski, 01-24-2006, 01:17 PM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13517&page=2&pp=25).

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



Some writers say, "it's the agency's responsibility to help the writer".. Maybe in the old days, but not anymore. An Agent's core competency is selling work and finding buyers, not editing.

Sherry Fine - VP Acquisitions
So, how come your agencies have only four sales thus far? Would you like to admit how many years those sales cover?


Just for grins, and so that you know we provide a service of value to aspiring authors, I would like you to see some of the unprompted quotes that we receive on a daily basis.
So, how come you don't show the names of the unprompted quotes? Afraid that someone will contact one or more of them to learn that's no longer their feeling about your agencies?


WE ARE CREATING THE MOST POWERFUL AGENCY GROUP IN THE UNITED STATES. Every author that we represent has been fully edited and we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that their work is good enough for publication. ... We never promise a sale, but we can promise that if we present your work, it will get respect from our buyers.
What's this about the "fully edited" statement? I thought you stated above that you concentrated on sales, not editing?

It's very wise of you not to promise a sale since your agencies have only four so far. However, what about the works you present that don't sell? Are those respected, too?

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 03:01 PM
Originally posted by Richard, 01-24-2006, 01:41 PM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13517&page=2&pp=25).

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


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

I'll believe you. No particular reason not to.

Of course, I do wonder why you didn't see fit to include a happy author for whom you'd made an actual sale for. They do exist, right? Because that's the biggest criticism, and the one I was expecting to see debunked here. After all, if it's "stuff regurgitated from years ago", it should be easy.

Although I must confess, at least a couple of the quotes seem a bit odd, due to being people who clearly weren't clients at the time of writing to you ("Even if we do not end up working together, I felt it was important to pass this along to you.", "Whether you accept me or not you have restored my faith and hope")

Which is a bit odd. I was expecting more from happy clients making money.

And stuff.

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 03:03 PM
Originally posted by Cathy C, 01-24-2006, 02:57 PM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13517&page=2&pp=25).

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

I very seldom respond on this particular thread, simply because I haven't had enough dealings with your agency to warrant a comment, Ms. Fine. However, since you have taken the time (thank you!) to state your views, I feel it's only appropriate that I should give you the courtesy of asking some questions and responding to some of your direct challenges:


Dear Author:

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


It is true that on a lot of message boards, there is information presented in a negative fashion. I don't believe that AW is one of them. We strive at all times to present information in a reasonable, polite manner. However, stating that we provide negative "material" implies that we're lying. I don't believe this is the case. We are providing what certifiable documented information we possess.


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


We seek to understand as well because many authors are confused about publishing when they first get involved. However, I am not confused by any stretch of the imagination
.

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


I'm not an agent, but there probably are some on the boards that lurk. I'll let them speak for themselves. However, I do resent the snark level of the last sentence since it implies that if the author turns you down, they will never be represented.


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


No, the agents who are blackballed aren't the ones who say that the author needs help. The ones who are blackballed are the ones who state that only by paying MONEY can they be helped.


Some writers say, "it's the agency's responsibility to help the writer".. Maybe in the old days, but not anymore.

I can assure you that the "old days" are today. I know a whole bunch of agents and they are more than happy to work with an author (for FREE) if they feel the work has enough promise that it could sell, but just needs tweaking of plot or characters or grammar.


An Agent's core competency is selling work and finding buyers, not editing. Do you really think that an Agent should contribute their valuable selling time to assisting a writer with editing/grammar/ and other mechanics?


Yep. That's part of the selling gig. Of course, no agent is going to take on a work that isn't pretty close to what a publisher is looking for. That's the difference. But no agent I know would EVER recommend a "book doctor" or paid editor to fix a book. If that level of correction is needed, how will the author then be able to accomplish later edits that the publisher requires? If the author is unable to accomplish this because they haven't learned the skill sets necessary, that will be remembered. No agent wants that reputation.


Some writers do, but not those that understand the power and clarity of focus on core competency in business. Most agencies go out of business in a few years, not us. Why, because we concentrate on selling, and let the editors and writers do what they do best, writing, improving, writing, improving, etc.


No, there are plenty of agencies that don't go out of business. The ones who begin to agent because of EXISTING contacts in the publishing business do just fine. But you're right that the ones who do little more than send manuscripts to a publisher's slush (which the author can do themselves), probably don't last long. How many editors from major houses can you name off the top of your head that if YOU, personally, called them on the phone tomorrow, they would a) know your name; and b) make time in their schedule to go to lunch with you if you asked so you could pitch your authors?


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


Admittedly, sometimes it's difficult to find a home for a book. But that doesn't mean the author needs to improve or quit. It means the agent needs to work harder.


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


Only if you charge up front or DEMAND that the author pay up front. If you do it as part of your well-earned commission, everybody here would say "More power to you! Good job, Sherry!"


What Do Buyers Think? That's what really matters.


Ah, yes . . . the "buyers." I'd hesitate to call an editor a "buyer" to their face, by the way. They prefer to be called acquisitions editors or publishers. Frankly, when the word buyer keeps popping up in your discussion, I keep wondering if you have a different meaning to the word than that established in the industry.

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

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


Name five, if you would -- by name. I know quite a few. I'd love to chat with them and see if they agree with your model.


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


I resent greatly being called a "crackpot." Yes, writers improve, submit, research and write. But your comment implies that all published authors are unwilling to share information. We don't fear competition. There's no such thing as competition in book sales. There's plenty of room for everyone, which is why people like me, and James, and Victoria and Susan and especially Jenna, take the time and effort to try to educate fledgling authors.


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


I haven't seen any advertising on this site outside of the "Promotions and announcements" board which people can view or not at their choice. The Google ads are carefully screened to make sure that no scams appear (or at least the owners TRY to make sure. Scammers are tricky beasts).



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


I guess I'm a #2, then. I expect payment from publishers for my product. I expect that payment to be offered WITHOUT REGARD to my checkbook balance. The nervous authors need to realize that #2 is POSSIBLE. When agents request money -- when publishers request money, nervous authors begin to think that #2 isn't possible. It is.


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

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


You promise to respect. You provide to develop. You promise straight talk, and you promise a professional relationship. However, your straight talk doesn't tell them about the fee. It doesn't explain that REQUESTING a fee is UNUSUAL in the industry. You can't respect them if you don't believe they're capable of revisions without paid edits. So, you've broken three of your four promises.


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


Again, you've already broken three right from the outset. That doesn't speak well to the fourth promise, either.


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


Sadly, you're right that there are ten more. We're working very hard at this forum to whittle that number down a bit. Maybe next year there will only be five more. Crossing fingers!


Best to you whatever your decision.


Thanks!



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


You are creating the most powerful agency? You're placing yourself at the same level as Writer's House or Donald Maass or Trident? Wow! I'll bet they'll be surprised. I doubt they've ever heard of you. Again, I'd love to know which editors you know personally. How many publisher mixers id you receive invitations to last Christmas? Which editors call YOU with upcoming lines to see which of your authors will fit the slots? These are all signs of powerful agencies. Where do you stand on the totem?



Best to you in your career.

Again, thanks. I'm doing fine.

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 03:10 PM
Originally posted by James D. Macdonald, 01-25-2006, 09:54 PM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13517&page=2&pp=25).

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


Dear Author:


This appears to be the form letter that The Literary Agency Group (and its sub-scams) sends to authors who suspect the truth and start to ask questions.


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

I'm certain you're "keenly aware." Your friend "Georgina Orr" said the same thing, but fluffed her golden opportunity to set the record straight. To help us out, do you suppose you could point to any positive material on any writers' message boards? Happy posts from clients whose work you've sold, for example?

As far as "regurgitated from years ago," the news that your agency isn't really based in New York City (the people in the building you claim to be based in never heard of you) is from May, 2005. (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=529&page=24&pp=25 (showthread.php?t=529&page=24&pp=25) )

Your ads seeking someone -- anyone -- who'd actually sold an option to Hollywood, and looking for vanity presses willing to take your clients' money in Publisher's Marketplace and Publisher's Lunch are from May, September, and November of 2005. Those aren't "regurgitated from years ago."



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

I'm an author. I'm not a bit confused.

"Seeking to understand" is a phrase Robert Fletcher used in his very first posting here. I suspect that it's been part of ST's form letter to unhappy authors for years now (speaking of being regurgitated from years past), since you've had unhappy authors from the very beginning. The reason you've had unhappy authors from the very beginnig is, from the very beginning Stylus/ST/LAG and all its little sub-groups has been unable to sell books to publishers.

This is more evidence that your post here is just a slightly re-worked version of LAG's form letter to authors who start asking questions.



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

This isn't a "reply" to anything. That phrasing shows this is a form letter intended for authors who are asking tough questions like "What have you sold?" Nor are you "presenting both sides." The bit about "the furor that will arise after this post," well, that's probably been added for the message board version.

[Lurkers: Please do compare the professionalism of the replies to "Sherry's" post with her vague and misleading letter.]


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

Most authors (98%) haven't written a publishable manuscript. Editing an unpublishable manuscript will give you an unpublishable manuscript. If agents do offer editorial advice to authors (and many, if not most, do), it's because the manuscript is publishable, but needs editing. Agents offer this advice to their clients -- not to everyone who writes them a query letter.



Some writers say, "it's the agency's responsibility to help the writer".. Maybe in the old days, but not anymore.

Actually, no. It's the agency's responsibility to find the best publishing deal for the author.


An Agent's core competency is selling work and finding buyers, not editing.

So, how about it, "Sherry"? What have you sold? To whom?


Do you really think that an Agent should contribute their valuable selling time to assisting a writer with editing/grammar/ and other mechanics?

You might as well ... you haven't shown any ability to sell anything, so your selling time doesn't seem to me to be all that valuable.


Some writers do, but not those that understand the power and clarity of focus on core competency in business.

What's your core competency, "Sherry"? Mine's writing.


Most agencies go out of business in a few years, not us. Why, because we concentrate on selling, and let the editors and writers do what they do best, writing, improving, writing, improving, etc.

With a grand total of four books sold (by the most generous estimate possible), you should have gone out of business years ago.

The fact is, though, that you didn't even sell those books. The authors sold them on their own, didn't they? (So much for your claims that an agent is needed to sell in the first place.)


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

Do you have a reputation for trying to sell unpublishable works? Do you even submit works at all? What happened to those 68 "active conversations" you had last spring? How about the three that were "in negotiation"? Did none of those manuscripts sell? Why were you actively advertising this last autumn for vanity presses who would be willing to take your clients' money?

Are you so incompetent that you can't even find a vanity press on the Internet?


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

Access to the market isn't the hard part. Writing a good book (or even a potentially great one) is the hard part. You're turning slush into edited slush? It's still slush. Nor have you had remarkable success even with that. Where are your sales? At its core, that's the real issue: Where are your sales?


What Do Buyers Think? That's what really matters.
==========================================
Buyers (publishers) love our model.

Do they really? Then why don't they publish the books you represent?


Why? because they know that we've forced the writer to jump through a series of hoops to prove their mettle.

Writers don't "prove their mettle," nor should they be interested in "jumping through hoops." They write publishable manuscripts. Rather than "we've forced the writer to jump through a series of hoops to prove their mettle" you mean to say "we've forced the writer to write a series of checks to prove their gullibility."



And the writers whine, whine, whine, and the publishers say, "whew, thanks for bringing us great work and for filtering out the crackpots."

Crackpots have been known to write great books. But expecting an agent to actually, you know, represent books to publishers ... doesn't make a writer a crackpot. Expecting the agent to make his money on a percentage of the royalties, not on a series of checks written by the author, doesn't make an author a crackpot. It makes the author realistic, or a professional.


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

I have more books under contract to be written right now than you've sold to publishers in your life, even if I allow books that your authors sold on their own.


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

So you're claiming that various folks at writers' message boards woke up one morning, and said "Gee, how shall we generate traffic for our ads? Ah! We'll pick on a totally above-board agency, well respected in the entire publishing world and famous for their success, and call them a bunch of scum-sucking scammers who've never sold a book in their pathetic lives! The controversy is certain to draw the curious!"


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

In other words, thanks to our warnings the only people who come to you are naive newbies who fell off the cabbage truck last night. These are folks who don't know that you aren't really agents. These are folks who don't see anything wrong in opening their checkbooks again, and again, and again.

By the way, I don't want something for nothing. I provide manuscripts that a lot of folks are willing to pay money to read. That's what I bring to the table. You claim you "respect" writers? Try showing a little respect.


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

I'd be more impressed if you found even one of your clients who'll report that you've sold a book.


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

Good thing you aren't promising a sale.


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

We're back to the form letter to authors who are asking questions. I'd appreciate some straight talk: What's the source of your income?


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

Take my advice: Terminate the relationship right now. A bad agent is worse than no agent, and The Literary Agency is as bad as they come.

As to being what you say you are... what was it again that you said you were? Literary agents? If so, why haven't you managed to sell any books? That's what literary agents do.


Best to you whatever your decision.

Sherry Fine - VP Acquisitions

I have a question for you, "Sherry": Do you even exist, or are you an alias for Robert M. Fletcher?


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

Newbies in their honeymoon period, while they're still in love with the idea of having an agent.


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


No, I entirely believe that they're real. But I looked and I looked and I didn't see one of them that thanked you for selling a book. Where are those testimonials?


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

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

This looks like someone who'd just submitted a work and was waiting to hear whether you'd represent him. (You did offer a contract, didn't you?)


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


Pretty clear that this person doesn't know much about the writing world, either.


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

A letter to dear Georgina! Who's Judith? Does she have a last name? Does she have a sale? What would Judith say about your abilities and ethical standards if we were to ask her today?


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

Here's the first educational tip: A fool and his money are soon parted.


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

Even if we don't wind up working together? Does this person have a lot of experience with you? Are you sure this testimonial is one you want to display?


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

Dear Georgina, again. Any "Dear Sherry" letters? Ah, well. Still haven't broken into Hollywood either, have you? How did you make out looking for someone who'd sold something there? Anyone take your offer?


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

How much did this author pay for that "constructive feedback"?


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

"Whether you accept me or not...." I bet you accepted him. I bet his book hasn't sold, either. How many "hoops" did you make this poor guy jump through to "prove his mettle"? Is he still with you, or have you dropped him after he stopped writing checks?


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

Appreciating new sources of writing is a science? There's still only one source: Writers. And is this writer sure that the world would be a better place if LAG's model (the author pays, the agent cashes the checks, the writer has to sell his own books anyway) were displayed by all agencies?



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

WE ARE CREATING THE MOST POWERFUL AGENCY GROUP IN THE UNITED STATES.
Are there any real editors at genuine publishers who return your phone calls? Who even know your name?


Every author that we represent has been fully edited and we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that their work is good enough for publication.

Then why isn't it being published? Ah, I see. You still haven't convinced any publishers that the work is good enough to get published. Two possible reasons come to mind. Either the work isn't good enough to get published, or you aren't actually submitting it.



Unfortunately, the ones that 'wash out', tend to grouse and *****. If you can make it through our process, then you will be in an elite group that buyers respect.

Weirdly ... all those books on the shelves in real bookstores? None of them came through your process. Could you explain that?


We never promise a sale, but we can promise that if we present your work, it will get respect from our buyers.

Could you name two or three of your buyers? Folks who've, you know, bought stuff?


Best to you in your career.

And best to you in your next one.

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 03:12 PM
Originally posted by HapiSofi, 01-26-2006, 06:15 PM.

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

Jim, do you mind if I play a couple of choruses of this song?

For purposes of this dissection, fictional dialogue will be inside quotes and italicized.


Dear Author:

We are keenly aware of the negative material on a lot of writer's message boards and I thought I would take a minute and give you more background than what you are getting (which as best I can tell is stuff regurgitated from years ago)."Damn! You're on to us. I'm not going to reply to the specific material you've read online, since replying would only get me into trouble. Besides, it would be work."
I know it is confusing to authors ..."I'm telling you now that 'it's confusing' because the rest of my letter is not going to make any sense, and I want you to think it must be your fault that you don't understand it."
"...and I thank you for 'first seeking to understand"."Oh, good -- you wrote back. I get one more chance to pull the wool over your eyes."
I hope that you will view the professionalism of this reply, ...For some reason, "professionalism" is a magic word for aspiring authors. You don't see it used a lot by real agents and editors, who definitely aren't in the habit of protesting their own professionalism. However, the word is frequently used by bad guys who are trying to intimidate baby authors. It's not on the list of red-flag words and phrases I take as prima facie evidence that the speaker is a scammer, but I'm automatically wary of people who use it.

BTW, my own definition of "professionalism" would have to include knowing that the word they want is perceive, not view, viz.: I hope you will perceive the professionalism of this reply.
...where we try to present both sides of the situation, and contrast that against the furor that will arise after this post. Hey, maybe the message board people will agree to be your Agent!They will not present both sides of the situation the author has written about, because this is a labor-saving generic response. As such, it won't work well with perceptive authors; but Fletcher won't hang on to those anyway. There are enough suckers who will fall for it to keep him in beans and bacon, down there in Boca Raton, and that's all he cares about.

They will also not present both sides of any other situation. Fletcher has no interest in the truth. He couldn't tell it even if he wanted to -- he doesn't know enough about publishing.

Predicting "the furor that will arise after this post" is a classic piece of well-poisoning. Posts by Fletcher's sockpuppets always raise a stir, because they're full of fraud and falsehood.

"Maybe the message board will be your agent" is there to throw a scare into the author: "You'd better get down off that high horse. If we don't agent you, who else will?"
It is a fact that most authors (98%) can't get the time of day from an Agent. Why?Because as Jim Macdonald has pointed out, most authors haven't written a saleable book.
Because invariably their work needs improvementNo book is perfect. The division isn't between perfect and imperfect, but between imperfect-but-saleable and imperfect-and-unsaleable. Anyway, that's not the point. The real point is that if an agency takes on unsaleable books, and thrusts their authors into the arms of fee-charging evaluators, book doctors, "professional editors", whatever they're calling them this week, that agency is dishonest.
if an Agent takes the time to say, "I like the idea, but you need a little help" the Agent is blackballed by every writers blog on the net.Liar, liar, liar. "You need a little help" is lightyears away from "Let me introduce you to my associate, whom you will be required to use, and required to pay." "You need a little help" is also lightyears away from the truth about the vast majority of these manuscripts. A little help will not make them good. A lot of help, even if done by thoroughgoing professionals, is also not going to make them good. Finally, if every writer is being remanded for "a little help," it's a scam.
Some writers say, "it's the agency's responsibility to help the writer".Yup. So do editors. So do publishers. That's why writers pay the agent a percentage of the take.
Maybe in the old days, but not anymore.Here we see the first instance of what will become a major theme in this letter: talking tough to the writers. There are times when that's appropriate, but none of them involve talking pure codswallop to the author, so that leaves Fletcher/Fine out entirely. They talk tough to writers, not to enlighten them, but to intimidate them: "Shut up! Stop whining! Who the hell do you think you are? How dare you object to my procedures! If you think you have rights, if you think you're entitled to civil treatment, you clearly don't understand how the industry works!" Et cetera. The thugs at PublishAmerica are the masters of this technique, but Fletcher's no slouch at it.
An Agent's core competency is selling work and finding buyers, not editing.This is the same letter that says, "We believe that great authors are made, not born. We are willing to develop talent" right under the signature?

An agent's core competence (not "competency") is recognizing good writers, getting their work ready for submission, selling that work on favorable terms to appropriate publishers, and in general mediating between clients and the problems of the world. Many of the best agents have significant editorial skills. It's part of what makes them good at what they do.
Do you really think that an Agent should contribute their valuable selling time to assisting a writer with editing/grammar/ and other mechanics?I think that if writers need help on such an elementary level, the agency ought not be taking them on as clients.

I think that writers who need help with the basic mechanics of writing are not going to be made saleable by the fee-charging cronies to whom Fletcher refers them.

I think that if I were going to hire someone to fix my grammar, punctuation, and other problems of that nature, the person I hired wouldn't be the author of this letter.

Finally, I have to wonder: if Fletcher's selling time is so valuable, how come he never makes any sales?
Some writers do, but not those that understand the power and clarity of focus on core competency in business."The power and clarity of focus on core competency in business" is a string of business-speak cliches that has no connection to the text around it. Remember when I said their line, "I know it is confusing to authors," was there to soften up the reader for a letter that doesn't make sense? This phrase is the kind of thing I had in mind. If you go online and try to find an explanation of it, you'll find yourself wading though oceans of executive gobbledegook. Any explanation you cobble together that attempts to relate that phrase to the rest of the letter will be entirely your own creation. And if you don't go to all the useless work of trying to figure it out, your self-confidence will be undermined, because he's said something you don't understand.

(By the way? "Focusing on core competency" just means "working on, and paying attention to, the business you're already in." Like, if you sell seeds for kitchen herbs, that's your core competence. It's okay to put up a website to help sell them, but not if you forget that your business is selling seeds, not constructing bigger and better websites. Simple, eh? Most business-speak is just a fancy way to teach executives the commonsensical principles their office managers and secretaries already know.)
Most agencies go out of business in a few years, not us.Here's one of the places where you can see that Robert Fletcher & Co. don't know anything about agenting and publishing. Real agencies don't make money fast. They make it long-term and slow, from multiple overlapping revenue streams.
Why, because we concentrate on selling, and let the editors and writers do what they do best, writing, improving, writing, improving, etc.Why, because Fletcher & Co. aren't in the business of agenting. A churchmouse couldn't live off the commissions they've earned. They survive because they make their money off the authors.
Furthermore, when a work doesn't sell, what typically happens is that the author adopts one of 3 postures, 1) you suck, you scammer you, 2) I'll improve, or 3) maybe I'll quit. Most of the material on the boards is from attitude 1.That's too painful. Let me give you the correct version of those sentences: "Furthermore, when a work doesn't sell, the author typically adopts one of three attitudes: (1.) You suck, you scammer you; (2.) I'll improve; or (3.) Maybe I'll quit. Most of the material on the boards reflects attitude #1."

There. It's still factually wrong, but at least it doesn't hurt to read it.

Attitude #1 is commonly found among former clients of Fletcher & Co.'s agencies. This has nothing to do with whether their work sells or not. They take that attitude because Fletcher & Co. are scammers.
At it's core, that's the real issue. Always has been.What's the real issue? They never say. This passage is more of that tough, knowledgeable-sounding codswallop which, on examination, turns out to not mean a thing.
So, there's a situation where potentially great work is 'waiting in the wings' so to speak, and can't get access to the market.If you've written a book that people want to buy and read, you will get published. If not, you probably won't. In no case will Fletcher & Co. make the difference. They will never, ever help you. At best, they'll just get in your way. At worst, it'll be a lot worse than that.
And, if the Agent offers to help, to coach, and to mentor, well, you see the boards reply.Liar, liar. This is the guy who's just been explaining that helping the author takes away from his valuable selling time.

Fletcher & Co.'s "help" consists of bunco-steering authors to confederates who'll charge them top prices for work of dubious quality and less utility. For this, Fletcher & Co. will receive illegal kickbacks from their cronies. The author will do all the paying.
What Do Buyers Think? That's what really matters.
========================================== Robert Fletcher, "Sherry Fine", I take you at your word! What the buyers think is what really matters:

What most buyers think of Fletcher & Co.: Nothing. F&Co. don't send out many submissions.

What most buyers think when they do receive Fletcher & Co. submissions: "Ho-hum, agented slush. ... Nope, not buying this. Where's my stash of 'agent' form rejection letters...? Oh, there it is. (*log, stuff, seal*) (*thud*) ...Next!"

What the few buyers who're aware of Fletcher & Co.'s existence think of them: They think they've met pond scum that was more attractive, virtuous, and useful.
The small number of buyers who're aware that you exist didn't find out about you because you sell them books. They know your name because they're aware of the problem of scam agents. They know you're one of the worst of them. They show your (few, author-mailed) submissions to their editorial young, to teach them what to watch out for. They feel sorry for your clients.

That's what buyers think of you.
Buyers (publishers) love our model.Liar, liar. Buyers don't give a damn about their model. Buyers care about authors and books. They don't buy Fletcher & Co.'s.
Why? because they know that we've forced the writer to jump through a series of hoops to prove their mettle.As someone said in another thread, this is utterly irrelevant. Editors don't care about mettle and hoops. Editors care about books.

This and the next bit of quoted text are prime examples of a scammer trying to sound tough, knowledgeable, and intimidating, so they can scare the marks into quiet compliance.
And the writers whine, whine, whine, and the publishers say, "whew, thanks for bringing us great work and for filtering out the crackpots."Nope. Publishers and editors don't say that. Filtering out crackpots is part of the agent's job. And if Fletcher & Co. were bringing anyone great work, they'd have sold some of it by now.
Where do you think the crackpots cluster? Right on the message boards because a successful writer is improving their craft, making submissions, and researching and writing. And a successful agent is reading slush and phoning editors? Cuts both ways, boyo.

Fletcher/"Fine" is saying that crackpots "cluster" on the online boards because that's where writers exchange information and warning about his scam "agenting" operation. Writers who don't avail themselves of such information may be sitting at home, working on their writing; but they may have unpleasant surprises waiting for them when they go to sell it.
I use the word 'cluster' in the marketing segmentation definition.See above, remarks on business-speak gobbledegook. This is another example of it.
Look on most of those message boards, and you will see advertising, newsletters, and other capitalistic products and services based on traffic generated by controversy.Wrong. Traffic is generated by perceived value. Mere flamage won't do it. And participants on these boards aren't here to generate revenue for the people running them. They're here for the value they find in the discussion. Readers are here for the same reason.

Fletcher/"Fine" is trying to suggest that the operators of this board generate controversy purely as a means of drawing in traffic so they can increase their ad revenues. This is of course untrue. Jenna's downright twitchy about controversy.
So now you understand that the point of the boards is to generate traffic and advertising revenues based on their niche in the market.We don't understand any such thing. The point of this board is to discuss writing and publishing.
Anyway, that said, it actually does us a favor and we've come to thank these boards.Fletcher & Co. hate the online bulletin boards and other venues where people exchange information and spread the word about his fake agency. That's why their sockpuppets keep turning up at AW, doing their best (which is fortunately not very good) to silence their critics.
They weed out two main categories of authors that we are actually glad to be rid of: 1) nervous authors that don't understand the nitty gritty of hard business and who can't make up their mind and who rely on others for their opinions, 2) the SFN's (writers that want Something for Nothing) who want it all, basically for free... "They weed out two main categories of authors whose fees we're sorry to lose: (1.) Authors who learn that our model of publishing is nothing like what's really out there, and that our business model is fraudulent; and (2.) Authors who expect us to be able to perform valuable and useful services on behalf of the writers we take on as clients."
I place 4 bullets under my signature.Big fat hairy deal.
That's our promise. It's simple and it's understandable,"And it's completely misleading. That's how we meant it to be."
and I really do think you'd be hard pressed to find one of our clients that won't, even grudgingly admit that we've delivered.I've seen a lot of their former clients who say just the opposite. I've never seen a long-term client of theirs ... well, I've never seen a long-term client of theirs, period. But I've definitely never seen a long-term client of theirs who was willing to say they delivered squat.
Our Pledge To You:
==================
* We respect what you have accomplished thus far as a writer."We haven't read your manuscript, nor do we plan to do so in the future."
* We believe that great authors are made, not born. We are willing to develop talent."We're willing to develop talent as long as you do all the work, pay all the costs, and let us charge a commission every step of the way."
* We pledge straight talk in a confusing and old-school industry."We make simple, false, wholly misleading statements about a complex industry we've never gotten to know."
* We can't promise a sale. We can promise a professional relationship."'No sale' is a foregone conclusion. We can promise you a professional relationship as long as you understand that our profession is not "literary agent".
So, in conclusion, this is what I would do, if I were in your shoes,"So, in conclusion, here's what I'm hoping you're sucker enough to do..."
I'd proceed with us,NO KIDDING! After all is said and done, after carefully weighing all the considerations, they come to the conclusion that you ought to keep paying them to do nothing! Will wonders never cease?
eyes wide open, and see if we meet or exceed our four business tenets, A) Respect, B) Building Talent, 3) Straight Talk, and a 4) Professional Relationship."If you're fool enough to continue with us, you will indeed find out how we do on all those counts. Mind, you won't be happy; but you will find out."

BTW, I love the ordinals on their business tenets: A, B, 3, and 4.
Of course, if you'd rather us terminate our relationship now, no problem,"If you decide to leave I can't do a thing about it, except bully you and try to undermine your confidence, hoping you'll be so squashed that you'll agree to go along with my scam."
fortunately for me, and unfortunately for you, there's 10 more to take your place,They're being a bit crude and heavy-handed there, wouldn't you say?
and you can go back to querying agents for the rest of your life,Another threat. I repeat: if you've written a book people want to buy and read, you will get published. If not, it's unlikely that you will. In neither case will Fletcher & Co.'s representation do you a bit of good, and they could do you quite a lot of harm.
or you can just see what happensWhy wait? I can tell you now. They won't sell your book, and they'll say it's all your fault.
and see if maybe, just maybe, we are what we say we are.Again, I can answer that one right now: They aren't.
Best to you whatever your decision"In spite of all my derogatory remarks and implied threats."
Sherry Fine - VP AcquisitionsRobert Fletcher's latest sockpuppet.
Just for grins, and so that you know we provide a service of value to aspiring authors, I would like you to see some of the unprompted quotes that we receive on a daily basis.These may look like references, but all they are is quotes with no names attached. There's no way you can check up on them.
Our clients say it best. The quotes below are unedited and as you can see, quite from the heart. (We have lots more of these.) If you are really cynical, you will probably believe we made them up, but I promise you, we can prove every one of them.If they were concerned about being believed, they need only have put real names on those quotes.

Note: in some cases I'm going to be excerpting bits from the quotes.
"Just a note to say, whatever the outcome of my submission, ..."This author has neither been sold nor rejected. It's easy enough to say "Yes, we'll represent your work." Doing something with it is a lot harder.
"It is refreshing to get an honest professional opinion of my work, it make me realise just how much I don't know about the written word and its presentation.""I am deeply unsure of myself, and grateful for any response."
Dear Georgina, I'd like you to know how highly and gratefully I regard the clarity with which you explain the process as well as your reliability. I have complete trust in both your abilities and ethical standards. Best wishes, Judith"Dear Sockpuppet, I'm sending you an unsolicited testimonial, which vouches for moral characteristics of yours I'm not in any position to judge, and which doesn't sound like any author this professional has ever encountered."
It's been a long time since I left school with considerable number of years passing before I became interested in writing again. I would like you to thank you for working with me and let it be known that I look at this as a new beginning and rebirth of my education."If this is a representative sample of my prose, you have no business offering to represent me."
You don't know how nice it is to have such timely responses. I am sure I am not the only writer that puts a lot of heart into their work and I have to say, I have "kept mine tucked away in the closet" for many, many years. I just enjoy writing, but didn't know if I would ever try and submit it to anyone. Making the decision to do that has been somewhat of a nerve-wracking process. Your timely responses and professional, yet "down-to-earth" responses are making the process a lot easier. At this time, I am not submitting my work to anyone else, because you have impressed me the most up to this point. Even if we do not end up working together, I felt it was important to pass this along to you."Here's my credit-card number, the key to my safe-deposit boxes, and the passwords to all my accounts. Take me, you blazing hunk of agenty goodness, I'm yours!"
Dear Georgina: Your professional zeal and resourcefulness cannot be overemphasized seeing the volatile-oceanic-wave called the American Hollywood with its impregnable sales frontiers.I hold you dearly to my heart in my every prayers towards our mutual success now and...very soon in sbsequent works.I doff my heart after your every professional spirit imagining the energy, sweat and travellings involved. Thanks for everything you stand for professionally."Dear Sockpuppet, I have a mild neurochemical disorder and am even more vulnerable than your last correspondent. Please take me for all I'm worth."
Thank you for your constructive feedback. I found your critique of my work very informative, and it concluded many things that I already knew. I really do need to improve on my punctuation skills..."Your critique has convinced me that I'm not a very good writer (even though my letter is quite passably written). I will probably give up on it. But I have very nice manners, so I'll write and say "thank you" all the same."
I just want to say I have been rejected for years by Agents and Publishers. After awhile it all seems pointless. But I am in this for the long run and will never give up and never give in."I am your natural prey. Thank you for inviting me to lunch. I'm sure it will be a learning experience."
...I must say that I am impressed by the way your agency has handled the science, or art of appreciating new sources of writing."Wow! You didn't turn me down. Everybody else has."
WE ARE CREATING THE MOST POWERFUL AGENCY GROUP IN THE UNITED STATES."We are so ineffectual at our ostensible profession that we shouldn't be called an agency at all."
Every author that we represent has been fully edited and we know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that their work is good enough for publication."We are lying through our teeth. We have no shame."
Unfortunately, the ones that 'wash out', tend to grouse and *****."Unfortunately, our fomer clients and many industry professionals are wise to us, and will say so, vigorously and at length, with many colorful illustrative details."
If you can make it through our process, then you will be in an elite group that buyers respect."We're lying again. We're such chronic and habitual liars that we probably lie to our teddy bears as we're falling asleep."
We never promise a sale,"Which is only fair, since we never make them."
but we can promise that if we present your work, it will get respect from our buyers.The natural respect editors and publishers extend to writers and their manuscripts has nothing whatsoever to do with Robert Fletcher and his various criminal enterprises.

Avoid them. Don't listen to their promises. They'll only bring you to grief.

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 03:13 PM
Originally posted by James D. Macdonald, 01-26-2006, 10:17 PM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13517&page=2&pp=25).

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Fletcher & Co. hate the online bulletin boards and other venues where people exchange information and spread the word about his fake agency. That's why their sockpuppets keep turning up at AW, doing their best (which is fortunately not very good) to silence their critics.

Good catch there, Hapi. Compare and contrast
"Anyway, that said, it actually does us a favor and we've come to thank these boards." (Sherry Fine, 01-24-2006) with
"I absolutely guarantee the lawsuits are going to fly.. let's see who cares to play." (robertfletcher, 04-07-2004)

and
"We are beginning a series of lawsuits against her and other bulletin board moderators and posters." (RobertF, 04-22-2005)

and

"We're filing lawsuits against Victoria Strauss and a few other message board owners..." (Georgina Orr, 06-23-2005)

James D. Macdonald
05-08-2006, 03:17 PM
Originally posted by DaveKuzminski, 01-27-2006, 03:00 PM (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=729&page=7&pp=25).

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


1) The first category are the 'industry watchdogs'. These are people that derive some level of psychological benefits from 'exposing' fraud, scams, etc. WE HAVE CONTACTED THESE PEOPLE NUMEROUS TIMES AND OFFERED TO ANSWER THEIR QUESTIONS ON A PUBLIC FORUM FOR THE BEST INTEREST OF THE INDUSTRY AND THE WRITERS. They have refused or ignored our requests. What does that tell you? It tells me that they aren't interested in the truth, it tells me that they are interested in more visitors to their website. Also, they have blocked our rebuttal posts and deleted our prior posts. In short, a very one-sided message board!

The fact that someone from their agency group could post in this and several other topics and that anyone, including the original poster, could come in and post on their behalf seems to point to that statement as not only inaccurate, but an outright lie. We've already shown a willingness to post facts and discuss this on its merits. We haven't blocked them. We haven't deleted their posts.

So, anyone from the Literary Agency Group, what have you sold? How do the fifteen agents you've claimed in other responses manage to survive on just four sales since even Jenny Craig and Weightwatchers can't make that little stretch so far for so many for that length of time and still meet the minimum USDA requirements. Could it be that you get your money from other sources such as critiques and editing fees earned by your independent third-party critique and editing services?