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Teena Haywood
03-12-2004, 06:39 PM
Hello:

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

Teena

mammamaia
03-12-2004, 11:38 PM
run the other way!

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

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

love and hugs, maia

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

anotherealm.com/prededitors/ (http://anotherealm.com/prededitors/)

AC Crispin
03-12-2004, 11:45 PM
The "results" of dealing with West Coast Literary Agency are that you will pay $95.00 and that will be the end of it, or so the many, many complaints Writer Beware has received about this highly questionable agency indicate.

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

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

Teena Haywood
03-13-2004, 11:57 AM
Thanks for your candid response.

Teena

jreeswilliams
09-22-2004, 10:56 PM
james haversham with calif. lit. services. wants entire manuscript after reading first 30 pages. his letter stresses no fees, etc. this is a new agency, anyone have more information on him or the company?

thanks, jeff

vstrauss
09-23-2004, 09:55 PM
I don't know who James Haversham may be, but the URL for California Literary Services website is registered to Richard Vanderbeets, who owns West Coast Literary Associates, a fee-charging agency about which Writer Beware has received many complaints. Much of the wording of the information sheet California Literary sends to prospective clients is almost identical to that used by West Coast on its information sheet. It seems pretty clear that California Literary is either the new face of West Coast (agencies do sometimes change their names to escape a poor reputation), or else an enterprise of it.

- Victoria

Doc
09-29-2004, 09:54 PM
Looks like I have been taken for $50. I signed a contract for 6 months with California Literary Services.......yes I was desperate and wanted something to look forward to after hearing from approx 200 agents, "sorry not taking on new clients" - "not right for me," etc. I knew better but I was so tired of the rejection - so I said "what the hey"....$50 handling fee for a new agent.....so what. I hadn't found the name of the agency or James Haversham anywhere when I briefly checked him out. Then guess what? I found this site last night. Needless to say, I am more angry with myself then the "agent" However this time the scammer made a large mistake.....I am a professional investigator and if this is in fact a scam, I will devote a large portion of my time gathering evidence to put him where he will have lots of time to write to authors.

Doc

nabnet
10-06-2004, 03:06 AM
Doc,

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

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

nabnet

vstrauss
10-06-2004, 05:59 AM
>>So, does Vanderbeets have any record of sales at all?<<

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

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

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

- Victoria

nabnet
10-07-2004, 09:05 PM
I sent California Literary Services "CLS" the first 30-pages of a manuscript, and I received a response requesting the rest of the document.

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

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

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

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

nabnet

DaveKuzminski
10-07-2004, 09:12 PM
Sounds like someone doesn't want to repeat someone else's mistakes about having stacks of manuscripts hanging around instead of returning those to the authors as the true professionals do. That's the impression I get.

maestrowork
10-07-2004, 09:31 PM
12 books in 10 years is pretty abysmal, IMHO. But hey, a sale is a sale. But do you want to be part of that statistics?

Having a bad agent is worse than having no agent.

Teena Haywood
11-15-2004, 07:17 PM
California Literary Services. This agency has requested a full manuscript of my latest novel. However, when I conducted a search, I found the following statement on P&E:
P&E: Literary Agents - ... Editor's note: hearing good things about this agent. California Literary Services: a literary agency. Charges fee. Not recommended. ...


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

James D Macdonald
11-15-2004, 07:24 PM
"Editor's note: hearing good things about this agent."

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

Teena Haywood
11-15-2004, 09:50 PM
James, thanks for clearing that up. When I accessed P&E to read feedback on California Literary Services, the line: "hearing good things about this agent," was within the same paragraph. Why it appeared as such and still does appear that way on my screen, is beyond me. I truly appreciate your input.

vstrauss
11-15-2004, 10:07 PM
California Literary charges $50 upfront. It's an offshoot of West Coast Literary, which also charged upfront, and about which both P&E and Writer Beware have received complaints. I think there's a thread on this board that goes into more detail, if you do a search on "California Literary".

- Victoria

Teena Haywood
11-15-2004, 10:40 PM
Victoria:

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

vstrauss
11-15-2004, 11:48 PM
Teena, did California Literary solicit a submission from you? I've heard from a couple of authors who turned down a contract offer from West Coast, and were subsequently contacted by California Literary.

- Victoria

Teena Haywood
11-16-2004, 05:00 AM
Victoria:
No, California Literary did not solicit my manuscript. I found them while searching for literary agents on the Internet.

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

susan62450
12-05-2004, 02:22 AM
I submitted my mss & today recv'd an offer to represent my novel. The $50 upfront fee isn't much, however, I'm concerned about his sales record. Does anyone know about James Haversham's record (or lack thereof)?
His contract stated the $50 is refundable upon sale of mss & the contract is for 3 months at a time, renewable w/o further fee.
What's anyone's thoughts on this???

HapiSofi
12-10-2004, 12:15 AM
Susan, that agency's run by a guy named Richard VanDerBeets. He charges fees -- not huge, but it's real money. The other report I hear about him (technically hearsay, but I've heard it said by a lot of different sources) is that he never does anything. He isn't the most rapacious scam agent out there. He just takes your money and wastes your time.

simchry
12-10-2004, 12:44 AM
I've seen that name quite a few times on the board and it never says anything good about him. Check him in some of the older pages on the board you will find info.

FrancisJDHyland
02-09-2005, 10:55 PM
I too am another fool out of pocket $50 to James Haversham c/o California Literary Services.
It seems that this agency is a scam. Luckily, my manuscript had garnered three other offers of representation and so I shall be able to secure a contract elsewhere. I hope that I can stop other aspiring writers from giving this thief any more money!
I can be contacted at isol8_fhyland@yahoo.com
If you're interested, the first part of my book is at www.francishyland.blogspot.com (http://www.francishyland.blogspot.com)

Good luck to us all.

Francis J.D. Hyland

ironmike
02-19-2005, 10:45 AM
What's the latest info about Richard VanDerBeets? Like many others out there, in the dream world, I was offered a contract for only a meager fee of $75. Is this for real?????

JohnGalt
02-19-2005, 01:13 PM
It's a scam. Run away.

- JG

victoriastrauss
02-19-2005, 09:48 PM
ironmike, when did you get the contract offer? I've heard from others that Richard VanderBeets was retiring.

Unlike many fee-chargers, West Coast does have a track record, but it's tiny. Over the past 10 years or so West Coast appears to have sold about 10-12 books--a rate that's reduced by the fact that 4 of those sales have been for the same author. Writers who've signed with the agency have told me that Vanderbeets is unresponsive, going out of his way to discourage phone contact in particular. Others report that if the initial submission to 6 or so publishers doesn't result in immediate interest, they are simply dropped.

- Victoria

ironmike
02-22-2005, 04:58 AM
I recieved a letter on 1/17/2005, offering a contract. And a followup letter on 2/17/2005, wondering if my manuscript was still available.

victoriastrauss
02-22-2005, 05:50 AM
Okey dokey then. The person from West Coast Literary who told me Mr. V. was retiring (who did not, by the way, sign his/her name) must have been...er...fibbing.

I sometimes get letters from questionable agents and publishers incensed that I'm basing my warnings on documentation sent to me by writers, and haven't approached them to "tell their side". This, in a nutshell, is why. They lie.

- Victoria

ironmike
02-23-2005, 08:28 AM
Victoria:Alive, dead, retired or just missing. Is west coast legit?

Mike

victoriastrauss
02-24-2005, 02:30 AM
Mike, I don't like to label agencies as "legit" or "non-legit"; it implies a value judgment.

Based just on the facts, West Coast is an unsuccessful agency that charges a fee.

- Victoria

ironmike
02-24-2005, 02:33 AM
Thanks, time to move on and find real one!

Lobelia Overhill
02-24-2005, 08:42 PM
West Coast was my first ever literary agent (screenwriting) he sent one screenplay to 5 people, got no/very little interest and decided not to renew our contract ...

This was about 12 years ago

maestrowork
02-24-2005, 08:51 PM
12 books in 10 years. I wonder how agents like them stay in business? Must be really big sales...

elclarko
06-20-2005, 10:25 PM
West Coast was my first ever literary agent (screenwriting) he sent one screenplay to 5 people, got no/very little interest and decided not to renew our contract ...

This was about 12 years ago

Count me among the desperate number who sent money to this guy. He did nothing, provided nothing, and left me discouraged. I placed my novel with a university press in the south, and though I made little money, the book received a stared review in Booklist and sold well. Keep the faith and never pay a penny up front for representation: good agents don't make their money that way. Robert David Clark

elclarko
06-21-2005, 09:46 PM
West Coast Lit Associates is a scam. Trust me, I know. Just a phony posing as an agent.

aka eraser
06-21-2005, 10:03 PM
Dunno what this thread is doing in TIO but I'll port it over to Bewares and Background Checks where it belongs.

CaoPaux
03-14-2006, 01:39 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
11-29-2007, 10:51 PM
I don't find any recent activity for this yahoo. Dare we hope he finally "retired"?

slag69
07-03-2008, 07:21 PM
Before the web outed these clowns among the "20 Worst", I signed an agency contract (around 1995) with the notorious Van der Beets, who in keeping in character "visited" five big publishing houses and came up blank. I don't recall having paid a fee for this alleged service. While his agency track record has been proven, I have a more troubling inquiry to air out. Has anyone out there experienced having a plot or character detail lent out to outside parties, breaching confidentiality and essentially violating copyright? I'm not making any accusations, but I was bothered to see one of my plot lines borrowed in a recent TV series, 10 or more years after WCLA reviewed my manuscript. How might I investigate, especially when WCLA is almost untraceable? They have no e-contact and keep changing addresses in the bay area, CA, and certainly wouldn't answer snail mail about this topic. Have any of you writers had material lifted without so much as a thank you?

victoriastrauss
07-03-2008, 08:04 PM
slag69, I've moved your post to the already-existing thread about West Coast Literary Agency.

I've gotten scores of advisories about Van Der Beets over the years. It's true he has a very small track record of commercial sales, but it really is very small--it averages out to fewer than one book sold per year. I believe that translation rights for one or two of the books may also have been sold, but it's impossible to verify whether this was a result of his efforts, or whether the rights were sold by the publisher.

Given the extreme smallness of his track record, and the absence of any sign of connections with the film or TV industry, I think that the similarity between your plot line and the TV show is coincidence. If he had the connections needed to share plot lines with TV production companies, he would have some record of sales in that area--and as far as I know, he doesn't. Plus, it's a lot less trouble simply to work with a writer than to steal his or her work and pretend it belongs to someone else.

- Victoria

jtomalley
07-04-2008, 09:46 PM
I have just started looking for agent/publicist for my first manuscript, and in my search for advice I stumbled onto this thread. I am so glad I did! As a total newbie to the publishing world, I could have been taken to the cleaners!

slag69
07-07-2008, 05:22 PM
Thanks for the word, Victoria. Deep down, I suspected that the TV writer probably came up independently with ideas similar to my plot-line -- but had the virtue of a better agent than WCLA to get the story out there. At least I know that everything I'm writing now will be popular in 12 years!

jbefumo
09-28-2011, 11:08 PM
Yes, I had dealings with this scam artist some time ago. I'm genuinely surprised that he's not only still operating, but not in jail where he belongs.

After paying the up-front fee, he would send me periodic updates listing all of the publishers he had sent manuscripts to, and asking me to pay for the copying costs, which I always did. I began asking him if he could let me know any REASONS he might have received for the rejections, so that I could make any necessary changes, but he never even bothered to reply. Finally, in desperation, I called the editor he had identified at St. Martin's press, and asked her if she would kindly pass on any information that might help me improve the manuscript. She was baffled, and said she had never seen the manuscript, nor had she ever heard of West Coast Literary Associates, or Dr VanDerBeets. However, in the course of our conversation, I described my work, she expressed an interest, and asked me to submit. Ultimately, they didn't buy it, but were very helpful and complementary. Of course, the crux of the issue is that VanDerBeets is an outright fraud. At the time, I intended to pursue legal action, but accepted an out of state job, and in the ensuring move, it gradually faded to a back burner. Not sure what made me think of him now, but I did a web search, and found this forum. I'm sure nobody will ever get a dime out of him, but I would LOVE to see some kind of legal action that would send him where he belongs.



Hello:

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

Teena