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Interesting situation

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Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

jclarkdawe

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Now as a result of some family pressure, I got stuck into querying a novel for a family member. Query was mine, book is theirs, and has all sorts of problems. The query has been getting some interesting results with six requests for partials, but that isn't where this story is going.

Going to a site for agents, I started using it to send email queries to the agents listed there. One of the agents (who is relatively innocent in this story) apparently let the web site lapse. This caused the request to go to the site to wander, ending up at a form to send to an agent (notice the lack of the word "the" here -- it's intentional). I said to myself, "What the hell," and filled out the form.

Up to this point, this was seeming very legitimate, and the agent is legitimate. But withing a few hours of sending in the form, I received the following email:

Thank you for the information you have provided. I may have something for you. We have merged with a book marketing and publishing group and they have asked us to immediately send them authors that we believe meet their criteria. I will be forwarding this information to our sister book marketing company and publisher that likes situations like this (smaller and more focused), and can move quickly. (Their website is www.xxxxxxxx.com).

They are aggressively taking authors and their books into the international markets as well as the US. So far, the feedback is very good from writers we have sent to them. They have published over 1000 authors at this point and their marketing is going international. http://www.xxxxxxxxxxx.com/ shows our exhibit in Frankfurt where many relationships were built and deals are in process.

Please give them 2-5 days to get back to you. They will email you and request your manuscript if they want to see your work. They are very diligent about leads I send them. (Hint: Please start prepping your manuscript now, the odds are greater than 90% they will want to see it based on the fact that we sent you to them).

Please note that if your work is NOT FINISHED then please read below and we will continue. Our agency can deal with an unfinished work. The publisher cannot.

If you would like to speak with someone, please call xxxx at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

**************
Also, as a side benefit, we will teach you as much about the publishing industry as we can. Over the last five or so years we have communicated with thousands of authors, been a part of publishing thousands of books, and our authors have collectively sold hundreds of thousands of books. We think we are uniquely qualified to help you grow your writing career. This information is given free and without obligation. We certainly hope you will choose to work with us but in the spirit of 'giving back' and helping as many people as we can, we pledge to give you 'straight talk' about the writing and publishing business circa 2010.
****************

Good luck!

The Acquisitions Team

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

Good things are happening! SEPTEMBER, 2009: China Partner is taking our authors to the Beijing Book Show. Here is a link to a page from their catalog. (Please don't ask what it says (smile))! http://www.xxxxxxx.com/ And, if you do not reach a deal with them, please let me know and we will continue to look for other publishers for you. Just email me back if that's the case, and I will drop you an email in a couple of weeks to see how things are going.

PLEASE NOTE: AT THE FRANKFURT BOOKFAIR IN GERMANY THE CHINESE ARE AGGRESSIVELY SEEKING BOOKS of all genres. We have meetings set for London in April. If you join us, you can be ready for the next book show. Depending on when you sign with us it could be next year (2010) in London/April 19-21, NY/May 25-27, Beijing/Aug 30-Sept 3, or Frankfurt/Oct. 6-10.

--------------
IF YOUR WORK IS NOT FINISHED PLEASE SEE THE INFORMATION BELOW.

Thank you for your query to the xxxxxxx Agency. Based on your query form information we would like to see your work.

This will be a long email. You might enjoy setting aside some time to really read it (grin). My goals are to 1) get the info we need to make a decision, 2) to let you know about how we think and how we approach the industry, and 3) to let you know what to expect.

If you would like to speak with someone, please call xxxx at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

1) Would you please send us an electronic copy of your work for further evaluation?

Please email your manuscript to [email protected]

2) Would you please answer these 3 questions in the body of the SAME email? (Just copy and paste the questions). And don't stress or take too long simple answers are fine.

Q1) Think like a publisher/buyer? Pitch me/them. Who would buy this book? Why would they buy it? If you give seminars or talks, mention it here.

Q2) How long have you been writing, and what are your goals as a writer?

Q3) Do you consider your writing 'ready-to-go', or do you think it needs some polishing? If you have been through a formal editing process, please describe it in detail, ie. Name/company of editor(s) etc.

You may send either 3-5 chapters or the entire manuscript, whichever you are more comfortable sending. Your manuscript is completely safe within our company. We take care to properly manage all access and if we don't end up working together, we delete all files.

Please DO NOT include any questions with your manuscript submission. If you have a question, please send it to xxxxxxxxxxxx where the proper people may address your question. Most of the questions you may have are answered on the website and at the bottom of this email. Please see the FAQs below.

Our preference for receiving your manuscript is via email.
============================================
If the file size is greater than 5 megabytes you can mail it to us on CD, but please only send it once, either by email or snail mail (we prefer email).

If you simply must mail your work or a CD, please email our question email and request a mailing code and address. Please explain thoroughly why you feel that you must mail the work. (Can you tell by now that we really want to make it difficult to mail? We hate mail. It costs money to ship, buyers don't want hardcopy, etc, etc.) Mailed manuscripts may take up to 6 weeks to reply/process. Emailed manuscripts are processed much more quickly. Please note: Due to the volume of material that we receive we cannot return anything you send us. Please do not send us anything that you can't replace.

We believe we are very different than other agencies.
==========================================================
We believe that we are unique in that we are willing to develop an author and their talent. We like the metaphor of a "business incubator" as a description of how we will take time to bring an author's work to the proper quality level, even if it takes months to do so.

We take pride in the fact that we answer every email personally within 2-3 days. Please, watch your spam filters!

Our job is to find a buyer for you, period. You may understand how a Literary Agency works, but many authors don't. As your Literary Agent, our mission is to assist you in finding a publisher and to coach you along the way in various options available to you. We don't edit your work. Our mission is to sell for you. Your mission is to meet or exceed industry quality standards.

As for compensation, we get paid on success only. Typically we will receive 10% of what you receive. We do not charge fees, so our compensation is based on success only.

Important: We never promise a sale, but we can tell you that we have a model that works.

We look forward to receiving your materials.

Best regards,
xxxxxxx - V.P. Acquisitions

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>. Why the long emails? If you will read them you will actually get a decent view of the agency business and what we see from our side. We try to explain as much as we can along the way and I am always pleased when authors tell me that they enjoyed learning from these emails.

Please don't be upset because we use forms and long emails. I spend my time doing two basic tasks, 1) managing submissions and evaluations, and 2) answering questions. If I can answer your question BEFORE you ask it, then the entire process will proceed much more efficiently.

As a corollary to that, if you want long-winded, personalized emails you will probably not enjoy our process. If you are as busy as we are, and you pride yourself on operating efficiently (it is a business after all), then you will enjoy how efficiently we focus on the point, and that is, whether we can work together based on your writing and attitude.

This is the biggest complaint that we get and I wish I could spend oodles of time with each of you. I just can't. Sometimes it's like drinking from a firehose over here. So, please rest assured I am a real person, and I do look at every email. After that we have some pretty sophisticated tools for managing emails.

Typical Frequently Asked Questions
=============================
Q) Do you return manuscripts?
A) Sorry for the inconvenience however, WE DO NOT RETURN MANUSCRIPTS or MATERIALS due to the volume of submissions we receive. Please do not send us anything that you can't replace easily. And if you do send something, please don't tell me that you are going to sue me if I don't send it back... Egads.. If you only knew.

Q) Would you prefer me to email or mail my manuscript?
A) WE MUCH PREFER EMAILED MANUSCRIPTS.

Q) How should I attach my manuscript?
A) PLEASE DO NOT PASTE YOUR MANUSCRIPT INTO THE BODY OF THE EMAIL. Please send it to us as an attachment, otherwise it hangs up the mail system. If you can't create an attachment, please get a friend to help you do so. I think we have every software program known to man. However everything works easier if you have a .pdf, .rtf, or .doc filetype. We also support Word Perfect and MS Works.

Q) Is my manuscript safe with you?
A) Your materials are safe within our company. If you are uncomfortable sending your entire manuscript, please only send 3-5 chapters. If we do not end up working together we will destroy and delete any copies of your work that we have. Furthermore the idea of people stealing someone's work is a bit of 'urban legend'. It really doesn't happen.

Q) Do I need to copyright my work before I send it?
A) Not really. Your manuscript and creations are completely safe within our company. We take care to properly manage all access and if we don't end up working together, we delete all files. You may also want to copyright it, but we don't need it to be copyrighted to analyze it. Regarding copyright, there are two ways you can go. One way is to do it yourself at http://www.loc.gov/copyright/ . The other way is to let someone who does it all the time do it for you. We found a list of copyright services here. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Some of the services do books and some screenplays.

Q) How long does this review take?
A) About 7-10 days. We're faster than most other agencies.

Q) Do you work with minors?
A) It depends. We like that the author be 18 years or older. However, if the parent/legal guardian supports your work and is wiling to sign a contract on your behalf, then yes, we will accept the work. Please noted, we treat minors as adults in all our communications, no special consideration. If you are a parent and your child has written the work, we do know a publisher that is looking to create a division that publishes books written by children. If this is the case please email me and let me know that you might be interested in that referral.

Q) What about illustrations?
A) Illustrations can wait until later in the process. Why? Sometimes the publisher insists on choosing the illustrator, sometimes not. It's very subjective. When/if you meet your Agent, the Agent will decide about the illustrations that you have or need, as part of the pitch package that they will be working on. Another question we get is this? Doesn't the publisher choose the illustrator? The answer is 'sometimes'. The larger ones certainly have their pet illustrators. Mid-sized and smaller publishers are looking for more of a 'whole package' because it lessens their work. So, they are looking for new talent. So, all in all, let's wait and let the agent deal with illustration questions, whereas my department focuses on the writing.

Q) Why is there no phone number? I want to talk to someone...
A) Quite frankly, we are deluged with submissions. It is our policy to provide a contact number later in the process, assuming we would like to proceed with 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.

Q) Where are you located?
A) Our agents headquarter in executive suites in New York, NY where we meet with buyers. Our admin team lives in Florida. Our review and editing teams headquarter in California. Our screenplay team has presence in Los Angeles. Other than that, we travel extensively and our employees have the good fortune to live in Florida, Connecticut, and California (and at least 10 other states) depending on the time of year. Sometimes we think that we live in airports.

Q) Why aren't you in the Yellow Pages? I can't find you listed anywhere?
A) Buyers certainly don't go to the Yellow Pages to find authors <grin>, just nervous authors go there. 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. The Internet is a much better form of advertising. We haven't been in Yellow pages for 10 years.

Q) Are you a member of AAR, BBB, Alphabet Soup...?
A) We have chosen to belong to industry associations where the buyers are, We spend our money going to the big book tradeshows in the US, England, and Germany. BBB, AAR, and other organizations of that type mainly exist for nervous writers, and frankly, we have too many applicants already, so we choose not to spend time and money on those organizations. I hope that helps you understand why we belong to associations that help us sell your work, not organizations that help us recruit more writers. We prefer that you judge us on the professionalism of our communications and not whether we belong to an organization.

Q) Tell me more about your company.
A) We are bigger than a small agency and smaller than a large agency. We market to the larger and medium sized publishers and producers. At any one time we have 20+ books in serious review. That's an amazing number by the way. (fyi: most agencies only have 1 or 2 deals every couple of years, if that). We do NOT market to vanity presses. All told we probably have 20 people working in various capacities. We are proud that we are going to become an employee owned company and we treat our people well.

Q) Have you ever been sued or in legal action with your clients/authors?
A) We are very proud of the fact that we have NEVER been sued or a part of a legal action. We have instituted a defamation lawsuit against a number of very strange authors, but that's a different, and sad, story.

Q) You're not a vanity publisher or a self-publisher are you?
A) No we're NOT A VANITY OR SELF-publisher in any way, shape or form. We DO NOT sell to vanity or self-publishers. Our mission is to sell your work to TRADITIONAL publishers who will pay you (and us). And, that's how we get paid. If we sell your work to a publisher, then and only then do we get paid (usually 10% which is the industry standard for Literary Agencies).

Q) What are you looking for during your evaluation?
A) We mainly look for COMMERCIAL VIABILITY in the work coupled with good solid writing skills. "Is it something that will sell?" is of paramount importance to us. (We ARE NOT scrutinizing every word, spelling, and grammar usage. There's plenty of time later for that.) We believe that great writers are made, not born at least 99% of the time. But if a work doesn't have commercial potential, then we want to let you know as quickly as possible. Being willing to grow talent, we believe in the old adage, "luck is when opportunity meets preparation and hard work".

Q) How can you evaluate work so quickly?
A) Our mission in the Acquisitions Department is clear. We answer 3 questions:

1. Will the subject matter sell? Is it commercially viable?

2. Is the writing good enough, or would it be good enough with some degree of assistance?

3. Did you as the evaluator like the work and would you believe in it if you were selling it?

If we get the "3 yes" designation then you pass. The next item we look for in our filtering process is your willingness to listen or whether you are a prima 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.

Q) What if you find errors or problems with my manuscript? Should I spend time revising now, or later?
A) We receive very few 'ready-to-go' manuscripts. We believe we are unique in that we are willing to work with our authors along the way. 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.

Q) My manuscript isn't finished....
A) As long as there is enough finished to determine your skills as a writer we are willing to look at your work. As mentioned previously, we take a long term view and we are willing to develop talent. Also, we understand that sometimes life gets in the way, and we are willing to wait for you.

Q) Who are some of the authors you represent? Why aren't they on your
website?
A) Every time we've placed the names of our writers, our agents, or our sales on the website, they are deluged with very weird emails from some very weird people, so we just don't post them anymore. We'd rather lose a new author applicant, than an existing client or buyer. We don't post our deals. It's not worth the risk to try to impress an applicant and lose a buyer.

I can tell you though, that if accepted, you will be among a very diverse and elite group. We are proud to represent a very diverse group of authors. Our roster of authors includes authors with the following occupations:

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

Here are just a few bios:

1. The author was born in xxxxxxxx, 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.

2. The author is a Fellow of the xxxxx Colleges of Physicians, and of xxxxxx, 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 xxxxxxxxxxx Consortium. He was a past recipient of the xxxxxxxx Research Scholarship of the University of xxxxxxx.

3. The author has also won numerous awards honoring him as one of the top sportscasters in the country. He has been richly honored as a professional speaker as well, thrilling audiences with his career highlights and inspiring messages. He has a rich history of being on the air in radio and TV for a quarter of a century, working in major markets such as xxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

4. This author started singing professionally with the singing group xxxxxxxx …

5. The author is a retired veterinarian living in xxxxxxx, South Africa. He was in rural private practice in various towns before settling down in xxxxxxxx where he practiced for 35 years. For ten years or more he had a monthly column in xxxxxxxxx. He also was the script-writer for the SuperSport TV series xxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

We DO NOT give out names or contact information except to qualified buyers. (If you'll think about it, if you were one of our authors, you'd feel the same way. There are a lot of wierdos on the Internet. Sometimes we think that there is a higher incidence of psychosis among writers than any other occupation.)


Q) Is this an automated email? Is there a real person out there?
A) Yes, and yes, and yes... We personally review each query form and email that we receive. Our company receives about 10,000 emails every 15 days. It's a busy world over here. Then, yes, we do use a form to provide these FAQs. Can you imagine typing this time and time again? We pride ourselves on using technology to be as efficient as possible. This allows us to work with authors from anywhere in the world. By automating certain elements of our communications we can spend more thoughtful time on your questions that are specific to you and your situation.


Q) Do you accept everyone?
A) Of course not. However, we accept more than most. Why is that you may wonder? Think about what we do for a minute... Our job is to contact a publisher and ask them, "what are you looking for now?" and then try to fill that request. One of our biggest frustrations is to have a publisher say, "is there any chance you have xxxx yyyyy?" and for us not to have that type of work. We want to be able to say "Yes, we have something just like that, or very close to that!" So, this is the core reason why we will accept previously unpublished authors that other agencies won't.

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

Thank you again for your time in reading to the end of this email. I hope that you have a better feeling for our company and our acquisitions process.

I look forward to receiving your materials.

IF YOU EMAIL YOUR MATERIALS TO US WE WILL ALWAYS NOTIFY YOU WITHIN 2-3 DAYS OF RECEIPT. Please refrain from asking "did you get it?" for at least 3 business days. If you haven't been notified of receipt within 3 days, then by all means resend it (don't ask, just resend it to the email address above.

Also, please don't email me and say, "did you get it?" I also don't need emails that say, "I sent it".. I'm sorry to be so tough here, but every email has to be read and that takes time and costs money.

Also, if your email to our [email protected] email won't go through, just 'reply' to this email and attach your manuscript.

Whew! Thanks again and we look forward to hearing from you and looking at your work.

Best regards,
xxxx - VP of Acquisitions

P.s. I get asked this so often, I'm repeating it. NO HARDCOPY We cannot accept hardcopy by mail. We have to pay to mail it around, the buyer doesn't want hardcopy.. And changes WILL occur.. I think you get the picture. Please figure out a way to email it. If your problem is attachments, get a friend to help you. If you must, then copy and paste it into the email. If you need to retype it, then that's what you have to do.

OPT OUT: When you filled out the form you elected to receive emails from our company. To be removed from receiving any further emails please reply or forward this email with your email address to [email protected] and you will be removed from any further emails.

----Original Message-----
From: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Wednesday, December 30, 2009 7:23 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: xxxxxxxx Submission Form

Bio: n/a
Genre: mystery
Previously published: No.
Name: xxxxxxxxxxxx
Email: xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Phone: xxx.xxx.xxxx
Title: Venom
Synopsis: Join me in a visit to Whitsville, New Hampshire, whose quiet, tree-lined streets peacefulness is shattered when a prominent town 'Whit' is scared 'Whitless' when he wakes up with a corpse in the room. Frank Whitcombe moved to Whitsville to get away from the big city and wants nothing more then to sell a few ads for the town's paper.

Now the State Police want to know how a dead body wandered into his bedroom. And even worse for Frank, the police discover the remains were murdered. Then the police realize whom Frank found. Famed in a song by the Kingston Trio, MTA Charlie was a Boston icon. And police figure Frank must know what happened to him.
Comments: 95,000 words

FormSource: WLWA
FormDate: n/a
Next installment maybe tomorrow depending on my schedule. Identification removed intentionally.


Best of luck,


Jim Clark-Dawe
 

Bushdoctor

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Please paste a link to this scam website on this thread, so that anyone else who reads this knows about it.
 

jclarkdawe

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Now I'm concerned about all the nay-sayers here. I'm wondering if you, Uncle Jim, is one of those authors that this wonderful agent had to sue for defamation. And Gillhoughly, are you implying that the email might not be correct when I'm assured by the agent that he's never been in legal trouble. Shame on you fine gentlemen.

For this agent is wonderful and know talent when he sees it. As a result of my killer query, he knows the book will be wonderful and has immediately sent it to a publisher. Isn't this how agents are supposed to operate? Imagine the excitement of a prospective writer after receiving the first email.

But this agent isn't going to rest on his laurels. Within a minute or two of the first email, I received a second. Talk about on the ball.

We are sending you this email because we want you to see our commitment to the authors we work with. We do everything we can to market our authors and their books!

At the world's largest book event, xxxxxxxxxxxx, which includes, thexxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx exhibited their authors' work to an enthusiastic crowd and great success. To see pictures of our participation in the the event, please visit http://xxxxxxxxxx.com/albums/uu112/

We had a dozen authors perform book signings and we are happy to say that none of the authors went home with any left over books! Deals were made and it was a great show!

SEPTEMBER 8, 2009: China Partner is taking our authors to the Beijing BookShow. Here is a link! http://www.xxxxxxxxx.com/ shows our exhibit in Frankfurt where many relationships were built and deals are in process.

We are planning to be at the Germany and London Book Shows each year as well.

We plan to be there next year with more authors.. And we hope you are there with us!

If you would like to speak with someone, please call xxxx at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

To see a listing of our over 1000 authors we have published please visit www.xxxxxxx.com

To see more about our world class marketing company please visit www.xxxxxxxxxxxxx.com

If you would like to formally opt out, please reply to this email and send your reply to [email protected].
Personally, I think it's time to start practicing my Chinese. I've always wanted to go to Beijing. And just think of the size of the Chinese market. They all must know English and love to read books in that language. I can see the checks rolling in now. Maybe it's time to quit the day job.


Another installment tomorrow.


Best of luck,


Jim Clark-Dawe

 
Last edited:

Gillhoughly

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Group AEG, which includes, the WB Agency, and Strategic & Eloquent Publishing

Ye-aaah, all those and more being on the famous Thumbs Down Agents list compiled by Writer Beware and on display at the SFWA website.

We are planning to be at the Germany and London Book Shows each year as well.

And *I'm* planning to be the next Bond Girl and co-star with Daniel Craig in the new film!
 

DaveKuzminski

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Now I'm concerned about all the nay-sayers here. I'm wondering if you, Uncle Jim, is one of those authors that this wonderful agent had to sue for defamation.

If Fletcher told you that, he forgot to mention that Uncle Jim won with both hands tied behind his back.
 

jclarkdawe

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I'm sitting there thinking, did the work, researched and found a legitimate agent, might not of noticed the transfer of websites, and here I am, within twenty-four hours of sending in my query, and already I've got an agent! There's nothing here to indicate without careful checking that I've been phished.

So being the innocent (my mother says I wasn't even innocent when I was born), I've found an agent, who was so excited with my brilliant query that he's already sent my perfect query to a publisher. You can just imagine the excitement that happens when eight hours later, at 7:30 on a Saturday morning, receiving the following email:

Hello!
After review of your book query which was sent to us by our sister literary agency, we would like to examine your work for publishing. (For reference, your query is at the bottom of the email). We have an immediate need for books of all genres that came about because of our recent exhibit at the Frankfurt Book Fair. See the note at the bottom of our email.

PLEASE NOTE: IF YOUR WORK IS NOT FINISHED PLEASE LET US KNOW. We need finished work. If your work is not finished then you should work with the agency. They can sell unfinished work.

------------------
A quick blurb about us:

We are mainly a book marketing company so we can make decisions very quickly. Please visit our website at www.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.com for an overview of our company and you can see some of the fine authors we have published and that we represent at our author site www.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.com. We have sold over 50,000 books on their behalf in the last year. And, we love international book expos. See the note at the very bottom.

We would like to review your work.
---------------------------------
This email tells you how to send your work to us. Our review process is designed to evaluate both the technical quality of the writing and the subject matter. Don't worry unduly, or spend a lot of time trying to clean it up in a hurry. There is always time for that should we decide to work together.

Email Us Your Work Please
------------------------------
To take the next step, would you please FORWARD this email with a copy of your work and 2-3 illustrations (if needed) to:

[email protected]
(or simply reply to this email)

If you do not have illustrations for the work, please indicate that in your email as well although your query has indicated that you do have illustrations already.

Be sure that the information below is included in the email along with a copy of your work. Please do not change the subject line. Our Review Team will go over the work and get back to you in about a week.

Sincerely,

- Acquisitions Team

If you would like to speak with someone, please call xxxx at xxx-xxx-xxxx.

For a current listing and an example of our hundreds of books published please visit www.xxxxxxxx.com.

Additional information about our book marketing philosophy
---------------------------------------------------------
Please understand that first and foremost, publishing is a selling business, not a writing business. We will be making our decision from a marketing and sales perspective primarily.

Because we make the bulk of our money in selling books, where we should, you will find that our concentration on marketing is world class. Marketing is the toughest part of the book business. However, we do feel that we do a better job than most. Selling books in the traditional manner is a very straightforward process, then we add some special techniques that other companies don't have. The books will be available to bookstores and on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all major online retailers. Every publisher that we know of, from Random House to Authorhouse, follows this marketing sequence.

But that's not good enough! We make money if we sell books! That's what we both need to focus on. We are specialists in finding alternate means of distribution and working the online search engines. When you publish with us, you will be working with our marketing specialists at www.xxxxxxxxxx.com . You might give that website a read. And finally, take a look at some of the examples of what we are doing for our clients, right now. http://www.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.com/blog/

P.S. Heartfelt Praise From One of Our Authors:

I received my copy of "The xxxx" today. It's hard to describe my feelings. After all this time, it's real. It's here. And it's beautiful. I feel like I did when my son was born. What used to be a joke, or a dream has really happened. I received a total of eleven books this afternoon. There are fifty more coming. I took the very first book out, and set it aside. I really want to sign it and send it to you. I think that is only appropriate. You are the one that has really made all of this possible. I live in a very small town. 700 people. I know most of them. News has spread quickly about the book coming out on Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, K Mart, Yahoo, and Google. They have asked me to do a book signing and sells at the new library here in xxxxx. The support for the book has been phenomenal. I feel like a celebrity. Tell xxxx I'm not gay, but I think I'm in love with him. The cover is fantastic. Everything about the book surpasses anything I could have hoped for. Because of you and Mark, this is the only way a person should consider publishing their book. I would love to be a spokesman for you. Thank you guys. You have all been great. If you need an approval of the book from me, you have it. But more than that, you have my respect and admiration. Hope to hear from you soon. xxxxxxxxx - Author

OPT OUT: When you filled out the form you elected to receive emails from our company. To be removed from receiving any further emails please reply or forward this email with your email address to [email protected] and you will be removed from any further emails.

******************************

At the world's larges book event, Book Expo USA, xxxxxxxxxxxx exhibited their authors' work to an enthusiastic crowd and great success. To see pictures of our participation in the the event, please visit http://xxxxxxxxx

One of the deals we are MOST PROUD OF, IS A DEAL TO TAKE OUR AUTHORS INTO CHINA. Here is a page from our partner's catalog when they take our authors to the Beijing Book Show this year.

PLEASE NOTE: AT THE FRANKFURT BOOKFAIR IN GERMANY THE CHINESE ARE AGGRESSIVELY SEEKING CHILDREN'S BOOKS. We have meetings set for London in April. If you join us, you can be ready for the next book show. Depending on when you sign with us it could be next year (2010) in London/April 19-21, NY/May 25-27, Beijing/Aug 30-Sept 3, or Frankfurt/Oct. 6-10.
You can just see how this would seduce someone who doesn't know any better. Next one tomorrow night.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe
 

Bushdoctor

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Hie Jim, it really would be helpful if you included the names of these agencies in your post so that other writers who read this can be made aware of them. As it stands we only know you have had an experience with a scam agent and their website is www.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.com. This forum is a great resource which works best when such agencies are named and shamed. In this particular case, Bobby Fletcher, has so many different aliases that it would be helpful to know what this particular incarnation is.
 

regdog

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The Gorn hasn't shown up yet
:Jaw:
 

CaoPaux

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Hie Jim, it really would be helpful if you included the names of these agencies in your post so that other writers who read this can be made aware of them. As it stands we only know you have had an experience with a scam agent and their website is www.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.com. This forum is a great resource which works best when such agencies are named and shamed. In this particular case, Bobby Fletcher, has so many different aliases that it would be helpful to know what this particular incarnation is.
Patience, grasshopper. Allow the storyteller the grand reveal in his own time. :popcorn:
 

MaryMumsy

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:popcorn:

Reading some of these threads is like watching a train wreck. You don't want to look, you just can't help yourself. At least with this one we have a knowledgeable author fielding the kool-aid.

MM
 

James D. Macdonald

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Q) Have you ever been sued or in legal action with your clients/authors?
A) We are very proud of the fact that we have NEVER been sued or a part of a legal action. We have instituted a defamation lawsuit against a number of very strange authors, but that's a different, and sad, story.

"Ye lie, ye lie, ye liar loud,
Sae loud I hear ye lee...."


It is indeed a different and sad story. Different from what he's saying here and sad (very sad) for him.

This agent is currently being sued by the State of Florida.

He was previously sued by the State of Washington.

He did, in fact, sue several writers for defamation. He lost.
 

jclarkdawe

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Hie Jim, it really would be helpful if you included the names of these agencies in your post so that other writers who read this can be made aware of them. As it stands we only know you have had an experience with a scam agent and their website is www.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.com. This forum is a great resource which works best when such agencies are named and shamed. In this particular case, Bobby Fletcher, has so many different aliases that it would be helpful to know what this particular incarnation is.

I understand the desire to name names, but the thing is, the names change constantly. The techniques used remain constant, and if you can recognize the techniques, you're more likely to be safe. And the techniques used in publishing are the same as are used in other places.

First, the original agent that I thought I was contacting is a legitimate agent. The agent had a web site that wasn't producing the results desired and was allowed to lapse. This happens a lot in many areas of business. A scam artist buys the web name and by clicking on what was once a very legitimate site, you end up being phished (I'm simplifying here as the how is not as important as the what happens). Depending upon the quality, it's hard for you to know you've been phished.

The agent involved, as far as I'm concerned, is an innocent victim here, and I'm not going to say who it is. The agent has been advised of the situation, and that specific problem has been solved. But this technique is going to be used over and over again.

From Charles Ponzi to Bernie Madoff and beyond, the techniques used are not new and earth shaking. And they don't need to change the techniques a whole lot. They just keep adjusting them, changing names, changing faces, but still pressing on. When some of the names listed in this forum become too well known, all they do is change the appearance.

PA is not going to go out of business as long as people keep biting. Might not be called PA, might be run by someone else, but the basic scam works. And why mess with something that works. I've represented some conman, and know a few others that probably should be arrested but never will be. Difficult as it may be to believe, these are really nice people. They were some of my favorite clients. But they're not the brightest bulbs on the planet. They make it through some simple, but obvious techniques.

First off, notice the speed which this is happening at. All scams want things to happen fast, so you don't have time to reflect. They don't want you to think. From the car salesman who says the deal is only good today, to this scam where within hours of being told I have an agent to I've got a publisher interested, it's all the same. Now there are deals that are time sensitive, and we all know it. Scams take advantage of that fact to push people into acting without thinking.

Second is the something for nothing approach. Anyone who has been on AW for a while knows that an agent is going to request revisions. The number of people on this forum who submitted to an agent and got that manuscript submitted to publishers without any changes at all are few and far between. More normally, the agent says, "I like it, but change something." Here, based on merely the query, it's sent to the publisher? Something for nothing.

Third is the verbosity. Remember the Nigerian scams and all the detailed information that was used. Those emails were impressive for their length. But all the details are actually pretty meaningless. Same here. Yet you can see the implications. Talking about the Beijing and German shows. Notice how there's no specifics, but the implication is that of course the publisher would be flying you there.

Don't worry about the names here. Think about how this is supposed to work. Think about how come it works, over and over again. And lots of smart people get scammed.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe
 

Cyia

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Third is the verbosity. Remember the Nigerian scams and all the detailed information that was used. Those emails were impressive for their length. But all the details are actually pretty meaningless. Same here. Yet you can see the implications. Talking about the Beijing and German shows. Notice how there's no specifics, but the implication is that of course the publisher would be flying you there.

This is a HUGE flag in any less than legit endeavor.

Liars expect to get caught. They expect someone to see through the smoke and mirrors, so they try to plug the holes in their stories with more information than necessary. But, in the end, more details mean more things that can be checked by someone who cares to look.

Brevity is the mark of honesty.
 

jclarkdawe

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Now most people at this point would have the common sense to put a block on this and move on with their lives. Quite a few others would assume they were really talking to a real publisher and proceed with that basis.

But as my children say, I have no life. And weird things can provide me with entertainment. However, I faced a little problem. As I said in the beginning, this really isn't my manuscript, but a family member. This wonderful publisher wanted an electronic file, and I had a little problem there. The electronic file is in one of those old 5.25" floppies. And those suckers never did provide good storage.

Even after finding a friend who could transfer it for me, the thing was hopelessly corrupted. But fear not! There's a hard copy. So for reasons having nothing to do with this, it was scan and transfer. Unfortunately, this is a time consuming process, necessitating the following emails:

Thanks for the notice. We'll be looking for it. We look forward to working with you.

From: Jim Clark-Dawe
Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2010 9:59 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: xxxxxx Book Marketer and Publisher Would Like to Review Your Work (Referred by Agency)

Dear xxxxx:

Thank you for being willing to look at my manuscript. Unfortunately, just before I was going to send it to you, the electronic file became corrupted. It's going to take me a few days to get it fixed, but I'm working on it. I'm sorry for the delay and hope this won't be a problem.

I'm really looking forward to working with you to get VENOM into bookstores.
So there are real people on the other end, who can actually provide a normal and rational response. Of course, notice how different it is from their canned responses. As writers, we should always be listening to voice. Why is the voice in this response so different from most of their communications? Interesting.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe
 

AC Crispin

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I confess I don't understand what Mr. Dawe is doing, and why he's doing it. Robert Fletcher's companies have been thoroughly investigated by a number of professionals.

It's not like anyone has to prove that Fletcher doesn't (and couldn't if he wanted to) sell books. It's not like anyone has to prove his endless boilerplate email perorations are complete and utter bullshit. It's not like people haven't "stung" Fletcher's operations with various bogus queries and manuscripts, thus proving the submissions aren't read. And it's not like anyone has to prove that WL and Fletcher's other companies are now funneling victims to his vanity press, Strategic.

There's a whole message board about Fletcher and his scams here on Absolute Write. Why hasn't this thread been moved there?

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

CaoPaux

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For my part, I'm giving the general population a chance to witness a scam in progress.

Folks often scoff how could anyone fall for Fletcher, etc., and Mr. Dawe is giving us a fine example of the scheme. It'll get moved eventually.
 

Elizabeth George's book Write Away