Writer Beware has received many complaints and reports about Janet Kay & Associates. It charges fees ($10 per publisher contact, or $300 for unlimited contacts); what you get for the money is a list of publishers to contact and a generic cover letter (often mis-addressed or addressed to "Dear Editor"--a serious no-no), and you're then supposed to send your own cover letter and materials (thus bearing all the expense of submission; what's the $300 for?). Documentation I've gathered indicates that the publishers targeted are often completely inappropriate for the works in question.
As far as I know, this agency has never sold a book to a commercial publisher, either under its current name or its former one--Helping Hand Literary Services. I've been told by editors that they ignore this agency's submissions because they're so often unprofessional or inappropriate; I spoke with an editor recently who called Ms. Kay and asked her to stop sending him material.
At one point there was a police investigation into this agency. I don't know if it's still ongoing or not.
Re: the police investigation of Janet Kay & Associates...neither I nor the people who've recently gotten in touch with Writer Beware have received any response to our attempts to contact the detective who's in charge. It's very difficult to construct cases against questionable literary agencies, and law enforcement often bogs down in that. I suspect the investigation has stalled, although I'm still encouraging people to file complaints with the San Angelo police.
I signed a contract with Janet Kay & Associates on 1/21/03 after her glowing, flattering response to my submission of my novel. (Some of her comments were word for word what I see on the internet she had written to other writers.) I sent $300.00 which was supposed to pay for her to contact at least 36 publishers, up to unlimited number of publishers. I submitted a book of stamps and self addressed mailing labels as she said she would keep me apprised of her marketing progress. I never received any communication from her, although now, after the fact, she claims to have tried to write to me. I get all my other mail, including the letter she wrote on 7/25/03 where she claims to have written to me, so what happened to her other supposed mailings, I have no clue.
I wrote to her four times during the six months duration of the contract, included a SASE, and never received any reply to any of those requests for progress reports.
The contract was up 7/21/03, and I wrote to her advising her that the contract was now expired and demanded my $300.00 be refunded for lack of services promised. I called on 7/25/03, talked to Janet Kay, and she was supposed to look into my claim as she said she did not "handle that part of the business." No word since then, except the letter written on 7/25/03 requesting I send $15.00 per query letter for them to write a query letter to publishers for me. Very strange way to conduct a service-oriented business. I am currently filing a complaint with the Attorney General of Texas.
Janet Hendershot [email protected]
We also have a contract with Janet Kay as our agent and have signed a publishing contract with JanGeo Ink. As of this posting they are in violation of their publishing contract. Janet Kay has no answers when you actually get her on the phone. No response at all, she knows nothing about what is going on with our novel. (Fine Way for our rep to be). Her standard response is I will have to talk to George, Or I don't know, George is out of town. My advise to anyone thinking of dealing with the agency, RUN as far and as fast as you can!!
Dollymadison, JanGeo Ink is owned by Janet Kay and her husband, George Titsworth. I'm wondering if they disclosed this to you when offering you the contract? I'd be curious to know how you received the contract offer--get in touch with me privately if you'd prefer: [email protected].
I received word on May 23, that Janet Kay's "Board" had elected to represent me as a client. I received a glowing review from Ms. Titsworth (Janet) and she said she would be putting the paperwork and contract in the mail. NEVER GOT 'EM. Began e-mailing the detective who also was non-responsive. Finally started calling and demanding my manuscript be returned in the SASE I enclosed with it. Finally heard from the detective that "Janet Kay must have Caller ID because I've tried to call her with no answer." I re-e-mailed and asked why he didn't just go to her office if he wanted to talk to her. Never heard back. Her web page changes almost daily; she is "going to Los Angeles" for a few days to talk to publishers and is taking some manuscripts with her." Yeah! Right. Make sure your manuscript is copyrighted before you send it anywhere. DISGUSTED!
I was fortunate enough to have some interesting experiences with her.
We spoke for about an hour on the phone,a nd I sent her two copies of my PDF book. It was supposed ot be taken to a publisher that I already had talked with but I needed a n agent to make things right( geeze people why does any one need an agent anyway.) I receievd my cintract from her and kept calling her to finalize agreements. To my surprise form teh FTC I receievd a letter of investaigation into her and they needed my feedback.
After I showed them the advertising and websites et al,, they are still investigating.
DON'T GET NEAR HER!
I have had recent dealings with her agency. She sent me a list of 20 publishers who she stated received my written query letter and of those 20, five were interested in my manuscript. I had to make the copies and pay for the postage to get them to the publishers. (I thought that's what the $300 was for that I sent her.) Being a skeptic, I searched her out on the net and much to my surprise, it's the research I should have done prior to contracting with her for representation. I contacted the five publishers and three quit accepting material from her as far back as March 2003, sending her stuff back unopened. When I finally got ahold of her last week, she so graciously told me that three publishers had rejected my work. When I asked her for copies of the rejection letters, she stupidly told me who they were and that she "throws them away if they aren't positive or have a positive note in them." These were the three publishers I had already heard from and asked me to re-submit my work without her. I could be angry if I think she stole my hopes and dreams, but those are two things she can never have. If anyone needs a friend to talk to about her, let me know. Get back in the saddle and keep trying. Janet Kay is on her way to a place far worse than any of her so-called clients are visiting right now since jail isn't out of the realm of possibility----right where she belongs! I did contact Brian Elkins of the San Angelo Police Department and since I only live 92 miles from 133 W Concho, San Angelo, Texas, I think I will pay a personal visit to her and request she return my $300.00 to me immediately.:hat
Janet Kay & Associates served with warrant; abandon offi
From Angela Hoy at WritersWeekly.com:
I received a phone call from Detective Brian Elkins of the San Angelo Police Department a few weeks ago and was thrilled to learn that a search warrant had been served at Janet Kay & Associates. The police department apparently carted away enough manuscripts to fill an entire jail cell.
Janet Kay and George Titsworth (her husband?), operated under numerous names, including:
Janet Kay and Associates / Janet Kay & Associates
JanGeo Ink Publishing Company
Helping Hand Literary Service
We were not permitted to share this information until Detective Elkins released a statement concerning this case. Here it is:
Re: Janet Kay Investigation
Since September 2002 the San Angelo Police Department assisted by several
other law enforcement agencies has been investigating the company(s) known
as Helping Hands Literary Service, Janet Kay & Associates and JanGeo Ink.
The crime alleged is "Theft" by deception.
These company's were taking fees for contacts with publishers. The
investigation shows that although the fees were being taken personal
contact or contact only with publishers did not happen. Clients were led
to believe that they had a high chance of being published if money was
given for office expenses.
On January 30, 2004 a search warrant was served on the home and business
of Janet Kay and George Titsworth. All manuscripts and writings submitted
to this business were seized and placed in evidence. These manuscripts and
writings will remain in evidence until the conclusion of the investigation
and prosecution of all involved.
Soon after the search warrant was served I was advised that the business
was abandoned. At this time there is nothing/nobody left in what used to
be the office for Janet Kay and Associates. The phones and mail are going
Many of you have questions about plagiarism and your contracts. At this
point I have no information that leads me to believe that any of the
writings submitted were used in any illegal way. As for the contracts you
have signed the best I can inform you is to consult with a local attorney
in your area. Attorneys in this area advised that a contract is only as
good as both parties fulfill the letter of the contract.
If you have yet to file a complaint with the police department please
fill out the form Statement of Fact (contact Detective Elkins via the email
If you have already filed a complaint with the police department
you may receive an e-mail from my office needing more
information. If this is the case you will also need to
go to the web link and complete the form. Many of you have registered
your name but we need complete information for the case file. In
addition, if you have any paperwork, documentation, correspondence with
any one or more of theses companies, please forward a copy to the San
Angelo Police Department attn; Det. Brian Elkins. Scanned or electronic
copies my be sent to [email protected].
This bulletin was put out to inform victims of this crime and to reduce
the amount of phone calls coming in to my office and the office of
criminal investigations. I know some of you may have specific questions
for me. If this is the case please call however be advised it may take me
some time to contact you back.
Det. Brian Elkins
San Angelo Police Department
401 E. Beauregard
San Angelo, TX. 76903 [email protected]
Re: Janet Kay & Associates served with warrant; abandon
YIKES!!! I almost signed up with that woman, but i had a bad feeling. my friend told me to check the BBB and she had a list a mile long. i turned her down, thank God! hopefully, this will send a message to all those cons out there, that the police are after them.
Ps, Victoria, i tried to send you the cunard hathcox agency, but the letter came back saying attempted not known. can you repost your address again, so i can send you the info?
While we'll never be absolutely con free, the problem with so many fradulent literary agents or Hollywood agents is that the average person knows nothing about the industry. When people are defrauded, many do not complain.
You can send a message to con artists, when you run across them report them to relevant authorities, post information here, etc. I have learned a lot from boards like this, writers beware, and just from plain experience.
I for one I'm glad I'm a starving artist, when scams were tried on me for the most part I had no $$$$$$$. Now I know a lot mroe about the industry and can easily weed our fakes and just plain inept people.
But back to the previous poster, I do thing these cases and boards are sending messages out there. Keep up the good work, people are Writers Weekly and Writers Beware!
I think more than likely, the internet has made the number of would be scam artists mushroom, as they potentially had an entire globe of victims instead of being limited to one geographic area. Forums like this can fight that, and do send a message out there.
And for those of who stung, or those of you have had people attempt to hoodwink you, again, report the crime. That's the greatest weapon we have.
No, these cons were already out there in force. One had to only look in the back of many old magazines to see ads for them. What's happened is that the Internet has shifted the playing ground so that writers finally have an almost level field on which to have a fighting chance. You don't see any of the reputable agencies, editing services, or publishers rushing to condemn or destroy the watchdog sites because they know they're not in our target sights. We writers are the solution to some of the ills that were foisted upon publishers' shoulders in the past when writers believed it was up to them to deal with the scammers when it's up to us to marshal our forces and share what we know now that we have global communication and a way to list the scammers so that even the newest of newbie writers can see for themselves who to avoid.
I suppose the internet leveled out the field by making it much easier to contact relevant government agencies, by enabling writers to interact (the watchdog websites), as well as making it easier to contact the Writers Guild and the Authors Guild. A so called agent that I quered from a Writers Guild list replied to my query with a no thanks but here is my good literary consultant friend who can totally help you. When I called the Writers Guild(their info is listed on the website), they did not look kindly to this.
For the few good websites that have lists of prodcos, agents, and publishing companies, if their are contacted on cases of fraud, they'll remove the guilty parties from their mailing list. From the old magazines, it must have been much harded to have any action taken (since they likely ran paid ads)
Oh good grief. Am I the only one that feels total humiliation here? As in I was gullible enough to believe the letter of praise for my work and subsequently tell my circle of friends and family that I was soon to be published? Well it appears I am not alone. There's a sick sort of comfort in that. I don't wish this on anyone. Least of all myself.
I just thought that I had done my newcomer homework very well and it seemed legitimate, professional even. Certainly I would not pay someone to assess my work, and I didn't. But I see that I am not beneath vanity or having my ego stroked and I guess that's one of the great tools a scam mer will use.
Sadly, I'm not sure I can say what the moral of the story is, how to avoid this in the future. Don't believe an agent that appraises your work highly? How dare I ! How mindlessly vain can I be?
I didn't send any money and I didn't sign anything. But my manuscript, fully copyrighted is sitting there in the most evil of slush piles. I can think of a better place to be rubbing shoulders with my colleagues. Has anyone heard if our manuscripts will be returned to us after this is all over?
>>Sadly, I'm not sure I can say what the moral of the story is, how to avoid this in the future. Don't believe an agent that appraises your work highly? How dare I ! How mindlessly vain can I be?<<
The moral of the story: don't approach bad agents to begin with. Do your research ahead of time--before you send that query letter. There are many resources to help you--Preditors & Editors, Writer Beware (click on the link below my signature, and visit the Agents page, where you'll find a list of warning signs), your own efforts (which _every_ writer should make) to learn as much as possible about the publishing industry.
It's _easy_ to avoid scammers, especially the really egregious ones like Janet Kay. Honest.
>>Has anyone heard if our manuscripts will be returned to us after this is all over?<<
I asked this question and got a noncommittal answer. There are enough manuscripts that they can't all fit into an 8' x 12' prison cell (I was told that many are in unopened envelopes). It would be prohibitively expensive to return them all. My guess is that they won't be returned.
I have a friend who submitted a manuscript to Janet Kay. I saw the message- thanks Victoria- and sent him the address. He called and spoke at length with the detective in charge. From what my friend said, if they find his manuscript, they'll do whatever they can to return it to him.
Janet Kay and husband George Titsworth ARE IN JAIL!
WritersWeekly.com received a phone call from Detective Brian Elkins this morning. The duo apparently started an entirely new "literary agency" after the police shut down their last one and confiscated enough manuscripts to "fill a jail cell."
More info. at:
<a href="http://www.writersweekly.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2835" target="_new">http://www.writersweekly.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2835</a>