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Melanie Mills

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


Agent Melanie Mills asks for 350 dollars upfront fee if she likes your manuscript.
She has gotten deals with major publishers, but these deals have been 'microscopic'.
She does not advertise that she asks for a fee in Publishers Lunch, where she has a page. She does mention this on her website, but in a vague manner.
According to her, the money is for editing services and query letters. According to me, she should make it clear on both her web pages she charges such a fee. When you photocopy your chapters and send them to her, you're already out a lot of money.


Don't ever pay an agent to read something. The WGA forbids agent signators from charging any sort of reading or overhead fee.


Re: none

My vibes say "this is wrong."

My experience with publishers is limited, but mine suggests a change here and there and has ME do the tweaking. It sounds like she's dangling a carrot and is pressuring you to say "Please, please, YOU do it!" I suspect that even if you find a book-doctor, the agent will find something wrong with his/her credentials.

Not sure what you signed, but I'd be taking a magnifying glass to it, looking for an out-clause. I hope you get other responses though. Don't consider mine gospel. Let's see if there's a consensus.


Re: none

The statement that worries me is:

"When you find someone to do this
for you, please have them write me a letter on their letterhead, including
contact information and listing their recommendations in the letter."

Why does she need to know who you are getting to edit for you? and the big one: Why do they have to send her a letter on their letterhead listing the recommendations?

She's sounds like she's up to something, 'cuz realistically if she can't do it, doesn't have the time, then she will pass the project back to you and wait for you to send it back revised and go from there.

Something is just not right and it is your right to ask her why this is necessary. I don't know what your contract says with her, but the bottom line is she is working for you so don't let her walk all over you.



Had my own experience with this one. Charged me $350. 6 months later she wanted another $1500 to edit a manuscript she said she had already read and submitted to people. But couldn't provide a single bit of evidence that she had ever submitted anything. I fired her.

If an agent asks for money up front, run away! They are supposed to make money from the publishers, not the author.



When I signed with her, she charged me $115. I received a copy of one rejection letter, and monthly updates for about two months. After that I never heard from her unless I asked. When I'd email her about progress she'd be very snotty, until she finally told me I'd be better off to take my novel to an independent publisher.

Oddly enough, she sent me a letter just a few weeks ago wanting me to contact her. I emailed her and received a letter telling me that she has a possible buyer for my novel, but that it needs some work. She'd like for me to hire someone to edit the novel. I'm not going to do this, since if anyone edits and rewrites it, I'm going to do it myself. And I'm not at all happy that she's still shopping my book around after telling me to take a hike earlier in the year. I haven't replied to this latest communication yet, but I plan to do that tonight.

I personally think she's just out for money.


melanie mills

This does not sound good. Now I know what to do with her invitation to send the first three chapters, etc. -- delete her e-mail message from the deep recesses of my computer!


Re: melanie mills

Rule of Thumb:
Any agent that contacts you is one to avoid.

The exception is if you have had something published by a legitimate publisher (not POD).


Thanks To You Guys I Was One of The Lucky Ones!!!

Ok I am so glad I stumbled upon your site because I too sent in a poem for entry and was told the same bull. I just want to basically say thank you because I was just about to sign and pay for a book and a plaque. I feel bad for the ppl who weren't able to avoid this but I'm sure your site will although shutting them down would be completely better (fingers crossed). Once again thanks


Melanie Mills has been my agent for several years. While she initially asked for a fee to cover mailings and such, she has discontinued that practice (at least where I am concerned).:D


Melanie Mills has been my agent for over a year. She did not charge me a fee but I did have to pay her in advance to rewrite my manuscript. It really needed it and she worked with me to become a better writer. 7 months later, she sold my manuscript to a large publishing house in NYC. I happen to think she's a great agent with a very warm personality.


Priority189: Would you please tell us the title of your book or your (the author's) name? It seems that, although anonymous people claim to be published via Ms. Mills, no one ever gives the name of the book.

Thank you.



It's also a conflict of interest for an agent to double as a paid editor. If the agent stands to make money from the recommendation to edit, how can the writer trust that the recommendation is in his/her best interest? Many established agents do work with their authors to edit their work for submission, but they don't charge extra for it.

I too would like to hear about Priority189's book--author? Title? Publisher? Once a publishing contract has been signed, there are no issues of confidentiality involved, and no reason why this info shouldn't be shared, even if the book hasn't yet been published.

- Victoria
Writer Beware


I'm getting a little afraid after reading this board. Melanie Mills has been my agent for several years and has two of my works. She charged me an initial fee for both with the condition that the money would be recovered upon sale of the book(s). She also recently told me a similar story to the above poster, ie., a publisher liked my book but it needed to be edited, would I get an editor and have that editor send information to her about themselves. I asked her to edit the book, which she agreed to do(to her credit, she did ask me at first to get someone else to do it). I can't really say that she made any significant changes to the book after I paid $5 a page for her efforts. Furthermore, my second work (the one she edited) has been with her now for over six months and I have heard no news, not even rejection notices. When I emailed to ask her if there was any news on the book, she said no one was really buying now as the economy was slow. With my first book, she did at least send rejection notices by email.
After reading the above posts, I'm seriously starting to doubt the legitimacy of this agency. If the poster who had Melanie Mills as an agent could list the published book, I would feel much better. Please, if anyone has any more information they can share, please post it here. I don't want to waste any more money and would like to move on with my writing career, if indeed that is a possibility. Thank you very much.


I agree with Starmason. Can someone (anyone?) produce a contract? I really enjoy dealing with her, and have felt she has represented me well. Am I being screwed? I'm not interested in opinions, how about some facts???


Just submitted a manuscript

Writer Beware has received several reports about Ms. Mills that are essentially identical to starmason's. If anyone would like to make a report or provide more info, please get in touch with me at [email protected].

- Victoria
Writer Beware


I wanted to post again to let everyone know that I no longer have any doubts about Melanie Mills as an agent. She has supplied me with a bona fide contract that she has recently negotiated. Furthermore, she responded to my questions both promptly and professionally. Much of my fear was based on simple miscommunication which was largely my fault. I should have spoken to her first, rather than posting here, but that was my mistake. I hope this post will put to rest some of the questions that have been floating around these boards. I will not list specifics on the contract as it is not my place to do so, but I have no reason to be anything less than truthful here. If you have Melanie Mills as an agent, you are in good hands.

Good luck and keep writing.


At last!

Great! Now you can supply us with the name of the publisher and the name of your book -- unless those are the specifics which it is not your place to list. ;)


Melanie Mills - a lesson learned

Like several of the posters, I too was a client of Melanie
Mills. Once she had my $350 and my signed contract,
she informed me she would be "fibbing" to publishers
about my very excessive word count. I was flabber-
gasted. Why she didn't inform of this BEFORE I paid
and signed should be obvious to anyone.

My $350 was refunded to me when Ms. Mills tried the
editing fiasco on me, but instead of taking the bait, I
started making phone calls and email inquiries. Ms. Mills coughed the money up pronto once she realized I was
onto her.

It turns out that one of the editors I contacted is very
well known in literary circles and she is also an agent.
I didn't have a clue. She asked to read my manuscript.
She said if I could write that well, I could edit my manu-
script very easily. I did, and she has just signed me.
She's convinced will sell my book. We'll see, but one
thing is for certain: I have a much better chance now
than I did with Ms. Mills. If my novel DOES sell, I will
return to this board and post the title, something another
poster seems unwilling to do. (Uh, anyone smell a rat?)

Ms. Mills supposedly no longer charges a fee to authors
she signs. If that's true, I think thanks is due to people
like Victoria from Writer's Beware who work very hard
on our behalf. But the lack of a fee doesn't make a

If any of you think of quitting like I did, DON'T. If you
fall prey to an unscrupulous agent, it doesn't mean your
work isn't any good, it mean you've learned a good
lesson like many others have. Don't let a bad agent
keep you from working towards your goals. If they
take away your dream, they've taken a lot more than
your money.


Of course she's out for money!

"I personally think she's just out for money."

Well, of course she's just out for money! Aren't you? I certainly am!

There's nothing wrong with being out for money. There's only something wrong when you go about it in an unethical way. She is being unethical. That's the problem. Not the fact that she's trying to make a buck.


[color=FF3399] Stop trusting agents. Or don't have any at all!! [/color]


Out for money

No, most of us are NOT out for money. We want to create art, promote literature, and spread ideas. Making money is a byproduct of those activities. Yes, sometimes it is a necessary byproduct, but it should not be the main purpose.

We are not supposed to be selling used cars here; let's not act like it, nor accept the actions of people who do.


Sorry to hear that

Writing is a business. The stuff I write has value. People pay me for it. If they don't pay, they don't get to publish it. It's that simple.

The fact that writing is also a creative release for me, and that my writing brings pleasure to the people who read it, is a very pleasant coincidence.

If you don't believe your work has value, I guess you're free to give it away.

Happy Thanksgiving

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