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Robins Agency / Writer for Hire (Cris Robins)

aka eraser

Re: the agent who cried wolf

Okay, thanks Hapi. I knew some agents worked with their clients at least in an advisory editorial capacity, but your last point is the most relevant one; ethical ones don't charge.


Re: Robins agency

I spoke with Ms Robins today on the phone, as she is "impressed" with my manuscript and wants to be my agent. Good thing I have the internet to make my own inquiries. She's nothing more than a liar and a thief. I asked her what percentage of authors she works for, does she secure publishing for. She said 98%. She said most of the sales were in the $100k-$150 range. I asked her if they ever turn down work, and she said she turns down 95% percent of the stuff they get. She said they turned down 10,000 projects last year alone.

She wanted $3200 along with her signed contract, and the entire manuscript by email. That would be for the first 12 months. After that, it would be $100 per month, plus expenses. She said it usually takes 12-16 months from beginning to end.

So disapointing to hear that she is a scam artist. How does she get by with it?


Re: Robins Agency, St. Louis, MO

I talked to Ms Robins today, as she wanted to agent my book. I asked her for references. Her reply was "It really doesn't do any good to give you names and numbers. However, there is an email address of someone who will vouch for us."

They ask for $3200 and can't give me a single reference? Not one author who is tickled pink with her work? She told me that they sell 98% of their clients works. Most go for $150k-100k. She asked me if that would be successful enough for me.

I just want to know, not only how the lady stays in business, but how she stays alive?


Re: Robins agency

I sent Ms Robins an email, telling her that for $3200., it seems reasonable that she could provide references from clients who have been happy with her services.

She said that not one of the complaints on the internet (about her) has been verified. I don't know what that means, because they are written in first person.

She gave me two email addresses to contact on her behalf.



>Most go for $150k-100k. She asked me if that would be successful enough for me.<

People would be breaking her door in with their 3200 if she could back this up. Odds are, she can't. Can people be so gullible as to believe this line?

AC Crispin

Action Against Robins Agency

If you believe you were defrauded by Cris Robins and the The Robins Agency, file a complaint against her with your local police department's White Collar Crime Division (or whatever the equivalent is in your jurisdiction). Provide documentation.

Then, have your P.D email or Fax a copy of the complaint to Detective Barry Mertz at the Creve Coeur Police Department, in Creve Coeur, MO.

Detective Mertz's email address is: [email protected]

Detective Mertz's fax number is: (314) 432-5691. Be sure to put "Attn: Detective Mertz" on the Fax.

Hope this helps. Pass it on.

-Ann C. Crispin
Writer Beware

AC Crispin

Robins Agency

I just posted information for anyone who has been scammed by Cris Robins in the other thread on her, including contact information for the Detective in Creve Coeur who would like to see complaints about her.


-Ann C.Crispin


No fraud yet

Hi, I haven't paid the lady a nickel yet. She did have two people forward me extremely flattering emails, about her high level of service and how much she is respected in her field.

One is a supposed editor for a major publisher (she signed her name but I dont' know if I should include it). She says Ms Robins gets better deals for her clients than any agent she knows, and usually walks away from the bargaining table with a better deal than even the editor was prepared to make.

The second email is from a writer who says she has been a client of Ms Robins for 6 years, and Ms Robins has helped her publish 7 out of 8 books. She has nothing but high praise for the lady.

Coincidence? How come I can't find anything positive about the woman online? How can she be in business for 10 years and be such a con artist?

Does anyone have anything good to say about her? I would truly like to know. I realize that people generally only write complaints, not praise.

Regarding the detective, does he have pending litigation or investigations against this particular person?

Thanks so much!



Re: No fraud yet

Miracles have been known to happen, but I wouldn't bet my career on the proposition that after years as a scam agent, Cris Robins might finally go legit by selling my novel.


Re: No fraud yet

>>She did have two people forward me extremely flattering emails, about her high level of service and how much she is respected in her field.<<

Is one of them named Maggie (or some other first name) Van Slyke? Van Slyke is an alias used by Cris Robins herself.

- Victoria


Re: No fraud yet

Yes! Her name is Maggie Van Slyke. OH MY GOD! WHAT A scumbag!

I had the feeling it was written by her, and compared the emails for similar writing styles. MY God!

This Maggie was the email address she gave me yesterday to contact first. After I pushed her for more references, she gave me Alice Coleman, "an editor."

How did you know that?

James D Macdonald

Re: No fraud yet

There are a couple of Alice Colemans who are editors. One edits a quarterly magazine for graphologists in the UK. Another edits a weekly African-American community newspaper in Louisiana.

Neither of those places look like they pay major advances. Did Cris happen to mention where Ms. Coleman works?


Re: No fraud yet

No, she just said she is an editor. Here is the just of the email she sent:

"You haven't heard the half of it; you should hear the other agents! She gets better deals for her clients than almost any other agent I know ... she makes back her retainer time and time again ... and boy does that upset other agents. Hers is a reputation in the industry of someone who is very fair, very picky about the clients she takes on AND she makes more two-book deals than anyone I know.

Yes, you'd recognize the publisher I work for.

If she chose you, I doubt you'd find better service from anyone else, and I know her retainer is about half of what other agents expense out."

She also said she had "sat across the bargaining table" from Cris numerous times. If she claims to be an editor for a major publisher. That doesn't seem to fit with the two ladies you described. My bet is that its another lie, another alias. Either way, this Cris Robins has some major issues. There's no way to know what they all are. Perhaps she has the qualifications and skills to be an excellent agent, but maybe she has a bad attitude or, clearly has a hard time telling the truth. Maybe she is a terrible agent, and just wants the money.

Whatever the scenario is, there is no chance I"ll be signing up with her and sending her any money. Thank goodness for the internet! All the information anyone needs ... just for taking the time to find it!

Julie Worth

Re: No fraud yet

“Maybe she is a terrible agent...” You’re being way too kind. She’s a con artist, and that’s it. That people can get away with such blatant criminal behavior is appalling. Perhaps there are no laws in Arkansas and Missouri to stop her, but you’d think that Jeff Herman would do a minimum of checking before including such people in his guide. And that P&E would give her less than a neutral rating.

More complaints about Chris and her agency: <a href="http://forums.writersweekly.com/viewtopic.php?t=3539" target="_new">Chris Robins</a>


Re: No fraud yet

I must also add that the supposed Ms Coleman, the editor, is conveniently "out of the office the rest of the week," but will be handy to answer my emails.

Of course, no way for me to call her at any office.

Being someone who truly believes in karma, I can't imagine how con artists like Cris Robins sleep at night.


Re: No fraud yet

She sleeps very well, especially if she keeps getting those queries and moneys to come...

AC Crispin

Writer Beware Says "Thumbs Down" on Cris Robins

Cris Robins is a fee charging agent with no sales. Writer Beware has verified this. She's a skunk who wants your money and doesn't give a rip about your manuscript.

I suspect she doesn't even bother to submit most of them, in contrast to other scumbags like Leann Murphy of Desert Rose. The editors I've spoken to at publishing houses seldom mention her submissions, they tell us at WB who the most annoying scuzzy agents are.

What more do you need to know?

-Ann C. Crispin

Julie Worth

Re: Writer Beware Says "Thumbs Down" on Cris Robin

"What more do you need to know?"

So who are "the most annoying scuzzy agents?" Is there a list somewhere?

Julie Worth

Re: Writer Beware Says "Thumbs Down" on Cris Robin

Well, I was just wondering if there’s info (as Ann just referred to) on publisher’s attitudes towards agents. If they love certain agents, then those are the ones to approach. And conversely, you might not want to sign with agent widely seen as an ass. (Unless she’s successful, of course.)


Re: Writer Beware Says "Thumbs Down" on Cris Robin

Here's what Ann has posted occasionally over the years:

"Here is a short list of agencies that Writer Beware has received documented complaints about their business practices. All of them charge clients upfront fees in some form or fashion. Although several of them might have a few sales, none of them have anything approaching a real track record. Most have no verified sales to real advance and royalty paying publishers:

Abacus Group
American Literary Agents of Washington, Inc.
Barbara Bauer Literary Agency
Benedict & Associates
Brock Gannon Literary Agency
Sherwood Broome Literary Agency
Desert Rose Literary Agency
Elite Online
Finesse Literary Agency
GEM Literary Agency
GMA Literary Agency (may be out of business)
Harris Literary Agency (the one in San Diego, CA)
Lee Shore Literary Agency
Karen Lewis Literary Agency (editing referrals)
Robert Madsen
David Mocknick
Scott Meredith Literary Agency (their "Discovery" program)
New Elite Online
The Robins Agency
S.T. Literary Agency
Sedgeband Literary Associates (they have a few small sales)
Southeast Literary Agency
Mark Sullivan Literary Agency
Sunshine Literary Agency

Note: The following agencies have some verified sales, but we've received complaints from authors AND/or publishers about their unprofessional business practices or "shotgun" submission techniques:

Authentic Creations
Cambridge Literary Agency
West Coast Literary Associates

I'm afraid this list is indeed VERY short. Writer Beware has over 350 questionable agencies currently in our database. As always you can address inquiries about any specific agency to the following address:

[email protected]

-Ann C. Crispin
Writer Beware

Edited to remove my awkward contraction.


Re: No fraud yet

>>How did you know that?<<

eldragon, I know because other prospective clients have been given the same "reference" letter, and have sent me copies.

I'm sure "Alice Coleman" is equally fictitious.

I know "Maggie Van Slyke" is Cris because she and I had a slugfest a couple of years ago on another writers' message board. She started out by using the alias, and then admitted who she was.

Re: Ann's agency list--we typically get the most questions about the same 30 or so agencies (frequency fluctuates; it's been quite a while, for instance, since I got anything about American Literary Agents of Washington, but at one point that was the one I was hearing about the most)--but our "watch" list has nearly 400 names on it at this point.

- Victoria



Well, I sure do appreciate all the help.

I actually do work with one agent, but he hasn't had any luck so far with getting a publisher's attention. He flat out told me he hadn't had any sales yet, at least he was honest about it! Still, my being a new author, I gave him a chance. He has kept me abreast of the situation with reports outlining who he has sent my work to.

It would be nice for a new guy (and a new author) to get a break. Everybody has to start someplace.



I got a call from MS Robins today, asking me if I had checked her references. I said yes, and I found out that you use them as your alias. She was kind, and said, "Well, I guess I burned someone's bridge of trust. I won't do that again. You Take Care."

That was how the editors email, Alice Coleman, ended her email to me.

Anyway, I got an email from MS Van Slyke, "saying I spoke with Cris a few minutes ago; and I'm just curious, why did you waste my time when you'd decided before you even contacted me? How rude!"

This Robins lady is clearly a sick woman. Perhaps even dangerous, possibly multiple personality disorder. I'm sorry she has my personal information.

So, please people ... beware beware beware!

(And all I did was send a query!)