Naturally, this list got copied and posted in other venues. One of them was Miss Snark’s blog, where Miss Snark made various worthy remarks, among them nominating the Lee Shore Agency for #21. From there the story was picked up by aspiring writer Paula Offutt, who also reprinted the list.
Below is a list of the 20 agents about which Writer Beware has received the greatest number of advisories/complaints during the past several years.
None of these agents has a significant track record of sales to commercial (advance-paying) publishers, and most have virtually no documented and verified sales at all (many sales claimed by these agents turn out to be vanity publishers). All charge clients before a sale is made, whether directly, by charging fees such as reading or administrative fees, or indirectly, for “editing services.”
Writer Beware suggests that writers searching for agents avoid questionable agents, and instead query agents who have actual track records of sales to commercial publishing houses.
THE LIST:* The Abacus Group Literary Agency
* Allred and Allred Literary Agents (refers clients to “book doctor” Victor West of Pacific Literary Services)
* Capital Literary Agency (formerly American Literary Agents of Washington, Inc.)
* Barbara Bauer Literary Agency
* Benedict & Associates (also d/b/a B.A. Literary Agency)
* Sherwood Broome, Inc.
* Desert Rose Literary Agency
* Arthur Fleming Associates
* Finesse Literary Agency (Karen Carr)
* Brock Gannon Literary Agency
* Harris Literary Agency
* The Literary Agency Group, which includes the following:Children’s Literary Agency* Martin-McLean Literary Associates
Christian Literary Agency
New York Literary Agency
Poets Literary Agency
The Screenplay Agency
Stylus Literary Agency (formerly ST Literary Agency)
Writers Literary & Publishing Services Company (the editing arm of the above-mentioned agencies)
* Mocknick Productions Literary Agency, Inc.
* B.K. Nelson, Inc.
* The Robins Agency (Cris Robins)
* Michele Rooney Literary Agency (also d/b/a Creative Literary Agency and Simply Nonfiction)
* Southeast Literary Agency
* Mark Sullivan Associates
* West Coast Literary Associates (also d/b/a California Literary Services)
The word today in the AbsoluteWrite bulletin board’s 20 Worst Agents thread is that Barbara Bauer, a well-known scam agent who made the Top 20, is trying to harass Paula Offutt into taking the list off her site. Bauer wrote:
I’m impressed. Here I was thinking Cris Robins was the only scam agent who’s stupid enough to publicly denounce the list. Apparently not.
Cease and Desist: Regarding your post of the 20 Worst Agents which you have copied from an Anonymous Competitor “Miss Snark,” it is disparaging, and inappropriate as well as libelous and defamatory. Remove it promptly. Thank you. Sincerely, Barbara Bauer, Ph.D.
Website: IP: 22.214.171.124
(Why is it dumb to do that? First, because those agents wouldn’t be on the list if Victoria didn’t have them dead to rights—she’s very meticulous about documenting their practices. Second, because for all their threats of legal action, the last thing scam agents want is to go through the discovery phase of a court case. And third, because starting a dust-up about it just publicizes their presence on the list, and raises its Google ranking.)
No doubt there’s more to come. Dealing with subjects you want to have go away by prompting online public discussions of them is, as always, its own reward.
Dhewco: Here’s the story: A friend of mine sent a request for a brochure from Bauer’s agency. Afterwards she checked Dave’s site [Preditors and Editors] and noticed the ‘not recommended’ and ‘charges fees’, my friend asked for a response.
The response was laughable. Claimed P&E was owned by a foreign monopoly ‘with a hidden agenda to make money off writers by destroying the credibility of the American publishing industry’ and sought to direct writers to self-publishers.
Has anyone dealt with this agency? Has the woman lost it? I’ve seen nothing on Dave’s site to support such crazy statement.
Victoria Strauss: Barbara has a short fuse. I’ve heard from people who questioned her fees or claims and got abusive, profane responses.
For the record, she asks or has asked for a number of different kinds of fees, including a $50 reading fee, a $650 upfront marketing fee, and a flat “representation” fee of $1,000. As far as I know, she has no recent record of book sales.