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April 13, 2007

WL Writers’ Literary Agency / Strategic Book Group
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 09:40 AM * 369 comments

We’ve mentioned these folks before at Making Light: Take My Logline … Please.

Now adjudged conman Robert Fletcher is back with a new name for his old agency. Ann Crispin of Writer Beware has this to say, and adds, “Please feel free to copy and paste this alert wherever writers gather.”

NEW ALERT FROM WRITER BEWARE: Writers’ Literary Agency & Marketing Company (formerly The Literary Agency Group)

The Literary Agency Group, a business owned or controlled by Robert M. Fletcher of Boca Raton, Florida, changed its name in February 2007 to Writers’ Literary Agency & Marketing Company (a.k.a. WL Writers’ Literary Agency).

This umbrella group includes or has included the following agencies:

* Christian Literary Agency
* New York Literary Agency
* Stylus Literary Agency (formerly ST Literary Agency, formerly Sydra-Techniques)
* WL Children’s Agency (a.k.a. Children’s Literary Agency)
* WL Poet’s Agency (a.k.a. Poet’s Literary Agency)
* WL Screenplay Agency (a.k.a. The Screenplay Agency)
* Writers’ Literary & Publishing Services Company (the editing arm of the above-mentioned agencies)

Since this company began operating in 2001 under the name Sydra-Techniques, Writer Beware has received hundreds of complaints and advisories of fee-charging, editing referrals, and other questionable practices. We’re not aware that the company has a significant track record of commercial book sales under any of its names, despite its claims to the contrary.

Writers who have had trouble with Robert M. Fletcher or any of the above-named companies, and who are or were residents of the state of Florida, please get in touch with Ann Crispin at anncrispin@aol.com (or beware@sfwa.org , if the AOL address bounces), even if you have previously contacted her. Please provide complete contact information.

You can learn far more about WL Writers’ Literary Agency wherever scam-hunters sit around the fire gnawing roast haunch of scammer and telling tales.

I note with some amusement that WL Writers’ Literary Agency has a wiki at AboutUs.org.


[UPDATE 14NOV08: If you’ve had any dealings with Robert Fletcher, or any of his businesses, the Florida Attorney General wants to hear from you.]

[UPDATE 11AUG09: Robert M. Fletcher, Literary Scammer. Bobby loses a lawsuit.]

[UPDATE 20AUG09 They’re changing their name (again!) to Strategic Book Group]

[UPDATE: 03SEP09: Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against “Literary Company”]



[UPDATE: 20JUN12]
Bobby has renamed his scam (again) to Strategic Book Publishing & Rights Agency (SBPRA), Publish On Demand Global, Best Quality Editing Services, and Best Selling Book Rights Agency, plus a dozen other names.

Comments on WL Writers' Literary Agency / Strategic Book Group:
#1 ::: Audrey ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 10:34 AM:

Having a listing on AboutUs.org is automated. They pull the info from the domain's whois listing and their website.

But the nice thing about it being on a wiki is that you can edit the entry...

Mmm, roast scammer.

#2 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 11:25 AM:

Why that's easy to create. Hmmm, maybe PA will like this one at URL http://www.aboutus.org/PreditorsAndEditors.com

#3 ::: SBD ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 11:46 AM:

Sydra Techniques sounds like a villainous organization in a spy/conspiracy thriller.

#4 ::: betsyl ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 11:51 AM:

totally unrelated to this post, but i couldn't figure out where else to put it.

i also couldn't find anything about making light's thoughts on the advertising that runs in the sidebars-- to whit, whether a person ought to mention the mccain 2008 ad that she keeps seeing in the sidebar. i don't rembember if you all are on the "we'll run all ads" platform or the "only ads that we like" platform.

#5 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 11:53 AM:

SBD @ 3... Well, there is Hydra, the secret orignization that Captain America has foiled again and again. (How did the Hulk put it while mocking their rallying cry? It went something like "Cut one head and two will grow to take its place, both more stupid than the original.")

#6 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 12:03 PM:

The bought ads here are accepted or declined.

The Google ads here are Whatever Comes Up.

#7 ::: Kelley Shimmin ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 12:59 PM:

As you can well guess, I'm sort of a writing newb but I stumbled onto http://community.livejournal.com/market_finder/ which if legit, looks to be worth its weight in gold provided I or anyone else reading it actually managed to scrape together some Good Pieces.

Does anyone know about this (or perhaps any equivalent and decidedly legit links)? I haven't done any querying or submitting yet because I'm sort of trying to figure out what I want to do before I do it, but I really want to avoid being taken in by a scammer or having my work stolen.

By the way, I like the "spelling reference" you have put up. I hadn't noticed it before. I really dislike mispelling words, especially proper nouns.

#8 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 02:28 PM:

Market Finder looks like a market list; there are several others.

No list is 100%. It's up to you to research the individual markets once you've located them.

Please don't submit a story anywhere until you've read one or two issues of a magazine, or a few books they've published.

#9 ::: Kelley Shimmin ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 03:15 PM:

Please don't submit a story anywhere until you've read one or two issues of a magazine, or a few books they've published.

Yes, of course. That's one of the reasons why I haven't submitted or queried anything yet. I'm a slow reader (my reading is only marginally faster than my writing) so I'm taking some time to pin down what I want to do - and even trying to pin down what I want to pin down, to a certain extent since reading is so hard for me.

Don't get me wrong, I am literate, and I do read for fun, but it takes me a week to read a mid-length novel even if I'm trying pretty hard and I have friends who can do the same in an evening. Knowing this helps me out because I can look at the fifty books I read in a year and feel accomplished, even if I have friends who will have read four or five times as many in the same amount of time.

#10 ::: C.E. Petit ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 03:25 PM:

Technically, "convicted" should read "adjudged," as it was not a criminal proceeding, but an administrative law finding.

But I am just being a lawyer and quibbling.

#11 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 04:16 PM:

Thank you, Charlie. Next time I find it necessary to talk about Robert M. Fletcher of Boca Raton, FL, I shall certainly call him an adjudged swindler rather than a convicted conman.

#12 ::: Christopher Turkel ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 04:17 PM:

A wiki...wow. Wonder how long until it's gone?

#13 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 04:25 PM:

Serge @ 5

As I recall, Hydra was also Nick Fury's nemesis. They had a highly imaginative special ops group that once attacked SHIELD HQ on skateboards (I always wondered what the recoil of an assault rifle would do to you if you were shredding at the time you fired it).

#14 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 04:33 PM:

Bruce Cohen @ 13... Attacking Nick Fury sounds dumb, and especially so if you're on a skateboard. At least, AIM's Modok (aka Big Head) never tried to pull such a stunt.

#15 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2007, 07:44 PM:

Bruce Cohen writes in #13:

As I recall, Hydra was also Nick Fury's nemesis. They had a highly imaginative special ops group that once attacked SHIELD HQ on skateboards (I always wondered what the recoil of an assault rifle would do to you if you were shredding at the time you fired it).

As I recall, SHIELD Headquarters was aboard a giant flying aircraft carrier.

I can only conclude that Hydra's skateboard assault force must be both highly imaginative and extraordinarily skillful.

#16 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2007, 02:18 AM:

JDM #6:

Website owners using Google AdSense can at their option "filter out specific competitors or specific advertisers." [emphasis added]

Someone with the keys to the AdSense account would have to take positive action to screen out the McCain ad, if they in fact thought it wasn't appropriate. But it can be done.

#17 ::: G. Jules ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2007, 08:28 AM:

Kelley @ #7: I would also suggest Ralan.com, which IMO is very strong as a short story market listing (and has book markets as well), and AgentQuery.com, which is one of the better online agent listings.

But please note that no market listing is 100%. Even the Jeff Herman dead tree guide to agents, the guide most people recommend for new writers, has seen some scammers slip in. Due diligence on markets and agents is essential, both to determine if they're legit and to determine if they'd be a good fit for your work.

More importantly, I'd also recommend reading through some resources for newly-submitting writers. Miss Snark, Preditors and Editors, AbsoluteWrite, the SFWA About Writing articles, and the galaxy of writer blogs are all good places to start.

#18 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2007, 11:48 AM:

#16: But it can be done.

Oh, yeah, I know it can be done. I've even posted specific instructions on exactly how to do it.

That the Google Ads are unfiltered here is a conscious decision.

#19 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2007, 12:48 PM:

G. Jules @ 17: and the galaxy of writer blogs are all good places to start.

Though I would recommend sticking to the blogs of authors published by houses you've heard of, that are on the shelves of your local bookstores or available for download by reputable publishers (whatever form that may take).

Taking advice from the unpublished or those published by vanity presses and author mills is not recommended. They don't know how publishing actually works, and they can't tell you.

#20 ::: Robert M. Fletcher ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2007, 11:18 PM:

I'm going to sue everybody for defaming my good name! Be warned.

#21 ::: Allan Drake ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 05:06 PM:

I am a blogger and I wrote a screenplay, and accidently submitted to them. Thanks for writing this. Anways. thnk y mght njy t. ts bt 24 yr ld tht trs t mk t t th bgscrn wth hs wn scrnply. ts clld "Spc Shftr Csy"

http://www.chpcllctn.cm/msc-ndstry-nws/spc-shftr-csy/
http://dgg.cm/tch_nws/_24_yr_ld_Blggr_s_ttmpt_t_Mk_t_nt_th_Bg_Scrn

Fl fr t pst th lnk, r cntct m.

lln Drk
sprcl@chrtrm.nt
http://www.myspc.cm/llndrk

#22 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2007, 05:19 PM:

Allan, I've got nothing against you, but that's an advertisement.

#23 ::: Audrey ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2007, 10:54 PM:

Just as a follow up to the issue of WL Writers’ listing on the AboutUs wiki: I'm at a demo being given by Ray King of AboutUs, and I asked what their policy is on disputes over how companies should be represented. Ray said that their policy is to always side with the outside community over the domain holder. I think that could be tricky to manage, but it's useful that it's possible to write "this company has been convicted of fraud" and they'll let that stand as part of the domain's record.

#24 ::: Patrick ::: (view all by) ::: June 07, 2007, 10:21 AM:

Hi, all

I just submitted a query to the WL Writer's Literary Agency and received the same initial interested reply from Sherry Fine. Suffice to say, I was pretty bummed out to find all the negative reviews about the agency.

They got my hopes up and I guess I was desperate enough to fall for it...at least until they asked me to pay fees (then I would've noticed that red flag) and backed out.

#25 ::: Ron ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2007, 04:56 PM:

I am ashamed to admit that we fell for this scam. My wife is a first time writer and has a fantastic work. She did some snooping around and got the interest letter from Sherry. We even paid for the $89 "third party professional critique". I am currently disputing the charge through PayPal. To say I am angry is an understatement. Thanks to sites like this I don't have to be strung along much longer.

#26 ::: Jonathan ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 04:30 PM:

I could not disagree more. This agency has been nothing but helpful to me. I have several ideas in the works with them. I do not understand how people can complain about paying for publication. Do you have any idea what an agent, and an editor cost? This site is great, and if used properly will be a huge stepping stone for those like me, who just dont have the audience. I have found the site to be very helful!

#27 ::: Beth ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 05:11 PM:

Jonathan (26): So you've found this agency to be helpful? Have they made any sales for you? That's how professional agents earn their money.

#28 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: July 24, 2007, 06:07 PM:

And editors are paid by the publisher, not the writer.

#29 ::: billy Walsh ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 10:15 AM:

Content is what matters. If you try to sell inferior work, dont blame the person you hire to shop it around for its failure. Services rendered are due pay, no matter the result. I have spent hundreds on work not worthy for publication, simply because i didnt listen. WL agents, have shown me the process, and i am thankful for there insight. And will continue to use them

#30 ::: Jonathan ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 10:21 AM:

Nothing sold yet, but i am intune with the process. I have paid for an education, that will lead to my publication. I am no dimwit, and not easily roused, so i am unscamable, and besides the have been nothing but upfront with me about fees. NOthing hidden, nothing i didnt agree too!

#31 ::: Beth ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 10:57 AM:

Billy (25) and Jonathan (26): I'm sorry to say but you have both been scammed.

WL has yet to make any sales, and it's run by an adjudged scammer. You can read about it here.

My agent does not charge me any fees because she's confident she can sell my novels. She would not have signed me as a client otherwise.

#32 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 11:22 AM:

Jonathan, Billy -- it's a natural human reaction to deny that someone's managed to scam you, especially in a situation like this. But you have been scammed, by people who are good at it; by people who know very well how to exploit the fact that how the publishing industry works is not common knowledge. There is no shame in this -- you are far from the first, and alas you won't be the last.

Editors are paid by the publisher. The publisher gets money by selling books to the general public. The agent makes money by taking a cut of the money that the publisher pays to the writer. The writer does not pay money to any of these people. When it comes to fiction, if you are paying money for anything but the cost of printing the manuscript and posting it to an agent, you are being scammed.

Real agents make their living from a cut of the money paid by the publisher to the writer. Scam agents can't make their living that way, because they can't sell anything to a real publisher. If you are very unlucky, they will sell you to a scam publisher, a publisher that will in turn take money from you when they should be the ones paying *you*.

#33 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 11:32 AM:

Wow! Two different posters show up within six minutes of each other, both praising WL Writers' Literary Agency, both with @yahoo.com email addresses, and both posting from the exact same ISP in Florida.

What are the odds?

#34 ::: Roger J. Carlson ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 11:33 AM:

Billy (29),
You are absolutely correct as far as you go. The problem is that REAL agents DON'T shop inferior work around. So no, you shouldn't feel surprised that WL Literary fails to sell your work. But then, why would you pay someone to sell your work who has never sold anything?

#35 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 11:45 AM:

I'm afraid that Mr Macdonald is, as is his wont, right. You are arguing with the scammer's own sockpuppets. It would be more useful to open a dialogue with Echo. Or Eliza, the computer program.

#36 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 11:56 AM:

Dave Luckett #35: Or the Fandango movieline lady.

#37 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 12:02 PM:

Let me pretend that "Jonathan" and "billy Walsh" are different people, and that they're real people (even though they share an ISP with each other, and with "Sherry Fine" and with "Georgina Orr" and with Robert Fletcher).

#26
I do not understand how people can complain about paying for publication.

Because, as Rocky used to say to Bullwinkle, that trick never works.

Do you have any idea what an agent, and an editor cost?

Yes. They cost the author nothing. Once you get out of the demimonde of scams and scammers, that is.

#29

If you try to sell inferior work, dont blame the person you hire to shop it around for its failure.

Agents who have a reputation for sending around "inferior work" quickly find themselves shuffled off to the agented slush pile, if not put on the automatic rejection list. Don't think that scam agenting is something that Fletcher invented. The publishing industry already has the antibodies for this infection.

The concept of "hiring" an agent is also one that you should look at long and hard, particularly if it involves cutting a check to that agent (the "aggressive agent" scheme that Fletcher uses as the last step of his scam, for example).

WL agents, have shown me the process, and i am thankful for there insight.

"WL agents" don't know the process. The paid "critique." The paid "professional edit." Those laughable "professional query" letters. The web page. The "Looking-For-Now Database." The "Aggressive Agent" program (where you pay to have someone actually send stuff out).

If I weren't certain in my heart of hearts that you personally are Robert M. Fletcher, adjudged scammer, I'd weep for you.

As it is, though, I'll just say, "Better luck next time, Bobby."

#38 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 12:05 PM:

Dave Luckett @ 35: But refuting the sockpuppets' arguments educates those innocents who stumble across this site, so doing so serves a purpose.

#39 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 12:10 PM:

aconite #38: Oh, certainly. Notice I did say "open a dialogue with" not "refute the arguments of". Refuting false argument is a community service, I agree.

#40 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 12:14 PM:

Dave @38: two posters showing up in rapid succession on an inactive thread -- probably sock puppets, even without confirmation of the IP address. But as Aconite says, it's as well to refute them, for the benefit of anyone Googling for more information on this agency they've seen advertised.

(Another lesson: a simple rule of thumb is that if an agent or publisher is advertising through Google Ads for writers, it's almost certainly a scam of some kind. Real agents and publishers already have more submissions than they can easily handle; they don't need to advertise for more.)

#41 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 12:17 PM:

Note as well that Jonathan's email changes, but that both are yahoo accounts.

Not probative, but interesting.

#42 ::: Jonathan ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 01:42 PM:

first of all i have several email accounts, and have to differentiate from mr fletcher, who by the way i dont know and probably never will. I have been published in 1992, 1994, and in 2003. I have been in college text books ever since my first submission to a professor. I have a degree with honors, and understand why some of you might think its a scam. Agents (book agents) charge on the back end, and sometimes hide charges such as editiing costs. This company sells what you have faith in. Whether it is drivel or captivating. If you are new to the field or removed, this agency can help. I have made several contacts, and even have found an editor. So mish mash my name all you want, the point of this forum is to give perspective. I have not been scammed!!! I have paid for a service, that did exactly what it said it would do. Oh and i dont know how i can have the same ip as someone, who ive never met! I think your mistaken. I have no contact with bob fletcher, dont work for him, infact his company works for me, and they continue to!

#43 ::: Jonathan ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 01:49 PM:

One last note, we attack what we feel has wronged us. I ask you to ask yourself if maybe, just maybe it is the pen that failed and not the agent. Can you blame Scott Boras, for Barry Bonds performance! No, as his agent his job is to shop him, not be responsible for his numbers. So why, blame this agency, i have noticed other agency you attack, and dont know anything about them. it seems you do, and maybe the rejection is what makes you smarmy with rethoric, and accusation. Take responsiblity for your own actions

#44 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 01:56 PM:

Jonathan @ 42

This company sells what you have faith in.

That's what every con artist does.
Good agents and publishers don't make you pay for being published.

#45 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 02:01 PM:

I have a degree with honours as well, and I have been published in both fiction and non-fiction. The fiction is commercially published, the non-fiction is in academic and government publishing. I have never paid to be published, even in academic publishing. Some academic journals do charge the author's institution a per-page fee, but this is specific to academic journals, and not all of those -- it in no way applies to commercial publishing.

And I think this agency is a scam because it *is* a scam. This scam agency can help nobody other than its owner.

The help a new writer needs is help in finding a publisher who will pay them for their manuscript. Any agent capable of doing that does not need to charge money up front to the author. If they don't sell the manuscript, they don't get paid. It gives them a strong incentive to sell manuscripts, thus making money for both agent and author.

If the agent is charging money up front to the author, it is because they are not able to make money by taking a 15% commission of the money paid by a publisher to the author. WL can't make money from commission, because they have never sold a manuscript to a real publisher.

#46 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 02:11 PM:

I recognize that line of talk. That's not Billy Walsh; that's Robert Fletcher.

Heya, RF. Why are you hanging here? You tired of getting thrashed at Absolute Write?

#47 ::: Jonathan ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 02:28 PM:

Cant speak for billy, but i know im not!
And if any of you had agents outside of literature, you would see that it is not a scam!

#48 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 02:34 PM:

For an allegedly published writer, your grammar commits illegal distaste activities with dead fauna....

Note, I am a "published writer" [uncredited column in RTC magazine, three articles in CD-ROM Professional, credited to someone else article in Auto ID News or some such, limited distribution material in DTIC and in market research studies...] and I am completely underwhelmed.

[TTTO of Matchmaker... from Fiddler on the Roof]

Sock puppet, sock puppet
Typing away,
Spewing your slime,
Day after day.
Writing your garbage
For money's sake,
Pretending you aren't
A fake.

Oh asshole, please stop your posturing
Claiming that you aren't a fake,
You show us and try to convince us
That you're not a huge mistake!

Sock puppet, sock puppet
Please go away,
Find somewhere else
And there you should stay,
We do not want you here
Why don't you go
And please find some other life!

#49 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 02:35 PM:

And if any of you had agents outside of literature, you would see that it is not a scam!

Did you miss Julia's comment at #45, or are you just ignoring it? She writes both fiction and no-fiction, and demonstrates that you know not whereof you speak.

#50 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 02:37 PM:

Ye gods and tiny brine shrimp, out comes the 'I'm academically qualified (and you're not)' line. Did it get included in the Flamer thread? (Granted, it's a subspecies of argument ad verecundiam, but it deserves to be noted as its own special kind of inanity).



#51 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 02:38 PM:

Er, that should be "distasteful" rather than "distaste" in the previous post.

#52 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 02:45 PM:

Fragano @ 50

I don't recall seeing that particular one.
On the other hand, I saw one this morning that was to the effect that because fact x was published in [a certain hard to find publication] in 1895, that it can't be called previously unknown. Which is technically accurate, but misses the aspect that most of the readers of the post have never seen it before. (It didn't help that the two people involved have a running feud, that one of them is a bit sloppy in their work, and that the other considers it a mitzvah to rid the world of the first's work (or at least to rid the newsgroup of the first's posts).

#53 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 02:46 PM:

Jonathan – speaking as one of the few unpublished people that post on ML, I can observe that you obviously have no clue regarding the credentials of those you address. You claim to be in the know about publishing and writing, perhaps you were sleeping during the lecture on research?

Your continued posts are belligerent, arrogant, negligent, and ignorant. I will overlook the errors in spelling, grammar, and punctuation, as we are all human and mistakes happen.

If you are not a sock puppet, you are managing to make yourself look, to put it bluntly, willfully stupid.

If you are a sock puppet, as history would suggest, why don't you scurry away and go try to sell your snake oil to a more gullible group?

#54 ::: Jonathan ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 02:47 PM:

Ernest Hemingway "Those who play the education or erudicical card with regard to my punctuation or spelling, usually means that they lack the very posturing the claim to stand"

#55 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 02:54 PM:

Oh, God. This troll is pathetic. Put it out of its misery, please.

#56 ::: Jonathan ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 02:54 PM:

Oh and i have never claimed to know anything, about literary agents!!! I had a agent represent me in the sporting venue. so thats all i know. that and this sight has actually helped me. I am sorry if it hurt others, but it has done good things for me, and my craft. I dont want to be beligerent, but i as you cannot be convinced, so i will leave it at that.

Oh and anyone who criticizes my writing by my posting(grammar, spelling ros and the like), feel free to do so. The world needs more english teachers, and maybe your lack of content has caused you to focus on the least important part of writing!! All you need to do is read a rough draft of a classic, any classic, and you will see my point! I wish all of you well, and mean no malicious intent. I just am deabting a point. One that i am not bound to by affiliation! This is what i do! Sorry if you disagree, but just look at the comments it has spawned. I think wlliteraryagent.com has been useful! If you dont, then fine!

#57 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 03:00 PM:

I call bingo! Who do I show my card to?

#58 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 03:07 PM:

The moderately clever thing about Robert Fletcher's scam is that, at first, he doesn't apparently charge money up front.

First, he accepts anyone who submits (including complete gibberish, and I really mean it -- random keystrokes) via a web form. Says that to go further the author must get a paid third-party critique, and by great good luck he just happens to know of such a third-party critique service (which is really just him with another email address). That's around $90.

After paying for the critique, the author is told that his book is accepted, but that it must be professionally edited. By great good luck, he happens to know of a fine professional editor (who is really just him at a different email address). That's up into the four-figure range.

After pretending to submit the manuscript for a while, with a total lack of success, he tells the author that what's really needed is a professional web page advertising the manuscript. By great good luck he just happens to be able to offer such a web page for a mere $125.

When that doesn't produce a sale, he offers his final solution: the "aggressive agent" program, by which (for a mere $90 for five submissions) he will actually submit stuff to publishers!

After this doesn't work, and the author starts asking questions, he says, "What do you expect? You were the one who wrote a crappy book that no one wants to buy," or words to that effect.

Here's a bit of what Bobby (writing as "Sherry Fine") says about the word that's all over the Internet from people who've experienced his scam first hand:

The next group is basically just upset that they can't make it as a writer and they are spiteful and generally upset with the way the world treats them. And to add to their angst, telling a writer their story isn't good enough to sell is like telling a parent that their kid is ugly. And, when a writer is upset, they write hateful things. We just toughen up and ignore them. I suggest you do the same.

That's right, kicked to the curb, told you're a lousy writer (when your book could be wonderful--it didn't sell because the WL Writers' Literary Agency doesn't know jack about selling books and doesn't even try), and they ignore you thereafter.

Didn't stop 'em from cashing your checks, though.

I note that "Jonathan" has some of Robert's verbal tics. But I'm still going to pretend that he's someone other than Robert M. Fletcher, conman.

Okay, "Jonathan":

I have been published in 1992, 1994, and in 2003.

Titles? Publishers?

Oh and i dont know how i can have the same ip as someone, who ive never met!

The same IP address as a scammer who's been in heavy damage-control mode lately, and who's notorious for using sockpuppets and shills. How can that be? You tell me, sport. It's beyond my feeble powers of deduction.

But seeing as you're in the WL Writers' Literary Agency's good graces right now, maybe you can help me out with something. Every time I ask "Sherry Fine" or "Georgina Orr" or Robert Fletcher they never reply. Maybe you will be able to find an answer.

What are the titles, authors, and publishers of five books the WL Writers' Literary Agency has sold in the past year?

#59 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 03:15 PM:

I have been published in 1992, 1994, and in 2003.

Titles? Publishers?

Yes, do tell. I'm catching the earthy wiff of all natural bovine fertilizer. A couple of ISBN's would sort much out.

#60 ::: Jonathan ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 03:23 PM:

my question is this, how is a unguaranteed unsolicited work, that is shopped around for publication, that fails, the fault of the promoter?

#61 ::: Jonathan ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 03:28 PM:

My publications have been limited to essay, and content verification in literature text books! Most of the work is annoymous, and was never paid, as i was a student, so my education was my pay! I know that may sound schillish, but it is still the truth. I believe in healing through literature. That is what i write about, and believe me or not, but wl has helped me make some very legitimate contacts. I understand skepticism, and i dont expect my words to gather support from the already jaded! I just think its only fair to tell both sides of the story. This is my point. I am not asking anyone to follow, i am just telling my story, which is by the way very real! I dont claim to know anything special, but i can tell when something is working for me or against me, and wl has been nothing but an ally, apaid ally, but an ally none the less!

#62 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 03:36 PM:

John Mark Ockerbloom @ #57:

I'll confirm your Bingo. Now if I only had a prize to offer...
How about a can of Spam? That's easier to find than a haunch of flame roasted troll.

#63 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 03:36 PM:

my question is this, how is a unguaranteed unsolicited work, that is shopped around for publication, that fails, the fault of the promoter?

First red flag: 'promoter'.
Second red flag: 'unguaranteed'.

Now, if an agent takes an unsolicited manuscript, the agent isn't going to make money if it isn't bought by a publisher. However, if a publisher doesn't buy it, it may be the 'fault' of the writer, the agent, or possibly the publisher. (The writer may not be good at it, or may have done a poor job of preparing the manuscript; the agent may not have found the right publisher - trying to sell a novel as mainstream when it's fantasy, for example; or the publisher may not have room on the schedule, or may not want another novel about Knight In Shining Armor Wins Fair Maiden After Slaying Dragon.)

The fault, dear Jonathan, is not in your stars, but in yourself. Or your writing skills.

#64 ::: Jonathan ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 03:46 PM:

oh and namecalling will only endear you further into the respit of my heart. You seem to be coming from a dark oak-like cask that is full of presumption, and contempt. However you dont know me, only presume to, and by calling me a troll, you only want me hunt more! believe me i make a decent living finding out things about people. Some of you commentary on r fletcher, has caused me to search, and if you do, you will find published work presented by his company!! However if you want me to do it, than like my PI customers you will have to pay me for my research! Oh and keep the name calling coming, i love it!

#65 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 03:50 PM:

Oh yes, "Jonathan," as long as I have you here....

Could you take the word back to "Sheriff Sherry" at Scam Central in Boca Raton that I've called "her" out?

Thanks.

#66 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 03:51 PM:

Poor use of metaphor. C+.

#67 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 03:53 PM:

My dark cask full of presumption and contempt is made of genuine oak. And don't you forget it.

#68 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 03:59 PM:

Jonathan claims to be a PI.
If so, he should be better at spotting scams.

(I've googled the e-mail he's using - jm@ - and most of the mentions have to do with servers and networks. Nothing visible about writing.)

#69 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 04:06 PM:

"jm@yahoo.com" also links to a 419 scammer.

A two-letter yahoo email address would probably get a reasonable amount of money on eBay, as there are only 676 of them. Now, a one-letter address would really get the big bucks, but our boy is, sadly, not that fortunate.

#70 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 04:06 PM:

He doesn't claim to be a PI; he said he has "PI customers". I'm not worried about the 3 so much as I am about the .14159... . Stashed in the freezer..?

#71 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 04:07 PM:

Your PI customers? Are you implying that you're Peter Parente?

Oh, goodness. A name to conjure with.

Let's say it's really Pete. Hey, how ya doin'?

Tell me, when you're out being PI Man, and someone tells you half a dozen inconsistent, mutually-contradictory stories, what's your conclusion? That maybe he's fibbing?

Look, I know the list of books that Fletcher's claimed. Do you really want me to waste my time again going over it again and pointing out its weaknesses again?

You know, books to pay-to-play vanity PODs aren't all that impressive. Self-published works don't require a lot of agenting skill. Books that the authors sold themselves -- were sold by the author, not the agent.

And that covers the list, doesn't it?

Come on, R/o/b/e/r/t/ P/e/t/e/r/ Jonathan, how tough is it to list the WL Writers' Literary Agency's sales from the past year? Any real agent, you can't shut him up about what he's sold!

#72 ::: Jonathan ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 04:18 PM:

I wish i could answer. I am not robert, or peter, or any of the people you have claimed. My name is jonathan, i work as a private investigator, and write about healing and sports on the side. My job is not what i want to be, so i have been pursuing the publication avenue. I have had little succes on my own, and wl has helped me. I cant state in any clearer than that. I am a 32 yr old ex english major, who loves writing thats it! I claim nothing more nothing less. I wish i was this robert guy, sounds like he must be loaded preying on people as you have mentioned.

#73 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 04:22 PM:

[tangent] Why must people who can't use the shift key continue to infest my major? I begin to believe that "English Major" was actually a code word for "Where we put the people who are here on sports scholarships and have the literacy of trained ferrets" in all colleges but the one I went to. [/tangent]

#74 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 04:30 PM:

#29 ::: billy Walsh ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 10:15 AM:

  • Posted from 65.10.34.192
  • Defends WL Writers Literary Agency
  • Gives @yahoo.com email address
  • Typo: didnt

    #30 ::: Jonathan ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 10:21 AM:
  • Six minutes later.


    • Posted from 65.10.34.192
    • Defends WL Writers Literary Agency
    • Gives @yahoo.com email address
    • Typo: didnt

      =================
      #47 ::: Jonathan ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 02:28 PM:
    • Cant speak for billy, but i know im not!

      Friend, there's no reason to think that you're telling the truth about anything else, either. Being caught dead-to-rights in one lie makes it harder for anyone to believe anything else you say even if you're accidentally telling the truth.

      But getting back to address your "billy" post: "If you try to sell inferior work, dont blame the person you hire to shop it around for its failure."

      What the foo is any agent doing trying to sell inferior work? If you try to sell inferior work, putting it in an agency envelope won't magically make it sell. Instead, the agency will be noted as one that submits inferior work and get itself blacklisted -- even if, magically, they somehow manage to represent a superior work.

      Which brings to mind -- I have a half-written post about Fletcher's "aggressive agent" program. I name names. Maybe you'd like me to dig it out, finish it up, and post it? How about it, "Jonathan," do you want another Google hit against your agency?

      Now ... how about that list of sales?

      #75 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 04:32 PM:

      ROFLMAOSTC!

      Somebody accused me of being an English major or an English teacher? ROFLMAOSTC!

      [Hint, the last English composition class I ever had, was in high school. I did take a technical writing class in college, because Air Force ROTC required it.... I do not, however, in any way, shape, or form, have any degrees in literature or grammar or any such fields.]

      #76 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 04:46 PM:

      I generally stay out of "I have a degree in..." dick size wars, since it's often irrelevant to the subject at hand. Picking on someone for poor written English is also often poor form. But in this case, I have to ask why someone who claims to have an honours degree and be an English major has such poor written English.

      My degree is BSc (Hons) Mathematics and Physics -- not a field greatly noted for intrinsic ability to construct a coherent sentence. But I don't recall many of my fellow students displaying as poor a grasp of written English as does our current pinata.

      For the benefit of passers-by -- an agent who introduces a writer to fee-charging editors, fee-charging publishers, fee-charging etc has done that writer a disservice, not a favour.

      #77 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 04:59 PM:

      Robert/Sherry/Georgina is trying to disguise his voice. But machts nicht aus. Some of his favorite turns of phrase still crept through.

      #78 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:03 PM:

      Jonathan@61: My publications have been limited to essay, and content verification in literature text books! Most of the work is annoymous, and was never paid, as i was a student, so my education was my pay!

      You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.

      So, when you say you've been "published", that means you wrote some papers at school and gave someone feedback on a textbook?

      My head hurts now.

      #79 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:09 PM:

      Most of the work is annoymous

      Truer words were never spoken.

      #80 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:10 PM:

      Not just at school, Greg. In high school (if we believe one word this guy is saying about his current age and the dates of his publication).

      #81 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:10 PM:

      So, when you say you've been "published", that means you wrote some papers at school and gave someone feedback on a textbook?

      Actually, this brings up a question of mine that I've wondered about for a good long while: at what point can someone be called a "published author"? Or be said to have "been published", if these are two different categories?

      Because I don't think it's quite the same thing as being a "professional author", but I would have thought that having a few articles printed up in one's school's literary magazine would count as being published. Not in a way that anyone else would take seriously, but "published".

      (I ask this for selfish reasons: all of my publication credits are either for online magazines or for forms of media other than books, so I'm never sure, when these discussions come up, if I actually count as published or not. I do not want to claim I'm part of an exclusive club when I'm not, but I'm still fuzzy on the entrance requirements.)

      #82 ::: jonathan ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:15 PM:

      My last post on the topic!
      you know, I read all this and all I can say is that the WL Literary
      Agency
      has treated me fairly. They have NOT led me on with false promises.
      They
      told me how hard it is. They didn't make me use any of their companies
      to
      get my work edited, they just said that I had to get it edited and
      improved.
      I think that makes sense. And my work really needed it, whew!

      I feel that I have a better chance with them than without them. Whether
      they
      sell my work or not we'll see. I read about their acquisition and I
      think
      they have changed and i've never seen the people or the stuff that you
      guys
      all write about. http://www.writersliterary.com/acquiretlag.html


      They have shared with me their recent sales and I'm comfortable that
      they
      are selling work. I'm sorry to be such a newbie, but is there anyone
      here
      that has ever sold a book for someone else, not themselves? I think
      that's
      maybe the difference, you all seem so sure of yourselves, and I can see
      that
      some of you have had a book published, but is there anyone here that
      has
      sold a book for someone else? I would really value that person's
      opinion...
      so please reply if you've ever agented a book for someone else.

      And, they told me up front to improve my work.. they didn't hide
      anything.
      I'm not a salesperson and I can't pretend to know anything about
      agenting.
      I want to write and to one day have my work sold and in print. I'm
      glad
      someone has taken the time to help me. I really am. I appreciate that
      you
      guys don't like them, but as far as I can tell unless someone from this
      forum thinks they can sell my work for me, I'm sticking with them.
      They
      offer me hope, and a chance.. by the time I finish reading all this
      from you
      guys, I want to give up and slit my throat, you are all so negative..
      yikes,
      I wish you guys the best, but I'm getting back to my writing now, if I
      spent
      much more time on these forums frankly, I'd give up.

      #83 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:18 PM:

      My last post on the topic!

      Man, the house is losing big at the bingo table tonight. Just got another.

      #84 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:19 PM:

      I must say I'm enjoying the syntactic ambiguity of "If you try to sell inferior work, dont blame the person you hire to shop it around for its failure."

      If I hired someone to shop my work around, I'd want them to shop it around for its success, personally. But that's me.

      #85 ::: jonathan ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:20 PM:

      yes i my first work was my freshman yr 1992! And if you need to do the math i was 16 at graduation! Oh and mr mcdonald, how do we know who you are? I question you sir, as you have directly questioned my integrity. I am offering my own insight, only to have you decide its legitmacy. I am going to find a different form, one where input and thought are given there just due, instead of being judged! Have you ever read a book or just decided its outcome by the cover. If you want i can send you my material, and maybe you can shop it. can you help? Besides over what not to do? If not, well then your as useless as your words!

      #86 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:28 PM:

      Bingo!

      'My last post on the topic!' isn't!

      (I have to admit, this is more fun that what I'm supposed to be doing ....)

      #87 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:34 PM:

      PJ Evans #52: I've been coming across it since, my goodness, 1988 (a fellow who said to me 'Do you want to argue with a Ph.D. -- at the time I was a gradual student, paid, inter alia, to argue with Ph.Ds). 'Jonathan's' pulling out of his honours degree (from Uncertain State U, perhaps?)is an example of the genre.

      #88 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:39 PM:

      Jonathan #61: What's 'annoymous' is the complete absurdity of everything you write.

      #89 ::: Beth ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:43 PM:

      Jonathan (85): How do we know who Jim Macdonald is? Easy. You visit his webpage and read his extensive bibliography. Decades of publishing experience. Years and years of helping new writers navigate the tricksy shoals of publishing.

      In other words, a knowledgeable, trustworthy person.

      You, on the other hand, are an inarticulate shill for Robert Fletcher's scam agency. (If not Bouncing Bobby himself.)

      But keep at it. The more you post here, the more you help us expose WL's operations.

      #90 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:44 PM:

      Jonathan #64: Where in your heart is the 'respit' located? If your heart is spitting (or, as you seem to indicate, spitting again) perhaps you should consult a cardiologist.* You might also want to consult a primary school teacher of English, in order to be inducted into the arcane mysteries of orthography, accidence, syntax, capitalisation, and paragraphing.


      * Or Jim Macdonald.

      #91 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:45 PM:

      Jim: Not just at school, Greg. In high school

      wait a sec...

      42: published in 1992, 1994, and in 2003

      72: I am a 32 yr old ex english major

      Born in 1975?

      1992 -> 17 years old
      1994 -> 19 years old
      2003 -> 30 years old

      Dude, you're counting papers you wrote in high school and freshman comp in college as a "publication"?

      If you're telling the truth, I... just don't know what to tell you, other than that isn't what folks call "publication". You should seriously stop using that descriptor.

      If you're selling fertilizer, this is some seriously low grade bullsht not worth the trouble spreading. Surely you could come up with something better?


      #92 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:49 PM:

      "mr mcdonald" -- now who might that be? James D. Macdonald is a fellow that LOTS of people have met in person and can verify is a Real Person, with Real Publication Credentials, such as a bunch of novels and various short stories, published by the likes of Tor Books and Eos (SF/F imprint of one of the big publishing conglomerates), most of them in conjunction with his wife and writing collaborator, Debra Doyle, who's got a PhD in literary stuff. Googling or going to say Amazon.com would provide bibliographic information about the books.

      Graduation at 16--yawn. Worcester Polytechnic Institute would have admitted me at 16 if my parents would have been willing to let me skip my senior year in high school. I probably would have been better off if that had happened...

      As for people who represent writers, some of them are called "literary agents" and most of the novelists who frequent Making Light have them... some few writers are their own agents, but most have someone representing them, for reasons that include the classic example on an author/agent/editor panel, when Joel Rosenberg was the author, and Eleanor Wood (whose clients include Joel and the Heinlein estate) the agent. At one juncture, the timeline event the moderator specified to Joel Rosenberg was something that set Joel off, and he started sputtering and snarling about some annoying to the writer thing that the editor/publisher had done, at which point, the moderator looked to Eleanor Wood, who said, "Shut up, Joel." Eleanor Wood then looked at the Editor, and said, "my client is unhappy...."

      Values of agent include being a filter to translate Irate Author Reaction into urbane discussion informing the publisher, politely, that the author is unhappy and what ought to be done to reconcile things.

      #93 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:49 PM:

      Jonathan: yes i my first work was my freshman yr 1992! And if you need to do the math i was 16 at graduation!

      Never have I met someone so unable to find the shift key to capitalize a letter, but quite able to hit the shift key to put an exclamation mark at the end of so many sentences.

      Oh and mr mcdonald, how do we know who you are?

      My gawd. Here I was starting to worry that the pinate was running out of candy. Sheesh.

      #94 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:54 PM:

      Sure, "Jonathan"! Send me your book!

      I'll do every bit as much to sell it as Robert Fletcher will, and I won't charge you a dime (unlike his "aggressive agent" program).

      Send it as an .rtf attachment to yog@sff.net, no later than seven pm EDT today.

      =================

      How do you know who I am?

      I use my real name. Lots of the people who post here know me face to face in real life. My email address is easily available (and it isn't @yahoo.com, either).

      I have tracks all over the web, dating back years (unlike "Georgina Orr" and "Sherry Fine" and "Hil Mallory" and "Mary Bluestone" and the rest of the circus clowns, pseudonyms, and sockpuppets at WL Writers Literary Agency). If you walk into your neighborhood B&N you can find my books on the shelf.

      But you? Smoke and mirrors and lies. That's all. Smoke and mirrors and lies. That's all we ever get from the happy sockpuppets of WL Writers Literary Agency.

      ===============

      You imagine you have some kind of devastating argument when you say that no one here has ever sold a book for someone else. First, don't be so sure, champ. Second, it's meaningless. You don't have to be a jockey to handicap a horserace.

      How many books has WL Writers' Literary Agency sold, ever? You say you know: "They have shared with me their recent sales and I'm comfortable that they are selling work."

      Great! Share the list with me. Cut'n'paste, right here, right now.

      You say you will have a better chance with them than without them? Don't be so sure. With agents past performance is an indication of future results. What makes you think you'll be one bit more successful than any of their other clients?

      "Whether they sell my work or not we'll see."

      I'll bet a hundred bucks, cash money, that they never sell your work.

      "I read about their acquisition and I think they have changed and i've never seen the people or the stuff that you guys all write about. http://www.writersliterary.com/acquiretlag.html"

      Already seen, already refuted.

      "And, they told me up front to improve my work.. they didn't hide anything."

      Of course they did! The "professional editor" scam is where they make their money.

      You want to sell your work? Get a real agent. We aren't negative toward agents -- just to scammers pretending to be agents.

      #95 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 05:59 PM:

      Maybe for a hundred bucks he'll give the Schmuck in the White House a blow job, and write it up in a book entitled, Washington by Days, Atlanta by Nights to be published by Publish America

      [multiple cheap shots...]

      #96 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 07:36 PM:

      Seven-thirty, and no book from "Jonathan." I guess he doesn't want me to sell his book.

      Sorry, "Jonathan," you may have lost your one chance at real representation. Fortunately for me, and unfortunately for you, there's 10 more to take your place.

      Best of luck regardless.

      #97 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 09:18 PM:

      Darn it all, I missed all the excitement. :(

      #98 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 10:05 PM:

      Dave Kuzminski #97: And what fun it's been. I must admit to not seeing the full picture before, and gratefully acknowledge aconite's putting me straight. Groucho once remarked that not listening to (some guy whose name I forget) was a liberal education. Something like that has been happening here.

      #99 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 10:22 PM:

      Dave Luckett: Educational and entertaining public service. What could be better?

      But really, I think we're still in the warmup stage. Bobby will be back. He can't not do it--it's one of his tics.

      #100 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 10:33 PM:

      Bobby will be back.

      Hm. Or a newly invented sock puppet.

      Candy!

      #101 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 10:58 PM:

      It was Harry Ruby. The guy who not listening to him was a liberal education. I should have known that. And, while I'm at it, I should quit writing sentences with syntax like that.

      #102 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2007, 11:28 PM:

      Dave 101: Hmm, starting like that I really should tell you all about Dave...but instead I'll respond to his post.

      There's no good way to phrase that, Dave. The semiliterate-applicable rules would say "The guy not listening to whom was a liberal education," which IMO is worse than your version.

      #103 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 12:17 AM:

      What, no more fun troll-stomping because the troll Iglied? [hairy stinky feet in mouth, UGH!]

      #104 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 01:30 AM:

      Fade Manley @ #73: [OT]At my university it was the Business programs that all the barely literate "scholarship" students were placed in.[/OT]

      #105 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 02:33 AM:

      So why did the sockpuppet show up here?

      When you Google on WL Writers' Literary Agency the first two links that come up are to Writer Beware, which doesn't have a messageboard.

      The third link is to the scammer's own site.

      The fourth link is to right here. That's why he came: for damage control. I think the accurate information that's all over the web is killing him. Listen to the form letter that "Sherry Fine" sends to questioning authors:

      "[The watchdogs] don't reply and they seem to enjoy creating dissension and hurting our business."

      Read the whole letter; it's lots of fun.

      How's this for "don't reply," "Sherry"? How's this for "spirited dialogue"?

      Where's that list of your sales from the past year?

      #106 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 10:31 AM:

      Two illuminating facts about Robert Fletcher:

      1. Sherry Fine doesn't exist. Neither does Georgina Orr, or any of the other "employees" at Fletcher's agency. He periodically changes their names for the same reason he periodically changes the name of the agency itself: so that when naive writers Google on his operation, they don't see all the denunciations and exposes that are linked to the former sets of names.

      2. His previous line of business was securities fraud. After his felony conviction, he was permanently barred from securities trading. That's when he changed over to running a fraudulent literary agency.

      #107 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 11:33 AM:

      A bit of a correction, Miss Teresa: As Jaws pointed out above, Fletcher wasn't "convicted," since it wasn't a criminal trial. It was a civil procedure, hence the proper term is "adjudged."

      Oh -- the current version of the form letter "Sherry Fine" is sending out to questioning authors has this paragraph in it:

      Thanks for bringing this to my attention. We've seen it before (sigh), and we've researched it pretty thoroughly. Basically, there are less than 5 main sites and they all copy each other. They are run by Ann Crispin, Victoria Strauss, and Dave Kuminisky, and James MacDonald, and they purport to be the watchdogs of the industry. Ann Crispin has sold TWO books in 10 years, Victoria maybe one, and Dave and Jim, I don't think any.. ..(hmmmm, can you see a trend here?)

      I'd like to invite everyone to compare this example of "Sherry Fine"'s prose with Jonathan's #82, above.

      #108 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 11:52 AM:

      Thank you for the correction, Jim.

      How come scammers never list me as one of the bad guys?

      #109 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 12:28 PM:

      What on Earth does it mean to have sold "maybe one" book? Either you sold it or you didn't, right?

      And yeah, James Macdonald, James Macdonald...doesn't ring any bells. I don't think he's ever sold any books.

      #110 ::: Fiendish Writer ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 12:50 PM:

      Teresa (108): Because they are thinking you are the Thing and beyond other such earthly classification?

      #111 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 01:58 PM:

      Tell you what, everyone, go out to your local bookstore right now and buy "maybe one" of my books. (Or maybe buy a bunch: they make perfect Labor Day presents.)

      Personal for "Sherry": There's a copy of my latest on the shelves right now in the Borders in Boca Raton.

      #112 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 02:06 PM:

      Is that anything like being a little bit pregnant?

      #113 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 03:50 PM:

      Here's what I don't understand and maybe someone has more insight and can illuminate for me.

      If I've gotten that letter, then it came in response to questions I sent about research I've done online into the agency, right? Chances are, if I've gone that far, I wouldn't mind digging a bit deeper into the response "Sherry" sends. Then I'll know for sure "Sherry" is a pathological liar.

      So, why does "Sherry" even bother to answer? Is it that "Sherry", thinks people are so stupid they'll just accept this response as valid after they've already raised concerns?

      Or, is it a numbers game, like spam - out of so many responses at least one or two folk say "ok, good point" and keep sending him their money instead of doing additional research, so it's worth the effort? Thinking about it, it's probably an autoresponder so, yeah, no real effort is involved.

      #114 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 04:18 PM:

      There's a real will to believe that you've made a good business decision, that you're incapable of being scammed because you're too darned smart and careful. Plus, anyone who claims they love your book (even if it's via an autoresponder form letter) is All Right by You (honest, fair, a person of unfailing judgment and great good sense). There's a reason they're called "confidence games."

      Someday you should read up on scams in general. For example:

      Scammer walks up to a random person. Says, "This paper bag contains a million dollars in cash! I want you to hold it for me while I run home for a snack. But, to show you're a trustworthy person, give me a hundred dollars as a sign of good faith!"

      Person says "Okay!" and gives the scammer $100.

      Sun sets. The scammer still hasn't returned. The person looks in the bag and discovers there's just a bunch of cut-up newspaper in there!

      Woe. Sadness.

      You'd think "No one could be that gullible," but, really, no kidding, people fall for that exact scam every day.

      #115 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 05:11 PM:

      How come scammers never list me as one of the bad guys?

      Fear?

      #116 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 05:38 PM:

      she who shall not be named.....

      #117 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 06:03 PM:

      Dawno #113:

      If I've gotten that letter, then it came in response to questions I sent about research I've done online into the agency, right? Chances are, if I've gone that far, I wouldn't mind digging a bit deeper into the response "Sherry" sends. Then I'll know for sure "Sherry" is a pathological liar.

      Actually, it's more likely that Author A posts something in a comment thread on a LiveJournal about getting an agent, and Bystander B replies, "Writers' Literary? I heard they were a scam."

      So Author A, worried, writes to "Sherry Fine," and gets that reply. All's well! Just a few misguided, bitter, failed writers trying to drag down a successful agency. Write that check for the critique! Write that check for the edit! Nothing to worry about, Author A! "Sherry" explained it all.

      #118 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 06:57 PM:

      Thanks, Jim. I appreciate the insights. There's a twisted logic to it all that I didn't quite understand.

      #119 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: July 26, 2007, 10:02 PM:

      For that matter, your bog-standard Nigerian "Spanish prisoner" scam - you know the sort, we have this huge sum of money, and you can have part of it, just send us a little bit of cash to grease the wheels - nets a bunch of organised criminals big, big bucks every day, given a big enough spam operation.

      I don't mean by this any of the slightly smarter (and even more criminal) phishing operations ("Look at all this money you can have if you just send us your account details so we can pay you") or the rubber-check scams, with their variations. I don't even mean the gypsy switch and its variants, one of which Mr Macdonald describes above. I mean your absolute basic advance payment scam, which works straightforwardly on the oldest and simplest of hooks - that the mark wants to believe it.

      Hence the operations of the crook, swindler and scam-artist with whom we are here engaged, which do in fact constitute an advance payment scam of the same family as your basic "Nigerian". Instead of promising actual money, he promises something even more nebulous - "I'll make an effort to sell your book". The nebulousness of this promise is a bonus, so far as the swindler is concerned, of course, since the whole operation consists only of taking the marks' money. And the bait is so simple, too. Mere words churned out by a 'bot: "Your book is publishable."

      That's it. The marks want to believe it. In fact, they already believe it. The rest is the basic advance payment sequence: "Send money"; "Send more money"; "Send yet more money." And so help me, some of them do it, at least once. It only has to be some of them, once, for this to work. It's all pure profit, anyway.

      I know some here do not care for C S Lewis, but he nailed it when he had Screwtape remark that the sweetest and most enjoyable part of the job of tempting humans to their doom was that you could take it all, and give them nothing in return. But of course, Screwtape was absolute evil.

      #120 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 28, 2007, 11:25 AM:

      For those who want another "Sherry Fine" letter to read, lookee here.

      I'd like to invite your attention to a couple of bits from "Sherry"'s letter:

      If you want to have a lawyer look at [our contract], by all means do so, but we've spent great time and energy with our lawyers making it simple enough for a business person to understand. If you spend any appreciable amount with your attorney, you are probably wasting money.

      and

      p.s. One more time. It's this easy....

      A. Get your critique in to us.
      B. Prep your work. Meet your agent.
      C. Become a best seller!

      (For those who were still wondering if "Jonathan" was a liar, the fact that he denies hearing of any of the names ("I think they have changed and i've never seen the people or the stuff that you guys all write about." #82) is completely bogus: the "Sherry Fine" name is still current. Oh -- and "Jonathan" still hasn't sent me his book even though I offered to agent it for him, and (unlike "Sherry" et al.) I actually know a few editors.)

      #121 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2007, 09:27 AM:

      Teresa Nielsen Hayden @ 108: How come scammers never list me as one of the bad guys?

      Your name has too many characters?

      #122 ::: Fiendish Writer ::: (view all by) ::: July 30, 2007, 10:57 AM:

      Aconite (121): Not only does the lovely and talented Miss Teresa have much character, she is also a font of wisdom, making many good points.

      *runs away before the pun stick is applied*

      #123 ::: AA ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 10:47 AM:

      This was my favorite part of "Sherry's" email to me yesterday...which I thankfully did a tad bit of googling before I gave up any money... Still laughing at the "we have to start trusting each other somewhere..."

      1) I understand how a critique protects each of us and will improve my
      writing (or validate that I'm as good as I think I am). Please send
      your
      contract and a referral for a critique service. I will get the critique
      underway as soon as I hear from you. We have to start trusting each
      other
      somewhere and I am committed to my writing as a business.

      #124 ::: Angel ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2007, 04:04 PM:

      This is the response I sent to "them" today when I received the "contract" PLEASE feel free to cut and paste and send to them as well if you find yourself in a similar situation! As many times as they hear the message - something may sink in about their actions! Best of luck to all!

      *******
      Re: WL Writers Agency: Contract & Process:

      I wanted to graciously and humbly thank you for the life lesson I have learned on what can happen when I allow my ego to try to make decisions for me.

      And respectfully decline the use of your services and hope that you educate yourself in the process of what is called a "Life Review" - which is what happens to you right after you die. You get to see, feel, and experience the pain and harm on all that you have inflicted when not operating from a point of Spirit.

      I hope that your Life Review will be as educational as this process has been for me.

      And one last word to leave you with:

      American Heritage Dictionary - Cite This Source **kar·ma** (kär'mə) Pronunciation Key
      n.

      1. Hinduism & Buddhism The total effect of a person's actions and conduct during the successive phases of the person's existence, regarded as determining the person's destiny.

      Thank you once again for the very valuable learning experience! Worth every penny of my time!

      Angel

      #125 ::: Angie Peacock ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 01:26 AM:

      OK Guys, I've read all the information in this site and it leaves me to wonder. Who should I send my book to then? It's a children's story, I've actually written several, different age groups. Who would you suggest?

      #126 ::: Ajax ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 05:15 PM:

      Um, yeah. I'm in the 'nearly got scammed' group and I have to say - thank the stars and small fluffy kittens for you guys!
      I got as far as 'Sherry' asking me to shell out for a critique, which seemed fair as the charge was not extravagent and I could see the worth of upgrading my material, but my husband (darling that he is) did a little research and I find myself here.

      So I find myself wondering; is there a decent agent anywhere out there?!
      I've sent query emails out to several literary agents and the only one who did reply was a burn-in-hell scammer!
      I wonder if it's something to do with writing from New Zealand...

      #127 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 05:28 PM:

      Ajax, you might find it useful to read some of the archives on Miss Snark, the literary agent. She's a real agent, but what the blog is about is how to deal with agents. And "several" is just the beginning according to her.

      Congratulations on avoiding the scammers, and good luck!

      #128 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: September 07, 2007, 05:29 PM:

      Angie @ 125 and Ajax @ 126

      Try going to http://misssnark.blogspot.com/ for tons of good agenting advice. She's no longer updating the website, but if you go back to the beginning of her archives and start reading forward you'll discover that her site provides a really thorough education on how to go about finding a literary agent. Good luck.

      #129 ::: Nick Knight ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2007, 07:42 PM:

      Great blogspot. I've had a blast reading the comments about this "agency".

      If anyone has suggestions as to where to submit my humor-induced self help books, I would appreciate any and all suggestions.

      If I get published with your assistance, I (unlike Robert M. "Fletch" Fletcher) will share my good fortune.

      Happy writing,

      Nick

      #130 ::: Rochelle Weber ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2007, 04:22 PM:

      Oh dear--I don't know what made me decide to Google this today. I just sent a rewrite of my book to Georgina at WL. I have not paid them any money, but I did hire an independent editor (through a company for which I work) and now my book is going to "marketing." I guess what caused bells to go off in my head is that they supposedly reviewed the first draft I'd sent them and were planning to shop it around even though I didn't feel it was really ready to go. So, what can I expect next? If they ask me to pay for publication can I get my book back and shop it elsewhere? Or am I now about to be buried in a morass and in danger of having my work plagarized and published before I can find a real agent and publisher? Oh, Help!

      #131 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2007, 07:14 PM:

      #130 So, what can I expect next?

      Hi, Rochelle --

      What you can expect next is for them to tell you that what you really need is a web page, which they can provide for $$$.

      After that, you can expect them to tell you that what you really need is the Aggressive Agent program, for $$$.

      After that, you can expect them to drop you.

      They probably won't ask you to pay for publication, though if on the off chance they do, I hope you'll answer "NFW" or words to that effect.

      Nick, #129:

      See if you can find books similar to yours in the bookstores. Find out who agented them. Start looking there.

      Remember: a worthwhile agent has sold books you've heard of.

      #132 ::: Rochelle Weber ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2007, 08:09 PM:

      Well, I'm quite happy with my web-page. My book was originally published as an e-book serial and when the publisher went under last year she not only returned my rights; she allowed me use of the cover art as well. I have since expanded the book from about 30,000 words to 89,000 words.

      I did not use their editorial staff for a critique and I don't begrudge my colleague the money I paid to her. I beieve her critique was quite helpful. What I'm wondering right now is how soon I can begin looking for a legitimate agent. Do I have to wait until they drop me when I refuse to pay them to sell my work?

      If you folks don't have that information, can you point me in the right direction? I've already taken steps to register my copyright to protect my work. Many thanks for any assistance you may be able to render.

      #133 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2007, 10:37 PM:

      1) You don't need to register copyright unless you can't sleep at night until you do.

      2) To get away from WL Writers', just send them a registered letter stating "Effective immediately you do not represent me." That will take care of any problems that might arise about who exactly represents the book. (If you were parting company with another agent, you'd want to find out who they'd already submitted the work to, but with WL that's not going to be a question.) You can start looking for a legitimate agent immediately after that.

      3. Having rights to the cover art is nice, but, unless you're planning to self-publish (which I don't recommend), it won't be a selling point with any publisher you'd want to have.

      4. Best of luck to you!

      #134 ::: Dee Dondineau ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 12:04 AM:

      I recently was sent a request for my full manuscript from WL Writers Literary, from Sherry Fine VP of acquisitions. After what I have discovered on this site, I am glad to have read it, and will happily decline from submission. I am a first time unpublished author of a fiction novel. I have been plugging away trying to locate representation, albeit, with no luck. Any advice on a where a REAL LIVE AGENT can be found, interested in a new voice regarding the horror genre?

      #135 ::: Rochelle Weber ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2007, 12:10 AM:

      Well, the cover art gives me something to put on my website until I find a publisher and see what they come up with.

      Many thanks.

      #137 ::: Zack ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 07:54 AM:

      Thank God ,i did some research today.I had just received a letter from WL regarding the critique thing and i was kinda happy.This has to be my lucky day for i learnt a lot today about the literary world. .
      Thank you James Macdonald and all the people for the info.
      God Bless.

      #138 ::: Zack ::: (view all by) ::: October 18, 2007, 07:54 AM:

      Thank God ,i did some research today.I had just received a letter from WL regarding the critique thing and i was kinda happy.This has to be my lucky day for i learnt a lot today about the literary world. .
      Thank you James Macdonald and all the people for the info.
      God Bless.

      #139 ::: Luke ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2007, 09:17 AM:

      "my heart was once lifted
      but now it has fell
      heavy with the souls hope
      demoralized by its spell"

      thankyou kind and caring people for taking the time and effort to write the truth, although hurtful at least i now see the light, thank you.

      sometimes dreams are never meant to be

      #140 ::: derrick ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 09:58 AM:

      I've been reading up on your comments about Writers Literary Agency. I sent queries to various agents and they were one of those that responded favorably.

      I was somewhat concerned having read the thread here and contacted WLA. To date they have responded to all the question that you have suggested that I ask and provided the necessary information including books they have sold this year. One of the books they name is "Bipolar & Pregnant" placed with HCI.

      I liked the concept that they put forward and really didn't object to investing in my own education by having my work critiqued. I already have my own independant editor lined up who I will be required to pay.

      Am I to understand that the basis of the complaints is that WLA after all the "help" they give you do not actually make any sales?

      #141 ::: Beth ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:27 PM:

      Derek: Writers Literary Agency is a scam. Check out this post for details about the sales they've claimed. Then read the whole thread to see just how scummy Robert Fletcher and his band of sockpuppets are.

      #142 ::: Beth ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 12:29 PM:

      Oops! So sorry about misspelling your name, Derrick!

      #143 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2007, 01:50 PM:

      derrick: Find a writer's group. Solid critique, no cost (save in ego) and the feedback is varied.

      Money flows to the author. If it doesn't you are being scammed. If you think you need to pay for your eductationm join a workschop.

      #144 ::: J.B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 01:12 PM:

      I too have filled out a contract with W.L.Agency.
      I thought $79 was resonable for an critique fee as I. Universe Pubishing charged me $1200. They told me I was also welcome to use a critique of my choice which I also thought was resonable. I was told that my manuscript needed very little editing and they suggested I do it myself,which I tought was resonable. Prior to that they also mentioned that if I did need an editor I could use one of my choice, which I thought was resonable. In the contract they explain that they have no claim or rights to any of the material and that the contract is retractable within 30 days of no sale, which is resonable. I appreciated all of the feedback I have received so far from them and worse case scenario if all I got out of it was a great boost and it improved my manuscript it was $79 well spent as far as I'm concerned. Why don't you guys spend your time dissing a real scammer. Don't you have something beter to do with your time. Adios.

      #145 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 01:21 PM:

      J.B.: I'm sorry, you've been scammed. That these scammers took you for less than the previous ones doesn't make it a literary agency.

      I suspect that "adios" means you're a hit-and-run poster, but remember: money should flow to the writer. (If you were a carpenter, you wouldn't expect to pay for the privilege of working on someone's deck.) An agent gets paid by finding that money, and taking a percentage, not by asking you for cash up front.

      #146 ::: J.B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 01:30 PM:

      Dear Vicki, Are you suggesting that I.Universe Publishing is a scammer also? They are a subsidiary of Barnes and Noble. Are they also scammers? and no; I don't expect someone to go over my manuscript and critique it for free.

      #147 ::: J.B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 01:41 PM:

      Whoops. Error in previous post: beter=better. Sorry about that. I have a feeling I'm letting my emotions get the better of me here. Will sign off for now.

      #148 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 03:36 PM:

      J.B. (146): Are you suggesting that I.Universe Publishing is a scammer also?

      Did iUniverse tell you that, if they publish your book:
      1) it will not be reviewed
      2) it will not be on bookstore shelves
      3) it will not be in libraries
      4) the only people who hear about it will be the ones you, personally, tell
      5) no, email advertising does not work?

      If they were upfront with you about all of that, then they're not scammers. If they implied that it *would* be reviewed, *would* be carried in bookstores (not just available if someone special orders it), then they are scammers.

      Note: self-publishing, whether through iUniverse or some other honest source, can be successful with certain niche nonfiction, such as family histories.

      #149 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 03:37 PM:

      iUniverse is a vanity press, not a fake literary agency.

      While B&N at one time bought 48% of iUniverse they had been selling off their share over the years. Most recently AuthorHouse (formerly 1st Books Library, another vanity press) bought iUniverse, so B&N is entirely out of the picture there.

      Vanity presses are another bad idea for writers, but aren't the subject of this post.

      As far as the critiques that WL sells via their "sister company," we've seen some, and we've seen the instructions that WL gives to the freelancers who actually do the crits (for significantly less than the $79 that Fletcher charges). The freelancers are specifically told not to read the entire work. They are told to mention some sentences from the work, then give a standard list of common writing errors.

      If that sort of thing is helpful to you, then I'm glad you got that help.

      #150 ::: J.B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 03:49 PM:

      Thanks for the info.

      #151 ::: J.B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 03:52 PM:

      I just went out and bought 2008 Writer's Market at Barne's and Noble of all places.

      #152 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 04:04 PM:

      Speaking of Bipolar and Pregnant, here's some commentary on that sale.

      Please note that "Sherry" was so proud of that one that despite years of saying that they never announce their deals due to all the "creepy and scary" nay-sayers who rush to write to their authors any time they announce a deal, "Sherry" fell over her feet in her hurry to send copies of the contract (with all dollar amounts and royalty percentages intact) to those very same nay-sayers.

      If I were going to guess, this is the first actual sale they've been involved with in years, and if I were to guess further, the author made the initial contact with HCI, or HCI made the initial contact with her (just like Dario Castagno and Too Much Tuscan Sun with Globe Pequot).

      #153 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2007, 04:39 PM:

      JB,
      I just went out and bought 2008 Writer's Market at Barne's and Noble of all places.

      Great! Best of luck in getting your work published*.

      -----
      * I realize people sometimes say this sarcastically, but I - and everyone here - mean it with all sincerity.

      #154 ::: Phil ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 09:46 AM:

      I queried Writers' Literary Agency last Thursday. I thought it odd that I hadn't seen them listed on any of the agency lists, but decided no big deal.

      After less than two full business days, based on a cover letter and one-page synopsis, "Sherry Fine" asked for the full manuscript, but also asked for other information I thought was odd: had the ms been professionally edited? If so, by whom? Also, I found it very odd that she bad-mouthed AAR and such groups. This set off red lights.

      I responded that, given the negative information about the agency on this and other websites, I'd like proof that WLA is a legitimate agency capable of representing me and my work. I also commented that the general consensus in the writers' community is that "Sherry Fine" does not exist.

      Before I sent my ms to what seemed more and more like a scam operation, I asked for links to announcements of deals (in PM or Publisers Lunch, I suggested) or other such substantiation by close of business the next day. Needless to say, I never heard back from "Ms. Fine" or her associates at WLA.

      While I'd like to think that this set off enough alarms in my brain to have kept me from getting involved, I appreciate your efforts to expose WLA for what it is -- a scam. Thanks!

      #155 ::: jon anthony ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2007, 07:52 PM:

      I was a little hesitant about getting involved with WL... I feel just sick. After paying a mere 95 dollars for a critique, then came the editing fees, which made me wonder what's next? On top of that, they said they were more adament about selling a work that had been edited professionally. The 95 dollars is really nothing, and I don't think I have to fear about my work being ripped off, but it's a let down to know I'm still just as far away from selling my work as I was before getting involved.

      #156 ::: Melissa ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2007, 12:38 PM:

      Thank you for all of this! I was just at the critique stage...and red lights came up when they started talking about the fee for that. I am just a mom who writes funny, silly stories for her kids. I never thought of myself as an author until some of my friends started having kids, and loved to read my stuff to their kids. They all thought I should try to get published. This agency was the first one I tried, and I was very flattered that they liked my work. Well I guess my bubble has just been burst! I am not in this industry, therefore do not even know how to get started. But I am very happy that I found this blog before I sent them any money!

      Many thanks!

      Melissa

      #157 ::: Joan ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 08:29 PM:

      Well I am in a state of schock. I was about to sign the contract with WL until I spent a long time reading all of these comments. I am now totally despressed. No wonder I have had several rejections from legitimate publishing companies and I have had no word from other Agencies to whom I sent a copy of my book. I am going to self publish and set up a book signing in B&N. Anyone can do that. You do not need a publisher to do it for you. Plus I have a huge mailing list of potential buyers so I will just do this myself. Thanks for all that input. I hope you are all legit. Joan

      #158 ::: Barbi Brown ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2007, 12:17 PM:

      I found the WL writers literary agency online.

      They were very promising.
      I sent them my childrens book.
      They wanted me to sign a contract.
      They wanted me to pay $70 to $90.00 for
      a professional edit. If I didn't know one,
      they would reccommend one.
      That was a big red flag.
      I didn't sign the contract.
      I won't pay extra money.
      I should have looked further for a good agent
      that was accepting new work.

      #159 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2007, 06:34 PM:

      Well, add to the list who gave into WLA. I won't be dealing with them again.

      #160 ::: Pam ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2007, 01:04 PM:

      I almost fell for WL. I did send my partial manuscript for review. I am a novice writer and wonder how to find a legitimate agent? I'm not stupid, but WL is pretty good. I also received a PublishAmerica contract, but figured that one out quickly. Thanks for all the legit writers out there. You are obviously secure in your work and aren't threatened by us novices. On behalf off all of us: Thank you for taking the time to educate us.

      #161 ::: Del Hahn ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2007, 03:33 PM:

      I hate to admit it but WL almost got me and, as a retired FBI agent, I should have known better. I found WL on line and read Sherry's pitch and bit like a big-mouth bass. I sent my manuscript electronically. Today I got the glad tidings that my book was marketable. However,WL wanted a critique and if I didn't already have one they could refer me to some folks who could write one for a fee of between $75 or $90. With visions of myself seated behind a table at Barnes & Noble for a signing of my book, I got my check book. Then I decided to Google WL and here I am.

      #162 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2007, 03:40 PM:

      Del @161:
      Well done with the Googling; this is why we have threads like this on Making Light.

      Pam @160:
      Not everyone here is a published author (I'm not), but we are all united in wanting more people who love writing, and write well, to get published.


      Both of you, best of luck getting published the right way!

      #163 ::: Karen B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2007, 10:01 AM:

      I just got scammed for $89. I was suspicious, but I talked myself out of them because all the correspondence from Sherry appeared to be very professional and they seemed to address all my concerns. I feel horrible now.

      #164 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2007, 11:41 AM:

      Karen B, I know it's no use saying "don't feel horrible". Of course you feel horrible about being used by this ratbag. You are right to feel that way. It is horrible.

      But it would be really horrible if feelings of being used, of being treated like trash, somehow got transferred and you started to think of yourself or your work as trashed by this. Your work is not, and you are not. You are honest, and your work is honest work. Believe in it, and in yourself. Send it out to honest agents and honest publishers. And if they send it back with a no, keep on writing and keep on sending.

      Oh, dear God, I know it's hard. It shouldn't be so hard. But that's the way it is.

      #165 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2007, 12:07 PM:

      Karen B, write a nice note to the Florida Attorney General, including the Joe-Friday-Just-The-Facts details of your interaction with these folks.

      #166 ::: Gigs ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2007, 06:44 AM:

      I am an unpublished writer from Australia and I have to thank you all! I am just at the 'paying for critique' stage with WL - and I won't!!! Thank you all - especially James MacDonald whose books I like very much. I am so embarrassed - I am an editor myself and should have known better but I really wanted to believe!! I told myself US agents' methods were different to the ways of agents over here. Didn't someone famous say writers are their own worst enemies? Any idea on which agents in the US might accept a romance novel from down under? Or a fantasy one?

      #167 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2007, 07:25 AM:

      Gigs, the scams work because they're plausible, so don't be too hard on yourself.

      A good place to start looking for information is Absolute Write. The "Bewares and Background Check" forum has a lot of information about individual agents, but it could also be worth asking in the "Romance/Women's Fiction" forum for suggestions for US agents who handle overseas authors.

      #168 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2007, 03:30 PM:

      You could also stop by Agentquery.com to find a US agent who handles romance or fantasy.

      Remember that a useful agent has sold books you've heard of. A track record is an agent's best recommendation.

      #169 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2007, 04:36 PM:

      Gigs, you might also look at the Romance Writers of America http://www.rwanational.org/ It's my understanding that they have Australian chapters (or at least Australian members) and they're a great writers' organization with a lot of professional resources for the romance writer.

      #170 ::: Karen B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2007, 08:11 PM:

      Thank you all so much for your encouraging words! My friend also suggested writing to the Attorney General. He said that this is going against the RICO? Laws and that I should try and go to PayPal to get my money back. PayPal should not be doing business with crooks like these. I am going to look into it.

      #171 ::: ShaDonna ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2007, 04:06 PM:

      Thank you all for your insight and opinions. I received a contract today from them and I did more homework before I signed. If someone would refer me to a agency that can represent my work without fees and scams I would be very greatful.
      This is my first novel it is a Urban Fiction.

      #172 ::: John ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2007, 01:39 PM:

      I submitted my manuscript to the WL Writers without knowing anything about them. I quickly received a positive response from Sherry. Then I saw all the negative comments about WL. I was so thrilled about the positive response, I did'nt want to believe anyone would go to such length to scam me out of $90. But the evidence was overwhelming and I came to my senses.
      Thank you guys for the warning. The loss of $90 would not have been as important as the heartbreak of the disappointment. Thanks again

      #173 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2007, 02:10 PM:

      If someone would refer me to a agency that can represent my work without fees and scams I would be very greatful.

      Check with AAR (Association of Authors Representatives)

      Check with Agent Query.

      Check over at Preditors & Editors

      Go to a bookstore, find books similar to yours, and find out who agented them.

      Remember: A useful agent has sold books you've heard of.

      When you find an agent you'd like to query, get that agent's guidelines and follow them to the letter.

      #174 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2007, 02:24 PM:

      May I share this advice on a group I help moderate?

      #175 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2007, 02:26 PM:

      You may indeed, and link to other posts here where the vexed question of "agents?" has arisen.

      #176 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2007, 03:20 PM:

      Thanks!

      #177 ::: C. McMillin ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2007, 06:23 PM:

      I bawled like a kid when I found out I was scammed. I didn't find your site soon enough - warning novice writers like me about WL. I sensed a red flag from the very beginning, but my desire to believe in the goodness of people overcame my suspicion. I paid the critique fee hesitantly. I thought if it's indeed a scam, I lost only $89.00. What I didn't realize was - I lost a bit of my dignity too. I plan to report WL to the major TV networks. I hope you guys will back me up once I finally gather the guts to do it.

      #178 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2007, 08:28 PM:

      C. McMillin -- Don't put a lot of faith in TV programs. But no one will clam up if the reporters come calling. The information is all out there in public, and we'll stand behind it.

      To learn what more you can do, write to Writer Beware (beware@sfwa.org), tell your story, and ask for advice.

      #179 ::: Christopher R. Moore ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2007, 09:09 PM:

      I currently have Hil Mallory at WLchildrens. I signed their contract and as far as I can see, they havent violated it in any way. I didnt mind paying the 89 dollar fee because the results I got from the critique were appreciated and desired.
      Please tell me why I'm wrong and why this company is a scam. I have paid no other fee other than the critique fee.
      I see alot of complaints about the fee, but nothing else. I need more specifics other than a bunch of penny pinchers bitching about money

      #180 ::: NB ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2007, 10:42 AM:

      I didn't get far with WL. I just sent them a synopsis of my novel. I usually do the research first, but I did it backwards this time. I wish I would have google them before sending anything out at all. Thanks for this website; it kept me from making a huge mistake. I still desire to get published, I just don't know how. Finding an agent seems complicated and I'm been looking for a while now. Thanks again, NB.

      #181 ::: C. McMillin ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2007, 12:12 PM:

      In response to C. Moore's comment about us penny pinching and bitching about the critique fee, let me tell you why I came to a conclusion that I was scammed: I myself had a glowing critique. They said it's rare for them to give the kind of rating grade I received and that my editor will be pleased with me. They said they were surprised with my knowledge and grammar. Guess what, a legitimate agency responded to my query letter too and the result was exactly the opposite. They said there's so many sentence flaws and too many cliches in my manuscript which I actually agree because I went over my manuscript only 2-3 times and I myself caught a lot of errors in my work. I researched the publishing process and the legitimate agencies take forever to respond and they are pretty harsh on their criticism just like the article I read at Writer's Digest. WL used to respond very quickly. After my critique, I never heard from Georgina, which accoring to Sherry, the agents will respond promptly with authors. I demanded a refund from them after I read the comments from this site, but WL never responded. I read that Fall is the time when publishers are actively seeking manuscripts. With the glowing critique I got - I should have been contacted by now, but WL never responded to my emails after my critique. I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out what I went through after all the stories printed in this website. I encourage everyone to research the publishing process and you'll see clearly what a scam is. Legitimate agencies never charge a penny.

      #182 ::: C. McMillin ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2007, 12:15 PM:

      In response to C. Moore's comment about us penny pinching and bitching about the critique fee, let me tell you why I came to a conclusion that I was scammed: I myself had a glowing critique. They said it's rare for them to give the kind of rating grade I received and that my editor will be pleased with me. They said they were surprised with my knowledge and grammar. Guess what, a legitimate agency responded to my query letter too and the result was exactly the opposite. They said there's so many sentence flaws and too many cliches in my manuscript which I actually agree because I went over my manuscript only 2-3 times and I myself caught a lot of errors in my work. I researched the publishing process and the legitimate agencies take forever to respond and they are pretty harsh on their criticism just like the article I read at Writer's Digest. WL used to respond very quickly. After my critique, I never heard from Georgina, which accoring to Sherry, the agents will respond promptly with authors. I demanded a refund from them after I read the comments from this site, but WL never responded. I read that Fall is the time when publishers are actively seeking manuscripts. With the glowing critique I got - I should have been contacted by now, but WL never responded to my emails after my critique. I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out what I went through after all the stories printed in this website. I encourage everyone to research the publishing process and you'll see clearly what a scam is. Legitimate agencies never charge a penny.

      #183 ::: Christopher R. Moore ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2007, 05:40 PM:

      Truely sorry that you had a bad experience. But I'm the opposite. My critique was said to be rare too, but it also came with alot of suggestions to correct, i.e. two mispelled word, new paragraphs for new speakers and a few other things i needed to do. I found a few things they missed, but for the most part, they were accurate in their depiction.
      Also Hil gets back to me within three days of receiving my email.
      Everything they told me at the beginning of the process has been relatively dead on. From receiving the LFN once a month, to being told that they've sent my manuscript to two publishers.
      I have been writing for thriteen years and I know all the basics and most of the techniques. Cant spell for crap though.
      I'm not defending them or how they've treated other people, but as far as I can tell, they've been very!!!!!! cooperative and helpful, that's all.
      Maybe they treat writers differently, from good writers to so-so writers?

      #184 ::: CRD ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2007, 06:57 PM:

      I found this website right as I was offered the contract. They asked me to email "Joan VP Administration" to be critiqued. First of all this was a huge red flag.

      If someone was offering a referral to another place to "critique" your writing why would they send you to someone else inside the same company?

      Why would they not just offer the critique service from within their own walls?

      And if the critique was from the same company but in a different area, wouldn't they just forward your work along to this person instead of having you contact them?

      I pondered on these issues as I looked at the contract and all of the email I have received thus far.

      In less than a week my story had undergone a "positive" review of the synopsis. It had been sent to their agency and had been approved in less than a week. (If an agency wasn't even swamped the least it would take would be 4-6 weeks)

      Then something clicked in my mind after receiving the "critique" email. It was something I read in "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Getting Published". Never EVER pay a legitimate agent anything up front. Their job is to find the talent and get YOU paid. This in turn gets THEM paid.

      I will continue my search, and I will continue to never pay reading fees, critique fees or editing fees.

      WL is a complete fraud and waste of time. I gave them two weeks of time that I could've spent finding a REAL agent.

      #185 ::: CRD ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2007, 07:02 PM:

      Another thought after I just posted.

      They say you can get outside critiques and editing, but then you realize their costs are so low you can't imagine using another service. This is where they will get you.

      You can either pay them $90 at the start or wait til you have to pay the $90 at the end for the "aggressive agent". Either way they will at least get $90 and run with it. (even if they have to pretend to sell your work for a few months)

      #186 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2007, 09:40 PM:

      Christopher R Moore #179: You have paid good money for something you would get for free from a writers' group, only what you get from any reasonable writers' group would be better. In fact, although I have not seen what you paid for, I think it very likely that you have paid for nothing at all, no more than a cut-and-paste 'bot form with maybe a few comments inserted because a spellchecker picked something up.

      No legitimate agent charges a fee to read. No legitimate agent charges a fee to market work, though they may charge legitimate postal costs against future commissions. Legitimate agents are paid by commission on the sales they make, and they are more than happy to have those sales known. No legitimate agent sends authors whom they intend to represent to a book doctor. If there's something obviously wrong with a manuscript from a first-time author, no legitimate agent will represent it, because it would be deadly to their professional reputation.

      They will not tell you that the book needs work, because their job is not to fix up books, it's to sell them to editors whom they know and who trust them. That trust is their stock in trade, and they can't compromise it. Of course they get manuscripts that need a lot of work all the time. They send back a polite but firm "no, not interested". That's all.

      You are being scammed.

      #187 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2007, 10:06 PM:

      Now what we need to do is mount a campaign to encourage the state attorney generals for Maryland and Florida to take action against some of their local literary scams as Indiana did against Airleaf. According to PODdy Mouth, Airleaf is now out of business.

      #188 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2007, 10:47 PM:

      Airleaf Victims confirms that Airleaf Publishing is defunct. They're now pursuing legal action against the former owner.

      #189 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2007, 11:28 PM:

      #179: Please tell me why I'm wrong and why this company is a scam.

      Short answer: They haven't sold your book, have they? Don't hold your breath: they won't.

      Their income doesn't come from selling books to publishers. Their income is derived from the fees, $90 here, $125 there, that they charge hopeful newbies.

      Their critiques are done by freelancers who are instructed not to read the entire manuscript -- just to take a few words and phrases from it and paste in a list of common writing errors. If a list of common errors is what you needed, a copy of Strunk & White goes for a lot less than $89.

      Tell me: have you ever spoken to "Hil" on the phone? Try this experiment. Try to call him (or her -- I don't know what gender "Hil" is supposed to be). See what excuse(s) they give for why he/she can't take your call.

      After you've paid for the critique, and the edit, and the web page, and the aggressive agent, you'll be a year older, a couple hundred bucks poorer, and not one inch closer to getting published. That's why it's a scam.

      #190 ::: Christopher R. Moore ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 03:24 PM:

      Hello.
      Please let me say again, that I do not defend them, I'm just basing my experience on what has actually happened.
      I am new to the publishing world, but not new to writing. When I read the critique, and then applied their suggested corrections it really helped me.
      They have only asked me to pay for the critique, and that's it for now. And their fee for selling the manuscript is 10%. But I am also looking on my own.
      I work seventy hours a week so I didnt have enough time to research, I just hoped for the best.
      If this is a scam, then shame on me. But I can promise that it wont happen again.
      Does anyone out their live near Wilkes-Barre, Pa or Scranton, Pa.

      P.S. Can you direct me to a legitamate agent for childrens books.

      #191 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2007, 07:30 PM:

      Legitimate agents for children's books?

      Hook up with SCBWI and ask the folks there. Or go to a bookstore, find books like yours, and find out who agented them. Or check over at agentquery.com with a double-check at Preditors & Editors.


      #192 ::: Kat ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2007, 02:31 PM:

      Help, I screwed up and sent my entire manuscript to WL. I admit to not researching before pressing on. I am not a published writer nor have I ever had the desire to publish my work and maybe that's why I got myself into this trouble. I am not a learned student of English or anything else for that matter. I just love to write. I was supported by family to proceed from writer to published writer. And now I feel like I've been swallowed by an abyss. I am willing to take harsh criticism by all as long as you help me. My baby is floating in cyberspace and I'm afraid she can't be rescued....Help!

      #193 ::: Carol McDonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2007, 10:25 PM:

      OK. I bit the hook with WL. Signed the contract--thankfully only for 6 months--paid the critique fee--got the "excellent" critique. I only sent part of my manuscript. How do I get out of this? I'm now not planning to send them the rest of my work. Sure wish I had found you guys first.

      #194 ::: dennis fenichel ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2008, 12:44 PM:

      Found this thread before sending in my contract or fee for critique. I did send them my manuscript however(which is copyrighted). Do I need to be concerned about what they might do with my writing, or is their sole purpose to make money off the fees?

      #195 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2008, 01:42 PM:

      Their sole purpose is to make money off the fees. Odds are that no one there's read your manuscript. And what would they do with it anyway? They aren't going to sell it. Even if you paid their fees they couldn't. They don't know how.

      #196 ::: Anthony ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2008, 06:29 PM:

      What a guy Mr. Fletcher is. 89 bucks for three pages of effusive praise and warm admiration is a bargain - like in the old song about the guy who is in love and wants to "write myself a letter and pretend it came from you". I loved it.

      #197 ::: Dan M. ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2008, 11:45 AM:

      Good thing I've been around the block a few times and my red-flag-o-meter is highly refined. The second I saw that I was being asked to pay anything to anyone up front I went and did a search on this "agancy."

      They never got a penny out of me, but I'm also angry that I wasted time with this con artist that I could have spent looking for a legitimate agent.

      In my disgust I sent off a rather scathing email to "Sherry." I wonder if I'll get a positive review on it...

      #198 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2008, 12:05 PM:

      Dan M. #197: Nope. This is because "Sherry" doesn't exist. Robert Fletcher now knows that you're on to him, but it doesn't matter a hoot to him. The woods are full of marks, and he's out there, shaking the trees so that they'll fall out.

      #199 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2008, 12:17 PM:

      Oh, and Carol McDonald #193: Mr Fletcher's little enterprise isn't going to do anything with your manuscript anyway. Being as I am not a lawyer, (nor even a US resident) and I don't know what's in that contract you signed, I can't absolutely guarantee that you can't continue to treat your manuscript as your own property, and simply ignore your unfortunate contact with this fraudster. You may need to consult a lawyer to be certain. Mr Macdonald, a man of much more experience than me, may know more.

      #200 ::: CRD ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 07:27 AM:

      I think the biggest sign that it's a fraud, is the speed in which they beg you for the money.

      I almost laughed when I found a nice little email from "Lynn Noll" yesterday that asked me if I'd forgotten to pay for the critique service. (Some BS about monthly audits)

      Wait... no... I DID laugh! I have just simply forgotten to write them back once I found out they're frauds.

      #201 ::: tavi ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 09:50 PM:

      Man, What a bummer. After a manilla envelope of no thank-yous to finally get one, "let's make a deal" and then find out it's just a scam, what a total downer. How are Sherry and all the other flunkies at WL still up and running? That's what I'd like to know. It doesn't take long to find this illuminating blog....I also sent a complete "baby" into "Sherry"- and no one has a problem losing control of the manuscript?

      #202 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2008, 10:04 PM:

      All you really need to do is send Fletcher a registered letter telling him that WL does not represent you for any purposes, and after that forget them.

      The reason you do that is so that, should you sell your work, they don't rise like Dracula from the grave and demand their 10% of your advance and royalties.

      (Most, if not all, of WL's "success stories," few as they are, come from the author selling their work on their own, and Fletcher claiming credit for it.)

      #203 ::: Glo Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 12:14 AM:

      Thank you for your site and information on this scam. I made the mistake of sending my manuscript to Sherry. But it's copyrighted so I am not that worried. As already mentioned I have the feeling they did not even read it. But they are going to recommend an editing service to me. At least I haven't send them any payment. I guess I fell halfway into this scam. So who are the honest agents?

      #204 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2008, 12:56 AM:

      A useful agent is one who's sold books you've heard of.

      Find books similar to yours. Find out who agented them. That's who to approach.

      We've had lots of threads on agents on this blog. This is one of them.

      #205 ::: Ella ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2008, 06:22 PM:

      Okay. Have to put my hand up and admit I've been duped, but I kinda don't feel so bad, now knowing just how simple and easy the "con" has actually been. The only thing I'm kicking myself about is not thouroughly researching this group. Yeah, yeah, and I call myself a writer.

      I have a question for all you infinitely more knowledgable and scamproof folk who have just enlightened me..... is 162,000 words too long for a first novel?? According to Ms Lynda, my super efficient critiquer it is, but her (if it is a her) is now seriously questionable..... And are adverbs such a bad thing. I still have a day to "unquestionably withdraw" my contract. Help??

      #206 ::: BobF ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2008, 06:00 PM:

      Yes, Ella, you should 'unquestionably withdraw' from any contract with WL.

      #207 ::: BobF ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2008, 06:35 PM:

      Thank you to all who posted here. I'm a published author (non-fiction, no agent (although I'm anxious to find one for my novel)), and am currently ghost-writing a memoir. The person I'm working with and I were quite pleased at 'Sherry's' letter, sent the required 30 or 50 pages, and have been sent a contract. I thought I smelled a rat (apparently it was Mr. Fletcher), when 'Sherry' went on and on about the critique. So we were going to have the contract reviewed by a lawyer, but you have all saved us that money! Thank you!

      #208 ::: Ella ::: (view all by) ::: January 26, 2008, 06:53 AM:

      Bob, thanks for that. I invoked the 72 hr clause (over a soothing breakfast of bacon & eggs) on friday morning, and received a very clipped reply.

      I also had one of our legal guys at work take a look at the "contract" and he was unhappy about the arbitration bit, that it was too vague, and as I'm also not in the US, he was also worried about the jurisdiction of such arbitration. Our laws usually require it to be stated when it's across two jurisdictions. The non-negotiable part got my spidey-sense tingling.

      So many thanks to everyone above for the education. I'm also spreading the "good word" on this side of the Atlantic....

      #209 ::: Anthony ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2008, 05:44 AM:

      It is quite interesting to follow this forum - all writers, yet no one seems to see a story in all this. How about a short story about a crook by the name of Fletcher, whose praise for sale happens to encourage one loser to make the winning bet for a change.

      #210 ::: stephen J.Vattimo ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2008, 11:03 PM:

      I alway wanted to use my art work and my writings, poetry as well commentaries ,to better my countries society. It seems Like every where i turn to publish my work, I fall in to the hands of a scam artist. I guess there is no such thing as winning a real poetry contest. I guess there really aren't real agencies out there to sell new writers manuescrips. Well I thing the goverment should punish these scam artist and lock them up and through away the key.

      #211 ::: Kieron Lauder ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 10:25 AM:

      London East End writer - completed and self-published a manuscript called IMPS printed by cafepress.com and they produced a very nice book for me to put on my own shelf, at no cost to me. Now, to find a mainstream publisher to take it I fell for the line put out by "Sherry Fine". As soon as they suggested sending money that they did not mention in the first response I was suspicious and luckily I found your site before I sent off any money. I have now sent the following message to the computer of Mr Fletcher: Beelzebub already has your sole and now requires us IMPS to remove your stagnant, useless body from staining Earth. If your idea of Hell is just C Block showers, where a huge woofter wispers in your ear "you're my Sherry amour" then don't say we didn't warn you. We are Close Bob, or do you prefer Robert? You won't hear us. You will awake after a frantic dream to see us by your bed, leaning over your face - just for a second - before we take you - to join the trapped bodies of the phobic damned burbling screams into the dirt. We called at 699 8th Terrace, but you weren't there. Where are you Bob? We are close. It won't be long......
      Oh Yes and as you did not destroy all trace of my manuscript, the IMPS have already visited your computer, and have now gone to visit all of your contacts. Bet you can't wait to see what they leave behind them

      #212 ::: mikee ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:14 PM:

      just testing to see if i've done this right!

      #213 ::: Mikee ::: (view all by) ::: February 20, 2008, 05:31 PM:

      Yep I got it right.

      I've just recieved my contract today, from WL. I too sensed a scam, but thought i'd let them send the contract so I could have a look. I was just beginning to believe it may be gen, but not being able to find WL listed in the 'Writers & Artist's Yearbook', I thought I'd Google em. Bingo, I found you guys here. I've just spent over an hour reading all the info posted on here, and although that's another hour I could have spent editing my manuscript, it's been so enlightening realising that others have had all the same emotions i've had for the last two weeks. Luckily I only sent in the first five chapters, and not the entire MS. (Phew). I feel so sorry for the unfortunate ones, sorry cant remember your name's without scrolling back up, who did sign a contract and send it back. That must be very upsetting, but I can't really see what he'd do with them. As the Mr Mc Donald chap says, best send off a registered letter telling him he don't represent you anymore. Although, i'd be hesitant that its even a gen address. A note to all on the subject of MR Fletcher. On my contract, on the desk in front of me right now, it states the Sr Agent as: Robert West. Or does everyone already know that? The address to send the contract back, "If I must use regular mail", which of course I dam well do with such an important document as this one, is:
      3840 W. Hillsboro BLVD 302
      Deerfield Beach. Fl. 33442

      By all means anyone wanting to send anything at all that their imagination may conjur up, to give to the lovely Mr West, or Fletcher, or whatever his bloody name is this week, feel free to do so.
      I must stress that this is by no-means an invatation to break the law, in anyway shape of form. Perhaps Mr West/Fletcher may enjoy Pizza?

      #214 ::: khandis ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2008, 05:18 PM:

      well this question is for Beth.
      who is your agent?
      and how can she be contacted?

      #215 ::: khandis ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2008, 05:31 PM:

      if there is anyone with a (lagit)publisher please put it up this will generate business for them and help plain folk like myself.

      #216 ::: khandis ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2008, 05:31 PM:

      if there is anyone with a (lagit)publisher please put it up this will generate business for them and help plain folk like myself.

      #217 ::: Beth ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2008, 08:02 PM:

      khandis @214: My agent isn't taking on new clients right now, sorry. But check out Agent Query to find out which agents represent the kind of material you write.

      #218 ::: Toyin Abiodun ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 08:58 PM:

      Well...Well...Well.... I think it's going to be pretty tough trying to con writers who are actually worth the calling.
      Fletcher/West/Sherry is making a monumental mistake in targeting this select group of homo sapiens as his fall guys.
      Can the guy actually hazard an intelligent guess as to what the IQ of the average writer is? (Minus quacks that is)
      I found the contract form in my inbox today. I've been suspicious all along; but I just decided to play the game and do some real soul-searching only when I have to place my money on the table.
      Anyhow, because 70-90 dollars is actually a lot of money to an African like me (though it might not count for much to you guys in the US), I decided to check ML out on Google.
      Of course, thanks to you goodfellas, I then stumbled on this long tale of woe.
      For sure, the ML scallywags won't be taking a red cent out of my wad ! plus I think those of us now brought together by this fortuitous 'scamslam' should bond and probably network to find some real agencies that will serve our diverse creative writing talents.
      We can even create one agency together and establish the criteria for accepting prospective writers and sellling their works internationally through a formal, semi-formal or informal symbiotic association.
      Incidentally, I find the ML criteria quite creative; it's only they are too immersed in the theory of opm to honestly work that plan.
      What do you think?

      #219 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 17, 2008, 09:35 PM:

      Tonyin, writers banding together to form an agency has been tried before.

      It generally ends in tears.

      #220 ::: Toyin Abiodun ::: (view all by) ::: June 22, 2008, 10:38 AM:

      So which way, MacDonald? I am a damn good writer; and I'm not ready to atrophy.

      You guys in the US probably don't have the vaguest idea on what it takes for an African to get a hearing in the rowdy international book market.

      We are treated as if we have nothing important to say to and about the world we live in. We are the proverbial camel trying to enter the eye of a needle!

      #221 ::: Allen Lang ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2008, 02:20 PM:

      I have just fallen into the trap, but was warned by my clever and successful daugher not to dig it deeper. Thank you people for pointing out the egg on my face. I have the best piece of work I have done in my 80 years, and it will sell, with a reputable agent and without some BS in English writing a critique of my prose. You have succeeded in making me mad at these people. Thank you: I needed the adrenalin.

      #222 ::: DD Cross ::: (view all by) ::: July 07, 2008, 01:55 PM:

      My brick and mortar agent passed away. I've published and went through the seek and obtain series of querries for years finally arriving. So what? After all that a few bucks were made and I got movie deals and all that stuff and an ex wife and ego and all the nonsense. A few years passed and I was writing a pilot for a TV producer and had written the whole shebang. At the request of an agent (who found me) in LA to write in another genre (sci-fi) I tried it. It was fun and for the helluvit did what I reckon most folks would do, look for more. Maybe a tech savvy agency...What the hell I was fussing around online and WLA popped up and I sent along some material. I don't know-they do wobble a bit and sound very much like some of the earlier descriptors noted. I don't know yet, but; if its a scam its my own laziness and greed that got me involved.

      Really, legitimate agencies DO NOT charge ANY fees-but these guys posted the biggest ad and its been 15 yrs since I've made any querries.

      This site helped remind me that its not that easy.

      #223 ::: Charles Oliver ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 03:43 AM:

      I began writing a novel in 1980, and finally got hectored into finishing it 22 years later. It's a short novel, which is a rarity in this age of bloated books, but not all stories need to spread out that much.

      While I'd published shorter fiction before, and a book-length genealogy, I had never done a novel. My aim was modest: I didn't do it for the money. I just wanted to see my name on a book I was proud to have produced. I had a few observations I wanted to make; nothing earth-shattering, but something I thought to be of merit.

      Like many, I bit. Fortunately, like some, I found this site between making the initial inquiry and actually sending this barracuda any of the work.

      I am going to slip this puppy back into his box and go back to making a living in a respectable way.

      #224 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 09, 2008, 06:09 AM:

      Toyin, there are scores -- hundreds -- of legitimate agents all over the world. All you need is a post box in order to reach them.

      A worthwhile agent has sold books that you've heard of. Meanwhile, a worthless agent is worse than having no agent at all.

      #225 ::: Kendall ::: (view all by) ::: July 17, 2008, 01:23 AM:

      Dear James D. Macdonald,
      So since you are an agent, do you think you could represent a really neat children's book. It's target audience is now very general as I have edited it many times. If you would like more info on myself or my story could you post it here. Also I have read countless negative disscussions on the Children's Litereary Agency And I would have to agree with you, they're a scam! Not just a scam a major scam. I would be honnored to have you as my agent. Please get back to me ASAP with your post. Thanks so much!
      Kendall

      #226 ::: Ateeq Bandukda ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2008, 11:59 AM:

      thanks guys you just saved me from getting scammed. I was two minutes away from paying WL- then I read your posts- and the new name they post is Kate Jordan for the critique. can anyone suggest an actual list of agents for me? My book is about The book is a traveler’s log through Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Tibet and Nepal; Analyzing the social and political situation in that region, reflecting the writer’s personal experiences and anecdotes. Thanks

      #227 ::: Idris D. Al-Hassan Karaye ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2008, 06:16 AM:

      I have a book which I hope to publish, and just a week ago I came across this Agency, then I thought of writing to see if I can get the help to see my book into publishin.

      I am a Nigerian; living in Nigeria, but wish to get my book publish in America. My choice of America for publication is the fact that my book has a western setting.

      If you consider me and want to discuss my book, I will be ready to punish you with all the relevant informations and details that you want.

      for now I remain listening to your response.

      Thanks
      Yours fathfully
      Idris D. Al-Hassan Karaye
      No 6 Rock Road Off Isah Kaita Road
      C/O General Hassan Katsina residence
      Malali GRA Kaduna
      Kaduna
      Nigeria
      idalhassan4matrirecon@yahoo.com

      #228 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 25, 2008, 07:25 AM:

      So since you are an agent, do you think you could represent a really neat children's book.

      I'm not actually an agent. (Not to worry, neither is Bobby Fletcher.)

      Rather than sending your book to me, or him, here's what you could do that would do just as much for getting your book published (and cost you much less):

      1) Put it in your desk drawer,
      2) Leave it there.


      But if you're serious, here's what to do: Go to a bookstore. Find books similar to yours on the shelf. Find out who represented those books. Get those agencies' guidelines. Submit your work to them, following their guidelines to the letter.

      While all this is going on, write a new, different, better book.

      One mistake I see new writers make is spending twenty years trying to sell their first, unpublishable, book.

      #229 ::: Charity ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2008, 02:04 PM:

      I too was taken in by Sherry's long letters. I'm a librarian trying to sell a children's book and luckily when I got closer to the 'signing' I decided to look them up. I didn't think I'd be able to find them...but...I have found out quite a bit from you guys! Thank you for all the comments. Yes, I sent them my ms, but I already had it at the copyright office a couple months ago and no I haven't signed any contracts with them. Thanks to all of you, I'll be looking elsewhere. Incidentally...I don't know where that 3840 W. Hillsboro BLVD 302 Deerfield Beach FL 33442 actually takes your packages! I did a white pages search and taking off the '302' I got a listing of addresses that included: PAK Mail Centers of America. That in itself sounded fishy to me! Yes, I know there are a lot of other people at that site...but just glance down through the white pages and I began to wonder which one of those addresses Robert was hiding behind. {No. Sherry's name wasn't one of the illustrious names...phooey! ;-)} But thank you to all who have posted to this site! I have truly felt informed about a deceitful and cunning scam. ~ Charity

      #230 ::: Belle ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2008, 07:15 PM:

      Just a note. Today I wrote to the Better Business Bureau in Florida about wl literary agency's questionable practices. I don't know if this will help to make them better...or possibly get them off the internet. Either way, my heart goes out to all of those who were also scammed by the agency. On further reading I found several discrepancies in their long letters and I thank all of you who wrote on this site. Your information was truly helpful and I have found several agents now who are willing to work with a writer like me and they have proven track records. Thanks again. Belle

      #231 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 06:19 PM:

      I feel very foolish. I bought this thing hook, line and sinker. Not only did I pay the $89 for the "First Author Edit", I signed a contract for a year and have excitedly anticipated responses from the "Senior Agent"; responses that always ended with, "circle back around in another month" and which never addressed me in a consistent manner. Sometimes I was William. Other times I was Bill. Nevertheless, I hoped for the best. I even researched books in similar veins to my work and gave them the names of the publishers. The most recent communication with them pitched the "aggressive agent" package for a mere $175. This finally sent up red flags with and prompted me to wonder what type of "agent" I have been dealing with. I would more of a chance if I were represented by a wet fish. Now, my work (which I feel truly has legs) is tied up for another four months. I've waited this long. I guess another four months won't kill me. I suppose I'll use the time to research agents who might be on the level. I wish I had come across this site sooner.

      #232 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2008, 06:44 PM:

      I've waited this long. I guess another four months won't kill me.

      No.

      Write to them, today, both email and registered post, to tell them that effectively immediately they do not represent you.

      Then take all your documents, all your receipts, all your canceled checks -- everything -- and contact Ann Crispin: anncrispin@aol.com

      And as for the infamous "circle back" letters -- they've been using them for a long time.

      #233 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2008, 08:31 PM:

      I was working with Sherry, and I'm a 1st time writer!

      #234 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2008, 08:32 PM:

      I was working with Sherry, and I'm a 1st time writer!

      #235 ::: Shammah ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2008, 04:16 PM:

      I signed up with WL Literary Agency yesterday. If it's a scam, I'm sorry to hear it. The long emails made me wonder, too, so I'm open to hearing it's a scam, but they haven't asked me for any money except for a critique. The only way, so far, they could scam me is if the critique is not legitimate. The price is certainly reasonable (and not unbelievable), and I don't regret paying for a critique if its valid. Their claim up front is that they won't charge me any money anywhere else along the way.

      I, too, can wait 3 months--which is how long the contract promises not to cancel them--for them to try to sell the manuscript. I'm not even done writing it yet (non-fiction; typical).

      For those who asked about where to find other agents, it appears to me that www.agentquery.com has a pretty good list, as does http://www.writers.net/agents.html.

      As far as WL, so far they haven't done any of the things with me that they are accused of, except asking for an editor critique, which doesn't seem unreasonable or unusual, even after an internet search. Their contract says they'll never charge me any fees except 10% if and only if they sell the book to a publisher.

      #236 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2008, 07:24 PM:

      #235: As far as WL, so far they haven't done any of the things with me that they are accused of, except asking for an editor critique, which doesn't seem unreasonable or unusual, even after an internet search.

      Alas, that paid-editor critique is both unreasonable and unusual. It's unknown among legitimate (i.e. able to make sales to real publishers) agents.


      Their contract says they'll never charge me any fees except 10% if and only if they sell the book to a publisher.

      And what was that fee for a critique? Chopped liver?

      Oh -- they've recently added a vanity press or two to their scheme. Watch out for the news that they've found an excellent publisher for you -- but, because of the risk in publishing a first-time author, you'll have to pay 50% of the costs....

      #237 ::: JMB ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2008, 09:46 PM:

      Well I just read a good hour worth of material. Thanks everyone for the heads up. I actually was suckered a good six months ago and went through all the steps. I always had my doubts especially from the generic Emails, but every response I've received was listed almost verbatim in some of the other posts. It feels real great getting ripped off. Well I plan on contacting Ann as well as the Florida Attorney General. I guess I'll be moving on to plan B... hopefully the Screenwriter's Federation is legitimate.

      #238 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: January 04, 2009, 06:55 PM:

      I was just watching The Producers -- the 1968 version with Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, not the recent musical version, which I watched a few weeks ago. It occurred to me that it's exactly the same scam as WL, except that the latter combines the playwright and the investor. It's much easier and more reliable to "make" money by producing a flop and suckering the investors than by attempting to create a success.

      #239 ::: Ron ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 04:13 PM:

      I'm curious as to why there is so much discussion about paying WL or any other outfit to critque a person's work. I paid in the three thousands to have a manuscript critqued (dissected) by a free-lance copy-editor. As part of the deal I received a comprehensive Proposal (which included an Analysis, Biography, Chapter outlines, etc). The idea is to get your manuscript in the best possible shape before heading to the market place (finding an agent). I paid WL the 89 dollars for the critque...and it was an excellent critque. Now, then, do I want to pay them the estimated $800 to edit. To be decided. Yes, reading all the postings has planted a seed of doubt. However, the bottom line remains...get your product in the best shape possible...and this usually costs.

      #240 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 27, 2009, 11:45 PM:

      Ron: It doesn't need to cost. A good writers' group will provide critique as good as anything a con-job shop like WLA is going to provide.

      WLA is in the business of fleecing people. They aren't interested in getting the book in shape to pitch to a publisher, they want to get you to buy the "service" they are selling. If you sent them a manuscript which could never sell, they'd tell you it had promise.

      So in that regard, they are worse than no critique, and they are charging money to tell people lies. They take advantage of the peoples' hope to fleece them. Better a mugger than a con-man.

      #241 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 04:00 AM:

      Ron, #239: Go back and re-read comment #236. The answer to your question is, because that's not the way it works in the publishing business. If you sell your manuscript to a legit publishing house, you get the services of an editor included in the deal. It's not supposed to be an "extra" for which you, the author, have to pay.

      #242 ::: Ron ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 07:59 PM:

      Dear Terry (#240) and Lee (#241): Many thanks for your candid comments. I guess I’m a little bit stuck in the “Catch 22” thing. In this highly competitive business your product has to be in super shape before it will attract an agent or publisher. Granted, a publisher will massage the work ─ once it’s accepted ─ to get it to market quality, but doesn’t it make sense to go through some hoops (with the attendant costs) to enhance your odds of finding a taker? The writer’s group suggestion has merit ─ as long as qualified people are involved. Anyway, your input is much appreciated. There’s no doubt that the consensus among the postings above is to avoid WL at all costs.

      #243 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 28, 2009, 08:29 PM:

      Here's a first-person account from one of the WL Writers' Literary Agency critiquers.

      Note first that she's an undergraduate in a creative writing program. She has exactly zero experience with commercial fiction (or non-fiction, either).

      Next, note that she's getting paid a pittance for her critiques.

      Note too that even that pittance has not in fact been paid: Fletcher sent excuses rather than checks, and bounced another check.

      While we're on the subject: Here's a first-person account from an editor with Strategic Book Publishing (Fletcher's vanity-press arm).

      And here (and following) is the "interview" with the "famous blog writer" that Fletcher is sending around which shows Strategic Book Publishing is on the up-and-up, followed by the blogger herself appearing ... and telling a different story.

      #244 ::: WWT ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2009, 08:35 PM:

      Thanks for this dialogue; frankly, I'm astonished at how long this exchange has been going on. I'm a retired lawyer, and I'm sitting here with this electronic contract for WL ready to send, and I say to myself, 'I think I'll just make a few query's here, just in case anything comes up.' Well, thank you thank you thank you. I, too was a bit skeptical about the form emails, especially the grammatical errors, etc. But, like so many new authors, I wanted to believe.
      Alas, I'll keep looking for a legit agent.
      Thanks again.

      #245 ::: WWT ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2009, 08:39 PM:

      Thanks for this dialogue; frankly, I'm astonished at how long this exchange has been going on. I'm a retired lawyer, and I'm sitting here with this electronic contract for WL ready to send, and I say to myself, 'I think I'll just make a few query's here, just in case anything comes up.' Well, thank you thank you thank you. I, too was a bit skeptical about the form emails, especially the grammatical errors, etc. But, like so many new authors, I wanted to believe.
      Alas, I'll keep looking for a legit agent.
      Thanks again.

      #246 ::: WWT ::: (view all by) ::: January 29, 2009, 08:39 PM:

      Thanks for this dialogue; frankly, I'm astonished at how long this exchange has been going on. I'm a retired lawyer, and I'm sitting here with this electronic contract for WL ready to send, and I say to myself, 'I think I'll just make a few query's here, just in case anything comes up.' Well, thank you thank you thank you. I, too was a bit skeptical about the form emails, especially the grammatical errors, etc. But, like so many new authors, I wanted to believe.
      Alas, I'll keep looking for a legit agent.
      Thanks again.

      #247 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: January 30, 2009, 12:15 PM:

      Ron: There are some very good writers's groups online. Salable is a funny thing. There are lots of books out there I would never buy (e.g. James Patterson, and Martha Grimes,) and can't imagine how they were bought in the first place, but that's me.

      If people are willing to critique, and you are willing to listen, then the group will help; even a mediocre one.

      #248 ::: Bruce Resch ::: (view all by) ::: February 05, 2009, 12:32 PM:

      Desperate to get out of the vicious cycle that says you need an agent to get published but cannot get published without an agent I tried on and off for years to see my work in print. Recently laid off from my day job I resurrected the novels and started my agent search again. Enter the WL. I went along at first inspired by praise (form-letter type not withstanding) but questioned the need for a critique before representation. I asked WL if this was about to become an ongoing 'critique - rewrite; critique follow up - rewrite' etc. and at what point it would end. Suddenly the replies from WL stopped! I have not heard from them since.
      BUT the experience sent me to the web for typical critiques of others' works and I am in the process of self editing my novels.
      As a result of reading the above comments I will not include WL on my new list of sought after agents.

      #249 ::: June Harris ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2009, 07:09 PM:

      I had an experience similar to Bruce's. Fortunately, my son checked the place out for me before I invested any money in them.

      #250 ::: June Harris ::: (view all by) ::: February 08, 2009, 07:09 PM:

      I had an experience similar to Bruce's. Fortunately, my son checked the place out for me before I invested any money in them.

      #251 ::: Joe Hennessy ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 10:30 AM:

      And some of you said they didn't sell books
      Read this and see how wrong you are.

      "The Vanishing Treasure of The Virungas". publised by Elequent Books which is a Vanity Publisher ????????????????????

      --- On Mon, 2/2/09, Acquisitions Dept. wrote:

      From: Acquisitions Dept.
      Subject: RE: WB Positive Review
      To: jkhlimk@yahoo.com
      Date: Monday, February 2, 2009, 9:24 PM

      It looks like we just sold either 3 or 4 romance novels to an Australian publisher for distribution in Australia, New Zealand, and China. We are very excited about the sales numbers we are seeing in the Chinese marketplace. We were able to negotiate that only the rights to those 3 countries were sold, so we are still working on selling the same work to US and UK publishers. It's a win-win deal for all concerned. In the children's area, we just sold this one: "The Vanishing Treasure of The Virungas". The author became interested in the conservation efforts of the Mountain Gorilla of the Virunga Mountains through her involvement with Partners in Conservation (PIC), a grass roots organization at the Columbus (Ohio) Zoo which aids in the protection of the Mountain Gorilla of Rwanda, Uganda, and The Congo and the indigenous people of this region. She has been involved with several fund raising efforts, including donating original art work, on behalf of the Imbabazi Orphanage and The Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project which is supported by PIC. Other Sales ... One of our sister agencies signed a deal for "Bipolar & Pregnant" with HCI, the publishers of Chicken Soup Series. Here are a few more sales, not all. "A Marriage Built to Last" was sold to a Christian Publisher, and we just signed a deal for a screenplay option and one horror movie. We are very proud of our track record. Of course we wish it were more, but when you consider that most agencies don't sell as many as that, we feel that we're doing pretty well. The reason we don't post them is too many authors will seek references too aggressively. We value our clients' privacy, and there are some very wacky authors out there (not you of course)!

      #252 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 11:31 AM:

      It's worth pointing out for newcomers that not only is "Eloquent Books" a vanity press, but it's controlled by the same people who control WLA. Here's a press release (with an unusually defensive tone in parts) from the umbrella organization "AEG Publishing Group":

      http://www.eloquentbooks.com/aeg_pressrelease.html

      If anyone finds it a notable achievement to announce a "sale" of a manuscript from your own agency to your own publisher, I have some bridges to "sell" that they may find of interest.

      And once again, here's the latest Writer Beware alert on the whole conglomeration, mentioning the Florida Attorney General investigation.

      #253 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 02:31 PM:

      Joe,

      WLA also known as Literary Authors Group, also known by other aliases, portrays themselves as one of the largest writers' agencies in the US. If they are, and if they are even the least bit competent, shouldn't their sales of book titles be proportionate to their size?

      Don't you think it's a bit strange that in their reply to you they can only claim three US book sales out of the average 172,000 book titles published in the US per year, and one of those is to a vanity press they control? If they are really doing a good job on your behalf, shouldn't they offer a bit better than a 1 in 85,000 chance of selling your book, after taking your money?

      The way the industry is supposed to work is that an agent is so confident of selling your book that they take no up-front money from you; instead they take a percentage fee out of the money they negotiate from the publisher for you. The publisher is so confident of selling copies of your book that they pay you, not you paying the expense of publication. Editing is almost always done by the publisher's staff, at the publisher's expense, not yours. (This last is in fact the profession of our hosts here.)

      If you're paying out any money at all for any of these, you are paying needlessly and you should be asking why.

      #254 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 03:23 PM:

      One of our sister agencies signed a deal for "Bipolar & Pregnant" with HCI, the publishers of Chicken Soup Series. Here are a few more sales, not all. "A Marriage Built to Last" was sold to a Christian Publisher, and we just signed a deal for a screenplay option and one horror movie.

      When I wrote to the author of Bipolar and Pregnant to ask if her agent sold the book, or if the editor had approached her directly, or if she had submitted the book herself, she replied that it would be best not to answer.

      A Marriage Built to Last by Pastor Billy Crone (actual title The Fulfilling Marriage: Eleven Steps Anyone Can Take to Get There --you'd think an agency would know the names of its own books, wouldn't you?) was published by Mapletree, a startup Christian publisher that did not, at the time, pay advances.

      The option on the screenplay was on "Born of Earth" by Joseph Thompson to The Skeleton Factory, a very minor indie (the folks responsible for Biker Zombies from Detroit). The word I hear is that the author sold this himself via ScriptBuddy.

      "A few more sales, not all...."

      That's okay, because I do know all of them:


      Denise Becker, Shades of Brown, Genesis Press

      The author sold this book herself.

      Dario Castagno, Too Much Tuscan Sun, Globe Pequot

      The author sold the book himself.

      Victor Stenger, Where Do the Laws of Physics Come From, Prometheus Books

      Stenger has been selling physics books to Prometheus on a regular basis since 1988, a decade before WL Writers' Literary was founded. I don't know how Fletcher was involved in this sale.

      Marc Anthony Rios, The Chronos Project: A Race Against Time, Blu Phi'er

      Reprint of a book originally printed by PublishAmerica(!), by a very small POD house that was at that time offering pay-to-play contracts.

      So, aside from the books they've been "selling" to themselves (hint: if there isn't much challenge in selling a book to a vanity press, there's even less challenge in selling to a vanity press that you yourself own), they have a bare handful of sales to show over the decade they've been in business. And those sales are ... minor at best. There's no way they could keep the phone plugged in from the income they're making off those sales.

      Back in 2005, "Georgina Orr" claimed "we now have 4 deals" and "Yes, in two of the deals the author found the relationship, and in two of them, we found the relationship."

      One of those "deals" they were claiming back then was Billy Crone's book. In the four years that followed they've managed to scrape up two others that they can mention in their letter. Two sales in four years (and very likely that the authors sold 'em on their own anyway). Great track record. You'd do better sending in your manuscript as unsolicited slush.

      #255 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 05:02 PM:

      As an aside, it's worth noting that in order to join the Association of Authors' Representatives (AAR), an agent must have sold ten properties in the preceding eighteen months.

      By contrast, WL has sold perhaps six properties in the preceding ten years.

      Note too that WL is pretty darned evasive about naming their sales. An Australian publisher? Name 'em!

      I know you're reading here, Bobby. Come on, name your sales. Titles, authors, dates, publishers. List 'em all.

      Come on. I'm waiting.

      Or how about an interview? I'd love to interview you. Care to come out from under your rock and answer some questions?

      #256 ::: Kevin ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2009, 11:42 PM:

      I sent a manuscript to Writers Literary Agency. I then got a reply from a Vanity Publisher they had allegedly referred it to, who offered to bring out the book if I signed an undertaking to buy 5 copies a week for a year - ie to subsidise it to the tune of thousands of dollars. I told them to get lost. Then another letter from WLA, saying that though my book was wonderful it needed editing. They would refer me to editors who would do this for moderate fees. I then asked them a few basic questions about my book - ie in what country and time was it set, what was the hero's name. They were unable to answer, indicating to me that they had never read it. Saidthey were "too busy to play games" The end of my dealings with them.

      #257 ::: Andrew ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2009, 09:26 AM:

      Just out of curiosity, has anyone actually tried to track down any of the success stories on their page? At least on front of the screenplay version they have listed four or so sales or options, and another few contest notable mentions. Anyone ever try to see if any of them are real?
      And I apologize if someone already has well in the middle of this thread. I read a lot of it, but it is pretty long.

      #258 ::: Andrew ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2009, 09:32 AM:

      Okay, right above me John did that with Joseph Thompson. Oops.
      Still, anybody manage to get in touch with any of these writers personally and see what they had to say?

      #259 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2009, 10:13 AM:

      Please note in re "Born of Earth" that when Fletcher says "Joseph's Thompson's Born of Earth, sold to Skeleton Factory Prods., filmed in 2008 and currently in release (see imdb.com)" that when you go to IMDB.com and look for release details, there aren't any. Nor are there any reviews. Or anything else. I don't imagine that there was a lot of money for the writer out of this one.

      Please also note that when they list "Robert Martorana's Jungleland, 3rd runner-up award, 2003 Scriptapalooza," that 2003 was two years before The Screenplay Agency was even founded.

      I expect that all of those contests were ones that the authors entered themselves. Nor do they represent income for the agency, which seems to support itself entirely on money from the authors.

      Did you notice that not one single one of the "unsolicited testimonials" on the page said "thank you for selling my work"?

      "We do not charge reading fees or any other type of fee" Bobby says on the WL Screenplay Agency page. But that isn't strictly true. Like his other agencies, he'll send you around to a bunch of other people (who all happen to be him with different e-mail addresses) who do charge fees for "coverage" and so forth and so on. See the thread here about The Screenplay Agency, Take My Logline. Please.

      #260 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2009, 11:07 AM:

      Back in 2006, The Screenplay Agency said, "We have at least 3 option agreements underway right now...."

      Today, the WL Screenplay Agency (them under a new name) lists three options. There's no reason at all to believe that they're different options.

      #261 ::: Ron ::: (view all by) ::: February 14, 2009, 06:09 PM:

      Has anyone "signed" a contract with WLA then cancelled it prior to the term agreed to? How's it done?

      #262 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 18, 2009, 04:18 PM:

      Has anyone "signed" a contract with WLA then cancelled it prior to the term agreed to? How's it done?

      Lots of people have. They don't try to hold onto you; once you've wised up they know there's no chance of getting any more money out of you.

      How you do it: Send them an email (and back it up with a registered letter) saying that effective immediately they no longer represent you.

      Then forget you've ever heard of them ... after you've forwarded all your information (canceled checks, etc.) over to the Florida Attorney General.

      #263 ::: Baobab ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2009, 05:53 AM:

      I contacted the WLA yesterday about trying to get my children's book published... a relief as no publishers take on unsolicited work and agencies don't seem to take on particular projects but the person.

      I have a degree and am not stupid but I have been scammed in the past and maybe that's why I googled WLA and looked for reviews... so I found this and am so deflated... how the hell do you get a written illustrated book published!?

      #264 ::: Baobab ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2009, 11:00 AM:

      I just found this amazing site 'Preditor and Editors' as you can see WLA are listed as 'strongly unrecommended'


      http://www.anotherealm.com/prededitors/pealw.htm

      #265 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: February 19, 2009, 01:13 PM:

      Baobab: Pretty much all publishers take unsolicited work. They get a lot, and they hae rule, so using a resource like, "Writer's Market" (probaby available at the library) to see whom to contact, and what they might require.

      Then send it. Follow the rules (make sure, for example, the publisher is tolerant of mulitiple submissions before sending to more than one house at a time).

      Writer's Market (and the associated books) have some problems,but they are useful.

      #266 ::: Fran ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 08:01 AM:

      I too was taken in by these folks. I also payed for a critique ( which actually brought to light flaws in my script that I had not noticed ). But when they asked for $300 for coaching lessons and to assist me in properly formatting my script I went on Craigslist and found someone local to handle it for me. When I emailed it back to them, letting them know they wouldn't be receiving additional funds from me, I kept getting emails stating that my account had not been settled. So I emailed them asking if I was still required to pay the $300 for the next step, I was told no, but haven't received any more emails from them.

      Sure hate I have to start all over again seeking an agency. How disheartening.

      #267 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 08:26 AM:

      baobab:

      You might want to hook up with the Society of Children's Book Authors and Illustrators. Illustrated children's lit is a specialized area, where you need specialized knowledge (that Robert M. Fletcher doesn't have).

      #268 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2009, 09:15 AM:

      Fran, have a look at Script Frenzy: it's the same idea as NaNoWriMo, run by the same people, and the site has a lot of practical stuff about writing scripts, useful links, and so on. Things are paused at the moment, getting ready for this year's run in April.

      There is, for instance, a list of competitions, which looks to be a way of getting noticed.

      Scripts, as opposed to books, are a bit of a different world.

      If I get mine written, I shall bung it off to the BBC.

      (For readers in general: I found the challenge of NaNoWriMo--a 50,000 word novel in a month, with a lot of other people doing the same--to be quite exhilerating. And I did it. Yay!)

      The demands of good writing haven't changed, but we do have the Internet. We're not as lonely in our garrets as out predecessors were.

      #269 ::: Vaemar ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2009, 09:01 AM:

      I was interested to read of the unfortunate girl getting paid $10.00 per time to criticise a manuscript.

      I am a real editor who works on a free-lance basis. This isn't an advertisement so I'll just say I'm well qualified and have a good track-record.

      To line-edit a book I charge $100.00 (Australian) PER HOUR.

      I can imagine the standard of professionalism, thoroughness and expertise a fee of $10.00 for an entire manuscript would buy.

      #270 ::: DJ Avery ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2009, 08:00 AM:

      I just want to thank this sight and especially James Mcdonald for the heads up on the WLA. I made my first mistake in a company I chose to publish my first book. I wanted to shop around for my second book which is of utmost importance to me and stumbled upon the WLA. I am not ashamed to admit that I almost cliked the query option. There were a few things that were suspicious to me and thankfully Google, the same site that led me to the WLA also led me to this site where I was able to know with certainty that the WLA is a scam. So the search continues. Thank You

      #271 ::: Lenard ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2009, 04:10 PM:

      Hi guys,

      I sent my manuscript off to WL and despite having it already on disk, dated and signed with full copyright feel like an absolute mug..I have been looking for a good agent to take my work on. It is an extremely personal piece of work and dear to my heart. I have not paid any money or signed any contracts but feel strongly for all of you that have been hurt by this scam. Satan truely works strong is some humans.... I believe what goes around comes around and soon you will all see, I can tell you now that if this man is scamming he/they will feel the wrath that is due. My heart has been blacked by this deceit. I even ran down the stairs and commented to someone..."oh guess what I think I have a lead". This will be a lesson that will NEVER be forgotton. Watch this space....Thankyou and God bless you all for meaning well.

      #272 ::: yep its me again!!!! why oh why? ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2009, 05:09 PM:

      Tuesday, December 02, 2008
      Suspected American Con Man To Do 2 Months Of Jail Time

      KIEV, Ukraine -- Sanctioned U.S. citizen ordered behind bars as investigation into his alleged fraudulent ways continues.


      Robert Fletcher (L) has run afoul of the law in America and Ukraine.

      Following a bail hearing today, the Shevchenko District Court in Kyiv ordered American Robert T. Fletcher III to remain in jail for two months on suspicion of fraud.

      Fletcher is accused of running an elaborate pyramid scheme that defrauded Ukrainians of up to $150 million, according to Victor Pavlovych, a lawyer representing 30 alleged victims.

      Fletcher, however, blamed his detention on the “actions of his competitors”, Korrespondent magazine, the Russian-language sister publication of the Kyiv Post, reported.

      The judge ruled in favor of prosecutors in ordering Fletcher to spend two months at the Lukyanivskiy pre-trial detention center as police continue their investigation.

      Police say they have evidence that Fletcher swindled $10 million from Ukrainians by offering high investment returns on fictitious business projects.

      Fletcher has run afoul of the law in America.

      In August 2008, a U.S. federal court ordered Fletcher to pay more than $5 million in fines and penalties for civil violations of U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission anti-fraud regulations and laws.

      Fletcher, 45, has used a fake Ukrainian passport on at least three confirmed occasions for which he admitted paying $70,000, Segondnya newspaper reported.

      On one occasion he registered his marriage and on another he was caught attempting to enter Russia by train late in 2007 for which he spent 10 days in jail and was released on $6,400 bail.


      http://images.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://blog.kievukraine.info/uploaded_images/6389-792924.jpg&imgrefurl=http://blog.kievukraine.info/2008/12/suspected-american-con-man-to-do-2.html&usg=__xKphtAILW7sUj9DaQ53Yw9T77cw=&h=299&w=400&sz=36&hl=en&start=1&um=1&tbnid=FhL9bVJJyUdxcM:&tbnh=93&tbnw=124&prev=/images%3Fq%3Drobert%2Bfletcher%2Bfraud%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1


      is this true?????

      #273 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2009, 08:40 PM:

      #272 is this true?????

      Yes, it's true. But it's the wrong Robert Fletcher.

      The Ukranian conman you're talking about is Robert T. Fletcher III.

      The bogus literary agent we're talking about is Robert M. Fletcher, of Boca Raton, Florida.

      They look nothing alike, BTW.

      #274 ::: DJ Avery ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2009, 07:25 PM:

      Is there anybody on here who can share there thoughts about Publish America?

      #275 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2009, 07:47 PM:

      Is there anybody on here who can share there thoughts about Publish America?

      Yes.

      It's a vanity press that uses false, deceptive, and misleading advertising to lure the desperate, the deluded, and the naive.

      See also:

      Atlanta Nights and PublishAmerica

      More on the Atlanta Nights story

      The Ludington Librarian

      Follow the money

      And much else besides.

      I wouldn't be at all surprised to discover that Robert Fletcher was one of the "agents" who's sold books to PublishAmerica.

      #276 ::: Tammi ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2009, 08:21 PM:

      I'm so glad that I stumbled upon this page. I had sent a manuscript to WL Children's Agency, and I'm at the "third-party critique" stage now. When I saw that I was being asked to pay "$70-$90" for a professional critique before the "agency" would market my work to publishers, I knew something was amiss. A tremendous THANK YOU to all of you who have enlightened me to this horrific scam.

      #277 ::: Melissa ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2009, 06:22 PM:

      Thanks guys, it was a hard read with so many listings, but worth it, and again, thanks.

      xx
      Melissa

      P.s. Watch out for me on the bookshelves in the future, with a legitimate representation :-)

      #279 ::: Kevin Klatt ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2009, 07:10 AM:

      Hands straight up, I'm another one who nearly got scammed. I was just about to sign the electronic "contract" when I decided to Google WL Writers Agency. Thank you all for your insights. I haven't sent any money. I'm already self-published, so have copywrite intact, and I'd love to hear more about any ideas you may have on finding an agent for a crime-thriller (87,000 word) novel. Thanks and good luck to all.

      #280 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 29, 2009, 08:09 AM:

      I'd love to hear more about any ideas you may have on finding an agent for a crime-thriller (87,000 word) novel

      Go to the bookstore. Find books similar to yours on the shelves. Find out who represented them. Write to those agents following their guidelines to the letter.

      Meanwhile, start work on a new, different, better book.

      #281 ::: Gene Probasco ::: (view all by) ::: April 30, 2009, 04:19 PM:

      A friend called my attention to this site just today. YIKES!! Just in time too.

      I submitted a manuscript approximately 4/5 completed for WL Agency review. After reading what I did here, I'm pulling back and will continue my search for an agent. They make a point of having a third-party edit the work too. Should I have any fears about my manuscript being used with anohter's name attached to it?

      #282 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: May 02, 2009, 03:54 PM:

      Should I have any fears about my manuscript being used with anohter's name attached to it?

      Most likely not; they'll forget about it once they figure out that you're not going to send them any money. Ok, perhaps theorethically they might change what kind of bad behaviour they're into- but then again, if they'd be able to successfully publish manuscripts, they wouldn't be who they are.

      #283 ::: Robert ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 06:18 PM:

      And another, saved in the nick of time. I sent a full manusrcipt plus illustrations to Writers' Literary Agency and received "acceptance" e-mail plus request for critiques. Now I've read the long list of dis-satisfied customers I'll re-think. Thanks for the warning, and the re-assurance that they won't try to publish my material as their own.

      #284 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 06:35 PM:

      There is approximately zero chance of any fraudulent agent stealing someone's manuscript and publishing it under another name.

      First, that isn't where they make their money. Their revenue stream comes from the authors sending them fees.

      Second, there's no market for stolen manuscripts.

      Third, the chance of their getting caught if they did anything that stupid approaches 100%.

      #285 ::: Robert ::: (view all by) ::: June 04, 2009, 09:20 PM:

      Thanks Jim. Now to follow your sources to find a legit agent or publisher for a children's book about a cathedral cat! Do you have anything specific to New Zealand?

      By the way, Robert is my real name, but no way related to Robert M Fletcher

      #286 ::: Stephen J. Vattimo ::: (view all by) ::: June 06, 2009, 12:37 AM:

      Greetings Friends, It is a shame, that there are so many scams on the internet, that target creative people, who truly have God given talent.
      These scam arts, are talented to,they get creative people who are trying to find a place to get their first break,to hand over the fruits of their craft for free, then they make their money by publish a books with the stolen poems,writings,or art to sell to other for a profit. They even try to sell a copy to the very people they have cheated. These scam artists target artists, photographers,poets,writers.
      I am an art, poet, writer, and I have had my poems publish twice by scam artist.
      I bought two books from two different scam publishers, and neither of them put out a product of quality that was worth the money they charge for the books, plus no poets in the books were ever paid for their work.
      Here are some of the poetry publishing scam artists I have personally dealt with: Poetry.com , White Oak Press, Word Clay publishing, Writer's Literary Agency.
      I have also had scam artist inviting me to submit my art for their books and shows.
      What happen to getting a real break?
      Well my friends you can check out my work, by typing in to a search engine : Surealworld, or Stephen J.Vattimo , I have a nice size presence on the internet, I hope you will enjoy my art, and poetry.
      P.s. Don't allow these scam artists be a wet blanket that smothers you creative fire.

      Stephen J. vattimo, For Surealworld Galleries

      #287 ::: Lyle Abel ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 05:36 PM:

      Thank you to all who posted information about this scam..you stopped me just in time. I have finished my first book and have sent it to WLA electonically. I filled out the contract and was trying to upload it...internet says the site doesn't exist any longer for contracts....when I found your comments. Thanks for helping me avoid the stress and financial costs associated with WLA. Disappointing, but a real eye opener....

      #288 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 07:02 PM:

      #288 ...internet says the site doesn't exist any longer for contracts....

      Interesting. Is the empire of shadows and lies collapsing?

      (We've heard rumors that Bobby Fletcher's been unable to pay his flunkies....)

      #289 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 07:13 PM:

      Lyle, good luck.

      Doing your own copy editing is hard. There are various methods which have evolved in media fandoms to get around that, though it helps that nobody involved wants to do things which might bait Hollywood lawyers.

      Go look at the NaNoWriMo site for a look at how people cope with the editing problem.

      Whatever you do, it isn't going to be easy, but with modern print-on-demand tech you can end up with a better product than the crooks will ever provide. The hard part is getting to the point where people know about it, and want to buy it.

      I've got a First Novel on my hard drive. It has good bits, but I doubt it will ever get published. Whatever you do with yours, don't give up on writing new stuff.

      #290 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 10, 2009, 09:18 PM:

      Dave (#290): I'm having a hard time telling what you're talking about.

      #291 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: July 11, 2009, 01:04 AM:

      Carrie S. #287, re: #286: Well, he doesn't seem to be selling anything, just inviting people to Google him. No name-link, even, nor a text address.

      Googling him, he seems to appear at a surprising number of art sites, in several different media. Some of his writing is a little less "surreal" than what we see above, but mostly it's about that level. The artworks look much more polished than his writing, but I'm too sleepy to actually evaluate them as art.

      Oh yeah, and the mini-bio found at a couple of the sites is compatible with the birth year listed at one of those sites.

      #292 ::: Maren ::: (view all by) ::: July 23, 2009, 02:18 PM:

      Thanks for all the insight, guys. I didn't actually get involved with WL at all, but I came across their link, was somewhat interested, and decided to google them. I'm pretty skeptical of most things internet-based (odd, I suppose for someone of my generation, but whatever...), so I just wanted to know if their claims could be verified, or if they came around full circle which, of course, they did. Anyway, I had a ball reading all the posts and really appreciate the legit information. :)

      #293 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 12, 2009, 03:52 PM:

      For the benefit of Google:

      Writer’s Literary Agency Group, Writer’s Literary Agency, Writer’s Literary & Publishing Services, New York Literary Agency, Writer’s Literary Children’s Agency, The Children’s Literary Agency, Children’s Book Publishing Agency, Writer’s Literary Poet’s Agency, Poet’s Literary Agency, Poetry Book Publishing Agency, The Christian Literary Agency, Writer’s Literary Screenplay Agency, Screenplay Writers’ Agency, The Screenplay Agency, The Literary Agency Group, f/k/a Rapidpublishing-screenwriter911, Inc., Stylus Literary Agency, S T Literary Agency, Inc. , Writers Literary & Publishing Services Company, Writers’ Book Publishing Agency, Strategic Publishing Group, Strategic Book Publishing, Strategic Book Marketing, AEG Publishing Group, My Editor Is A Saint, Author’s Edge, Sydra-Techniques, Global Book Agency, Eloquent Books, American Enterprise Group, authorschool.com, Sherry Fine, Georgina Orr, Mary Bluestone, Hil Mallory, Beth Stormes, Rey Best, Bob Williams, Robert Williams, Robert West, Bob West, Leslie Williams, Leslie W. Mroz, Robert M. Fletcher, LAG, TLAG, WLA.

      #294 ::: Joe Woods ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2009, 03:45 PM:

      To Beth #31 and James MacDonald #294 how do you find a reputable agent? I have four novels published and a fifth 50% completed. I need a good literary agent to represent reprinting/republishing my first four and initial publishing of my fifth. Any help toward this end will be greatly appreciated. I was about to send 3 chapters of my fifth to WLA and I stumbled across these comments. That action is now on hold.

      #295 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2009, 07:00 PM:

      Hi, Joe.

      Are you by any chance this Joe Woods?

      Okay, how to find a reputable agent:

      First, On the Getting of Agents

      Next along the way, I suggest you read Slushkiller, A Brief Note on Linguistic Markers and More Linguistic Markers. Read the comment threads too.

      Here's Neil Gaiman: Everything You Wanted To Know About Literary Agents

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

      Okay, that being said, here's the basic rule: Money Flows Toward the Author. The only place an author signs a check is on the back.

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

      Here's the rule for literary agents: A useful agent has sold books that you've heard of.

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

      Here's how to find a useful agent:

      Go to a bookstore. Find books like yours. Find out who represented those books. Get those agents' guidelines. Submit your book to those agents following their guidelines to the letter.

      A scam agent doesn't know how to sell to publishers who get actual books into real doors-and-windows bookstores. You won't find 'em there. And scam publishers and vanity presses can't get into bookstores either. Unless you see their books already on the shelves, don't even consider submitting to a publisher.

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

      Not all worthwhile agents are members of AAR. But all members of AAR have sold books to real publishers, and all of them subscribe to a canon of ethics. I would advise you to limit your search to those agents until you get a good feel for the industy.

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

      Don't mention any of your prior publications in your cover letters (unless you have something besides those four novels). They aren't credits. Talk about your current work, the one you're submitting, as if it were your only book. I'm sorry if that seems harsh, but it's the reality.

      Don't lie. But you don't need to say everything you know. After you've gotten representation and your first sale, then you can talk about those.

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

      Please hang around. Join the party. We're friendly and we talk about a lot of books-and-publishing related topics.

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

      #296 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2009, 08:14 AM:

      Jim @296:

      Is there a short summary of the way to find out who agents whom anywhere? My first impulse was to google:

      agent [authorname] -"real estate"

      ...but that doesn't for instance, get me yours in the first page of results.

      Not that I'm looking for an agent, mind, but the Assembled Multitudes might like to know.

      #297 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2009, 08:26 AM:

      I usually Google on [authorname] +"represented by"

      The best way to find an author's agent is to call their publisher on the phone and say, "Hi! Who represents [authorname]?"

      Amazon search inside the book or Google Book Search on [Authorname] +agent will winkle out the thanks in dedications.

      A note to the author will sometimes work (provided you make it clear that you aren't asking the author to recommend you to his/her agent).

      You could look on the author's webpage for "for X rights, please contact" or words to that effect.

      #298 ::: Joe Woods ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2009, 10:13 AM:

      To: James MacDonald #296
      James, yes this is the Joe Woods you asked about. Thank you so much for your comments. I'll be on my way to a B&N store shortly.
      Please take a look at my web page www.joe-woods.net and give me your thoughts.
      Thank you for inviting me to join in the discussions.

      #299 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2009, 12:51 PM:

      Oh, yes ... agencies frequently list their authors on their websites.

      Various writers' organizations have member directories that list their members' agents.

      #300 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2009, 12:51 PM:

      Joe, that's a clean, tidy, website. It looks like the sort of thing an author might put together to keep contact with the readers, if their publisher wasn't doing anything on the web.

      But it also suggests you're barely on the publishing radar. One bookshop, in Vicksburg. A link for Amazon sales which incidentally reveals the nominal publisher is PublishAmerica. Don't even try to use that to sell yourself as a writer. Just tell the agent about your current book.

      If the book you're trying to find an agent for is the third in your series, you've got problems.

      #301 ::: Joe Woods ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2009, 07:38 AM:

      To Dave Bell #301
      Dave thank you for your comments. Although some of the characters are carried over from one book, mainly Woody McKenzie, each story is complete onto itself. After reviewing my web page, can you suggest an agent/publisher that I might contact?

      Joe

      #302 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2009, 08:35 AM:

      Sorry, Joe, I don't have any specifics. Haven't even self-published yet, although I have some bits of fiction out there, scattered through ancient fanzines and slowly updating websites.

      If you hold the rights to the previous books with those characters, it needn't be a problem. But if those books aren't really worth trying to sell today, you may need to look at what you say about the characters, and fill in some gaps. Have you taken shortcuts in describing them? I know it's something I've done.

      People such as Jim are writing and selling books. I doubt they know eveything, but who does? I can maybe put together something from several different sources, and give a useful warning, nothing more significant.

      Last November, I wrote a short novel, as part of the annual NaNoWriMo. I managed to put together a complete story, with love, death, adventure, pirates, Nazis, and ninja clowns. And the complete story feels pretty good. Then I was in an auto crash.

      What I have at the moment is a lightly-edited first draft, some sections almost abbreviated stumbles. If I could bring it all up to the good-bits level, I think I might pay for a few PoD copies. And then look, with growing horror, at a pageful of typing errors.

      You look as though you know more about the pitfalls of that than I do.

      I'm serious about the ninja clowns. And since the real ninja would use the guise of travelling entertainers, it actually makes sense. Sort of.

      #303 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2009, 09:36 AM:

      I can't recommend agents either, Joe. You know your own work best.

      From the looks of things, you're a) a Southern writer, and b) a mystery writer. So those are two places to start: who represents those (and who's selling)?

      The books with PublishAmerica aren't going to be available for sale until after the seven-year contract runs out and then a) they'll be reprints, and b) they'll have a dreadful sales history. The books from Northwest -- well, Northwest ended in a confusion. Who owns the rights may not be clear and may never become clear.

      Start fresh with your new book, as if it were your only book (the earlier ones count as practice and no one will ever be able to take what you learned while writing them out of your head and your hands).

      You might drop over to MWA (Mystery Writers of America) to see if they have anything to say about agents.

      #304 ::: Mutt ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2009, 05:33 PM:

      Well, I was searching the internet for a few months before finding WL Poets Agency, and WL agency.

      I sent 3 poems (Candlelight, Before the Last leaf falls, and I killed... ).

      Not long after, I got an e-mail telling me that they were interested, and that they thought great writers were made, not born, from Sherry.

      Slowly, she told me some sets from instructions, and finally, sent me to someone named Andrea. They even sent me a contract (which I filled), referred me to some critique agency, and I paid a total of $250.

      Finally, they told me, that the deal was over (without ever getting to meet any "agent", of course), and telling me that the $250 weren't for the critiques, but for their lost time, and that therefore, I couldn't contact them, nor get my money back.

      Watch out for them!

      #305 ::: Mutt ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2009, 05:53 PM:

      Yes, I know my e-mail ends with a yahoo.com, but I'm not with them, I just enjoy yahoo!.

      For real, if anyone wants to contact me, I'm available, and Mutt is short for Matthew.

      Now, as for the WL, here goes an example of what they sent me from Acquisition Dept:
      Thank you for your positive answers to our questions and your openness toimproving as a writer-poet. You are exactly the kind of writer that we areinterested in representing and working with over the long term. We would like to proceed further with you. Basically, we feel that yourpoetry and writing that we have seen thus far has commercial potential andthat if polished and presented properly, we can sell it. We also took note of the fact that you are willing to work with aneditor/critic to improve and polish your work. Based on those two factors, we would like to represent you. To take the next step, please let us tell you a little bit about how wethink. If you agree with the way we do business then we'll send you acontract.

      Afterwards, I got the contract, sent it back, and finally, ended up paying and finding out it was a scam!

      #306 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2009, 06:34 PM:

      Mutt @306

      It's very important to remember, from now on, that money only ever flows toward the author. Never away from him, except in some specialized non-fiction writing circumstances that you're not going to run into. If anybody, whether agent, editor, or publisher asks you for money (and they're not up front about being a vanity press like Lulu) they're scamming you.

      There's nothing wrong in getting Lulu or a similar company to print your books for you, just so long as you realize that you'll only ever sell (or give) the resulting books to friends and family. And at least, unlike WL, they're honest about it.

      #307 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2009, 09:14 PM:

      For real, if anyone wants to contact me, I'm available, and Mutt is short for Matthew.

      Mutt, you should take all their emails and the receipts for the money you sent them, and contact the Florida Attorney General. $250 for their "lost time"? That's utter bullshit.

      Agents make their money only when they make money for you. And Fletcher repeatedly claims that he only makes money when he sells your work. So that's fraud.

      "Basically, we feel that yourpoetry and writing that we have seen thus far has commercial potential andthat if polished and presented properly, we can sell it."

      And this, too, is a lie. There is virtually no paying market for poetry. More fraud.

      #308 ::: joe woods ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2009, 07:46 PM:

      I have two books published by PublishAmerica and I'm sorely disappointed and extremely upset. Recently, I contacted the Author Support Team and asked why they weren't publicising my books. The response, "Well you haven't provided addresses for the media in your area". As the publishing date arrived, at PA's request, I sent them a listing of 125 friends and neighbors and also several addresses for local papers. I sent two pages of media contacts to PA over 3 weeks ago and to date not one piece of paper has been received by any of the media. Lesson learned, DON'T sign a contract with PA unless you're willing to do all of the footwork. I was mislead by PA. Now I'm trying to get the rights to my books so I can have them republished by a reputable publisher. Sounds familiar doesn't it? Has anyone out there had success in breaking a contract with PA? I want the exclusive rights to my books!!!! Hells bells I worked too damn hard writing and working with editors in Kentucky and Wash DC to be screwed by PA.

      #309 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2009, 08:37 PM:

      Joe, your story of your adventures with PublishAmerica is a pretty common one. There's an entire sub-board over at Absolute Write devoted to PA. That's rather off-topic for this thread (but you can look at the Atlanta Nights threads here, if you like).

      Before I leave the subject, though, Bobby Fletcher has been holding out on us. He has more sales than he's let on! He sold a book to PublishAmerica!

      Publish America - Publishing Writers' and Authors'... - [Cached Version]
      Published on: 1/18/2004 Last Visited: 8/21/2004

      Dr. Cortson is signed with literary agent Robert Fletcher and is being handled by PTA Sandy Trupps for PR.
      ...
      Mr. Fletcher is president of ST Literary Agency, Inc. and is personally handling Dr. Cortson's works.

      I expect that's About Nursing Homes by Dr. Michael D. Cortson, PublishAmerica, October 2004. It has an Amazon sales rank in the 4.2 million range. And that's not surprising, even given the fact that it's non-fiction about a controversial topic: The book is only 64 pages long and it's going for $16.95. That's a pretty steep price for a pamphlet.

      #310 ::: Joe Woods ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2009, 08:48 PM:

      Question??Does anyone know Alibris? They have contacted me and want to sell my books for 15% of each sale.
      Comments please.

      #311 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2009, 09:36 PM:

      Joe Woods: The only Alibris I know of is an online used bookselling co-ordinator (they basically inform used booksellers [such as my family] of people looking to buy books).

      So, what are these books of yours?

      #312 ::: Joe Woods ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 08:38 AM:

      To Terry Karney
      Hi Terry,thanks for your comments. My books are new and can be viewed at www.joe-woods.net
      Hope you will take a look and give me your comments.

      #313 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 06:49 PM:

      Joe, are these the books published by Northwest, or the books published by PublishAmerica?

      Are you essentially selling them out of your garage?

      Alibris is here. I think that they're soliciting you for this.

      Becoming a casual seller is easy. It's a great way to supplement your income while decluttering your closets and shelves. Setting up your account only takes a few minutes, and you can start listing your books, music, and movies immediately.

      To my way of thinking that's no different from being an Amazon.com reseller. (They too charge a percentage of each sale.)

      For you, if the books aren't selling on Amazon (where they're already listed) they probably won't sell through Alibris either.

      #314 ::: Joe Woods ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 07:39 PM:

      Hi Jim, these are the books published by Northwest and PA, two with each publisher. I sale them when I go to book signings and also via internet orders. I'm running pretty low on the ones published by Northwest. I would really like to find a new publisher to republish.

      #315 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 08:34 PM:

      Joe, if you've got a clean electronic text (and that's the big practical problem) I don't see any reason why you can't carry on at the level you are doing, using a Print-on Demand system to provide books as-needed.

      Whether you do this, or try to sell to a conventional publisher, copyright status looks like the big problem.

      It's great if you're selling enough that you can see yourself clearing the stock you do have. It might mean you have the ability to write books that will sell, or you might be lost in the noise.

      Maybe the best thing you can do is to keep writing novels, and keep submitting them to "proper" publishers. Eventually, if you are any good as a writer, and persist, you'll get a positive response.

      At that point, you'll find it much easier to get an agent, and they'll likely save you some future grief.

      Yes, I know how it feels to be complimented on my writing. I've had people tell me my work out to be published. And it does feel great.

      But will enough people buy it to be worth a Publisher putting up the money for printing and selling the book?


      #316 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 08:36 PM:

      How the hey many did you buy from Northwest, and what did it cost you? (I'm assuming this is the Northwest Publishing of Salt Lake City, not some other Northwest.)

      Look, odds are slim that they'll be republished any time soon by a legitimate press. Your best bet is to sell another, new, original book, have it be a success, and use that sales history to boost your older books.

      You could look at self-publishing, but for general fiction that's betting against yourself and still won't get you bookstore distribution.

      Try selling your current book and using it as a springboard. Look forward. If you can't sell your newest book (which is presumably your best since you've learned from every book you've written to date) or the situation changes, you can always go with Lulu.com or CafePress, or your local print shop (check the Yellow Pages).

      #317 ::: joe Woods ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2009, 09:35 PM:

      Jim, I paid NWP $450.00 for my first book and $0 for my second. I was told by one of their employees that 5,000 copies each were printed. I have received only 1,500 of each. I do have the rights to my books as per documents from the Attorney General State of Utah.
      I will push on with my 5th novel, which will take another 6 months to have a fully edited manuscript.

      #318 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2009, 01:05 AM:

      Joe Woods: Keep plugging. It seems you have the two things most important, stories to tell, and the willingness to keep at it.

      No, I am not being fair, talent, determination and craft are also important. Craft being underated in the modern age.

      I am impressed, you have done something a huge number of, "writers" have not managed, finished your first novel. That you have gone on to write three more, in toto, is a credit to yourself.

      #319 ::: Joe Woods ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2009, 09:37 PM:

      Terry, thanks for the encouragement. But I would appreciate your candid comments after you view my website www.joe-woods.net

      #320 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 10:04 AM:

      Joe Woods, just a friendly word of advice from a fellow commenter:

      You've given the URL of your website several times. Anyone in this conversation who wants to look at your work can now easily find it. Continually including the URL in your comments verges on spam. We frown on that kind of thing here.

      #321 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 10:17 AM:

      And, Joe, if you want to have people able to go to your web site, stick the URL in the space after those for your name and email address.

      You started out well. We've felt that we've been having a conversation. And, as part of the conversation, your invitations to have a look at your website were appropriate.

      Please, don't insult us with cheap spammer tricks.

      #322 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 11:58 AM:

      Joe:

      Let's take this up to an open thread, okay? Or try Absolute Write. Or even my personal newsgroup (the blog-like object).

      I do have some suggestions ... just not here.

      #323 ::: joe woods ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 05:06 PM:

      To all that may have been offended by my comments please accept my apology. It was ignorance on my part.

      #324 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 06:31 PM:

      Joe Woods (324): Graciously said.

      #325 ::: sherry ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2009, 08:06 AM:

      I couldn't sleep tonight so I decided to search the web for info.And I came across this after I sent money to WL LITERARY as well.I'm very upset to hear this and I cant let it go.Times are to hard and today I am going to the federal Building and see what can be done and share this site with them.I am very,upset but I'm not going to let that get in my way of persuing my dream and neither should you.I am going to take the advice and go to the local library and do some searching.I am going contact wl. now about no longer representing me.And from there I will be getting dressed to go the the federal building about this awful,scan.Thank you for enlightening me.

      #326 ::: Alan Springer ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2009, 07:33 PM:

      I'm really glad I googled WL and came on this site. I have so far paid $90 for a critique and $175 on the Agressive Agents program but refused to pay out for editing. I actually found the critique useful and used it to improve my work. However, I was becoming suspicious as I have been around for some time as a stage writer but guess I was deperate to find an agent for my first book. Having read all the comments on here, thank you all for enlightening me, though I'm left feeling somewhat disappointed and frustrated that these fraudsters have been able to ripped off so many innocent people. I hope no one has given up through being disillusioned, I certainly won't. God bless you all.

      #327 ::: joe woods ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2009, 07:41 AM:

      Recently I was contacted by Mr. Reick at Booksurge. Have any of you had occasion to work with this publisher?

      #328 ::: DD Holley ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2009, 12:08 AM:

      Ok, so after reading all of this and getting quite deflated, I am left with the choice of self-pubbing, which I don't mind because I have a lot of interest in the book, that I really can't afford and trying to find a traditional publisher for my book. Does anyone have any suggestions on where I can go to see about getting a real agent/publisher please? I am about 90% complete on my book, just doing the finishing touches and the covers. Now I am just lost though. Where do I go from here? (And thanks for putting this out there, I really can't afford to get scammed, times are hard enough as it is).

      #329 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2009, 12:38 AM:

      The best advice is to go to the bookstore, and look for books that are similar to yours. Yes, I know your book is unique, but almost all books fit into some genre or style. Look to see who published those books. Go to the library, and get the reference librarian to help you look up those publishers, or go online to the publisher's website, and find out their submittal guidelines. Follow them carefully. Just because someone tells you it'll "get you noticed" to write your manuscript in green crayon on pizza boxes, doesn't mean it'll be GOOD notice. If the submittal is in the publishers approved format, the format will be invisible, and they can concentrate on your words, which is what you want them to do.

      Traditional publishers will have an art department and will do the cover art. It's very unusual for them to use cover art from the author.

      To get an agent is pretty much the same deal; find books that feel similar to your book, and try to find out who the agent was for that book. Your reference librarian may be able to help you, or you can query the publisher of that book. Look up the agency guidelines, and submit your manuscript to them in that format.

      Unless they say otherwise, you can generally only submit your full manuscript to one agent at a time, but you can send query letters to as many as you like. Same goes for publishers. It's ok to have a manuscript out to a publisher and an agent at the same time.

      If a publisher bites first, don't sign anything immediately; re-query the agents you're interested in and let them know you've got a contract waiting to be signed. Don't expect a non-specialist, even a lawyer, to understand book contract law: what's acceptable and what isn't. Part of an agent's job is to vet the contract and cross out the stuff the publisher hopes you won't notice.

      All of the above applies to fiction; non-fiction may be different; I don't know.

      And remember, the money always flows towards the author. Agents take a percentage of sale; nothing up-front. If you never sell, they never get money. Art comes out of the publisher's pocket, not yours.

      Hope this helps. And I'm sure where I got anything wrong (and I quite likely did), one of the many authors and editors who read this site will be happy to correct me.

      #330 ::: DD Holley ::: (view all by) ::: October 20, 2009, 10:47 PM:

      Thank you so much Cally. All the information really is helpful. I appreciate it. I have already started my new hunt for an agent. My work is non-fiction I guess. It's actually a 'How-to' book. It's called 'Going green without going broke'. I have a LOT of local interest in it as well as a few hundred family members (most of which are also writers, though not all have been published, of one kind or another. I know a couple of hundred sales aren't going to make me rich, but I am hoping word of mouth will carry me a ways as well as the book signings I am already being asked to do, both locally and across the southern US from Texas to Florida. I guess it's a start. *shrugs* Anyone have any ideas on the differences between the fiction and non-fiction areas? Thanks in advance.

      #331 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 12:58 AM:

      DD Holley #331

      Do I understand that you've already self-published your book?

      That may make it quite a bit more difficult to sell to a legitimate publisher.

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

      Okay, though, that being said: John Wiley is a non-fiction publisher that takes unsolicited submissions.

      Also, check the Non-Fiction area at Absolute Write.

      Best of luck to you.

      #332 ::: DD Holley ::: (view all by) ::: October 21, 2009, 09:46 PM:

      No, I have NOT self-pubbed yet. I have been considering it. Thanks for the information. I will check out Mr. Wiley. Thanks for the luck wishes. *crosses fingers*

      #333 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 06:37 AM:

      joe woods (#328): As I've confirmed, Booksurge is the self-publishing branch of Amazon. I can see both advantages and problems with that.
      Paula Lieberman, in Open thread 130 (#823) on this site, has written some of what she's heard.

      I heard some stories about it printing and distributing unauthorized editions of books [W]hen requested to cease and desist by the authors, who found out Booksurge was publishing their work without permission and without contract to the author, Booksurge failed to be responsive in such things as immediately ceasing and desisting, and in paying anything to the authors.
      Some places you could look about in for more peoples' experience with Booksurge (all already mentioned here):

      Preditors and Editors http://anotherealm.com/prededitors/
      Writer Beware http://www.sfwa.org/beware/
      AbsoluteWrite http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/index.php

      What Cally said at (#330) just above is also a good potted guide of things to do &/or consider. Also, though not up to date, and more on the agents' side of the issues, Miss Snark (http://misssnark.blogspot.com/) is good background reading.

      #334 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 06:55 AM:

      I've put in a longer comment — in moderation now — with material relating to joe wood's query at #328.

      Disclaimer: I'm neither a writer nor author. I have self-published a version of my blog, simply to have a reasonable-quality printed record for 'posterity', which I left up on the print-on-demand site hoping someone else might stumble across it and think it worthwhile getting a copy.

      #335 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2009, 08:56 AM:

      DD Holley, there's a blog, (no longer being updated but still there) called Miss Snark which has an enormous amount of useful information on finding an agent and publisher. At one point as a project I went through and created an index for the blog by topic. It's at http://wyrdsmiths.blogspot.com/2007/09/truly-garagantuan-miss-snark-index-post.html There's also a partial index of writing topics for this site that I put together at: http://wyrdsmiths.blogspot.com/2007/10/writers-index-to-making-light.html

      #336 ::: DD Holley ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 03:04 AM:

      Thank you so much Kelly, I will go and check it out. I went to check out Wiley and unfortunately I can't seem to find an imprint that is compatible with my book. It's a real shame. Wiley taking my book would truly be a 'feather in the cap' for me.

      #337 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2009, 06:08 AM:

      The usual advice is to go to a bookstore, find books that are similar to yours, get the guidelines from those books' publishers, and follow the guidelines to the letter.

      A book that you find in a bookstore won't be vanity published or (usually) self-published.

      #338 ::: N Varga ::: (view all by) ::: December 24, 2009, 12:11 PM:

      I submitted a quarey on 11/24, which said that I would receive a responce within 48-72 hrs.
      I have not heard from your agency thus far.
      N. Varga

      #339 ::: Stefan Jones sees spam ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2010, 06:55 PM:

      Sorry, Gary, this isn't a pluggin' place.

      #340 ::: Brenda ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2010, 10:58 PM:

      What does someone like myself do? I'm so flat broke... so extremely poor, that (when considering WL Literary Group) I was this close to choosing between the fee for the critique they wanted me to get and having my abscess tooth fixed. That's not a joke. I'm so desperate to find a way to make money from home... well, I almost made a huge mistake and signed a contract with them. Glad I decided to research them before signing and SO GLAD I found this blog. But again... what can someone like me do? I've written a children's nursery rhyme, and I want to have it published. But I have literally NO money. Do I have any options at all?

      #341 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: February 03, 2010, 11:19 PM:

      Brenda, trust no one unless they are an a) legitimate publisher (i.e. one you see logos in the bookstore or can look up easily--I have a story with a NEW but legitimate publisher, Hadley Rille) or b) legitimate agent--I have no idea about this, I don't have one yet.

      Money flows TO the author, not from. That is the way of the world when it's right.

      #342 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 04, 2010, 01:59 AM:

      Brenda, anytime someone asks you for money to publish your work it's either a scam or a very bad idea.

      When you say "nursery rhyme," what do you mean? How long a piece? Book length?

      If so, go to a bookstore. Find books with similar texts. Look at who published them. Get those publishers' guidelines and follow them to the letter.

      Shorter pieces, go to the library and look at the most recent edition of Poet's Market. See who publishes material similar to yours. Do not even consider sending your material to a magazine unless you've seen a couple of issues with your own eyes. And if it isn't a paying market, keep looking.

      But, all this aside, you should be aware that the money in publishing is small, uncertain, and slow. Please don't pin all your hopes on it.

      #343 ::: Robert Alan ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2010, 11:09 PM:

      I've read a lot of negative comments about the agency in question. I paid for the critique and am now ready to give up with these so called crooks. I'm sorry I ever thought I had a chance to be noticed. I already self published with XLibris which cost a lot and they are just as bad as this literary agency.

      #344 ::: rossjmc ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2010, 02:40 AM:

      Just thought Id let you all know that I sent in a fake log line (see below) to see if it would be accepted. I pretended that I was a drug dealer named Jimmy Dogbreath, who was tired of a life of crime and now wanted to do "Hollywood stuff". Of course they loved it and wanted to represent me. Thank God they didnt get a penny from me!

      Ross

      From: Jimmy Dogbreth
      Sent: Saturday, February 06, 2010 10:31 PM
      To: form@wlscreenplayagency.com
      Subject: WL Screenplay Agency Submission Form

      Edited: No
      Edited Detail: n/a
      Genre: Erotic Drama
      Bio: Im a drug dealer who really likes writing. I am tired of a life of
      crime and want to start writing holywood stuff.
      Referrer: Dave told me
      Title: End of the Day

      Synopsis: Two boys ride their bikes to a naughty wizard in the Bronx, NYC.
      The wizard turns out to be cheeky monkey and very quick witted. The three
      embark on a journey until they all get hit by a blimp.
      Name: Jimmy Dogbreth
      Email:
      Phone: 256-666-9652
      FormSource: WLSPA
      FormDate: 2/6/2010

      #345 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2010, 10:06 AM:

      #345 Robert: I'm sorry I ever thought I had a chance to be noticed.

      You do have a chance to be noticed. The same as everyone--every big name author you can think of was unknown once.

      Go to the bookstore. Find a book similar to yours. Find out who published it (the name and address will be on the copyright page). Get that publisher's guidelines, and submit your work, following them to the letter.

      If the guidelines say that the work must be agented, find out who agented works like yours. Get those agents guidelines and follow them to the letter.

      Remember: a worthwhile agent has sold books that you've heard of.

      #346 ::: SADDLE WOOD ::: (view all by) ::: February 11, 2010, 08:28 PM:

      Jonathan
      I recognize your writing style.... I believe my spam filter captured an email from one of your banker relatives in Nigeria. Is all that money he wants to deposit into my checking account the profits your "agent" has collected?

      #347 ::: Antoine ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2010, 11:47 PM:

      Happy so far with Strategic Book Group. Willing to pay for the critique. Got my contract and will send it back to them. Will be back to give you guys my honest opinion about the whole transaction whether i got scammed or not.
      Best,,

      #348 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2010, 12:10 AM:

      Say goodbye to your money, Antoine. What you will get back will be a request for more money, phrased as a complimentary critique, and actually generated by a 'bot. This will go on until you stop sending money, and you will get absolutely nothing in return.

      #350 ::: Nanci ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2010, 12:27 PM:

      Decided to check them out with the BBB and there are NO complaints against them. I find that kinda strange if there is a problem with the company.

      #351 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2010, 02:20 PM:

      Nanci, if you knew more about the way the Better Business Bureau works, you wouldn't have said that.

      Here is the Criticisms section of the Wikipedia article. It's pretty tactful about some of the problems the BBB has, but it doesn't hide that there are legitimate concerns. Here's an old post from Making Light about the BBB and publishing scams. It's not tactful about the BBB's shortcomings, either in this area or in general.

      If I really want to know if there are problems with a business, I don't waste much time with the BBB. I check into their record with the state agency that handles consumer affairs issues, and with the state attprney general's office to see if there are or have been fraud investigations involving the business or the people who own and run it. Other places I'd check for those businesses that claim to be involved with publishing are Preditors and Editors and such internet writing watering holes as Absolute Write, or genre-specific sites.

      I won't go so far as to say the BBB is about as useful as a sieve used as a life preserver, but claiming that someone must be OK because the BBB shows no complaints against them is either dangerous naivety or disingenuous puffery.

      #352 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2010, 02:22 PM:

      Hmmm. My post is being held for review.

      Cue The Animals:

      "But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
      Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood"

      #353 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2010, 02:34 PM:

      Check your links at preview, please. If they're greyed out (well, beige on my browser), your post goes into moderation, because that's a construction spammers use too.

      #354 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2010, 02:48 PM:

      It looked good at the time! Can I claim the "Learning to see with new glasses" defense?

      the old post from 2004

      But a chance to quote The Animals is always a good thing.

      #355 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2010, 03:13 PM:

      Nanci, you might want to check to see what the Florida Attorney General has on this company.

      I know of scam agents who were A-OK with the BBB the day the cops came by to box up everything in their office for evidence.

      #356 ::: Andrew ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2010, 08:04 PM:

      I should have looked for this site a year ago. I did sign with Strategic. I've invested(or lost)675.00. I guess my question is, are these people a total scam? If these people are so terrible, why are they allowed on B&N, and Amazon. They have over a 1000 authors, are they all being took? I'm not defending, just inquiring. Should I move on or stick it out? Are you telling me I will probably never make any money? They published my poetry book, so my expectations weren't high to begin with.

      #357 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2010, 09:50 PM:

      Amazon and B&N list anything with an ISBN (and many things that don't have 'em). Vanity presses are well-represented. That's meaningless.

      Yes, all 1,000 of their authors have been scammed. You've lost your $675 (and is that all that they've asked for)?

      Move on. There's nothing to stick for. Please tell the Florida Attorney General about your situation. The Florida AG is trying to get restitution for the authors who've been defrauded.

      #358 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: May 21, 2010, 02:41 AM:

      Poetry, Andrew?

      There's no guarantee you'll like the rest of the stuff that happens on Making Light, but outbreaks of versification are not uncommon.

      #359 ::: Chris Francis ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2010, 10:58 PM:

      James, you mentioned we should write to the Florida Attorney General. Do you know if any authors have received their money back?

      Sadly, it took me 9 months to start having questions about WL Childrens Agency. I submitted 3 manuscripts. Embarassed? Getting there. Frustrated? Almost.

      I sulked for a few hours but have now moved on. Thanks to Fidelio for sending the agent links.

      Chris Francis
      www.francisart.com

      #360 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2010, 11:36 PM:

      Annalee Rocwood (nee Flower Horne) #121: On quoting rescuers: at my dad's station, if you get quoted in the paper, you owe your whole shift dinner. Posed photograph, and you owe them lobster.

      That sounds like a fine tradition.

      #361 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2010, 11:38 PM:

      Not sure how that happened, replied to the wrong thread.

      #363 ::: C. M. Albrecht ::: (view all by) ::: September 08, 2010, 07:44 PM:

      WL Agency is still going strong. They wanted to represent me. Luckily I got suspicious because almost right away they talked about a critique to help me polish my work, etc. By the end of the letter they went so far as to give me some independent contacts for a critique (because they don't do anything like that and they never charge fees; they don't get paid until I get paid). Oh by the way, a critique shouldn't cost much more than a hundred bucks. I have a feeling that the hundred bucks is just the first seed money in an investment scheme that will go on for as long as I'm willing and able to send money, but I'll never find out because (a) I'm not that stupid and (b) I haven't got the money anyway, so they're beating a dead horse.
      Can't you just see the possibilities: They have an interested producer. My work just needs a little professional editing. My screenplay is practically in development. They're talking Nicholas Cage; big budget. I'm going to get 3%. Just needs a little more work to adapt it more to Mr. Cage's personality. And when Mr. Cage has to bow out due to previous commitments, they have to start all over with another Big Name. But don't worry, my big movie is in the works. Just wait.
      Wow, I'm getting myself convinced. Now if I only had a hundred bucks....

      #364 ::: Tammy ::: (view all by) ::: October 07, 2010, 07:24 PM:

      Well, I started to get suspicious as soon as I got the immediate reply that oozed enthusiasm based on a synopsis. Smelt a faint whiff of rat, which became an overpowering stench when I got the 'send us your manuscript' email a day later. I've seen those words before, on blatant self-publishers' sites. Even though this lot swear blind that they're not self-publishers, they walk, talk and smell like self-publishers.

      They wouldn't have had any luck getting money out of me, however, as I am the epitome of a penniless author, and I know authors are supposed to BE paid, not pay. Luckily I checked reviews before I wasted any more of my time, or I'd have been even more cheesed off than I am now.

      #365 ::: Anne ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2011, 09:24 PM:

      I am one of those awful people who are supposedly ripping off poor little authors at Writer’s Literary, and I want to set the record straight.

      I am a freelance editor. I work for a by-the-word price and it ain’t much. I don't make much money writing critiques or editing manuscripts. But I always give good value for the work I do. (And I have the education and experience to do a good job.)

      As far as I can tell, Writer’s Literary is legit. They do actually publish books, and sell them at book fairs in Europe. But I telecommute, so I don’t know the ins and outs of their business. Be that as it may, so what if it is a fee for services joint? There are plenty of vanity press operations out there, ready to suck up the cash of inexperienced writers. And the operant word there is VANITY.

      Some of the manuscripts I work on are miserable. I’m not even talking about the grammar. That is bad enough. (Spell check, anyone?) But the writing and plots are just awful.

      Not to make anyone feel bad, but there are plenty of folks in the world who decided to write a book. These people figured that just because they managed to bang out 60,000 words, they are now a brilliant author, right up there with (fill in your favorite author). But the fact is that chimps with a word processor could do as well. And as I hope most of us are aware, writing a book is not akin to winning the lottery. It is not an automatic path to fame and fortune. If it were, I would not be editing dreck for Writer’s Literary for chicken feed.

      So if you are a really good author, of course don’t submit your manuscript to a vanity press. And don’t pay to have it edited by a professional. But make sure you know what you are doing before you send it to the slush pile of an overworked agent or publisher. And just maybe after it has been summarily rejected a number of times, then give a press like Writer’s Literary, AuthorHouse, or XLibris a try and then print it up yourself on Amazon or whatever. But for God’s sake, stop complaining!

      Caveat Emptor!

      #366 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2011, 11:22 PM:

      Anne #367: I am one of those awful people who are supposedly ripping off poor little authors at Writer’s Literary, and I want to set the record straight.

      Hi, Anne.

      I don't classify you with the villains. I count you with the victims. Whatever it is you're doing, it isn't editing and isn't teaching you the skill.

      You're getting paid miserable wages (you say so yourself). You're burning out your spirit working on crappy books. Are your checks getting to you regularly? Have any of your paychecks bounced?

      If you're getting paid on time, and the checks are actually clearing, then you can count yourself lucky. Not all of your fellow "editors" can say the same.

      Later on, this gig will be the job that you leave off your resume.

      Save your correspondence with Bouncing Bobby. Get in touch with the Florida Attorney General. That's the best advice you're ever going to get.

      #367 ::: Trevor ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2011, 03:32 PM:

      Don't think the scum has stopped operating! Yesterday I sent the query form with a outline of my children's book and was directed today to resend it to the children's division of their agency. Thank you to this and other sites for making me aware of this scam. I sent a reply telling them to forget it because they were crooks.

      #368 ::: Justin ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 03:32 PM:

      Oh dear. I'm afraid I am just another casualty, as I too have sent a query, got accepted, and then was referred for a critique. Unfortunatly, I paid the 89$, but funnily enough when I rejected their editing service in favor of another (a legit editing service that was much cheaper and very well done), I was accused by the "senior agent" of wanting to terminate my contract. Even after trying to tell them that that surely was not the case, I was simply ignored. Thank God I did not pay the 2000$+ for the editing. I still want to kick myself in the butt though for not having discovered this scam earlier. Seriously, I was bummed after they ignored my e-mails, but now I am overcome with relief.

      #369 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 01, 2011, 04:56 PM:

      Did you keep the correspondence and proof of payment?

      Send your information to the Florida Attorney General. They're still working on nailing Bobby to the wall.

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