Thursday, November 11, 2010

Agent/Editor Exposed--All Writers Should Beware

It's been awhile since I've posted here but a fellow author sent me a link that jolted me more than a double espresso. Now before I share that link, let's sneak a peek at The Dream.

How many aspiring authors yearn for The Perfect Agent? We dream of that shining advocate who will slay the slush-pile dragons and place our precious manuscript into the hands of the wizardly-editor who will confer upon us the supreme status of Published Author.

Yet I note that one writer friend (who shall remain nameless) struggled with a lackluster agent who did little to encourage and even less to sell (said writer actually landed the only contracts herself). When this writer sucked in a deep breath and courageously fired the agent, she was sought out by another agent—A TOP AGENT from a gloriously TOP AGENCY—a thrilling event which put stars in her eyes. "We''ll shop your series to top houses! You'll be a best-selling author in no time!!"

Wowee!! Yet here it is months and months later and guess what? The only books sold are, again, the ones the author managed to sell without any help from The Top Agent. Both agents are scoring royalties for books they did not sell. Hmmm… Really gives one pause to ponder.

Now, here's the link that prompted today's article:

http://www.deanwesleysmith.com/?p=2328

In all fairness, there's no way for me to prove or disprove the accusations levied against the agent and editor in question. I have no desire to impugn anyone's reputation. Whatever the situation, we can only hope that in time the players in this drama will resolve this fairly. However one thing is clear, writers need to keep eyes wide open at all times.

Searching for publication is a perilous journey. There are many unscrupulous people lurking in the shadows, eager to assure you of success while hiding their intentions behind a smile. There are legitimate, professional agents and editors who provide an authentic service. But be warned and be careful. Always, always be wary of any who offer Your Dream Come True for a price. As with the anonymous author's story above, even legitimate agents don't always have the key to the door you hope to unlock.

Side note: I sent a preview of this to another writer friend who responded: It boils my britches to see this happen. It also makes me want to smack said writer up the side of the head and say, "Seriously, $10,000?!!? WTF were you thinking! That's my kids college tuition! A trip around the world! Hell, you could have self-pubbed the damned book for that much and a lot sooner!" You might also mention that in your post...writer beware and be smart. Hello, dude. Common sense, anyone?

Painful but true. This isn't the first such story I've heard. Anonymous literary agent, Miss Snark, famously outed one scam artist quite publicly back in 2006 in the post: Miss Snark is Damn Mad.

What do you think? All comments welcome.