Wednesday, July 18, 2007

This Is A Red Flag

Let's say you're looking for a literary agent and you come across an agency page at Publisher's Marketplace. You click on the link to the agency's website and read all about them. In some cases, this is as far as you have to go. The alarm bells sound, the red flags wave, and you back away.

WriteHigh is newly listed at Publishers Marketplace, and we're all looking for new agencies or new agents who are hungry for fresh manuscripts. The agency and its agent are not listed at Preditors & Editors, so how new might they be?

Give it a little time, and Dave Kuzminsky will add WriteHigh to his 'Not Recommended' list. The agency fits one of his key criteria: conflict of interest. To wit:

After your book has been thoroughly edited by Monique and Susan, they will send it out to a target Reader service ("FRANK in INDIANA") for review. Rarely does "Frank" feel that a manuscript is good to go. Another edit is usually required to please his finicky but ever-so-important requirements.

This is not what literary agents do. They do not sit down and edit your manuscript, and then turn it over to some mysterious reader to edit. And there's a warning, right up front, that you are going to be billed for editing if you are foolish enough to sign with WriteHigh. In black and white, you are told that your manuscript is going to need work, and editing work costs money. All well and good that there's no upfront fees for agency representation, but it's the fees before you reach that point that will burn you.

Watch you step out there. It's a minefield of hidden fees and scams and questionable practices.


Anonymous said...

I turned wary right after getting a reply that was both quick and nice: "You have my interest. Please send a synopsis, overview, and the first 50 pages to (Beverly Hills address). I look forward to seeing your work." Thanks for the heads up.

O hAnnrachainn said...

Quick replies come from legitimate agents as well.

Legitimate agents do NOT offer editing services, and they will never bill you for their own editing services.