Long ago, I commented on WriteHigh, an editing service that would like to become a literary agency. Anyone interested in finding an agent, however, is looking for someone with a track record, and the employees of WriteHigh are sorely lacking in that regard.
So the sock puppets rose up to sing the praises of their literary agent. I tried to open their eyes to the world of literary agents. They sell manuscripts to royalty paying publishing houses that require agents for submission. Pretty simple concept. The sock puppets went away.
Now they've returned. A charming young lady from California insisted that the agents of WriteHigh had worked wonders for her. They edited her manuscript. They didn't sell it. The poor girl doesn't understand what an agent is supposed to do, nor does she want to discover that her editor can't help her when it comes to selling the manuscript.
Now there's another one, and Celia comes out with guns blazing. Why, she's been corresponding with Monique Raphael High for eight years! Has Ms. High sold a single manuscript in all that time? Celia's not talking. My guess is, the answer is no.
She's an honest literary agent, Celia goes, and I says, sure she's honest but she's not sold anything so what good is honest? The parish priest is honest as well, but I wouldn't hire him to represent my manuscript. And no, Celia, Ms. High doesn't need my conduct certificate to prove she's worthy. She needs a roster of sales to royalty-paying publishing houses. She doesn't have it.
It's been said many times and it's worth repeating. A good literary agent has sold manuscripts to publishing houses that you've heard of, and the books can be found on the shelves at brick and mortar shops. Has Ms. High sold such manuscripts? No. She is no doubt a wonderful human being and a fine editor. That doesn't make her a qualified literary agent.