Warning to Writers -- Avoid this agency scam -- Writers' Literary Agency

Ask questions/ Check out any agent you consider

Only those who do not question, do not research, do not protect themselves, can be scammed. If something feels too good to be true, it is.
Only those who do not question, do not research, do not protect themselves, can be scammed. If something feels too good to be true, it is.

Consider this a public service announcement

Why did I write this?

Three times now, I’ve seen hubs announcing the happy news that another aspiring writer has found representation with an agency. Right away my heart sinks, because I know what I’m going to find. Sure enough, I flip over to that hub to find an excited and exhilarated, proud writer telling the world, oh miracle of miracles, this agency is going to handle my manuscript. Yes, I have been accepted by the Writers’ Literary Agency. What wonderful news!

I hate to have to do it, but I do every time. I contact them and tell them this agency is a scam. They don’t sell books to publishers (though in all these years they have handled four contracts for four writers who found a publisher on their own – four!) Run – I tell them, and make sure you don’t send them any money.

Every time I post a new article in my Writing Is … series, their ad shows up. I am struck by a blinding desire to write something in the biggest, boldest print I can manage: DO NOT PAY ATTENTION TO THIS AD -- they are bottom-feeding pond scum that attach themselves to the living bodies of aspiring writers and suck out all their dreams and the money from their wallets.

Why do I feel so strongly? Because I coach new writers, and I’ve seen a number of people get hurt. Today, I received a sheepish email from a young writer (age 19) who I’d coached some time back in writing his YA novel. He’d signed a contract with them, had already sent them close to $250 of his limited funds, and now, belatedly had researched the agency on the internet. So for you, RR, here is the scoop for anyone to read.

History of the Writers’ Literary Agency

The company is owned and operated by Robert Fletcher of Boca Raton, Florida. Fletcher is an adjudged con artist, convicted of selling unregistered securities in Washington State (Case number 00-06-230).

Writers Literary Agency has no verifiable record of book sales under any of its names. (see below)

This is the same group formerly known as Sydra Techniques, ST Literary Agency, Stylus Literary Agency, The Literary Agency Group, New York Literary Agency, The Screenplay Agency, Poets' Literary Agency, Children's Literary Agency, Christian Literary Agency now calling themselves Writers' Literary Agency & Marketing Company, WL Children’s Agency, Writer's Literary Agency -- Children's Division, WL Poets Agency, and WL Screenplay Agency. Other business names include My Editor Is A Saint, The Writers Literary & Publishing Services Co., and RapidPublishing.com. They recently formed some sort of alliance with AEG Publishing, and it is widely believed, but not confirmed they own several vanity presses.

There is currently an active investigation into their business in the state of Florida (the 275 Madison Avenue, NYC, NY address is a mail-forwarding service). If you live in Florida and have had any interaction with any of these "agencies," please contact the Florida Attorney General.

Some “names” associated with all of these businesses: Georgina Orr, Georgina Scott, Rey Best, Ray Kyle, Sherry Fine, Hil Mallory, Mary Bluestone, Mark Bredt, Janet Dublino, Robert Fletcher, Robert West, Paul Anderson, Peter Parente, Jill Mast and Andrea. Supposedly according to the latest information sent to me by RR, my client, at present these are the active “names”: Robert Fletcher, President; Sherry Fine, VP-Acquisitions; Hill Mallory – Agent; Andrea – Director of Client Relations.

According to my research and correspondence with Preditors and Editors http://pred-ed.com/pubagent.htm , Writer Beware http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/ several other writers’ sites – it is believed all of these names, with the exception of Robert Fletcher are pseudonyms for Mr. Fletcher himself, although others think “Sherry” and “Hill” may be accomplices.

Here’s How it Works

They accept any and every manuscript that is sent to them. They require the manuscript be given an "independent critique," which they are willing to sell to you for $90, from another company that they secretly own. Based on this "critique" they will offer to represent you, but will request that you have the manuscript "professionally edited," again by a company that they secretly own. After you pay whatever amount you're willing to pay for the "edit," you'll be told that you need a web page to advertise your book to publishers, for which they'll charge you $150. After that, they'll offer you their "aggressive agent" program, for $90, to submit the work to publishers. Children's book authors may be asked to pay for illustrations. Screenwriters may be asked to pay for "coverage."

As I mentioned, they have no apparent record of sales to commercial publishers, despite having been in business for the better part of a decade (under one name or another).

As time rolls by, you will be advised that with the current state of the economy, your manuscript has not found a buyer, but there is one last hope. You should self-publish, list your book on Amazon, E-Bay etc to “prove demand” thusly earning the attention of a bona-fide publisher. (As if!)

And of course, they’ll be glad to refer you to a vanity press, so I’m told.

If you click on Writers’ Literary Agency’s website

You will find an elaborate article detailing how passionate they are about publishing new writers, and how well they will represent you – providing, of course, you are prepared to work hard, invest in yourself, and follow their guidelines. They are incredibly proud of their new business model that is revolutionizing the publishing industry. They have publishers, they claim, following them on their whirlwind business tour of the world asking them “do we have this or that,” and if your manuscript, listed on their database fits – lucky you.

This website is a simple four-page affair with no reference whatsoever to any of the books they’ve represented.

On the second page, you have a query submission form, with fields for your bio, contact information, and of course your synopsis. The literary agency is unbelievably prompt in replying, and despite the huge stockpile of submission “they receive everyday”, they will reply to yours satisfactorily within a day or two’s time.

The agency will show extreme professionalism in requesting your work, and promising representation.

As soon as you send your full manuscript or first three chapters at their request, you will receive the new mail telling you how appropriate and marketable your work is and how willing they are to represent you.

But there is a catch! The agency believes that your work needs ‘polishing’ and they will recommend an editing company (MS critique service in their terminology) to do it for you at the payment of a small fee of around $100. (Now keep in mind, an edit of a manuscript usually costs between $1,200 to $2,500.)

The critique, when it is done, consists of a few changes on the first page only – as an education for you the writer.

Further research discovered internet postings of the stories of “contracted editors,” uneducated and unqualified people who do these “critiques,” and you guessed it; they have been scammed as well. They’ve never received payment.

The moment the first request for money arrives is the time when all the bells should ring in your head.

Any agency that asks money from you is a scam.

So far, the agency’s communication has been fully automated (but not error-free) and pleasant, almost chatty in nature. However, when you decline or question, the good tone changes to something grouchy.

Uncle Dave’s Analogy

Uncle Dave, founder and president of Preditors and Editors, a site every writer should visit prior to circulating queries, (link once again: http://pred-ed.com/pubagent.htm ) This type of scheme is based on an age old con-game known as the Spanish Prisoner. Here is his analogy:

“A certain very rich and powerful lord has been imprisoned by the perfidious Spaniards, who are asking for ransom. The Spaniards, however, do not realize who they have captured. While the man could easily pay the ransom himself, to do so would reveal his real identity and he would surely be tortured and killed by the Inquisition!

Thus, you have the opportunity to pay his ransom (a trifling amount -- the Spaniards don't know who they have!). On his return to England he will be immensely grateful and will reward you richly.

So you pay the ransom, only to hear that there's a new obstacle. He needs to obtain a passport. A small sum is needed to pay for this vitally necessary document!

So you pay for the passport. Now he needs to buy passage back to England. A small expense but he cannot pay it himself without revealing his true identity. He is very rich and will reward you well!

Oh no! He must get a visa for that passport! The fee for that is but a trifle compared with the riches that will be yours once he returns to England! He's a lord!

Alas! Due to unforeseen circumstances he failed to board his ship! A new passage must be arranged, but the price is small. Not only will he be grateful, he'll probably make you his heir if you purchase it for him.

Woe! His ship was captured by the Spanish, and he is again a prisoner! But a corrupt judge will let him go free if you will but pay the bribe the judge requires....

And so, endlessly, on, until the mark runs out of money or gets tired of paying it.” -- Dave Kuzminski, President of Preditors and Editors

This scheme is probably better known today as the Nigerian deposed millionaire despot scheme.

Scope

There are hundreds of thousands of wannabe authors out there in the world. Many of them are niaive of the vulture ridden business world of publishing. No company, no con-scheme could survive all these years on the measely proceeds of brokering four actual contracts (for foreign writers who found publishers on their own and wanted an agent to negotiate on their behalf – and stumbled upon Robert Fletcher.) No, but consider their widespread advertising net snaring thousands upon thousands of would be published writers and funneling them into this scheme. I'll bet one of their ads is on this page.

Don’t be caught. Use the links given in this article to check out any agent or agency you are even considering.

Here are the warning signs of an agency scam:

  • Openly advertises for writers in print or online publications or both. (Real agents don’t need to advertise, they are swamped with submissions.)
  • The agency claims that it's open or seeking first-time authors for representation. (No agency will gamble on only first time writers. They may accept a few at best.)
  • Claims that it has new methodology for gaining access or acceptance with book publishers, but never explains why successful agencies aren't utilizing it. (Uh-huh)
  • Does not list any sales or refuses to divulge the titles of sales for confidentiality reasons. (Agency sales are a matter of public record.)
  • The only sales it lists are for vanity or subsidy publishers or the sales it lists were made by the author before the author signed with the agent, often years before representation.
  • Sales it claims to have made cannot be found listed in any reference lists of books that were printed by the supposed publisher. (All publishing sales are a matter of public record.)
  • Sales it made were mostly to a publishing house wholly or partially owned by the agency. (Bona fide agencies do not own publishing houses or editing services. This would be a conflict of interest.)
  • Requires an upfront payment for administration or for a web display or for later postage and copying.
  • Representation is usually granted in less than a month or even less than a week. (Ha – most agencies sit on material for months, and months, and months)
  • The agency name has changed, but the same personnel still work at the same address and there was no conflict with another agency with the same or a similar name and no merger to warrant a change.
  • The agency never provides original comments from publishers that manuscripts were allegedly submitted to.
  • The agency never provides original invoices or receipts for postage or copying expenses it claims were made on behalf of the author.
  • The agency suggests that it will grant representation if the manuscript is first given professional editing. Frequently, it will suggest who should do the editing or offer to make its own in-house editing service available for a discount price.

And just for fun: Some actual correspondence with Writer’s Literary Agency forwarded by my client:


PLEASE READ THIS INFORMATION CAREFULLY AS IT WILL SAVE YOU TIME AND REDUCE YOUR STRESS (and mine!)

Please note: If you asked a question in a prior email, I may have chosen not to answer it in the hopes that this email will address your question or concern. If it does not, please feel free to email me the question again. My main goal is to get the contract process underway. We have plenty of time for questions now that we are going to work together.

1. Attached is our Contract for Agency Representation.

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

It is simple and straightforward. We think it is fair. It is also non-negotiable. I'm happy to answer any questions that you may have, but 99% of the time we will not make a change to it if requested. If you want to have a lawyer look at it, 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. You will notice that to reduce paperwork, mailing, and administrative costs, we offer an "electronic signature option". We hope you will consider that option.

We know signing contracts can be scary.

In general though, you don't have to be nervous because you can back out very easily. Within the contract we very clearly state that your 'out' from the contract is that you can fire us if we don't perform or you don't like our services for any reason. This rarely happens, but it's there for you if you want it. Also, we can fire you too, so please, let's keep our relationship professional.

Critique/Evaluation Process

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

… are using our referral, we ask that you get the critique started in parallel with sending in the contract. Send in your contract at the same time you are getting your critique. Don't wait for the critique to send in your contract.

They will send you a very clear set of instructions on how to proceed with the critique, how to send your manuscript, payment, etc. We refer them so much business that they offer a discounted price to referrals that we send them. We send them so much business that they will prioritize your work andthis will speed up the entire process. We can also lean on them if we need to make them work more quickly!

When they complete your critique they will send it to you and to us at the same time. Remember, we are unique in that we are willing to help you develop your talent, so there is no need to worry about what the critique will say. We know that you will improve as a writer as a result of having this critique. It's a nice gift to give yourself as an aspiring writer! Invest in yourself, the more you do, the better your chances are.

What's Next?

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

During the next 30 days, we should receive your contract and your critique should be completed. Once we receive your contract and your critique is finished and in our hands, you will be put in touch with your Agent.

The Agent will then become your primary contact and will answer questions, guide you, and hopefully, before too long, come to you with the good news of a sale! (Note: we never, never promise a sale, that's a checkbox for you within the contract by the way).

I am happy to answer any further questions that you may have.

I have enjoyed our interaction. My sincere best wishes for your writing career.

Now, back to drinking from the proverbial fire hose!

Sherry - VP Acquisitions

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!

More by this Author


Comments 133 comments

Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 6 years ago from Virginia

Thanks Lynda! I am quite new to broacating my writing pursuits to the public so I need all the info I can get in regards to this subject....

And I haven't forgotten our correpsondences and think I should get a move on! I really, really want to help regarding that as the short Sam piece that was involved really was beneficial to me, thanks to you...email me anytime!

Thanks for a GREAT hub!


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Ann, You must be a night-owl like me (either that or you live on the West Coast.) This is one scam that really chaps my butt. Particularly because I've seen so many fall into their clutches. Did you note their ad here on this page? Yes, you must beware in this world, but take heart -- there are many out there, like Dave of Preditors and Editors who is the patron saint of writers who have dedicated themselves to fighting back.

About Sam -- yes, you need to make a decision as what you want to do with her. I think she'd make a great YA adult, and I'd love to work with you in putting that together. You can email me anytime, too.


Kendall H. profile image

Kendall H. 6 years ago from Northern CA

This was great to read Lynda. It makes me so sad that writers who show such insight in many of their articles, novels, etc. do not show the same in real life. As your comments stated it should be easy to deduct that an actual agency or publisher is not going to open its' doors wide to all hopeful would-be writers. It takes time and patience to your craft to be noticed. Thanks for looking out for us!


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

You're very welcome Kendall H. To my way of thinking this preying on the dreams of vulnerable people is a more serious crime than the law considers it. Yes, it is easy to say they should have done some research, and surely the victims are partly to blame, but in the flush of excitement at believing yourself accepted as a writer and on the first step to be published, it is easy to ignore common sense.


Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 6 years ago from Virginia

Thanks Lynda! I really appreciate that. I actually have many questions regarding Sam so one day I'll list them, email you, and get your wise advice!!!!!!!!!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you, Immartin, for raising these mobsters' activities. Gues what, I fell for it but hold on and keep your cool, I did not sent them money. I did, however, fax them my story and it still makes me feel sick that they might work and earn money with it. I smelled the rat straight away because on the ad FIRST WRITERS it said free and when this darling mob turn up and sent me a contract they ask for $850 for printing my story. When I question that they never answered it properly. On the Internet the is a website and there they were BLACKLISTED but that ages ago. So did it take so long for the police to closed them down? It always is the case with so many of scams - why can't they closed them down straightaway? I did write an article about it somewhere else.


loveofnight profile image

loveofnight 6 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

it is sad that this type of vermin are permitted to flourish and suck the blood from up and coming authors,so long have they crushed the dreams of many. I too was once in search of someone with whom i thought that i could trust my work to but every time they would ask for money i would question them because in my pompous opinion you should be paying me since i am the one that you will be making money from. it is because of this that a lot of my early dreams were crushed.i saw the warning signs early and am glad i paid attention to what i felt in my gut. thank you for being the teacher that you are and for sharing your knowledge.......thx 4 share


Missi Darnell profile image

Missi Darnell 6 years ago from Southern California

Thank you for the heads up for all writers out there hoping one day to be published.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Hello, hello Don't you worry about your story -- these people wouldn't use it and make money -- they wouldn't know how. They couldn't sell a story if they tried. And furthermore, no publisher would deal with them.

Hi loveofnight -- You are so right -- as a writer the money should flow TO you not FROM you. Glad they only deflated your dreams and ego, not your wallet.

Thanks for the comment Missi.

Unfortunately, Hello and all, they are still in business, still ripping off would-be-writers, and apparently there is nothing to be done to stop them, except spread the word so that everyone knows and puts an end to their scheme.


JeanMeriam 6 years ago

Thanks for the hub Immartin. Very informational and well needed. This reminds of the National Poetry Competition which has scammed so many wanna-be poets out of their money.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Yes, there is no shortage of vultures circling waiting to pounce on the unsuspecting. That's why we need to spread the word. Thanks for your comment.


cajunrooster profile image

cajunrooster 6 years ago from San Antonio, Texas

I did check out this agency once, not too long ago. I know no reputable agent or agency asks for money to help you out. The represent you and you both make money together. Thanks for this warning because these offers are tempting.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thanks cajunrooster -- yes they are tempting and that's how they work. The reason they are tempting is they play on the desires of writers to feel a sense of success. I'm sure that deep in their hearts, writers know something is up -- it's too easy. Instead of taking the long haul -- rewrites, edits, more rewrites -- querying, waiting -- these people offer the hope of immediate success. I've viewed the manuscripts of a few victims of these people -- and without fail, they were definitely not products ready for circulation, let alone publishing.

Still, the newbie can't help holding out the hope that somehow, there is a way to beat the odds. There isn't. At times, I feel a sense of anger at those who are taken by these people -- why didn't they stop and think -- this is too good so it can't be true. Did they do no research into the question at all?

Does the premise of their scam even make sense in the light of day? They collect MS from new writers, subject it to the most cursory of reviews, put it in a database and wait for publishers TO CALL THEM.

So yes, I am angry with these con artists -- but impatient with some of the victims as well. It wouldn't take more than two minutes on the internet to know something is fishy.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you, Immartin, for your come-back. That is one thing I can't accept and understand that first of all they blacklisted and secondly the police know they are scamming. Why can't they close them down, convisgate their money and give it back as far as possible? If they would this often enough the scams would think twice. Also the press would be such a great help and not writing who in bed with whom. Anyway, I had better get off my soapbox otherwise I'll never stop. They also send me an email a week ago asking to come back to them. Thank you immartin, to re-assure me.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 6 years ago from USA

Lynda - Your article was a true winner, one that was much needed by writers young, old, and in the middle. Why writers are so doggone gullible may forever remain a mystery, at least a mystery to me. One thing I did discover that may give a clue as to the desire to have one's own literary agent is this little exercise: Ask the next ten people you encounter if they have ever written a poem. The ten will either tell you "yes" or they will tell you "no, but I know someone who did." That sort of thing provides those fake agents with great power.

Gus :-)))


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hello to Hello,hello, Apparently, this kind of thing isn't exactly against the law, although the investigation in Florida is still active -- but not a high priority. Why would you go back to them? They can't do anything to help you -- they're no real agents. As I mentioned, sales in the publishing world are public record and you won't find sales attributed to this so called agency -- not in ten years.

Hi Gus, and thanks for the comment. It is true that these scams pander to the egos of their victims, feed off their dreams. Hope, however unrealistic, is a hard germ to kill.


parrster profile image

parrster 6 years ago from Oz

Thanks again Lynda. One of the give-away's for me is the speed with which these scam operators reply. Genuine lit agents can take considerable time to respond. And the other give-away is, as you've posted, the automated email tone of their replies.

Great hub.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

For me the first giveaway is they are trawling the internet looking for clients. Real agents don't advertise and don't need to. Thanks for the comment.


Challah1202 profile image

Challah1202 6 years ago from Chandler, TX

I have seen the ads, but I've never fallen prey to them. I have considered vanity press, but I've resisted them too. I'd rather just print it on my printer than fall to the scams. I will still write just because that's what I do. but THANKS for the information.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

You're welcome. But for many writers there comes a time they feel a need to share with the world, perhaps a need for recognition -- for whatever reason, and that's where the need to beware comes in.


Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

You my friend are so right, I do have a real publisher now, but my book sat in my computer for ten long years. And there is so many ads saying this and that, just like you wrote, it is a shame and yes shame on them. But, I have a good publisher that does almost nothing, so to be honest, only Steven King has a good publisher. Great hub and great subject.


emievil profile image

emievil 6 years ago from Philippines

Thank you for the warning. It is so easy to get sucked into these scams and it's hubs like yours that help us sift through which are legit and which are not.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

You're welcome emievil. My pleasure.

Glad to hear of your success, Darlene -- however frustrating. It's a truth that many think once your book lands a publisher, you're done. Forget that. Now you have to turn into a marketing person, and push your own book, 'cause rarely does the publisher do much more than publish, announce and wait and see.


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 6 years ago from India

Thank you for this expose, lmmartin. There are so many writer hopefuls and wannabes - I guess it was a scam waiting to happen - to prey on people's dreams and make them put in money, hoping to see their work in print. If only people were a bit more cautious and a bit more practical!


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thanks for the comment Shalini. I suppose as long as there are people with dreams, there will also be those who prey on them. Nice to hear from you.


adrienne2 profile image

adrienne2 6 years ago from Atlanta

I keep seeing your hub on the site and I kept saying I was going to read it. Well I did, and I can't believe it. Scammers are total scum!! Thanks for the info! Are you also saying preditors and editors are scammers to? I have used P&E before to make sure I was not dealing with any scammers.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

No, absolutely not. And I'll proof read again to make sure I never gave any kind of indication that was my opinion. Dave of Preditors and Editors has done more for writers than anyone I can think of. He has put together a wonderful resource. He's taken on the scammers and he's gone to court over it, too. No -- I HIGHLY recommend Preditors and Editors.


adrienne2 profile image

adrienne2 6 years ago from Atlanta

Gotcha! It's crystal clear now. Thank you for responding to my questions.

I read very quickly so I was reading to fast. I am sure you were clear the first time.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago

I can't believe my eyes there really is a google ad right at the top of your page. My adsense account was disabled and I am not a crook but they do business with extortionists? Thanks for the heads up I will be aware. They have also approached people here at Hubpages one I know of is Bearclawmedia...he didn't fall for it but they got ugly with him when he declined. He wrote a hub about it too.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Yes, the ad is there. Google doesn't care if they're crooks or not, so long as they pay. Nor is it their responsibility to check out advertisers.

Good -- I'm glad others write of this. The more we spread the word, the fewer victims they have to scam.

Thanks for the comment.


Donnette Davis profile image

Donnette Davis 6 years ago from South Africa

I have read this article, twice... Much is based on information copied and pasted from other websites, and I suspect that although research has gone into the post, the author does not speak from personal experience and much has been assumed (Well I know this for a fact)... I have nothing to gain nor anything to lose by making the following statements.

I was employed by this company or these companies whichever you prefer, under contract, for a period of over a year.

During that time I coached probably over 100 authors in social media integration and marketing themselves and their titles in the hope that they would actually take initiative and realise that at some stage authors have to take SOME responsibility for the sales of their books.

Sure there are Vanity Publishers, all over the internet, all over the world. Thousands upon thousands of authors use them, it is a more cost effective way of publishing and there is - yes it IS true - a lesser, practically zero chance of rejection.

For ease of reference I will refer to Strategic Book Group (SBP) under which all the company names listed in this post fall.

The SBP did not and DOES NOT accept all and every manuscript submitted to them. Many authors are turned down. They become disgruntled. I know this from personal experience. On the other hand the authors I have worked with have written exceptionally outstanding and commendable reviews both on the qualilty of the services they received from SBP and on their social media coaching and site set up.

If an author would prefer to spend his or her time writing rather than marketing where is it unethical to employ anyone to do the marketing and Social Media integration on their behalf? If an author is preparedto pay to "be in print" such as the thousands on Lulu for example, why does that make it wrong for SBP and not wrong for anyone else?

I would also recommend that facts are ascertained to be correct before making statements that could become defamatory. Notwithstanding the fact that I live in a different country, I had as part of my function within SBP, regular occasions to speak personally telephonically to a number of the persons mentioned there. I can assure you that your assumptions that this one is that one and that one is this one are so far off the mark you have no idea... Perhaps Mr Fletcher does use another name occasionally.. I often use my former surname when publshing my own books (and NO I AM NOT PUBLISHED VIA SBP) I was merely an employee fulfilling a year's contract.

I don't think much more mileage can be gained out of hammering this story... it has been going on for far too long.. SBP still receives hundreds of manuscripts, has published thousands of books (I know this I ran 3 of their author blogging websites) and continue to grow.

IF an author feels uncomfortable with something then go elsewhere, simple. If he or she feels he would prefer to pay to expedite or ensure his or her book in print, they then the pay the fee required and get it done.. Don't moan afterwards because book sales are below your expectations and you don't have a bestseller overnight. Everything takes time and effort, and what any writer puts into marketing himself and his title will pay off in the long run - if his Title has a market... If there is no market, there will be fewer sales...

Don't always look to blame the publisher, in this case SBP. Sometimes, as gifted as we would like to think we are, we, as writers/authors just DO NOT HAVE WHAT IT TAKES...

I really do write this without prejudice and again state that I am in no way affiliated to any of the companies aforementioned after I did not renew my contract in January.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Excuse me -- but how do you know AS A FACT, that none of this is based on personal experience? As a matter of fact another writer and I wrote a ridiculous and nonsensical script and sent it to them -- and they did accept it. Call it scamming the scammers, and our experience is documented in writings on another site.

Not to mention the reported personal experiences of many others.

And the fact this company has never sold anything remains unchanged and another FACT (easily verified.) An agent who never sells anything -- yeah - right. There's a useful beast.

AS this hydra of company names is STILL roping in victims, then obviously the story needs to be told -- AGAIN, and AGAIN and AGAIN, until they find no more victims.

I don't have a clue WHO you are, nor care as much of your commentary makes no sense. We are talking here about a con-game that purports to be a literary agency, who takes money from would be authors and does nothing for them in return. And the fact they have never sold anything IS A FACT! Sales to publishers are available to anyone wanting to do the research. And I have done so.

Writer's Literary Agency is NOT a publisher and publishes nothing. So if anyone is in need of checking facts as they relate to this story -- I believe it may be you. I checked out SBP and it too is redflagged all over the place -- one very site providing info for writers. This is FACT.

Here is one of around 5,000 http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2362668 /a_review_of_strategic_book_publishing.html?cat=3 that comes up on a simple google of Strategic Book Group (strange how the word scam shows up on at least 2,000)

And yes, some things here have been taken from the web -- such as Mr. Dave Kuzminiski's analogy. And much research was also done on the net -- but the writing is mine. As it always is.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2362668/a...

Sorry, for some reason the link above for an expose written by one of Strategic Book Groups ex employees isn't working, try this one.

Yes, just tested it and it works. For any of you reading the comment left by Ms. Davis -- I ask you to do a little research and learn of the muddle of scams this name incorporates.


Silviadell 6 years ago

Hello all. Lot's of good postings and I read them all. Thanks for the advice to. I have been writing since I was 12 years old and have recently decided to self publish with Create Space. I have two books in print now and have found a Literary Agent. I have not paid any money to have my books published yet and I never will unless it is to a publisher like Bantam Books or someone else like them. I was fortunate that I never had the funding to publish before and I still don't really. I probably would have been one that was pulled into the first scam I ran across in my haste to get published. I will certainly be cautious as I travel my road toward publication thanks to your advise. I was certainly not aware that the writing world had scammers out there like that.I was lucky that I couldn't afford any of them. Thanks so much for the site and God Bless everyone


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Silviadale -- the truth is you shouldn't pay to have your books published except by a self-publishing company to which you have turned with your eyes open. Bantam Books or any other traditional publisher pays the author -- never the other way around.

This company pretends it is a Literary Agency that will sell your books to traditional publishers, but all it is is a funnel into a maze of companies that demands an ever increasing drain on your wallet.

To everyone -- the decision to self-publish is certainly yours to make, and if you do so, prepare to work hard.

But in all other circumstances, when it comes to agent representation and traditional publishing -- the money flows TO you not FROM you.

Thanks for your comment. Silviadell and good luck with your venture.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 6 years ago from USA

Lynda - I had a problem replying to you directly the other day (pinkie twitch or the like...) so I will put something more simple than intended earlier here as a comment.

I have no direct experience with "Preditors and Editors" nor with those running that thing, but I did follow up on your hub by going to the P&E website. There I noticed that they were advertising the "Dorrance" folks plus others with whom I would have a number of problems.

My personal experience with "Dorrance" was with my review of a manuscript that a hopeful author brought to me for our review because "Dorrance" praised her writing (to the sky) and asked her for lots of money to publish it for her. The thing stunk to high heaven and far below as well. it was plain awful. I advised the dear lady to find something better to do than to write stuff like that. Understand, Lynda, that I am kindly beyond repair. I was trying to be kind to the gal. The thing was something that a first-grader might have done better! When I saw "Dorrance" on the recommended P&E website listing, I doubted that these were the same folks you endorsed. I hope not.

Possibly I used the wrong URL - http://www.preditorsandeditors.com .

If that is so, then perhaps a reader alert might by helpful to all.

Gus :-O


Tom Cornett profile image

Tom Cornett 6 years ago from Ohio

This is a great hub! I've spent years guiding people away from scam artists in the music business. It's a multimillion dollar rat fest. I've even warned people and they went on with it anyway...usually losing hundreds or thousands of dollars.

You covered everything so well in your hub. Wonderful job!


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Gus, I used your link and that is definitely not the site I'm talking about here: http://pred-ed.com/ Try this one. They do not promote anyone on P&E, but do say recommended or not recommended. (Sometimes highly not recommended.) I left the right link up there in the text but here's a special copy for you.

Hi Tom Cornett, Yeah, I'm sure the music business is every bit, if not more rampant with rats. Same with this -- even after you tell people this agency is a scam, they live with the strange hope that for them it will be different.

Thanks for comment -- Lynda


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 6 years ago from USA

Hi Lynda... Thanks for the URL. It thus would be my recommendation that "www.preditorsandeditors.com" be noted as the "wrong URL" and one to be avoided.

Gus :-)))


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

So noted Gus. Obviously someone has used the name. The true URL is up in the text. Thanks again.


Zac828 profile image

Zac828 6 years ago from England

I have had experience of this and first of all you think wow! I can get published; but my partner and I looked into it before we paid anything and it all just felt too easy. I know my book isn't ready yet, it needs some fine-tuning, maybe re-writing and when they contacted me, after I replied to an ad on the web it really was too good to be true. Good for you for writing this and I support every word.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thank you Zac828 and I'm glad you pulled out of it before it went any further. Thanks for the comment.


Hattie`@ hattieretroage.com 6 years ago

Thank you for providing this information and protecting me from this SCAM. As to self-publishing CREATE SPACE is superb. They are affiliated with Amazon, print your book on demand, get it listed on Amazon. I published TWO books with them. The first was submitted as a PDEF and cost me about $12 for a PROOF. After I approved it,the company charges me about $3 a book and prints and ships ON DEMAND ONLY. I totally and fully trust them and recommend you use them to self-publish. THEY ARE NOT A VANITY PRESS!

My second bood was sent as a simple word document and they designed the cover and interior, and did a fabulouys job.

"Sex and the Single Senior: A Cougars Search for Love" Check it out on Amazon. You can use them with not doubts whatsoever. They are 100% legit.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thanks Hattie for your comment and your endorsement of CreateSpace. There are many such self-publishers out there which meet the needs of those wishing to go the self-publishing route, and most of them are legit -- unlike the vanity presses.

My concern here is for scam artists advertising as legitimate agents for those looking to publish traditionally, when in effect they are simply a funnel into associated organizations who will charge them for services and in the end, they will self-publish (if they publish at all) but at much greater cost. Also, the manuscripts I've seen that were presented to these people were in no way ready for circulation, let alone representation and publication.

The whole thing is rather sad.


SwiftlyClean profile image

SwiftlyClean 6 years ago from Texas

Thanks again!

SharonSmith


Duchess OBlunt 6 years ago

A great heads up Lynda. Thank you for bringing it out in the open and exposing what it is.


JannyC profile image

JannyC 6 years ago

I have encountered them before. I saw them and then they wanted me to pay to get it edited and I was like oh hell. Wrote back I changed my mind and moved on. I found predators and editor and they are on my lifeline to any publishing company I come across that seems of interest to me for I go the small publishing company route.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Glad to hear you smelled the rot before you got sucked in JannyC. Good luck with your publishing venture.


mquee profile image

mquee 6 years ago from Columbia, SC

It is good that people like you are good enough to warn any unsuspecting person. Too bad that predators are out there "always", trying to get something for nothing. Thanks for the warning and explanation, because the company names all sound so official, for lack of a better word.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thank mquee -- yes, for every human aspiration there is someone waiting to take advantage of it.


nomoretrucks profile image

nomoretrucks 6 years ago from scotland

Hello L. M. or should i say Prynhawn Da (good afternoon) I found your hub after 'showing off' one of your other hubs to my Scottish partner Linda. (one of the subjects she took at Dundee uni' was modern American history) We Discussed it at length so much so i missed my traditional, Sunday 'hangover cure' ride in the forest and hills after brekkie'.

I am about as far from being a writer and an author as most people perceive. I went on a long physical journey a short while back which affected me so much emotionally, i was compelled to write about it. I had a large amount of scribbled notes which were eventually organised into a manuscript. This manuscript was eventually read by a professional after trying many other avenues. It is due to be published shortly. Its probably the most emotive process i have undergone because this product contains my entire soul on view to the world. The professional reader who wrote the review indicated that of the '..many a tome' he had read this moved him '..profoundly and often'. The review was so positive (aside from pointing out my bad grammar), it made me cry buckets not least because of the journey in life i had taken to get to this point. I have no ambitions as a writer, it was a story i want my kids to read one day, as well as people like me who previously thought they doubted they had the ability to actually write 'A book'. The publishers seem to think it has considerable merit. I will only find out this by this years end. This well established British publisher Received this manuscript after i used the services of w.l. agency to format the book to industry standard. I couldn't find any other source in the UK who could do it for £40. However the subsequent e-mails that arrived after this offered more and more services at mounting cost- not large costs, which- if i wasn't as expedient with my attitude to time (its like gold dust) i may have used. It was quite clear their 'reader' had only read the first chapter.

Im on no-ones side here. My manuscript was sent back from a whole host of publishers over about a year and was seemingly only noticed by an established publisher with an enthusiastic review after i used the information i used after paying w.l. for their services. If my book goes nowhere financially, apart from recouping the print cost, at least my kids can read it. Maybe a few people may purchase it and enjoy it and i will have reached goal of catharsis.

Either way, i have paid for a service which may have helped the book become noticed. Like paying money for someone to change the oil in your car or for something we don't have the ability to do ourselves.

However when the service involves marketing a persons emotions its a different kettle of fish. Insurance companies do it, they sometimes use those same emotions to sell. They aren't regarded as a scam, they are regarded as pure business.

Its that fine grey line maybe which is crossed and sometimes unscrupulous way something so close to our hearts we will walk over crushed glass for a hundred miles for is taken advantage of by people who can read us. Like the fella who sold me a 'dud' motorcycle for way over what i should have paid for it, because he could read my emotions like a book. When i should have known better!


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Congratulations on your publishing venture. I understand you consider this on a grey line between business practice and scam.

I must disagree. Look at their ad (which is probably on this very page.) The state "don't self-publish, agent finds publisher who pays you" then, taken on a wannabe, charge them for services like critiques (which are bogus and only on the first page,) edits, PR, and finally funnels them into a vanity press.

This is a scam -- no line, grey or otherwise involved here.


nomoretrucks profile image

nomoretrucks 6 years ago from scotland

i guess your right, there are pitfalls for newbies into many ventures and publishing seems to have many. Thank you for your reply Lm.


Tom 6 years ago

I received an email saying they like the query about my book. Their email address was form@wlwritersagency.com. Is this the same one everyone is warning against? The letter said that if I have any questions I can talk to MARK. Is this the Mark in the article? The letter was allegedly sent from ROBERT, VP Acquisitions. Same Robert mentioned??? Another name on the letter was SHERRY, VP Acquisitions. How many VP's do they have for the same department???


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

I honestly can't say who is named what at this particular time. Robert would be Robert Fletcher, Sherry is Sherry Fine -- and you can do as you wish in regards to them -- but consider yourself duly warned. Do yourself a favor -- don't take my word for it; check them out on writer sites -- Editors and Preditors, Writer Beware, do a google. Or you can believe what I've written here and save yourself some time.


John Yeoman profile image

John Yeoman 6 years ago from Story writing land in the centre of England

Lynda, the irony is that - as I'm sure you know - their ad appears at the top of your hub as I write this Comment. I've found the ad in endless websites polluted (sorry, enhanced) by Google advertising. I even found the ad pop up on one of my university's official websites, as if the university itself had endorsed the company.

(You might ask, what is a university thinking of, to permit any form of Google 'monetisation' whatsoever on its sites? It's a long story...)

Given the evidence you present - and there's much more of it on the web - I'm stunned that HubPages, or Google itself, tolerates this advertiser.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi John, Apparently, ripping off writers isn't against the law -- or so it seems. And so long as they pay to advertise, they will show up. I find them on this page almost every other visit. I consider it a strange irony. Thanks for your comment. Lynda


Petra Vlah profile image

Petra Vlah 6 years ago from Los Angeles

Hi Linda,

There are many things I admire about you, starting with your personal talent as a writer which is at the top of the list. I equally admire and appreciate your extreme generosity in sharing useful information; your series of teaching writing techniques and the practical suggestions you give to writers are priceless and I bookmarked each and every one of them.

I consider this hub another example of your generosity in terms of sharing information that any writer needs to know about and be aware of. The time and effort you put into helping us all makes you a Hub Page hero and you deserve our respect and gratitude. Thank you Linda


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Thank you Petra for your comment. I don't know what else to say, so I'll say nothing. Best that way. Lynda


linda 6 years ago

hanks so much for this.. was JUST about to sign up with them but thought i should research them first.. you've obviously saved me a LOT of money.. thanks again..


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

You're welcome linda. It isn't so much the money as it is the dead end and dashed hopes I want to spare. These bottom feeders have sucked the life out of many hopefuls and I wish everyone would read this hub so we could put them out of business. Lynda


daisyf1305 profile image

daisyf1305 6 years ago from miami beach

You know after what I went through with PA (publish america) I swore that if it was too good to be true then it was just that.

Would you mind i I linked your hub to my PA scam hub I feel the more writers know about these sharks the better. Le me know.

http://hubpages.com/literature/Publish-America-sca


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Link away daisy. You're right. Only by sharing this information can we do any damage to these bottom feeders. Thanks for coming by and leaving this comment and thanks for the link. I'll drop by and read your article. Lynda


Geert Kliphuis profile image

Geert Kliphuis 6 years ago

Dear Mrs. Martin: as an agent and author, I take note of the practices of some American agencies. I work mainly with Spain, where agents are submitted to rigorous ethics and they expect me to apply these as well. This entails also the principle of: 'no publicación, no honorario.' The great Carmen Ballcells in Barcelona worked for years, without seeing any money, to get people like García Marquez and Allende signed with publishing houses around the corner from her living room where she set up her business. I myself have an agent in Madrid whose ethics are impeccable.

Perhaps some US agencies should learn from the Spaniards who work in one of the fastest-growing book industries in the world.

However, the title of your article, appearing in my 'Diagraph Agency Hub', suggests that you target my agency. Is their no way you change that?

Geert Kliphuis, Diagraph Literary Agency, Brussels/Montréal


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hello Geert, I am at a loss to understand how the title which only lists the name of the Writer's Literary Agency could affect your agency. Please explain. How could this target you?

And yes, I know many agents are scrupulously honest -- most, I would imagine. But this one is a scam, no doubt about it.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi again Geert, I just visited your hub to see what you mean. All that is is hubpages listing other hubs on similar subjects and in no way gives the impression of targeting your agency.

If this is disturbing to you, I suggest you contact the hubteam and ask my article not show up as a related article in your page.

I don't see the problem. But it is beyond my control to change the fact this article is listed there as related reading.


Bob Mercado 6 years ago

Geeeze, I just filled up and submitted the form at Writers Literary Agency before I found this article although I had doubts about the company.

I guess I was too impatient in selling my book.

Thanks Lynda!!!


ScottKessler 6 years ago

I almost got sucked into this scam. In return for the endlessly long emails I had to wade through, I've replied with a choice missive of my own.

Thanks for the heads up.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Good for you Scott. I sometimes wonder if there are any first-time writers who have not been or almost been scammed into this. Thanks for your comment. Lynda


Emma 5 years ago

oh my gosh i was just on the contract stage of this deal and i decided to check them out on the internet to see if there were any scams, sooo glad i did thankyou so much xxxx


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Glad for you Emma. Now get busy working on a legitimate outlet for your work. Lynda


Emma 5 years ago

Will do :) xx


William Ayers 5 years ago

Hello. I had sent in the submission/contract but have not yet sent any kind of money. Which, after reading this article, I definitely will not!!! I read the emails.....and the very same you listed above......was the on e that came through to me. I did however, find a much more REPUTABLE agent online and did some fishing beforehand. And that agency, BURTON AND ROBINSON, had come up legitimate. But please keep anything highly posted. It almost happened, but after reading this, it didn't go through. Submitted my denial with them and that was it.

Thank you for this information.

William James Ayers


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

You're welcome William. Just glad on more person has wised up to their routine, and that you didn't get sucked in. Keep on trying. Good luck. Lynda


anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 5 years ago

Someone sent me this link to Writer's Literary Agency and I thought it sounded too good to be true. Anyway, googled reviews on them and yours came up--I'm glad to have read your hub. I'm running from them as fast as I could. Thanks for the heads up.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Good for you anginwu. I am so glad you ran. Good luck with your work. Lynda


Kryss laBryn 5 years ago

Thanks for posting this. I recently entered a Randomhouse contest (didn't win, unsurprisingly; I bet the competition was stiff), and as I had said that I'd shop my MS around if I didn't win, I Googled how to submit unsolicited MS's to RH.

One of the first 3 or 4 hits was the Writers (no apostrophe) Literary Agency.

It sounded like a good deal but also highly suspicious. For one thing, I believe that most agents don't have you pay them to get your work edited; the publisher assigns you an editor once they accept your MS, from what I've read.

For another, the front page of the website of a literary agency shouldn't have punctuation and grammar errors in it! As soon as they said "different THAN" my suspicions were actively aroused.

Happily I'm Internet-savvy enough to Google " 'Writers Literary Agency' scam" and lo and behold: it is.

Thanks for putting up this info about them. It's thanks to people like you that people like me are able to avoid people like this.

I agree that the law should come down harder on people like this. At least this info about them is available for people who do even a modicum of research.

Think I'll just keep submitting my stories to various publishers on my own. Each publisher does have info up on the net on how to submit unsolicited manuscripts (if they accept them at all), after all.

Thanks for sharing this info!


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Good luck to you Kryss. Keep on trying. Lynda


Alexandre 5 years ago

Dear Immartin,this mail comes to you from France.

I have been fished by WL Literary Agency, and paid the 90$ odd to receive a “critique”, which, as your correspondents said, proved useless.

It is seeing the diarrheic pages of prose sent to me, obviously automated, that I started having a doubt about this agency, typed their address on Google and discovered your blog.

Well, 90$ is only the price of a good dinner, but the humiliation to have been caught, and the time lost, are more of an annoyance.

To your readers-authors to be, I would recommend to always take a maximum of information before answering an advertised offer (which I regret now no to have done myself). Fortunately, blogs like yours prove to be of great help

This said, publishing a book in U.S. seems to the unaware foreigner to be like entering a jungle.

I have been in contact with the following ones: X-libris – Dorrance –Rose Dog – Author House – Outskirts Press – Virtual Bookworm Publishing – Dog Ear –iUniverse – Wheatmark – Llumina – Create Space.

For a book 8.5’’ x 5.5’’ appx. 250 pages, with a personalized cover , including the necessary editing, most of them ask for a payment above 3,000 $, but how to be sure their engagements are fulfilled?


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Cher Alexandre, I have never self-published but I hear from others that Createspace and Lulu are reasonable. For my own books, I contracted with an independent publisher using a more traditional route. I did not pay for the publishing. As far as editing goes, be wary of the packages offered by self-publishers. It's better to find your own editor. If you want some help in this area, feel free to email me through the contact information under my avatar.

Sorry you were caught up with WLA, but take comfort in knowing you were only one of many thousands.

You are right -- it is a jungle. Lynda


annemariebusch profile image

annemariebusch 5 years ago from Greenwood Lake, NY

Had to go back and read these posts to get encouragement. I signed with WLA a year ago, trying to get an agent for a book that I self-published in 2009, and re-publish it. I also had another book that was done, and was looking for representation for that (never signed a contract with that one).

After a year, and $90.00 critique later (thank God I didn't sign up for the blog and anything else they tried to talk me into), there has not been anything even close to a publisher, and not much explanation other than "it's the slow time of the year". I didn't receive any detailed reports about what they were doing. just automated emails, and once in a while my agent would return my correspondence.

Recently, my agent emailed me to tell me that they have had no luck. She suggested that we should step up efforts with an Aggressive Agent plan. I would have to pay $17.50 for every packet sent out to each publisher. I was not exactly willing to spend more money.

Luckily, I found this and other blogs explaining that they are a scam. I wish I had seen this a year ago.

On Friday, I sent an email to them, telling them that I would not be renewing my contract (which expired on Feb 2, 2011), and that I want my money back because they had no intention of doing anything to further my career.

Today, I received an email from my agent, as if they never received Friday's email, but I know that she only sent the email because of it. She thanked me for my commitment and patience, blah blah blah, and wanted to go ahead with the aggressive agent plan. She also said that she would personally make sure that I get a contract for my second book, which I almost sent them. I am not doing either, obviously--thanks to this post and various others.

Now it's back to the drawing board. Time for a thousand queries, and probable rejections. I don't necessarily want to self-publish again, because it is expensive. It was not a bad experience, but the books are hard to sell. Although it was great to see my name on the front of a book, and that in itself was worth it.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi annemarie. Every agency can be vetted by a little research. It didn't take long to find that WLA has not made any deals -- none that we'd call a real deal, anyway. I'm glad you didn't get totally soaked, only a little damp. Good luck with your work and keep on trying. Lynda


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

Thank you, I'm really glad to know this! Another thing I had no idea about:)


annemariebusch profile image

annemariebusch 5 years ago from Greenwood Lake, NY

I just wish that I had seen this before I signed with them. I wasted a year thinking that they were actually trying to sell my work (and they were not).

It's a little depressing because I thought I had an agent, and now it's back to square one. But, I will do better research.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi RealHouseWife -- thanks for commenting.

Hi AnneMarie. The year wasn't wasted -- you learned from it. Right?


annemariebusch profile image

annemariebusch 5 years ago from Greenwood Lake, NY

Right, I did learn a lesson, and I'm not going to dwell on it. It was also a year filled with hope, even though it was misplaced.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

So redirect that hope. Is your book edited? Ready to meet the world? IF not, find an editor and make sure it is the best it can be. If you have no luck with agents, try independent publishers directly. Post your work on Authonomy or Writeon and get feedback from other writers. Collect their reviews and prepare a package. Keep on trying. YOu can contact me directly if you want. Lynda


ory kahana 5 years ago

Thank you for the extensive work you have done on researching WLA.I fell in for them too. Can you please provide the name of some genuine agents or publishers.

Thank you again


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Ory, go to Preditors and Editors for a complete listing of agents and publishers as well as background info. Thanks for commenting. Good luck with your endeavors. Lynda


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

Very useful and well researched information. Anyone looking for a literary agent would do well to heed the warning you've posted here and you've also listed general points that will help writers avoid similar scams.

This was a great expose' and I thank you for posting it.

Voted up, useful and interesting.


irish writer 4 years ago

another scamming outfit is firstwriter.com

I bought a year's subscription to be paid monthly from my bank account. they, however, took a second full year's subscription from my paypal account without asking me if I wanted to renew my subscription. I stopped using firstwriter.com 6 mnths ago. All the info they have you can basically get for free elsewhere. so be warned folks. I disputed the transaction and they said they couldn't reverse it as it wasn't done by them...! and now they want more money on top of what they stole if i wish to cancel my renewed subscription...


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi happyboomernurse. Thanks for commenting.

Hi Irish writer. Haven't heard of them before. What is it they were supposed to do for you? What were you paying for? Tell us more.


Melovy profile image

Melovy 4 years ago from UK

Thanks for this hub. It is very useful. I already knew that an agency charging for their services was suspect, but this by sneakily suggesting editing services that turn out to be their own I can see that it would be easy to be duped. Your information on preditors and editors is also very useful. Thank you for providing this service to writers.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Melovy -- You're very welcome. Truth is WLA has not sold a book to anyone. Nor are they likely to. Glad to be of help. Lynda


Rochelle Frank profile image

Rochelle Frank 4 years ago from California Gold Country

I have heard warnings about this agency for years-- and the warnings always bear repeating.

"Preditors and Editors" is a good resource-- even their reviews should have a second opinion. "Trust, but verify", R. Reagan


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Rochelle Still in spite of the number of warnings out there, this group finds a multitude of eager new writers to rip off. Yes, as always it is buyer beware time. Thanks for commenting. Lynda


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 4 years ago from Iowa

This is great information. Thanks for the heads up.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

You're welcome.


Hal Colebatch 4 years ago

I sent these people a book, since published by a legitimate publisher,(and making money, thank you), "Time-Machine Troopers". As the title suggests, it is about time-travel. I received a very enthusiastic response but also the comment that it needed editing, which they would be happy to do for a fee. To see if they had actually read it ot not, I asked them what was the hero's name and what year was it set in? I received a very angry response along the lines that they were "too busy to play games." They obviously had not read it at all.I told them where to get off. Incidentally, I run a real book-editing service, and know that proper editing costs many times what they were quoting. It is specialised and labor-intensive.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Good for you, Hal. I'm also an editor and wouldn't take on a manuscript to prepare for publishing for under $1,200 -$1,500. Glad you saw them for what they are. Best of luck with your book. Lynda


Jim 4 years ago

Thanks for posting this! I'll save time and aggravation now!


Jennifer 4 years ago

HI there. I hate to be one of the suckers, but here i am. I signed with them, went through the critique, but refused to have it edited, as I am a professional reporter and editor, and after months of hearing nothing, I get a reply back from "Georgina" who says they are unable to sell my manuscript. What other options are out there for us and why have these people not been stopped yet?


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Jim -- you're welcome

Hi Jennifer -- Of course they can't sell your manuscript, because they've never sold any manuscript... If you can't get the attention of an agent, agent yourself. As you are a reporter and editor, surely you have connections with the media; why not self-publish and do your own publicity?

Why have they not been stopped? Because it's a free country and buyer beware. All the information about them is out there. All writers should do their own research before signing with anyone.

Sorry to hear of your experience with them. Chalk it up to a learning experience and move on. Thanks for sharing with us. Lynda


Jess 4 years ago

Unfortunately, I was scammed as well.

The crazy part is that WLW's Ad is on your hub as if you endorse them...below are some reputable resources for new authors.

1. Find active book agents by reviewing Publishers Lunch website

2. Search for book agents, some active, some are not - Agent Query website

3. Get connected to a book agent - Author Agency website

4. Contact authors who have published books similar to yours and ask them who their agents are.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Jess, Unfortunately we have no control over advertising on our pages. I wrote an article about work in child protection and child sex abuse only to have ads for mail order brides from Asia and "beautiful Russian ladies want to meet you." Thanks for your input. I would also add Editors and Preditors as a great resource.


Jess 4 years ago

Ok, glad to know it's not you placing the ads!

Writers' Literary Agency (WLW) is despicable for preying on aspiring authors.

Is it legal to place in an author agent contract that the agent must show proof that he/she presented the authors work to publishers?


Ronnie Steele 4 years ago

Hi Immartin,

1)You focus on WLW but I haven't found anything about Firstwriter which I was just about to subscribe to but haven't yet. What do you think of them?

2)How can I discover which poetry competitions you can enter?

Ronnie


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 4 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hello Ronnie.

1. Yes, I focus on WLA because that is who this article is about. I don't know Firstwriter, but can say, if anything looks too good to be true, or too easy, it is a scam. Simple. Check out their record. How many manuscripts have they actually sold? (Easy enough to find.) I couldn't possibly cover all the slime-sucking rip-off artists who prey on the wannabe author but here's the bottom line:

Caveat emptor.

Check them out! If they're behaving badly, if they're a scam, the information will be out there. They are counting on your desire for publication coupled with your naivete.

And

2. I don't know, not being a poet.

Thanks for commenting. Lynda


Mr. Happy profile image

Mr. Happy 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

"Any agency that asks money from you is a scam." - This sentence here made me think of churches and their plate of collection: "If a God is asking You for money, he/she is a scam." - I think both cases are rather similar, regarding the ripping-off concept.

"we can fire you too" - This seems a little ridiculous. As an agency they are hired by the writer thus, how can they fire the writer? They are the ones hired not hiring ... geez, no common sense again (as in many other cases in our societies).

Rotten businesses.

There are many such crooked companies around, from the fashion/modelling business, to sales companies, etc. I remember years and years ago, I went with a buddy to an interview for a security company. We were both working in that field already - I had two different security jobs and I was only at that interview because I was bored and decided with my friend to see how many security related jobs we can get in one day.

The man hiring was in his mid thirties. A juice-bag filled with steroids, who was making his biceps hop up and down as he was talking to us from behind his giant desk. By the end, he was asking us to pay roughly two hundred and fifty dollars for the uniform, offering crappy work sites and no benefits. My buddy and I walked-out laughing. Nonsense.

People have to be careful in Life. Looks can be deceiving. A fancy website or persuasive email can be damaging if we do not use our critical thinking abilities.

Great article as always, Mrs. Lynda. Thank You for taking the time to put it together. Will share.

All the very best! : )


NotPC profile image

NotPC 3 years ago

Thanks for the heads up! I totally almost got scammed!


L.L. Woodard profile image

L.L. Woodard 3 years ago from Oklahoma City

Great info here, as relevant now as the day you wrote it. Thanks for looking out for fellow writers.

Voted up and Shared.


Robert Tuffree 3 years ago

I notice most of the ones posting have extensive problems with grammer and punctuation. Your screenplay needs to be glistening with proper punctuation and grammer usage. I will advise those in question to study the rules of grammer and punctuation, because sloopy usage is certain to get your screenplay no where.

I have been where most have been with the critique; however, I was serious about my screenplay, put it on hold, spent (5) five years completing a Bachelors degree, and then I made my rewrite. I spent (18) eighteen hours correcting punctuation errors, and adjusting run on sentences. My screenplay is currently in production.

The critique process cost money, but was helpful. I am not dealing with any internet agency since my paid critique. Happy writing!


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 3 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hey, Mr. Happy Snake-oil salesmen abound everywhere. Thanks for sharing your story.

Hi NotPC Glad you got away.

Thank you, LL Woodward

Robert: People leaving casual comments don't worry about grammar and punctuation and their writing abilities should not be judged by such. By the way "no where" should be "nowhere. "


jessefutch profile image

jessefutch 3 years ago from North Carolina

I had no idea. This is very interesting. Voted and shared.


Xav Monet 3 years ago

I was with W L Literary agency for 1 year with a screenplay based on a true story. I was contacted by Anton Diether through W L interested in my play. Anton is a well respected screenwriter in L.A. where I live close to. We collaborated with some international companies with success. I then moved up by referral from there. Guess I was lucky.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 3 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

More than lucky! Though I understand screenplays are handled through a different division. All the same, you are the first person out of the thousands I've heard from to claim any success. Congratulations.


Najah 3 years ago

Thank you for your post on the literary agency because I stumbled upon it yesterday looking for literary agents to represent me with my children's stories, which are really good according to an author I know (nonfiction author). I sent the agency the requested two-bit synopsis. Today I received an email saying exactly what you said above--my writing is what the agency is looking for. Well, that would be believable if I actually sent them words from the story, but it was based on a two-bit sentence about the story I wrote. Red flags! This is why I googled the agency's name and this is how I landed on your Hub. Thank you!

Most writers like to write, but it is not our nature to do the dirty work of looking for literary agents to represent us since most publishers do not accept unsolicited manuscripts. This is how we fall prey to scamming agents. Shortly, we learn we have to find a literary agent--the guard to the publishing world! Thank Amazon and Barnes & Noble this is changing! Soon those walls will crumble--with self-publishing. It is no longer vanity pumping. It is taking charge of our own destiny! We are writers because it is our passion, our craft, our light, our little worlds. And sometimes we desire readers because we have something to share, hence, where the desire to publish becomes a desirable. But we have to remember it is not a proclamation of our talent or lack thereof.

In the future, it will be a writer's world. We will still war each other to get attention in the big fat world of writers. Agents will have a role in the future, but it will be a smaller role. Most will be scrambling for jobs in the years to come. And, that includes the scamming agents.


Najah 3 years ago

Well, I notified the agency that I googled the agency and learned it was a scamming agency. Believe it within an hour, I received this long email from Tom: Totally untrue… if facts matter you will read below Najah

Thanks for the chance to clear things a bit. Today people can think they get more than is actually offered, but if you see how old the issues are and what I write below, I think it should allay you legitimate concerns. Let me know what you think please.

Before giving you the overwhelming evidence of positives about our company, let me just tell you how to prevent any company online from taking advantage of you or anyone you know. Pay by PayPal or Credit Card. Then, if the company or entity does not perform the service or deliver the product as advertised, they will defend your rights and get your money returned.

It is just that simple, period….Now to your question

I appreciate your response

The concern is reasonable, yet the answer is simple and thorough below.

After reading below, the majority reconsider doubts, especially with the 'try us' information and one time discount you will find here

I assure you that no company has zero detractors and today, people here expect more than is sometimes offered. In my closing here you can see the many many successes and testimonials in our favor. If any real substance was in play, we could never stay in business. We respect your decision and only ask that you look at the links here and my response to those old problems which are tiny compared to the good works we help people with.

While you are considering a publisher and read the truth of the matters at hand below, please also be aware of the Strategic Book Publishing guarantee

***We are agency and have become a publisher out of the many requests from emerging authors who have, after many disappointments looking, realized that traditional publishing is no longer available to emerging authors either directly or through agents***

***The SBPRA guarantee. "Start your publishing with our company. If within 30 days of starting with us you bring us proof that you have received a bona fide offer from a well known "traditional publishing company" who will give you a $1000 or more advance, publish and market your work at their own expense, send real evidence of that to us, and RECEIVE A FULL REFUND***

Most who read below, look beyond hearsay and unsubstantiated accusation. We at Strategic Book Publishing hope to count you among them

Due diligence when considering any financial partnership is always advisable and key to 'getting it right' the first time.

Therefore, I am assuming that you are interested in actual and factual information about us as you would be about anyone rather than hearsay.

To that end, I would ask you to read below, and I thank you in advance of doing so.

(The easy answer is to pay for any online product or service with PayPal, our preference, or by Credit Card. Each will defend you and get your money back from anyone who does not perform as promised. Below is a more detailed business perspective)

Dear careful business minded author,

Because one out of every few hundred or so potential clients might doubt our overwhelmingly positive reputation over many years, I have constituted this reply. I hope you find it informative;

Below you will find very reasonable support for caution about following the words of others which are, at best, hearsay.

Just below you will discover a full description of our company along with just some of the many success stories of our authors who have joined the Strategic Book Publishing family.

Kind regards,

Tom

----

In between his name, he had the company and testimonial links but I deleted them from this post because I don't want to advertise for a scamming agency.

They are very persistent though.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 3 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Najah, I think the real red flag is the section on "pay with credit card or Paypal." Pay for what? Supposedly WLA is an agency representing authors. Since when do authors pay for that? And google Strategic Book Publishing and you will find they are a vanity press where YOU will pay for the printing and YOU will do the promotion -- which you will quickly find is futile. These people are not legitimate. You would be better off to self-publish rather than go with them.

Thanks for your comment. Lynda


Andres Mendoza 3 years ago

Thank you very much.

I almost send my little money to SBPRA Strategic Book Publishing & Rights Agency, LLC. Which from a little web study discover that they are scammers.

You are right is sad and it does make me angry to see how people just don't care to play with your dreams for money!


rightcard 3 years ago

I just want to say thanks for the two websites you provided to help with the sites that are scams. I am very new to all this and just trying to write (which has always been my dream) so need all the help I can.


Rosalie 3 years ago

How do you get to a real agent/publisher. Not interested in Self-publishing?!

Thanks!


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 3 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hello Andres -- Yes, SBPRA is just the same dung in a different pile. Glad you did your research first.

Hi rightcard -- glad to be of help.

Dear Rosalie -- all I can suggest is that you do your research, send queries to those agents that handle the genre you've written and grow a very tough skin.... Best of luck.


Jen 3 years ago

Thanks for this heads up! Unfortunately, I had already sent my entire book to them. I'm worried it's floating around somewhere for anybody to have. Is there still the option of contacting the attorneys involved in this in Florida? Thanks for any help.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 3 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Jen,

Don't worry. They're not going to steal your book. They wouldn't know what to do with it if they did. Get the picture? They haven't sold one manuscript since they first started ripping off writer eight or nine years ago, so don't sweat it. Just lick the wounds to your ego and move on. Best wishes. Lynda


aevmusiclover 3 years ago

Oh. My. God. Thank you! I was looking them up because I have contacted them and even have a contract sitting in my e-mail inbox. I didn't have everything settled yet and told them to wait. I'll guess I'll tell them I'm not interested, I only sent them 30 pages so not too worried about that but still that really sucks.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 3 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Glad to be of help. Always remember, anyone who advertises for manuscripts is unlikely to be an agent. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Best of luck to you. Lynda


Rich 3 years ago

Anyone who thinks this is not a scam -- simple to prove. Send them the first ten typed pages from the phone directory and they will STILL accept you. Fact.


Photojazz 2 years ago

In a google search I turned this company up. When I saw it, I was on high alert. I felt like it was probably a scam. I am glad that I did some research to find out. Extremely glad I sent them nothing.

Someone asks for 30 pages or an entire manuscript, I'm already on alert. That's not agent or publisher standard first contact instructions.

Thanks for keeping it real!


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 2 years ago from Alberta and Florida Author

Hi Rich -- I think they've improved a little beyond the phone book. But, definitely a scam.

Thanks Photojazz.


Tiberius Engle profile image

Tiberius Engle 2 years ago from Seattle

Thank you for posting this. I'm just getting started in free lance writing and have been pursuing getting published for a complete manuscript so I appreciate any advice people post.


A1an profile image

A1an 2 years ago

Thank You! for caring enough to alert us to the potential shark-infested waters of publishing. The nerve of some people, preying upon the hopes, dreams and ambitions of others.


Nadine May profile image

Nadine May 2 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Great post. Your hub took me back to 1999 when my first manuscript was ready. I had no idea then were to turn and I must have stumbled on a site like the one you mentioned. I paid $70.00 a great amount at the time, especially when our currency is the Rand. This amount was in order for them to post several chapters onto their website, so that literary agents or publishers would find me, and offer me a contract! Well after 6 month I knew I had fallen for a scam.

Today I'm not feeling a regret having had that experience. It made me more aware and two years later I found my publisher.

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