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Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Did a "literary agent" on the 20 Worst Agents List take down Absolute Write?

I normally don't go off topic this far on my blog, but this has gotten me rather irritated. Writer Beware has a list of 20 Worst Literary Agents that they posted on their website, and wanted circulated far and wide. According to the meticulous research of A.C. Crispin and Victoria Strauss, these agents all charge clients money in one way or another (legitimate agents work on commission) and have little to no ability to sell books to paying publishers. Here is the list, now reunited with Victoria and Ann's original preamble:

Below is a list of the 20 literary agencies about which Writer Beware has
received the greatest number of advisories/complaints over the past several

None of these agencies has a significant track record of sales to
commercial (advance-paying) publishers, and most have virtually no documented
and verified sales at all (book placements claimed by some of these agencies
turn out to be "sales" to vanity publishers). All charge clients before a sale
is made--whether directly, by levying fees such as reading or administrative
fees, or indirectly, for editing or other adjunct services.

Writer Beware recommends that writers avoid questionable literary agencies,
and instead query agencies that have verifiable track records of sales to
commercial publishing houses.

Note that while the 20 agencies listed here account for the bulk of the
complaints we receive, they're just the tip of the iceberg. Writer Beware has
files on nearly 400 questionable agencies, and we learn about a new one every
few weeks.

The Abacus Group Literary Agency
Allred and Allred Literary Agents
(refers clients to "book doctor" Victor West of Pacific Literary Services)
Barbara Bauer
Literary Agency
Benedict Associates (also d/b/a B.A. Literary Agency)
Sherwood Broome, Inc.
Capital Literary Agency (formerly American
Literary Agents of Washington, Inc.)
Desert Rose Literary Agency
Fleming Associates
Finesse Literary Agency (Karen Carr)
Brock Gannon
Literary Agency
Harris Literary Agency
The Literary Agency Group, which
includes the following:
-Children's Literary Agency
-Christian Literary
-New York Literary Agency
-Poets Literary Agency
Screenplay Agency
-Stylus Literary Agency (formerly ST Literary Agency,
formerly Sydra-Techniques)
-Writers Literary & Publishing Services
Company (the editing arm of the above-mentioned agencies)
Literary Associates
Mocknick Productions Literary Agency, Inc.
Nelson, Inc.
The Robins Agency (Cris Robins)
Michele Rooney Literary
Agency (also d/b/a Creative Literary Agency, Simply Nonfiction, and Michele
Glance Rooney Literary Agency)
Southeast Literary Agency
Mark Sullivan
West Coast Literary Associates (also d/b/a California Literary

So, what's got me wandering so far off topic on my blog? Well, at this point, the message board that I frequent at Absolute Write is down. The whole site is offline. Teresa Nielsen Hayden today reports that AW's hosting company may have pulled their website because Barbara Bauer complained they had posted her email address there. This gets me rather annoyed - the whole thing reminds me of the Church of Scientology's various efforts to silence critics of Scientology. And I wanted to do something to help AW's cause. I don't have a server to host Absolute Write myself, so I'm doing what I can do, putting up my own copy of the Twenty Worst Agents List in a display of solidarity. I encourage all AW members who blog to do the same.

Update: Dawno, the AW blogging moderator, is convering this too. She's creating a Technorati tag for all bloggers covering the Barbara Bauer incedent. I've never used these before, but now seems like a good place to start if it will help publicize what has happened. Click on the link below and you'll see how these things work.

Good for you Matt! I'm going to create a Technorati Tag for these as well and try to get the word out to AW Bloggers to use it.

I'll link here in my post as well.
Thank you, Matt, for posting this. Hopefully all the AW bloggers will!
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