Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Did a "literary agent" on the 20 Worst Agents List take down Absolute Write?
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
The Abacus Group Literary Agency
Allred and Allred Literary Agents
(refers clients to "book doctor" Victor West of Pacific Literary Services)
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
Finesse Literary Agency (Karen Carr)
Harris Literary Agency
The Literary Agency Group, which
includes the following:
-Children's Literary Agency
-New York Literary Agency
-Poets Literary Agency
-Stylus Literary Agency (formerly ST Literary Agency,
-Writers Literary & Publishing Services
Company (the editing arm of the above-mentioned agencies)
Mocknick Productions Literary Agency, 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
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.
I'll link here in my post as well.