Beware of ANY Literary Agent Who Charges You UPFRONT for ANY Service
A legit literary agent represents the author’s intellectual property (in most cases, a manuscript for a book to be published) to a legitimate publisher. When a sale occurs, the agent receives a commission—usually 15%. He or she handles the contract side; advance moneys (if there are any) are sent to the agent who in turns deposits the check and immediately sends the author 85%, hopefully with virtually hugs and kisses. If an agent is demanding/requiring that an author pay moneys upfront … exit immediately. No exceptions. My two bits.
Below is a scenario shared by Carolyn Howard-Johnson in her newsletter (she has blogs also—visit her website and subscribe.
Dear Subscribers: Today I heard about a new kink in the old agent-for-upfront-fee scam. One of my longtime friends on Facebook told me that just as she had been waiting for the “right time to terminate” her relationship with her agent, she received a mass e-mail informing her of the agent’s new fee-for-service plan. My friend then terminated her contract and ask that the mention of her books be removed from this former agent’s Web site. The agent refused her request (and others’ requests) citing that she was the “agent of record” for those books. My friend says, “I feel bad for new writers who fall into this trap of paying her upfront fees.” This agent also added another wrinkle to her fee collecting program—a cancellation-of-contract fee. Learn more at (
Learn more at (http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2017/02/red-flag-alert-loiacono-literaryagency.html?m+1 ) I have no idea whether keeping a book that is no longer represented by an agent on an agent’s site is legal, but it certainly is misleading if not downright unethical. One of the tools that authors use to judge the effectiveness of an agent is their catalog of book sales. It is important that you are all aware of this practice and double check with some of the authors who have been (or are) represented by any agent you are considering.
Be aware that some agents “sell books” to presses that would take any book presented to them, often called (rather erroneously) self-publishing presses and that were once called “vanity publishing or presses” and still are by anyone who cares to flaunt their #bookbigotry. Of course these agents usually still take their 15% for “handling” and “representing” or “selling” the book to that press. There is more on that in the blog link above. You will also find more on finding reputable agents and editors in both The Frugal Book Promoter and The Frugal Editor including things to look for and questions to ask both the professional you are considering as a hire and those clients they provide as references. There are all kinds of ways you can be misleading—both intentionally and unintentionally.
Judith Briles is a book publishing expert and coach. She empowers authors and is the Founder of Author U, a membership organization created for the serious author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the 80s. Judith is the author of 35 books including Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (ForeWord IndieFab Book of the Year), Snappy Sassy Salty: Wise Words for Authors and Writers and a speaker at publishing conferences. Book #35 was published this summer: The How to Avoid 101 Book Publishing Blunders, Bloopers & Boo-Boos. Get your copy now.
Each summer, she holds Judith Briles Book Publishing Unplugged, a three-day intensive limited to a small group of authors who want to be seriously successful. In 2017, the dates are June 22-24th. Her audio and workbook series, Creating Your Book and Author Platform is now available. Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for “AuthorU – Your Guide to Book Publishing” on the Toginet Network at bit.ly/PublishingShow .
Follow @AuthorU and @MyBookShepherd on Twitter and do a “Like” at AuthorU and Judith Briles – TheBookShepherd on Facebook. If you want to create a book that has no regrets, contact Judith at Judith@Briles.com.
Author U is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the author who wants to be seriously successful. Monthly education programs delivered face-to-face and online, The Author Resource ezine, BookCamps and the annual Author U Extravaganza are tools designed for authors pre, during and post publishing of their books. Join AuthorU.org today.
If you are looking for FREE author and book coaching … call in to Judith’s Author Monday Mornings at NOON Eastern each Monday. The number is 218-632-9854; Access Code 1239874444 … have your questions ready–there’s a full hour to ask and listen