The notorious Woodside "Literary Agency," using yet another phony name,
has spammed this and several hundred other newsgroups again. If you want
to know why you shouldn't respond to their solicitation, here's a quick
1. THIS IS THE AD
>writers for publication. We have 3 offices/
>2 in New York /the other in Florida*.
>For ALL fiction & nonfiction/
>send brief digest/ first chapter/ include a self
>addressed, stamped envelope: S.A.S.E.*
>Poetry: send 3 poems/ S.A.S.E.
2. WHAT YOU GET IN RETURN FOR YOUR HOPEFUL RESPONSE
Here are three first-person accounts of what happens if you send them a
manuscript. I've got plenty more, but the story's the same over and over
>agent's reading fee, then I was accepted but was required to send
>another $250.00 contract fee!...
>A Dr. Richard Bell, (not signed) informed me that a Mr. John
>Lawrence, in Florida, is interested in reading the entire manuscript
>for a check of $150, made out to him, for a "reading and market
>I responded, perhaps foolishly, to the ad below. I sent a manuscript,
>with $150.00. Woodside since sent mail requesting an additional
>$250.00 to a Mr. John Lawrence who, according to Woodside, resides
>now in Marco Island Florida....I called Marco Island directory assistance,
>and I received a phone number for a Mr. John Lawrence. When I called the
>number, I was told, "I'm sorry, Mr. Lawrence is deceased." Suspicious?....
even one happily published one.
3. WHO THEY REALLY ARE (AND HOW TO REACH THEM)
Despite the names above, the "agency" is a couple, James Leonard and
Ursula Sprachman. Below is the address that they list in their
adverti***t. Apparently the agenting business has been very good to
them, if not their clients--this is their winter home in Florida (they
also have houses in Queens, NY and the Andirondack mountains):
1190 North Collier Blvd.
Marco Island, Florida 34145
Reach them there if you have any questions, or are curious to see if
your writing is good enough for them to ask you for money. (Trust me, it
is. They almost never turn anybody down, but send them some of your best
or worst writing--but never money!--if you want to see for yourself)
4. HARASSMENT OF THEIR CRITICS
Here is what happened to one critic, Jayne Hitchcock, who posted
warnings about this relentlessly spamming "literary agency":
Or read my article from the Boston Phoenix, Los Angeles Times, East Bay
Express, Baltimore City Paper, and other papers:
5. FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE
Finally, here is what happened to me because I wrote newspaper articles
about them. Last Tuesday morning, two FBI agents came to my door (and to
think--considering the suits, ties and earnest manners--that I thought
at first that they were Jehovah's Witnesses). They said that Ursula
Sprachman had filed a complaint with the US Attorney General's office,
claiming that I had called her, identified myself by name, and
threatened to hire a hitman to slit her throat (!). The agents were
really quite friendly once we got it straightened out, but really....
6. PAY AN AGENT OR PUBLISHER MONEY?
Last bit of advice: No matter what their name, how sincere they sound
and how much they praise your work, no legitimate agent or publisher
asks you for money up-front. Run, before they drink your ***.
ambassador of goodwill