BEWARE OF DUBIOUS LITERARY AGENTS

BEWARE OF DUBIOUS LITERARY AGENTS

Post by Jack Ming » Wed, 05 Mar 1997 04:00:00



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
primer.

1. THIS IS THE AD

Quote:
>>>*We are now accepting new & previously published*
>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
again:

Quote:
>I was a victim, too. Did you lose any money? I sent $75.00 for an
>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
>research fee."....
>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?....

I have run into dozens of similar unhappy clients, but haven't yet found
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
Tel: 941-642-9660

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":
http://www.FoundCollection.com/~hitchcockc/main.html

Or read my article from the Boston Phoenix, Los Angeles Times, East Bay
Express, Baltimore City Paper, and other papers:
http://www.FoundCollection.com/)

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 ***.

Regards,
Jack Mingo
misc.writing's
ambassador of goodwill

 
 
 

BEWARE OF DUBIOUS LITERARY AGENTS

Post by Boris Beize » Thu, 06 Mar 1997 04:00:00




Quote:
> 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
> primer.

Anyone seriously interested in writing should contact (and join)

    The guild maintains a list of legitimate literary agents
available to members.   Also try
http://www.inkspot.com/~ohi/inkspot/  
    Nowadays, getting a legitimate agent to review your manuscript
is the first step.  This is done without charge.  

Boris Beizer

 
 
 

BEWARE OF DUBIOUS LITERARY AGENTS

Post by Boris Beize » Thu, 06 Mar 1997 04:00:00




Quote:
> 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
> primer.

--
Anyone seriously interested in writing should contact (and join)

    The guild maintains a list of legitimate literary agents
available to members.   Also try
http://www.inkspot.com/~ohi/inkspot/  
    Nowadays, getting a legitimate agent to review your manuscript
is the first step.  This is done without charge.  

Boris

-------------------------------------
Boris Beizer Ph.D.                 Seminars and Consulting
1232 Glenbrook Road                on Software Testing and
Huntingdon Valley, PA 19006        and Quality Assurance

TEL: 215-572-5580
FAX: 215-886-0144


------------------------------------------

 
 
 

BEWARE OF DUBIOUS LITERARY AGENTS

Post by Boris Beize » Thu, 06 Mar 1997 04:00:00




Quote:
> 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
> primer.

Anyone seriously interested in writing should contact (and join)

    The guild maintains a list of legitimate literary agents
available to members.   Also try
http://www.inkspot.com/~ohi/inkspot/  
    Nowadays, getting a legitimate agent to review your manuscript
is the first step.  This is done without charge.  

Boris Beizer