Friday, October 27, 2006

There's A Scam Artist Born Every Day

For several months now, there's been a list of the "Twenty Worst Literary Agencies" circulated among writers. Originally created by the Writer Beware website, the list has been emailed and posted and shared among writers everywhere in the hope of preventing newbie writers from falling victim to predatory scam artists.

Now, in true Star Wars fashion, the Empire Strikes Back. A new website has popped up in the cyberworld: The International Independent Literary Agents Association (IILAA). You can find the website at:

One of IILAA's pages includes a "Top Ten Literary Agents" page. Of the nine agents listed on that page, six are also included on the "Twenty Worst Literary Agencies."

The IILAA website also includes a page that states a writer should expect to pay a retainer fee up front to a literary agency in the same way that one expects to pay an attorney's retainer fee. This is nonsense.

A LEGITIMATE AGENT DOES NOT CHARGE UPFRONT FEES OF ANY KIND. Legitimate agents take a percentage (usually 15%) from the royalties and advances on deals they arrange for writers. Anyone saying otherwise is a scam artist.

Because writers everywhere made people aware of the "Twenty Worst Literary Agencies" list, we influenced the search engines like Google. Whenever someone enters one of those twenty scam artists' names into a search engine, warnings pop up in the results.

We need to do the same thing now with the IILAA website. Please spread the word about the International Independent Literary Agents Association so that the search engine results will show it as a scam website every time someone searches the name.

Thanks for your help. Newbie writers face enough hurdles. Let’s eliminate this one.


Susan said...

I've been howling over this since Miss Snark called it to my attention. If the whole typo about BE a retainer (for a lawyer, is their bogus argument) isn't bad enough... ooh. This thing just renders me speechless.

Maya said...

Susan: Let's make sure every newbie writer we know hears about this. I'd like to see these creeps put out of business.

Susan said...

I spent a good hour composing a post about it.

Tikkun Olam... that's a Hebrew saying, the commandment to Heal the World. If we reach one person with these posts of ours, we'll have done a little bit toward that.