Monday, September 07, 2009

More On A Literary Scam

In yesterday's post, I reported that the Florida Attorney General is going after Writer's Literary Agency and its numerous offshoots, which include:

WRITER'S LITERARY & PUBLISHING SERVICES
THE NEW YORK LITERARY AGENCY
THE CHILDREN'S LITERARY AGENCY
POETS LITERARY AGENCY
THE CHRISTIAN LITERARY AGENCY
WRITER'S LITERARY SCREENPLAY AGENCY
RAPID PUBLISHING-SCREENWRITER911, INC.
RAPID PUBLISHING, INC.
THE GLOBAL BOOK AGENCY
AMERICAN ENTERPRISES GROUP, LLC
AMERICAN ENTERPRISES GROUP, INC.

I read the actual lawsuit filed by the Attorney General, and it should be handed out to all newbie writers as a part of a manual on how to avoid being scammed.

Here are the relevant pages:

"Each of DEFENDANTS’ websites advertised “NO UP FRONT FEES OR COSTS”. According to the websites, aspiring authors, the prospective customers, would, at no cost, submit manuscripts for review by the representatives of the numerous business entities, all of which were created by DEFENDANT ROBERT M. FLETCHER.

"The websites misled the consumer to believe he, or she, would receive a legitimate evaluation of whether the submitted manuscript was qualified for publication. Following the submission of a manuscript by a consumer to one of the corporate Defendants, or one of the other unregistered companies under which DEFENDANT FLETCHER conducted business, an email response was immediately sent out to the consumer by a representative of one of FLETCHER’S many businesses, advising the consumer (in glowing terms)that the manuscript was, indeed, appropriate for publication and (that the DEFENDANTS were thrilled) to enter into a contract with the consumer to assist in the consumer’s efforts to achieve publication of the consumer’s manuscript.

"This proposed contract included a proposal for a critique review by a “trusted” affiliated agency for between $50 and $90 to assure the best reception by publishers. No disclosure was made to the consumer that the “trusted” affiliated agency was, in fact, another business owned, and run by, DEFENDANT FLETCHER.

"Once this critique was completed, the suggestion for a new author edit (to fully polish the work) soon followed for between $99 and $169 (which would allegedly consist of a cursory review of the first 30 pages, or 3 chapters). Again, no mention to the consumer that this edit was by another FLETCHER affiliate.

"Upon the new author edit being completed, the “Look for Now” database at another additional cost was suggested to “boost” the chances of a sale. If the manuscript was for children, an offer for illustrations by another “trusted” affiliated agency for a “reduced” price was made. Again, an undisclosed FLETCHER business.

"These added expenses were soon followed by a suggestion for website building for another $129. Again, no mention that this “trusted” affiliate handling the website building was another FLETCHER connection.

"Finally, the advice followed that (despite the brilliant manuscript) the initial attempts to seek publication had been unsuccessful and recommending the “aggressive agent” program for another additional payment.

"Eventually, the aspiring authors would realize they had been the victims of a scam, or tire of the constant requests for more money, with no results, and either end the contract, or stop communicating with the DEFENDANTS to whom the money had been sent.

"Usually each prospective author was good for about $600.00 and DEFENDANT ROBERT FLETCHER, was turning over about 500 consumers every six months, or receiving approximately $600,000 per year for no legitimate efforts to provide the consumers the help they paid for, leaving only frustration and disappointment for aspiring authors once they realized their money was paid, not to a legitimate literary agency, but a scam."
Newbie writers need to remember:

MONEY SHOULD FLOW TO THE WRITER, NOT FROM THE WRITER.

2 comments:

David Roth said...

ST Literary Agency was the name he used when I got suckered in. My cost was $129.00, which did get refunded with the threat of lawsuit when there was no activity in almost 2 years. Over that time every single contact was originated by me, and yet Fletcher's answer to me was that he thought I wanted the project put on hold - despite my numerous inquiries!

Great post, Maya!

Maya Reynolds said...

And good for you for forcing him to repay you, David. From the sounds of it, that didn't happen very often.

Best,

Maya