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Literary Agency Scams: New York Literary Agency

Recently, I found this scam agency mentioned in every literary agent tracker websites, including RipoffReport, Writers Net, etc. New York Literary Agency, and its parents and siblings are together a complete scam, which you can safely avoid now.

How to Spot Literary Agent or Publisher Scams?

Here are the most important tips to follow:

1. You receive a publication letter from your agent, offering you the best publication deal, though there is a minor payment involved.
2. The literary agent can represent you, but your work seems less refined and they recommend an editing service for your work.
3. Your literary agent believes your work has extreme potential and is rejoiced to represent you.
4. A publisher mails you detailing their publication options and the fees involved in each.
5. A literary agent mails you their options.
6. You ask for references of works sold at the agency and the agency either says it’s secretive or gives a list of quite obscure unverifiable authors or books.
7. The agency’s or publisher’s website or correspondence is full of grammar and punctuation errors.

If any of these happens with you, steer right clear of the company. Reputable literary agents or publishers never approach writers. A publishing company always believes they are above new writers, and they will not publish new writers at their money. Co-publication is also something that you may avoid—this includes vanity press.

Story of New York Literary Agency

When you check out the website, www.newyorkliteraryagency.com, you will find an elaborate article detailing how passionate they are about publishing new writers, and how well they will represent you. This website, however, is a simple four-page affair with no reference whatsoever to any of the books they represented.

On the second page, you have a query submission form, with fields for your bio, contact information, and of course your synopsis. The literary agency is quite fast in replying you, and despite the huge stockpile of typescripts they receive everyday, they will reply your mail satisfactorily within a day or two’s time.

The agency will show extreme professionalism in requesting your work, and promising representation. As soon as you send your full manuscript or first three chapters at their request, you will receive the new mail telling you how appropriate and marketable your work is and how willing they are to represent you. But there is a catch! The agency believes that your work needs ‘polishing’ and they will recommend an editing company (MS critique service in their terminology) to do it for you at the payment of a small fee of around $100.

This is the time when all the bells should ring in your head. Any agency that asks money from you is a scam. So far, the agency’s communication has been fully automated and error-free. However, when you decline your offer and make statement that you are going to go out of the contract, the good tone changes to something grouchy. For a detailed discussion of experiences, please check out the Writers Net discussion about New York Literary Agency.

That discussion is a resource no aspiring writer should miss. It has every information on how people got scammed by New York Literary agency and its VP of acquisitions, Sherry Fine. In fact, the popular belief is that Robert Fletcher, the owner of the string of agencies including New York Literary, is a single person that posts as any employee at work in any of these agencies. The discussion is a great story of perfidy of the agency and writers’ grievances.

The Parents and Siblings of New York Literary

This is not the end of the story. New York Literary Agency is only one tentacle of a big hydra, out, determined to swallow all unpublished, naïve, aspiring writers out there. The other tentacles include:

The Stylus Literary Agency (aka ST Literary Agency, the parent)
Christian Literary Agency
Children’s Literary Agency
Poets’ Literary Agency
Screenplay Agency

It seems that they have groups accepting anything—even poetry and short fiction! These all are part of a conglomerate, Literary Agency Group Inc. Avoid any of these agencies in your quest for publishing. Also, there is every chance for more hideous entrants from the family tree, and make sure you won’t approach any.

Writers, Be Smart!

Writers aren’t fools. We are as honorable as any other professionals, and there are swindlers in every field. Writers are highly imaginative, and it is how they make their money. Agatha Christie’s character, Ariadne Oliver (her own self in her literary world) comes to my mind, a mystery writer that "earns her living from her imagination” to quote Christie herself.

We writers are special in that we can imagine a lot better than ordinary people. So, we are actually at a greater advantage. We can and should be a lot skeptical. The popular advice “When it is too good to be true, it probably is” comes to my mind. You should be easily able to spot such “too good to be true” offers. Writers are smart!

Writers’ Advice Websites

When you decide to start writing as a career, there are a few resources you should not miss. Here are the places where you can find legitimate information on legitimate publishers and literary agents. Any negative report about any agent in one of these sites should be enough for you to give him a wide berth.

Here are the places you will find more information and resources on these literary agents and more:

Ripoff Report on New York Literary Agency
SFWA Warning List (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America)
Writers Net (Check out the discussion on New York Literary Agency above)
AbsoluteWrite Discussion on New York Literary Agency
National Writers’ Union (Paid Membership)
Victoria Strauss’s article on Hill & Hill Agency (Another Scam)
Literary Agent FAQ

Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008

Comments

  1. Yes indeed very true the unctuous new wwriters present their ideas in a very polished manner and later reveal abou the "small charge" which they generally call it as!

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks, Bluetooth for the comment.

    Lenin

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for pointing this out. There are scams all over the place aren't there. I always say you shouldn't have to pay for a job and that includes writing.

    ReplyDelete

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