STATUS: TGIF! The week ended way better than it started. I have one project that’s garnering lots of editor attention. Love that.
What’s playing on the iPod right now? FASCINATION STREET by The Cure
Of course I had to go and research David Kuzminski’s cryptic comment in yesterday’s comment thread to click here if I wanted a good laugh.
But nothing prepared me for the sheer hilarity of scammers and fee-charging agents banding together to pretend they’re legitimate.
I even love their new organizational title: The International Independent Literary Association and yet not one of the agencies listed there is international. Perhaps they are just being optimistic for new members?
But my favorite part? The link that says Retainer Fee—To Pay or Not to Pay.
There they clearly spell out that it is a common misconception that reputable agents do not charge fees.
But it gets even better, they admit that reading and evaluation fees are still a big NO but retainer fees are the new black. After all, you’d expect to pay one when hiring an attorney, so why not for hiring an agent? In fact, according to them, this is now the case for literary agents.
News to me!
They even outright say that it’s okay as long as the retainer fee is for a reasonable amount.
Right. I’d like to know what constitutes a reasonable amount.
Folks. Repeat after me. Legitimate agents sell books to make money. To publishers who pay advances and royalties for the privilege.
They don’t charge money upfront (call it retainer, reading, submission, evaluation or whatever).
Why? Because if you actually sell books, you make money. There’s no need to charge fees.
And I also want you to go to the Association of Authors’s Representatives web page right now (of which I am a member). Give it a good look.
Now click on the Canon of Ethics. A set of ethical guidelines agents must adhere to in order to be a member.
See item 8? It clearly states that charging clients is subject to serious abuse that reflects adversely on our profession. Now, the problem is that the
Scammers and pseudo-agents are manipulating language by now calling it a retainer. See it’s not really a reading or evaluation fee (even though we don’t seem to have a sales record), honest.
Folks. A fee is a fee is a fee is a fee.