Pub Rants

Florida Attorney General Sues Scammer

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STATUS: Today was all about foreign contracts. It’s been stunning. We’ve done 38 deals so far this year in foreign territories. Wow.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? LEGS by ZZ Top

As I’ve been out of town, I haven’t been able to read my Publishers Lunch daily. This morning I was getting caught up on my emails and my industry reading when I came across this news item. I couldn’t help but crow in delight. Let another scammer bite the dust.

And be sure to spread the word and link to this so word gets out in the writing community (and especially to newbies) that they should never, never, never pay a fee to a literary agent.

Florida Attorney General Sues Writer’s Literary Agency and Robert Fletcher
The state’s crimes division “received more than 175 complaints from around the world claiming Fletcher and his associates, who claimed to act as literary agents and publishers, allegedly collected money from victims anxious to see their work published.” The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief as well as full restitution. (full article)

I was appalled to read that he was pulling in an estimated $600,000 a year for fleecing writers. Crime certainly does pay—until you get caught that is.

17 Responses

  1. mtz322 said:

    One down, maybe, and thousands left.
    Some of them are spamming small indie presses now. I suppose that way they can claim to have submitted the victim’s work.

    I’m NOT saying that no legitimate agent would ever send an author to small press or epress but usually the agent would have some contact with the firm before considering it.

    And some of us will check AAR immediately!

  2. Liesl said:

    I’m always sad to hear about these scams, but I think I feel even worse that there are a million suckers who’ll believe them.

    Then again, I’ve never tried to find an agent so I’ve yet to feel the desperation that leads people to jump into such things. Maybe I’ll be suing a scammer of my own one day.

  3. Gordon Jerome said:

    When I tried to attract an agent for my first novel, I came across one who wanted to charge me for editing which she said was desperately needed. What a joke. Of course I said no.

    Not to offend, but I won’t ever cater to an agent, and I don’t think most agents worth their salt would want me to. It’s very simple: Here’s the novel I’ve recently written; here’s what it’s about. If you think you can sell it, let me know. If not, thanks for considering it. Hasta La Vista.

    Publishing. Whatever the hell that means these days. All I know is that’s the agent and publisher’s job. Mine is to write a novel that blows people away.

  4. Anonymous said:

    Gordon said… “When I tried to attract an agent for my first novel, I came across one who wanted to charge me for editing which she said was desperately needed. What a joke. Of course I said no…”

    I did fall for this. Ten years ago. I was young. I didn’t know anything about the business and a lot of the websites we have now either didn’t exist or I wasn’t aware of them. Of the queries I’d sent out for my first wee book only ONE agent bothered to reply — the one that told me it would be a great idea to have Edit Inc., look over my book first, as it needed some “help.” I’m sad to admit I paid them three hundred+ dollars. I only realized my mistake after the fact, when I got the “edit” that consisted of basically of a few spelling and punctuation errors pointed out.

    Personally, I hope these people end up serving prison time being the bitch of a fat hairy inmate named Leroy.

  5. Anonymous said:

    For another blog on this…check out the Sept 3rd Writer’s Beware Blog. Remember this is the guy they just won their own lawsuit against!

    Oh, and yes, I’ve been scamed to…how about this one…a former editor from a major publishing house who we met when she was still at the house suggested editing. 2 years later after seeing her at numerous conferences and her saying she loved our novel, but, she left her house and started an editing service. $750 later…no edits, no return of money, no return of e-mails, not return of anything. Money simply down the drain. A tough live and learn and these people make me sick!

  6. Vivi Anna said:

    I almost got involved with one of these not so reputable people when I was pitching my screenplays.

    I had interest from a powerful player, she phoned me and really pumped me up, really played to my ego, but she needed me to get some coverage first, well it turned out the company she referred me to gave her a cut of the fees I paid… I foudn that out with a ton of research, so I got my own coverage company, sent her the coverage we had another talk and basically she didn’t feel it was perfect enough for her to represent.

    It’s difficult especailly when we want something so bad…but you have to put value on yourself and believe you can find a good agent/manager to rep your work.

  7. David Kearns said:

    from what I recall about this “agent” being a fellow Floridian, he’s an attorney as well, so be careful.
    The word “scammer” can land one in court no matter how egregious the allegations at large. Obviously he would likely not win, but P and E got slammed with a lawsuit for using the word scammer. So many people out there, working so many angles, what exactly is scamming? It’s hard to nail down. One could argue a vast grey scale between agenting and scamming.

  8. Tina Lynn said:

    I almost fell for this EXACT scam. I don’t have words for how angry this made me. Getting accepted so bleeping fast was such a high, then I just felt strange about it and googled the name. Thank the heavens for Writer’s Beware. They saved me oodles of cash.

  9. Madison L. Edgar said:

    Kristin, just wanted to let you know that I’ve loved the past 4 songs you’ve posted. Normally, I’ve never even heard of the songs you post (no offense). You’re on a roll! Keep ’em coming!

  10. Christy Pinheiro, EA ABA said:

    You know, I keep hearing about these horor stories, but it’s really the author’s fault too. I mean, do a little due-diligence people!!

    A lady just called me yesterday and complained to me for over 30 minutes that some scammer took off with $10,000 of her money after promising to get her books published. The funny thing is, she told me that her books actually were accepted by a small Christian (legitimate) press. But she wouldn’t agree to the editing changes. So now she’s “out $40,000 and has 2,000 books sitting in her salon”.

    I didn’t feel sorry for her. I told her that she made a huge mistake and that she should have checked her vanity at the door. But she couldn’t. They don’t call them “Vanity Presses” for nothing!

  11. Andrew said:

    I did pay a reading fee to an agent who should probably remain nameless – and while I felt I got burned (the agent passed after my edits), I actually did get some useful feedback on my ms. It was my first, and I could see, from her comments, that there were things I could improve.

    Nonetheless I would certainly agree – don’t pay a reading fee, or anything like it.

  12. Natasha said:

    I have to agree with Tina Lynn. I’m in the process of writing Queries for my novel and I happened on this site a week ago. I was accepted so fast I told all of my family the company had asked to read my work. My boyfriend was the one who asked me whether or not it was a scam so I did the research and sure enough it was. I’m glad he second guessed what was going on. I then got an email a few days later from them asking why I hadn’t submitted my work…and I’m still glad I didn’t.

  13. Mechelle Fogelsong said:

    I wonder if writers are especially susceptible to scams because we spend so much of our brain-time in Imagination Land?

    Like you, Natasha, my significant other helps anchor me in reality.