aprilhenry (aprilhenry) wrote,
aprilhenry
aprilhenry

Scammers - another version of the same sad story

If you're not published and you want to be, keep your antennae up. If someone tells you they are an agent, and they want money up front, run the other way. If they call after you, saying, "I"m just more honest than those other agents, and anyone who tells you I'm wrong is a liar!" run faster.

Some scams are more subtle. A few years ago I met a psychiatric nurse who had written a thriller about a stalker. It sounded pretty good. She went through Writers Market and found an agent who was in Cincinnatti. (Full disclosure: I still like the idea of an agent who is within driving distance of New York City. But that's not an automatic out.) He told her he loved the book. LOVED IT. And then he told her it needed professional editing before he could pitch it. And she could hire any editor she wanted. Almost casually he mentioned that he himself did editing, but again emphasized that she could pick anyone she wanted. And once it was edited, it would certainly sell.

Her excitement blinded her. She paid several thousand dollars for an edit. And she thought it did make the book better. He began sending it out to editors. He sent her photocopies of the rejection letters. They looked real when she showed them to me - the letterhead was right. But the letters were very brief, hardly longer than "Thank you, but this is not right for us."

When she emailed him and asked him what he would do next, now that most of the big houses had turned her down, he responded with a testy email. "If you are going to pester me, I can't get any work done." And by the time I talked her, she still hadn't heard from him.

Was it scam? Yes. Did he have any connections? I don't think so. Did he mean to cheat her? Maybe not totally. I think perhaps he did think he could sell the book. But he also ruined her chances of getting a legitimate agent interested.



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