1. frygurl

    frygurl New Member

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    Literary Agent asks for fee

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by frygurl, Nov 19, 2010.

    I received a response to a query I sent for my first novel. The agent has asked for a $35 processing fee to be sent with the manuscript. Is this normal? I thought agents weren't allowed to charge fees?

    She has sold some books that are now published, so she's not a total scam artist, but my gut tells me this isn't right. Thoughts?
     
  2. CDRW

    CDRW Contributor Contributor

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    Other people more knowledgable than me continually insist that any agent who asks for a fee should be avoided like the plague.
     
  3. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    An agent can charge a fee if they like, but my understanding is that it is generally considered unprofessional and it's considered a warning sign for agents that you should stay away from.
     
  4. FrankABlissett

    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    Tear up the letter.

    Sure, she is allowed to charge you, but it's a sure sign of a scam. Even if you accepted that she wasn't a scammer, ask yourself why she would risk her reputation by charging?

    Besides which, if she were consistently successful, wouldn't she be able to hire an intern to do most of the routine "processing"?

    No - say "next, please."

    -Frank

    edit:
    Name and shame. Who's trying to charge fees? It may be a known bad-actor.
     
  5. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    The Association of Authors' Reperesentatives is one of the major professional organizations of literary agents. All its members abide by a code of ethics, and one of those ethical points is that its members shaqllo not chaqrge up-front fees.
     
  6. Trilby

    Trilby Contributor Contributor

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    Tell her to p... off.
     
  7. frygurl

    frygurl New Member

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    The agency I am referring to is the Charlotte Gusay Literary Agency.

    Thanks for your replies. I was so excited to get a response to my query, but when I received her submission guidelines, I knew something wasn't right. I will just move on.
     
  8. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    a scammer, albeit a cagey one... here's her listing on preditors & editors:

    don't buy any of that... she shouldn't be charging any fee for any reason...
     
  9. frygurl

    frygurl New Member

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    I found the Charlotte Gusay Literary Agency in Jeff Herman's Guidebook for Literary Agents, so I emailed him directly to let him know of the agency's practice of charging a fee.

    I was disappointed at Mr. Herman's reply in which he stated he is aware of CG Agency's practice but he keeps her in his book because she has a proven track record and she tells people upfront about the fee.

    I'm sure CG gets considerable business from the guidebook - I know I've leaned on it heavily in the past because I was under the impression only reputable agents were listed. I hope making people aware of this agency will discourage writers from sending in money for nothing.
     
  10. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    now you know why i'd never recommend anything put out by jeff herman!
     
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  11. Oscar1999

    Oscar1999 New Member

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    My problem with this agency is not so much about the processing fee, although that is also wrong, it is about the fact that they only requested the first 50 pages of the manuscript. This to me screams of insincerity. It would be impossible to determine if my manuscript is worthy of publishing based on the first 50 pages. The heart of the storyline unfolds gradually with the most dramatic parts of the story explained after the first 50 pages.
     
  12. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Bro this is a nine year old thread

    For the record though lots of agents only ask for a short sample - they are not assessing the story line etc they are assessing whether you can write ... if they like what they see in the sample they then get a full read to assess the other stuff.

    the problem in this case is the $35 fee
     
  13. Cdn Writer

    Cdn Writer Active Member

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    Perhaps older threads can be locked? That way the info is still accessible to people but being so old, if the topic re-appears, people can post a new thread?
     
  14. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    we don't generally lock old threads and there is nothing wrong with resurfacing them - the point in this case was that there is little point in answering the original question to the Op since she hasn't been seen for years
     
  15. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    50 pages of double spaced 12 point works out to close to 12,000 word. Given the average novel length is somewhere between 70,000 and 120,000 words. That means the requested amount is ~10-18% a finished manuscript. If you cant hold an agent's attention for that amount of time, you're far less likely to hold a casual readers attention, which means the book is not very salable and is therefore not worthy of publishing because publishing is a business that relies on selling books.
     
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  16. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah. I suppose the ideal situation is they finish the first 50 pages, turn to page 51, and ...hey, there is no more, and they WANT more. If that happens, you've probably sold the book! :)
     
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