Friday, April 27, 2007

Beware of False Agents

Warning to unagented writers: Some purported agents are not what they say they are. Take the WRITERS LITERARY AGENCY for example,

Its website says it is an agency and it looks like an agency.

A person who calls herself "Sherry Fine - VP of Acquisitions" sent me a hopeful email the day after I sent my query. Her reply and the submission form from her website I used to send my query on follows:

From: "Sherry Fine - VP of Acquisitions" Add to Address Book Add Mobile Alert
Subject: RE: WL Lit Self-Pub Form Submission
Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2007 12:11:10 -0400

4000 sales is good/great.. can you keep that going?

Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted by
( on Wednesday, April 25, 2007 at 20:26:02

FormSource: CLA

FormDate: 4/25/2007

Name: Jeff Brailey

How Did You Hear of Us: Google

Title of Work: The Ghosts of November

Length of Work: 65,000 words

Marketing Focus: Blacks, especially in California and the midwest,
veterans and military, academicians in the areas of religion, sociology,
psychology, people in the business of death, people in law enforcement

Who Published and When: originally self-published 1998. Revised with
50% new material 2007.

How Many Copies: 4000, 4800+ sold

Marketing Done: The best marketing was radio talk shows. also spoke at
seminars/meetings and did signings at book stores and conventions

NYP-Bio: Jeff Brailey is a retired career soldier who served 20 years
as a medic in the U.S. Army. He served as public affairs specialist to Army
units to which he was assigned from 1972 to 1988. Since his retirement 18
years ago from the armed forces, he has served as a child protective services
specialist in Guadalupe County, Texas, and as a safety officer on oil
drilling rigs and construction barges in the Gulf of Mexico, Bahrain
and off the coast of Nigeria, West Africa. Jeff also has been the chief
operating officer of a skilled home health agency, women’s health boutique and
medical clinic, advertising copywriter for a large automobile dealership,
evidence photographer for a company that provides security to companies with
labor problems, and telemarketer.

He also was a homeless derelict for almost six years. This was not an
experiment to obtain color for a news story, Jeff was the genuine
article. In 2004, he overcame a gambling addiction and in 2005, began working as
a safety consultant in Nigeria, West Africa. He is the only person he
knows who went from living on the streets to earning a six-figure income in a
period of less than two years.

Despite the roller coaster quality of his life, Jeff Brailey has always
been a writer. He has been a stringer for more than 20 years, his news and
feature stories appearing in nearly a dozen newspapers, including the
Sunday Oklahoman, Lawton Constitution, and Panama Star Herald in Panama
City, Panama. In 1999, while homeless, he penned a monthly column for
the San Antonio Express-News.

I have plans for two more nonfiction books

If you studied Sherry Fine's website and you are familiar with typical literary agency websites, two glaring differences smack you in the face, if not the first time you look at it, the second. First, there is no listing and bio of agents, author clients or published books. Second, there is no street address or telephone number given for the agency. That made me do a Google search on Ms. Fine. The ressults were interesting. The most telling was at MAN BYTES HOLLYWOOD -- <>.

Now, I am not going to say Sherry Fine is a scammer and fraud, but she certainly appears to be. Has anyone else had any dealings with her our one of her apparently fraudulent agencies?

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