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Blogs of Writer, Artist, Photographer, & Caregiver Joanne D. Kiggins

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Joanne has published more than 2,500 articles and was award recipient of the 1990 Woman of the Year for Beaver County, Pennsylvania, for her accomplishments and excellence in journalism and to the community. Her co-authored book, “Unforgettable Journey,” won fifth place in the Grand Beginnings romance contest. An excerpt from her WIP, “Unearthed,” placed her fifth in the Absolute Write Idol contest. Most recently, her essay, “Perseverance,” is published in the Stories of Strength anthology in which 100% of the profits are donated to disaster relief charities. Her most recent articles were published in ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, AbsoluteWrite.com, and Moondance.org. She has a monthly freelance writing column at Absolutewrite.com. Currently, she is the sole caregiver for her 85-year-old mother.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

All Writers Should Research Agents Thoroughly BEFORE Submitting

Don't be fooled by scammers!
All one has to do is Google “Literary Agent Scams” to find more than 10 pages of warnings about the IILAA / International Independent Literary Agents Association who seem to be taking advantage of writers.
One only has to click on the IILAA site to realize a book represented by them would not be professionally represented. Good grief you can’t even read the print that melds into the dark, dreary background.

Let’s click on the first page and read “Why Choose an IILAA agent?” They claim to have individual specialties, strengths, and weaknesses. Hmmm. I’d like to see the specialties and strengths listed. What are they? I know why I wouldn't use this agency. I’ve already found one of their weaknesses. Even after having a stroke, I know this following sentence is not correct! “This makes each of our members better agents, and thus better able to serve our clients as independent agents.” If members are better agents, we certainly know why they won’t be in business very long.

IILAA’s description of an agent’s job isn’t helpful at all to writers. Of course an agent should be available to his clients. I’d like to see the list of publishing companies they submit to on behalf of their clients. I’d like to see sales (none found) this agency has made. That would show me what this agent considers his job.

What?!! They charge retainer fees! Reputable agents DO NOT charge retainer fees. Now isn’t this little piece of information on their website professional? WARNING!!! All you newbie writers out there, please, please DO NOT pay a retainer fee for any agent, let alone be “expected to be a retainer fee.” How does one “be a retainer fee” anyway? Like I would want these people to represent my book! I’m sure we’d all love “to be” money, but we are writers!

They list their pick of the top ten best independent literary agencies, yet they didn’t list ten! Something’s wrong here. Compare their best to the Writer Beware’s 20 Worst Agents list and look what Writer Beware’s has to say about their top nine of ten list.

The IILAA’s take on “How to spot hate sites
who prey on the insecurities of writers” pretty much sums up their reason for forming an independent agency. Sounds like that’s exactly what their agenda is.

Don’t miss the last clickable function on their site! Coming soon: The membership directory and the newest sales by our members. I nearly fell off my BIC when I clicked. THERE ARE NO MEMEBERS OR SALES! Yep. Sure. I want this company to represent my book. Where’s the rolling on the floor laughing smilie when you need it.

Let’s get past the poor excuse for an agent website. They claim that Writer Beware, Preditors and Editors, and various anit-scam groups are part of a conspiracy. Take a look at how they have ruffled the feathers of the writing community.

Agent Kristin has this to say about it in her blog.
Writer Beware Blog certainly lists numerous reasons why writers need to be careful whom they choose as an agent.
Miss Snark adds her literary voice to the subject of “scams, shams and flim-flams.”

Here’s a healthy discussion at Absolute Write about it.
Pay particular attention to the posts by James McDonald and Victoria Strauss. They know what they’re talking about.

If that’s not enough to convince you, then go to “The Lies Scammers Tell About Us” and read how this all started.

Now if you’re looking for a legitimate agent, check out the AAR (The Association of Authors Representatives) site. They list a FAQ page that “really” tells you what an agent does for you.

When unsure of an editor, agent, or publisher, check out Preditors and Editors, Writer Beware and other Beware and Background checks you can find.

If you don’t mind being scammed and spending money (retainers) that should not be spent check out the tags below:


If you want the truth about the publishing industry, see these people who will tell it like it is!
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Anonymous Dawno said...

Great post - I kept saying "yeah, you tell 'em, Joanne!" as I read. The cat thinks I'm insane. Generally, the cat would be right, but tonite all the neurons are firing in proper sequence.

Long live the Cabal! ;-)

10/30/2006 1:05 AM  
Blogger Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Thanks Dawno. Funny how their site is now suddenly under construction. Probably took it down to change all dark, dreary background and dreadful writing. Of course, I couldn't miss posting that little piece of information as well. :D

10/30/2006 7:27 AM