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Preying On Writers

August 18, 2012

Let me tell you something, preying on writers is easy. All you have to do is promise them you're going to give them their dream and you've got them...

Unless they've been in the business long enough to learn one harsh truth—if it sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.

The thing is these scam artists need to know who they are scamming I am sending you the actual form letter I got from "The Literary Agency Group," so that you can all see just what sort of crap writers have to deal with and just how people try to prey on our need to succeed. Further I want totell you that I never for one minute thought these guys,"The Literary Agency Group," were a legitimate agency. I did it because Lynn wanted me to and she said, "What could it hurt?"

I have been jumping through one hoop after another with these idiots for close to two months. In that whole time all I have ever gotten back are computer generated form letters and when I objected to the fact that I still wasn't talking to an agent directly I was sent a nasty three line letter from someone who said that last form letter was from my agent and that should have been clear.

I don't know exactly what these guys’ scam is. Maybe they are just playing a numbers game—we send out 40 thousand manuscripts, three get taken, we make money. I think it's more likely they make their money selling critiques and edits as is pretty evident from the letter you will find under this bitch.

They say they don't have time to talk to or e-mail you directly because, "We are too busy in New York and LA trying to sell our writers' work." This was a huge red flag for me; an agent who has 3000 clients is not going to get the time of day with any publisher or producer. You don't want an agent who isn't personally interested in you and in your work enough to talk to you, or who is but doesn't have time because they have too many other clients.

Now as you will see below they have sent me yet another computer generated form letter in which they tell me I need to rewrite my book because the computer editor says I should. They now want me to work with an editor and what do you want to bet that they want to assign me one and that I will have to pay him a fee.

Let me point out that the book they have, the one they want me to send to an editor, is Strange Robby. Now Meisha Merlin published this book. They went under so I'm looking for a new print publisher because I really want to write the other books in this series. Baen just bought the electronic rights on this book, so those are gone. Oh and it was on the friggin’ preliminary Nebula ballot and was nominated for a Spectrum award. And by the way... I'm an editor. All things I told them that they obviously never bothered to read, and certainly didn't address in any letter to me.

I'm not saying the book couldn't use another rewrite. I always think a book could use another rewrite. But I could do it myself. If they had a human tell me what they thought needed to be changed then I might just listen, but you should have seen what their editorial program did to my book! I have this program; I know what it says. I ignore it unless I think it's right the same way I do someone who's reading for me.

A real agent talks to you, they look over your book, they might even make some recommendations. They would never feed your work through the computer. These people do this because they are in the business of selling people dreams.

Look at the language in the body of the letter. This is the sort of stuff they teach in an EST training seminar, a bunch of passive aggressive shit to get you into their trap.

In my humble opinion these guys are the Publish America of literary agencies. They did not come up on Predators and Editors under the name that they used on their website, but I think they need to be there.

This is the sort of crap writers have to deal with. It's hard to get into this business, hard to stay here, it's really hard to get an agent, andany more you have to have an agent to get into the big houses. Something like this that you can do on line seems like a dream come true. And they act like they don't just take anyone, but they do because they didn't know anything about me or my book—obviously.

People, if you want to be a writer you need to remember one important thing,if you're looking at a literary agency that takes everyone, or a publishing house that takes everyone it's like sleeping with the town whore. You can brag if you want to, but no one will care because anyone can have a piece of it.

Dear Selina,

The purpose of putting your work through this editing analysis tool is to determine how close, or how far, your work is from generally acceptable publishing standards in the English language. Yes, this is a computer generated editing analysis program but it gives us a quick way to show you how many errors remain in the work. Of course because it is a computer program it sometimes makes stupid recommendations, but in general the results are adequate for the purpose.

As you will see, the analysis show that there is still a bit of polishing and cleanup needed.

(When there is a # in (), for example (95), that is just a sequential computer numbering system.)

Luckily, we believe in working with our authors and standing by them during the editing and cleanup process. Many agencies will not suffer through this process with their clients. And we use the word suffer because we know what a pain this level of detail is. It's like having your worst grammar teacher in the 8th grade spend all her time picking on you!

So, we hope that you will take this analysis in the same vein we do. That is, we like your work, we'd like it to be polished and if you are willing to spend some time with an editor, we would be proud to take your work to market.

Sincerely,

The Literary Agency Group
Internal Review Team

Selina

If you enjoy these bitches, please contact Selina directly at selinarosen@cox.net. Thanks!

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