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Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

More IILAA horror stories

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Since the All Hallows Eve is upon us, it seems fitting to extend the horror tale that has become the International Independent Literary Agent's Association. (See my Friday and Saturday posts for more background.)

Yesterday they took their site down and posted a rather ugly message, which was captured for posterity at Then Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware found a bizarre message in her PM box.

The scammers are watching the watchdogs, that's for sure. In fact, Barbara Bauer has a podcast that's worth a listen. I've a funny feeling this link will vanish soon, so hurry! According to it, Google is all to blame. And apparently the bloggers are getting paid to write about this topic, including that "dragoon" Miss Snark, who is actually a group of writers. Yeah. Right.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Don't believe a word that I say. Do your research and learn for yourself. There is no substitute for learning how the business works.

I've been taken, though not by a literary agent. I've been stiffed my fees, I've seen magazine publishers vanish off the face of the planet. Once I even worked for a guy who quoted the Bible to justify his not paying his contractors. Scary stuff, and I'm the wiser for it. Now I know how to vet a publication before I query. I've learned to watch (and listen) for warning signs.

To be honest, sometimes bad things happen to good companies. Even in a good economy some publications just don't make money. It's part of the life of freelancing. We deal with it and move on.

On the other hand, I've dealt with some of the best editors and publishers in this business, and I know from experience how publishing works. Don't believe a word I've said until you go out and research for yourself.

Oh, if you're one of the agents that's being targeted by the scam busters, here's a special message for you: Let the world know what books you've sold to royalty-paying publishers recently. I'm talking about publishers that don't require the author to pay to publish, buy their own books, do their own promotion, and so on. Publishers that have a decent return policy and get distribution in bookstores. Name the author, title, publisher, and date of publication. It's not that hard - unless you don't have any sales to show.

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Filed under: Writing   IILAA           
10/30/2006 10:19:28 AM
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