Saturday, June 12, 2010

Guest blog: Ten Percent of Nothing

Today I'm guest blogging on Writer Beware!

Yes, I'm all happy about it.

Not about the subject, though. Ten Percent of Nothing, by former FBI agent Jim Fisher, is subtitled The Case of the Literary Agent from Hell. And frankly, that gives Hell a bad name. Dorothy Deering is one of the most infamous literary scammers - she operated both a fee-charging literary agency and a vanity press to which she sent her own clients.

Click here to find out what eventually happened to her schemes and to her clients. And beg, borrow or buy the book if you can - it's recommended reading for all writers.

Plus, here's an article describing - in step by painful step - what a Deering victim went through. That article is especially meaningful to me, because when I originally read it in 2006, that was the first time I'd heard of literary scams and I was fascinated by them.

I still am.


Shannon said...

Wow, that is terrifying. It's also people like her that will keep me from responding to an agent expressing interest in my work with cheers and a small party. Instead, I'd be scanning the letter for any sign of a trick or trap...

I know, I know, if I've done my research, I should know whether the agent was legitimate. It's hard not to be paranoid when scams are getting increasingly sophisticated.

Marian Perera said...

I'll be doing an agent search soon, and I plan to look in the (free) online Publisher's Lunch for recent deals. Agents selling their clients' work to real publishers are nearly always legit.

Have to qualify that because there was one reputable agency, Scott Meredith's, which did charge unpublished writers. I don't know if they still do this, though.

No matter how clever the scam is, though, it will always involve money flowing away from the writer. Everything else will be smoke and mirrors to hide that.