Day Two of The Naked Truth : The Drinks are on Me


Ah truth, they say it sets you free but me, I’m not entirely sure about that. I think it depends on the kind of truth you tell. My truth today is embarrassing. I always said “I’m not dumb enough to fall for that!”

But it seems I was.

Here’s how it happened. For nearly a year I’ve had this manuscript, all 86000 words of it, floating around on my computer. I’ve edited and cut and written and scratched and changed a lot of things about it. I even conned my sister into reading it. She was highly complementary and what I said then sis, still holds: When this damn thing gets published you get the dedication.

Actually I don’t think I used damn but you get the idea.

Let me say that it’s been rejected. Three times. Two agents never read more than 5 pages and one never read anything but my (admittedly sucky) query letter. I was told it wasn’t the right ‘thing’ for them. One agent did me a wonderful favor by sending a handwritten note with helpful suggestions; I’ve mentioned that before.

So when I sent it one last time after a few months of letting it languish in its little folder on my computer imagine my shock and excitement when someone asked to see more.

They wanted to see the entire manuscript. Eagerly (and here’s mistake number two, see if you can figure out number one) I sent it off after spending 12 hours editing it for any typos and correcting this ‘ to “ this. Since I wrote it on a German keyboard the required “ was missing from all the dialogue. You think that’s fun to fix?

Not so much. But fix it I did. 12 hours of fixing and final editing and I am not making that up. When you’re talking about that many words it takes a long time to make sure every single one of them is thoroughly polished.

The response came sooner than the ten days. This ‘agency’ (and I use that term soooo loosely!) said they wanted to represent my manuscript and sent me a contract. What writer wouldn’t absolutely freak out that after only the fourth submission they had an agent. I (again stupidly) signed the contract, waited for their countersign and prepared to if not make it rich at least be able to afford the expensive mac n cheese.

And here’s where I was royally duped and I have no one to blame but myself.

Ask yourself, How does publishing work? Do I pay them or do they pay me?

Yep, they pay me. But this agency asked me to get a critique, which in itself isn’t super unusual as legitimate critiques exist. They could recommend a good agency (themselves) and it wouldn’t be very expensive using their client discount.

$89 later I had a signed contract and a critique in progress which would take about three weeks to complete. The following week (four days after I had the option of cancelling the contract) I got the urge to Google Mr. McScammy which I had failed to do previously (mistake numebr 12,927). It turns out he’s extremely well known!

He’s well known for stealing people’s money, securities fraud and smashing people’s dreams into oblivion. As I read more and more at the great site Writers Beware the sicker I became, the farther my stomach fell and the more I wanted to curl up in a ball under the coffee table.

I am supposed to be smarter than this. I am supposed to be Smarter Than THIS!

But I wasn’t. I got duped and scammed and robbed of $89 but that isn’t even the part that stings the most. The worst part is losing the confidence this false representation gave me. The confidence of know that I had finally made a small foothold into this insane world of publishing.

It’s been a week plus now and I climbed back out from under the table, the contract has been terminated (in writing by us both) and I’ve dusted off that manuscript and my low lying pride and sent it back out into the world for another chance. This time with bona fide legitimate agents. Whether it’s a yes or another polite no remains to be seen. I do know one thing, I hope I am never stupid enough to fall for another scam like this. For everyone else they’ve duped (and the list is very long my friends) I hope we get our day in court, our money back and that no one else suffers from falsified dreams.

I can only hope.

*I received rejection number four on this project only moments ago. Right I’m pretty much feeling like the kicked puppy on the street corner you don’t want to look at. Abandonment of writing altogether seems imminent.

Because I am in contact with the Attorney General in Florida where a suit is being brought against this person I am unable to reveal the name of the agency or agent in question. But use your imagination and Google away, it’s not hard to find.

To find out if you are dealing with a legitimate publish or agent you can visit this site Literary Agent Research, scroll to the bottom of the page. Simply register for free to see if they are reputable. You can also make inquires in the forums at Absolute Write.

19 thoughts on “Day Two of The Naked Truth : The Drinks are on Me

  1. Wow! I can't even tell you how much I respect you for being so honest. You are no dummy, girl. That scam guy is a big dummy who will hopefully have the opportunity to write many books of his own while he chases away Thor and Sven at his local prison. hehe


  2. Oh, crappity crap! (How's that for great writing!) I am sorry that this happened to you. But SO glad that you found out fairly early in the process… so many times these things get insanely far long before the harsh reality of their thievery is exposed. People sometimes lose manuscripts or have their ideas taken, which is the worst of the worst. To some extent, you were spared, as hard as this is to go through.I've been in publishing for a loooong time (not books but still) and I know what a tough world it is. Hang in there… it truly is the people who keep are able to bounce back and keep plugging away who eventually find success! Sending good luck vibes your way!


  3. I can totally understand your eagerness to see it published. It sucks that you got taken advantage of, but don't give up. Every successful writer suffers through their fair share of rejections. 86000 words is amazing. AMAZING. I can't imagine getting that many down. It's an accomplishment in itself. Keep sending that baby out till it finds a home, at least now you know what to look out for.


  4. So sorry… hang in there & don't give up! We have all fallen for one scam or another so don't beat yourself up! Off to google the jerk.. You may not be able to say what a jerk he is…but that shouldn't stop us… : )HUGS


  5. Oh, Andrea, sorry to hear that….but it's wonderful you are helping to have the scumbag legally amended :)Don't give up…it's a process, one I'm in myself, and it takes a long time. I have a good agent, I even have a publisher, but still the process is sooooo slow…..


  6. Being able to deal with multiple rejections and keep your head up is what separates the men from the boys. So to speak. Hang in there, keep sending it out. After your scamming experience, you must have some karmic points due.


  7. Oh man Andrea, that totally bites.I hate scammers. I don't think you are the only one out there WHO HASN'T BEEN BITEN at one time or another. It is so sad to think of all the scum bags out there who are so dishonest.don't give up on yourself and your talents.


  8. I'm sorry I'm late to the discussion on this and the previous post. I completely empathize with you on all that you mention in the part one from yesterday. On today's though, I'm willing to share everything I learned (a lot of it the hard way) about agents and publishing. I've already been passing along info, marketing plans, the query letter I used, contacts – whatever, to several other people trying to get their books out to agents.And I know this is cliche but blow off the rejections – it's a tough tough market in the publishing biz, so most everyone is getting rejected at the moment. I've gone through nearly 80 agents in almost a year. It has nothing to do with your writing. Trust me, I've been reading your blog… you know what you're doing.


  9. Ohhhh man that stinks. CK has great advice, though – and I agree with him! 🙂 Someday you're going to get a legitimate yes and all the angst will be for something. When you do get published, can I buy the first autographed copy? 😉


  10. I am so sorry…I am glad that you got the contract terminated though. Keep writing. Keep writing. Keep writing! Start another one.(What kind of book have you written?)


  11. Oh, Andrea, sorry to hear that….but it's wonderful you are helping to have the scumbag legally amended :)Don't give up…it's a process, one I'm in myself, and it takes a long time. I have a good agent, I even have a publisher, but still the process is sooooo slow…..


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