Beware the scammer

You have probably been told never to send money to an agent.  I repeat this mantra because I wish I had heard this when I first started out.

In the dark ages before personal computers, I wrote my stories on a typewriter (for those of you too young to know what one is, look it up). Then I took it to a stationary store that had a copy machine and paid to have a copies made so I could send my stories to various publishers and agents. The manuscript went into a manila envelope (or a box if it was a large manuscript) with an SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) inside.

I trudged to the post office and had the clerk weigh it for me, so I knew how much postage to put on the SASE  so the publisher or agent could return it. Because I had paid for that copy and if the publisher or agent didn’t want it, I did.

Of course, I hoped it wouldn’t be returned. I never wanted to see that big manila envelope wing its way back to my mailbox. I wanted a  #10 envelope containing an acceptance letter and a contract.

My hopes and prayers when answered when I got a call from a woman with a very distinguished British accent. The agency liked my work. If I would send them X amount of dollars they would send it to X number of publishers. The money was to cover the cost of paper, printing, and postage.

I talked it over with my husband, who was as clueless as I was. It sounded reasonable to him, so I sent the check.

In the following weeks I received more calls. They’d had some nibbles. I shouldn’t give up, but I needed to send more money.

Being as savvy as a two-day-old  kitten, I did.

By the third call, I began to suspect things were not on the up-and-up. I regretfully said no, and then began wondering if I had blown my Big Chance for a few hundred dollars.

And then the world opened up. I bought a personal computer. I read on-line blogs about writing. I joined critique groups and writers groups. I attended writing conferences.

I wasn’t alone any more, fighting my way blindly to the to goal. I had help.

The first time I heard someone say “Never send an agent money” I knew I had been seduced by a cultured British accent.

I suspect they are out of business now, because stamps and paper and copy machines are no longer a necessary part of submitting. Or maybe they have found  new way to scam gullible newbies. I don’t know.

It was a painful, embarrassing, and expensive lesson for me and that is why I want to repeat the words I wish I’d heard way back when: Never pay an agent. If you are good enough, they will take a chance on getting their money from their fees.

Now editors. Editors a different story and if you are serious about your work you will hire one before submitting anywhere, and especially if you self-publish.

That money is worth it.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blue Ridge Vinlandia

The Wineries of the Applalacian Foothills

Summer in New Hampshire

NH - America's Vacationland

Mimosa Mornings Writers

Writers Wearing PJs, drinking coffee, dreaming mimosas

Jennie Spallone


Rurally Screwed

Jessie Knadler

The Dream Well

We believe time spent sleeping is time spent well!

Ozark Pagan Mamma

Folk Magic, Druidism, Heathenry, & Pagan Parenting


when life surprises you!

Farm to Table Asian Secrets

Full-Flavored Recipes for Every Season

The Daily Post

The Art and Craft of Blogging

Pam Grout

#1 New York Times best-selling author

The Chocolate Box

Romance for Every Taste

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.

Book Ends and Odds

Mary Incontro blogs on books, pop culture, and criminal cases

Writer Unboxed

about the craft and business of fiction

Chick Lit Is Not Dead

Two girls who believe that books with high fashion and happy endings never go out of style

Angela Quarles

Witty, Charming, Captivating Fiction

%d bloggers like this: