Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Don't do this - any of it!

A word of advice:

If you want to find an agent for your novel, posting a query on Craigslist is not the way to go.

The following particulars especially show you might not be informed as to how the publishing industry works.

Location: MI, NY, CA, IL
Compensation: Going Literary Agent Rate or Best Offer

RULE #1 - You do not pay an agent to represent you (although some might charge you random fees for copies, possibly). They make their money after the book deal.

Could be this woman meant that, but the way this ad is written, it makes me wonder if she's getting a lot of scammers suggesting an hourly rate for handling her work.

Also -

I also have a finished screenplay that could also use the benefit of a literary agent to sell.

I could be wrong, but I really don't think agents handle screenplays. Or not the same kind of agents.

OH GOSH! Here is another one!

I am a writer i have written many short stories and a book. I am working on a sequel to the first book and a skit that would fit the format of shows like saterday night live. I am having trouble publishing my book and I am looking for an experienced agent to help me get it published. The job would pay based on how much i make. i need an agent asap so please reply quickly to the listed email XXX or call me at XXX and ask for XXX to schedule a time to interview

No! Don't DO THIS!!! You are just asking for somebody to come swooping in and scam you.

Furthmore -

This book is kinda of a spin off the Larry David show Curb Your Enthusiasm and the movie Crash. Where this will be a best seller because of the outrageous funny rude people I have met over the past 40 years. This project is for Journalism students, and previous writers who want to Co-Author a book that will pay Royality's if we sell 500,000 books we will both get some $2 million from the book alone not including what we can make off the movie. Look at the movie Paranormal Activity.

I just don't know what to think about this ad.

From the sounds of it, this is somebody who has a great idea but doesn't actually want to do the writing work. That part isn't the huge deal (because God knows there are good writers out there who are wall-blocked for ideas, or work best when given assignments).

The huge deal is I'm not sure how he thinks he will sell that many copies of a book.

Dude. o_O

Look, I have a great story to tell; a true story and I have been writing it but i keep getting twisted up...I need help and I am willing to share credit as well as proceeds for someone that can help me get this thing on paper.

This one actually...


Have you considered how much credit a writer wants for doing all of the work? Anyone can come up with a fantabulous idea. The writing work itself is the part that makes you a writer and the author. That's why ideas aren't copywrighted, but words are.

On one hand, I know how this feels. When you have this idea in your head, and know it will be good - then yes! It can be really frustrating when you can't get the idea to take shape on paper.

If you think about it in sculpting terms (something I wanted to do all day today, because I'm making some presents instead of buying them) it's like lying in bed dreaming up these fantabulous little statues which you want to make for friends and relatives. Then you sit down to sculpt and the clay is too hard to shape properly, or too soft and keeps falling out of shape. Or the paint just doesn't have the glossy finish that you dreamed of (clay statues don't have the same delicate shape and shine as porcelain statues, but I fall for the same daydreams every single time).

Back to the writing deal -

The best thing to do is work on becoming a better writer. Don't rush. Keep in mind that most qualified writing help books tell you to regard writing as an apprenticeship that may take YEARS before you master your trade. Until then, be patient and open yourself to learning and growing.

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