For those who aren't aware, I'm currently seeking an agent to represent my work. It's slow progress - mainly on my behalf too. I've tried to pick out those who accept email submission first, but now I have to get off my butt and buy paper and an ink cartridge for my printer to start sending via snail-mail.
One website that I absolutely love, regarding the search, is Preditors and Editors. I've think it's invaluable. They list most agencies and whether they're cosha or not. (But I think they only list UK agencies). Just by chance I was looking yesterday, and someone had posted a reply they received from someone after querying. Made me chuckle, and I had to share:
Following is an email from Abacus to a writer:
Tell you what, since you think you're ready to go as-is and, after all, you've "checked things out beforehand," if you can con some lame brained literary agent into sending your work in as-is and the Red Sea splits again and the work is sold to a major, we'll pay you $2,000 flat out, no questions asked if accomplished inside of two years. If on the other hand you fail to do so in two years from today's date, then you owe us $2,000. Sound like a winner? We'll exchange notary of public official, binding contracts and, on 20 May 2007, one way or the other, one of us owes the other one $2,000. Are you game?
Of course not because you are perfectly aware of your limitations and know hands down that your manuscript will never sell as-is...the actual iteration you just sent us...which we would keep on file to verify our offer. The reason we will never hear a response to this is because you cannot win, couldn't win in a thousand years and don't have the foggiest what it takes to sell a manuscript. The morons whose web sites you are referring to can't compete with us in the open market and so have to rely on outright lies and misdirection and people like you take advantage of free evaluations. Thanks for tipping your hand, however.
The proof of what we're saying... You made no comment whatsoever concerning your sixth-grade level e-mail previously sent. Any of us at my agency could write better than that when twelve years old... And any hint of your work being remotely in the category of commercial salability is a stretch even Plastic Man couldn't make...
There are some good agencies out there, there are some dodgy agencies out there . . . and then there are these. Can you imagine the look on that poor writer's face after reading a reply like this?
Unbelievable. As you can imagine, the website didn't recommend this agent . . .