When Ann and I put the 20 Worst Agencies list online at Writer Beware, we didn't think we'd have to be tinkering with it very much. Most of the agencies on the list have been around at least since 1998, when Writer Beware was founded.
But in the world of questionable agents, a leopard can change his or her spots anytime it feels the need, and it isn't uncommon for bad agencies to re-name themselves or to spin off a clone or two, in order to rake in more clients or escape a bad reputation on the Internet. Since the Worst Agencies went live on Absolute Write on March 13 of this year, we've discovered three name changes.
- American Literary Agents of Washington, Inc. is now doing business as Capital Literary Agency. (How do we know? They're using the same URL and mailing address.)
- Finesse Literary Agency is now doing business as Elite Finesse Literary Agency. (How do we know? The owner, Karen Carr, didn't change her name--or her fee-charging M.O.)
- And Sherwood Broome, Inc. is now doing business as Stillwater Literary Agency. (How do we know? Same agent--Mark Black. Different mailing address, but same location: Stillwater County, Montana. Same verbiage on website and publicity materials.)
We don't flatter ourselves that the first two name changes had anything to do with the Worst Agencies List. But we have a hunch that the third one did. A check of the Whois data for Stillwater's URL reveals that it was registered on March 31, 2006--just a couple of weeks after the 20 Worst List was published.
It's nice to know we have an impact.