Friday, May 27, 2011

PublishAmerica Will Be Your Literary Agent...For $199

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

Literary agencies becoming publishers? Screw that trend. PublishAmerica, always a trail blazer, is swinging the other way.

The email from which I've quoted below was sent out today by the PA "Author Support Team." (All bolding is PA's.) Just imagine the hearts that are leaping and the pulses that are pounding at the sight of the title:
From: noreply@publishamerica.com
To: [email address redacted]
Sent: 5/27/2011
Subj: A literary agent wants to talk to you

Dear author:

PublishAmerica now has a Literary Agency department.

Sign up, and we will market your book to big ticket publishers such as Random House, Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, Penguin, the new Amazon publishing company, but also university presses and independent publishers, and to a host of foreign publishers all over the world. We also work with Hollywood studios and producers...

Over the past year, while attending trade shows all over the nation and in foreign countries, we have built a very extensive Rolodex with industry contacts. We have talked to so many publishers at home and abroad, and to so many agencies and movie producers that today we feel confident that our Literary Agency can make a serious difference for our authors...Most authors are not very good sales people, least of all when it comes to selling themselves. Therefore most books need an agent if and when an author seeks to find greener pastures for their book.

Sign up today, and have an agent for your book tomorrow!
Authors are encouraged to visit www.publishamerica.net/MyAgent.html, where they discover that, to take advantage of this matchless opportunity, they must fork over $199.

The fact that PA has an exclusive claim on authors' print and digital rights does pose a bit of a hurdle in terms of licensing--for those big-ticket US publishers, anyway--but never mind, we aren't supposed to be thinking logically here.

PublishAmerica, fee-charging literary agent. I only wonder why it took this long!

45 comments:

barrettmanor said...

Pardon me while I don't run out and hand over my charge card...

Ian said...

I don't have enough faces or palms to accurately reflect my feelings on this. #infinitefacepalm

Kai said...

'big ticket publisher'. There aren't enough palms or foreheads, or for that matter desks to express my distain. Wow.

bobwriter said...

Hey, fellow writers! Send me $200 bucks and I'll send out a few letters to some 'Big Ticket Publishers' on your behalf. I promise. No, really. OBTW, I need you to sign over your rights. I even accept Pay Pal. Hurry now, this a limited time offer. Limited to the amount of time it takes me to separate you from your money.

Anonymous said...

Where is Miss Snark when you need her?

Susan said...

I'll do it for $150. I figure I can be just as successful as Publish America in getting publishers interested in your work. Shame on PA for attempting this.

Rogue Mutt said...

We've gotten hung up on by some of the biggest names in the business!

Marian Perera said...

According to PA, this offer is "Valid for one title at a time". I'm guessing that if you want your "Literary Agent" to represent the sequel to your book, that's another $199?

Also, there's "No use of coupons allowed." Does PA give out coupons to be used with their various special offers? It reminds me of Dorothy Deering's gift certificates.

Mad Scientist Matt said...

The most interesting aspect of this is that it's tantamount to admitting most of their authors would rather be published elsewhere. Not to mention an explicit admission they aren't a big ticket publisher. No more looking at Random House and the other big publishers and defiantly bragging, "We are darfing them!"

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe people are STILL falling for them. I mean how, HOW are people still giving them money?? Have they read not a single article online about writing in the history of time??? Have they never googled this bunch?? It is the most obvious thing in the world, and you know what? People who get scammed by them now basically deserve it.

Candyland said...

I'm assuming this info came out as a sign of the May 21 rapture. Nothing else would make sense.

fantasydreamer12 said...

This is just silly. If you find an agent, he doesn't get paid until your book sells, and gets a certain percentage. Publish America is scamming yet again.

Jenni Wiltz said...

This sounds like those discount auctions sites that promise you'll get a Kindle for a nickel...if you sign up and pay the $99 registration fee first.

Deb said...

And don't forget the: "Valid for one title at a time." thing.

Between reading this and reading about companies not hiring unemployed people (yes, you read that right) I'm pretty disgusted all around.

G said...

Yowza.

Sounds like the Pirahna Brothers: If you pay us, we'll go away. If you don't pay us, we'll go away.

James C. Wallace II said...

$199.00??? I've paid less for cars that would perform far better than this place!!!

Hiroko said...

For many authors willing to just go with it, they might as well hand over the money for free...

CatSlave said...

CatSlave sez: Coupons? How about green stamps? Sheesh.

Robin Weeks said...

Just out of morbid curiosity, I'd love to take a gander at their agent agreement. Do they make any guarantees? Exactly how much effort will they put into earning my $199? If they actually sell it, do they still get a percentage of my earnings?

Strangely, their website doesn't have an FAQ section for this. :(

Maree Anderson said...

publiSHAMErica.com perhaps?

BeWrite Books said...

When any author is naive enough to mention previous publication by PA in a submission, I'm afraid it's an instant form rejection at my desk. You can imagine what my reaction and that of other houses big and small would be to a direct approach from a PA 'agency'. Neil

Tracey O'Hara said...

so you pay the $199 and they retain rights. Wonder if they will charge 15% for the privilege as well....

Liz said...

Unfortunately, a lot of people who do fall for their scam have little or no Internet access.

behlerblog.com said...

I have to admit that I didn't see that one coming. So so funny. So so sad.

Mags said...

It's the literary agent "Add to Cart" button that's killing me.

Dennis Latham said...

The government once paid a research program $500,000 to find out that people who live up to a mile downwind of a pig farm get depressed more than people who don't. I said I could have told them that for ten bucks and a six pack. That's the way I feel about PA being a cash charging agent. I could do what they are going to do for ten bucks and a six pack. People will get the same results.

widdershins said...

They have a full Rolodex? OMG!!! Where do I sign up?

Lili said...

Wait. What the what which what?

1) PA is as good as any of the big publishing houses. In fact, the big publishers are afraid of us! You don't need anyone but PA.

2) You need to get accepted at one of the big houses. You need this badly enough that you should give us $199 to help you get there.

Also:

1) The big houses are terrified of us. This is why they keep insisting that PA isn't actually a publishing house. They hate us and are trying to keep us down.

2) The big houses will be delighted to hear from us about your book and to give us all wads of cash.

Ian? Can I borrow your infinite facepalm?

Shannon Curtis said...

Saw this, and immediately thought of the Nigerians...

christine tripp said...

>Sign up, and we will market your book to big ticket publishers such as Random House, Simon and Schuster, HarperCollins, Penguin, the new Amazon publishing company, but also university presses and independent publishers, <

Oh for the love of.....

So this is how it could work. You, dear writer, pay $200 and sign up with us, PA Literary Agency and then we shop your book around right back to us, PA (see the above, they say they are one of the independents) and we ( not we the agent, we the "publisher") sign your book, then you share your $1 advance with... US, your agent!:)

Watch, PA will announce they no longer accept unagented manuscripts... Oh, you don't have an agent???? Well let me tell ya how to get one....very, very sad!

Anonymous said...

I delete EVERy single email I get from PA - they are a joke!

B. J. Robinson said...

Good literary agents and reptuable ones don't charge, especially a big hunk like that. Some may charge for small costs. I find this ridiculous, and it doesn't make my heart tap or pound :) Keep your money and be smart. Blessings,
BJ

A. C. Crispin said...

Victoria and I walked past the PublishAmerica "booth" while at BEA last week. It was just down the row from Bouncin' Bobby's Strategic display.

Maybe Miranda was inspired by Bouncin' Bobby's "scam 'em every which way you can" philosophy, and that's how this whole thing got cooked up.

Sheesh.

-Ann C. Crispin
Chair, Writer Beware
www.writerbeware.com

NancyMehl said...

Neil said: When any author is naive enough to mention previous publication by PA in a submission, I'm afraid it's an instant form rejection at my desk.

Wow, that's a shame, Neil. I don't know whether you're an agent or a publisher, but I'm a former PA victim. I now have a top agent and have books in major bookstores across the country. Respectfully, I suggest you judge writers by their talent, not because they were victimized by a scam organization like PA.

BeWrite Books said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BeWrite Books said...

Sorry, previous post deleted to add a point below ...

Hi Nancy and thanks: But I repeat: If an author is STILL naive enough to mention PA as a 'credit' when s/he approaches me, it's too black a mark to ignore.

I do not encourage the naieve, the easy mark and the unworldly. I expect submitting authors to at least know the basics of the game ... like don't tell me mommy likes your book and so do all your friends; don't tell me it's been edited by your old high school English teacher ... and CERTAINLY don't tell me you were daft enough to be scammed by an author mill.

How can I take your ms seriously, if I can't take you seriously? Neil

Tarah Scott said...

I'm laughing, but on the other hand I wonder how many unsuspecting authors will fall for this.

Marian Perera said...

At least two authors mentioned on PA's Facebook page that they paid for the literary agent.

Now they're waiting to hear back from her, and asking if there's any contact information.

Victoria Strauss said...

And here she is..."Agent Emily", at the "Book Expo of America."

christine tripp said...

Ha! So Victoria that's the reason for PA's flip answer to the two writers question about where to find Emily ... PA said " go to photos and videos" !!!

Anonymous said...

The sad thing is, they don't tell about their abysmal reputation within the literary world.

That $199 will give exactly the opposite result you're aiming for. There won't be a single upside to the whole deal...

Shawn James said...

Y'know if you bought a ream of paper, 500 envelopes and 500 stamps and a copy of writer's market, and sent 500 queries, it'd still be more effective than paying Publish America to be your agent.

2011 and people are still falling for this? *FACEPALM*

Jarvis said...

Afordable. Hopefully you get your money's worth. You get what you pay for.

christine tripp said...

In the case of attracting a good publisher, good agent, you get what you DON'T pay for but what you WORK for!:)

L. A. Markz said...

publishamerica states that your publishing is free but,if you not know how to read ,all marketing is paid by you,dont full your self, you must pay for the speciasl services is cristal clear. they dont cheat anibody if you want publish your book this is your chance but if you not agree with pA you can send your work to ramdom or penguin. in my case i publish with them and im satisfied i want to invest in my work.