Avoiding Getting Scammed by Literary Agents

Q: I learned the hard way to do my homework prior to accepting representation.  When querying an agent, should I mention that I had an agent even though that agency turned out to be a scam? -J.P.


A:
If your agent shopped your book at all, you must tell any new agent about it.  To avoid “scam” agents, contact the Association of Authors Representatives, in New York City, for a list of its members; AAR agent-members must sell a certain number of books, have been referred by other members and abide by strict ethical rules. 

Never sign up with an agent who asks for money to represent you; reputable agents work on a contingency basis only.  For more leads, check the acknowledgments sections in books similar to yours for names of agents, and ask your writer friends and local writers groups for referrals.  Good luck.

Nina Graybill
Literary Lawyer and Former Literary Agent