The Hunt Continues...
Recently this article sparked a little interest from the
CEO of the Bawn Litereary Agency, threatening Fiction
Factor with libel and defamation suits. Click here to read copies of
correspondence between Willie Nason and Lee Masterson.
Also now available is a full copy of the agent-author
contract, received by Tina. You can also view Bawn's
my co-author, Ciara, and I received an offer of literary
representation. We should be doing the happy 'Snoopy'
Wrong. After querying several agents last year, we
discovered we had queried several questionable ones. This
agent was one of those. So when they asked to see the
complete manuscript, we thought 'yeah right'. But then I
changed my mind. I wanted to see a copy of their contract
for myself. (It also helped that Lee was eager to publish
Now they didn't call or write - they emailed me asking
for the manuscript. That didn't bother me. What did
concern me was the form letter appearance of the email. A
form letter request to see a manuscript? How many
manuscripts do they ask to see a month?
Being the cynical person that I am, I wondered if they
would truly read the manuscript. So as a test, I sent
seven chapters of the third (and final) draft and the
remaining twenty-nine chapters of the second draft. So
far no one has asked me why the novel doesn't line up
properly and why a character that is killed in the first
five chapters suddenly appears in chapter twenty. Hmm.
Approximately two months after the manuscript was mailed
to them, we received an email welcoming us to their
'family'. They said they were all ready pitching our work
to publishers. How? We haven't signed a contract yet.
They also said that time was of the essence and to fax
the signed pages of the contract to them. One problem.
They didn't send the contract. They sent this email
instead (click here to read the email,
including Bawn's FAQ)
Okay, I was willing to give them a chance, but they're
shaking my confidence here.
When I didn't send the contract back (what contract?),
they emailed me. No, not to ask me for the signed pages
but the exact same form letter as before asking to see
the entire manuscript. I returned their email with a copy
of the one welcoming me to the family. I told them I
didn't receive the contract. I also told them that since
I sent the manuscript in and received the welcome letter
I assumed someone had read it. Their response? The same
welcoming email but with the contract attached this time.
(click here to read the author-agent
agreement contract from Bawn Publishers Literary Agency)
Since I first wrote this article, they have contacted me
again. I told them that I had sent a letter requesting my
manuscript back. I have yet to receive my manuscript. I
was also assured that someone had read my work. ?? So why
haven't they questioned me about the inconsistencies?
I don't know about you but I'm not particularly impressed
at this point.
After reading the contract carefully I found it resembled
the standard contracts I've found on the Internet - but
with one major difference. They want $200 US a month to
represent my manuscript.
Most writers I know hope to write more than one novel. I
know in our series, we have one completed, a sequel in
the works and outlines for three, or possibly four, more
novels. Each additional novel would cost us $50 US a
month. That would be over $400 a month. My car payment is
less than that.
Included with their contract was a list of frequently
asked questions. In these questions, they included a list
of novels they had sold. Every single novel was sold to
Amerihouse. When I tried to find Amerihouse on the
Internet, I couldn't find anything at all. What I did did
finally learn is that Amerihouse has been known to pay as
little as a $1.00 advance. Yes, that decimal point is in
the right spot.
Another red light was the quote: "It is our
policy to not share our list of clients, primarily due to
the confidentiality clause contained in our contract."
go on to say that they are sensitive about sharing the
phone numbers and addresses of their clients. Excuse me?
I don't want the phone numbers and addresses of their
clients. I want proof they've sold to more than just one
They also say "If you are looking for a large company
to represent you, you have the wrong one." Okay, I don't
particularly want to work with a large company. But if
they are so busy that all their correspondence is a form
letter and they can't even read my manuscript then how
are they going to target the right editors? How much time
are they going to spend on my manuscript?
Another quote: "No. We do not charge reading fees.
Commission from the sale of your project generates our
income only." Excuse me again? What's the $200 a month
There's also a very confusing clause about late fees. It
says that a 10% late fee will be accrued after the five-day
grace period and $1.00 per day for each day after that.
Each day after what? I thought the 10% was after the
grace period when does the $1.00 per day go into effect?
Did I also mention that the contract was sent in my name
alone? All correspondence to this agency included both
mine, and Ciara's names. How can I sign a contract for a
work that isn't totally mine? Ciara and I have a writing
partnership. Control of all intellectual properties and
monies is divided 50/50. To make this contract legal, we
would both have to sign it.
I have written them a rejection letter of my own. A
literary agent is supposed to be a salesperson. How can I
trust a company as careless as this with my hard work?
I don't know which is more insulting, the fact that they
think I will jump at the chance to pay them a monthly fee
or that they think I will do it with so little effort on
their part. Sorry boys, you'll have to work a lot harder
than that for my money.
As always, I'll end this rant by saying "Money
flows TO the Author - NEVER the other way around."
Just a few weeks ago, I received a surprise package in the
mail. It was my long lost manuscript. A year after
writing this article and requesting my manuscript back it
finally showed up. In remarkable pristine condition. I
had been assured the manuscript had been read, but the
pages were unwrinkled and showed no indication they had
ever been touched.