A Bad Literary Agent Can Be Worse Than No Agent At All.
Types of things to watch out for with agents:
* Charging the author a fee up front, to be accepted as a client. Can be called a reading fee, or a monthly “office expenses” charge. The best agents, and most successful ones, only charge a percentage fee of royalties the author earns, typically 15%. Suppose a realtor charged you a fee to come over and tour your house before getting the listing? How quickly would you show that realtor the door. . .
* Charging back unusually large “postage and copying fees” to send out an authors’ work. One crooked agency accepts almost every client that contacts them, but in the fine print of the contract they charge “postage and handling” of up to $10 per submission they send out on your behalf. It doesn’t cost $10 to send a letter and a sample chapter of a book to a publisher. This company makes a fortune from these fees whether or not they actually successfully market any of their clients work.
* Directing authors toward specific editing services or giving authors’ names to these services. Sometimes they even...