Friday, July 7, 2006

Travel Guidebook Agent Warnings

The Road to Mandalay by Carl Parkes

Kipling wrote that famous phrase about the Road to Mandalay (up the river from Rangoon) but did you know that Kipling never visited Mandalay? Reading this blog, you get all kinds of trivia that might come in useful in your next game of Trivial Pursuit.

In other news, it's bad enough that freelance travel writers must navigate around terrible contracts, but those suckers who actually resort to using the services of an "agent" must keep their radar on high alert.

Also, I've had a few questions about why I don't update this blog very often. The answer if simple. I'm trying to keep this blog focused on the Trials and Tribulations of being a Travel Writer. If you want leads to writing gigs for no money, you can check other blogs. If you want fine travel writing, see WorldHum. If you want to know the dirt on the real world of travel writing, see this blog. I don't get much information that fits in this blog, and rather than just fill blank space, I let this blog lay dormant until I find something relevant to the subject matter. Of course, if you find something of interest, do please send it along and I'll repost it here.

Victoria Strauss -- Top Ten Signs Your Agent is a Scammer

Because we can't be serious all the time.

10. Your offer of representation comes via form letter (somehow, you never do get his phone number).

9. Whoever typed his contract didn't use spel chek and can't rite real gud neither.

8. You first heard of him when [pick one: you found his ad in the back of Writer's Digest/you saw his ad on Google/he solicited you].

7. When you asked if he'd worked for another agency before establishing his own, he said yes--a real estate agency.

6. When you asked for a list of recent sales, he told you the information was confidential, because he didn't want you pestering his clients. And by the way, only a bad, ungrateful writer would ask that kind of question.

5. When you asked what publishers were looking at your manuscript, he told you the information was confidential, because he didn't want you pestering the editors. What is he, anyway, your secretary?

4. When you got his contract, you discovered you had to pay [pick one: $150/$250/$450/more] for [pick one: submission/administration/marketing/circulation/other].

3. He told you your ms. was great, but when you got your contract you discovered you had to [pick one: pay for a critique/pay for line editing/pay for a marketability assessment].

2. He got you an offer from a publisher--but you have to [pick one: pay for publication/pay for editing/pay for publicity/buy 1,000 copies of your book].

And the number one sign your agent is a scammer: You got an email from his assistant telling you he'd been killed in a car crash, but when you called to ask where to send the sympathy card, he answered the phone.

(And in case you're wondering, I didn't make that up.)

A. C. Crispin Blog Link

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