Author Topic: Hmm, give a bad agent a second chance?  (Read 484 times)

Offline Miss Plum

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Hmm, give a bad agent a second chance?
« on: March 22, 2021, 09:19:45 PM »
Hey all, could use some opinions.

A few years ago, I was querying around my difficult-to-place project and an agent jumped all out at me saying PLEASE SEND I WANT TO REP THIS. She even attached a contract if memory serves, and it got my antennae up because she wanted 20% instead of the standard 15%. So I went one level further in my research of her, and WHOA. Odd bird -- she'd actually been a legit editor at one of the Big Five before starting her own agency, appeared at some conferences, and then gone off the deep end screwing her clients. Seemed like a case where she didn't capitalize adequately before going out on her own and was drowning financially and claimed to be repping people she actually wasn't, and I can't remember what else... maybe even didn't pay in a timely manner. I corresponded with one of her former clients and he advised me to stay away.

She disappeared for a couple of years and now she's reinvented herself under another name. I looked at her website and sure enough, what she says she's looking for is exactly my project, which I had shelved.

I'm tempted to email her and remind her of our history and tell her frankly why I never responded to her offer and ask her what's up. If she's ready to come clean about her past and say she made some mistakes and she wants back in the game, I'd be half tempted to go forward with her. Of course I'd ask her which editors she thinks she can work with given her history. I'm not sure whether she burned herself in the industry, but if so, I'd ask how she's going to fix that.

What do you think? If she admits she blew it but she wants a second chance, would you go for it? (If she's defensive and says she did nothing wrong, that will be that -- I talked to that former client of hers and there's no legit defense of what she did.)

N.B. I know the project is good, because I had a very prestigious agent a few years before her, but he quit the biz and my project fell through the cracks. Miserable experience. I just started re-querying and two agents have the full right now -- out of a bazillion queries.

Offline Odd John

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Re: Hmm, give a bad agent a second chance?
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2021, 09:32:49 PM »
Oh my. Both my instinct and my intuition tell me to stay away, far away. Bad luck or commonplace incompetence doesn't justify her subsequent fraudulent business practices. In my mind she's toxic. Must also be so in editor's circles, at least enough of them to matter. She could tie up your work, floundering in the trenches for the duration of the contract. A waste of time. Too much risk!
My inferiority complex masks my superiority complex. It's very convenient.

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Offline Viddiest

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Re: Hmm, give a bad agent a second chance?
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2021, 10:29:59 PM »
I agree with Odd John, fraudulent practices will mean loss of trust in the industry. So even if you’re willing to take a second chance on her, you cannot count on editors doing so. I don’t think it’s a matter of her admission. A reputation is hard to build after fraud and your book deserves a better start.

Offline Miss Plum

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Re: Hmm, give a bad agent a second chance?
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2021, 10:33:13 PM »
Thanks very much for your thoughts, guys. You make a great point -- I may be willing as a human bean to give her a second chance, but will the industry? After all, it's so forgiving and accommodating   :no:

Offline littlewritings

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Re: Hmm, give a bad agent a second chance?
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2021, 02:42:29 AM »
To be honest, the second I saw "she wanted 20%", I went "Oh hell no". I would stay far, far away. There are so many stories about scammers disappearing and then reappearing under a different agency name and this just gives me really bad vibes. (Another thing that throws up a flag for me is that apparently that agent was an editor and then started their own agency without any prior agenting experience. While editors know the industry, an agent and an editor do very different jobs, and I personally don't think that you can switch from one to the other without any training.)

Offline Tabris

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Re: Hmm, give a bad agent a second chance?
« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2021, 06:58:31 AM »
Run like Forrest Gump. You don't need a half-baked scam artist attempting to get your book published.

Offline Jenna

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Re: Hmm, give a bad agent a second chance?
« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2021, 08:55:58 AM »
Oh nooooo. I know it's tempting when an agent's MSWL perfectly matches your WIP, but stay far, far away from that one.

Online jcwrites

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Re: Hmm, give a bad agent a second chance?
« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2021, 10:06:59 AM »
Why open yourself up to untold grief and deceit?

Offline DougD

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Re: Hmm, give a bad agent a second chance?
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2021, 01:35:52 AM »
They have a bad rep, so no editor will pick up writers from them. Please stay far away. All the best with the fulls. Those show that your work has merit and you should keep querying.

Offline Miss Plum

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Re: Hmm, give a bad agent a second chance?
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2021, 09:52:12 AM »
It's pretty much unanimous! Thanks, all!