Has someone offered you a huge sum of money or a valuable consignment? It's a 419 or advance fee fraud - find out how they work, and what to do to be safe.
#1927 by Supervan Mon Aug 27, 2007 7:52 pm
Hi guys,

Either I've been involved with 419 Eater too long, or I'm just an untrusting wench!! I received this from a literary agent I contaced about my book.
I contacted them because I was given their web address by an editor whotold me they were fast and proffessional.
I was quite excited with their response to my book, until I got to the sentence "As we've mentioned before, we need a common platform of trust from which to
begin the representation process together"

Here's the entire thing, it's long and drawn out (Sorry) but my heart tells me it's a scam.....


Thank you for everything that we have received from you thus far. Our review
team believes that your work has commercial potential and we would like to
proceed by offering to represent you.

We feel that your concept and writing thus far has potential and that if it
is polished and presented properly, we can sell it.

To take the next step, please read the information below and follow the
instructions at the end of this email. Unfortunately, this email is quite
long, but it has to be as this sets the stage for our working together.

The summary of what is below is this:

1. We choose to represent authors that can demonstrate beyond a shadow of
doubt that their work meets or exceeds industry writing quality standards.
That's our promise to our buyers and publishers that we work with.

2. If a writer is willing to improve their work, and has a decent topic,
then we think that writer deserves a chance. It is the willingness to
improve that impresses us.

3. Our biggest frustration as an agent is when a publisher asks us if we
have a book like "xxxx yyyyy zzzz" and we don't have a work to pitch in the
'xxxx yyyyy zzzzz' category. Frankly we want to say YES! to any request
from a buyer and to know that the author's work is prepped and ready to
send. So, we take more authors than other traditional agencies.

I hope we work together and you see the ruthless efficiency of our credo.
The information below explains what the next steps are.

Best regards,
Sherry - VP Acquisitions

ps. Please forgive this form letter. I don't like to receive them, and I
don't like sending them. However, this is at the behest of our lawyers.
They like it when we say it the same way every time. If this email appears
truncated at the bottom, please let me know.

NOTE: if you have the documentation for the fact that you have been edited
already you can skip to the bottom of the email. If you have not yet been
edited, please read the information below.

INCUBATING TALENT: We are willing to develop new, fresh talent.
Most manuscripts that we receive need some level of polishing before we can
submit them to buyers. Over the years, we've learned that it is worth our
time and effort to do what it takes to develop new talent. We've learned
that incubating new talent makes good business sense.

We'd hate to lose a good writer by not accepting someone who is willing to
improve. There are very few literary agencies that will take the time to
develop talent. Most barely return emails. We've answered every email you've
sent us, and we've kept our promises regarding turnaround times. We hope
that you will acknowledge that our level of communication and
professionalism already far exceeds that of other literary agencies. We
pledge this same level of professionalism and courtesy in all subsequent
communications should we work together.

You don't know us, and we don't know you beyond these informative (and long)
emails, and what you have sent us. We like you and your work, and hopefully
so far, you appreciate that we have treated you professionally and
efficiently. Yes, we use forms, but that's so that we have more time to
answer your questions about specific problems or nuances.

If we were in your shoes, we believe you should be looking for a
professional relationship with professional people who will ultimately
benefit your writing career, whether your work is sold or not.

We never promise a sale. However, we do promise that we will work with you
on a professional basis and do what we can to promote you and your work to
our buyers.

Our Buyers Rely on Us To Only Present Top Quality Work
We are very, very concerned about what we present to our buyers. At a
minimum they expect the mechanics of punctuation, grammar, spelling, and
format to meet or exceed industry standards.

According to what you have sent us, you have not been through a formal edit
with a disinterested third party. That process is invaluable to you as a
writer, and to us as your agent. Why? Because we can tout it when we pitch
your work.

The polishing process begins with what is called a 'critique'
in the publishing world, and 'coverage' in the screenplay world.
What we have learned over the years is that nothing is more invaluable than
having an unbiased, critical review of an author's work as a roadmap for
bringing the work to market.

In writing circles this is called a critique. We want you to have a critique
of your work. You might already have one, or you may need to get one.

Here's what one author had to say about his critique.
"Dear Sherry: The critique was more favorable than I had anticipated. I'm a
long time editor of academic works and I know from experience that good
authors appreciate good critiques. As for my own writing - again academic -I
have always taken criticism well. I don't always go along with everything
the critic says, but I try the best I can to incorporate anything I feel is
worthwhile. And that's what I did today. Within minutes I was at my desk and
my laptop, trying to find out what I could do to satisfy this critic. I also
wanted to judge how much work would be required, how long a re-write would
take, and so on. If you have that option, you can pass along my thanks to
the critic. And you can say that I will try to turn it into a popular book,
not an academic treatise. As an academic, I'll never be able to put that
aside completely, but I'll do my best. And I suspect I can do it within a
month or two. Your service is phenomenal.

HAVING A CRITIQUE PROTECTS YOU from unscrupulous agents who tell you to keep
getting editing. Having a critique protects our agency from egocentric
writers who think their work is perfect.

Doesn't the publisher provide editing you may ask? Yes, they do. However
there are two levels of editing. The first is our internal level. The second
is the publisher level. When you pass our internal level, it means that we
will put our reputation on the line for you, however, it doesn't mean that
it has been exhaustively edited, like a publisher would do. Their edit is
MUCH more extensive. Our edit requirements are related to pitching and
selling only.


If the critique says, "Green light--good to go" then we can start marketing
immediately. If the critique says, "Some improvements can be made in
grammar, punctuation, etc," then we can pause with you while those changes
are made.

Here are some links for sample critiques that our authors have received. (We
realize that not all of these apply to your genre, but we want you to see
how versatile and powerful this critique format is.) Also, please realize
that a critique is a fast overview. It is NOT a line edit.

http://www.writersliterary.com/Critique ... -rhyme.rtf

Critiques do not supersede what you have to say as a writer.
We have a saying, "if you put 10 editors in a room you will come out with 12
opinions". Ultimately, the final decision is yours. If you don't agree
with them, we are on your side, especially about subjective items. For
mechanics and formatting issues we side with the editors.

However, you probably should ask yourself, "if they don't get it, why not?".
That's a very valuable insight for you to noodle on. The American viewing
public is so "challenged" that if an editor can't get it, then the public
won't either, and the buyer may not, which is the more important

That said, we side with the writer, period.

YOU MAY ALREADY HAVE A 3RD PARTY CRITIQUE* A good number of our applicants
do**. (As a serious writer, you should get one every year or two).
The critique should be inexpensive, usually around $70-$90 depending on the
company you choose. It will tell each of us if the work is ready for
marketing right away, or if more polishing is required. As we mentioned if
you have a critique already, great, if not, we can provide a referral for a
critique service.
As we mentioned, if you already have a 3rd party critique or have been
through a formal edit, please let us know. It must match the level of detail
that you see in the examples above.

If you have an associate that you believe can do your critique, then be sure
to send us their credentials first for approval. Please don't try to
critique your own work. (Yes, we've seen that happen and we can tell
immediately.) Also, many people ask if they can get a friend to do the
critique, or a teacher, or an associate; if they don't do editing for a
living, then it's like asking anyone to do something for free--it takes
longer, and it may not be done correctly.

As we've mentioned before, we need a common platform of trust from which to
begin the representation process together. Many authors wonder if the
critique just leads to more and more editing. The answer is NO! Editors are
people with high integrity and solid educational background; if they say a
work meets or exceeds industry standards, then we can all trust their
opinion. Once an editor says 'Good to go,' then everyone can move to the
next step.

In summary, the critique protects you from unscrupulous agents that will try
to tell you that you need endless rounds of editing. Once you have a
critique you are in a much stronger position in your writing career.

** If you have given me the name of your editor already and I missed it,
please remind me by choosing Option 2 below.

We want you to have a critique by a qualified industry professional.
we want you to have a critique to start our relationship so that we can
start from the same page. (If I told you the number of writers that accuse
us of using this to take their money, you would be flabbergasted.)

Many authors ask, "Why we don't do the critique as part of our Agency?"
In the old days, perhaps that occurred. However in today's competitive world
we must focus almost entirely on our core competency, which is selling your
work. Our company relies on editors to work with you to bring your work to
industry standards. We are not editors. We are sales professionals. We
contract out all editing work. (As you might imagine, it turns out that
editors are usually lousy salespeople, and we love the editors we work with
dearly). Editing and sales are two VERY different skill sets. And, because
the value of editing and critiquing stays with you, the owner/writer of the
script, even if you fire us, then it would make logical sense that you would
pay for services that improve the work.

-- One more positive response from an author about the critique ------------

"Dear Sherry: Thank you so much for your quick responses and
professionalism. It was so refreshing to hear an unbiased critique of my
work for the first time. I have hungered for it since I've been writing.
Someone actually read the whole script and took the time and care to provide
a professional critique and show me the areas that need improvement. I am so
determined to make my work a success, and it helps me to know what my
strengths are and where I need improvement. Thank you, and please pass on a
big thank you to my editor."

Typical FAQs that we see at this stage:

Q) I have a critique, what do I do?
A) First look at the critique and compare it to the examples above. Many
critiques are long on plot and character development. The critiques that we
prefer include that PLUS a strong focus on the mechanics, i.e. punctuation,
grammar, format, and spelling. If your critique does not address those
mechanical elements we will ask you to get a new one. However if your
critique is reasonably close to our examples, then simply let us know that
you have one, and we'll send you the contract, and then you put your
critique in with the contract when you send it in.

Q) I don't have a critique, what do I do?
A) You can search for them on the web, or you can use our referral. We
supply them so much business that they give a reduced rate to our authors.
Also, they do it 'our way' every time so there is no possibility the
critique won't be accepted.

Q) Why did you accept me if my work needs improvement?
A) Our mission in the Acquisitions Department is clear and very "cut and
dried". We answer 3 questions:

1.Will the subject matter sell? Is it commercially viable?
2.Is the writing good enough, or would it be good enough with some degree of
3. Did you as the evaluator like the work and would you believe in it if you
were selling it?

If we get a "3 Yes" designation then you pass (at my level). After that, we
leave it up to the experts to really dig in and get detailed with polishing
your work.

Q) Why can't I get a more personal response?
A) You will have much more personalized interaction when you reach the Agent
(which occurs after the critique is completed). Unfortunately, my job is
just too intense and I do sincerely apologize for that fact. It really is
like drinking from a fire hose over here. Many authors want me to tell
them what we liked, or what we see that needed polishing. It's just too
cumbersome to try to maintain those notes. You passed, now let's move

Q) My work isn't finished, should I finish it first?
A) The value of the critique is actually greater for the author of an
unfinished manuscript. Why? You can apply what you learn to the rest of
your work! So, it behooves you to get started as soon as possible.

Q) I need a referral.
A) If needed we will provide you with a referral to someone we trust and who
discounts their prices to our clients. You can certainly use any qualified
person to do the critique if you know one, but they MUST have been in the

Q) How long should a critique take?
A) It should take about two weeks. It should cost no more than $70-$90. It
should be thorough. Many "old style" critiques are long on plot and short on
mechanics. The critique that we desire will not only include commentary on
the plot, it will also critically review grammar, spelling, punctuation, and
the mechanics of writing. We know, we know, it's all of our least favorite
aspect of writing, but to succeed as a writer, your mechanics must meet or
exceed industry standards.

Q) Do I have to pay for it or does the publisher provide for the final
polishing and editing?
A) Both. As your agent, we need it to be 'great' before we will pitch it,
and then, if the publisher wants to make changes, then they will pay for the
changes they desire.

Q) What if the critique says my writing is horrible? Will you still
represent me?
A) The critique will never say that your writing is horrible. The critique
will point out your strengths and weaknesses. It will come from a coaching
point of view, not from a judgmental point of view. As we've mentioned
earlier, our Agency is different in that we are willing to develop talent.
We will not fire you because of a poor critique.

Q) My teacher/friend/pastor/writer/PhD/English Teacher, etc. can do the
critique, right?
A) Yes, maybe. We've seen very poor work from PhD's, teachers, and many
writers. If they haven't had a stint as a true editor, then usually they
aren't going to do a good job. Here's one situation we say about using
someone you know, "I had a lovely chat with Kim. Her professor was editing
the work and it got out of control for her. She and her professor fell into
the teacher pupil trap and neither of them was able to get through the task
well. He didn?t want to hurt her feelings with a harsh critique and was
trying to help her fix it not just critique it."

Q) My work is my work; it's special and I'm not changing anything!
A) That's fine, but we do insist that spelling, grammar, and punctuation
meet or exceed industry standards. We have a saying, "If you put 10 editors
in a room you will come out with 12 opinions." Ultimately, the final
decision is yours. If you don't agree with them, we are on your side,
especially about subjective items. On the mechanics and formatting issues we
side with the editors.

Q) What do the buyers/publishers think of this model that you use?
A) Frankly, our buyers know that before we pitch a work, we've put the
writer through the proverbial wringer! Our buyers know that our writers can
understand a contract, comply with reasonable requests, and that we've
weeded out the 'something for nothing' writers that are basically lazy about
their craft. This hyper-competitive industry will only reward the best, and
that's our commitment to our buyers, and to you.

Q) How do I know that this won't turn into endless rounds of editing that I
have to pay for?
A) At some time and some place, we have to trust each other. We believe that
this is where it has to start. Your risk is $70-$90. Our risk is that our
internal cost of our time with you at our hourly rate is easily greater than
that amount. (And you never pay us for that time, we don't charge any fees
as we've mentioned earlier). So, we'll spend the time to work with you if
you'll do your part to make sure your work is the best it can be. Unless the
critique points out the need for substantial rework, there shouldn't be any
more fees. That's why we require an independent 3rd party for the critique.
This protects YOU from an unscrupulous agent, and it protects US from
egocentric writers.

Q) I'm still nervous, what does your contract say?
A) First you keep the copyright to your work, and second, you can fire us in
90 days. Our contract includes the following two clauses designed to protect
you. There are no payments to us in the contract unless we sell your work.

Here is the exact language in the contract:
--------------------------------------------------------------- --
1)The copyright and ownership is specifically retained by the AUTHOR for
this work and all works submitted to, and accepted by, the Agent. The Writer
does not grant to Agent or any other party any right, title or interest of
any kind in any copyright, ownership and/or any other intellectual property
right contained in or as a part of any work of the Writer submitted to the
Agent. The Agent agrees to make no claim to any such right, title or
interest, however denominated.

2) The Writer/Producer may terminate this Agreement after 90 consecutive
days of no sale by Agent.

3) We receive 10% only if we sell your work. There are no other fees in the

-------------------------------------------------------------- ----

So, if you don't like us, or we don't perform, you can fire us in 90 days,
and we clearly state that you keep your copyright so there is no chance of
us claiming your work. We don't know how much safer we can make it. (If you
think we are going to steal your work, then you are too paranoid to work
with us anyway and we're happy if you decline). Other than that, the
contract is for one year duration, and we ask for a reasonable 10% if we
sell your work.

Please "Reply" to this email with one of the following three statements:

1) I understand how a critique protects each of us and will improve my
writing (or validate that I'm as good as I think I am). Please send your
contract and a referral for a critique service. I will get the critique
underway as soon as I hear from you. We have to start trusting each other
somewhere and I am committed to my writing as a business.


2) I have a critique (or been edited) already. Please send me your contract
and I will include my critique or editing information with the contract when
I send it in.


3) "Thanks but no thanks," If this is your choice, we wish you the best.
Keep in mind that your competition (other writers) are aggressively
improving their work with coverage, edits, and coaching. To compete you are
going to have to consider these options. It is a very, very competitive
Also, should you change your mind after continuing to search for another
agency, please feel free to come back to us, and we can pick up at this
stage. (You will still have to have evidence of working with a 3rd party


In conclusion, no matter what your reply, I truly and sincerely wish you the
best in your writing career and I want you to know that I have enjoyed our
interaction immensely thus far. Continue to follow your dreams, and it is my
deepest hope that you succeed with your writing career.

I remain yours truly,
Sherry - VP Acquisitions


Your thoughts and help would be great.

Oh, website :


Thanks guys.

The only thing you have left on your deathbed are memories. So make them good ones.

#1928 by Scam Patroller Mon Aug 27, 2007 7:59 pm
Yes, it's a scam, you could send them any old load of rubbish you have written, or copy and pasted text from some washing machine manuals, and they would accept it, they make their money through "critiques", there is plenty on Google about this writing agency, for example:

http://toastingnapoleon.blogspot.com/20 ... t-day.html

Hooray! The Writers Literary Agency (see bandits passim) has just accepted yet another work of mine. Last time round I sent them Pride & Prejudice. They took it, but recommended a professional critique, cost $90.

This time round, I thought I might as well just take the piss. I sent them a manuscript entitled Wash Wash Spin Spin. The MS was made up of about 10 pages taken from various washing machine manuals (notably the Hotpoint 9506 and - my own favourite - the AEG Lavamat 2000). Did the Writers Literary Agency reject my submission? Of course not! Sherry Fine, the Vice President of Acquisitions wrote to me saying:

"Thank you for everything that we have received from you thus far. Our review team believes that your work has commercial potential and we would like to proceed by offering to represent you. We feel that your concept and writing thus far has potential and that if it is polished and presented properly, we can sell it."

Funnily enough though, they thought a professional critique was in order: would I mind sending them $90?

That is all they want, the $$$ from the critiques!

If you want to get anything published, only ever use a recognised publishing house, a household name that you know, otherwise you are looking to get scammed by fly by night literary agents that are all over the internet.

Remember, if it seems to good to be true, then it is.

http://www.419eater.com - http://www.aa419.org

#1929 by Supervan Mon Aug 27, 2007 8:13 pm
Thanks SP. As soon as I read that line, my alarm bells went off.
ThankGod for my experience on Eater and this website.
I'm gutted though!!

The only thing you have left on your deathbed are memories. So make them good ones.

#1930 by Julia Mon Aug 27, 2007 8:37 pm
Don't be gutted :(

Keep at it, as there certainly are legitimate companies to pursue your dream with.

#1932 by Supervan Tue Aug 28, 2007 6:09 am
Thanks Slayerfaith, I 'm still trying to get it out there!
I've found this publishers...


I've looked on Google, but they seem legit.
Once burned...

The only thing you have left on your deathbed are memories. So make them good ones.

#2102 by Gussie Fink-Nottle Wed Sep 19, 2007 2:18 pm

They've given an address & a company registration number, if I were you I'd check those out. Try googling them as well, can't hurt.

#2103 by Gussie Fink-Nottle Wed Sep 19, 2007 2:28 pm

Further to above, I googled them & got this:-

"Executive Suite 8, The Pentagon Centre, 44 Washington Street, Glasgow G3 8AZ
Tel: 0141 221 1117
Fax: 0141 221 5363
Email: [email protected]
Web site: www.nwp.co.uk
ISBNs: 9781 897784, 9781 903238, The In Pinn, Vital Spark, The Angels’ Share, 11:9, NWP

Company Established: 1992
Contacts: Neil Wilson (Publisher)
Types of books: Whisky, food and drink, travel memoir, climbing and hillwalking, Scottish humour, biography, history, Irish interest and true crime

Distributor: BookSource, 50 Cambuslang Road, Cambuslang Glasgow G32 8NB Tel: 0845 370 0067 Fax: 0845 370 0068"

I got that from the Scottish Publishers Association website, I also googled the postcode & The Pentagon Centre, Washington Street is kosher, they look legit to me, but check them out yourself.

Chin chin


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