26 October 2006

Almost Too Funny

Sometimes dubious businesses seriously outsmart themselves. In this particular instance, it's a group of questionable-to-fraudulent literary agents who have banded together. Sort of.

The so-called International Independent Literary Agents Association (I'm not going to dignify it with a link, nor correct the grammar) apparently consists of nine agencies. At least, one would assume so; the webpage says "ten top" agencies, but there are only nine listed. Among them, one finds a couple of names I don't recognize, several that I do and for which I have documentation of inappropriate practices… and an agency run by the former office assistant in an agency whose principals were convicted of fraud. Among the nine agencies, Agent Research and Evaluation has record of exactly zero verifiable sales to commercial publishers for eight of them, although most of the agencies have been in business for several years. Neither are there any verifiable sales by any of those agencies to commercial publishers on Publishers' Marketplace. Conversely, the one agent who does appear to have commercial sales was disciplined by the Association of Authors' Representatives for breaching its Canon [sic] of Ethics and is no longer a member.

For the moment, we'll leave aside the outright lies elsewhere on the site. (Outright lies riddled with grammatical and spelling errors—from a group of literary agents—but never mind the irony.) It's rather interesting that the purported "publishing myths" have nothing to do with publishing, but everything to do with the member agents' own business practices.

And, ironically enough, the server for the IILAA is located in San Angelo, Texas, along with that successor-to-the-convicted-felons agency. However, ownership is hidden behind GoDaddy's reprehensible Domains by Proxy service, so I can't confirm whether it's the successor who owns the domain and hosts the site… or her former employers.

Update note: Clarification due to name mismatch on sales.