There are many literary agencies out there for writers, but there are also many harmful literary agencies out there for writers. I’ve noticed a few recently, so I thought to go over the top five red flags for an agency.
They charge fees
Submitting to a literary agency should cost you nothing. Even after you sign with them. Literary agents don’t make anything until after you sign with a publisher. You’ll also never have to pay a literary agent directly.
So, if one asks for any type of money, run.
They haven’t sold any books to traditional publishing houses
One thing to check is whether a literary agency has sold books in the past. Some agencies haven’t sold any books, or they’ve only sold books to publishers with non-agented submissions. Those agents might not have the connections to take your book as far as you’re looking to go.
They sign many clients quickly
One back-to-back signing of a client is all right, but once I saw an agent sign about ten people all at once. That’s a huge red flag. That usually shows how they’ve either had poor mentorship or that they haven’t thought out how time-consuming one client is. Many of those agents will realize they’ve taken on too many clients and end up dropping half their client list.
They subtweet authors or talk bad about them online
Social media has really allowed others to show their true colors. Some agents will talk about writers in really bad ways online. If they’re rude to others, who’s to say they won’t be rude to you?
They’re on Writer’s Beware
Writer’s Beware is a top-tier website to find out if an agent has ever had a bad track record before. They also have notices for small presses, vanity presses, and more. If an agent you’re thinking about querying is on that website, maybe query someone else.
I hope this list helps!
Have another red flag? Leave a comment down below!