Monday, December 24, 2018
Yet Another Reason to Never Have an Agent
I know I live in a hole, but I totally missed the hullabaloo surrounding a literary agency, their bookkeeper, and a bunch of authors earlier this year.
Go here, read this and follow the links. It's quite an education.
If you're disinclined to do all that, here it is in a nutshell.
Literary agency has bookkeeper to take care of all the financial stuff, including dispersing author royalties. Bookkeeper has side business slash charitable foundation. Bookkeeper's side thing is tanking, so he 'borrows' money from the literary agency. Over the course of 7 years, bookkeeper steals over $3 MILLION dollars.
Author who was hit the hardest assumes his money is drying up because of piracy and slow sales.
I'm filing this one under 'Yet Another Reason to Never Have an Agent'.
Also, it should be filed under 'Never Trust Anyone Else With Your Money'. There should've been a dozen sets of eyes watching everything the bookkeeper did, the agency did, etc. And with the millions of dollars we're talking, a bit of it should've been set aside to pay for a yearly audit. But no one thought of it and now the agency is bankrupt and the hardest hit author is nearly broke.
Think about that. Broke after having several best selling novels and a freakin' hit movie people quote on a regular basis.
So, please, if you're selling enough books to warrant having someone else touch your money, watch them like a freakin' hawk. If you're not selling that many books, but you have an agent, watch them like a freakin' hawk. Doesn't matter how awesome and nice and trustworthy you think they are. Money like that is awfully tempting to a certain type of person. And there are times when you can't tell if the person you're trusting is that 'certain type of person' until it's too damn late to do anything about it.
I know it's a pain in the ass, and in a rational world, it wouldn't be this way. But we don't live in a rational world these days. Not sure if it was ever rational in my lifetime. =o\
And, yes, despite all the effort and headaches of being an independent author, I'm so glad I don't have an agent. Now, if there were just a way to audit Amazon... but that's a post for another time. At some point, though, you just have to trust and hope the Big A isn't quietly screwing its authors. Because it would be so easy for them to do... :shudder: