Information for writers who submit their work to agencies, the Screenplay Agency.
|Being interested in publishing my work as every other aspiring author would like to do, I followed a link from this site to the Screenplay Agency site and submitted my work. After careful review, allegedly, I was sent a follow on email stating that my work had commercial potential but needed professional editing either done by a vendor of my choice or a vendor that was recommended. Of course the vendor recommended was part of the original company although it was stated that there was no connection. Any editor I chose for critique would have to be vetted by the Agency to ensure credentials and ability.
Being cautious, I did some investigation into both companies listed and uncovered a Better Business Bureau for writers that listed both companies, The Screenplay Agency and The Writer's Literary and Publishing Service Company, amazingly owned by the same person. (See above for the no connection, separate entity part). I have included the link to that page within this item. Hopefully no one has gone as far as actually using the vendor. Investigation has shown that they have not sold one item to anyone for publication or film work. Strange for an agency that claims to have done so but when asked can't produce any record of it.
Here is the link:
Here is the response email back from Writer's Beware:
All of the agencies you mention are owned and operated by one scam artist, Robert Fletcher. He has a lot of aliases, and is a convicted felon.
As you're beginning to suspect, the Screenplay Agency is not a real literary/screenplay agency. They make their money off charging authors fees, rather than commissions from selling books to publishers or screenplays to producers. They own the "editing service" they recommend, and EVERYONE is told they desperately need their work edited by this service. That's how they make money. They've never sold a screenplay, and the book sales they claim don't stand up to close inspection.
For the straight dope on this agency, go to Writer Beware's site, www.writerbeware.com
Click on the 20 Worst Agents List. You'll see The Screenplay Agency, plus all of Robert Fletcher's 6 other agencies on the list.
Read the preface to the list. It tells exactly why agencies are included on that list.
Let me know if you need more information. If you want to check out legit agencies, try a site called "Agent Query" at www.agentquery.com. But, generally, going to google and typing in "literary agent" is a bad idea. You'll do much better checking on the reputations of agencies before sending off your material. I believe you can get a list of legitimate screenplay agents from The Screenwriter's Guild and/or The Writer's Guild of America, West.
You can also get one of the hardcopy marketing guides like Writers Market or the Jeff Herman Guide to Agents. But still check out agents in those books before sending, because scammers do sneak in. They do, however, attempt to screen them out. The Internet is not a good place to look for an agent, generally.
-Ann C. Crispin
Chair, Writer Beware
P.S. If you feel that you'd like to report The Screenplay Agency and Robert Fletcher for their deliberately deceptive advertising and business practices, I can tell you exactly how to do that. Just let me know. If people DON'T report this fraud artist, he'll go on his merry way, scamming hundreds more writers this year. Please consider reporting him. I can tell you EXACTLY what to do, and it won't cost you but the price of a stamp plus an hour or so of your time. There is even a toll-free number you can use.
I wouldn't worry about Robert Fletcher trying to steal your screenplay, put his own name on it, and selling it. If he could sell books or screenplays, he'd be a real agent, not a fake one. He couldn't sell your screenplay if he tried. So you can stop worrying about that.