Just Couldn’t Stop Laughing…
I got sent this newsletter that I tend to read every month. It is from a major traditional published person, a former editor and so on, who has her head so far up the ass of traditional publishing, I have no idea how she sees anything clearly. And she often does not. She pretends to pay attention to indie publishing, then does a sad and so uninformed piece of Pay-to-Publish, I got disgusted.
But that is not what made me sit and just laugh and have a hard time stopping this afternoon. She did an article about how the AALA (American Association of Literary Agents) revised their Canon of Ethics.
The organization is a toothless joke and has always been, even under its original name of the Association of American Representatives.
But sadly, what started me laughing is that the group has a Canon of Ethics in the first place.
Never, in all my life, have I been around a group of humans without ethics like book agents. But I guess it makes them feel better that they can join an organization that has a Canon of Ethics that I will bet not a one of them has read. Or even pretend to care about when they are taking clients money, co-mingling funds, using a clients royalty check to pay their office rent, and so on.
So I have to be honest, I was chuckling when I read their organization had a Canon of Ethics. Then I came to the tragic meat of the article. They were changing their newly-minted Canon to include (are you ready for this?) AGENTS CAN NOW PROVIDE EDITORIAL SERVICES TO WRITERS FOR A FEE.
Sadly, for all the writers that will fall into this trap, I just started laughing.
Many agents have already been doing this for years, hurting young writers with promises that if the writer just pays them a fee to learn how to write, then maybe the agent will represent them. Maybe. (Never happens.)
This just plays on writer’s dreams, gives them nothing but hope, and then lets them twist on the next rewrite and the next rewrite as the agent takes more and more of their money.
And an agent, who used to be a friend, so disgusted me when I learned he was doing this to baby writers, I came within seconds of just punching him.
But now, all these years later, the association that lets agents join it to give them something to put on their business cards, has put in its “Canon of Ethics” that it is all right to do this sort of thing.
I’m sorry, I’ve been fighting the agent battle for so long, trying to let writers know that agents are all scams, that lawyers are better to use, the only thing I could do when I read this news was laugh. The agents association had just approved in their “ethics” this scam. (I wonder if no agent has ever looked up the word “ethic.”)
I bet next up in the “Canon of Ethics” for literary agents in this country they will approve that it is all right to hold and use writer’s money as long as they intend to pay it back.
This is so deep in the myth of needing an agent, and so sad about the thousands lost to this myth every year, I can do nothing but laugh.
Breaks my heart for all the young writers who celebrate getting an agent (scammer). So much so that if I didn’t just laugh, I would cry.
So today, when I learned this news, I just sat and laughed.
But it was not a joyous laugh. But a laugh that you do when you realize that not a shred of human decency is left in part of a profession you love.
Not one damn shred.