Thursday, August 9, 2018

When Good Agents Go Bad

From all appearances Danielle Smith was a good agent. She started out at Foreword Literary, moved to Red Fox in 2014, and then in 2017 started her own agency, Lupine Grove, representing children's book authors. There was nothing about her performance to indicate anything unusual. She made sales and negotiated contracts with major publishers. I even included her on this blog. Yet, for the past five years she has repeatedly committed fraud, for reasons which remain entirely mysterious. When it came out that she had been forging letters of acceptance from publishers to her clients, and deceiving the authors she represented, the publishing world was shocked.

Danielle Smith's story is, fortunately, unusual among legitimate agents. It would be a mistake to come to the conclusion that her pattern of deception is common. But, by the same token, every prospective author should be aware that when an agent does not appear to be abiding by normal rules of conduct (e.g. keeping in regular touch with clients), it is worth questioning them.

Here is the Publishers Weekly story on the sad, complicated case of Danielle Smith. Give it a read.

Agent Danielle Smith’s Former Clients Speak Out

Publishers Weekly, August 2, 2018

The children’s book publishing world has been roiling for the past week over the disclosure that Danielle Smith, the principal of Lupine Grove Creative, an agency specializing in children’s and YA authors, acted more like a literary grifter than a literary agent. Since Smith emailed a letter to her clients on July 24, confessing that recently she had “not handled a situation as well as I should have” and thus was dissolving the agency effective immediately, 19 former clients have reached out to PW, sharing tales of a pattern of malfeasance that has shaken their confidence and adversely affected their careers.

According to some former clients, she claimed to have had offers in hand that didn’t exist, such as, one author requesting anonymity disclosed, a $50,000 two-book deal. She informed others that editors had expressed interest in their submissions, but subsequently told them that either the editors had then lost interest or had outright rejected those submissions. Clients also complained about Smith’s refusal to communicate with them honestly and in a timely fashion, as well as the lack of transparency, including a reluctance to render submission lists to them upon request. Several clients allege that she even forged emails from editors and passed this correspondence along to them.

Read the rest of this fascinating article HERE.

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