Do you have a question that you’d like to have answered by a longtime Hollywood literary agent? Send it in!

Question: (Anonymous)

I had a recent experience with submitting my sitcom project for agent representation. I had submitted an email query to a “group” who in turn requested my treatment. They then invited me to submit my show’s bible (everything sans a completed episode script). Approximately a month later I received a form letter (all previous correspondence was very personal in nature) stating that they were passing on my project. The letter went on to state that for various consulting fees they would perform a full review and provide written guidance on how I could improve my product.

Although I feel that my project has great potential I did agree that it needed some polishing. Based on your previous answer it would seem that this particular group “changed hats” mid-stream. Is that the new norm in the industry or did they cross a line by shifting positions? Thanks again so much!

Answer: (Michele Wallerstein)

It is terrible to hear that agencies are doing this. It is not permitted, by the Writers Guild of America, for agents or agencies to charge a fee for reading any writer’s material. A bona fide agency must sign an agreement with the Writers Guild to be able to represent Writers Guild members. This agreement states that they may not charge reading fees. Any agency that asks for money should be reported to the WGA. The people you dealt with must be non-signators and should be avoided at all costs. They aren’t pros.

Michele Wallerstein is a Screenplay & Novel & Career Consultant and author of MIND YOUR BUSINESS: A Hollywood Literary Agent’s Guide To Your Writing Career.

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