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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia -- Malaysia's government said Saturday that it has approved a new attempt by a private company to find the wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, nearly four years after its disappearance sparked one of aviation's biggest mysteries.The Houston, Texas-based company Ocean Infinity dispatched a search vessel this past week to look in the southern Indian Ocean for debris from the plane, which disappeared March 8, 2014, on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew members.Just as important, agents serve as writers’ advocates in the increasingly complex and competitive world of publishing.There are many successful literary agents who provide excellent service to their clients.They may refer writers to crooked critique services or pay-to-play publishers, receiving a kickback for their trouble.Some examples of dishonest agenting practice, drawn from Writer Beware’s files: The explosion of small presses and self-publishing options since the turn of the century has sharply reduced the number of dishonest agents.
But scam agents are still out there, ready to entrap the unwary writer–as are their close cousins, amateur and marginal agents.
There are no licensing requirements or competency standards for literary agents.
Anyone who feels like it can set up an agency, whether or not they’re qualified to represent manuscripts to publishers. In fact, the number of amateur, incompetent, and marginal agents far exceeds the number of outright scammers.
These agents’ income doesn’t derive from selling manuscripts to publishers, but from extracting money from clients.
Dishonest agents may “represent” hundreds of writers, turning them over twice a year with a six-month contract that requires an upfront fee (reputable agents work on commission–they get paid only if you do).