Monday, April 23, 2012

New/Updated Alerts at Writer Beware: Literary Agent Uwe Luserke, SBPRA

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware

Writer Beware's Alerts page has been updated.

NEW ALERT: Literary Agent Uwe Luserke

In 1997, complaints began to surface about German literary agent Uwe Luserke, who was selling foreign rights to English-language short stories and novels and neglecting to pay the advances and royalties due to authors. In some cases, the sales were made without the authors’ knowledge.

Luserke specialized in speculative fiction, so SFWA investigated. Luserke’s fraud turned out to involve hundreds of novels and stories, publishers all over Europe, and scores of authors, including  some of the biggest names in the business–Terry Pratchett, Robert Jordan, Andre Norton.

SFWA made efforts to get the German government to take action against Luserke, but due to various factors, including the distances involved (the Internet was then in its infancy, and overseas contact was expensive and inconvenient), he was never sued or prosecuted. (See our earlier blog post for more detail.)

Luserke dropped out of sight around the turn of the century, but recently he has become active again. Writer Beware received contacts in 2010 and 2011 from writers who were considering doing business with him, and in 2012 we’ve begun seeing complaints about non-payment very similar to those from 1997.

In April 2012, we saw Luserke’s rights catalog, which lists over 25 authors and authors' estates. Writer Beware recommends that authors and authors' estates use extreme caution in dealing with Uwe Luserke.

We're looking to hear from writers who've had contact with Uwe Luserke or difficulty with unauthorized rights sales, payment, or other issues. Contact us.

UPDATED ALERT: Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Agency, a.k.a. SBPRA

Our long-standing Alert about this company has been updated to include the latest names under which it's doing business. In addition to Strategic Book Publishing and Rights Agency (SBPRA), these include:
  • Best Selling Book Rights Agency
  • Professional Publishing Press
  • ePubCo
  • Rapid Illustrations
  • Best Quality Editing Services
  • Publish On Demand Global
  • Publish On Demand Australia
  • Publish on Demand India
  • Publish on Demand Korea
  • Publish On Demand Taiwan
  • Publish on Demand UAE
  • Publish on Demand UK and Europe
  • Authors and Libraries Program
See our Alert for a full history of SBPRA's name changes since 2001. Many of the earlier names have been discontinued, but some still appear to be in use.


Victoria Strauss said...

An Alert about Luserke has been posted by a pair of French translators who worked with several of Luserke's clients who report not being paid (it's in several languages; scroll down for English).

P. David Gardner said...

Like a bad cold, these kinds of pond scum always resurface to take advantage where they can once again.

Aggrophobia said...

Thanks for warning us about this organisation calling itself SBPRA (Strategic Book publishing and Rights Agency) which appeared on my gmail as an advert for authors to send manuscripts and fill in a form

Peter Brown

Marian Greeson said...

I have just today and yesterday contacted SBPRA and sent them my manscript but I didn't learn aboutLuserke until today. What sould I now do?

Anonymous said...

Marian, i suggest you withdraw your manuscript in writing and follow it up with a lawyer's letter.

Patty Fischer said...

I sent them only the first two chapters of my manuscript. They emailed me back within only seven days saying Congratulations, but I feel uneasy because there is a price involved in publishing. Now self-publishing companies are totally up front about their services, I can be comfortable with that. But never a mention about money until they accepted my submitted two chapters. I am not going to sign, there is too much of a bad feeling about this outfit. I want my work represented by an honest and accredited agency. I don't believe this is one.

Patty Fischer

Duane Olson said...

toI published my book a year ago at a cost of about $2,500 US dollars and I have never received a check from SBPRA and they will not answer my e-mails. The book may not have sold a single copy and that's alright, but they won't answer my e-mails! Any idea what I should do next? I'm 85-years old and not computer literate.