Ginger Nuts of Horror
It is the dream of many authors to get picked up by an agent. Just think, an agent who can get their names out there and get them deals that they would never be able to get themselves. Keith Chawgo is such an agent and some well known names in the industry were stupid enough to fall for his ‘knowledge’, signing his contract without getting it checked properly first. This is not Keith’s fault, this is their fault. If you want to go with an agent, or even sign with a publisher, you must get the contract checked over or you are opening yourself to a world of trouble. I mean, just imagine if there was a clause in this contract whereby you give notice to leave the agent but still end up paying them X amount of percentage for the next twenty years. Yes, you cancel dealing with them because of this clause - you still owe them money for the next twenty years. That’s twenty years they’re earning off you for doing absolutely naff all. This is one such clause in the contract Keith Chawgo offers. Thankfully - some people saw this, some people missed this. God loves a chancer though, right? And a ‘chancer’ he is.
Keith also runs MB Literary Agency and Productions. Now I am not saying they are a crappy press but… They are. Their latest release has only just come out but, rather embarrassingly, it was listed as being out since 2012
Let me zoom in closer for you….
That is some impressive reviews right there. He has managed to snag a review from
New York Times and Dark Side Magazine, Fangoria and Horror Writers Podcast… So he believed anyway. When the authors approached him to read the full reviews, they were not permitted to read them. Apparently a press pack would be following and yet - the release date has been and gone and, surprise surprise, there has been zero press pack. Furthermore if you do a search on the companies involved and the book there is no Internet presence whatsoever. Go one step further and approach the companies and it
tells an even worse story: We haven’t reviewed any anthologies (Horror Writers Podcast). Now factor in Keith managed to attract some heavy hitters for his anthology, he is not only lying to them about what he can achieve but he is also lying to readers who might see these great review blurbs and rush out and buy the books. This is deceitful and everything that is wrong with a small press. And speaking of Small Presses…
There has been a lot of communication between Keith and his authors about the deals he is trying to pull off for them. We are talking deals with HBO, Sky, BBC… ‘Eli Roth’s people’…. Now, funnily enough, none of these deals ever come to anything and - next thing you know - Keith has self-published the author’s work through his literary agency. Zero promotion is given and just more empty promises. An author can do this themselves, retain control and actually make a living through this. Keith is trying to use the authors to boost himself in the industry but the bad thing is, his editor (if he even uses one) is not up to scratch. In his latest book, it is littered with mistakes and poor formatting. For example, stories still have underlined sections which should have been turned into italics when the book was put together. A niggling point but it is ugly, difficult to read and looks incredibly amateur - something which these writers aren't.
On the plus side, though, at least Keith is being pro-active…
if you go to the London Book Fair’s website, they did not exhibit there. That’s not to say they couldn’t have gone as a basic guest - someone who purchased a ticket to get in from the street and then proceeded to go around bragging to anyone and everyone who would listen about how great they are but it is hardly the beginnings of world domination. Any author can go to these events with their business card and pick up business cards. Does this lead to anything? Not necessarily. It’s basic networking and in all honesty not something you would expect from a company who claims to deal with massive companies on a day to day basis (looking at you HBO, Sky, BBC blah blah blah).
Basic networking is entry level stuff in this industry and the wording he uses on his webpage (or the words of one of his minions) is nothing short of bending the truth to appear better than they are. You know something else that is basic level stuff when in this industry? Copyright theft. It’s an ugly fact that authors and publishers can sometimes see something they like the look of and take it for themselves. Luckily, though, Keith is part of a massive, professional company and would not dream of stealing another person’s property…
This was found on their website:
I say, that is a fine looking banner there for Sensorium. Can’t wait for this to be released. I wonder if it has anything to do with the band?
NO.. Apparently not
For a man who claims to have been on the writing team for such shows as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (no proof of this online whatsoever) it is very strange that he wouldn’t know the laws of copyright and you can’t say it is coincidence. It just makes you question his honesty as a whole and that really doesn’t help when he makes claims such as this:
This post was taken from his Facebook page and was from January 16th. That is a lot of copies he has sold although - the strange thing is - at the time he wrote this the book was not number one. It wasn’t even in the top ten. I happen to be close to the author who was at number one in numerous categories on Amazon and told me the numbers sold and they were no where near 300,000. In fact, he laughed. Furthermore, let us take a look at Novel Rank…
many. To show this… Here are the stats for another self-published author who released a Christmas anthology:
numbers being sold, though, you have to wonder… What money did he pay the charity he is supposedly working with? I know a number of authors approached the charity in question but unfortunately they never came back to the question, Is this company donating to you as they claim to be? Surprised the company wouldn’t have said a thank you to them on their website though. I mean the book is £1.99 in the UK. That means royalty per book sold is £1.20 (give or take). Multiply that by the 300,000 copies sold… Wow… That is one very generous donation to charity…
So, Keith, here we are. Prove these stats and facts are wrong. Come back with more excuses that you feed your authors as you try and save face before they terminate their contracts with you. Show us you’re not the lair you are painting yourself to be. There are a lot of people questioning your company at the moment and you can’t blame them.
As for any authors: Tread very, very carefully. You do not want to get burned.