When I see red flags, I must halt, swallow hard and turn away from the thing I want most. Representation is key to publication. I want my full-length novel to be published, but not at the risk of someone taking advantage.
Here is a bit of advice to my fellow writers:
When an agent gives a time limit--such as only representing you for six months, wants to edit the manuscript for a fee, or offers a contract to sign when they have only read one chapter of your manuscript, stop and take a deep breath. These are all red flags. Do not sign the contract, mark the agent off your list, and chalk it up to a learning experience.
Yes, I turned down the agent. I am still sending out queries, certain I will find a reputable one.