Re: Are the books bad?
A literary agent is *supposed* to match up a book with a publisher in exchange for a percentage of the royalties. Since far more books are written than can be published, the success rate for authors is fairly low and a lot of people become desperate for a taste of success. So there's a whole subculture of scammer agents who instead take the author's money up front and either never find a publisher for the book, or send it to a vanity press that demands yet more money from the author. This leads to a lot of bad writers being bilked for the privilege of being told their unpublishable works are masterpieces, and some good books being condemned to vanity publishing limbo where they won't be distributed properly, will find hardly any readers, and will not earn the money their authors deserve to get.
Barbara Bauer is one of the most notorious scam agents in the business, partly due to her habit of sending legal threats to anyone who criticises her. See here: