Writer, Beware Absolute Shit 'Literary' Scams
People tell me things like this all the time. That means "every day." Their books sell. Some huge. I don't get paid for the inspiring. It's a joy of itself. It's also a responsibility. So who are these ugly, hysterical little pissants harassing my timeline under the tutelage of one "Victoria Strauss"? Why has she any right to call anything but her own head "scumbaggery?" And who the hell is this Lisa Spangenberg, transmitting dictatorial garbage out of a dingy apartment in a shitty, crowded white ghetto in Santa Monica, ordering her "Flying Monkeys," as they're aptly called, to harass me? These people aren't even in the publishing industry.
Bulletin! As of today, October 5 '13, 6:47, I've learned that this Victoria Strauss is claiming on twitter that I'm making death threats to her. Haven't I mentioned, these people are indeed sick puppies?
"Tom, I know how bad #AbsoluteWrite is. The way they spoke about you is why I subbed you. I know they're wrong."
-- quote from a querier reading the malicious libel posted on that sick site. That's the second querier this week to see through these ill people and want my representation hands down. Unlike the libelers, she has a good sales record.
Victoria Strauss and Lisa Spangenberg and the late Ann Crispin and others made a name for themselves identifying publishing scams you'd have to be a moron not to notice yourself, and if you are a moron, why do you plan to be a writer of any worth?
You'd have to be a moron not to notice that Strauss's own self-published novels don't sell at all, while claiming to be a "self employed novelist." Crispin was a hack who couldn't even make a go of an assignment to write a novel for a blockbuster like "Pirates of the Caribbean." Fish in a barrel, enormous publicity, she blew it.
These two and their arrogant no-sale friends comprising a cult of lying mutual flatterers have far more legitimate complaints against them then they have against a world that never wanted their contrived typing products.
That's why they have them up for sale on a non-profit site; the IRS needs to check into this. The IRS can at least advise just how right it may be to use a non-profit site to sell one's contrived typing products. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I've heard legends of whole groups of deluded morons, but only lately have I seen one in action, first hand, led by a bull moron my Jungian analyst pal says is crazy and a parasitical bug. A barrage on my Twitter timeline from a cloud of "Absolute Write" trolls, bristling with "outrage" and cultish ignorance.
Let's get this straight: they don't really know nor care who "Ann 'A.C.' Crispin" is or was, much less would this trashy libel-soaked loser, Jim C. Hines. I knew this ashen current corpse as a cheap, dishonest "literary gatekeeper" who with her surviving cronies, such as they may be, posted deliberate malicious lies about an agency -- and an agent -- that has never received an authentic complaint in nearly 40 years of business.
My quip, "Some people leave the planet a better place for having got the hell off of it, eh?" to someone so hopping mad at these liars-for-a-living wouldn't "disgust" anyone literate.
It would serve as an excuse for some very gullible poseurs of a dishonest "literary" cult of ne'er-do-wells to project their failures -- failing even before they start -- on somebody else. Every single one of these people faking this way know intrinsically they'll fail at a goal they've only pretended to have set, despite the cloying encouragement from the principals of that sick sales enterprise that encourages them only to sell them things. The phony "moral outrage" might draw some attention to their patience-trying underachievements, "sales" of which always dump without a stop at the recycle bins.
The fraudulent "Absolute Write" makes what money it does by drawing hits from the curious about the people on whom they splash shit. A google hit makes them money, and the sales of stupid "lessons" on how to pretend to be writers as they pretend to be make whatever money people are gullible enough to pay them for.
Splashing shit on somebody one's "customers" never heard of and don't know is an age-old trick for getting cheap attention for one's item that won't sell anyhow. Nor will it improve bad quality. If Victoria "no sale" Strauss hasn't learned this after all these years, while sneering at people with a dozen times her personal integrity and talent, she's been somehow privileged to avoid ever having met reality. On we go.
Bless my soul, what a nice letter:
Tom Dark, My Pal, Literary Mentor & Agent
I’ve known Tom through cyberspace for nearly six years. Would love to meet him, set a spell and chew the fat and whatever else emerges from the uniform field of existential creaturehood and, maybe, God willing, one day that might happen. But if it doesn’t — never mind — he’s my pal forever and whatever follows death will prove a better venue for such a meet.
It’s come to my attention that several wannabe literati scribblers of various forms of misguiding nonsense and other excreta take exception to this man, which offends me. So, to set the record straight on behalf of my relationship as a scribbler who approached him as an aspiring author of both fiction and non-fiction, I’m addressing those who might care to shed some interest on the matter.
Before I came to Tom I had self-published a book at the cost of $20,000 USD. He didn’t know this cause I was too embarrassed to tell him till now. That book (trash) ended up being sold for scrap paper because I needed the money about four years later — my first lesson in humility as an author. There were more to come, not the least of which poured through the emails I got from Mr. Dark after I beseeched him on behalf of a second attempt to write something cogent.
He set me straight in the matter of the publication business by thoroughly erasing any fancies I had of becoming rich or popular or even read. He taught me to write for the love of writing the truth to the best of my ability. Man oh man that made me metaphysically rich and set me free from the vanities that had plagued my pen within this mantle of flesh that’s going a bit deaf and loosening teeth along with virility on a daily basis. Thanks Tom.
But going a step further, I found myself dreaming of Mr. Dark from time to time after we exchanged several emails that chewed the cud on universal cogitations and the meaning of re-fried beans, not to mention divinity’s never ending riddles. In one such dream I clearly saw him playing poker with Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and Mark Twain while taking hearts, minds and money. Remember now, I’ve not met any of these fellows outside of my yearnings to become a better writer and human re-fried being. So what’s the meaning of this dream? I don’t really care, I’m just glad to have had it and to hold its memory under my hat.
Anyway, for those who don’t know Tom, best stay away from any ornery criticisms, and don’t waste his time or energy. Both will only bring you bad karma and a fore-brained eye-lashing from a feller who’d rather play poker with real man-hunters and writers.
As for me, by following Tom’s advice I’ve managed to get five books published, with a sixth and seventh on the way as well as an eighth (a novel which Tom, in no small way, redirected my efforts and talent). Besides this, I recouped from my new publications the twenty thousand I lost more than ten years back on an un-guided fiasco of self-promotion. Thanks Tom, for all the FREE counsel, advice, remonstrations and admonitions.
This gracious man is a bit too humble. His publisher is the top scholarly publisher in Southeast Asia. His works are circulating everywhere, and some have volunteered to translate them: for free. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Looky:
I’ve been falsely listed as part of a for-pay writing/publishing agency. Of course I’m not. But I see Victoria Strauss was calling me that – lying. It’s on my blog about it.
Incidentally, one or the other of them falsely manipulated bit.ly so that there’s a malware/spam warning about this blog. It’s false. They received “many complaints,” said Julie in tech.
I’ve called the for-pay agency to find out about it. We don’t and never would have any kind of association with any other agency but our own, and we don’t charge fees for anything. That false link needs to come down and the perp needs to be identified. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Real writers need to know that these “absolute write” frauds were/are posting total lies on their site and exposing these lies to at least 1500 people a day. And as you might guess, Miz Strauss feigns that she is being “harassed” when exposed. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Attention newcomers: you'll have to scroll 'way down to find the phrase that so transfixes "writer" Jim C. Hines. He's probably re-reading that phrase today! Now, his wife is not to blame for wishing he'd at least get a job and help raise the kids. I'd think a lawn care service would be nice.
The "stupid cunt" -- Mr. Hines' term of frustrated fascination -- to whom I refer below is out of business, as I said she'd be, back then. The stupid cunt had sent me an e-mail stating her intention to "ruin my reputation." She used "Absolute Write" to attempt to do that. If they weren't recognized as a cult of lying defamers then, they are now.
Oh. Someone has asked me to reproduce the correspondence between me and a 40-years certified-at-Zurich Jungian analyst to look at some of patient Hines' stuff. It's on somebody else's blog somewhere. Suffice it to say she was horrified.
That doesn't sound real encouraging for kiddie readers. I don't feel like digging it up. In layman's terms, "JimJim" Hines, trying to bring himself customers by libeling me, is a two-faced, venomous parasite with some nasty macho problems. I thought so anyhow.
``````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````` The following was written by guest "Publisher W", copied with her permission at http://bit.ly/13bkcUi
Absolute Write, in the hands of Lisa Spangenberg [alias "Macallister Stone"] and her associates, is in effect a judge-jury-prosecutor platform, and one utilized on an almost daily basis to publicly humiliate, bash, defame and even scold people they have never met and do not know, as well as businesses they have never interacted with in any form whatsoever. All it takes is for one question to be asked, or one axe grinder to make an appearance, and the predators smell blood. A swarm of anonymous fairies and fops with ridiculous icons appear and begin fomenting themselves into leaps of logic, unfounded assumptions, and distortions of reality. All this would be amusing if it were not for the fact that their extensive dialogues and diatribes become public record and are ranked high in Google.
And will the average reader always understand what kind of sociopaths he or she is witnessing? Not necessarily. They appear to speak from authority quite often, give the appearance of sincerity, and there is a background history of a few scams revealed by Absolute Write. Users there like Victoria Strauss, who give the appearance of legitimacy, will rush in to show support. But as we all know, the best way to maintain the momentum at Absolute Write is to mix a few grains of truth into one continuous and hydra-headed avalanche of lie.
In reality, the core site is a lie on more than one level. The owner and her sock puppets and assorted gang not only shred people all day for amusement and publicity (as someone pointed out, the mediocre writers get publicity for their poorly written books each time they post) and monetary gain (huge revenue from advertisements), the site itself purports to offer good advice to writers when in fact it does no such thing. Advice is amateurish and quite often just plain wrong.
Regardless, the bullies at Absolute Write, herded there by Lisa Spangenberg (as we all now know) and goaded on by her at all times with great vigor, basically function as a Salem witch trial. Accusations are often baseless, but delivered and discussed with excessive zeal. Victims are displayed for purposes of torture, and anyone who disagrees is accused of being a witch also.
One has to ask: what gives such cowardly arm-chair nerds the right to act as prosecutors, judge and jury? Nothing gives them the right. These are a bunch of losers looking for payback. I've seen it before. I've fired abnormals like this at my job because they were caught retaliating against other workers using phony online identities.
I know the type, and I sincerely hope someone is able to bring legal action against Lisa Spangenberg and her hateful crew.
---"Publisher W", from http://bit.ly/13bkcUi ```````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````````
Thank you, Madame. Now me.
By the way, you'd have to be an idiot to fall for the few scams these jerks have "exposed" in the first place. Don't mistake these people for helpful. On the site this poster's above essay appeared, you'll find maybe half a dozen truly snot-nosed self-praisings by Lisa Spangenberg, hiding behind various false names. That's a coward and a weirdo. People recognize her lack of style and sour behavior.
"Absolute Write" and "Writer Beware" are scams. A scam is the dispersal of false information to draw customers for profit. Their scam is to attract attention by berating, libeling and denigrating honest businesses like mine, collect money from the clicks and sell their "services" to the gullible now convinced that their lying makes them look even knowledgeable. These customers know nothing, and these creepy salespeople of unimaginative grammar know less than nothing.
As we will see, they're none too fond of paying their contractors for the "services" they do offer. This literary agency never charges anything for its work, and is none too fond of being peppered with insults and fabrications and lies from these ignoramuses; their own stupid fantasy stories sell pretty much nothing, despite their pretenses of being experts about anything at all. Shame on the "SFWA" for sponsoring these frauds.
I’ll occasionally draw “absolutewrite” ninnies onto my twitter timeline. Last night I heard from three different would-be young adult writers, all English teachers from the Syracuse area. Their timelines all indicated that they're a beer-drinkin' sports-suckin' Larry Curly and Moe, all hoping to be famous kid-story writers so they don't have to work for a living. I get a lot of queriers like this, submitting cookie-cutter stories. I'm worried about what has become of the education system. Had I not taught my son to read myself, he'd be illiterate today. He attended that same upstate New York school system where they purport to hold jobs.
From Larry, Curly and Moe I learned this: Victoria Strauss and her cronies, Ann Crispin and Lisa Spangenberg alias "MacAllister Stone" and whoever else among the cult, are libeling me and my agency this way:
I’ve never got a client signed
I charge fees
My clients complain to "Writer Beware"/absolutewrite about me
I’m a "fraud"
I’m a "scam"
It is somehow wrong to write “unsolicited”(???) complaints about the absolute write scammers, as they are “industry watchdogs.” Uh huh? To whom do I apply for "permission" to complain about scammers and libelers?
It’s hard to describe how total these lies are. It’s hard to get into a mind that would spread lies this way.
Do these people think sheer malicious lying makes them look... good? A dog may beautify itself by rolling in shit, but it doesn't work that way for humans or "literary gatekeepers."
Update: I've just signed a client who's sold nearly half a million books. The movie's been optioned, the director's the best known around, and it's "in the boardroom" right now. I already represent a few six-figure authors. The more lies these "absolute write" creepy crawlers tell, the better off I'll be in court.
Amazing that Victoria Strauss and her friends would spread lies that boldly. The near-sixty-something, who has never, ever written a book that's sold, lies that she's a "self-employed novelist," makes one's eyes swim with her insipid contrived writing, blabbers useless advice to teen wannabes and immature grownups who don't know any better and can't seem to do anything BUT lie in that weird irreal fashion is probably too far gone to do anything else now.
I'm not about to have sick half-wits like "Absolute Write" or "Writer Beware" types creepy-crawling my clients.
Victoria Strauss and her creepy-crawlers are deliberately trying to impede my business. We have never had a true complaint in over 35 years. Writers come to me, personally, by recommendation ("Tom Dark is a miracle worker" a couple days ago, for instance).Yet Miz Strauss is displeased, and convincing all the Larries, Curlies and Moes of one lie after another. That’s malicious libel, isn’t it? Here's a tweet from Larry, Curly or Moe:
Mike Winchell @mswinchell 30m Want proof that #victoriastrauss is worth an elephant’s weight in gold? Well, here it is: she helped people avoid Tom Dark’s “services”
What “services” do you suppose she means? We’re a literary agency. We don’t do “services.” We work and we don't get paid 'til our clients' work sells. Miz Strauss and cronies sell "professional editing" and "online classes," and very hypocritically at that. Who do you suppose Mike Winchell thinks he is talking about?
Mike Winchell @mswinchell 30m And by the way, report @TomDark9 for spam and block him. #victoriastrauss
Collapse Reply Retweet Favorite More 1:59 PM - 1 Jul 13 • Details
If I've got it correct from the internet, he's been through two agents already and hasn't landed his kid's book anywhere. I see he's giving interviews as a straw-hero to the thousands of wannabes who lay down their pitchforks before somebody who's got an agent. (My prediction: those were his 15 minutes of fame. His blog shows he's just not bright enough and his writing is colorless.)
Like the other "absolutewrite" weirdos, he skitters onto my timeline, lays a turd, and skitters off before he can get a reply. They're cowardly. I'm used to that.
The More Lies They Tell, the Deeper They're Going to Sink
WELCOME! The circus of dishonest negativity from these ill people continues. Total fabrication is still up, them thinking, likely, it's "his word against ours." The truth, for those who think they are that clever, is relative to their personal interests.
We still don't know what Victoria Strauss in fact does for a living; her eye-swimming "literary stylings" show she doesn't know much about the real world. Maybe she's a sixty-ward rich kid with a trust fund. She's certainly no "self-employed novelist" as she claims.
Why call yourself that when it's too plain you're lying? To quote her partner Ann Crispin again, "The more lies we tell, the better off we are."
It's not possible to get the truth out of this type where it doesn't serve them some false and selfish purpose.
We do know these few things: Their own sales of their own works are worse than dismal in most cases, and dismal in the rest; they posture as experts about writing and the publishing industry.
We do know they enlist each other to write phony positive reviews for their stultifyingly mediocre stories, so that one can have sixty fake reviews glowing with praise and no sales -- except what they can talk their friends into buying, in a timed way, to make their numbers appear to lurch up for part of a day.
They use false mailing addresses. I couldn't get the BBB after them because of that.
They avoid paying their "professional editors" where at all possible, ignoring requests for proper payment for months at a time.
They posture as "watchdogs" seeking out what are in fact the dumbest come-ons in the world, where, if one really means to be a writer of anything, one couldn't be so stupid as not to recognize these scams "hidden in the corners" in the first place.
They do ignore serious breeches of law in their own back yard; for instance, their own attorney's defrauding the estate of the great writer John Steinbeck.
They hide from admitting having made completely false accusations against companies about which they know nothing.
And in, at the very least, my case, have been posting completely false, malicious nonsense for several years, intending, as I have this in writing, to ruin my reputation. They've picked the wrong target.
If any of you are here in fair curiosity, rather than looking to lose a pissy-fit contest with someone a lot bigger and a lot more honest than you, ask this little cult of liars exactly where the sources of that supposed posting by "Barney Kellman" come from. In detail. Every sentence. I named just a few odds and ends at the Write Agenda site, which, despite the wishes of these obvious sociopaths, is publishing true information.
Everything I checked out about these no-talent smearbots in 2009, when they first started attacking me and this venerable old agency, was also what I read a couple years LATER at the Write Agenda. So your buddies are sociopaths. This isn't nya-nya name-calling. They're liars. They really are. They lie to get your attention and sell you something, for one thing. They shouldn't even be there.
Back then, I found complaints at WRITERS WEEKLY about Vicky the Calumny Qween Strauss. Months had gone by and she hadn't paid her contractors for their "professional editing" or whatever. MONTHS. Vicki replied that duh, oh yah, she forgot, tee hee, silly, busy me... until finally she had to be reminded publicly; all those private reminders -- well, you know how self-important liars can get.
Somebody just showed me this: bit.ly/14u1m6o That's three, count 'em, three, complaints about non-payment by Lisa Spangenberg, alias "MacAllister Stone," an "Absolute Write" phony who lies about her address.
Who am I? http://bit.ly/r8GehW This one taught herself four languages. She learned English from watching movie subtitles. Her dad was a prominent neurosurgeon. Yes she's signed to a publisher now.
All my people are of at least that caliber and personal accomplishment; you're reading some of their opinions about the state of the world in major op-ed columns right now... I have the feeling this little cult of libel bugs haven't got the capacity to understand them, however. But I will be god damned if I'm going to let a little cult of know-nothing jabbering calumniating screwballs spit on people like this or me. Do you read me, you creepy-crawling phony "novelists"?
My clients are earning from $0 to six figures annually from their royalties from their work. They have equal merit to me -- to anyone. One was paid six figures last year for a single work. My "visitors" here come from what's been called by a real best selling author, "the ugliest, most negative site on the internet." They lie and denigrate people they don't know. Amazon.com, when not being manipulated by group, is a good barometer of a writer's actual popularity.
The chief of this deliberately denigrating site recently paid a low-class publicity agency to spread false news that her latest, sloppy, "historical novel" is a "best seller." Her sales standing for this blockbuster at Amazon is #1,296,352. That means a current sales rate of about a book a year. Oops, it's now at #1,303,326.
Her "reviews" are packed with cronies or paid reviewers raving about this relentlessly mediocre "retelling of Cinderella," as someone honest called it.
Oh, hey! Watching this a few days. It's now 6/22. Miz Queen Bee had got a little team together to manipulate those numbers all the way "up" to 222 thousand. You do this using dad's credit card and make many purchases of your, uh, literary stylings, in a row. Of course they've fallen back to #607,359 now, and will continue falling permanently. I'm a good predictor. (As of July 4 '13, It's back down to 1,191,540)
Her previous great big blockbuster, now having had enough time to soak the venues, stands at #1,802,922 this morning. That's about one sale every couple-three years. Whoa, sorry, it's at #1,862,792 now. Woopsie, as of June 23, #2,020,936 and dumping.
Boy, there's an important literary authority with all the right advice about writing and everything else, eh?
This woman is clearly a liar and a deceiver so are her cronies. I learned that when her website began publishing completely malicious lies about this agency some years ago. They haven't stopped. Yet they use lies to make themselves look heroic; the members of their club pay dues to, apparently, subsidize their penchant for garnering well-deserved lawsuits. This is ill behavior.
I wrote the below some time ago as an antidote for those who'd prefer not to have their honest aspirations poisoned by a little cult that declares "the more lies we tell, the better off we are." I see various gullible followers of these "heroes" get quite incensed even to imagine they're being fooled. By their negative attempts to spatter an honest, diligent laborer they don't know and never would be considered for representation here, I see they're not what one would call particularly intelligent. They are what one would call immature.
I apologize to those visiting hostile "true believers" that find detailed articulations too hard to understand. This will be altered into a court-ready document. You "believers" are paying people to continue deluding you and themselves into imagining you're something you are not. Sooner or later the truth will get through to everybody, right to the heart.) Tom
If you're a real writer, "professional editors" will give you the creeps. If, on the other hand, you feel that a "professional editor" will make the difference for you between success or failure, widespread love or lonely obscurity, you could be a sucker.
I say this even though one of the books I edited warranted a commitment from the Hudson Institute for two million dollars for the author's experiment. I say this even though another work I edited garnered a one million dollar publishing offer. It's my job to seek out exceptions. It's not my job to encourage mediocre ability with fake hopes about how anybody can succeed by paying some second-rate grammatician. If you can't write for crap, you may be overly grateful for a "professional editor" to prettify it. But it'll still be crap.
And WATCH these "professional editors." They'll farm out your work to students who do a shitty job. I see it all the time.
"Real Writers Write Things People Do Not Yet Know They Need."
--Indian real writer friend
If you have to write, write. If you like to write, write your heart out to your friends. Comment sections. Local papers, internet sites. Write your secrets to yourself to feel better. Write for your descendants. Perhaps make up a story or two. But if you feel the need for a "professional editor" to make your work famous and widely lovable, you're in a personal dilemma no "professional editor" would discourage. After all, any minute now s/he might fix it for you with just the right words for the price. S/he might even feed you jibberjabber about knowing the publishing industry. I see that all the time too.
Some of you know I'm a literary agent. I deal with stellar people who have stellar personalities. I won't have less. If you don't know you are stellar -- don't worry, you'll know -- stop sending your stuff around right now. Things are tough enough where, in the commercial industry alone, 375,000 new titles are belched out in a year, 93% of them sink to the bottom of the tank, and the 7% that do make money probably include mostly textbook sales and that sort of thing. Those are the stats I remember reading from last year.
You, Too, Can Write A Super Cool Novel! Let Me Show You How!
You understood me, right? Three hundred seventy five thousand new titles. Imagine driving through Cleveland, Ohio, where every single resident has lined the streets waiting eagerly for you to pass by in your black-windowed literary agent's limousine. Each member of the crowd is desperately waving a manuscript s/he has just finished writing and neeeeeds you to read it. Those are only the ones they wrote this year.
I don't want to put anybody off going to Cleveland, but judging from having read samples of somewhere around fifty thousand new books so far myself, ninety five percent of what these unimaginative Clevelanders are waving at you will be boring; about ninety percent of that ninety five percent of boring writing will be imitations of books the writer has seen on the front stands of a bookstore, or of movies the writer has seen who doesn't read enough to know that the movie he is turning into his own new novel already came from a book.
In a city the size of San Francisco, all eight-hundred-many-thousand writers lining the streets "Occupy" style will be waving a book at you that they had published themselves, this year alone... over eight hundred thousand different novels and exposes and memoirs and self-help and economic analysis and political theory and philosophizin' and spiritual revelation and psychic instructions from God and so on, all shouting at once. Ever so few of them will be fun to read. Gauging from experience so far, not even one of them will be funny.
I haven't counted poets. Adding those, I suppose we'd have to move the lot to New York City. In any case, you'll be expected to read each of their books that year. They'll want you to. Somebody must. Lord knows family and friends haven't shown much interest. Maybe a "professional editor" will, for the right price.
Let's do a little thumbnail figuring. Neil Nyren, chief of Putnam, says a new book should garner about twenty thousand bucks to be cozily in the black. For a healthy industry, they'd need to make seven hundred fifty million bucks on your novels, histories, treatises and poems. Is that about right?
The industry altogether, so I read last spring, had so far this year lost two billion dollars. Since then, Borders -- or was it Barnes & Noble -- has sunk to the bottom of that tank, after many industry versions of "bailout," or transfusions of money that didn't come from readers buying their books.
As Jimmy Durante once put it, "Them's the conditions that prevail!"
Them's The Conditions That Prevail
I read that only twenty percent of the American public reads books at all, and most of these are women. I'm not sure about that. Even when I shoveled shit for a living (while freelance editing, mind), I didn't meet any co-workers who hadn't read a book. I sat in a coffeeshop on breaks for ten years and kids and old folk alike were eager to show off about books they were reading. Nobody ever talked about books sitting in the corporate bookstores. I paid attention, as it was my calling.
Corporate Reading honcho Carolyn Reidy et al have publicly blamed customers for not enforcing the profitability of the near-four hundred thousand new titles that deluge the corporate bookstores in semiliteracy rutting season. People just aren't reading any more, she admonished. The other honchos at the big symposium agreed, and so it was written.
People I know are reading as much or more than ever. They complain to me about what's for sale in the bankrupt-y mall bookstores. Some who've complained to me are very popular writers themselves. That's more than just the one you might guess from this blog.
And How Insensitive They All Are About Your Genius
Remember that story where this guy sent around excerpts from great writers like Hemingway and Faulkner and Mark Twain and whoever? And nobody recognized the writing? And everybody turned him down?
That happened to me a couple years ago. Somebody sent me this GREAT story. I'd never read such prose! Radiating high-becquerel imagination in every WORD!!! Even the prepositions! THIS WAS THE BEST GOD DAMNED MANUSCRIPT EVER TO COME THROUGH THE AGENCY COMPUTER! I was ready after ONE PAGE to sign this writer! GIMME that guy! He's MINE! I don't CARE if he gets 60 rejections to start with! This is GREAT.
Oh. Wait. I remembered this story. It was Jules Verne's FROM EARTH TO THE MOON. A fella had sent me his fresh new translation and didn't introduce himself 'til the bottom of the sample he'd sent. But god DAMN, what great writing and what a great translation.
I meant to send it around anyway, but learned someone had beaten this superb translator to the punch. I'd been through that already; a Beatles' scholar who had a buncha new dirt about the Beatles had been turned down, because, the big-company editor told me, ALL the publishers were holding off any new Beatles' books to leave this one other publisher a chance to have the only new Beatles book on the market. I think it was by one of their chauffers, I've forgotten. Anyhow isn't that kinda illegal?
And that is the state of the current commercial publishing industry. If you've heard it here first, you haven't been doing your homework.
One of my authors has gone into his second hardcover edition in a short time and, electronically, is putting out a steady 1200 units a month. He's getting invited places worldwide to speak. A retired PM of Egypt endorsed his work, too (I made that happen). Another was longlisted for the MAN Literary Prize, aka the "Asian Booker," for a novel nobody's even heard of but me, Tom Keneally, Stephen Spielberg, Caroline Leavitt, Patrick what's-his-name and about 60 junior corporate editors so far, who aren't stellar like these people who think it's great. Another stands to get a Spielberg-size budget to direct his own version of a fuggin' SLAM BANG novel he wrote... which yours truly recognized right away, and several dozen editors so far who aren't stellar didn't.
Oh, everybody I have is great. I've made only one error so far: a semi-literate meathead who has some mentions in the Guinness Book of World Records, thinks he's superhuman, and turned out to be crazy and a liar typical of his brand of crazy. More on Superboy later.
Writers, Beware Absolute Shit "Literary Gatekeeper" Scammers
A few years back I overestimated a crazy woman who had a tabletop "publishing company" funded by her sugardaddy husband -- this factual surmisal is evident on her own somewhat unctuous blog. She had a cop book out, a woman cop complaining about sexual harassment at her job. I thought she might like a look at my cop. One hell of a cop and a good writer.
Now, the crazy lady instead left such a loud-mouthed message on my machine I thought it better we wrote quietly. She wrote back loudly, officiously declaring how to do my business and how this certain last-minute thing I happened to be doing was totally impossible.
Is "stupid cunt" politically correct English? It's scientific. I bet her an e-beer I could do it: find a publisher for a reporter who had a GREAT scoop on a presidential candidate, at that late hour. I did. I won. I not only didn't get an e-beer, I got a silence so dead I could hear the oceanic resentment. So much for good sportsmanship.
A month or so later my cop won the 2009 Award for cop-writing, for the book I represented. Pretty prestigious. I mentioned it to the crazy lady in an e-mail. She wrote back "why are you sending me this?" "Because it's you, dear," I replied in kind flirtation. Apparently she doesn't appreciate kind flirtations unaccompanied by a bouquet of cash.
Missus "Will Marry for Money" warned me that she was going to ruin my reputation. I have it right here in black and white, in e-mail.
Enter Self-Important Turds of Righteousness and Libel
A month after the encounter with Missus Far-From-Bennet-Cerf, my partner, surfing the internet, came across this e-hole in question. If you have stellar aspirations and a wee seed of authenticity, you'll know the kind I mean, you've browsed and rejected them. For all the noise and "professional advice," they're useless. A bunch of never-weres who like to hear themselves narrate their Ego Trips to Futilityland. They're usually failed novelists and irresponsible daydreamers who fear real jobs.
Lo. Behold. Missus "Will Ruin Your Reputation" was there sputtering e-venom about me into this e-hole. This dumb-blonde white-trash loudmouth had been posting denigratory garbage about me every single day for a month. A MONTH. Every DAY. No life.
Mrs. Loudmouth's highest-selling author sells maybe one book every couple-three weeks according to the numbers there. All of the rest of them hover among one or two millionth in popularity.
Is that someone you need to tell you how to do your business? Mrs. Loudmouth has a distressingly blabbery tome all about how to do your business in publishing. It weighs in at number 1,602,107 in sales. About 1.3 copies sold altogether so far. Written and produced at the expense and time and effort needed to promote any of her authors who had signed a contract with expectation that she'd actually work to promote their works. This is a phony.
The other day I advised an author: don't pose with your hand on your chin: it makes you look like a pretentious old bitch. Mrs. Loudmouth has posed with her hand on her chin. Excellent.
What gets me about all of these know-it-alls is that despite the stillborn sales, look at all the glowing reviews. Written by Oprah using nom-de-plumes, I imagine. When I first signed on this gig I listened to an industry lawyer declaring that reviews weren't selling books any more. Being a decades long customer, I already knew that. Reviews had become too bullshitty. Each other praising each other gets too old to read in about 20 seconds.
Incidentally, Amazon.com popularity numbers can indeed be manipulated and so can the NY Times Best Seller list. Seen the one, heard about the other. But I've not yet heard of anyone manipulating them downward. These self-appointed literary gatekeepers appear to be doing that... or else their tedious fantasy stories are achieving this on their own.
To be continued. Check the comments for a run-down on one of the psychotics I had to deal with at that scam site.
Hmph. It's going to take longer to finish this than I wanted, partly because it's boring. Will get to it. The message is: do NOT hire internet "professional editors," EVER. If you don't write good in the first place, don't write. Wait'll you hear what I found out about these snot-nosed scamsters.
Sorry I'm late. Not all coincidences are pleasant, nevertheless it's fun to read significances into them. I'm late for three reasons. One, the boredom of tatting out something needing said to a smaller audience than reads my blog, two, I had to deal with a dishonest auto repairman whose "professional editor" quality work could have killed my mother-in-law had she driven that car; three, Pete.
Pete's found my blog and has been harassing it daily for quite awhile, then spreading his harassments around wherever he can. Pete's nuts. He fits right in with the subject. I've deleted his postings because they're petty, childishly hostile and boring and said so before I realized this was Pete, hiding behind "anonymous." They've been growing increasingly vile in reaction to that. STILL not interesting, even with all the cusswords.
Hell Hath No Fury Like That of a Repressed Homosexual Scorned
Anybody here read Bill Nack's MY TURF? I'm no sports fan but by god, after MY TURF I may be. Bill and I corresponded awhile. While he was courtin' a gal at Siro's in Saratoga and habiting the Wishing Well there in the days of Secretariat (the popular movie was based on his book about the horse), I was cracking lobster at the one and playing music at the other, at 17. Ain't coincidences fun?
Page 307, "The Muscle Murders," contains a good sad description of Pete. There's a "little guy" complex that compels some to lift weights, lift weights, lift weights, play counterfeit macho and entertain violent fantasies. That's Pete, at 5'6", flat feet and a vestigial tail (he once told me this was why women didn't like him).
While one of my commenters suggested I keep a rifle handy (we've got one from Afghanistan), and while Pete bragged about murdering "some cocksucker" in a parking lot in Santa Monica, CA, with a piece of rebar, plus other adventures with his fat li'l pistol ( http://bit.ly/VjED8X ;Careful, Jews: http://bit.ly/146wBHV ; http://bit.ly/15Z5Pjm "For women": http://bit.ly/R66pFb ), I doubt Pete's much to worry about -- even though he has assigned himself the role of implacable enemy from the very safe distance of a thousand miles and the internet, hiding behind invented names.
"And whats all this crap about guns anyway. Does it make you feel hard carrying around the big weapon? Bragging that you shot someone and then took a picture of them?" -- Response to Pete on a sexual fetish site. Handed over to the police, identified and confirmed.
"I can't tell anymore whether everything he says is just fantasy." "Yeah I know," the detective replied. (And it did turn out he was living in his car at the time, lying to me about it.)
A little internet searching will show Pete seeking sexual fetishes for pay, bragging about killing people, lying about his work history and blaming his fantasy enemies for his half-hearted attempts at working for a living. He spent most of his adult life into middle age living at his parents' house, only occasionally venturing out to discover how "Jews" and "Nepotists" and "Whites" were keeping him from sixties-style rock stardom, or even a decent job.
Despite the tale of Pete murdering somebody in Santa Monica, I've only ever seen him explode his violent temper at old folks -- who of course didn't do anything to deserve it. There was this old alcoholic housepainter in Houston, and last I witnessed, a violent and obscene tirade at an 85 year old, very kindly and quite brilliant writer named Doris Colmes. Look her up. THE IRON BUTTERFLY. Doris escaped Nazi Germany with her family, then went on an adventure through the American 20th Century that had me reading even while I walked around, nearly bumping into a telephone pole. Find and read it.
Jew-Haters Welcome at Absolute Shit Writer Protection Service!
"I think he used the capitalized word "JEW" about two dozen times in that correspondence. Just sickening. I don't need anymore insanity... I'm ashamed I ever had anything to do with him." --Somebody else who knows him
"Got the college loan people up my ass again c'uz payments were "late" so they are calling them "delinquent" and "over due"... FUCK YOU JEW COCKSUCKERS TO TEARS!!!!! I put that on a 2 page nasty letter to them and mailed it this morning..." (Sample of Pete's harrassive posting here on my blog)
Because it goes without saying, I haven't mentioned that there wouldn't be anything I or anyone at this 35-year-old esteeemed Agency had done that rated complaints -- not even from a bruised ego, so long as its proprietor was reasonably sane. That hadn't stopped these prevaricating dingdongs from plying the gullible with invented scandals. They'd even attacked dear old Aunt Pody with phony accusations a few years beforehand. Her late husband was reknown in the publishing industry for fairness. He was a contract expert. Our standard client contract is the best in the business.
Look at the comments section. A while ago I came across an old letter from Pete. All of them were like the sample excerpted from that single letter. They were like Pete in person, albeit I'd curtail this crap periodically.
This is the kind of jerk these "professional editors" think is qualified to post libels at their site, child-molester "jokes" and all. I hear they've since erased the nonstop rants, as indeed they could have got into legal trouble like never before, but I don't doubt they've since added more calumnies.
Breaking news: one of five long, long messages pooped into my comments section from Peter M. Wells, just a few minutes ago: Go suck some more RICH JEWISH COCK, Dark. You're a fucking JEW! You act like one. You do shitty little things like THIS for instance, just like they do. Thus, you are ONE OF THEM. You're a no good COCKSUCKER HONORARY KIKE (copied, dated, saved, forwarded to police for the file. There's a ton of it.)
Poor Pete "hates Jews," see. He's always "hated Jews." He'll die "hating Jews." He doesn't know any Jews, really, and I watched as over the years his fantasy grew. "Jews" were keeping him from succeeding. Even Doris Colmes was conspiring against him in his mind, I'm sure. I'm sorry I invited this wonderful writer into a discussion group with my paranoid friend. She had asked to be excused, as her daughter was in the hospital near death. This brought on Pete's vile tirade. I've got the correspondence.
I'd often do my best to make Pete see this was insane. Rather than apologize to this near-brilliant writer, he decided all at once that he himself was a "Sephardic Jew." He otherwise broadened his focus of self-hatred to now ranting against "nepotists" and now "whites." Pete's white. He'd changed his surname thinking he was being persecuted for being Italian. He never did join the Mafia for protection, as I suggested; he certainly didn't take Talmudic instruction with this newly "discovered" ancestry. He couldn't hold a job. Jews. "Neps." White blonde haired blue eyed. At bottom, they're ALL "Jews."
I looked up "Peter Wells, Tucson" and was pleased to see that he'd been more or less employed until last May. Then, apparently, according to his succinct statement, either Jews, Caucasians or both discovered him:
Tucson, Arizona Area - desktop support tech at Honeywell NOT ANY MORE they laid me off. I wasn't WHITE ENOUGH for them. - Honeywell Aerospace
This behavior made him the darling of this "we protect writers and expose evil" cult. More later.
...Sorry for the long delay, same reasons as given above. This dirty diaper does need flushed out, though. Pete's discovered an old song of mine somebody posted on YouTube, and has posted something nasty -- and as usual, witless. He's determined to hang his furry little star on my coattails. He'll be sneaking over here again, obsessive li'l bug as he is.
Big Doings in La-La Land
Pete fit right in with the absolute shit cult: exaggerated claims to talent, a big chip on the shoulder and symptoms of personal problems. He and the tabletop-mama publisher got along famously, encouraging each other to vomit out whatever sounded denigratory within the limits of their mediocre imaginations. What appeared to be a group of semi-literate, snotty little high school girls jumped right in.
A spanking would have been more appropriate than bothering to debate this little gang. They had no business with the Agency at all, not with any agency. Most had no business pretending to professional writing. Some made false claims of being writers at all.
This made these "professional editors" happy, if hollow ambitions can ever be said to be "happy." A little scandal, even a fake one, to bring in 'net traffic. Why check sources? Why contact the Agency to respond to even legitimate-sounding complaints? Little minds buzz to dirt and negativity, and likely need "professional editing."
Has this idiocy done us damage? Well, one client said the agency website was now "skewed to teenaged girl writer wannabes encouraging each other."
"The more lies we tell, the better off we are."
That's a quote and I'm not kidding. I looked into these people.
The above quote was blabbed Manson-girl style by one of them at a book exposition to a friend of mine. They were trolling and passing out billets with a spiel amounting to this: their little gang plans to be the "gatekeepers" of literature. They'd ruin every agency and publisher they could and rule the rest. The more hatred and mistrust these mediocre neurotics could sell, the bigger and more important they apparently thought they'd get. Your tedious, overwritten "fantasy" novel doesn't sell? The only solution appears to be take over the industry.
Think I'm joking? This little gang of failed fantasy writers are a nut cult. Legitimate complaints had been registered about them farming out "professional editing" work and not paying their "professional editors," who, typically, are college kids or ne'er-do-wells as described above.
They don't resemble people who offer legitimate, free 'net services like Gerard Jones does, or the lately successful fella who wrote it was the ugliest, most negative site he'd ever seen and everybody he knew thought the same of it.
One of this cult lost a malicious libel suit with a $250,000 judgment against him and, last I looked, another malicious libel suit against him had been green-lighted by a judge.
The little gang of fantasy dribblers are still embroiled in a ONE BILLION DOLLAR malicious libel suit from an outraged agent. They claimed it was over, but according to my source, they're lying once again and it's far from over. The antagonized party is reloading. They were called down for soliciting donations for legal costs from their sadly gullible clients. That's illegal.
What kind of literary ability does it take to be so stupid? Too much sniffing bug spray? Some of my clients also stumbled into that site. Nobody was fooled. However, I did hear from some who weren't my clients.
Most notable was the late Abhijit Dasgupta, who requested my representation immediately. He switched from one of England's most prominent literary agents to me.
Abhijit wasn't a "professional editor," scamming the naive with tales of $ucce$$-4-U. He was a real editor: Executive Editor for India Today newsmagazine, India's largest and most respected periodical, and therefore, the world's. Nobody was fooled by the reams of nonsense these "professional editors" were allowing unchecked in their rule-the-industry website, Abhijit advised.
Ma-cho Ma-cho Superboy!
One underachieving ex-client did jump on board the fake-fest. I've described Superboy above.
I had high hopes for Superboy. 720 hours of unpaid work on that dead-eyed meathead were meant to come to something.
I suppose it's no coincidence that Pete and Superboy were so alike: "little guys," obsessive weightlifters, competitors for page 307 in Nack's MY TURF. Superboy claimed to have got his "powers" from reading Plato while waiting for his socially connected mom to pull strings to get her little boy out of a 20 year jail sentence for breaking a Naval officer's neck on a cement curb in a two-against-one barroom brawl against that officer.
Superboy's manuscript indicated that he didn't do things like that any more; he would no longer slam things into women's faces at convenience stores he was robbing, nor was he chronic depressive or diagnosed for "magical thinking" any more. He claimed he had cured himself.
I'd taken him on because of experiments of my own -- nothing having to do with manic depression or clinical "magical thinking," mind you. I'd managed to do some pretty spectacular physical feats myself, all considered, and so, found Superboy's claim credible for that.
I rewrote the first 80 pages of Superboy's offering, which was more than he had written when he contacted me. The sense of humor in it is mine. They were amusing tales of what a bad boy he "used to be," a thief, a liar, emotionally debilitated, beating up women, nearly killing a man in a barroom brawl and so on -- all on the premise that he was none of those things any more. No, he was a "Platonic Superman."
I found him the one publisher he'd ever get. The publisher complained that after page 80, it was a bore. I couldn't take the time to rewrite Superboy's whole damn manuscript for him. I'd challenged him that if he could break Guinness bar-bet records "with his soul," he could do the same with writing. It's what I do.
I put Superboy on to two very kindly and highly accomplished experts in their fields to help him learn to write his thoughts better. One was a 95 year old Doctor of Linguistics, a frequent award-winner, the wing of a college named after him.
Although supposedly a PhD in Platonic Metaphysics himself, the old professor playfully wiped Superboy's clumsy bluster in circles about Socrates, philosophy and the soul in general. Superboy did so poorly one certainly had to wonder if he'd even finished high school. Come to think of it, he never specified whether his PhD came from a mail-order course, which that school offers. It's a religious school with no accreditation.
Superboy tried bullying a highly respected, award-winning 95-year-old professor with a college hall named after him about his forthcoming death, to "win" the argument. At the same time, he knew the professor was tending daily to his own dying wife, while teaching classes and chairing his department. Superboy decided to warn this venerable and brilliant man that he would die soon and without Superboy's "understanding" of the soul... at least insofar as doing a lot of sit-ups in a row went.
For various additional reasons at home, one of them a sit-up event he expected to make money but drew a piddling audience, grew maniacally depressed. I could tell. I wrote and asked him. He e-mailed that I was "the only person in the world he could talk to." He then decided he was my captain, and I was to follow his expertise in how to find a publisher. I promptly gave him the opportunity to quit the contract. He took it, saving me the trouble of getting rid of him. The next day, someone warned me that Superboy had mounted a calumny campaign at that site, himself now mighty and heroic; me, puny and craven.
Superboy had accidentally e-mailed me a note to his sister. He told her about his high depression. He hadn't fixed anything about himself as he'd ever claimed. He cast quite a bit of doubt on the truthfulness of any of the heroic stories he'd bungled out about himself. He in effect stole the work I'd put into him. He posted a gang of lies, breaking confidential legally privileged e-mails, excerpting them out of context to make himself look good and me bad. He registered false complaints to an organization to which I didn't belong. As with Pete, who along with Ms. Will Ruin Your Reputation were still busy stinking the blog up with aimless nonsense, Superboy did manage to hurt an elderly woman, an agent colleague. She belonged to that organization to which Superboy sent that false complaint. Superboy knew that. I'd told him. He had to hurt somebody.
"You're going to hold my balls so they don't get rug burns while I fuck your wife," said Superboy to some stranger in a squabble about a dog. I suppose I'm lucky that Superboy merely insulted my wife, also totally gratuitously, on that site. Incidentally, so did the bearded phony who runs that site insult my wife. The sweetest individual in the world. If Pete weren't just a fantasizing coward, I'd send him along with a piece of rebar.
Superboy turned out to be the same frightened little brat with a weak grasp on reality and a tendency to stealing and violence that his own book says he'd always had. As to the feats of strength? Anyone obsessive enough to ignore his family for lifting weights four hours a day can win a few records for a beer-company bar-bet book.
Epilogue Did Superboy go rocketing off to fame and fortune, now that I, a mere obstruction, was out of the way? I see the book I partly fixed is for sale on Amazon.com and it's pushing three millions, which means one sold since it was put up. Probably his sister. The book has two reviews, one that looks like his own high-school level writing, and the other, his sister's. The 'net doesn't show him having broken any more Guinness fitness records since I'd edited his book in October '08. They're always getting broken anyhow.
Someone reported to me that Superboy announced he'd even got himself a movie deal, based on his superhood. I checked. Oh, right, a Hollywood "channeler" who makes his living convincing people he can turn into an omniscient being from outer space. These people are embarrassing. So are the P.T. Barnum suckers they draw. A perfect match for Superboy's true authenticity, I'd say. I'll wait for it to show up on late-nite satellite channel 2,754 broadcast from the palace basement in Tonga. Maybe even YouTube.
All Lies, All the Time
Someone I knew posted a little something in my favor. The "professional editors" deleted it and replied "go start your own site." Words to that effect. Goody goody. More evidence of intent to do damage through malicious libel. Into the record it went.
These creeps never check with any agency about the validity of any of the crap they publish. They're poisoned.
Their blogs are overstuffed with peccadilloes and long, long LONG detailed useless "advice" about how to write and how to pick an agent.
Sometimes a Charging Chipmunk Doesn't Know It's Dead
The other day some goober broke onto my Twitter timeline announcing how superior he was and how ignorant I am for not also gurgling the tiresome pop meme called "evolution." It's on the way out. One of my scientists has a whole bunch of essays from really big scientists, a Nobel Laureate included, that indicates this is the case. The really big scientists see they've been forced to look in other directions, as the "shit happens" schtick of Darwin's accidentalisms doesn't explain shit after all. "Intelligent design" doesn't help much, either. All very interesting.
This goober from Ohio, unable to win the smart-assing contest he started, dug up that stupid site, containing what of that actionable bullshit they haven't yet been smart enough to erase, and spread it as far as his tweeting little heart could muster... two dozen followers, I s'pose (fundamentalist "evolutionists" aren't all that popular out here in reality).
So these absolutely shitty people will post whatever's detractory by goobers who not only are not clients, never applied to be, and wouldn't get half an inch into the door if they tried. It resulted in a small increase of blog traffic for me, and a good one-or-two goobers in disguise, along with poor Pete, trying to post crap in the comments section.
They liked to pretend I haven't sold anything. Of course I have. The droll slime had me make up my mind: it's none of your damn business. A) wouldn't I appreciate it if MY agent didn't go blabbling about things the IRS would be too glad to look into? B) Wouldn't I appreciate not getting barraged with tons of cheap imitations of my client's work, for whom I worked my butt off, once he got in the news? Yes I would. So unless it can't be helped by virtue of enormous sales, I'm staying mum. Oh, I'll make casual mention when I'm in the mood.
In The Mood
Well bless my soul, one of my clients just got a front-page feature in a major magazine. Wherein we, too, are mentioned. They expect the book'll be a huge hit. Hope so. Am not mentioning who and where, as promised. That's right, "front-page feature in a major magazine" will make these arrogant deserved failures jealous and more libelous; the phrase will stand up very nicely in a court of law. Hoping the fantasy-cult gang'll continue lying. Evidence piling up.
Useful tip: don't look for an agent "with a track record." You're no smart and skeptical shopper in a Dollar-store literary shopping mall, as these creepy people would have you fantasize. You are being shopped. Agents don't "sell your book." Your book must sell itself or it will sink like a stone. If it's not there in the raw, it won't be after wasting money on "professional editors" either. Don't pretend your "professionally edited" thing will sell 100 years from now because you're a misunderstood genius. I can do that, but not you.
Or do these libel bugs know what they're talking about? True, the most virulent little bug among them, leading the assault on professional honesty, was dumped by a couple publishers. No sales.
And now let me go do something fun. Back later.
I'm ba-ack. Just got back from L.A. where I attended the first screening of my client's comedy. Looks good, but isn't the final edit. If this works, he gets the Spielberg-size budget for the novel I'm representing.
Was accompanied by my supermodel client. She's taller than I and more beautiful by far. She looked like a Greek statue come to life in smashing evening wear. I looked like her scruffy old biker bodyguard. (In a way, I am. We can't have these "writer protection" parasites trying to suck blood out of my spectacular clients with their diseased probosces.) I get away with scruffy because I'm so smart it doesn't matter to people. If it does matter to people, they're not smart enough for me. By the way, I take first-time writers if they ARE stellar personalities. These two first timers have rocketed in one way or another since I recognized their... stellarity. Am real proud of that. As I said, if you're stellar, you'll know.
Don't pretend. You'll wind up like Pete and that miserable little lot. If you do choose the latter, be sure to grow a straggly beard so you can pretend you're prominent and deep. Wear wire-rimmed glasses if female so you can pretend people think you're smart... albeit, were you, you'd mind your own freaking business.
So has another just rocketed. JUST now opened the agency mail to discover my historian got an enormously positive review from a huge national columnist while I was in L.A. We got sick of waiting around so he self-published. It's a great book.
Psst: two new contracts pending. Plus a terrifying report about Workman's Comp bureau everybody else was scared of, so I'll put it up. THE MEDICAL CULLING OF AMERICA, Alex Burke. It IS scary. Hundreds of hours of video, thousands of pages of documentation. burkereports.com