While I have written a couple of novels, I have not yet published them. In truth, I have not yet submitted them, but they’re both still in the editing phase – more on that another time. Publishing through the large New York houses has become harder and harder in recent years, both for economic reasons and simple changes in the Industry. Of course, various forms of self-publishing are available (from Lulu.com to Lightning Source and Kindle/Nook e-book options), but being selected by an established publishing house has great emotional appeal. Fortunately – no, not really – there are countless scammers ready to feed on those frustrated writers, promising fame and riches while only delivering shame and expenses.
Fortunately – really – there is a team that sorts out the good from the bad. The website Writer Beware has been shining the disinfecting light of truth onto this problem for years. They keep lists of legitimate agents and publishers as well as calling scammers on their scams. Even on some that fall somewhere in between, they point out the areas of concern and tell you what to watch out for. They get some support from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), but mostly it’s a labor of love.
Most scammers either keep on scamming or scurry away into the corner only to return under a different name, but a few have been doing what they can to muddy the water. A largely anonymous group called The Write Agenda has been making claims against Writer Beware for a while. It’s not really enough to completely undo their scam-busting work, but I guess these scammers hope to reduce their stature to being merely one of two mudslinging opponents. Writer Beware has mostly ignored this in the past. After all, why point folks towards your worst character assassin? However, now the Write Agenda is apparently going after a number of other folks who support Writer Beware or even SFWA.
I guess if you can’t bully someone into submission, you start going after their innocent friends.
Well, that’s probably not the best idea when you’re trying to bully the righteous, because they will haul out their wrath and deliver one righteous smackdown. Earlier this week, Writer Beware did just that. In addition to documenting many of The Write Agenda’s illegitimate activities, they are making some attempt at breaking through the group’s anonymity to reveal the true scammer’s sour grapes. It would appear that he has done battle with Writer Beware before and lost.
So as we move away from newspapers, perhaps it’s time to update the adage: Never argue with someone who buys his electrons by the barrel, especially if his friends do too.