Writer Beware and “The Write Agenda”

Many of you are aware of Writer Beware, the fantastic resource spearheaded by Victoria Strauss and Ann Crispin (and supported by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, among other groups), which researches, documents and informs writers about the various scammers out there who pose as legitimate editors, publishers and agents. Writer Beware shines a light on the scumbaggery that these people do, thereby making it harder for them to separate writers from their money. So it’s not entirely surprising that some of them would try to turn the tables on Victoria, Ann and Writer Beware, and attempt — poorly — to make it look like they are somehow bad guys.

One such group is “The Write Agenda,” which gives the impression that it’s an organization of writers that impartially looks at writing information online. What it actually appears to be doing is targeting Writer Beware, its principals, and other industry pros who have gone out of their way to point out scammers and the scams they pull. If “The Write Agenda” can give the impression that it is a legitimate group, it can then cast doubt on the work that Writer Beware does for writers.

One reason it won’t work is because Writer Beware is doing what it does best: Documenting the obnoxious mendacity of these cretins, and pointing out the flaws in their logic, such as it is. While Victoria, Ann and Writer Beware were content to ignore this nonsense while it was only them targeted for this stupidity, they’re coming forward now because these jerks are now widening their targets:

… we’ve become concerned by the way TWA’s venom seems to be spilling beyond the “watchdogs” and into the wider writing and publishing community. TWA’s rapidly growing “boycott list” now includes many writers who have nothing at all to do with Writer Beware or WB’s activities; one writer is on the list for nothing more than the crime of having Victoria as a guest on her radio show (she blogged about TWA’s attempts to hijack the interview even as it was being conducted); others are included, apparently, simply because they’re SFWA members. Recently, TWA posted hundreds of one-star reviews and ratings of “boycott” authors’ books on Goodreads (see #2 on the Screenshots page for an example); these reviews were flagged by Goodreads as spam and removed, but not before they prompted some angry responses by targeted authors.

Basically, it appears as if scumbags whose cons are being thwarted by Writer Beware are trying to intimidate Victoria and Ann into silence through lies and misinformation. And, well. You can see how well it’s working.

Let me speak briefly about Victoria Strauss and Ann Crispin. Ann I know personally and have for some years now; Victoria I know through my work as president of SFWA. These two women are, clearly and unambiguously, the good guys. Writer Beware isn’t some massive machine and it’s not something these two (and a few others) do for money or for fame — there’s not any of that here. These two do it because as writers and publishing professionals they are paying it forward. They are helping out those who need help today and teaching them how to navigate through the publishing world, so that they will be able to help those who come up behind them. It’s a lot of work and takes a lot of dedication. They don’t get near enough thanks for it, although clearly they are doing what they do so well that they’ve made some especially vindictive enemies.

Unlike those who are going out of their way to trash Victoria, Ann and Writer Beware, I’m not hiding behind of phalanx of apparently fake groups, names and social media accounts — I’m an actual live person, actually working professionally in the writing industry, who actually knows Ann and Victoria and who has benefited from the hard work they have put into Writer Beware. If Writer Beware’s long and honorable history of sticking up for writers — and sticking it to scammers — isn’t enough to convince you of its good works, consider this my personal endorsement.

Returning to The Write Agenda, I’ll note that I myself am on its Author Boycott List. I could not possibly be prouder of this particular achievement of mine. As far as I can see it means that when it comes to being someone who speaks out for authors against those who would scam and deceive them, I am on the side of the angels — as are, I will note, rather a healthy number of writers and publishing industry professionals who I consider friends and colleagues. Indeed, I suspect that soon a number of other authors I know will go examine the list and be positively hurt they are not on the boycott list as well. I say: Try harder, my friends. Apparently all you need to do to get on the list is inform new and emerging writers about scammers, predators, and possibly also their deceptive front organizations. If you want to know how to get started on that, check with Writer Beware. It has some ideas for you.


Whatever Notes: October Edition

Oh, look, pumpkins. They’ve begun their two-month moment in the sun: Jack-o-Lanterns for October, Thanksgiving pies for November, and then back to wherever these gourds go for the rest of the year (I think a commune in the New Mexico desert). They’re adorable, they are.

October this year is going to be a little hectic for me, in no small part because for two weeks of it, I’ll be in Germany, touring (actually, I’ll be touring Germany for about ten days, and then spending a couple of days sleeping when I get back home). So from the 13th through the 24th, I’m likely to put the site on a semi-hiatus, which means that while I will update the site from the road when/if I can, you probably shouldn’t expect more than pictures and a few sentences. Hey, I’ll be busy. It’s possible that instead of the semi-hiatus I might invite a guest blogger during that period, but haven’t decided yet. If I do, of course I’ll let you all know (don’t ask to be the guest blogger, please).

Either way, for about a third of the month, I’ll likely be scarce around here. During that time, depending on my connectivity capability in Germany, I’ll try to be keeping up via Twitter and Google+, so if you’re not getting your Scalzi fix there, try those. Before and after those dates, it’ll be business as usual.

Also, while I’m in Germany, there won’t be any Big Idea entries. To make up for it, next week I’ll have Big Ideas on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. You know I wouldn’t leave you without any new books to learn about.

And that’s the state of things here in October.

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