TAKE A STAND AGAINST CYBER BULLIES - Authors Beware!
Writer Forums are Prime Targets of Bully Boards. In online forums, bullies use words to intimidate, isolate, and degrade their victims by the use of unsubstantiated personal attacks which vilify their targets. They often make fun of their victim’s intelligence, getting a laugh out of everyone participating in the forum which also neutralizes their target and serves as a strong reminder to all of the bully’s power—ruling by instilling fear. This is character assassination, a deliberate and sustained process that destroys the credibility and reputation of an individual or a group of individuals. Agents of character assassinations employ a mix of open and covert methods to achieve their goals, such as raising false accusations, planting and fostering rumors, and manipulating information in an attempt to tarnish a person's reputation. This may involve exaggeration, misleading half-truths, or manipulation of facts to present an untrue picture of the targeted person—a form of defamation—even slander. Some forums even offer anonymous entities (who suspiciously sound like the same person), and who join the forum on consecutive days for the ostensible purpose of further trashing their target. Literary agents are particularly vulnerable to online writers forums.
I recently stumbled upon an old blog from 2006 in which I discovered a lot of inaccuracies, misinformation, and data no longer relevant. It was a blog of mostly unpublished or self-published authors who were seeking representation. Unfortunately, such bogus information can be very unhelpful since it is grossly misleading. As a seasoned literary agent of more than 23 years, and having published hundreds of titles at some of the leading publishing houses—from umbrella publishers like Penguin Random House to some excellent mid-size and smaller houses, it saddens me to read this.
It should be noted that most agents, and book publishers alike, only request a proposal and sample chapters because we're all inundated with queries and unsolicited manuscripts and time is limited. A well-written comprehensive book proposal with sample chapters appended is quite telling. If it appeals, I request the complete manuscript “if available”. Seldom do we submit a complete manuscript to a book publisher, especially when presenting a nonfiction proposal—and then, only “on request”.
The prospective author who receives an “invite” to submit a proposal and sample chapters to us at AAA Books Unlimited is one of a handful of authors whereas 95% of all queries are rejected. I very carefully screen authors as publishers rely heavily on agents to do so. Authors whom I accept receive 100% of my time and dedication.
As a result of the watchful combined effort of many Literary Agents and Authors alike, progress has been made to combat cyber bullying on Writers Forums. For example:
P&E: Class Action Suit filed against P&E in 2006:
A Class Action Suit was filed against P&E in 2006 at the Office of Policy and Evaluation, Bureau of Competition / Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC: This action, championed by Barbara Bauer Literary Agency, declared that agents have been harmed by various individuals in conspiracy, their good names tarnished, and their business irrevocably lost and/or diminished by attacks of white collar criminals dealing in unfair business practices against literary agents, both on and off line. Similar complaints have been launched against publishing houses.
The resolution: this suit was won in favor of the plaintiff, and the P&E site was forcibly removed.
Write Absolute Reviews of Bully Boards—A Blog Dedicated to Collecting Testimonials and Documented Facts Regarding Acts of Cyberbullying and Defamation, Bad Writer Advice, Malware Banner Advertising, and Various Matters of Charade and Inanity Performed on the Forums of Absolute Write—Once again, thanks to our many supporters who won't stop talking about the absolutely ridiculous and insulting behavior on Absolute Write. We understand that you wish to communicate backchannel, however, please feel free to post here anonymously…. This is necessary to prevent anyone from Absolute Write gaining enough knowledge to effectively retaliate against you or anyone else.
The mission of W.A.R. is to expose the incompetents and bullies of Absolute Write for who they really are and to provide a verifiable record for anyone to examine; and to gather information and colleagues necessary to engage in legal proceedings against the owner and her cronies engaged in acts of libel against writers and legitimate businesses.
Write Absolute Reviews of Bully Boards—A Blog Dedicated to Collecting Testimonials and Documented Facts Regarding Acts of Cyberbullying and Defamation, Bad Writer Advice, Malware Banner Advertising, and Various Matters of Charade and Inanity Performed on the Forums of Absolute Write.
I encourage all of our clients and potential clients to watch out for these negative and unscrupulous sites that only serve to harm the reputations of legitimate businesses rather than educate and elevate aspiring authors.
Literary Market Place (LMP):
AAA Books Unlimited was first admitted for publication in LMP in 2004. LMP, the “bible” of the book industry, is located in every public library in every city throughout the United States and the World. Admittance is by invitation only, and an agent must have three recommendations from publishers to whom she sold titles within the prior two years. We received letters of commendation from 1) Random House, 2) Oxford University Press, and 3) Pelican (a mid-size publisher in Gretna, Louisiana).
What we do at AAA Books Unlimited:
Authors receive assistance in preparing their proposals and fine-tuning sample chapters for multiple-submission to publishers. Authors whose queries initially pique my interest receive the following email:
To help us evaluate the viability of your project, please complete a comprehensive book proposal that contains the following information: Title Page, Table of Contents, Overview, About the Author, Market Analysis, Competition Section, Promotion Section, Chapter Outline, and your Curriculum Vitae. The proposal is very important, serving as a “road map” to the manuscript. Therefore, your book proposal must pique the interest of the acquiring editor so they are eager to open the text. All AAA publishing house submissions include a polished manuscript and/or sample chapters with accompanying Book Proposal. In this age of fierce competition and a flooded marketplace, only excellence sells! Especially, in today's crowded marketplace, our still soft economy, and the fallout from Borders Books. Book Proposal and sample chapters should be sent to my attention via email attached Word.doc file (or Word.docx):
If a prospective author has a good project, but would benefit from editorial, I ask if the author has his/her own editor. If so, I encourage the author to have the manuscript more closely honed by their personal editor. If the author doesn’t have an editor and asks for recommendations, I am happy to comply.
AAA’s submission process, and beyond:
Step #1: Email [DRAFT] submission letter to Author;
Step #2: List of Possible Publishers (with contact information of most suitable Acquisition Editor at each house
Agent’s comments on how they were selected as a possible good fit), emailed to Author;
Step #3: Multiple Submission to all editors on publisher list, electronically or via hardcopy (editor's choice), with
cc to Author;
Step #5: Follow-up calls to be made 3-4 weeks following submission, unless we hear earlier;
Step #6: Monthly project updates emailed to Author
A NIGHT TO REMEMBER (Saturday, July 17, 2004)
Chicago, “the Windy City,” defied all odds as everyone gathered Saturday evening under clear skies, balmy 70-degree weather, and no bugs in celebration of AAA’s summer gala. Getting to Chicago was another story! Friday afternoon, as the marquee was going up in the garden and tables were being set for 85 guests, stranded travelers began phoning. Chicago’s airports had shut down due to a severe thunderstorm watch. For AAA’s hostess Nancy Rosenfeld, it was instant panic since most guests were arriving by air. Nevertheless, everyone safely made it despite flight delays up to seven hours and one case of lost luggage. Roasting the Host: Brook Noel, President, Champion Press, Ltd; Jan Fawcett, MD, Author; Bernard Golden, PhD, Author; Michael Steinberg, Lit. Agent; Bob LaZebnik, brother of Jack. Readings: Shyam Amladi: “Why Me?” And further observations of the confused American Male, Glenn Campbell: NAKED VEGAS: A totally cynical guide to Sin City, Joe Gumm: Due Dads: a comical guide to assisting your spouse with a natural birth, Bill Melms: How to Stay Afloat Wearing Army Boots.