Let's see, where was I? Oh yes, Installment 2 of the Kelly O'Donnell story, aka How Writer Beware Began.
By the time I'd finished fencing with Kelly O'Donnell, and showing her up in front of the Aol chat as a fake, she was raving mad, and making all kinds of threats. Meanwhile, I began checking around to see how many other fake agents were on the internet. The answer was...A LOT. Hundreds.
My husband, who, at that time, was President of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (I was Eastern Regional Director) suggested that I ought to write an article about this proliferation of scam agents on the internet for the SFWA Bulletin. I decided that might be a good idea, and I set to work, researching in earnest.
While I was doing this, I ran into a nice lady named Kim, who ran a small, fan-based site called The Write Connection. Kim had been scammed by several fake agents, and decided to do something about it. So she founded The Write Connection, and began keeping a database and publishing the names of the scam agents she encountered. Kim was also on Aol, and the two of us began Instant Messaging about Kelly O'Donnell, and other scam agents and scam publishers she'd encountered. Kim was the person who "introduced" me to Charles and Dorothy Deering, of the Deering Literary Agency, and Sovereign Publishing. All purpose scammers -- they'd get you coming and going. First you'd pay a reading fee for them to read your manuscript. Then they'd tell you it needed editing, and you'd pay thousands of dollars for a worthless editing job that involved little more than a spelling and grammar-check program. THEN, after the victim was good and softened up, and getting pretty desperate because he or she had been receiving nothing but rejections from commercial publishers in New York, Dorothy Deering would "sell" your book to her own vanity press, Soverign Publishing. Of course she didn't admit it was a vanity press. She called it a "co-op publishing venture." Scam agents and publishers are masters of what I call weasel-wording.
Of course the several thousand the author put into the project was all the money that was ever invested. And for their thousands of dollars, the poor author would get a hundred sub-standard books...if he or she was LUCKY.
People who came into the project later got zip for their "investment."
The Deerings were real masters at the "art" of rooking writers. Funny thing about scam literary agents and publishers...almost all of them, if you trace them far back enough, started out as writers who were trying to get published, and couldn't sell their books.
Go figure, huh?
Okay, it's time for the Writing Tip of the Day: WHEN WRITING EITHER SETTINGS OR DESCRIPTIONS (OF PEOPLE OR PLACES), DON'T FORGET TO USE ALL FIVE SENSES IN YOUR DESCRIPTION. BEGINNING WRITERS TEND TO USE SIGHT ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY. DON'T FORGET HEARING, TASTE, TOUCH, AND SMELL!
Have a great Sunday!
-Ann C. Crispin
Author: STORMS OF DESTINY/HarperEos