...are the scammers themselves.
It's true. Writer Beware has proof that if we mention a topic in here, or put an agency on our 20 Worst Agents List, the scammers read about it and react.
Several of the scammers who are currently on the 20 Worst Agents List have changed their names, probably as an attempt to get victims after the "prey" was warned off by our listing them. It's a good thing Victoria updates the list frequently, listing each new incarnation of the agency.
And scammers do attempt to address criticisms or ridicule we've leveled at them. Several times, as you've seen, they have actually come to the blog itself to make their displeasure known. Sometimes it's just a shill, like that poor schlub who continued to defend Barbara Bauer despite having lost thousands to her over a period of years.
Cris Robins has shown up here, and Barbara Bauer. We also know that Melanie Mills reads the blog. I suspect the fact that her listing on Lulu.com was pulled is related to Victoria's last post.
It's also interesting to note how this blog, and our warnings, are reflected in the boilerplate "correspondence" some scammers send out. Bouncin' Bobby, (who holds more spots on the 20 Worst Agencies List than anyone else, what a dubious honor!) has a special email he sends out to victims who begin to question his operation after a visit to Writer Beware sites, or after corresponding with me or Victoria. In his email, (written under various names or aliases) he slams the "watchdogs," claiming that both Victoria and I are "unsuccessful writers" who are jealous of his success record. He also claims that the most successful literary agencies average ONE book sale a year. He points to his "track record" of having allegedly made FOUR "sales" (and if you dig, you find out this claim is, at best, shaky, and in at least one of the cases, a fabrication) in five years of operation, as proving that his agencies are the cream of the crop.
Fortunately, most people who get this apologia have awakened and begun sniffing the java, and Bobby's rationalizations only hammer the nails into the coffin of their determination to sever all ties (and, more importantly, NOT to pay him any more!).
If you think about it, being slammed and threatened is sort of a bass-akwards compliment. If Writer Beware didn't constitute a tangible threat to their income stream, the scammers surely wouldn't bother.
Of course, Vic and I dream of the day when EVERYONE will be in the know, and the scams will wither and blow away, dried up and starved under the spotlight of public exposure and knowledge.
If that day ever happened, maybe we could hang up our verbal guns, retire our database, and spend more time than we currently do on our own books. Wouldn't that be great?
But I don't see it happening any time soon, unfortunately. Right now we often feel like we're playing "whackamole." As soon as one scam agency is finished, either from being starved out of existence by lack of victims (and income) or investigated and put out of business by the authorities, it seems like two more spring up to take its place.
Ah, well, that's okay. We're in it for the long haul.
Hope everyone's writing is going well! Remember, if you have any writing questions you'd like addressed here in the blog, just drop me a line. I love writing little essays on writing topics. You can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o the Writer Beware email address, email@example.com
Have a great week, y'all!
-Ann C. Crispin