A couple of posts back, I blogged about the efforts of certain agents on Writer Beware's Thumbs Down Agency List to defend themselves against criticism of their nonstandard business practices.
Not all Thumbs Down listers are so straightforward. Take, for example, Michele Glance Rooney (charges various kinds of upfront fees, does business under a number of different names, direct-solicts writers, and to Writer Beware's knowledge has never sold a book despite having been in business at least since 2002). Ms. Rooney has come up with an interesting alternative to self-justification and/or direct attack:
Fake blog posts.
Ms. Rooney kicked off her blogging adventure on November 1 of last year. Posting as herself (Blogger handle: Literary Sage), she describes A Million Dollar Lesson in Persistence. "It's a wonderful day in the literary life of Michele Glance Rooney!" the post begins, Mr. Rogers-style. "One of my favorite clients received their first book offer today for a first-time novel...This was not a slam dunk sale. I did a lot of hand-holding with this author. I endured the sting of rejection from some very prestigous New York publishing houses. But did I give up? No, I prevailed. And therein lies the essential difference between victory and defeat."
Huzzah! Just one thing is missing: the name of the publishing house. Not to mention the name of the author.
But wait. Could this be a clue? Also posted on November 1, 2006, by RomanceWriter: Nancy Has Scored Her First Book Sale. "Thank you God! Thank you fans! And special thanks to my literary agent Michele Glance Rooney for helping to motivate me to keep going when the going got tough!" rhapsodizes the surnameless Nancy. "Michele Glance Rooney...may not always tell you what you want to hear, but she will tell you what you need to hear and need to know to get your book published. Michele Glance Rooney is an agent who knows what it takes to sell a romance novel."
Er...that's great, Nancy, but who's your publisher? What's your book title? Why does your blog have only one post?
Moving right along, we arrive at April 29 of this year, and another one-post blog. Claims Bestseller in the Making: Michele Glance Rooney Just Sold My Book! "Next to the day I gave birth to my blessed Jasmine," avows this nameless future literary star, "this must surely be the happiest day of my life." Oh joy, oh rapture! Oh why are the publisher and the novel as nameless as the blogger?
April 29 was apparently Say Nice Things About Michele Glance Rooney Day, because encomiums are offered by yet another lone-post blog. No book sale this time, but Super Writer is happy to describe how she (or he) Was Motivated By Michele Glance Rooney. "I had the good fortune of seeing Michele Glance Rooney speak at a writer's convention, and I feel newly determined and dedicated to finishing my book project...I am half-way through chapter 8 and I've figured out how the hero is finally going to excape [sic] from the wrath of Mr. Bunstable." (No, no, not Mr. Bunstable! Please...I'll do anything...AIEEEEEE!)
Now, obviously I don't have direct proof that Michele Glance Rooney is the author of all these posts. But unless her fairy godmother is familiar with Blogger, it seems like a reasonable assumption.
The author of the April 29 posts--whoever s/he is--doesn't seem to have realized that if you create more than one blog under a single identity, you'll show up as the author of all of them. In this case, the identity is Author Extraordinaire, whose profile reveals yet a third blog: Washington Resume Service. Which, though discouragingly short on content, may shed light on how Ms. Rooney is actually making her living.