Friday, July 20, 2007

Victoria Strauss -- May Writers' Group Exposed

The first person to add a comment to my post on the May Writers' Group pointed out the similarity between the fulsome solicitations writers have been receiving from this supposedly brand-new agency, and the equally smarmy solicitations sent out by Michele Glance Rooney, a fee-charging, track recordless literary agent featured on Writer Beware's Thumbs Down Agency List and in several entries on this blog.

Given the name of the mysterious agency's equally mysterious owner, Shelly May (Michele Rooney has used the nickname Shelly in some of her solicitations), and the agency's Michigan address, which isn't present on its website or in its solicitations, but is revealed to writers who respond to its email (Michele Rooney is a Michigan resident), it seemed like a reasonable guess.

Turns out it's more than that.

On a tip from a helpful Writer Beware reader, I visited the Business Name Search page of the Oakland County, Michigan government website, and plugged "May Writers Group" into the Business Name box. I clicked on the resulting link, and here's what came up:

Business Name/Address:
MAY WRITERS GROUP, 32667 HAVERFORD, FRANKLIN, MI 48025

File Date: 06/15/2007

Expires On: 06/14/2012

Oakland County File Number: 200704543

Type: Assumed Name

Owners:
First Name: ROONEY
Last Name: MICHELE


There you have it.

This is the first time we know of that Ms. Rooney has used an actual alias. It's not, however, the first time she has changed the name of her business. If you plug her name into the Owner Name box on the search page, a whole slew of registered businesses comes up:

- CREATIVE CONCEPTS LITERARY AGE (File Date: 02/02/1998. End Date: 02/02/2003)
- CREATIVE EDITING SVC (File Date: 07/02/1998. End Date: 07/01/2003)
- CREATIVE LITERARY AGENCY (File Date: 12/03/1998. End Date: 12/02/2003)
- MAY WRITERS GROUP (File Date: 06/15/2007. End Date: 06/14/2012)
- SIMPLY NONFICTION (File Date: 11/12/2004. End Date: 11/11/2009)


Missing from this roster is the Michele Glance Rooney Literary Agency, which is the name most often associated with the complaints we've received over the past couple of years, and, interestingly, the only one apart from May Writers' Group to have a website.

If anyone is wondering how agents make it onto WB's Thumbs Down list...well, this is a good demonstration. I'm off to update the list. Again.

11 comments:

Richard White said...

Woo hoo! Let's hear it for the good guys!

And a big thanks to the tipster. That's what I love to see, people looking out for each other.

The Quoibler said...

This is a great example of the power of the Internet.

I echo Richard White's kudos to the anonymous tipster! Way to go!

Gregory Ludwig said...

Good job unearthing the info, but just for your audience's info--it is easy to register a business name, and there is nothing illegal about this. When an individual (solo practitioner) does it, it is technically called a "fictitious" name--no negative implications intended. But obviously this legal option is something that eases a potential flim-flammer's business.

Dave Kuzminski said...

No one said that using or registering the new business name was illegal. What was pointed out is that Rooney is trying to hide her involvement because her other efforts have drawn fire for her business practices.

p.n. elrod said...

:jaw dropping:

Dang, girl--you and Sam Spade: two of a kind.

Woot!

Patrick said...

I just ran across a method which we can use to get back at one of the worst scammer agencies out there, and thought I would share.

As you know Writers' Literary Agency and its many aliases is listed on your top scammer list. Well I just discovered that they bid a ridiculous amount of money to advertise on google ($5 per click). So I suggest we all go over to google and click their ad for them.

Here is how you find it, go to google and search for "agent query" (without the quotes) These are the keywords which they purchased. You will see their ad on the right-hand side of the screen. Go ahead and click it a few times. It's fun.

Their ad has the title "Expanding Literary Agency"

And remember, every time you click it, it costs them $5.

-Patrick
QueryTracker.net

ruy said...
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ruy said...
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ruy said...

Thank you for the advice folks! This morning I drop from bed at 5 in the morning(HAWAII) to find an agent, it wasn't very pleasant!
A few days ago, I email a query letter to the SCREENPLAY AGENCY,WLA and another 5 names connected. I got an answer today, with ms.SHERRY name on it!
I got really happy with it! However, caution is good , specially after you work so hard to get a decent piece of script!
She request me to send her my screenplay on line. I start to look around and saw your post about these crooks. I really appreciate
your light! Thanks, as we said over here in Hawaii, Mahalo!

Heather B. Moore said...

Michele Rooney contacted me today. I immediately smelled something sour since I'd never submitted to this agent. I googled her name and your blog came up. Then I checked P&E. Thanks for passing on the info.

Angela said...

Good afternoon. I'm in Michigan and I'm trying to locate a legitimate literary agent to publish a book... a work of fiction, but it isn't science fiction or fantast... and I stumbled across this blog. I'm completely lost and any advice you could give would be infinitely appreciated.