Friday, August 24, 2007

Victoria Strauss -- Spam Alert: eQuery Online

If you've recently received a solicitation from eQuery Online with a 50% discount offer, you're not alone. This query blasting service appears to be engaged in an intensive round of spamming to drum up new business.

(What's a query blasting service, a.k.a. an automated query service, you ask? For a fee, these services promise to identify appropriate agents and editors, format or write your query letter, and send it out electronically to hundreds of addresses. Some services track responses for you, or set up a special email address; some let you get the responses directly. All you have to do, theoretically, is sit back and wait for the manuscript requests to roll in.)

I've blogged before on why query blasting is unlikely to be effective (poor targeting, no assurance that agents/editors are reputable, the probability that automated queries will be regarded as spam) and on why agents and editors hate them. eQuery claims to be different. For one thing, it says it limits its clientele to seven writers a week, "to avoid burning out the industry contacts and to maintain the best possible response rate for users." For another, it promises that its queries will go only to "traditional" publishers and non-fee-charging agents, and that its list of recipients is "custom tailored each time to the category and genre of your novel." (The fact that its email blasts include "over a thousand active industry people" rather undercuts this statement. For most books, there won't be even close to that number of appropriate, reputable prospects).

On its website, eQuery offers testimonials from clients. Frankly, given agents' expressed dislike of eQuery's techniques, not to mention the fact that most of the named publishers (Random House, Knopf, Bantam Dell, Penguin, HarperCollins) have agented-only policies, I find the testimonials improbable. But let's take a closer look.

Today I'm looking at 34 requests as a result of your wonderful work.
-- Elizabeth_King, Camarillo CA


Searches on Elizabeth King of Camarillo, CA turn up no publications.

It's only 8 P.M. on the day you sent out my pitch for my novel THE WRONG BUS, and I have 21 requests to submit my manuscript.
-- John_Hampton, Los Angeles CA


Searches on John Hampton and The Wrong Bus turn up nothing but the testimonial.

The day after you sent out my eQuery to publishers and agents, I got 30 requests.
-- Gerald_Schoenewolf, New York NY


Gerald Shoenewolf appears to be a well-published nonfiction author, which raises the question of why he would use eQuery. Possibly for a novel? At any rate, his most recent publication is a June 2006 re-issue of a book originally published in 1997. There's no sign of a novel in his book list.

Thanks to your service, I have 36 requests for my manuscript (including from Kensington Publishing, Writers House, Curtis Brown, Artists and Artisans).
-- Arthur_Montague, Ottawa Ontario


Arthur Montague's profile at WritersNet notes that he has no agent at present, and lists two books: a novel pubbed in 2003 by Best Books Online, a self-publishing service, and a nonfiction work that doesn't appear to be available.

I've had over 30 agents and publishers wanting to see my book.
-- George_Parker, N. Hollywood CA


No sign of publication for George Parker of North Hollywood, CA.

The eQuery was a fantastic success! "The Disavowed" has now been sent out on 4 requests with 4 more to be filled.
-- Don_Marnock, Calgary Alberta


Searches on Don Marnock and The Disavowed turn up nothing but the testimonial.

So far I've received over 19 requests to read my manuscript.
-- Marilyn_Kyd, Lynnwood WA


Here's Marilyn Kyd's bio at WritersNet. She lists several books, all of which, according to her website, appear to be self-published. This listing for The Questfore Caper suggests why.

I have received 5...requests and 4 synopsis requests since yesterday afternoon from my eQuery.
-- Brad_Meyer, New York NY


Could that be this Brad Meyer, whose only novel, A Matchless Age, was pubbed in 2006 by PublishAmerica?

The response rate with eQuery has been the best EVER and has made clear to me what the recipients want: a short, sweet note with all the info in plain sight.
-- Mike_Denison, San Francisco CA


No sign of any published books from Mike Denison of San Francisco.

Moving on to the testimonials offered in eQuery's recent spam (for the text of the spam, see this post from Absolute Write):

Using eQuery Online I just sold my first novel to St. Martin's press!
-- Steve Carlson / Jacksonville, Oregon


This testimonial checks out. Steve Carlson's novel, Almost Graceland, is due from St. Martin's Press in November. According to the book's catalog listing, St. Martin's Press holds both UK and foreign rights, which suggests that Mr. Carlson may indeed have sold his book without an agent (St. Martin's Press officially has an agented-only policy, which makes this very unusual, eQuery or not). Mr. Carlson is a professional actor, and the author of two nonfiction books on acting, both published by real publishers. Nonfiction authors often don't know the ins and outs of selling fiction, but he's not exactly a novice.

The agent who I snagged though eQuery online has just advised me that an editor at a major New York publishing house now wants to make an offer on my novel!
-- Wayne Arthurson / Edmonton, Alberta


Wayne Arthurson has published two novels, one in 1997 and one in 2002, both with small Canadian presses. No sign of either an agent or a major NY publishing house.

The dumbest thing I've ever done is NOT use eQuery Online sooner! I received responses to read my manuscript from people at Bantam Dell, Kensington Publishers, Penguin Group, and so many agents!
-- Julie Palella / Naples, Florida


Which, if true, makes it a bit puzzling that both her novels are published by PublishAmerica.

So eQuery can claim just one success (if there were more like it, you can bet they'd be listed). And that's assuming it really is responsible for getting Steve Carlson's novel over the transom at St. Martin's. This is not exactly an impressive track record. If you're still tempted to accept eQuery's discount offer, ask yourself whether it makes sense to pay for a service that at worst pisses off the industry professionals that are its targets, and at best, doesn't offer any better odds than you could manage on your own.

40 comments:

Lorra Laven said...

Is there no end to this crap?

J M McDermott said...

Whenever you see something like this, you wonder to yourself whether the person who started this really thought this was an idea whose time has come, or if they thought this was an idea to use the internet to speed up old scams.

This is a resume scam, as old as resumes - a sales-lead scam as old as sales-leads. This is just juiced up with the addition of "writer", "agent", and "editor".

Unless, of course, these folks can actually prove they have sales.

The real questionmark - to me - is that Graceland book from St. Martin's. Somebody should point that author over here and see what he has to say about this stuff.

Janet said...

Just a word of appreciation for all your excellent work. Thanks to you, I won't fall for this kind of thing. A couple of years ago, uninformed and hopeful, I could very well have.

Michele L. Tune said...

Great information! Hopefully this will steer writers in the right direction, although some are so desperate to see their name in print, they just don't take heed to generous warnings such as this.

Diana Peterfreund said...

How recent is the SMP agented-only policy. I know at least one writer who has received an offer from there unagented (the smart cookie thanked the editor for the offer and got herself an agent to negotiate the deal points, stat), and they regularly take pitches at writing conferences I've attended.

Anonymous said...

I feel jealous. Why wasn't I offered 50% discount from this service. ;)

Victoria Strauss said...

How recent is the SMP agented-only policy. I know at least one writer who has received an offer from there unagented

I don't think the policy is recent. However, I also know someone who sold a book to St. Martin's unagented, so they do seem to be more flexible about the policy than some other publishers.

Jill Elaine Hughes said...

I think the St. Martin's Press agented/unagented rule varies according to genre/imprint at that house. I do believe they will still look at unagented subs for Romance and Science Fiction, though response times are glacial and your chances of getting a contract without an agent there are miniscule.

bjh said...

You should have mentioned Publish America and the Literary Agency umbrella will take your money - er, book without this service.

I'll eagerly wait with unheld breath to see how effective the service is, since the testimonials so far don't show any benefit.

Thanks for looking out for us, Victoria.

Deb said...

Hold on a second. The emperor here may be naked.

The testimonials you cite don't say they've SOLD any of these books. They only say they've been requested. How/why then would one expect to google the authors' names or the book titles and get any result?

I doubt any of you have heard of me, either (G).

Anonymous said...

Victoria Strauss is a fraud and an idiot. Since when would a query service be held responsible for a novel getting SOLD?

If they promise to send the author's query to the industry, and they do, then they've fulfilled their end of the bargain. If the book then gets read as a result, then all the better. But whether or not it gets picked up is going to come down to the quality of the book.

Even legitimate agents don't place every novel they take on for representation (and that's first having screened the content) but that doesn't mean they're not real agents.

I don't know what Strauss' problem is. She holds herself out as some kind of authority on what works or doesn't but she doesn't even have a grasp of basic logic. Instead, she clearly has an agenda and distorts facts to suit it.

Anyone who would put stock in anything Victoria Strauss has to say would be equally stupid.

freddie said...

Anon 5:23, the whole point of querying agents is part of the process in SELLING a novel - not sending out queries into the ether with no expectations. If you like wasting your time and money with query services, go ahead.

Your abusive comments under "anonymous" are truly pathetic. Please do us all a favor and just go away.

Victoria Strauss said...

I'm pretty sure I know who Anonymous is. Let's just say he has a bit of an ax to grind with me. Hey. At least I make myself accountable by putting myself out there with my own name. It's pretty easy to strike a pose with the paper bag of anonymity over your head.

Still, the point that eQuery isn't claiming that its clients have SOLD a lot of books, just that they've gotten a lot of REQUESTS, is a reasonable one. I have two thoughts on that.

First, I flat-out don't believe eQuery's claims. As I mentioned in my post, most of the publishers named have agented-only policies. Can you get round these? Sure, occasionally, as the guy who sold to SMP shows. But often or even consistently, as the testimonials on eQuery's website and in its spams suggest? I don't think so, unless eQuery's query has some truly magical power that causes editorial assistants to lose their minds. (The response of established agents to eQuery's queries, discussed in my post about how automated query systems piss agents and editors off, suggests that eQuery's queries are considerably less than magical.)

Second, services like eQuery do not assess their clients' manuscripts. This means that they will as happily query for a terrible manuscript as for a good one. And we all know that there are many more bad manuscripts out there than good ones, don't we, boys and girls? So even if eQuery's queries truly are magical, and all those enthusiastic requests from agented-only publishers and top agents are for real, the probability is that nothing will result--as my research would seem to confirm. The point is that if your manuscript isn't marketable, it does you no good to get requests from agents and publishers. So eQuery is still selling snake oil.

bjh said...

Anonymous 5:23 - I think the rest of us understood Victoria's point without needless explanation. If you don't understand, allow me to mention writers, the majority of them, aren't satisfied with requests. We want to be sold, published and read. Otherwise, we never would try to attract an agent or publisher. E-query is useless if it can't get books sold. So far, it hasn't, and it doesn't seem geared to doing so.

Difficult concept, perhaps. Now the question is, should I listen to someone who has given invaluable advice on working towards that goal of sold, or to someone anonymous who resorts to insults and hostility instead of actually discussing the post?

Gosh. Decisions, decisions...

Julie Palella said...

Hi everyone! I saw you mentioned my name when it comes to equeryonline (Julie Palella). I am one of those people that got the discount, and yes, I got the requests that I said I did. (This doesn't mean sales, it means requests) I was very pleased with their services because in the end, I got my agent out of them (a GREAT agent). I know that I would have never gotten in the door of this agency without their services (trust me I've tried and tried on my own). I know that's probably not the "norm", but it DID happen! I was published by Publish America BEFORE I tried equeryonline. (Just thought that needed to be said). I would recommend them, but of course, I had success with them...obviously others have not. Just wanted to put in my two cents, since I was quoted on here. My agent is working with high-end publishers now, and I'm hopeful that I will sell! YAY. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Just thought you all might like to hear from one of the people who had commented on their services and who Victoria had used as an example. I really do like these blogs, even when I find my own name. It's nice for authors to look out for each other in such a deceptive industry...and I, for one, have learned from my mistakes in the past. Learning is the key. With that said, I used them over a year ago. Have they been over-used now? I don't know. Maybe the agents and publishers have caught on? I don't know that either. All I know is that for me, they got me into doors I simply could not get into myself. I would be happy to keep you all updated, if you'd like.

Thanks!
Julie Palella

Victoria Strauss said...

Julie, thanks so much for visiting and commenting. I appreciate the information, and am glad to hear that you were able to find a good agent (because I'm incurably nosy, I'd love to know who the agent is. If you don't want to mention this publicly, feel free to contact me privately: beware@sfwa.org).

Julie Palella said...

Hi Victoria! I just sent you a private Email with my agent info. I really do appreciate your blogs and information. They help tremendously! Too bad I didn't do the research I needed to do YEARS years ago. (ARRGHHH), but that's the learning process, and a WHOLE different blog.

Julie Palella

Anonymous said...

Sorry 'bjh', you must be a retard, and YOU are the one who 'doesn't understand'. Of course the goal is to get published, but that starts with getting read, by editors or by agents, which isn't easy. So again, it needs to be stated that Victoria Strauss is a FRAUD people! Every additional keystroke she makes offers more proof.

All it took was a google search to turn up a previous 2006 post of hers on this where she started with the claim that writers shouldn't send queries by email! She probably thought it was a pithy little piece, and it's basically a rip-off the kind of filler column written by other people in writer magazines...FIFTEEN YEARS AGO. Uh, sorry, the rest of the world has moved on since then. (Try to catch up.)

And then when she got called on it she tried to backpedal saying that's not what she wrote...when it clearly is. (Just didn't expect to get nailed like she did).

Here's that link where you can read her laughable post...http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2006/10/victoria-strauss-more-reasons-not-to.html

and DO read it in it's entirety...don't just take her word for whatever backpedaling crap she writes in response here about what it "said". READ it.

The response to that post by the query service was a lot more convincing and informed than anything she had to say and made her look like the know-nothing idiot she is.

Not only that, she quotes equery's post: "All of the testimonials found on the eQuery Online site are genuine and can be proven to be so." and responds..."If that's the case, then you have a truly extraordinary record of getting publishers to ignore their own submissions policies given the number of times the testimonials reference Knopf, St. Martin's Press, Random House, and other agent-only publishers, and writers should run right out and hire you."


So she started there by saying a query service couldn't possibly have generated those reads (PROOF that she doesn't know what she's talking about...c'mon people, wake up!), and that if they could then people SHOULD use that query service!

...And now in this post raises the bar saying a query service has to get the book picked up by a publisher?!?

Gee, how about getting an AGENT out of it? Or even just getting it read and the resulting feedback...even if that feedback is negative...at least the writer then has gotten a realistic perspective from the legitimate industry.

Repeat: Victoria Strauss is a pathetic fraud and an over-the-hill delusional wannabe who pretends to know what she's talking about to impress those who know even less than her (most of the people here wasting their time with her blog garbage and phony "advice"). When someone finally ponies up the time and resources to sue her pathetic ass, it'll be great when she has to explain to her husband Rob why there's a lien on her house.

Victoria Strauss "knows" about dragons and fairies...easy because they're not real. But Strauss is out of touch with reality.

And to the poster "julie palella"...it's sound advice NOT to give this nosy fraud any information about you or your agent. She's a loon and no benefactor to you. She doesn't recognize when she's talking completely out of her ass, and clearly can't admit when she's wrong, even with her nose rubbed right in it as you did!

Victoria Strauss said...

Hi, Sam. You need to adjust your meds.

Or maybe I'm doing Sam a disservice. Maybe my apostrophe-challenged friend is Grace Mendoza, who appended a long string of insulting remarks to the post referenced in the comment above, and then vanished when I challenged her to provide some actual proof of her claims.

Here's a link to the post where Anonymous thinks I said that writers shouldn't query by email. Do read it.

freddie said...

Just finished reading the post. Grace has an excellent thesaurus.

Anonymous said...

Oh, she "vanished" when you said they should send you their customer list??? Duh, no one's going to do that and you probably knew it was a non-starter when you suggested it because it's all you could come up with when you were completely shown up.

Silly sad woman, Victoria.

The previous poster was correct about you having no clothes and everyone should take notice of it. You're so fond of putting in print that people are scams, frauds or whatever when you really have NO clue what the hell you're talking about.

Time to call YOU out for what you are. It's only fair.

Victoria Strauss said...

Time to call YOU out for what you are. It's only fair.

Knock yourself out, hon. Just do us all a favor and don't pretend to be more than one person.

Anonymous said...

Again, another accusation with no basis in fact. Victoria Strauss has a bad and bizarre habit there.

Matter of fact folks, remember that reference up above about the conversation Victoria Strauss has with her husband Rob when their Amherst home gets attached because she can't stop misrepresenting the truth?

Here it is:

******
Victoria Strauss: "Hey, honey? You know how important it is to getting my writing about elves and unicorns published that I mislead aspiring writers online with ridiculously incorrect advice and in the process libel and malign people without any actual facts or reason to believe the damaging things I write about them?"

Rob Strauss: "Uh...actually no. I don't see the connection at all."

Victoria Strauss: "Um, well it is. ANYWAY, here's the notice from the Sheriff's department we got in the mail today about the lien on our home to secure that judgment against me for $16,000 in damages and another $125,000 in punitive damages."

Rob Strauss slaps a notebook and a birol on the table in front of her.

Rob Strauss: "Start writing some of your crap about trolls and fairies. NOW. Cuz any money you might get for it is going to go right to them. And oh, by the way, stay OFF the internet from now on. I'd at least like to keep my boat please."
********


Oh how delicious it would be to be there for it!

Anonymous said...

Oh wait people! There's more to that conversation between Victoria Strauss and her husband about her legal troubles stemming from her uncontrollable habit of distortion and libel. Here it is...

*****
2 hours later Rob reenters the room looks at the notebook and sees Victoria Strauss has written nothing. She's only doodled crude stick figures of a wizard getting married to a princess with an arrow drawn to that female figure, labeled in shaky letters, "me".

Rob Strauss: "What the hell? Didn't I tell you to start writing to pay off that legal judgment you caused?"

Victoria Strauss: "But you don't understand honey, I'm the 'Scam Hunter' that writes about dragons."

Rob Strauss: "Yes, yes dear, I know. But the writing, please!"

Victoria Strauss: "I'm the 'SCAAAAAM HUNTER' honey. Who writes about DRAGONS."

Rob Strauss: "I'm going to call Dr. Williams and see if he can get you in for a session today."

Victoria Strauss: "But I'm the SCAAAAAAAAAM HUNTER! Don't you seeeeeee?"

Rob Strauss: "Enough already. I know! And look, would you please clean up the clutter in this place, and get rid of all these yellowing stacks of old newspapers? I can hardly walk in here."

Victoria Strauss: "I can't. We might need them."

Rob Strauss: "And for the hundredth time! This dump and you BOTH reek of cat pee. Do something about it! And it wouldn't hurt to wash your hair sometime this month."

Victoria Strauss: "But I'm the..."

Rob Strauss: (interrupting) "Oh Christ, forget it! I'll be in the garage."

ALC said...

Wow!

This "annonymous" goob must be seriously deluded if he/she believes for even an instant that insane tirades such as this are going to convince anyone to turn away from Writer Beware.

This is a prime example of why the writing world NEEDS Victoria & Ann!

One must wonder if these jokers are mentally living their lives in some alternate universe whilst the rest of us go about our lives and careers in the real one?

Honestly, does "annonymous" really expect to sway ANYONE with bizarre, questionable, and, at best, juvenile tactics such as these?

BTW: I've read all of V.S.'s blogs and commentaries. I can only assume that "annonymous" has serious reading comprehension problems to have derived such conflicting ideas from them.

Keep up the brilliant work, Victoria!

ALSO: I believe the primary argument against "services" such as eQuery is this: You're paying a ridiculous fee for something that you can do much more effectively for yourself. As a writer (at least one who has the goal & desire of being published), one has a personal responsibility to at least be knowledgable enough to know to whom one SHOULD NOT be sending queries (i.e. agents/publishers who don't even represent/publish your genre).

Or, if you're too lazy to go to that kind of trouble, just get emails for as many agents/publishers as you can, regardless of the genres they represent/publish and query blast them yourself - for free.

A reader/writer that is concerned said...

What a joke this is not trying to inform writers about what is going on but it's a childish game. ANYONE can see what you are trying to do Ms. Strauss... evidently you have a beef with someone else that posts here regularly as Anonymous and you’re trying to do anything to make them look bad. How about minding your own business and growing the heck up! I know several of the people YOU say are liars and the shoe is on the wrong foot the liar isn't them! You need to get your facts straight and do your research before you post things about people that you know nothing about. That's a really good way to get yourself sued.

Anonymous said...

Wrong 'alc'. You're the deluded one by thanking Victoria Strauss. She's not doing anything real for you or any other writer. That's part of HER scam.

Use your mind people. The reality is that she engages in this kind of thing not because she wants to help you, but because it makes her feel important. It gets her attention.
Victoria Strauss is a big turd in a little bowl as she cons writers wanting to break in that know less than even she does.

And what makes it clear 'alc' is HER OWN WORDS. She's a fake.

Who says Victoria Strauss is a fraud? Victoria Strauss says it.

Here's what she said in a post from 2005: "The publishing industry has changed so much in the past 10-20 years that the advice of someone who broke in more than a decade ago may no longer be accurate, if that person is basing the advice on his/her own experience."

And yet she started this thread with apparently baseless (and now apparently refuted) claims against a query service. When was the last time you queried a novel in any volume Victoria? 1978? You f-ing fossil. Then where do you get off dispensing your phony and faulty advice to the idiots who follow you around on these boards and who gullibly buy into your provably phony crap?

Who says Victoria Strauss isn't qualified to dispense her lies to the gullible? Victoria Strauss says she isn't qualified. Here's her own words from a post in June 2007:

"Well, actually, Sam, what we do is point out such basic truths as the fact that in order to do a job effectively, you need actual job training or experience."


So Victoria, please explain your journalism training that makes you effective with this worthless garbage.

And folks, bear in mind that REAL people interested in the truth who work for credible outfits have their work first fact checked by someone else, and then vetted by a legal department. Victoria Strauss clearly doesn't have any of this and isn't INTERESTED in the truth. She deliberately distorts and misleads to make sure it conforms to her predetermined and desired outcome.

She's outright dishonest and self-serving and you need to wake up and realize it.

Anonymous said...

And it's disappointing to see that the poster here 'julie palella' fell for Victoria Strauss' con of 'oh, just asking out of curiosity'.

Prediction 'julie': Victoria Strauss will distort, twist, and parce whatever you emailed to her or communicate to her to fit her pathetic 'look at me' agenda and will most likely end up publishing it along with your name in another post.

You can't win with her. Yes, Victoria Strauss has no credibility but she also clearly has a problem.

Victoria, you've baited in this post, about "taking your meds". You also made that same admonition on another thread. Funny you keep bringing that up. You know what that means guys that it's so foremost in her mind like that? That SHE'S the one most likely on meds.

So Victoria, c'mon. Will you state clearly and unequivocally here that you A: Have not been and are not now under psychiatric care and that B: You have not been prescribed mood altering meds like Valium, or psychotropic drugs (such as SSRIs like Paxil, Wellbutrin, Prozac, etc)?

Because either you admit it and provide one more piece of the puzzle that begins to show the full picture to the fools you've conned, or you write here that it's not true which then will clearly show your utter lack of credibility later when it's proved a lie.


Victoria Strauss is a complete fake that needs to be taken to task people. She deserves her comeuppance and someone needs to give it to her.

bjh said...

Woo-hoo-hoo! Whoopie! I've been included in Anonymous' insults! I am so honored and thrilled to be classed with you, Victoria!

Of course, it still comes down to the question of who to listen to: A professional writer and scam-hunter, or an anonymous nit-wit who gives no advice except to ignore the professional and doesn't hesitate to appear like the rear end of a donkey with the farts.

Victoria, I know you think you should give the jerk his say in the interest of fairness, but he's not going to shut up or go away. This is his life.

As for you, Anonymous, if you write again, please do continue with the insults. It will help in warning people away from this service. So, yes, keep up the good work.

What an idiot. E-query, if you're in any way connected with this moron, you might want to disassociate yourself. If I was interested in what you offer, I would lose such interest fast.

Anonymous said...

anonymous, you clearly have a personal problem with Victoria and Ann and you claim to know people who have been the subject of posts.

If you're really that interested in doing a service to the public, why don't you:

(a) name the people you believe to have been unfairly treated;

(b) state precisely what your association is with those people;

(c) give people a clue as to your own identity; and

(d) offer up some credentials for why your remarks should be given more credence (I think most people would accept cited experience within the publishing industry)?

Seriously, anyone can be insulting - if you're that serious, back up your accusations.

Alexandra Shorecroft.

Anonymous said...

Actually it was I, who was the cause of all Sam's angst. (By the way there is a slim chance that anonymous is not Sam, but the language and the references make it ironclad in my estimation as to who it is). I queried him when he opened shop and followed up with a general question at Absolute Write's Water Cooler asking if anyone knew anything about him.

Generally no one did, but it was postulated that he might be so new that he never had editing or agenting experience before--in other words a "clueless" agent.

It was not long before Sam had a melt down on the Water Cooler and pretty much blamed me for all his woes--for that simple question.

He's melted down on my new blog as well.
http://cscottsaylorsbooks.blogspot.com/

The agency failed, he never made a sale for any of his clients and he folded up his tent honorably enough but had to create a blog to vent all his spleen about the people that caused all his woes.

Regards,
Scott

Bernita said...

It must be Fall.

ALC said...

Ah, yes.

If this is the same guy, I made a 'business' related comment on his now defunct blog about unprofessional behaviour chasing away potential customers. (i.e. If a potential customer checks you out only to discover abusive, questionable behaviour then that potential customer is no longer a potential customer, not to mention the hundred or so others who will get the 'trickle-down word of mouth' effect.)

I would certainly hope that this is NOT that same fellow. Surely anyone with an I.Q. above that of the average house plant would have understood my business advice, recognized it as sound and applied it to future endeavors. Therefore, I must question the assumption that this is the same guy. Surely not.

Whoever you are, the advice does apply here as well.

IF, and I am only saying "IF", you happen to be affiliated with eQuery, surely you must realize that lashing out in such an abusive manner towards someone who is of the opinion that this is a needless service and a waste of money ... well, you've made yourself look like a bully, a maniac, and an unprofessional hack at best. At worst, you've seriously discredited eQuery by behaving in such an irrationally venemous fashion. That said, I hope that you are in no way affiliated with this company because if you are you may become the object of legal action on their behalf. I can't imagine that any legitimate company would allow any of its representatives to behave this way.

Even though many WB readers may have taken Victoria's advice and shied away from such a service on the grounds that it is really nothing more than a needless service which they could perform for themselves for free, there were probably plenty of others who would have been willing to pay to save themselves the trouble of having to do it, and just to see if they got any results at all.

However, any of those willing to take that chance will most likely run screaming away from this company in the other direction after reading your hateful diatribe.

Congratulations "Annonymous," whoever you are. You've effectively destroyed any credibility that eQuery ever had with anyone who happens upon this blog.

Anonymous said...

To Alexandra Shorecroft., Scott Saylor, alc and others:

You're missing the point. And the accusations against Victoria Strauss HAVE been backed up right here using her own words and testimony of other posters.

If you are as dense in the head as Victoria Strauss then there's no point to try to get through to you.

The fact is, that Victoria Strauss HURTS people that don't deserve it. She calls them fakes. She calls them liars. Published in writing that comes up in the Google searches that people routinely do. And does so with no proof, and no facts that give her any good faith reason to believe the garbage she writes.

She does not simply say, as one of you have suggested here, that a service is not worthwhile. Start thinking for yourselves, and READ the gd thread, or the one linked to it which are being used here to prove the case against Victoria Strauss because:

1. Victoria Strauss clearly states she KNOWS a party to be a scam, fraud, lying about statements, testimonials or whatever when it's SHOWN HERE as untrue. Plus, the worthless advice on the broader subject at hand given by Victoria Strauss is provably WRONG. Victoria Strauss is the one with no credibility. And that's proven by her OWN WORDS which have been pulled from other posts and included above.

2. A poster here named 'julie' came forward and SHOWED that Victoria Strauss is full of crap. COMPLETELY.

3. The original response from the party defamed by Victoria Strauss in this particular case (which is linked in this thread) refuted her on all points and showed more subject knowledge, more intelligence and more professionalism than what she wrote (which included Victoria Strauss basically calling the woman a liar in reply to a response).

So that's why this thread is being used here as a perfect example, but it's only a microcosm of the fraud, abuse, lies, and yes outright sickness of Victoria Strauss.

Are you all really so suffering in both self-esteem and basic logic skills that you allow yourself to be conned and enamored by Strauss just because she's published some fairy stories and maybe you haven't?

That does NOT make her credible because this is not about fiction.

And what the above posts regarding her conversation with her husband about losing their house in a legal judgment are meant to illustrate is how silly this old woman is, and yes, how unbalanced her whole delusional 'scam hunter' fantasy is when you look at it objectively. Christ, she might as well drape the tablecloth down her back, tie it around her neck and run around the room with her arms outstretched in front of her.

Sorry if this thread offends your misplaced hero worship but
Victoria Strauss is a proven fraud and doesn't deserve it.

How about Victoria Strauss answering the following, especially since no answer from her on it IS a kind of answer...it's an excerpt from a post above in this same thread, and remember, is a reaction to HER written admonishment of others to 'take their meds'.

"So Victoria, c'mon. Will you state clearly and unequivocally here that you A: Have not been and are not now under psychiatric care and that B: You have not been prescribed mood altering meds like Valium, or psychotropic drugs (such as SSRIs like Paxil, Wellbutrin, Prozac, etc)?

Because either you admit it and provide one more piece of the puzzle that begins to show the full picture to the fools you've conned, or you write here that it's not true which then will clearly show your utter lack of credibility later when it's proved a lie."



And if any of you are still brainwashed into thinking it unfair to unmask her in this manner, and still believe wrongly that what she does to people isn't unfair and over the line, then consider that firstly, everything in this thread goes to the constant pattern of libel, lying, distortions being committed by this woman Victoria Strauss, but not her main income or career.


What would you think about an online post that states:

"Victoria Strauss is a plagiarist and the themes and even plots have been completely stolen from other writers. Victoria Strauss is a hack. Her writing is laughably bad and would seem to be aimed at adults who never progressed beyond the 8th grade reading level. The publisher should be ashamed to put out this worthless tripe as it's clearly aimed at the lowest common denominator of reader. Save your money and DO NOT be stupid enough to spend it buying anything written by Victoria Strauss. You will be sorry. Furthermore, any writer who's had his or her writing stolen by the criminal Victoria Strauss please contact me here for potential legal action."

Strong stuff, huh? Well consider that it's then something that's going to come up in Google searches by potential readers and potential future publishers of her work. And that has the ability to directly harm her income, her main business, as well as diminish her professional and personal reputation.

No matter that the writer of that post may never have read her books, just as Victoria Strauss hasn't any first hand experience with every party she slanders. No matter that the writer wasn't even relaying second hand information from someone who had, just as Victoria Strauss doesn't. And many reading the post won't even realize that. Heck, they may not even read the post, only the Google link and it's enough to sour them.

So would you say that's unfair? Uncalled for? Well, that's how Victoria Strauss operates and it's what she's doing to people.

No doubt some of the parties she maligns ARE scams because even a broken clock is right twice a day. And the ones that are scams are usually obviously so.

But she's crossed over the line into maliciousness, recklessness, and again, it's suggested above even a kind of sickness, where Victoria Strauss defames decent people and services with no cause and no real facts in a desire by Victoria Strauss to be seen as someone important.

An effort will be made to post a list of appropriate attorneys in her home town of Amherst, Mass. also to then send it to the parties maligned by Victoria Strauss in various threads. Those interested in pursuing financial restitution from Victoria Strauss for her bizarre and damaging habit of libeling people should consider hiring one of the firms local to her home to write that first letter, not a firm in their own city.

That's because when Victoria Strauss in her delusion ignores that written request for a clear retraction and apology, the law firm is well placed to move immediately to the next step of filing the case in her local court, subpoenaing her to appear, and deposing her under oath for the interrogatories that are the prelude to the actual court case.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I note that you have not answered any of my questions. Surely someone as concerned as you to stop Victoria's "recklessness" or "maliciousness" should be proud to state their name for the record?

You talk about getting a list of law firms in Victoria's home town sent to those who've been targeted by her. Is that the sum total of your attempt to bring her to "justice"? It seems rather pointless as anyone who truly believes they have been defamed by Victoria would surely already be taking legal action without the assistance of some anonymous troll giving them a page from the Amherst telephone directory.

I've been reading this Blog long enough to make up my own mind about Victoria and Ann's credentials. They're putting themselves out there, with their names and a proven track record and the information and advice they give is absolutely invaluable. I've learnt a great deal about the industry from having out here and I'm just sorry that the price of that is that Victoria and Ann have to put up with garbage from sad little people like you who have tiny axes to grind.

Alexandra Shorecroft.

Anonymous said...

Alexandra,

And a review of the posts of Victoria Strauss ALSO shows that the people who follow her around on the message boards are like mindless cult members, impervious to reason and lacking both judgment and basic logic skills, and often try to make completely illogical claims and arguments in a hopeless attempt to redeem their leader.

Sorry, but your so called questions are irrelevant as everything put here in this post is based on the writings of Victoria Strauss herself (which is in posts above or found in the links posted above) and the facts presented by other posters in the thread. They are not matters of opinion in which case a person's qualifications might become an issue.

When one cannot dispute the facts presented here about the falsehoods written to you and others by Victoria Strauss there's often a desperate attempt to try and discredit the writer. But the facts presented here speak for themselves.Based on her own writing, Victoria Strauss is a scam.

If you still have difficulty believing why someone would behave in the manner Victoria Strauss does as proven here, then add to that the profit motive. It's behind most scams, like the one perpetrated by Victoria Strauss, isn't it?

Here's a link to her own website where she tries to shill herself for hire as an "expert witness" on fraud.

http://www.sfwa.org/beware/about.html

It seems Victoria Strauss is interested in building a second career for herself and making some cash. Maybe people aren't buying her stories about dwarves like they used to.

Any party to a legal action, or the legal representation of one who might be opposed by an attorney trying to use Victoria Strauss in court, should note that the information necessary to impeach anything Victoria Strauss might get paid to say in court is included above, especially her own quotes.

Anyone with reasonable intelligence who reviews the facts presented in this entire thread and the links included, doesn't need more than that. If someone still can't grasp it after all that, there's probably no hope for them.

And speaking of unanswered questions, Victoria Strauss still hasn't answered those posed here about

I) the psychiatric medications prescribed to her (as she implies about other posters)

II) or what her journalism training is since her own quote in this thread says that to do a job effectively they need job training and experience.

Get those answers from her first before you start looking elsewhere.

Diana Peterfreund said...

Someone apparently has some free time on their hands.

In the past, when The WB gals have expressed concern about a project that was proven to be legit, they've owned up and reported their new information, as here and here regarding Gather.com's writing contests.

I hope that when the info about this service is verified, there will be a follow up as well. That's all WB does: reports on things, is wary as necessary, and warns away or not as the case may be. And yes, I think the points made about how a query does indeed succeed if the book is requested, NOT if the book is sold is a good one, that VB and ACC should take into account.

I think that if there is initial skepticism on the part of these hard-working scam busters, it's because their experiences busting scams have made them very cynical about new outfits.

Personally, I would never use such a service, as I prefer to tailor my own queries. Oh, and lest anyone is curious about *my* credentials, the last time I queried agents was in 2005. I found one at that time, and she's sold six books for me in NA, and several foreign rights deals as well.

But what these (various?) anonymous trolls don't seem to grasp (aside from the fact that SFWA is not Victoria's website and that no SFF writer considers it much of an insult to have it mentioned that they write about fantastical creatures) is that there is NO motive for the WB folks to inform writers of this information except to prevent the kind of heartache that occurs when writers do get caught up in scams. They aren't doing it for money (blogs and the site on SFWA are free!) and they certainly aren't doing it for glory, or for the peace of mind that comes from not being harrassed by people too cowardly to sign their own name.

ALC said...

Dear "Annonymous,"

I'm not even going to pretend that I believe you to be more than one person.

You have this sad desire to discredit VS on a lack of "credentials" on the basis of her prior statement that in order to do a job effectively one must have job related skills.

If you had been truly following WB blogs from the very beginning you would have figured out long ago that for any subject which VS & ACC are unfamiliar they do extensive investigation (usually involving corresponding with professionals in the field, i.e. publishers, agents and the like, & getting their take on that particular subject). Not to mention the fact that they have been dealing with the publishing industry for quite some time individually AND THE FACT that they DO KEEP ABREAST OF CURRENT TRENDS AND TECHNOLOGY.

Offering up RED FLAGS on any business that seems sketchy (oh, and, BTW, they've both stated numerous times throughout the WB Blog history that not all scams are intentional scams and that some of them - even though possibly well intentioned - are just as harmful - if not career wise, then wallet wise - as an outright scam).

VS & ACC always keep their blog community apprised of new information they gather from legitimate contacts within the publishing industry.

That said, it comes down to this:

Should we believe WB which stands to gain nothing "financially" or people like YOU who are only looking to line their own wallets?

Also, your crude, insulting "what if" about VS's writing and books (with the exception of the "palagiarising" comment, of course) is referred to as a REVIEW. Many good authors have gotten bad reviews during their careers. Most of them have the intelligence to take it with a grain of salt and realize that it is just one person's opinion. They don't go attacking the reviewer and calling them everything under the sun because they didn't like the person's opinion.

Likewise, most INTELLIGENT people realize that blogs, for the most part involve opinions (some, like WB back those opinions with experience and examples), but, in the end, they're still just "opinions" and intelligent people take these "opinions" compare them with other "opinions" and form their own "opinions."

Here is mine: You are, first and foremost, a bully(and, from your rantings I must also assume prone to violent and anti-social behaviour). You are outraged that your "easy money" idea is being called out for what it is - a useless "service" that anyone with a computer could easily do for themselves for free (many would call this a "scam" because it seeks to part inexperienced writers from their hard-earned money). You like to take snippets of VS's & ACC's blogs and use them out of context in such a way that you feel that they somehow "back up" your rantings (they do not, BTW - and even if they appeared to, anyone who had read your rantings would investigate the blog further and quickly realize how silly a notion this is).

You assume that anyone who disagrees with you is a mindless "puppet" of "the man" (i.e. WB). WB doesn't tend to draw those mindless puppets. Mindless puppets are those who don't want to hear that the brilliant idea that will put them on the literary map is either useless, ill-advised or an outright scam.

eQuery is a waste of money at the very least, and a scam if the parties REALIZE that they are preying on inexperienced writers. They are offering to do something for the writer for a fee - something which the writer could easily do for themselves for free.

And, that is the simple truth.

Victoria Strauss said...

To thos who've spoken up in my and Writer Beware's defense--thanks. Ann and I really appreciate it.

I've given Anonymous a lot of space to air his grievances. But it's apparent that he's not going to pack up his tiny ax and go home, and at this point I don't think there's anything to be gained by further back-and-forth. So I'm disabling the comments function on this post.

Thanks again, everyone.

Victoria Strauss said...

Just amending this comment string before closing it up again--I've now heard from two writers who landed reputable agents as a result of using eQuery.

This shows it can happen. However, both writers clearly had marketable manuscripts, so I'm not convinced they couldn't have acquired these agents on their own, without shelling out money to eQuery.

(As for writers whose manuscripts aren't marketable, they won't acquire reputable agents no matter what they do--so for them, eQuery is an even greater waste of money.)

Both writers bought the service last year, just around the time it really started bombarding agents and publishers with query blasts. I think that this saturation approach has probably diminished any effectiveness eQuery may have had earlier on. The more similarly-formatted equeries agents and publishers receive, the more likely they will be to realize that they're the target of a mass-mail service--which many, if not most, of them very much dislike. Agents really do prefer the personal, individual approach.

Especially considering the increase in eQuery's prices (both writers paid $75 last year; the service currently costs $125--supposedly, 50% of the "regular" price), my opinion hasn't changed--eQuery is a poor use of writers' cash.