Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Exciting News for Writer Beware!

Hello, Friends!

I know I've been a bit scarce lately, and I'd like to thank Victoria for doing such a great job of maintaining the blog. The reason I've been scarce was one I wasn't free to discuss until now, and it's Big News for us and for writers everywhere.

Over the past ten years, Writer Beware and other publishing industry watchdogs like Preditors and Editors have worked hard to increase public awareness of writing scams and the toll they take on aspiring and even experienced writers. It's been an uphill job, but gradually, both law enforcement and civil authorities have begun to realize that writing scams are something they should and will fight. And now there is a new Administration, so a new wind is blowing.

It's for that reason that the Federal Bureau of Investigation decided to create a special task force to help agents in their field offices recognize and deal with writing scams, since most can be prosecuted under Federal jurisdiction due to the fact that they are internet based, and payments cross State lines.

And to us, the Writer Beware team of Rich White, Victoria Strauss and myself, the most exciting part of this special task force is that we've been asked to be part of it!

We'll be touring the country, going to FBI field offices and meeting the agents and research teams, helping them learn how the real publishing industry works, and how to spot all the different kinds of writing scams. We'll actually be sworn in so we can view evidence and help with the analysis. It's possible we may even be able to go along when the FBI raids a scammer's home and/or office looking for manuscripts and other evidence! (One of our duties will be to work with Victim Witness Coordinators to help authors recover their work that has been seized as evidence.)

It's the Bureau's intention to expand this work beyond simply book publishing to include bogus script agents and people posing as producers to bilk unsuspecting aspiring screenwriters out of their money -- which, believe me, can add up to some high dollar scams, in the tens of thousands of dollars, and sometimes even more.

So...this blog will remain inactive for the next eight weeks, because Rich, Victoria and I will be reporting to Quantico for special training next Monday. At the end of our training, we'll be issued our badges and guns, and begin our tour of the country. We'll be traveling on and off for the rest of this year, both singly and as a team. We'll maintain the blog as best we can, and we know we can count on your understanding and support, because much of our work won't be something we can discuss publicly.

Our first stop after completing our training will be Los Angeles, where we'll be meeting with WGA scriptwriters to learn about the ways that scriptwriting and "movie production" scams differ from book-related scams.

The official announcement about the formation of the Special Council on Agents and Media won't be made by the Justice Department until next week, but we were given permission to tell our loyal readers about this today. And...you're not going to believe this, but --!! Apparently enough word about this project has leaked to the media to spark some interest in making a movie! Both Victoria's and my agents reported getting calls yesterday!

Do you suppose they'd let us play ourselves???

-Ann C. Crispin
Chair, Writer Beware
www.writerbeware.com

48 comments:

Miki said...

12:01 -- now there's someone who was prepared for the 1st of April. :p

danny carroll said...

this is really great news and I think it's an awesome and wonderful thing for the publishing world, and you really had me going there until I realized what day it is.

Dawno said...

I was buying it up to the part about the guns...then I realized, it might not be April 1st here in California yet, but it sure is just a couple timezones away... :-) Great post!

Jane Smith said...

Victoria's scary enough on her own. Give her a gun and she'd leave no one standing.

As for that Ann woman--well. I wouldn't get in her way, badge or no badge!

I long for this post to be true.

Nadine said...

LOL - You totally had me up until the gun part.

Pete Miller said...

Nice try! You had me going for the first paragraph but then... not so much. Thanks for the laugh!

Eirin said...

Holy Carp.

The coolness factor is off the charts! You will, of course, need secret codenames, like Agent Whistle and Agent Blower. Probably Rich White should choose another supersecret codename though.

And just think; you can write your own show and/or movie tie-ins!

I suppose the FBI wont let you wear the Spandex'n'Cape outfits from the Big Eight period; however, I'm sure you will be issued really hardass shades, so that'll make up for it.

You better practice the crouch-and-point-gun-when-on-a-bust position, cause I hear that can be difficult to do while looking cool. Also, "All Clear" should be said in a firm and authoritative voice.

'Tis a new day in publishing.

Kami said...

Oh man, say it ain't an April Fool's joke!

Pleeeaase?

Captain Black said...

Quality  :o)

Sheryl Nantus said...

does this mean you get the cool flak vests with "WRITER" on the front like Castle?

:D

Charlie said...

Happy April Fools Day

Believe it or not, I really do have a piece of the Brooklyn Bridge I can sell you.

Sally Zigmond said...

Can I be your first Brit recruit?Only, I wouldn't be allowed a gun. I'd have to make do with a big helmet and a bicycle which, as you all know, is how the cops operate here.

vickyb said...

As an avid reader of the blog, I am excited for you! And jealous! :) Congratulations on doing a job so well that it gets notice. And good luck.

December/Stacia said...

Now this was just mean.

burpingcat said...

I woke up knowing what day it was. Vowing not to read anything posted today, but I saw your post and couldn't resist.

That was very well done, though the gun thing didn't sound right either. Should have listened to that inner voice before I opened my mouth.

hb_write said...

You had me right up until you reported to Quantico. Brilliant! I *SO* wanted this to be true.

Litgirl01 said...

Funny! I'll tell ya... it's a confusing day out here in blog world. The world has gone mad! LOL

wealhtheow said...

Oh, if only ... ;)

Victoria Strauss said...

You will, of course, need secret codenames, like Agent Whistle and Agent Blower.

That would be in the, ah, NC17-rated version of the movie. In which we would definitely not play ourselves.

Bradley Robb said...

Ah, we could only be so lucky.

As someone who spent time in kicking in doors for a living, let me tell you, a raid is probably just what some of these people deserve.

Great joke though.

Marissa Doyle said...

Will they issue you real live clue-guns? :)

Milli Thornton said...

Wah! I had my favorite baddies all picked out for you to bring to justice :0)

Janus said...

And just how long have you been preparing this post for today?

Andra M. said...

I admit it, you got me. Well done!

Dana Reed said...

To Ann, Victoria and Richard, I wish you all of the luck in the world while you're fighting for hapless authors and screen writers. We sure have been done over at times by scam artists who take advantage of those who dare to dream. Go get them. Kick some butt for us. I'm so proud of the three of you.

CAO said...

LMAO! Nicely done. :D

Writer and Cat said...

Is it a clue gun?

Steve Morrill, web editor said...

I just added this to the ASJA Breaking News site. ( http://www.asja.org ) This is exciting news! For too long now we writers have been ignored by law enforcement. I'm so happy to hear—and our members will be too—that the FBI is finally taking notice of our problems.

p.n. elrod said...

I want in! I want in! I want in!!!!!

Gimme a call when you hit the Dallas FBI office!

Until then I'll be practicing kicking doors open with my good leg, then dropping and rolling through to come up with my Uzi ready to fire!

THAT will teach those typo-lovin' scammers!

Tonight I shall dream of dishy FBI agents who might look a bit like David Duchovny (AND he played a writer in "Californication") or Nathan Fillion (who plays a writer helping cops in "Castle").

Why don't they do a PROPER script on Castle where he goes after *real* criminals like publishing industry scammers? I mean, you can't compare what THEY do to the amateur dabblings of serial killers.

Bet Castle could do some location work in Frederick, MD on the cheap. Heck, the producer might even get PAID a dollar for it!

Hugs and no mayhem-- Pat

Deb said...

I'm goin' 'long.

They won't give me no gun, though. Dang.

Pretentious Wombat said...

I can't decide if this was better than last year's prank or not. hmm...

Pretentious Wombat said...

I can't decide if this was better than last year's prank or not. hmm...

Sarah Jensen said...

great news! Congrats, and thanks!

sexywriter said...

APRIL FOOL!!!

Trish said...

34 Comments and no bad "Ann - get your gun!" references? Hehehe! I love the April 1 posts!! Excellent story!

Janet said...

Great post! Just loved it. Just love the people who are still all excited about it because they didn't read the comments before commenting themselves. LOL.

OK, seriously now, where HAVE you been?

G said...

Classic.

Best one I've ever read (and I remember the Syd Fynch story that George Plimpton did those many decades ago).

Leslie said...

I'm with hb_write -- I was all into this until the Quantico reference. Thanks for the goofiness.

Anonymous said...

Say hi to Mulder and Scully for me.

Harry Connolly

Steve Morrill said...

Happy to report that my posting for ASJA with link to here sucked in a least one member, who said she had "swallowed the hook."

And we all DID miss the chance for the Ann Get Your Gun comments. I never thought of that!

Here's The Guardian, announcing that, after 188 years, they would henceforth publish news only on Twitter:
http://tinyurl.com/cv6z7k
Who says the Brits have no sense of humor?

Eika said...

You had me going until three minutes ago... where I went 'wait, wait. WHAT was yesterday?' and called myself several types of idiot.

I so want this to be true.

Mariana said...

oh, I feel so naive... great prank! took me half the coments to realize, hehe
by the way, great work you guys are doing. as an aspiring writer I can't thank you enough!

behlerblog said...

I'm so freaking gullible, that I got *had* by no less than five people. Jane Smith still has much to answer for, and I'll be sending my beagle after her as soon as the snow melts on her mountain.

But YOU, Victoria. I feel so...so...stupid. Glad I took the day off and read manuscripts. I'm a dolt. I know this.

Anonymous said...

And I, never paying attention to the date, was totally had by this... so much so that I deleted your feed from my RSS reader! OK, do I win the 'guillible' prize? Wait, do even I want that prize??

Jenna said...

I REALLY wish this were true!

Finally, a gun toting writer.

"That misplaced modifier is gonna cost you, boy!!!"

(BTW - captcha = prerless. Omen?)

Airleaf Victims Fightback said...

Hi Ann,
If you and Victoria can make this a reality, I'll be happy to write the book for you! Please make your first stop the FBI office in Indiana. That's an office that really needs an education.
Love, Bonnie

Marian said...

So glad I scrolled down and noticed Stacia's comment before saying anything. :)

AGLOCO said...

Now that's REALLY the way to step up to the plate! I am very happy for all of you and appreciate all that you do. This really shows how much compassion you have for the new and experienced writer alike. Please, don't forget about us "little people" now that you are so moving up in the world. If you need any help maintaining your website or answering e-mails, please let me know. I'm sure a lot of others feel the same!

KUDOS!