Thursday, September 03, 2009

Victoria Strauss -- Florida Attorney General Files Suit Against Robert Fletcher / Writers' Literary Agency

As many readers of this blog know, Robert Fletcher, purported literary agent and publisher, from whom Writer Beware recently won court costs after he filed a frivolous defamation lawsuit against us, has been the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Florida Attorney General's Office.

Today, the Attorney General, Bill McCollum, announced that his office has filed suit against Fletcher. Here's the official press release:

Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that his office filed a lawsuit against a Boca Raton company that allegedly preyed on aspiring authors. According to the Attorney General’s lawsuit, Writer’s Literary Agency and owner Robert Fletcher used more than 20 websites and related companies to collect funds from potential authors, but misled victims about fees, costs, and promised results.

The Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division received more than 175 complaints from around the world claiming Fletcher and his associates, who claimed to act as literary agents and publishers, allegedly collected money from victims anxious to see their work published. Potential writers paid anywhere from $89 for an initial critique to over $600 for various services including editing and marketing of a manuscript to publishers. Allegedly, Fletcher also told potential writers that fees were paid from book sales when in fact all costs of publishing were paid by the authors. According to the lawsuit, few books were ever sold as a result of the efforts of Fletcher’s companies.

Investigators determined Fletcher expanded into the field of publishing within the past year. Fletcher admitted to having no background as a literary agent and to using at least 10 aliases in his businesses.

The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief against Robert Fletcher and his associates, as well as his many businesses, prohibiting further business activities in the field of literary agencies or publishers. The Attorney General is also seeking full restitution on behalf of all victimized consumers, civil penalties of $10,000 for each violation of the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and reimbursement for fees and costs related to the investigation.


As is often the case in these situations, the info in the press release only skims the surface. Just 175 complaints are mentioned, but over the years (Fletcher started his business, a single fee-charging "literary agency" known as Sydra-Techniques, in 2001), Writer Beware has received hundreds, possibly well over a thousand, complaints about Fletcher and his companies. And although many of his victims did pay just a few hundred dollars, many others were relieved of several thousand for agenting, editing, and publishing "services."

The lawsuit can be seen here.

75 comments:

Richard White said...

Only one word to describe my feelings at this point:

"YES!"

Anonymous said...

I know this is off the topic, but it was a while ago that you posted about "Who's Who" from Cambridge...I thought about filling it out, felt kind of honored even...but then thought I should google it - thank you very much for the information!! The last comment on your post gave me an idea....i left a nasty note on that lovely little card they nicely include to send back "free of charge" so that I wouldnt have to bother with the postage and all...it is too bad that some of their job duties include swindling money from "professionals"...I warned them that their job duties might soon include other things they might not be willing to do...getting a new job might be a better idea - thanks again!

Mags said...

Wonderful news. Congratulations to Victoria, Ann, Jim Macdonald, and all those who have worked so hard for this. And thanks to the Florida Attorney General!

James Goodman said...

Oh, that is fantastic news. I'm glad to see his reign of terror finally coming to an end. :D

Christy Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

Karma, karma, karma, karma, karma, chameleon...

Mad Scientist Matt said...

Great news!

The list of aliases and dba's in the suite is quite impressive, but the crazy thing is it seems they've missed a few. I wonder if "Sherry Fine" disappeared out of embarrassment after the "She's never met a logline she didn't like" episode?

barrettmanor said...

I just read through that lawsuit. Fascinating.

Anonymous said...

How many times can you say alledgedly in one piece of writing? And they forgot the most important part. They should be educating readers and tell them that: "Money flows towards the author!"

Patrick said...

That's great news. I hope they throw the book at him.

BuffySquirrel said...

Hah, this is what happens when you make yourself conspicuous.

behlerblog said...

For crying out loud, what does it take to put this moron behind bars with a roomie named Bubba? Hasn't he inflicted enough pain?

~Sia McKye~ said...

well I'm glad he's having to face the music for his actions.

I'm of the school that thinks that aspiring authors also must educate themselves. If you have to pay fees, it's a big red flag folks. It says back away and lock up your wallet.

Anonymous said...

------------- Start Quote -------------

Recently our company(s) acquired a book from the foreman of the grand jury that handled Ted Kennedy's Chappaquiddick trial. The book is titled Left to Die - Chappaquiddick Grand Jury Foreman Reveals Explosive, Never-Before-Told Information. We quickly and carefully hustled this book through production. With the media surrounding Senator Kennedy's death, we are going to sell a lot of books with our author. This is a great example of our business model.

We believe we may have the largest database of ready and semi-ready books and authors in the world. We employ 125 very talented people, and we can move an author from their query letter to a finished book for sale on book shelves faster than almost any publisher. Our business model is to find as many of the best authors as we can, help them prepare for publication, help them get published, or publish them ourselves. We believe that we're the new model for the publishing industry and that our presentation to new publishing and agency clients is very straightforward. Details about how we present our business can always be found at www.StrategicBookPublishing.com and www.WLWritersAgency.com .

We believe the Florida Attorney General lawsuit is being manipulated by outside influences who may have provided misleading information to the AG and to our clients. We plan to look for evidence of collusion between Victoria Strauss, Ann Crispin, James MacDonald, and Dave Kuzminski who recently lost a defamation lawsuit. ((http://www.writersnewsweekly.com/kuzminski.html)). We were not able to follow through on a prior lawsuit against these people because of financial reasons. We will not make that mistake again. Once we have reached successful resolution with the Attorney General, it is our intention to file lawsuits against our detractors.

Furthermore, we are assisting the Attorney General in resolving this current matter as rapidly as possible and we look forward to reaching a mutually agreeable settlement. The Attorney General has 175 complaints from four years of our business. During these same four years, we assisted 30,000 authors. If you will visualize each complaint or author as equal to one piece of paper, that is a half a ream of paper compared to sixty reams. That's about one inch of paper opposed to a ten-foot stack of paper.

Frankly, our complaint rate is less than 1 percent. If small businesses and publishers in the US can be the subject of a lawsuit for a complaint rate of less than 1% then we are very worried for our industry. We have thousands of published clients, and we have thousands of clients with their work in progress. Maintaining our services to our clients will continue to be our focus as we move forward to a successful conclusion of this matter. We plan to maintain our position and answer questions on our Web site, www.StrategicBookGroup.com. Please stay tuned and visit the site often. We are excited about bringing our story to the industry. It is time to set the record straight.

To Request further information or an interview please email feedback@Strategicbookgroup.com .

----- end quote --------------------

Victoria Strauss said...

The comment above reads like an official statement (it has also been posted at Absolute Write, in a discussion thread that is worth checking out). I can't help thinking, however, that it would carry more credibility if it weren't anonymous. On the other hand, why would an "official" statement be anonymous? Strange...

By the way, Anonymous, I hope that Strategic consulted with its lawyers before "hustling" that explosive Chappaquiddick book to market.

BEWalton17 said...

Maybe someone should mention in their ads on Facebook that they're under investigation.

HA!

I hate people who take advantage of writers. I hope they take it all, and give it back to everyone who got scammed.

Nancy Beck said...

What Christy, above, said: Karma. Bad karma will come back and bite you in the butt at some point.

And I'm glad Bouncin' Bobby is gettin' his.

Anonymous said...

Not only can "Anonymous" not pay to continue the lawsuit against Strauss and Crispin, but then, Anonymous sent an e-mail to all his employees laughing about how he wasn't going to pay those court costs.

Also, Anonymous does not pay his independent contractors according to contract. Anonymous does a contract with independent contractors stating they will be paid weekly, and independent contractors are then not paid weekly and expected to continue working without pay for weeks on end. When they are paid it's usually for just one week and then back to not being paid, so independent contractors are consistently behind when it comes to being paid.

Enough said. Anonymous will with luck get what he has coming to him.

Victoria Strauss said...

...but then, Anonymous sent an e-mail to all his employees laughing about how he wasn't going to pay those court costs.

Could you please forward that email to beware@sfwa.org? Thanks.

stheodore said...

My husband feels that Writer's Literary Agency is a legitamate Agency. I have read and told him about the articles and am aware of the investigation by the Floridas's Attorney General. Please help before he sinks more monet into this agency.

Anonymous said...

I could write a book on how they treat their employees (I was one) and their authors.

Employees are paid low wages, piled with work, and then receive no pay for several weeks at a time. Not until you threaten to quit do they finally pay one week's worth of what is truly owed. We would constantly get "sweet talk" emails telling us that things will be fine and pay will be caught up soon or "bullying" emails telling us if we have to put food on the table then find another job. We were constantly prodded to sell more and more services to authors.

Not many employees are left...until he lures more stay-at-home moms and out of work dads into his web of deceit.

With authors...sales figures are misleading (it looked like they reported half of the true sales numbers, if that), royalties are paid many months late--usually after an author sends a threatening email.

They brag about being such a great cutting edge publishing firm, but they'll take just about any book, as long as they know they can hustle money from the author.

Yes, I could write a book about all of their underhanded ways. Maybe I'll have THEM publish it! ;)

I truly hope he gets shut down and put behind bars. If not, he'll just start a new business with a new name...and rip off more people.

Victoria Strauss said...

Stheodore, please encourage your husband to contact me at beware@sfwa.org. I'll be glad to share information with him, and answer whatever questions he might have.

Newbie said...

Why are they still in business?

Anonymous said...

my husband has signed a contract with wl literary should we back out now?

lostbutfound said...

If the case went through, then why is the agency still on the web?

Anonymous said...

I've never really had any real problems with them.
I signed with them years ago and the only problem I have with them is getting paid.
I'll keep my two books with them until they fold. My agent told me about them.
Looks to me that I might need another agency and a proper publisher one day.
Does anyone know about the New York Literary Agency? I'm not sure if they are using me.

shirley said...

thank you for that info. this agency is still advertising on the web and i have just received an email from them today keen to view my book. guess i won't be sending it.

don't suppose anyone has any idea of how to get my work to a more reputable agent??? i'm a first time author.
jj

Bandit said...

I live in Kentucky and haven't been paid royalties. I do believe that constitutes a breach of contract. Can anyone help me? Also th ey owe me 10 books that I haven't received. You can bet they got their money.
Dollie Deaton

Victoria Strauss said...

Dollie, it's my understanding that you must request your royalties from Strategic/Eloquent in order to get paid.

If a publishing contract obliges the publisher to send royalty statements/checks at specific intervals, it's indeed possible that a failure to do so might constitute breach of contract. But you'd need to check with a lawyer in order to be sure.

On the Overview page of Writer Beware, there's a section on Legal Recourse that provides links to the American Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts (a volunteer organization that specializes in providing legal assistance for people in the arts). Either service will arrange an initial low-cost or pro-bono consultation for you to discuss your situation, after which you can decide on what further action to take.

Dawn Hullender said...

I've just recently learned that Strategic Book Marketing/Publishing and WL Writer's Lit Agency are one and the same company.

About a year ago, I signed with WL and spent 89$ on a critique. It was only after they provided nothing in return that I began to research them.

Today, they are in hot pursuit of publishing my novel, but they want to go half with me. They want me to pay them 995$.

I'm going to forward a copy of the information I've found on the net about them and maybe then they'll stop hounding me?

yorky said...

I had my book published by Strategic 18 months ago, it didn't cost me anything and I even had it edited with a local company. I am however not very happy with their marketing. Even though I signed a contract can I withdraw my book and look for a PROPER publisher?

Yorky

Victoria Strauss said...

Yorky, if you signed a contract for your book, it's binding, and you can't publish that book elsewhere without first terminating your contract with Strategic.

Check your contract. Depending on which contract you signed (the company has several different ones), there may be a penalty-free termination clause. If so, you can invoke it. Be careful, though--some Strategic contracts impose enormous penalties for early termination (payments of $1,000 or more). If your termination clause includes such a penalty, it's not worth it.

Another option would be to approach the publisher and asking politely to be released. Don't mention any negatives, just say something like you feel you aren't able to spend time or money promoting your book at this point. This may not work--but the company may realize that holding onto an unhappy author isn't in anyone's interest, and let you go.

Anonymous said...

I published with Eloquent Books in 2009 and I have to say I was heart-broken when I read this. I wished that I had done more research when I settled for Writer's Literary Agency in 2006. Over the course of 3 years, they have nickled and dimed me to death and now that my debut novel is out, they continue to ask for more money for marketing. My family is only scraping by on one income right now and I can't afford all of the extras they didn't include.

My suspicions grew more when all of my sales came to a grinding halt in Nov/Dec. I had found a lot of discrepancies with the book sales through Amazon and AEG's Royalty Page. Also I found that they charge me an extra $8.55 per book for 'printing fees' that wasn't brought to my attention in the initial contract. I know I have sold more than 51 copies of the book, and had to send a forceful email demanding a measly payment for those I have sold.

After reading all of this, I now doubt my ability as a writer because this Fletcher showed interest in my work and I had glowing critques in which I payed for. I'm now back to square one and very disillusioned now. I hope he gets what's coming to him.

C. K. Casner

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why any of their contracts are "binding" given that the collection of Fletcher's companies are fraudulent. Why can't an author just walk away? I liken it to somone setting up a used car dealer tent, taking my deposit, setting up payments, and telling me that my car,"...is on they way." I never get the car. I will have to make the payments and can't just walk away? I have rec'd many emails from them. That prompted me looking here. (This a.m., 2/21/10), I rec'd an email from Strategic Book Marketing. It's them! If everyone just drops them... Hey, Robert, what kind of bird doesn't sing?

Victoria Strauss said...

C.K. Kastner, don't let your experiences with WLA and Eloquent foster self-doubt. The thing about a questionable agent or publisher is that it will as happily accept an excellent book as a poor one. Getting a representation or publishing offer from a questionable company doesn't say anything whatever about your writing.

Please contact Randi Shapiro at the Florida Attorney General's Office. Her contact info is at our Alert.

Victoria Strauss said...

Anonymous said,

I don't understand why any of their contracts are "binding" given that the collection of Fletcher's companies are fraudulent. Why can't an author just walk away?

The concern in such situations isn't just that the publisher you want to walk away from would hold you to the contract, but that a new publisher would be reluctant to take on a book whose rights aren't completely free and clear.

In other words, you simply couldn't place an already-contracted book with a reputable publisher--no matter what the reputation of the company that has contracted you. Even many self-publishing services require you to warrant that your rights are unencumbered.

Anonymous said...

I signed with Strategic Books before the announcement that they were being acquired. Were they a reputable company? Is there any way aside from AEG to check book sales.

Victoria Strauss said...

Anonymous, Strategic was never "acquired." It was founded by Fletcher, and is still under his control, as far as we know.

Anonymous said...

I receieved a positive response from the WL Screenplay Agency after responding to an ad on facebook. I then read some bad reviews, so I sent them a terrible idea with a fake bio under another e-mail.

Surprise, surprise.

They loved it.

These people are Scammers.

Here's the bio I sent.

Bio: I am a blogger from Pennsylvania, in fact, I was one of the original seventeen bloggers who met in 1994 at the Palace Hotel and Convention Center
in San Francisco to develop the concept of blogging (web log). Since that time, I began writing screenplays. I have dabbled in all genres, but I believe comedy is my strong suit.

Here's the Title and Synopsis.

Title: Ten People on an Island

Synopsis: Eight passengers (and two crew members)leave on a boat tour from Havana, Cuba, after the travel embargo has been lifted by the United States. They end up on a deserted Caribbean Island. They are visited from time to time by stand up comedians, who know of the island, but refuse to notify
authorities.

STAY AWAY FROM THIS COMPANY.

Sandra Stiles said...

Thank you so much for your site. I had in fact sent out two query letters in February to two different agents. Between that date and this morning my computer crashed. The info for the query letters were on the computer and I could not find my hard copy as I had it at school and am on Spring Break. I received two emails from them today and checked them out on your site. Thanks for keeping me from making a terrible mistake.

Anonymous said...

I am in Australia and I am currently at the stage where they refer you onto the contracts lady. I got sucked in by the republish for self publishers bit. I will not go any further with this now. thank you for all the comments. I nearly made another huge mistake. Self Publishing was the first one i made.

Anonymous said...

Me from down under again, I became suspicious of this being a scam when i tried to search for books that they have published and couldnt find any and then i went to the section in one of the websites about books that have sold 1000+ and there was only two( to get my subsequent books published i have to make 1000 sales- i dont think that will happen. Also how do you run a publishing business when you live on a boat and all the staff work from home? i dont understand how that could work.

Anonymous said...

Any updates on how the court actions in FL against Robert & AEG are progressing? Even for the 'slow wheels of justice' it seems like this is taking a while to come to conclusion...

Anonymous said...

Ok, now I am really upset. I am in the final phase of having my book published, i.e., approving the cover, etc. Supposed to be released within a month. What do I do? I've already invested about $800 and have been quite satisfied. But what I'm hearing is that I won't ever be able to collect on my profits. I'm ready to market, that doesn't bother me, but will they sell and keep what's coming to me? Do I need to see a lawyer? I'm sick over this.

C. K. Casner said...

I have been published with Eloquent for over a year and only sold 71 copies of my book since its release. During this time I am constantly bombarded with emails suggesting this service and that service to increase sales and blah, blah, blah, and want paid handsomely for these 'services'. I refuse to sink another dime in this operation.

Also, that 50/50 royalty payment they entice us with? Every book printed is charged a 'printing fee' (in my case $8.55) and what is left is divided equally. In other words AEG/Strategic receives the lion's share of the profits. Also don't count on the checks coming automatically every 3 months. I had to get quite nasty with the Royalty Team in order to get a measly $25 check, nowhere close to recouping what I invested.

I'm sorry you got mixed up with them. You may want to ask Victoria's advice about legal representaion. I signed an affidavit with the Florida AG since mine has been a done deal for quite a while.

Best of luck

C. K. Casner

Victoria Strauss said...

For anyone who is wondering, the suit is proceeding through the courts (slowly, as is the way of such things). Writer Beware is following all available information, and will provide updates as we receive them.

The Florida AG's office is still accepting complaints about Fletcher and his companies. Contact information:

Randi Shapiro, Financial Investigator
Economic Crimes Division
Email: randi.shapiro@myfloridalegal.com
Phone: 954-712-4600

For more information, see the Alert at Writer Beware.

Arpgod said...

Hi Many thanks for all the info. I have just sent my novel to Strategic Book Marketing a few days ago.. Still waiting on a "favourable" reply.

They sent me an email recently with lots of happy photos from their successes at the New York Book Expo. '10. many authors with their books on the stand. But now having read all this blog page on Writer Beware I am very reluctant to go any further with this....

But can anyone say what is a legit publishing company. Has anyone out there a real experience that is NOT a scam? I would love to her about it.

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering what is happening in court. I haven't received anything from the Attorney General that there has been a decision on this class action lawsuit that I am involved in with Robert Fletcher. I just got an email from Strategic that they I have finally got money for my book. A big wopping $22.04.
Please tell me what is going on, if you know.
Thanks

Victoria Strauss said...

Hi, Anonymous,

The lawsuit isn't a class action, but rather a civil suit by the Florida Attorney General. It's still ongoing--these things sometimes take a very long time to play out, and I'm guessing there won't be a resolution for months at least. Be assured that if there's any news, we'll be posting it here at the blog.

Anonymous said...

Hello folks. I wanted to say thank you for developing this site and for posting such warnings. I was also fooled by WLA. (But because I have an editor who does regularly edit my work--for their "critique" I sent the piece to him--and therefore actually got a sound evaluation.) Although I had an instinctual aversion to the "Strategic Book" site, I actually thought that WLA was working with new authors. Later I trusted their recommendation to have a piece taken to the Beijing International, and caught this warning just in time to confirm a suspicion that WLA and Strategic were inappropriately related. Thanks so much for the confirmation. It has saved me from making a huge mistake.

Anonymous said...

I got into bed with WL in may. Im waiting to terminate my contract. Anyway I recieved an emial today stating the lawsuit against them was frivolus and that they were going to counter sue the Flordia AG! I hope the judge in the case sees them for what they really are.

Kimberly Coghlan said...

Reading all of these nasty comments just turns my stomach. I am a literary agent, and believe it or not, I DO reccomend this company to new authors. This company WILL offer a FREE publishing contract to authors whose manuscripts are well-written, and thus marketable. They are a company who makes a profit, so sure they'll try to get you to invest in their marketing programs. You don't have to do it, however. If you've got a good agent, then your agent will take care of a lot of your marketing for you; i.e, book tours, signings etc. I have had few issues with this company. In fact, I've had fewer problems with Strategic than with other larger companies. And when I DO have a problem, I can contact someone by email, and my issues are resolved within 24 hours. I've read through all the lawsuit information, and I did my research years back before I referred any of my clients to this company. If you've got a book that isn't very good, then you can't blame the company because it won't sell. Point blank. The end. You cannot call Strategic a Scam because they're a company that tries to make money. That's ridiculous. We live in America. Strategic never claims to solely be a publishing company. They want their authors to make money because the more books their authors sell, the more money the company makes. Have any of you contacted a Strategic author, personally? Maybe you should consider doing that because if you did, then you might see that Strategic's authors are a tight knit group who are pretty happy with the company they chose. Plus, with most Strategic contracts, you can cancel your contract at any time with no reprecussions, but most authors choose to remain with Strategic and even publish multiple books with them. This is a great stepping stone for new authors, and I think it's a disservice to all of the people who have chosen to stay away from Strategic due to your rants.

Victoria Strauss said...

Kimberly, thanks for your comment, which will be extremely helpful for writers who are alert to the warning signs of questionable agenting. (Here is Kimberly's biography; note that no professional agenting or publishing experience seems to be included. Interestingly, Kimberly's website doesn't mention agenting at all, only editing, which leads me to wonder whether she's doing editorial work for Strategic.)

Just for the record: no reputable agent would ever place clients with a pay-to-play publisher--even one that wasn't currently being sued for deceptive business practices.

La Donna Alfano said...

I haven't been able to find out if this has been settled yet through the courts. Do you have any updated information and any advice for those of us that are involved in the civil lawsuit about getting our books to another publisher? I'd appreciate any advice. Thank you, La Donna Alfano

Victoria Strauss said...

La Donna, the suit is still active, and working its way through the courts. Cases of this sort often progress slowly, especially when defendants employ delaying tactics such as moving for changes of venue.

Check your contract--some Strategic/Eloquent contracts allow authors to terminate at will (although some older Strategic contracts I've seen imposed a substantial fee for early termination). If you'd like more advice, please contact me directly: beware @ sfwa.org.

Anonymous said...

U.K. Anonymous. received today email from Tania, Strategic, saying "still interested in publishing you with new idea". If you contribute $75 toward setting up professional website AND sell 100 books in advance at $20 each. This would pay
usual up front printing costs of $1000 and any extra marketing costs incurred using the second $1000 the book pre selling would generate. Appreciate comment on how this can be offered while Court case still continues.

Victoria Strauss said...

Anonymous, being sued doesn't prevent a defendant from doing business, unless a temporary injunction was part of the suit (not the case here). The resolution of the suit will bring consequences to one side or the other, but until that happens, it's business as usual.

Reputable publishers don't demand that authors pre-sell their own books.

Karen Dales, Author said...

Now if only someone would go after Author House/Author Solutions/iUniverse/etc!

Glad someone had the balls to finally step up and do the right thing.

Mark said...

I think this is hilarious. I sent a bunch of email queries a few days ago, trying to attract an agent to sell the foreign rights of a novel that I published last year through a company that I started myself.

Today I received a call from these jokers saying they read my query and were impressed and wanted to set up an appointment with an agent - yet, the girl claimed that she didn't have my email address. Didn't you get my query??? Isn't that how you found me??? Just click REPLY - my email is right there!! Big red flag.

But being bored today, I decided to humor them and see what would happen. They set up an appointment for 4:00 today (it's now 4:12)...While I am waiting for them, I am reading the posts on this blog. Should be a fun conversation - if they ever call.

Action Author David W. Gray said...

Hello Victoria, My name is David W. Gray and I've just published a book with www.StrategicBookPublishing.com and now I'm reading this blog and feeling the fur on my neck raise up as a low growl begins in my throat. My Book is called "Demon By Knight" http://sbpra.com/davidwgray/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/demon-by-knight-david-w-gray/1106330143

While I haven't run into any problems with this company yet, and I know for certain I had better not have any, I get the feeling from these posts that I may have a few problems.

They had better pay on time and the right amount.

I was a little peeved when I read the printing cost thing in the price break down. And yes they tried to "Up sell" me editing services that I didn't really need. But when I told them "no thank you" they stopped, then tried to sell me marketing services which grumbled and then bought.

So let's do the math here. So far I've paid:
$995.00 for publishing
$36.00 for 6 additional illustrations over the 6 in the contract.
$200.00 for marketing for a grand total of:
$1,231.00

Now if I don't make that money back or if I see any inconsistencies between what amazon, Barnes and Nobels, and Strategic reports in the way of sales I will be paying a few people some very personal visits. They will have some explaining to do.

Since I'm not in an exclusive contract with Strategic can you suggest some additional publishers for me to consider?

You can contact me here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Action-Author-David-W-Gray/182552348489395

Thank you for you blog and the information contained in it. I feel it is the Writer's obligation to keep his finger on the pulse of what is happening with his book and sales, regardless of who he has paid to do it on his behalf.

I have never suffered fools, bullies or thieves and will not begin to do so now.

Let's continue keeping them honest.

Kyra said...

Bah... I actually sent my manuscript to these guys and just got approved today. I was looking over the publishing options when a friend on a writing forum linked me here. Needless to say I will be opting-out of their scheme ASAP. Luckily I hadn't actually made my decision yet!

Anonymous said...

Australia seems to be a good hunting ground! I too have signed a contract and parted with $995US. After reading the comments, I do not know whether or not to submit my manuscript to them. Please advice me urgently as to what I should do next. Thank you so much.
Ausie.

shackie said...

I dont know if you have received my Comment and am repeating it: I have signed a Contract and paid $995. I have NOT as yet sent my manuscript. What do you advice? Please respond. Worried Australian

Mel Mason said...

It seem they are still at it. I have been getting emails from someone called Tom@SBPRA.com (Tom Wallace) I did send a pitch, synopsis & the first 3000 words of my book before I found this site. They have just come back with their contracts and offers. Needles to say I won't be following them up.

What a minefield the internet is for struggling writers! Publishing today seems to be 99.9% LUCK, and that luck is in finding an agent. Agents are very astute and if you don't hear back from them, then your book has no commercial value. It's all about money!

La Donna said...

I may just call to see what may be happening within the courts with this lawsuit I am involved in but I thought I would send in a quick blog. I'm hoping it's close to the end of the road for this creep! I really want to get moving with my book!

Leonie Arnold said...

I haven't had a word from these people for a long time. My book was published early 2010, it didn't cost much and there were no problems. Recently I paid to have the book turned into an epub book as well with a new title. No-one told me that I had paid to go epub and then there was trouble getting money from NZ to them for the new title which was only $100.
My small children's book has been taken up by all the Ingram distributors around the world but so far I have received no royalties so I assume I have not sold ONE! They did do a lot of 'free' publicity for me and google is full of my book.It must be considered a worhwhile book to have been taken up by so many on-line book sellers.
In my own country I can not sell it to stores, they say they won't stock overseas published books which is silly because of course they do. Maybe they won't accept HIS book. In our contract there in an 'out' clause that says I can leave them and be re-published elsewhere. My solicitor looked at it before we went ahead and said it all looked 'legit'.
Lately, I have no idea who is working for me they don't contact me and I don't contact them and won't. There used to be piles of emails a day, now there are NONE!
I am am glad by book exists and is out there and hope that one day children, parents and teachers will get to read it. It would pay me to buy it and sell it myself and get my 'royalties' that way.Leonie Arnold

Anonymous said...

Shackie-Australia.send your manuscript. pay as little as you can extra. This will be better than not getting your $995 back as it is unlikely that you will.

La Donna said...

Has anyone heard what's going on with this Robert Fletcher yet? It's been a really long time and I am hoping they're getting closer to ending this guys career in stealing from us!!!

David. M said...

As a person with a vested interest (conned in 2004/5 by ST Literary services) I have a vested interest and also would like to know what has happened

Anonymous said...

First of all, thank you for putting this together on your blog. You have saved another potential victim of Robert' scam.

For all those who are wondering what's Robert current act, he is busy expanding his career into Asia,that's what brought me here, to help a friend checking up his background.

Keep the good work up, it is not over until the criminal has paid for the crime.

Ken Webster said...

I am a writer that received a potential contract for 7 years and was asked for a $1000.00 up front fee for publishing and for possible help with my book. I haven't sent in the fee because it didn't seem right at the time. If anyone would like a copy of the contract they can contact me. Ken Webster through facebook messages. I am the Ken Webster in Thailand.

Raani York said...

Thank you very much! I'm happy I have been checking out SBPRA and found your blog. It helped me to avoid a big mistake!!

I'm following your blog from today on!

Patrick O' said...

I just read through Writers Beware posting, only to realized that very possibly I've been scammed by SBPA along with numerous others. I wonder if anyone would be interested in joining me in a class action suit against the company. I publish over a year and a half ago; while I fully appreciate that there are guarantees,I have seen such pitiful sales of my books as to wonder if any effort was ever made to promote it, and this after paying several thousand dollars. I don't know what a lawsuit involves, getting started, but I live in Washington state and may be contacted at zoological51@gmail.com

ThomasU said...

Suzann Durrette (who works for Robert M. Fletcher) does accounting and book orders with Strategic Book Group. Suzann has been reported to the IRS and state tax collector for tax fraud. She also has to attend for questioning Tuesday in Port Aransas TX in regards of a pending lawsuit against Robert M. Fletcher and his many alias names and business names.

My personal experience with Miss Durrette I should write a book about during the last two years of living with her. Needless to say after witnessing Suzann working and answering the phone to customers while intoxicated several times with her massive alcohol problem, in addition to her being a sociopath, putting me in the hospital twice with physical assault, driving intoxicated regularly, a liar and a cheater. And I just caught Suzann Durrette cheating on me with a 26 year old and have been for over 3 months (Suzann is 47 years old). And Miss Durrette is angry with me for catching her sexually cheating with this boy - how messed up in her morally impaired alcohol broken mind is that? So that is done!

Suzann also has had a few different names and moved around a lot most likely do to her background. So that might raise some red flags.
Changed name: Suzann Lee Durrette
Name on driver’s license: Suzan Lee Durrette
Other Names: Suzan Lee Durrett
Suzann Lee Durrett
Suzann Lee Malaspina
Suzann L Rowley

It doesn’t surprise me why Miss Durrette works for this Robert M. Fletcher.
I would recommend staying away from this company.

Miss Durrette has always got her pay through Paypal.

http://publishondemandglobal.com/pod-india/

Anonymous said...

SBPRA is currently in the process of publishing my book. It's at the Cover Design stage now.I have not had any issues with them so far except that they took 5 weeks to contact me regarding the design. I have paid them $700 of a $900 contract to date. My contract is non-exclusive and does not include e-books. What i have read here has obviously concerned me. Would another publisher take my work now?

Victoria Strauss said...

Hi, Anonymous,

Publishing a book with SBPRA won't in any way harm your chances of publishing a different book with another publisher. However, your SBPRA book won't be considered a professional writing credit, so when you do market a new book, it probably would be best not to mention it.