5.26.2006

There's scam..and then there's just stupid

Culled from the comments column, this response from another of the 20 Worst Agents:

Dear Ms. Snarkling:

Thank you for bringing this information to our attention. We are not part of the class action suit Ms. Bauer is starting (last count I believe she had about 100 agents involved with the goal being to remove all those writing boards); pay little attention to the whining boards; pay even less attention to some arbitrary list systems; and only work with professionals.


You may wish to distance yourself from that lot as we are not the only agents who hear about those who post there and many other agents not on those lists are checking them against their submissions and tossing out those they find there.

Just FYI, some agents are even passing around a new list NOT posted on those boards; it's the 2,000 Worst Writers List. I'd hate to see your name on it.


Wishing you only the best,
(the final lie)
Mr. Gregg Collins

Marketing Manager (what the hell does a literary agency need with a marketing manager??) Robins Agency


Oh Gregg honey, real agents, yanno (tm/pp) the ones with slush piles, can barely answer their mail let alone compare it to some list.

And I just love the idea of a "class action lawsuit" (from 100 agents!!!) to shut down websites where writers share information. Ya, let me know when you want me to sign on!

Are you SURE you weren't a carnival barker in a previous life?

55 comments:

TwistableSim said...

Haha! Cris Robins is always worth a laugh. Her thread on AW was always one of the best when she'd get on with her silly posts.

Chalicechick said...

Can we write him and request to be put on the "Worst Writers" list, I wonder?

If doing so would mean that these agents considered me too awful to scam, that sounds like a good deal...

CC

Rei said...

Step right up! Only two hundred dollars per play. Step right up, ladies and gentlemen! You, young sir -- you look like you have a novel you'd like published! Get a deal, impress your little lady, what do you say? Come one, come all!

Bernita said...

Sounds like they're setting up a three-ring circus...

lizzie26 said...

I love it--a non-agency thinking they're better than a real agent.

Whining on writer's boards? Of course there's whining on writer's boards. All due to the 20 worst agents.

megoblocks said...

After following this fiasco for a bit, I still say The Imperial March would be well suited for your theme song.

I can see the 20 worst agents digging in, huddled in snowy foxholes, while far away, Miss Snark is on the bridge.

"They are as clumsy as they are stupid. General KY, prepare your troops for a surface attack."

Anonymous said...

The plot thickens. Or was that another Dickens idea for Tiny Tim? But you have to admit these clowns are giving it the good fight. LOL...go get'em Miss Snark!

Mac said...

FWIW--we've (AW, et al) saved the Cris Robins thread for archival posterity, lovingly salvaged from Google-cache.

*g*

Ohhhhhh. A class action suit. Filed by scam agents, about half of them using psuedonyms and already sort of semi-on-the-dodge for check-kiting schemes.

Would that I had Miss Snark's gift for formulating appropriately scathing responses to these, um, people.

MacAllister, (AW mod)

Jessica said...

Well, apparently agents aren't as busy as I thought they were. If they have time for all this, why can't they personaly respond to my query? Anyway, this is just getting crazy. There is no way that you can stop everyone from spreading that Bauer is a bad agent. And this 2000 worst writers list, everytime an agent recieves a query, they're going to check to make sure the writer isn't on it? Man, I don't even have that much freetime in my job.

delilah said...

If this had been a query letter, it would have been a reject before the end of the first paragraph because of the atrocious grammar.

Who do you people think you're kidding?

Full of shit by any other name is still FULL OF SHIT!

Anonymous said...

And why would a marketing manager be dealing with their purported 'legal' issues?

Brenda Bradshaw said...

Oh yeah, I'd want to willingly associate myself with this train wreck. Smart move there, Chris.

roach said...

Wheee! Cris Robbins has weighed in. Here's a little story about the Cris Robbins agency:

Back in August of 2005 I received a submission from Cris Robbins. It was a PDF file, it might have been a short story, I didn't open the file to find out. This was wrong on so many levels--my publishing company didn't require agented submissions, my publishing company didn't pay advances, my guidelines requested RTF or TXT attachments, and I was not looking for short stories. I wrote Cris Robbins back that the submission was inappropriate, and not to consider me for any future projects. (This was after I had done some research on who this agent was, and indeed I went to AW to start my search.)

I received an e-mail back obstinately insisting she had read the guidelines and a dire warning not to alienate too many agents because it wasn't good for business.

The story makes me laugh every time I think about it.

Anonymous said...

Dear god--It's a play now.

http://p-n-elrod.livejournal.com/12120.html

LauraT said...

http://www.robins-agency.com/faqs.htm

thats from his site... read the "myhts" section and feel really good knowing they are on the top 20.

Anonymous said...

For the people who've become distracted by the mob hysteria of BauerGate -- or for those think there is a mean-spiritedness here that reeks of arbitrary dislike...remember...the list of 20 Worst Agents was researched extensively and posted a service. Specifically, it listed
1. "Agents" who play into a writer's hopes and dreams by charging up front fees. REAL literary agents NEVER charge an upfront fee. This is a significant point. Bauer is like those 'model agencies' that charge you thousands of dollars for a photo shoot (you must use their photographer) and an ad in their catalog. Of course they're allowed to run whatever kind of business they want, if its legal - but if you think you've just signed on with Ford Models, you're going to end up heartbroken.

2. Agents who continue to focus on BILLING you, the writer, for a list of fees...instead of focusing on working on your behalf to get your book published.

3. Agents who have NEVER sold a book to a legitimate publisher.

I understand the discomfort we may all have with the witch-hunt mentality. But sometimes, to make the neighborhood safe, you really do have to land your house on the witch.

Ralph said...

It's a shame to see this and other helpful sites get bogged down by a few jerks.

Somewhere out there is the 21st worst agent, or even a new Worst Agent Ever who hasn't had time yet to fleece enough people to gain notoriety. While the list is helpful, it is much more important to remember the behavior that put the agents on the list, and watch out for it with anyone you deal with. The list is more helpful as a series of case studies than a definitive register of bad guys.

And come on - 2000 worst writers? The list would have to be way longer than that to be of any use.

Anonymous said...

Me too! Me too! I wanna be blacklisted too!

Oh, wait. If I'm blacklisted by agencies that don't sell books and take money from newbies, does that mean they sell my book and send me money?

Well, I'm confused. Or they are seriously butt-backwards confused if they consider this a threat.

Amanda said...

Check out P.N. Elrod's blog. Not only is Bauer skewered but even Killer Yap makes an appearance with Her Snarkiness et. al.

December Quinn said...

Ah, how I love scam artists who, in their efforts to sound professional and important, make fools of themselves.

He "[doesn't] pay attention to some arbitrary list system" but is compiling a list to pass around for everyone to pay attention to.

michaelgav said...

I also like the almost-veiled threat: "I'd hate to see your name on it." Just a little word to the wise there from Mr. Collins. Because you'd hate to be sitting with your checkbook out some day and have all those agents checking their list and telling you to go elsewhere.

Schmuck.

Anonymous said...

What a bonehead.

Anon
I heart Killer Yapp

O hAnnrachainn said...

If ever a post needed a beverage alert, this is it!

Nick said...

"Just FYI, some agents are even passing around a new list NOT posted on those boards; it's the 2,000 Worst Writers List. I'd hate to see your name on it."

And Robins, FYI, if you're going to disguise a threat try harder next time.

Writerious said...

So... they did something wrong, someone else noticed, that someone spoke up, and now they're mad.

So... rather than do what's right, they want to continue doing wrong, and sue people who call them on it.

Yeah, makes as much sense as the burglar who gets caught by the homeowner, and as the police haul him away, says, "I'll get you for that!"

Or I certain political situations that have been in the news...

Cass said...

Just FYI, some agents are even passing around a new list NOT posted on those boards; it's the 2,000 Worst Writers List. I'd hate to see your name on it.

So maybe I'm crazy, but I thought the lovely Ms. Snark was an agent? As in, not a writer? Or is he suddenly directing his comments in the general direction of the unwashed masses?

Anonymous said...

Worst writer = your characters are shallow, your story is lame, and your adverbs reek.

Worst agent = you scam writers for personal gain.

So, which is worse? Personally, my "hack" karma is more important than my bank account. My words may suck but I look in the mirror without guilt. I have not played off of someone’s dream, I have not cheated.

Shame on the bad people. Boo! Hiss!

Anneliese said...

Class Action? Isn't that a suit filed against an entity, an organization, an incorporation? How does one file a Class Action suit against a handful of people across the land?

Even more important, tell Greg that if such suit exists, it will be glorious to have a 100 Worst List as opposed to the current, mere twenty! :)

srchamberlain said...

If I were Cris Robins, Barbara Bauer, et. al., I wouldn't get within a 100 feet of a court of law.

theinadvertentauthor said...

hmmmmm.....can you spell extortion?

randomsome1 said...

Just FYI, some agents are even passing around a new list NOT posted on those boards; it's the 2,000 Worst Writers List.

So they're taking the names of fanfic writers now?

I think I'll stop rolling my eyes in favor of; using that nice little; semicolon key more.

Daisy said...

In following this issue, it occured to me that it might be a good idea to play the "what if" game here. As in, "What if there was an agent on the list who really was legitimate?" Because, if that happened, I don't think we'd be seeing a lot of half-baked threats and pointless acrimony. Instead, I suspect that said agent would be popping up with lots of data to support his or her legitimacy: recent sales to real publishers, membership in AAR, etc. And said agent's clients would be showing up too, with their own stories of jobs well done and no fees charged.
Not that there should be any question that these people are exactly what they seem to be, but the fact that no one has offered any proof that they aren't makes any other defense they give completely irrelevant.

Sarah said...

Audible gasp! Cris Robins's flunky might put Miss Snark's NAME on a LIST! I'm sure Her Snarkiness is absolutely shaking in her boots. [/sarcasm]

Seriously... there's something about that "threat" that just reeks of elementary school...

Christine said...

Bwahahahahahaha!

That's all there is to say. Maybe if those on the list actually WERE legit, they'd have no time either, cause they'd be neck high in their own slush.

Wait, that didn't come out right...

Sean D. Schaffer said...

Well, now I've seen everything. A 2,000 Worst Writers List.

I'm shaking in my sneakers.


BTW, it's interesting to note that the person in question did not mention any names. You know, names of the individuals suing. It's like the old cliche, "Everybody supports me in email."

I look forward to the suit being laughed out of court, if only for its huge sum of demanded damages.

Umbrella Girl said...

Anneliese - what a beautiful name.

A class action suit is a lot of people joining one suit together to sue one defendant.

michaelgav said...

I just checked -- last week's ratings are out. I came in at #802, right behind a would-be sf/f author hawking a 13-pound manuscript called "Portal of the Oratis," and ahead of a woman shopping her domestic comedy, "It Might Be Lint."

This is my best showing in months. I have Miss Snark's blog to thank.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that Cris Robins' site is slick. I've been at this for years, and I totally would have fallen for it.

If not for AW.

What better endorsement?

Mad Scientist Matt said...

All right, who volunteers to email Chris Robins and ask to see a copy of the list? This I've got to see, if only to find out how successful Travis Tea was in his bid for worst novel of all time.

A Google search for a list of 2000 worst writers did turn up some gems, though:

Being an English professor is not proof you can write

In search of the World's Worst Writers

Hope the HTML comes out OK...

Elayna said...

Check out ways agents get paid #1 from his site. "A commission on sales you have made before they have accepted you."

Did anyone else notice this?

Anonymous said...

Miss. Snark is not a writer, or hadn't he noticed she is an agent, last I heard anyway.
What a stupid little....end of comments.

Elektra said...

"I'd hate to see your name on it."

Doesn't he sound like a guy from a Mafia movie?
Now we just have to wait for something like, "It would not displease me to learn that Miss Snark has drunk from a poisoned gin pail."

Anonymous said...

PSYCHO.

Georgia Girl

marsgirl said...

I wonder if this guy has noticed that "Miss Snark" isn't a real name . . . neither, in fact, are a lot of user names people use. So how exactly is he supposed to keep these people from getting an agent?


What an idiot!

Sonarbabe said...

Hmmm. Let's see here. Being blacklisted from scam artists...again, I say hmmm... Okay, sign me up!

Oh and Cris? If you think Miss Snark is a writer then you have more issues than TV Guide.

Where' the clue stick? This schmuck needs a good beating with it.

Anonymous said...

I read the letter three times and I still couldn't figure out what the heck the guy was saying, or trying to say. This guy is a "marketing manager" and he can't even write a decent threatening letter? Sheesh.

Bonnie Calhoun said...

Bonehead...schmuck...not original, several people up the thread have already used them...but they are the most appropriate words for this character!

Pepper Smith said...

The email in question was actually a reply to an email someone else sent him, and was not sent to Miss Snark. It's in the comments trail of a previous post.

The threat at the end was a tad over-the-top. You could just about picture the guy twirling his mustache and leering.

Chrysoula said...

a.) People, read! That letter was posted in the comments thread of the previous post. It was not aimed at Miss Snark.

b.) Cris Robins seems to be female.

c.) People have referenced both a Robins and Robbins agency. Judging from the Robins site, I assume that one's the scam (it's awfully eager and accomodating). However, somebody related a story about rejecting a Robbins-submitted story?

d.) The bottom of her FAQ refers people to Publisher's Marketplace. This is the legit resource that Miss Snark refers to sometimes, is it not?

While the solicitousness of her site rings warning bells, the referral to checking PM interests me. Of course, it might be because PM charges a subscription fee (doesn't it?) and she knows most aspiring authors can't afford such things, or won't cross-check.

archer said...

Ummm...a class action suit features multiple plaintiffs, not one plaintiff and multiple defendants.

Thought their high-powered lawyers would like to know!

Steorling said...

Mad Scientist Matt, YOU DIDN'T PROVIDE THE CUSTOMARY BEVERAGE ALERT! (oh, my poor keyboard...)

I'm grateful, truly, that was the funniest thing I've read in weeks!

Anonymous said...

ARCHER said...
Ummm...a class action suit features multiple plaintiffs, not one plaintiff and multiple defendants. Thought their high-powered lawyers would like to know!


ACTUALLY, a class action lawsuit can be maintained with either a plaintiff class or a defendant class, so you could have one plaintiff and multiple defendants. See Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 23(a):
"One or more members of a class may sue or be sued as representative parties on behalf of all only if (1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable, (2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class, (3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class, and (4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class."

Eika said...

2000 worst writers, huh? Let's face it, there's never so bad you can't do worse. And I can already name #1 on the list: Jim Theis.

Anyone who hasn't read The Eye of Argon, do it. It's a hoot. Some places have competitions, complete with rules, for reading it. http://www-users.cs.york.ac.uk/~susan/sf/eyeargon/index.htm to check it out.

Victoria Strauss said...

A little bit of scam agent history...About a thousand years ago (actually, in 1998), Cynthia Sterling of the Lee Shore Agency threatened Jim Fisher (author of the Fisher Report, which listed fee-charging agents) with a 100-agent lawsuit, in an attempt to intimidate him into silence. Obviously the threat was bogus--scammers don't take legal action. But it was based in at least a little bit of fact. Cindy did send a letter to a lot of the agents on Jim's list, trying to get them to join her in some kind of group action--not just against Jim but against The Write Connection, the first literary scam warning website ever. This was part of what forced The Write Connection eventually to shut down.

Cris Robins got one of Cindy's 100-agent letters. Obviously, she's recycling ancient history.

archer said...

ACTUALLY, a class action lawsuit can be maintained with either a plaintiff class or a defendant class, so you could have one plaintiff and multiple defendants. See Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 23(a):
"One or more members of a class may sue or be sued as representative parties on behalf of all only if (1) the class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable, (2) there are questions of law or fact common to the class, (3) the claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class, and (4) the representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class."


Okay, okay, but you cheated. You read the rule.