Why Victoria Stauss Should be Disqualified from the First Annual Independent Blogger Awards: Questions of Eligibility Remain Regarding the Meaning of “Independent”

In A.C., A.C. Crispin, Ann "A.C." Crispin, Ann Crispin, Award, Awards, BEA, Book Expo America, C. E. Petit, Charles E. Petit, Charles Emil Petit, Charlie. Petit, Credibility, Independent Book Blogger Awards, John Scalzi, Mystery Writers of America, Nancy Steinbeck, Passion Blue, Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers, SFWA, The Association of American Publishers, The Write Agenda, Victoria Strauss, Writer, Writer Beware, Writers on May 22, 2012 at 9:38 pm

ALERT: John Steinbeck Family Defrauded by Writer Beware™ & SFWA Attorney: The 2007 Scam that Writer Beware™ Didn’t Report . . . Why?

ALERT: Victoria Strauss Critical of Indie Authors Successes: The Voice of Envy

ALERT: (Posted 10/25/11) P.N. Elrod Claims Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers (SFWA) Has Hackers: Cyber Crime Incitement?

ALERT: (Posted 10/24/11) American Book Publishing: No Case, No Criminal Contact & No Legal Action Taken

ALERT: American Book Publishing “Investigation” Research Released: No Proof of Victoria Strauss’ Claims

The Write Agenda, The Right Company to Keep

Let’s start with the definition of “independent.”

  •  Not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting for oneself: an independent thinker.
  • Not subject to another’s authority or jurisdiction; autonomous; free: an independent businessman.
  •  Not influenced by the thought or action of others: independent research.
  •  Not dependent; not depending or contingent upon somethingelse for existence.
  •  Not relying on another or others for aid or support.
  •  Not subject to another’s authority or jurisdiction; autonomous; free: an independent businessman.

According to the official contest rules, “Independent” is identified as:

 “Eligibility: The Contest is open to all Independent Bloggers of the 50 United States and the District of Columbia, 18 years of age or older, who have an account with Goodreads. An “Independent Blogger” is defined as a person who has created and maintains an online blog that is not affiliated with and not compensated by any commercial or academic publication, but may include persons who blog for institutions, such as libraries and/or bookstores, but who do not represent any commercial media entity. Additional requirements for eligibility are that at least 75% of the content on the Independent Blogger’s site is devoted to coverage of books and/or the book publishing industry and that the Independent Blogger posted regularly, though not necessarily daily, during the period of February 1, 2011 – February 1, 2012 (‘Posting Time’). [Emphasis added.]

We all know that Writer Beware™ is in fact “ . . . sponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America with additional support from the Mystery Writers of America,” and that “ . . . Writer Beware ® is an officially registered service mark of SFWA.” We further know that there are in fact three (3) “contributors” to this site: 1) Victoria Strauss; 2) Ann “A.C.” Crispin and 3) Richard White. In addition, the site is listed as: not Independent?


Writer Beware™ contributor Ann “A.C.” Crispin “thanked [Charles E. Petit] for his help with the SFWA Writer Beware website.” She didn’t thank Victoria Strauss for creating an “independent” blog.

Lastly, Writer Beware™ and are both registered to the SFWA, not Victoria Strauss “independently.” As mentioned above, the site is alsosponsored by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America with additional support from the Mystery Writers of America.” [Emphasis added.] Victoria Strauss resides in Amherst, MA and not in Chestertown, MD.

 We fail to see how any of this would lead a reasonable person that to construe Writer Beware™ is the “independent” blog site of Victoria Strauss. However, leave it to SFWA President, John Scalzi, to help clarify this for all of us. How? Simply call Victoria Strauss the “proprietor” of Writer Beware™.  To wit:

The Writer Beware blog has been devoted for years to exposing scams aimed at writers, and now that work has paid off: The blog and its proprietor Victoria Strauss have won the Independent Book Blogger Award in the category of  ”Publishing Industry.” [Emphasis added.] Ironic statement to make when the evidence illustrates otherwise.

–         John Scalzi,  May 21, 2012


Now let’s look at the definition of “proprietor.”

 1.    the owner of a business establishment.

2.    a person who has the exclusive right or title to something.

 Again, based on the evidence herein, we fail to see anything that could establish Victoria Strauss as a proprietor, an owner or anything that grants her any exclusive rights. By definition, “independent blogger” has not been effectively established to grant Victoria Strauss this award. Moreover, an “independent” audit of the postings, during February 1, 2011 – February 1, 2012, were not all the “independent” work of Victoria Strauss.

 Now for the contest itself? The Contest terms required that entrants submit five blog posts, on which judging was conducted for writing ability, design, presentation and reader engagement.  Finalists’ submissions were voted on by the general public and, then, industry experts chose the four winners. Now just who were these “industry experts”? Doesn’t transparency require that they be identified? [UPDATE 05/23/12: The Write Agenda has discovered that the announcement of the “recipients” was two-weeks late.]

 Charlie Petit, Victoria Strauss’ “favorite shark,” questioned the voting process that GoodReads and The Association of American Publishers engaged in for these nominations. To wit:

“The nomination and voting process is so grievously flawed (even if much less so than for the Hugos) that it’s not fair to the other nominated works — and even to nonfinalist works — to say “winner”… and thereby imply that all of the works except that one votegetter are “losers”. One cannot even be certain that all of the voters have read even the finalists (or any finalists), let alone widely enough among other works to trust their judgment.” [Emphasis added.]


We, The Write Agenda™, have to agree with Charlie Petit. Everything here is very grievously flawed; from the voting to the inclusion of Victoria Strauss as an “Independent Blogger.” The definition of “independent” has not been met and as a result Victoria Strauss should be disqualified for the reasons that question her eligibility. Moreover, there were numerous other sites that are within the meaning of “independent” and are devoid of external control and influence. We believe that there are other “independent bloggers” that are more deserving of this award than Victoria Strauss. Writer Beware™ is in no way “independent” and fails to meet the required “Contest Terms.” Considering how Victoria Strauss was catapulted into this award by “industry experts” . . .  it’s nothing more than literary masturbation and institutional incest.

This is truly a travesty  . . .  are you seriously going to honor and reward this type of conduct? Based on the recent discoveries and the challenges to Strauss’ fact-finding, we believe that two things should be encouraged to happen: 1) you should rescind the award and/or 2) Strauss should be encouraged to reject the award. 



“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.”  – Albert Einstein

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