Lady [The Lady of Rhuddesmere] was my debut novel. I wrote it when I was 17; it got me an agent who found me a publisher (a journey of nearly 10 years), where a wonderful editor helped me re-write it from beginning to end, and in the process taught me more about writing than I’ve learned before or since.
– Victoria Strauss
At age 59, 42 years after writing her first debut flop, Victoria Strauss has once again repackaged her old cold suet. If she learned so much about writing “since” that time it certainly has not been anything akin to successful authorship. Or, maybe the public-reclusive Strauss just never learned to put it into practice. It’s painfully obvious that Strauss, while isolated, tweeting and blogging in her cozy Amherst, MA home, has amassed over 13,000 Twitter followers, and yet hasn’t transformed her social followers into actual book purchasers.
What has she learned? Surely, whatever she “learned” about “writing” has resulted in a very unsuccessful literary marketing effort and career that has now spanned decades. However, you “got” to give her the credit of a punch drunk fighter . . . 42 years of pushing the same old cold suet; the book-buying public is still not buying it. Nevertheless, she jumps back up, puts a new cover on it and schlepps it out again. Only Victoria Strauss would use Writer Beware™ again as a platform for self-promotion. Statistically, that strategy has failed as well.
FACT: Victoria Strauss hasn’t released a single book that has stood up on its own original merits . . . repackaging . . . new covers . . . new publishers . . . doesn’t help old cold suet . . . it’s corn.
The original release of this book [The Lady of Rhuddesmere] listed on Amazon has ZERO reviews and a sales ranking over 12,000,000. No matter how you repackage it . . . it’s still corn. Don’t judge a book by its cover? It’s still corn. Strauss has somehow come to the conclusion that forced Cornilingus on the book-buying public will eventually result in literary success.
Victoria Strauss’ Publishing Career: A Lesson in Cornagraphy
This isn’t the first time that Strauss has attempted to repackage her old cold suet. On February 15, 2011 Phoenix Pick republished The Arm of the Stone. Its current Amazon Best Sellers Rank is 5,487,303 and there is only one review following this release. The Garden of the Stone was also reproduced by Phoenix Pick and it has performed equally as miserable. On July 28, 2011, Strauss posted on Absolute Write:
Phoenix Pick bought two of my OP novels, and re-published them earlier this year in TP and ebook format. I got a small advance. Till this new program, they’ve been a backlist publisher, working only with established authors and authors’ estates. I haven’t received my first royalty statement yet, so I don’t know how sales are going . . . . [Emphasis added.]
– Victoria Strauss
Bought? Advance? Royalties? Seriously, what publisher in their right mind would pay an advance on such poorly producing titles? This claim is as humorous as James D. Macdonald’s (the Yog’s Law dude) statement that he (and his ghost writer, Mrs. Macdonald) is paid an advance of $50 – 75,000 per title. Sorry Ms. Strauss, the math doesn’t add up and your disingenuousness is more than transparent. [Note however, Strauss was not “established” enough to have been considered previously by Phoenix Pick.]
Phoenix Pick (who?) maintains a pretty “corny” website and does not have Strauss listed as one of their “extraordinary” authors. However, the Phoenix Pick’s “extraordinary” authors do share a very common element with Victoria Strauss . . . deplorable Amazon Sales Rankings. So, let’s put this into its proper prospective. The Phoenix Pick deal was a pretty big arrangement according to Strauss. Right? They “bought” two of her novels and even purportedly paid her an advance. Right? That’s a pretty hefty vote of confidence on the part of Phoenix Pick. Right? Kind of an “extraordinary” move for a “corny” non-mainstream backlist publisher. Yet in spite of the alleged investment in Victoria Strauss, she’s not listed on their “extraordinary” list? You can only assume that the royalties have been minimal . . . if she’s earned any at all. This is quite a fall for the Strauss who was unceremoniously discharged from Harper Collins years ago.
On February 24, 2015, Strauss, in her typical narcissistic fashion, once again using the Writer Beware (WB) platform, declared that the wonder of technology via Open Road Media (who?) would “give new life to old books,” more specifically hers. Well the technology part is right. However, why would another “corny” publisher attempt to resuscitate books that never had a life to begin with? Books that have been aborted by the book-buying public and serve no literary purpose except to the adoring flying monkeys that make sympathy purchases and indulge her narcissism. That’s her real market. Notice however, there’s no mention by Strauss of a “purchase” or an “advance” by this Open Road Media outfit. Hmm . . . extraordinary? Obviously, another junior varsity (JV) publishing outlet.
You don’t have to burn an author’s books to destroy their cult. Just get people to stop reading them.
– The Write Agenda
Victoria Strauss has destroyed herself. Burning her books would serve little purpose . . . no one in the general public reads them. It’s time for Strauss to allow a natural death of her old cold suet. Please! Don’t give new life to Victoria Strauss’ old books. DO NOT RESUSCITATE! Let them die their natural death and let the corn rest in peas.
Being There . . . The Parallel
Interestingly, there’s a very unique parallel between Victoria Strauss and Peter Seller’s character, Chance, in the movie Being There. First, both are avid gardeners. Second, Chance wanders aimlessly and Strauss as an author has also wandered unsuccessfully for decades. Third, Chance’s words, often due to confusion or stating the obvious, are repeatedly misunderstood as profound; admirers find him direct and insightful, qualities which he admires. Chance’s simplistic utterances are interpreted as allegorical statements. The flying monkeys and low information readers have held Strauss in similar esteem. Fourth, Chance rises to public prominence. He becomes a media celebrity with an appearance on a television talk show and soon rises to the top of society. He remains very mysterious, as the Secret Service is unable to find any background information about him. Public opinion polls start to reflect just how much his “simple brand of wisdom” resonates with the jaded American public. Fifth, Chance likes to watch television. Strauss, who rarely makes a public appearance and is reclusive, likes and hides behind the internet. She is an avid blogger, WB commentator and voracious tweeter apparently locked up in an office in her home; no live book tours but a very aggressive internet “blog tour” schedule or cornhuckfest. Tending a garden seems to be the perfect amusement for a woman that has approached book publishing in solitude.
In the end, Chance walks off across the surface of a small lake. He pauses, dips his umbrella into the deep water under his feet as if testing its depth, turns, and then continues to walk on the water as the president states: “Life is a state of mind.” Chance, like Strauss, has fooled and bamboozled many. The difference here? Strauss is walking on ice . . . very very thin melting ice and she’s testing it to see if she’ll fall through.
Are sensible people trained from an early age to respond automatically to the given words and concepts of others? Is it common that we never really think out much of anything for ourselves, but are content to believe the gospel of others? The last words in the movie are, “Life is a state of mind.” To the low information readers and followers of Victoria Strauss, life is different. Comparatively, Chance doesn’t appear to have the narcissistic tendencies of Strauss.
The Pathology of a Narcissist or Just Insane?
Victoria Strauss’ history of narcissism has become rather tiring. Only a narcissist would repeatedly repackage prose and attempt to convince you that it is valuable; even though the same prose has failed for decades previously. Insane? Strauss’ strategies have turned the metaphorical phrase “Don’t judge a book by its cover” on its head. The reverse is true here. Strauss is attempting to get us to purchase her books when little has changed but the cover! It’s more than chutzpah, it’s an inflated ego of a highly vain person who is probably a bit self-absorbed and arrogant that would take such steps after decades of failure. It’s like she believes that she is completely superior to everyone and believes that she is more important. She may even resent others to a degree as a result. Strauss appears to have an extreme case of narcissism and may be experiencing delusions of grandeur, believing that she is the “chosen one” or that she has some incredible destiny. To the low information author and flying monkey, it is very easy to fall into the trap of looking only at the surface of Victoria Strauss, her concepts and ideas without taking the time and effort to delve deeper into them; you have to go well beyond the cover. Based on the career of Victoria Strauss, the rubbish she has actually contributed to the publishing world, since she’s republishing again, she should also consider new title names: The Lady of RhuddeSmear, Guardian of the Frills, The Way of Jizzmata duology: The Awakened Bitty & The Burning Gland.
The Lady of RhuddeSmear
Guardian of the Frills
The Way of Jizzmata duology: The Awakened Bitty & The Burning Gland
TWA, [The Write Agenda] Victoria Strauss is neither going to agree to any public appearance with you nor is she going to agree to do a YouTube video. You’ve hit the nail on the head: She’s publically shy, reclusive and will only come out of her Amherst, MA confines if, and only if, there is some sort of gratuitous award for her. And, this claim of ‘death threats’ . . . seriously? She’d commit suicide long before that. Her history of depression and long list of literary flops clearly indicates that nature will take its course; no one will notice except the flying monkey.
On a deeper level, Strauss, at times has demonstrated behavior that makes her appear highly insecure and unhappy. She has often created the illusion that she is so great to convince herself, and to protect herself from a world that perhaps doesn’t always feel the same way. For example, look at the title of her posting on WB announcing her latest repackaging effort: “NEW LIFE FOR OLD BOOKS (MINE!)” Rather narcissistic? Right? Considering the purported volume of WB followers, why is there only 6 people commenting on this grandiose posting? Even more interesting, www.victoriastrauss.com, Strauss’ main site, a duplicate posting has ZERO comments. Strauss’ main site has an Alexa ranking of 1,119,285 (Google’s Alexa ranking: 1). To Strauss’ credit, although miserable, her Alexa ranking is higher than her Amazon Sales Rankings. Bottom line, there’s more people visiting Strauss’ site than purchasing her corn.
“Hell hath no fury like that of a narcissist being told the truth.”
All things considered, narcissists will also exhibit some signs of the insecurity that they harbor deep down. Strauss obviously has a fear of public appearances and doesn’t do real well as a public speaker (read her WB posts in the voice of Audrey Hepburn). Her control over internet marketing, blog tours and phone interviews demonstrates how she zealously overcompensates for her perceived shortcomings. She appears to be highly sensitive to criticism, clingy in some ways and desperate for approval and love. The narcissist has one of the most fragile egos of all personality types, and so will be unlikely to cope well with rejection or criticisms. Strauss has not done well in the ego department.
The secret to dealing with Victoria Strauss is to recognize her for what she is, and to take what she says with a pinch of salt. At the same time, you must remember that she is ultimately just trying to seek your approval. Accept the point that she is in fact quite insecure. Don’t allow her to take control or to make everything she says about herself and the industry as gospel . . . do your research . . . deep research. Don’t take our word for it and look beyond the cover.
The Field of Dreams was a corn field and Victoria Strauss has attempted to reseed it again. Strauss will go to her grave thinking that her works mattered and that she contributed something to the literary world. The facts prove otherwise. It’s been corn and will always be corn. As an avid gardener, Strauss’ most notable accomplishment is that she has tended the corn field very successfully.
The Rise of The Write Agenda: Paranoia
It’s a bit ironic, I guess, but from now on anyone who posts screeds attacking Writer Beware under the name “anonymous” is doomed to be associated with the dork(s) at Write Agenda. All the more reason to come forward and post under your own real name and take responsibility for your comments.
– Michael Capobianco
We are also witnessing the demise of Writer Beware (WB) and its significance. Based on visitors commentary, the real interest and visitor engagement with WB peaked in 2007 when 447 comments were amassed by the site. Since 2011, the year that The Write Agenda launched, commentary on WB postings have significantly dropped: 417 (2011), 231 (2012), 139, and (2013) and 148 (2014). From 2005 – 2014 a total of 3275 comments were made; 324 were posted by WB administrators and Victoria Strauss has contributed the highest volume of them. Michael Capobianco, Ann “A.C.” Crispin and Richard White have done little on the WB site. Their contributions to the commentary pale to those of Victoria Strauss’.
During 2011 WB averaged 5 comments per post (CPP). These averages have dramatically dropped since that time: 3 CPP (2012), 2 CPP (2013) and 2 CPP (2014). During the 10 year history only 2 posts have ever accumulated more than 100 comments. During 2011, one of these posts generated 146 comments; 35% of the entire comments for that year. One post where the commentary was nearly equal to the entire remarks made in 2005 (143), 2013 (139) and 2014 (148). A 64% drop in visitor comments clearly represents a demise in visitor engagement and the significance of Writer Beware and Victoria Strauss.
Writer Beware Drops in Alexa Rankings
What was that highly engaged posting by WB? It was, of course, the expose’ they did on The Write Agenda. Yes, we hold the unique distinction of being the subject of the most commented on posting in the entire history of Writer Beware; quite an impressionable accomplishment. Of all the scams and postings on Writer Beware, little old The Write Agenda caught the most interest. It’s a merit badge we will wear very proudly and it’s obviously a very significant statement of our contribution and value . . . and that’s not corn.
All things considered, Strauss has also touted herself as the scam buster that shines “a bright light into the dark corners of the shadow-world of literary scams,” yet, as the most aggressive poster on WB, she never reported the literary scam perpetrated by the attorney of WB and the SFWA. This has resulted in the most “corny” and incongruent ignorance of WB and Victoria Strauss in its history. Do you seriously wonder why WB and Victoria Strauss have become insignificant? Aw, shucks!