An Open Letter to The Writer’s Digest Annual Conference to Remove the Writer Beware™ Panelist, Victoria Strauss, from the 2015 Annual Conference
TO: Taylor Sferra, Event Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
CC: Taylor Sferra, Event Manager, Officers, Members and 2015 Writer’s Digest Conference Attendees:
In re: The 2015 Annual Writers Conference PM and the scheduled sessions:
Writer Beware: Schemes and Scams in the Digital Age (Saturday, August 1, 2015 at 9:00) & Panel: Getting Real about Self-Publishing (Saturday, August 1, 2015 at 2:20 PM) AM http://www.writersdigestconference.com/index.php/schedule
We are writing to ask you to reconsider and remove the Writer Beware™ panelist, Victoria Strauss, from these sessions.
The above-named panelist, Victoria Strauss, supports extreme ideals that the majority of logical authors would oppose. The publishing community deserves appointed officials who do not hold extreme positions against truthful, selective and unbiased reporting. We deserve representatives who will reflect values before the publishing community.
We would like to provide some facts for your edification:
Fact: It (Writer Beware™) purports that it “shines a bright light into the dark corners of the shadow-world of literary scams, schemes, and pitfalls.” Selectively? Maybe? Sure, until the scam strikes at home base. In 2007 it did; and, it’s a SCAM of EPIC proportions. It involves the estate of Pulitzer Prize and Nobel Prize winning author John Steinbeck (i.e. The Grapes of Wrath (1939) and East of Eden (1952) and the novella Of Mice and Men (1937) . . . yes, that Steinbeck. Huge? We think so. Was the failure of Victoria Strauss & Writer Beware™ to report this scam an oversight or a case where they just turned their heads and looked the other way? Swimming with the sharks? What did this scam involve? In principle, it’s the kind of material that Writer Beware™ built its foundation on. Exposing scams that are relative to: 1) engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation; 2) breaching fiduciary duties to a client; 3) obtaining an unreasonable fee; and 4) engaging in conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute. These are the types of claims that spawned Writer Beware™ and its own version of their boycotts; otherwise known as their “Thumbs Down” lists.
It’s time for the “bright light” to shine into the “dark corners of the shadow-world” of Victoria Strauss, Ann “A.C.” Crispin, Writer Beware™ and the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers (SFWA). There’s one name we will not see on any Writer Beware ™ list and we’ll let you decide exactly why that happened. Who was this individual that engaged in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation; allegedly breached fiduciary duties to a client; purportedly obtained an unreasonable fee; and may have engaged in conduct which tends to defeat the administration of justice or to bring the courts or the legal profession into disrepute? Well, let’s take a close look at some of the relationships and links. Ann “A.C.” Crispin “thanked him for his help with the SFWA Writer Beware website.” In 2006, Jenna Glatzer (i.e. Bauer vs. Glatzer et al) thanked him for being a “scamhunter.” Victoria Strauss has referred to him as their” “favorite shark.” [Note that the word “shark” is slang for a lawyer. It’s also a term for “a person who preys greedily on others, as by cheating orusury” and/or as a verb to “to obtain by trickery or fraud; steal.”] He represented “people who claimed they were defrauded.” He also goes by “Jaws” on some of the infamous writer and author awareness blogs. He was also known as the “Authors Lawyer.” His ties to the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers (SFWA), Writer Beware™, Ann “A.C.”Crispin and Victoria Strauss are well documented; he worked “closely” with them and had frequent correspondence with Teresa Nielsen-Hayden. He called Victoria Strauss a “colleague.” Who was this highly lauded “scamhunter”? Charles Emil Petit. Also known as Charles E. Petit, Charlie Petit and/or C.E. Petit. AKA “Jaws.” Charles E. Petit is also believed to be an Absolute Write Moderator and frequent contributor and commenter on Writer Beware ™. Confidential sources indicated to The Write Agenda™ that, at one time, all complaints and “cease & desist” letters regarding Writer Beware™ were to be directed to Charles E. Petit. On information and belief, it appears that he did accept service of process for several defendants in the Bauer vs. Glatzer in 2007. This may have also included Jenna Glatzer and Miss Snark. Petit never actually represented any of the defendants. He couldn’t because he’s not licensed in New Jersey. He did accept service and then referred the case to local New Jersey attorneys. He was subjected to disciplinary action, by the Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission, after a complaint was filed by Nancy Steinbeck who was the former wife of John Steinbeck IV, the son of author John Steinbeck (see below). Charles Petit was the attorney of record for the SFWA and Writer Beware™. To read this case in its entirety please go the following link:
Fact:: A blog posting by Writer Beware™, regarding American Book Publishing, raised our curiosity and inquisitiveness. Victoria Strauss has posted on numerous internet sites that American Book Publishing has been the subject of a police “investigation.” In addition, under its “Alerts for Writers” section, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) also states “American Book Publishing has been the focus of at least one police investigation.”
Consistent with the applicable Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) we conducted some extensive (exhaustive) research with the appropriate law enforcement agencies. As a result, we have neither located evidence nor reports of any “investigation” involving American Book Publishing in these jurisdictions. The only “investigation” that we did locate involved a “theft” at the residence of Ms. Nunn, an American Book Publishing principal who had a break-in to her home and also sustained damage thereto. The unanswered question to Victoria and the SFWA is “where is the investigation”? Where is the documentation and evidence? Based on these results, we believe that these are very serious allegations to be making if no such “investigation” has been undertaken. In the interest of good business ethics, these postings by Victoria Strauss and the SFWA should be deleted, retracted and apologies should come forth immediately if they are unable to produce any primary source material as evidence of an investigation. Considering the lack of evidence, it would also be interesting to know exactly what the true motivation was and why Victoria Strauss and SFWA posted this information. However, at this URL: http://www.sfwa.org/for-authors/writer-beware/alerts/#American , if you follow the links, Victoria Strauss offers as “proofs” evidence secured from the Wayback Machine . . . an Internet archive service as proof of her claims. In response we contacted all enforcement agencies in the area and our findings may be read here:
Fact:: Victoria Strauss has proven what a low-life and class-less person she is:
Victoria Strauss Drops F-Bomb . . . Again: The F****** Lack of Class Continues
She even has no respect for the SFWA members running for office:
“SFWA members: this year it’s IMPORTANT to vote in the upcoming officer elections. Theodore Beale, a.k.a. Vox Day, is running for SFWA President. If you know the name, you’ll know why that’s scary. If you don’t, read the post below… My cat would be the better choice. And my cat is dead.” [Emphasis added]
Victoria Strauss on Facebook 2/1/13
Fact: Victoria Stauss was a defendant in the Bauer vs. Glatzer case. The case, in our opinion, was nothing more than a cyber-bullying case. The allegations against Victoria Strauss included: Victoria Strauss published false and defamatory statements about plaintiffs Barbara Bauer and BBLA on WB (i.e. Writer Beware™), including, but not limited to, posting a list of the “20 Worst Literary Agents”, which includes false and defamatory statements about Barbara Bauer, including the statement that Barbara Bauer is among agents that have no “…significant track record of sales to commercial (advance paying) publishers…” This defamatory publication was posted and quoted extensively on numerous other websites and blogs on the internet. Strauss has also referred to Barbara Bauer on WB (i.e. Writer Beware™), as a “…scam agent…” and alleged that she engages in “… dirty business practices …” Strauss has also published and continues to publish false and defamatory statements about plaintiffs on other blogs and websites including, but not limited to claiming that plaintiff has “… no documented and verified sales at all.” There was only one Defendant exonerated in this case . . . Wikipedia. See:
Fact: Victoria Strauss stole the First Annual Independent Blogger Award at the 2012 BEA Convention:
Fact: Victoria Strauss is not a successful author. 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.
FACT: The significance of Writer Beware™ as an asset to writers is diminishing. We are also witnessing the demise of Writer Beware (WB) and its significance. Based on visitor’s 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
Please . . . seriously, examine your conscience. Having Victoria Strauss on these panels is a joke and an embarrassment to your organization. Furthermore, having Victoria Strauss this panels will prove to be a joke and an embarrassment for those attending this conference.
Thank you for your consideration of our position regarding these important issues. We welcome your comments.
The Write Agenda™