Some of you have seen this particular mess by now. For anyone unfamiliar with Writer Beware, they are “the public face of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s Committee on Writing Scams.” This group has provided invaluable information on how to avoid the scammers and the bottom-feeders for as long as I’ve been writing. Ann Crispin, Victoria Strauss, and Richard White volunteer countless hours in order to track, document, and share information on writing scams and pitfalls. Their blog should be required reading for pretty much anyone hoping to make a career in this business.
The Write Agenda is “a group of individuals, writers, want-to-be authors and inquisitive wordsmiths that have become ‘literally’ numb from reading the numerous author help related blog posts.” This group provides invaluable information on that time Victoria Strauss used the f-word on her Facebook page. This site should be required reading for pretty much anyone hoping to be a bottom-feeding douchebag.
I wasn’t sure how I wanted to approach this post. I could point to Writer Beware’s rather thorough and well-documented pawnage of TWA, or their screenshots page where they build a strong case as to who’s behind the TWA site. I could bemoan the fact that I’ve apparently been slacking on my watchdog duties, as I’ve failed to make TWA’s Boycott List. I could stare incredulously at the fact that TWA wants to hold a book burning…
But the more I read, the more fascinated I became. I only have an undergraduate degree in psychology, but I’m intrigued by the unhealthy levels of obsession, vindictiveness, and self-importance displayed by the anonymous minds at TWA. It’s like watching an angry, poo-flinging monkey who believes he’s Rambo.
TWA is also behind the BadReads site (they share the same Contact page/form), where they “proactively engage in boycott campaigns,” and triumphantly share such damning evidence as the fact that one of Ann Crispin’s books once had an Amazon ranking of 100,351!
Take that, Ann “A.C.” Crispin, Oppressor of Douchebags! Revenge is a dish best served cold. It is very cold in bizarre blog posts that few people actually read…
Eventually, as I clicked through page after page of TWA’s attacks, my anger gave way to disbelieving giggles, and then the giggles faded into pity. I found myself staring in amazement at the sheer volume of posts, imagining the countless hours these individuals have spent going after Strauss, Crispin, and other industry watchdogs. (And they seem to be adding to their enemies lists almost daily.)
It’s sad. Devoting so much of one’s life to such obsessive, rabid hate … I don’t want to make fun of them anymore. But as they seem to be pouring even more time and energy into their efforts, I do think it’s important for authors, readers, and others involved with the publishing industry to be aware of them.
In the meantime, my thanks to the volunteers at Writer Beware and elsewhere, who have helped me and countless other authors over the years.