I was sitting there with a plate of french toast and checking email when a message popped up from Tom Dark of the Heacock Hill Literary Agency.
“Greetings and Salutations,” he proclaimed!
Well, no. Actually he opened his email by saying, “I see you’re a snide supporter of the ‘Absolute Write’ gang.” He then proceeded to spend approximately 900 words explaining that Heacock Hill has been the victim of a vicious hoax “purposely instigated by ‘Absolute Write’ and/or ‘Writer Beware.'” He described Absolute Write as a cult, informed me that he was not Jewish, and added that he was also not Miriam Silverstein.
All of which left me with three questions.
- Who was this guy?
- Why was he emailing me?
- Where the hell did this french toast come from?
Question three was easiest to answer, and once I made my way back to the right table, I sat down to examine this email in more detail. As near as I can make out, someone wrote some nasty comments about this guy, including things like, “You want to go around and write your little PEE BOY SQUIRT OINKER BULLSHIT all over my stuff, go ahead.”
This may or may not have been on the Absolute Write site; if it was, the moderators at AW have removed it as inappropriate.
Therefore Absolute Write is a cult. Or something. I’m not sure. I was still disoriented by the french toast mishap.
Absolute Write does have a thread about this agency. Please note: this is the link that Dark himself sent me in his email. Following that link reveals … folks talking about how Tom Dark sends weird/creepy-aggressive emails to people.
Despite the fact that Mr. Dark has a pretty cool superhero name, I was starting to get a little weirded out by this point. I skimmed another nasty comment someone apparently sent, and jumped to the end, where he states:
This little cult that pretends to “protect writers from fraud” have been pulling this sick game for years. Years ago they also attacked our founder, in her eighties, with lies about fees charged. We see how these lies have spread unchecked to sites that also refuse to check up on the malicious libels they’re serving to perpetrate. We see how some sites have falsely characterized this as “a controversy.”
A lawsuit is time- taking and expensive. If we must get around to it eventually, we certainly will, and with the intent to simply get rid of these vicious, hypocritical phonies, very loudly….
Maybe we won’t have to. A little insider info for you: a good many editors are getting sick and tired of this gang of hacks, finally.
He then wished me a fun career, turned into a puff of dandelion fuzz, and floated away in a maple syrup-scented breeze.
Being the inquisitive fellow I am, I headed over to the Heacock Hill Literary Agency where I found, just as Dark had claimed, that they “do not charge up front fees.” I also found zero information about who their clients were or what books they might have sold. So I emailed Mr. Dark asking if he’d be willing to share.
Dark was quick to reply, letting me know that:
We, I, represent a bunch of people, some, real mighty. I don’t care if you know who they are. Couple up and comers are on my personal blog. We do care that those concerned know who they are. We do care that we, and they, don’t have to put up with the rancid lying shit your buddies smear around.
Huh. Okay, I’ll happily admit that one of the comments he sent me included some nasty antisemitic name-calling, apparently directed at Dark. But why did he feel the need to tell me all about all of this? As I explained to him, I didn’t even know who Tom Dark was, nor the Heacock Hill Literary Agency.
To which he explained:
Wasn’t that you who wrote the snide “apology” about some “Write Agenda” thing on your blog? When I looked into these cronies of yours are, what I found from these so-called “sock puppets” independently pretty much matched.
Oh wait, I see the connection. Mister Dark had a guest post for TWA, wherein he spends 2900 words (yes, I did a word count) to explain that everything Absolute Write said about him was a lie by lying liars who lie, he has lots of important and brilliant clients that he won’t name, and he really was popular, so there! Also, something about flying monkeys.
By now, I was having fun, so I did a little more digging and found a blog post wherein he talks (anonymously) about a few of his clients, including one who sadly didn’t work out.
Now, the crazy lady instead left such a loud-mouthed message on my machine I thought it better we wrote quietly. She wrote back loudly, officiously declaring how to do my business and how this certain last-minute thing I happened to be doing was totally impossible.
Is “stupid c**t” politically correct English? It’s scientific.
So that’s what’s been wafting through my inbox. I’m sad to say that the only things I made up here were that bit about the french toast and Dark’s ability to vanish in a poof of dandelion fluff.
Short version: Classy “agent” is classy.
PS, When Mr. Dark discovers this post, he is more than welcome to share any details he wishes that might help establish his credentials as a successful agent and counter the scammerish red flag of refusing to list any clients or sales. But trolling and name-calling will be deleted and/or kittened, depending on my mood.
ETA: A few people have pointed me toward information about Mr. Dark’s clients.
- This author emailed me to say they were no longer with Tom Dark, and did not want their name associated with him.
- Sriram Karri (per this article). Karri apparently has at least two books out, but I couldn’t find either one listed on Amazon.
- G. Zelauy (per her “About” page). She has one self-published book from 2011.
- James B. Clark (per Dark’s post at AW.) He has one self-published title from 2010. (It sounds like Clark ended up leaving Mr. Dark.)
I know nothing about these writers, and there’s nothing wrong with self-publishing. But I’m having trouble finding any value whatsoever that Mr. Dark brought to his clients.