After we were very successful and had sold enough projects to qualify for AAR membership (be a full-time agent for at least one year, sold 10 properties in 18 months and have 2 AAR members vouch for you), we dropped off the watchdog’s radar. Although there were still a few negative comments on Absolute Write’s Beware, et al about us, most of the prior bullying stopped, for a while.
We took on another full-time agent who was also an attorney. This was a business decision. New York based literary agencies do this all the time and, of course, no one on Absolute Write’s Bewares, Recommendations, and Background Checks challenges their decision or their right to do so. If they say anything it might be a note of congratulations to the new agent. However, because we were small, not located in NYC and because they are bullies, their Head Bully believed it her duty to question our decision and thus check our ability to make a business decision. She, this head bully, asked what our new agents qualifications were to be a literary agent. Unbelievable.
In an ordinary world, who would think of doing such a thing? But this was, and still is, a bully’s paradise.
Our new agent, being a smart and gracious lady, answered the challenge by stating she Princeton graduate, finished law school, was an author, had taken courses in intellectual properties law, had handled contracts and had been a practicing trial lawyer. In typical bully fashion, all comments ceased. This usually happens when someone more powerful enters the fray. Could it be they feared reprisal if they said more? There was no doubt. It was that close.
This, however, was not the case when we took on an agent trainee. He made the bad mistake of going on AW and announcing himself. And let’s just say he was pounced upon, challenged by every howling watch dog on their Beware et al pages specially dedicated to us. When they challenged him, he tried to stand up to them—tried to explain that he just a trainee, which again was none of their business. The poor guy actually thought he was dealing with reasonable people instead of packs of slobbering, howling idiots.
From this first encounter, he was continually harassed. Before its end, it had even boiled over onto our blog. Finally, he’d had enough and resigned his agent training because he felt he had brought us harm.
The bottom line in all of this is you don’t go into a mad dog’s yard and think you’re doing to win. Mad dogs do what bullies always do. One of their dogs will piss on the hydrant by cutting a part or parts of what you write, out of context of course, then make you look silly by misrepresenting its meaning. Then other dogs will join what has now become a dog fight and will verbally rip anything you say to defend yourself to shreds. This is a typical junk yard dog and bully tactic used on every school playground around the world. But these are children. It would seem that adults, actually supposed educated, cultured writers, would not stood dog level, would have a little more control—but they don’t.
They set a trap. Someone, usually an insider, puts the name of a professional editor, new literary agent, or a new publishing house on Bewares, Recommendations, and Background Checks. It normally read, quite innocently like this: “Does anyone know anything about blank, blank, blank?” Then one of the other bullies answers, usually with something derogatory like: “Yes, they’re a small startup with not much of a record. I wouldn’t send them anything until they’re better established.”
So how in the world is a new anything going to get established if almost immediately you’re being bashed online? Not only that. If you search on this new establishment, guess what comes up first? Absolute Write!!
If you happen to best them, if you’re better at their game than they, you still don’t win because one of their site monitors will ban you from the site, shut you down. This way THEY always win and YOU always lose. The bad part is your words are a permeate record of your disgrace and defeat for literally the world to see, for ever and ever. Guilty? You are always guilty on Absolute Write’s Bewares, Recommendations, and Background Checks. You’re always guilty, always a scumbag, always a scammer, always suspected of doing something because of the negative connotation of the word BEWARE.
After being very successful, after launching many, many fabulous authors into writing careers, we gave up fighting and closed shop on January 1, 2012. The day we announced our closing, some on Absolute Write stated they didn’t understand why a successful agency like ours had decided to close. Give me a break, please. No, Absolute Write didn’t run us out of business. We decided we could help writers more by actually publishing their works. And, of course, almost immediately, it all began again.