Monday, May 29, 2006

The Barbara Bauer Debacle

It seems that Barbara Bauer doesn't like the fact that her questionable practices led to her inclusion in the Writers Beware's 20 Worst Agencies list, a list compiled after careful research by watchdogs, A.C. Crispin and Victoria Strauss. This list has been around a while and has been posted any number of places. It was created after meticulous documentation and research. It has undoubtedly saved more than one fresh-faced newbie from being scammed.

Now Barbara Bauer has upped the ante by threatening folks with legal action if they dare to display this list. From what I've been able to glean by reading about this debacle here, here, and here, (this last link, which is to Teresa Nielsen Hayden's blog, has 555 comments as of this moment) Barbara Bauer's antics resulted in one of the largest online writing communities, Absolute Write, getting yanked by their ISP with only an hour's notice. It seems part of the fault lies with the ISP, whose behavior was questionable, particularly since they apparently refused for some time (and may still be refusing) to hand over Absolute Write's database. Though Absolute Write's owner, Jenna Glatzer, has found a new ISP, whether or not the database can be reestablished remains in question. If it can't be, it will be a huge loss to writers everywhere. The quality and amount of information there was invaluable. AW members have joined together to try to resurrect what they can from Google caches.

Lest Barbara Bauer think she has gotten away with anything, outraged writers, agents, and other interested parties all over the net have Google bombed her name so that as of this posting, the 20 Worst Agencies list is the second thing that comes up when you Google Barbara's name. Plus, this little debacle has been noted on blogs, discussion groups, and web sites everywhere, making it that much harder for Barbara Bauer to hide. Even agents, real ones like Kristen Nelson, have chimed in. Check out Miss Snark's blog. She read Barbara Bauer the riot act, essentially asking her to put up or shut up. And that blog alone gets some 3,000 hits a day. Barbara Bauer may come to regret her shenanigans because it looks like they are going to backfire, but that doesn't help Absolute Write.

I'm adding my voice to all the others. My blog doesn't get near the traffic some of the others do, but every little bit helps. In the meantime, until Jenna can resurrect the Absolute Write board somehow, its minions are gathering here and here (much thanks and appreciation to Teresa Nielsen Hayden for providing the temporary digs). Hopefully, the complete AW will rise from the ashes soon.

Where Did The Time Go To?

It's been a while (too long) since I posted anything here and once again I'm making a pledge to do better. Life has been pretty hectic of late but I'm hoping for a slow down.

I'm still trying to find an agent but I took some time off from the querying process to do a substantial rewrite of the manuscript. And once that was done I had to do a substantial rewrite of the synopsis. With those finally tucked away, my original query was just screaming for another polish so I spent some time on that, as well. I like the new version much better but I violated the keep-it-to-one-page rule.

After finishing all of that I had this huge party to focus on. Our town has a strong Norwegian heritage and every year it celebrates May 17th (known locally as Syttende Mai), which is the Norwegian Independence Day. On the weekend closest to May 17th, the town hosts a three-day fest of events--it's quite a to-do and our town's tiny population of about 12,000 nearly doubles that weekend. One of the launching events for the celebration is a Friday night canoe race down the river that runs right by our house.

Seven years ago when we first moved here, we watched the nearly 150 canoes go by, cheering, laughing, and having the occasional water fight with a few not-so-serious racers wearing Viking hats and armed with huge water guns. It was a lot of fun and I thought it was a perfectly good excuse to have a party.

So the following year, we had one. And we've had one every year since, each one bigger than the one before. This year we had close to 70 people attend. It was a fun time but a lot of work and I spent the better part of the three weeks before the party getting things ready: creating a menu, buying food, drinks, etc, hunting down dust bunnies and cobwebs in my house, and getting the yard cleaned up and looking decent. Needless to say, writing and other stuff got pushed to the wayside.

But now I've recovered from the party and have no more excuses to procrastinate. I have six freshly revised queries ready to mail out tomorrow. Here's hoping.

And stay tuned for another post (yes! two in one day!) on a current scam agent debacle.