A Gent's Outlook

A Literary Agent Divulges the TRUTH about Publishing

Thursday, May 25, 2006

PublishAmerica, or How Sammy Nostradamus Tells the Future for Free

Yet again, Psychic Sammy has done it!

In a strange turn of events, I had just finished a long diatribe and was going to post it tonight when a pal e-mailed me about some buzz that an entire writers’ site had been shut down, a site that apparently pissed off the wrong agent. I literally giggled, and not because Issy was sitting on my lap in a suggestive, yet thoughtful manner. I giggled because, yet again, I am way ahead of the crowd. I am thinking of opening a psychic writer hotline…

Psychic Sammy: Hello?
Wannabe Writer: Hi, Psychic Sammy, I have a question. I have written a mystery about a golden doll named Bertha who fights some beings from Wimbat called Thigglestinx, and I wondered…
Psychic Sammy: You suck. Click.

Or maybe not. The crazy thing is that writers are now indignant and outraged at the agent, who may or may not be scamming like hell (I don’t really care), and they are blasting the web host and agent all over the Internet. It has never occurred to any of them that what I have said all along is true. Chasing agents and labeling them as scammers or incompetent is just a way to rationalize that it is the publishing industry’s fault that YOU can’t get published. Are you going to blame all women because you can’t get laid by a few ugly hags you thought would be desperate enough to give you a little?

The reason that I am even commenting on this controversy is that it proves, once and for all, that Snark is not the agent she/he/it claims to be. If you read its post about this, you will find all the information you need to realize that it couldn’t possibly be a real agent. I will only say that which I have said before: real agents don’t give a shit about wannabes or watch puppies or scammer agents. They don’t blog all the fucking time. They don’t promote writer resources unless prompted with a prod. They don’t throw challenges out to people they believe are scammers without realizing that every agent in the industry is laughing at them. They don’t align themselves with people in the industry who are of lesser ilk. They just don’t. Snark has. You figure it out. I did months ago.

Such dirty little secrets we all have.

When will you people learn? The same fucking scammers have been around for the last fifty goddamn years, and no one in the industry worries about them or takes them seriously. Nobody blogs about them. At some point, the authorities catch the really bad ones (when they take time away from fighting real crimes), and the others are basically dealing with writers who don’t have the sense to make the industry cut anyway, so why would we care? The agent in question in this whole board scandal doesn’t reflect on the real industry, the one that thrives as the wannabes slouch around angrily and bitterly reciting the ten commandments of good/bad agents. How pathetic are you when your writer’s identity becomes a stream of slogans parroted by those you think are really insiders? I would offer that you are pretty damn pathetic.

Over the last few years, it has become a great wannabe pastime to hang on every word thrown out by watch puppies and board gurus and pathetic industry humps who go along with them without qualifying statements that should be qualified. And what do we have to show for it? Opal and A Million Little Pieces, or, in other words, writers who lie. I have seen my friends and colleagues ravaged by people who know nothing about this industry or the proper way to write a book, and all along I have said that spending time gabbing about possible scammers is just a way to keep the one wannabe who might actually make it from climbing higher in the publishing food chain and displacing a guru or watch puppy in the writing field. Writers compete against writers; agents compete against agents, and people who crave power compete against everyone.

Let me say this before I go on to the next post I had started before the scandal broke: IN GENERAL, it is wrong to take justice into your own hands, whether the person is guilty or not. A court of law determines guilt or innocence, not the public at large, regardless of the crime. To do so is to be a vigilante and can be breaking the law yourself. For example, if you make a list of the 10 worst-dressed celebrities and post it, no big deal. However, if you go on a smear campaign and point out every chance you get that Madonna was number five and ask all your friends to send it to everyone they know so that you can spread the word that Madonna is a terrible dresser, even if she is, at some point, you go from being informative to harassing someone. Everyone has rights, whether you like it or not, and so to impede on those rights, or to appear to do so, is cause for concern on someone’s part. Show all this shit to someone not in the writing field, and they will wonder who gave you the fucking right to spread the word that you think someone is doing something wrong to the extent it has been done in this case. The poor Web hoster is being shredded alive. How many of you would risk the expense, stress, and agony of a lawsuit, even for a noble cause and even if you know you would win? That’s a helluva lot to ask of someone. But then no one has asked anything of a wannabe, have they?

I realize this is spitting in the wind, but let me say this again…

The real publishing industry doesn’t need wannabe writers. You are being scammed by the very people and entities who claim to be helping you—wake up and smell the ink, goddammit! I am a real agent, not a phantom, and I make real sales. I am friends and enemies with real people in the industry all over the world. This is my industry—mine, mine, mine!—and I am tired of seeing people who have never worked for the accolades they crave sucking the very life out of it. I helped build this mess we call publishing, and I have worked my ass off. When you have spent as much time as I have dealing with the bullshit, then you can bitch. Until then, shut the fuck up and get over yourselves.

By the way, this whole situation reminds me of the Iraqi war. That was started, just like a lot of the watch groups and boards, on a flawed premise by power hungry control freaks who want revenge and power. The difference is that I admire and respect the soldiers in Iraq, facing the brutality of war and fighting for a noble cause even if they were sent there by an idiot. I can’t say that about the people who help wannabes. It is pure enabling, and it’s selfish.

And now for Part II...


  • At 7:27 PM, Blogger Mark said…

    You remind me of Blipperton.

  • At 10:51 AM, Blogger s.w. vaughn said…

    Hi Sammy--

    Despite my being a Snark reader (and yes, I do admire her for the advice she offers to writers and her dedication to the industry) I find myself agreeing with some of your comments. Stranger things have happened. I am almost sorry I didn't find your blog sooner; of course, the recent controversy led me here from Miss Snark's comment trails.

    I've been in this game for years, and only recently has my writing reached the point where it's publishable (I have four or five under-the-bed novels that will never see the light of day). Back in the day, I did fall for a few scams, each more sophisticated than the last. Now I'm making the rounds and once again attempting to scale the walls of traditional publishing--only this time my gear is sharper, and I'm climbing higher. My debut novel is coming out through a small press next month and I'm looking to land a big'un with my current WIP.

    I suppose, then, I have a question for you (if you'd be so kind as to offer your opinion): At what point does a 'wannabe' become a 'real' writer? When they're writing good material and still can't sell it because agents "don't love it"? Or when they get lucky...if they do at all?

    I'd really like to know, because all this time I've thought of myself and a few colleagues who've done the time and taken their massive rejection lumps were real writers--but if your thoughts are a reflection of the publishing industry at large; well then, I suppose we're not after all.

    Thanks for listening, and I wish you many successful sales and bestselling clients.

  • At 1:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    you said: "real agents don’t give a shit about wannabes or watch puppies or scammer agents. They don’t blog all the fucking time"

    I beg to differ. Kristin Nelson blogs quite frequently, and supports AW and its efforts to protect writers. And she has a reputation as an excellent agent.

  • At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    kristen nelson is a manipulative little wench of a pseudo-agent who has had a handful of successes but certainly hasn't played fair along the way. she has trashed other agents to win over new clients, among other below-the-belt maneuvers, and that's all going to come back and bite her in the ass, not that the skinny little tasteless pretzel has one. real agent MY ass. she's no ellen levine or elaine koster or aaron priest or molly friedrich. she's a white-washed colorado snob who blah-blah-blogs her way into a false reputation of being a first class agent. she and the snark jet are two peddlers in a podcast who need to go back to working for a living and stop tearing other folks down all the damn time.

  • At 2:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Since you say real agents (eg: Miss Snark) don't blog all the time, then who the hell are you?

    Just askin' since you say you're an agent.

    Bet you delete this, instead of responding. Otherwise, you're going to have to explain your very own contradiction.

  • At 4:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    JM, you're an idiot. If you read this blog you'll notice Sammy doesn't blog very often. He's too busy selling.

  • At 4:28 PM, Blogger Dave Kuzminski said…

    Too bad SammyK can't prove his sales since revealing his identity would alert all the agents, editors, and publishers he's badmouthed. Then again, by his rules, only SammyK is perfect.

  • At 6:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Some people have way too much time on their hands.
    Some agents, who blog all the time, and some participants, who blog on every website.
    Get a job!!

  • At 4:53 PM, Blogger Dave Kuzminski said…

    Some of us know how to manage our time better than other.

  • At 6:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey Dave, I feel your pain, man! You and the witches of the north had it all by yourselves for so long and it must be like ants in your pants to find that all in one week your favorite site gets shut down and, on top of that, folks are finally figuring out that it takes more than I told you so to make it so. Aw Dave, you need to distance yourself more from those witches. They're seeking your balls, man. You have left their soft fold a little bit, man, but you need to break it with them completely. Up to a point, you've done great with your informational site--but they all got book deals man--and you are still sucking hind tit. I wonder what's wrong? You got it man and they are getting all the good stuff. Think about it, Dave. Who was first, dude? Think about it!!

  • At 7:11 AM, Blogger Dave Kuzminski said…


    The answer to that is the writers.

    As to my leaving AW and Mindsight, that's a totally different matter. They each do important work and are needed.


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