The Write Agenda defines hate groups

It is always exciting to find on Goodreads.com a new rating for one of the anthologies that contain some of my short stories: Unlocked or Ménage à 20. Especially when that rating includes a review. Good or bad, I like to know what my reader’s think, and since this one was a 1-star rating with a review, I was especially excited.

The review was simple: “This author is on our banned list.”

To me, that was really exciting, but I was at a loss to figure out why we should be banned. Okay, Unlocked has some material that a few readers called racy——one character is an assassin; there’s a lot of violence, an off-stage sex scene, some strong language, references to a rape, a song about a "roll in the hay," and some racial slurs by a kid who thought he was being funny (but he did learn his lesson). Nothing worth banning over.

Curious, I went to the reviewer’s profile where I discovered hundreds of 1-star ratings, all with the same banned-author review.

Note: The rating & review had been removed (I’m assuming someone reported them to Goodreads), but The Write Agenda re-added the rating without the review. Now there are 944 ratings with a 1.31 average. Only 8 of them have reviews with a generic statement about not liking the characters or plot.

From there, I traveled to the related website and discovered this hate list.

Notice the name of Gwen McIntyre, who is a co-contributor to the anthologies Unlocked and Ménage à 20. What did she do to get on this list? Is she banned for her bad story writing or racy plot lines? I mean, most banned writers have written material that question our morals or beliefs that we hold dear or stories that offend our sensibilities in some way.

No, Gwen only exercised her right to freedom of speech by posting this quote from another blog, “The Write Agenda: The wrong company to keep. Word to the wise: a new outfit calling itself The Write Agenda has been taking potshots at Victoria Strauss, Ann Crispin, Absolute Write, Writer Beware, Preditors and Editors, SFWA, Atlanta Nights, and other entities that give newbie writers helpful information about the scams and nogoodniks that prey on them.”

Her opinion. Her right to express it.

But for that, The Write Agenda retaliated by:
(1) adding her to their banned list
(2) putting 1-star reviews on all her works
(3) adding her words to their collected list of Critics of the Write Agenda.

Dig deeper and you will see a correlation between the ratings on Goodreads and the banned list and hate postings. Agenda? Certainly the group has the right name.

On The Write Agenda site, you will find find a Defamation List, which you can’t access unless you are a member, and a lot of information attacking anyone who has publically disagreed with The Write Agenda or sided with groups like Writer Beware, SFWA, and Predators and Editors, groups that seek to keep the public informed on the business practices of publishing companies and literary agents in the hope of protecting people from being scammed.

What you won't find on The Write Agenda's site is a comprehensive list of useful information about publishers and agents. On their About Us page, they claim that they have no problems with people trying to protect others from scammers, but that the information given by Writer Beware and such groups is erroneous if not outright lies.

So here’s my problem with The Write Agenda:

#1. A book review and rating is on the book, not the author. Collect your hate lists & banned lists all you want. Attack writers on your web site. But it is wrong to post bogus reviews for books you didn't read just to hurt a writer’s ratings because they disagree with you. It’s hard enough being a writer as it is.

#2. Nothing on their web site helps me make informed decisions about publishers and agents. IMO, the information they provide is unhelpful; 95% of the information I read attacked people who have said something bad about The Write Group. I encourage you to read their site and make your own opinion.

#3. The Write Agenda hides behind anonymity. I find that very suspicious.

#4. After reading their site and articles, I have come to the conclusion that The Write Agenda spends a lot of time trashing other writers and attacking people. IMO, it's a hate group. Nothing more. I formed this opinion based on their banned lists and articles.

I'd love to hear if anyone has any further information.

UPDATE 8/3/2011: After posting this article, I found that the reviewer's profile has been removed from Goodreads. I am assuming that Goodreads removed their profile as they obviously posted their ratings & reviews with an agenda to attack and harm the authors of those books.

UPDATE 8/4/2011: In response to this post, The Write Agenda has added me to their (1) Critics of The Write Agenda page, (2) Propaganda Watch list, and (3) their Author Boycott list.

UPDATE 8/26/2011: I have been given a cease & desist order by The Write Agenda. I am combing my post to verify that nothing I have said could be misconstrued as defamatory. Some statements I have no proof on, so I have reworded to show that they were opinion. And I removed any statements of conjecture.

17 comments:

  1. Excellent post, Rita. It's terrible that a group claiming it include authors would consider lying in order to hurt other authors. I'm sorry that Unlocked was rated unfairly. It is an excellent anthology that is worth reading. I'm sure anyone who looks into that rating will realize the reviewer is an idiot.

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  2. this is amazing--thanks for the post, Rita--but then again what do they say about publicity? any kind is good? I am now thinking about reading the anthology! I appreciate the information being new to all of this!

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  3. An excellent post! This is going on facebook. Thanks for doing a little digging.

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  4. Hi Rita. Sorry your anthology got nailed during "The Write Agenda's" little rampage on Goodreads.

    Writer Beware (singular, btw) believes the motivating force behind this hate site is a scammer who had his defamation lawsuit against Writer Beware dismissed a couple years ago. In his dismissal decision, Massachusetts Judge Thomas Connelly openly said that this individual and his companies were committing "fraud."

    They're currently under investigation and facing a civil suit from the Florida Attorney General's Office for fraud and conspiracy to commit same.

    Hate sites like The Write Agenda aren't pretty, but until people will put their names and their "evidence" (as if they had any for their claim that I and my books are "anti semitic" --!! (Let's not get into the accusation of plagiarism...) up on their site for all to see, they will (rightfully) be dismissed for what they are...scammers who are mad that they got called on their nefarious activities.

    -Ann C. Crispin
    Chair, Writer Beware
    www.writerbeware.com

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. I have deleted my previous comment and am rewriting some of my statements due to the "Cease & Desist" order.

    Thanks for all the comments and to S.M. for posting on Facebook.

    A. C. Crispin, thanks for dropping by. I would be very happy if The Write Agenda is under investigation. Browsing their website has left me shocked and horrified.

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  7. You're what? Censoring yourself because of a group that has a "target" list and a boycott list? Sorry, Rita, but you've posted nothing that even remotely stinks of defamation, not if what they post, as in "DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK FROM THIS AUTHOR", is not considered defamatory. What their site contains is far worse than anything posted on here. I'm sorry that you have to be the one targeted by them. You don't deserve this shitty treatment. Of course, you'll probably have to delete my comment because of their legal bullshit. I understand.

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  8. Not censoring myself, just wording more carefully. I will not remove this post or parts of it without a court order. Nor will I remove anyone's comments.

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  9. That's the Rita we know and love. I read a joke they had posted on their site. Something about you and how they don't like that you're just stating the obvious so now they're going to make up a legal department and sue you for doing what authors do best. Funny, when I googled the authors of the joke, I got nothing. Well, there was that guy's obituary, but I reckon he's not writing any silly demands that violate your right to free speech. Wonder though if they didn't mispell Miriam's name too...

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  10. Unscrupulous organizations love to use legal threats to intimidate critics. Much of the time, these threats are empty--either because the organizations don't have the resources to pursue legal action, or because pursuing legal action would force them to reveal their true identities, which might seriously embarrass them.

    Things to remember about Cease & Desist demands (I've received a few, so I know):

    - They come from law firm addresses. If they come from personal addresses, or from the address of the organization that wants you to C&D, they are likely bogus.

    - The law firm is clearly named and identified. If no law firm is named or identified, the C&D is likely bogus.

    - The lawyer signing the demand is really a lawyer. If you research the lawyer's name and can't find confirmation that he or she is a lawyer (or if you research the name and can find no evidence that the individual exists at all), the C&D is likely bogus.

    - A C&D may come via email, but it also comes on paper. If you get a C&D email, and it isn't followed by paper mail, the C&D is likely bogus.

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  11. Seconding what Victoria said. I'm betting that there is actually no legal identity at all behind that purported C&D, Rita. Those behind the Write Agenda are obviously depending on the fact that they're anonymous, and I very much doubt they'd name an actual person in any document who could be traced and questioned...or subpoenaed.

    Lately they've taken to posting some fairly blatant stalking threats. I believe they've crossed the line. They've GOT to remain anonymous.

    My opinion? Hot air, nothing but hot air.

    Ignore the weasels. We do.

    :-)

    -Ann C. Crispin
    Chair, Writer Beware

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  12. Nice. Thanks, Rita, show these people who's boss.

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  13. "I have deleted my previous comment and am rewriting some of my statements due to the "Cease & Desist" order."

    I wouldn't worry about that cartooney "Cease and Desist" order. No one is going to sue you.

    Why not? Because in order to sue you, whichever scammer is behind "The Write Agenda" would have to reveal her real name, and she'd rather slit her wrists than do that.

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  14. What Victoria, Ann and James said about bogus C&D "orders." Notice that no law firm is listed, no actual attorney is identified, no mailing address is supplied, etc.

    Not to mention that you are in no way responsible for anything Ann has said about them, nor is there anything actionable about simply reporting what others have said about them.

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  15. I am very happy to read this article..thanks for giving us this useful information.

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