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July 3 – July 10, 2008 Edition
Claim of Impropriety
DALLAS, TX/6/30/08–Robert West, senior agent at WL Writer’s Literary Agency, has responded to Authorlink about a story we ran on June 26, headlined “Complaints Surge Against WL Writers’ Literary Agency.”
As a result of a direct complaint from one of Authorlink’s writers, we quoted the well-known anti-scammer site, Writer Beware, headed by Victoria Strauss and Ann Crispin, on possible improprieties with the WL agency. Writer Beware is a service of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. In response to the article, Mr. West said of Authorlink, ” You are repeating information that is wrong, false, and defamatory. We have sued Crispin, Straus (sic), and MacDonald, and it appears the matter is so egregious that a Summary Judgment in our favor is at hand.”
Asked by Authorlink to confirm the status of the lawsuit, Victoria Strauss of Writer Beware, issued this statement to Authorlink: “To my knowledge, I, Ann Crispin, and James Macdonald are not being sued by Robert West or Writers’ Literary Agency (WLA). We are being sued by Robert Fletcher and The Literary Agency Group (WLA’s predecessor) for defamation and business interference. The case is in its very early stages, and nowhere near summary judgment. Currently, Fletcher is overdue on his response to our discovery requests. We are vigorously defending the case, and expect to be successful.”
Mr. West told Authorlink that “. . .If you really are a service, then you need to post both sides of the story. If you are out to ‘get us’ then prepare for the [law] suit against you.
“. . .When most people say they ‘did research’ what they really mean is they went to a bunch of websites that copied information from other websites, that copied information from other websites. Unfortunately, that’s not ‘research’ (sic) that’s regurgitation.”
In the e-mail rebuttal, Mr. West addressed the question of “misleading” authors. He pointed out that authors who have been offered the opportunity to purchase a critique are sent an e-mail. He asked that we publish his statements in their entirety. Here are three statements the author must acknowledge before signing a contract with WL Literary, according to Mr. West’s e-mail:
I understand how a critique protects each of us and will improve my writing (or validate that I’m as good as I think I am). Please send your contract and a referral for a critique service. I will get the critique underway as soon as I hear from you. We have to start trusting each other somewhere and I am committed to my writing as a business. or, I have a critique/coverage already that is as in depth as the examples you gave me. Please send me your contract and I will include my critique with the contract when I send it in. or “Thanks but no thanks. If this is your choice, we wish you the best. Keep in mind that your competition (other writers) are aggressively improving their work with coverage, edits, and coaching. To compete you are going to have to consider these options. It is a very, very competitive marketplace.Also, should you change your mind after continuing to search for another agency, please feel free to come back to us, and we can pick up at this stage. (You will still have to have evidence of working with a 3rd party though).”
West also furnished part of the company’s agreement with the writer, which asks the writer to initial his/her acknowledgement that “at no time and in no form has agent guaranteed or indicated that a sale will be made. The writer producer has been told that this is a difficult business to break into and the writer/producer shall not hold the agency liable for lack of success in selling their work.”
The agreement also says that the writer has been told that “agency desires to only represent edited, critiqued, or vouched for work and that the writer/producer may use any vendor of their choice.
“The writer/producer also acknowledges that any recommendations made by agency to improve the work or sell the work are optional and not mandatory.”
Mr. West reports that The WL Agency employs 35 people. “We’ve sold 4 books, and one screenplay, we own 6 companies in the field,” he said.
Authorlink advises all writers to thoroughly check out any and all literary agents, editorial services, and publishers before signing a business contract.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association has 1500 members, many of whom are bestselling authors. The Writer Beware’s Alert about WLA is located here: http://www.sfwa.org/beware/general.html#Literary .
WL Literary Agency’s website is located at http://wlwritersagency.com/
WLA’s attorney, Jerrold G. Neeff, of The Bostonian Law Group in Boston, MA, said in an approved statement: “The material promulgated by these websites and people is false, misleading, and grounds for a series of lawsuits. At this time we are bringing suit against a number of websites and people that we believe have defamed our corporation.”
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