beth_bernobich: alice (alice)
There was another trainwreck on AW yesterday, but I'm not going to talk about that.

The thing is, even though I do post about them, the trainwrecks are not why I visit AW. I visit for the good parts, the information about publishers, the discussions about writing novels or short stories, the genuine celebration for our achievements.

Main page is here. Once there, you'll see the top-level forums, organized by section. Yes, there are lots of forums. It's like a city, but you don't have to visit every address. Here are just a couple to get you started.

Basic Writing Questions: In the Welcome section. A somewhat gentler place to ask your new-to-writing questions.

Novels & Short Stories: Two subforms in the General section. All kinds of discussion about writing techniques, publishing questions, and so on. Check out Learning to Write with Uncle Jim, run by Jim Macdonald. He talks about publishing, analyzes published works, and gives homework assignments. (There are more sub-forums here. Just, these are the two I visit most.)

Bewares & Background Checks: Visit here to check out that agent, or that publisher, before you submit. Find out if that agent has any sales or experience, or if that publisher has distribution, or if their contracts have any red flags.

Ask the Agent/Ask the Editor: In the Publishing section. Ask about subbing to agents, or what editors do after they decide they like your ms. but before (if) they make an offer.

Share Your Work (SYW): Password-protected forum for getting and giving critiques, divided up by genre. The two subforums I visit most are Query Letter Hell and the one for SF/F. If you do write SF/F, check out the "Hook Me In 200 words" thread. Post the opening 200 words of your WIP and find out if readers would keep reading. Query Letter Hell is frequented by some tough but helpful critiquers. I highly recommend it for getting your query letter polished and ready for agents.

...

Jan. 28th, 2010 01:47 pm
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (facepalm)
I am constantly amazed at the abundance and splendor of trainwrecks.

(The thread started off quietly enough, but then the new clients and client-hopefuls began acting like members of a cult.)
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (gargoyle)
As everyone, including my cat Moose, knows, AbsoluteWrite was shut down after scam agent Barbara Bauer threw a hissy fit about her spot on Writer Beware's Twenty Worst Agents List. Babs called up AbsoluteWrite's webhosting service, JC-Hosting, which pulled the plug on very short notice.

Thousands of posts and comments later, a couple interesting details have come to light. Most of the posts direct their anger at Barbara Bauer--as they should, because she's the one who started things off--but JC-Hosting's actions throughout this mess have been equally obnoxious:
  • When Babs made her call, the owner of the company, Stephanie Cordray decided to shut down AW with one hour's notice--not nearly enough time to back up the huge amount of data that resided on the website. (I can't decide if this was merely clueless or actively stupid.)

  • People calling JC-Hosting to ask what happened with AW got several different reasons, ranging from "Barabar Bauer made us do it" to "AW committed crimes" to "We don't want to talk about it." (Rule One: Get your story straight when dealing with an irate community.)

  • One thing in common, callers were often told "we're recording your name and number" and "someone will call on you." (Wot, that's supposed to scare people?)

  • Making Light posted in detail about the situation, drawing hundreds of posters from the lurkwood. One poster turned out to be Ms. Cordray's husband. Mr. Cordray adamantly denied that AW's data was lost. He did not, however, mention that AW can't get to its data because JC-Hosting won't let them have it. When confronted by several posters, Mr. Cordray vanished from the forum.

  • And this same week, the same Stephanie Cordray announced in her blog that she was going to revive her own writer's forum. A couple people wondered out loud if she had deliberately shut down AW to clear the way. If she did, she's scum. If she didn't, she's remarkably clueless about her timing.

As of today, many volunteers are combing search engine caches, trying to recover the wealth of information that AbsoluteWrite contained. So far, the webhosting company, which still holds the database, has not offered to ship that database to Jenna Glatzer. Their only responses so far have been some defensive public sputtering. I don't know about you, but the next time I need a webhosting service, it won't be this one:

JC-Hosting
TotalWeb International Net Consulting
4037 Navaho Trail
Nashville TN 37211
Toll Free: (877) 411-7891
Phone: (615) 469-7533
Fax: (615) 250-2430

ETA: Mr. Cordray has posted a rather entertaining, if incoherent account on his own website. My only reaction is that this proves he's not a very good businessman, and now he's trying to cover his tracks with lots of sound and fury, but little logic.

More Info: See this explanation on why you should take Mr. Cordray's whining self-justification with moon-sized chunk of salt. (And that would be a moon large enough to support an atmosphere.) In fact, if you haven't done so already, just go read the whole post and all the comments.
beth_bernobich: red mushroom (gargoyle)
Victoria Strauss and Ann Crispin run the Writer Beware scam watchdog agency. Two months ago, they published their list of the 20 Worst Agents, the 20 worst of those agents who make their money by scamming writers. This list first appeared on the Absolute Write forums, and has been recopied to a number of other forums. It seems that at least one agent didn't like that list--Barbara Bauer (unlucky number 4 on the scammer list) threw hissy fits all over the internet (one is described here), and apparently managed to get Absolute Write shut down. In case anyone missed it, here are the top 20 agents to avoid:

THE LIST (in alphabetical order): )

ETA: Jenna Glatzer, saint and owner of AbsoluteWrite, is working on finding a new home for the site. MakingLight has posted more information about what happened.

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