Culture and Society

The Influence of Individuals

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I’ve been watching an interesting saga unfold; bear with me while I expound.

I’m a member of a community for writers called “Absolute Write.” It’s a combination of a resource site and an online community, with a particular emphasis on outreach and advocacy for writers. There are a lot of scams that target naive writers, including scam publishers and less than professional literary agents.

Absolute Write is temporarily off the Web because one such less than professional literary agent, Barbara Bauer, took exception, as she is wont to do, to being included on a list of the Twenty Worst Agents, a list that was carefully researched, and documented, and provided as service by the Science Fiction Writers of America, a respected professional organization. Barbara Bauer bullied the somewhat naive ISP into taking down the entire Absolute Write site via a threatening and intimidating phone call.

Absolute Write will be back,  but this incident is an example of the chilling effect such actions have.

But it’s also an example of the influence of individuals on the Web as a whole. I first heard about this last night, via an IM from someone who works as a moderator at Absolute Write. I knew something odd was going on because I was logged on when the site disappeared.

Teresa Nielsen Hayden, a very well known editor, and prominent blogger, posted about the takedown here. Teresa, or TNH, has posted about Bauer before, here and here, where she tried to get TNH fired. Then others picked up the story and posted.

Here are some good sources about agents and about getting an agent.

Updated: I’ve been adding links as they appear.

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