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Thread: Best Solution Author Agency

  1. #1
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Best Solution Author Agency

    I put this letter in here since I received it in my spam folder. There must be hundreds or thousands of these sent out by now. My comments are in bold.
    Please excuse if there is a thread on this. I didn't find one. This seems to be new. If you have received one, where did they claim they found you? Apparently, I'm a Writers.net find.

    It's bad enough when an author like me is too busy to get a domain site, and uses Webs. But an agency? Do I see Webs, there?


    Dear Mr./Ms. Writer

    I found your profile on Writers.net (you should not have been looking for me--I should look for you--first warning flag)) and I would like to take a moment and introduce myself and my company My name is Dan Grogan and I am a Literary agent and co-owner of Best Solution Author Agency. At Best Solution we relieve authors of all the business worries, so that writers have the time to do what writers do best - WRITE.

    We are interested in our authors long-term success. We provide the guidance for a writers career. Our authors benefit from our editorial experience in shaping their manuscripts/proposals before submitting them to publishers.(That's a normal function of an agency--needing to make some changes and some editing)

    As public relation representatives, we concentrate on personal client attention. We have a persuasive team of consultants who will create the strategic media needed to get you exposure. Such as interviews, articles, book signings , reviews and many others. (Second warning flag--this is not really part of the agency's duties, but rather the publisher's publicity dept)

    Because our agents have long term relationships with particular publishers and editors we can sell a proposal faster than a writer can. Our familiarity with publishing companies enable us to target proposals to the most appropriate companies. (That's if you have those standing relationships)

    Our agents have experience as author consultants for major publishing and promotional companies.(I don't know what this means) We know the path to take to promote and sell an authors work. (Don't promote--sell only) We have connections in the film industry, publishing companies, and multi-media marketing companies, Our agents are well traveled and have attended many book shows and Hollywood pitch fests in the past. We are a growing company and take pride in promoting works of every genre. (Another warning flag on the multiple genre thingy)

    We have no reading fee. When you are ready for us to take a look at your manuscript send us a one or two page summery and up to three chapters not exceeding 50 pages. We also offer a Critiquing Service for a small fee.(The hammer finally comes down) Please see our website at http://best-solution.webs.com/ for submission details for either the manuscript or the Critiquing Service.

    I have only a few openings on my client list and I am looking to fill those openings. (Then I must be one of the very few, selected lucky ones)

    Thank you for your time.



    http://best-solution.webs.com/Dan Grogan, Agent-Owner

  2. #2
    Author of "Warp"
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    Looking at the website, this is a straightforward pay-to-play book marketing service aimed at self-published authors, thinly disguised as an agency.

    Their paid-for services include registering copyright, providing an ISBN, designing covers and layouts, building websites, scheduling signings, sending out promotional emails, listing books on Amazon and sending out review copies.

    What any of this has to do with submitting novels to "traditional publishing companies" is anyone's guess.

  3. #3
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    I've gotten some reports of this, and am planning on blogging about it.

    - Victoria

  4. #4
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Best Solution Spam Email:
    At Best Solution we relieve authors of all the business worries
    Oh, they relieve authors of something alright ...

    (And incidentally, someone should make a report to the police about this spam email. Someone seems to have stolen all the possessive apostrophes ...)

    MM

  5. #5
    Have Harp Will Travel JSSchley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by triceretops View Post
    When you are ready for us to take a look at your manuscript send us a one or two page summery
    Perhaps I'm just confused here on my terminology, but is the "summery" what you write before you write the "autumny"? And before you get rejected and feel like just curling against the "wintery?"

  6. #6
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    Smile

    Have your reported this spam email to http://www.writers.net/? I'm sure they would want to know that their members are being targeted by spam, even if the person who sent the email is not a member.

    Here, I got a solicitation from another member for a service. I reported it. It turned out that other member had been warned about such emails. I have not seen that member here since (I don't recall his name).

    As for the website- it has horrible grammar and not well written at all. They do charge some kind of fee, as they have a Rates & Services link. The problem is, they don't say what their fees are up front and they offer things like copyright, ISBN, and other stupid things). They offer a critiquing service for a mere $2.50 per page, but will read only up to three chapters or 50 pages, because that is enough to let you know what you are doing wrong. You pay before the critique, not when it's done.

    Thus far, they have no satisfied customers (they're testimonial page is empty), and they have an online store.

    I've heard of agents contacting writers through writer's forums, but it is rare. Their email reads like spam (because it is!), and their recent photos look pretty...uh...odd.

    Who is this Dan Grogan? Who are his agents? I looked at Query Tracker and his name is not listed.

    You are smart to run away as fast as you can.
    Susan

    Please visit my website: http://www.susanlittlefield.blogspot.com/


  7. #7
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    Exclamation

    Has anyone else received an email like this from someone standing up for Best Solutions?

    Name: Kim McKinney Email address: [email address redacted] Subject: comments Message: I read your blog, are you an agent trying to cut every one else down because you feel intimidated. You have not been e-mailed by best solution since they pick manuscripts they can get into the hands of traditional publishers. I don't know if you have had a book traditionally published, but the book has to be in top form before being considered. If you need help with a future book let best solution know and they will be more than happy to assist you. They did not charge me to critique my manuscript and they charged me no money to provide services, they are only asking 15% of book sales generated by them and that is in standards with every other agent I contacted. Just want to know where you got your information.
    I think she came here and read about this agency, looked at my blog and my website, and then posted here. This is really weird, as I did not post any such thing at my blog. Just a forewarning to those who have posted.

    I don't know if she's a member or not. I also suspect she might be affiliated with Best Solutions, but I can't say for sure.

    I did invite her here to come and share her thoughts.
    Last edited by MacAllister; 01-12-2011 at 11:15 AM. Reason: redacted email address
    Susan

    Please visit my website: http://www.susanlittlefield.blogspot.com/


  8. #8
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Susan Littlefield:
    Has anyone else received an email like this from someone standing up for Best Solutions?
    No - but it sounds like a Bingo card in the making. Flog below.

    Kim McKinney Email:
    I read your blog, are you an agent trying to cut every one else down because you feel intimidated.
    No.

    Why do you feel the need to send emails to people in defence of Best Solution Author Agency? Do you know how to use question marks?

    Kim McKinney Email:
    You have not been e-mailed by best solution since they pick manuscripts they can get into the hands of traditional publishers.
    Well, according to some people Best Solution do randomly email people requesting manuscripts. Agencies that have to solicit queries do not inspire confidence.

    It is good that they are trying to get books to "traditional" publishers if by "traditional" you mean "commercial publishers that pay an advance". Does Best Solutions have a list of sales to such publishers that they are able to provide to establish their credentials in this regard?

    Also, please learn how to use appropriate capitalisation. It gives you more credibility when you try to troll people.

    Kim McKinney Email:
    I don't know if you have had a book traditionally published, but the book has to be in top form before being considered.
    If you had a book that's already been "traditionally published", why would you be looking for representation after the fact when there's nothing that Best Solutions could do for that book? If you've already been paid an advance by a commercial publisher then either you've used this as a credential for querying future projects or you've decided to do without an agent for the time being.

    The fact that you are writing this in an email suggests you either actually don't know how agenting works or you're incapable of expressing yourself coherently in English. Either of these things is worrying from someone attempting to defend an agency that utilises spam techniques.

    Kim McKinney Email:
    If you need help with a future book let best solution know and they will be more than happy to assist you.
    I'm sure they would. However why would I want them to assist me? Did they help you to learn how to use capital letters? If so, are you capable of applying that to an email?

    Kim McKinney Email:
    They did not charge me to critique my manuscript and they charged me no money to provide services, they are only asking 15% of book sales generated by them and that is in standards with every other agent I contacted.
    Agents don't generate book sales. Agents sell books to commercial publishers and take a percentage of the advance and royalties negotiated.

    It is of concern that you do not seem to know this.

    If they helped you with your manuscript, can you share whether you approached them or if they approached you? If you approached them, how did you find out about them and what made you decide that they were a good fit for you?

    Having worked with you on your manuscript, have they now secured a commercial, advance-paying deal? If so, please can you share details of who your publisher is and if/when your book was published?

    Kim McKinney Email:
    Just want to know where you got your information.
    From general experience of publishing, reading on how publishing should work and actually having a legitimate agent.

    Where did you get your information from?

    Susan Littlefield:
    I did invite her here to come and share her thoughts.
    I'd be surprised if she did. Sounds like a drive-by spam email to me.

    MM

  9. #9
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    If nothing else was a red flag, the [ http://best-solution.webs.com/ ] address would be.

    That's one of those free, do-it-yourself sites. (It's mentioned often on the PAMB and is very popular with PA authors.) If they can't afford an actual website and can't afford to pay someone to host their site (the premium price at webs is less than $17/month and were they paying it, the ".webs" wouldn't be in the URL) I'd guess they aren't selling too many books.


    Good grief. From their FAQ:


    Q. What is the difference between Submitting a snyopsis and having my book critiqued?

    A. Having your book evaluated or critiqued does not guarantee an agent will pick it up. Basically its a step you can take to polish your work prior to submitting it to an agent, or after having received numerous rejection letters, Submitting your synopsis to the agency is free. An agent may accept it or reject it.
    (bold mine)

    That's some fine editing skills right there. (And that's not counting the capitalization issues and comma / period switcheroos.) Apparently, "author" is a proper noun in their world, too.

    And... it gets worse on their Submissions page.
    Last edited by Cyia; 01-12-2011 at 05:38 PM.




  10. #10
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Figured I'd check out the site and do a commentary:

    Best Solution Website:
    Our Agents have experience in connecting Authors with publishers, producers and directors.
    There is nothing on the site to back this up - no statement of recent sales, no details of clients represented by the authors. In fact, there's no actual details of who the agents themselves are.

    Best Solution Website:
    Most well-known, powerful, and lucrative publishing houses do not accept unagented submissions.
    This is true. However, most "well-known, powerful and lucrative publishing houses" are unlikely to accept a submission from someone calling themselves an agent but who they've never previously heard of.

    Best Solution Website:
    With over 4000 listings for book publishers, consumer magazine, trade journals and much more, we have successfully promoted books to the right customers.
    This just shows you've either bought a copy of the trade directory or you belong to a few trade websites.

    Anyone can get those listings. It's proof that you've made sales to them that matters and there's nothing to indicate that they have.

    Best Solution Website:
    We have extensive experience editing, reviewing and selling our AUTHOR'S most prized possessions; their books.
    Why would Best Solutions be reviewing their clients' books? That's not within an agent's remit.

    And again, it's easy to claim that you've made sales, but there's nothing to support this on the actual website. Nor is there anything to support the agency's claim of editing experience.

    Best Solution Website:
    Our authors benefit from our editorial experience in shaping their manuscripts/proposals before submission to publishers. As literary agents, we represent authors to traditional publishing houses.
    Firstly, "traditional publishing" is a bit of a warning given that it's a term often used by vanity outfits. Secondly, it shouldn't even need saying that they sell to advance paying commercial outfits because that's the whole point of being an agent.

    Best Solution Website:
    Also for authors interested in adapting their work to screen, we represent screenplays, and pitch film/TV ideas on behalf of our clients.
    Again, nothing on the website to suggest that the agency has made any sales of screen plays or show concepts.

    Also, it's not necessarily the case that an author will want to write their own screenplay given that it is a different discipline in writing and I'd be surprised if any producers would be interested in an adaptation even if they were given that most producers prefer to use their own scriptwriters.

    Finally, this suggests that they're willing to take on previously published authors looking to do an adaptation. Unless the book has been commercially published and/or has been successful, then it's unlikely that a producer will want to take an option out on it.

    Best Solution Website:
    As public relation Representatives, we concentrate on personal client attention. We have a persuasive team of consultants who will create the strategic media needed to get you exposure. Such as interviews, articles and news coverage.
    Nothing on the website to back up this supposed PR experience. Nothing to say who these PR reps are. Nothing to support the fact that they've obtained interviews, articles and news coverage for clients.

    Best Solution Website:
    Because our agents have had long relationships with particular publishers and editors, we can sell a proposal faster than a writer can. Proposals submitted by agents go to the top of the pile.
    Which publishers do they have a relationship with?

    Best Solution Website:
    As more and more publishers become part of multi-national corporations, publishing contracts are becoming vastly complicated.
    Most of the big commercial publishers are already part of multi-nationals. However being part of a multi-national has no bearing on your contract. A contract is with one entity and most publishers have their own standard forms.

    This statement suggests to me that the agency doesn't know what it's talking about.

    Best Solution Website: (BOLDING MINE)
    There are plenty of issues to watch out for in a publishing contract: the advance, royalty rate, option clause, subsidiary rights, foreign rights, cover art, copyright, the reserves-against-royalties clause, the audit provision, out-of-print provision, freight pass-through provision, and who pays for future revisions, to name a few.
    Those terms in bold are the ones that made me WTF and wonder just who this agency has been selling books to (assuming that it has made sales).

    Best Solution Website:
    Our agents have experience as author consultants for major publishing and promotional companies.
    Really? Which ones and why don't you set out (a) who your agents are and (b) where they gained that experience on your site?

    Best Solution Website:
    We have connections to the film the industry, connections to publishing companies as well as connections to multi media advertising.
    Really? Who are you connected with?

    Incidentally, having checked out your site I can only find 2 people associated with this agency: Dan Grogan (who seems to be responsible for spamming people on writers.net) and Karri Hiland. There is no further information on either person's role in the agency or their background credentials.

    If however the agency wants you to believe that they have all this considerable experience in publishing, film and media, they must have been changing jobs every few months to get it all.

    Best Solution Website:
    Our agents are well traveled and have attended numerous book shows and Hollywood pitchfests in the past.
    There's a picture of Dan at the Miami Book Fair International. No offence, that's not one of the major industry shows.

    I'm also surprised that they need to attend Hollywood pitch fests if they've got the contacts they claim to have.

    Best Solution Website:
    We work with each author to develop a marketing plan unique to the author.
    Why? You should know how to pitch a book to an editor without needing a marketing plan.

    Best Solution Website:
    We will Copyright your work with the Nation Library of Congress. The fee for this will vary depending on whether we send it electronically or through the mail.
    You shouldn't be doing this. Publishers will sort out the copyright when they actually publish your book.

    Best Solution Website:
    We can provide you with an ISBN. Or you may submit your manuscript with one if you have them.
    You shouldn't be doing this. You don't need an ISBN to submit a manuscript to a publisher. This suggests you have no idea what you're talking about.

    Best Solution Website:
    Exposure to media representatives, review critics, editors, publishers, producers, librarians, wholesalers, distributors, and catalog dealers looking for speakers, writers, books, songs, plays, scripts, and films to publish, produce, feature, promote, and sell.
    Why would you want to do this? And what the hell are you doing submitting to dealers looking for songs?

    Best Solution Website:
    Schedule book signings, speaking engagements (if content applies) and library signings
    You shouldn't be doing that.

    Best Solution Website:
    Develop and maintain a web site.
    Or that.

    Best Solution Website:
    E-mail your information to libraries, bookstores, reading groups, and book clubs nationwide.
    Aggressively work on a large internet presence to include article marketing, and press release marketing which drives customers back to your site.
    Or this.

    Best Solution Website:
    Provide fulfillment, industry wide.
    I have no idea what this even means.

    Best Solution Website:
    List your book on Amazon.
    WTF? That's what a publisher does.

    Best Solution Website:
    Develop Press Kits
    Develop PR Packages for each book signing/speaking engagement scheduled.
    Share an online calendar with the author.
    Schedule radio and tv interviews.
    Send out books to reviewers to include but not limited to: USA Today, New York Times, Chicago Tribune.
    Send out books to reviewers to include but not limited to: USA Today, New York Times, Chicago Tribune.
    Send out books to reviewers to include but not limited to: USA Today, New York Times, Chicago Tribune.
    And more no, no, no, no and no.

    Best Solution Website:Q. Is there a fee for reading my manuscript?
    A, No There is not a fee for reading your manuscript. Your inital submission will only be a synopsis of your story and there is no fee for that.
    Don't understand this. Are they saying that they only read the synopsis for free or do they read the manuscript for free?

    Best Solution Website:
    Q. What exactly is the Critiquing service?
    A. The critiquing or evaluation service is for anyone that wants to have their work evaluated and criticized. This service does not guarantee an agent will sign you.
    It's also a conflict of interest and a big red flag. Not to mention the fact that there's nothing to indicate that these people's editorial comments are worth a damn.

    Best Solution Website:
    Q. What will I have to pay for?
    A. Each Author will have a package set up specifically for them. Fees vary based on what the author agrees to have us do to promote their work.
    This is a huge red flag and is contrary to AAR guidelines. Agents should not be charging for their work full stop. Agents make money from selling your books. That's what incentivises them to sell your books. Worse, Best Solutions seem to be charging fees when there is nothing to suggest on their site that they have any qualifications or experience in providing those services. You might as well grab a random person off the street and give them your cash instead.

    Best Solution Website:
    Submissions will be reviewed for its content, appeal, and marketability. Once a decision has been made you will be contacted by e-mail or a reply by mail will come to your door with a representation offer.
    Uh-huh. No discussion? No phone call? No suggestion of amendments? No attempt to see if the author is someone the agent can work with?

    All big red flags.

    Best Solution Website:
    1.) Is the project finished (for new or unestablished authors its best to finish the manuscript)
    The manuscript should always be finished unless you have a history of prior commercial sales that you can rely on.

    Best Solution Website:
    2.) The Genre (Such as Mystry, Romance, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, etc..)
    There are no guidelines on the website as to what kind of genre they look to represent and the willingness to embrace anything (without providing any details of prior sales) does not inspire confidence.

    Best Solution Website:
    authors profession resume, include a descriptive list of published books, books with pending release dates, books currently under contract with other agents or a publisher. If you are a new author state if this is your first book or if you have others not submitted.
    Why should an author be saying if this is their first book? The manuscript stands or falls on its merits and the discussion on whether other books are available is one you have when the agent is already thinking about representation.

    All in all, there's nothing on that site that currently makes me believe the agency has the first fricking clue about what it's talking about.

    MM

  11. #11
    Summer AW Moderator Calla Lily's Avatar
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    Memento, you rock.

  12. #12
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    Everybody, thank you! I am still perplexed as to why she chose me, out of everyone here, to email. It wasn't that easy to get my email either, because it's posted nowhere. She used the email link at my personal website.

    Sheesh!

    Memento, I second Cally's expression and say....

    YOU DOUBLE ROCK!
    Susan

    Please visit my website: http://www.susanlittlefield.blogspot.com/


  13. #13
    Grr. Argh. Thedrellum's Avatar
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    This is neither here not there in critiquing the agency's ability to do their job, but they appear to have based their "Members" page on dating site software. If nothing else, I find it strange that anyone can join the site, if they wish, and that apparently allows you to set up a profile and a picture.

    Of course, the implication is that all these people pictured actually have something to do with the agency.

  14. #14
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momento Mori View Post
    There is nothing on the site to back this up - no statement of recent sales, no details of clients represented by the authors. In fact, there's no actual details of who the agents themselves are.
    What, photo captions ain't enough for ya?

    Dan Grogan - "Agent, Founder, Promoter"
    Karri - "Co-founder, Bookkeeper, Site administrator, Screen play writer,"
    Unnamed female - "Editor, Review consultant, Agent"
    Kathy - "Author Agent"

    On the Links page are FB pages, which gives us Karri's last name of Hiland, and her friends list seems to confirm the Unnamed Female is Amanda "Jorge" Vatne (who's identified by first name in BSAA's Member gallery, but dissimilar photos defeat my limited facial-recognition skills).

    But still not a word anywhere re: any experience in publishing, agenting, and/or promotion. Not even with vanity, which is surprising: one usually finds a fleet of PA or iUniverse books behind ventures this ... misdirected.
    ICAO
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    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  15. #15
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    CaoPaux:
    What, photo captions ain't enough for ya?
    Erm ... no? :p

    (Don't know what it's like for anyone else but to get those captions I have to pull up the photos in a slide show, which is a bit much to get such basic information).

    Also, I did a Google search on Dan Grogan and Karri and got absolutely nada for either of them other than this thread and their web page.

    Remember kids, there's no such thing as a stealth agent/founder/promoter/co-founder/bookkeeper/site administrator/screen play writer.

    MM

  16. #16
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Well, Mr. Grogan, you seem to have read this thread. Because you sent me an email. I didn't read the email--it went to electricity. I'm assuming you cussed me out or throttled me for privacy. This is not about me. This is about accurate information regarding a so-called agency, where upwards of 30,000 AW members can be informed, in order to make a decision.

    If you have anything to say, come right out and say it here. Here's a little advice--you need two websites--one for services and one for agenting. Start there. Never, ever combine the two. You'll be called on it. It's a major conflict of interest. Nobody is suggesting that you can't provide services, but branch that off first. Then build up some impeccable employee creds. That's a good start.

    BTW, if you can go to the lengths of discovering our personal email addresses, which isn't hard with me, you could actually research and find out how many of us already have agents. You should have caught that with me.

    Regards,

    Chris Stevenson

  17. #17
    Rewriting My Destiny Cyia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thedrellum View Post
    This is neither here not there in critiquing the agency's ability to do their job, but they appear to have based their "Members" page on dating site software. If nothing else, I find it strange that anyone can join the site, if they wish, and that apparently allows you to set up a profile and a picture.

    Of course, the implication is that all these people pictured actually have something to do with the agency.
    It's the template that comes with the site when you sign-on. Like Blogger, you just go through and select colors and images that you want displayed on the header. The "book" template is one that several PA authors use as their site background.




  18. #18
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    Chris,

    It sounds like the owner and the member are using cowards' tactics to address their disatisfaction with our comments based on reading ther website. How unproressional can people be?
    Susan

    Please visit my website: http://www.susanlittlefield.blogspot.com/


  19. #19
    Super Browser triceretops's Avatar
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    Yeah, Susan. Looks like they're coming in through the back door instead of ringing the front door bell. We promise not to bite. Too hard.

    Tri




    Quote Originally Posted by Susan Littlefield View Post
    Chris,

    It sounds like the owner and the member are using cowards' tactics to address their disatisfaction with our comments based on reading ther website. How unproressional can people be?

  20. #20
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    The aforementioned blog by Writer Beware: http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2011/0...or-beware.html
    ICAO
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    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  21. #21
    Such a nasty woman SuperModerator Old Hack's Avatar
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    This thread has all sorts of good in it. The summery-autumny-wintery bit was excellent, but MomentoMori's breakdowns are my favourite: she's a joy to have here.

    Carry on as you were.

  22. #22
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    Didn't last long. I'm shocked, I say, shocked.
    ICAO
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    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

    II 2016: 2017:

  23. #23

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