Florida Attorney General Files Suit Against Robert Fletcher/Writers' Literary Agency

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Richard White

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I cannot WAIT to see Robert take James Macdonald, A. C. Crsipin, and especially Victoria Strauss to court and win. That will be a good day. :)

Apparently he's as out of the loop on legal matters as he is ignorant of how publishing really works.

Retaliatory Lawsuit Against Writer Beware Staff Dismissed (March 2009)
http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2009/03/retaliatory-lawsuit-against-writer.html

Robert Fletcher's Lawsuit Against Writer Beware Ruled Frivolous (August 2009) http://accrispin.blogspot.com/2009/08/victoria-strauss-robert-fletchers.html

Robert needs to worry about his own defense now, as well as getting around to paying up what he already owes.

I wonder what that big sailboat of his will go for at auction?:evil
 

CaoPaux

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Yeah, the farce is strong in this one.
 

rejectME

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...and it's not a sailboat, it's a yacht!

At least you got your username right. Yet another fallacy in your response. A yacht is either a sailboat or a yacht - the definition actually regards the use of the craft for pleasure, but you knew that. The definition of yacht based on size is of debate. In the sailing (and motoring) world, we generally consider a boat to be a yacht if it is at least 21-feet, but the United States Coast Guard (Not published by AEG, but nonetheless credible) defines the length to be 26-feet.

Keep going, genius! :poke:
 

DeadlyAccurate

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:ROFL:

I can't tell who's more ignorant...the writer of that link or you. Unless you're the same person, of course.

I knew before I got to the bottom of the article the person would be touting the benefits of self-publishing and their own self-published book.

It's the usual list of half-truths and outright misconceptions about publishing we see all the time with a subset of the self-published population.
 

Marian Perera

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I climb mountains

200351505-001.jpg


go swimming in the arctic

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leap tall buildings in a single bound, and so on.
 

James D. Macdonald

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I'm not going to bother with assclown any more. Not until he shows up with some of those "facts."

Isn't that always the way it goes with Bobby and his shills? All kinds of claims, all kinds of promises to answer questions, but the minute you start asking for verifiable information--dates, names, titles--all of a sudden they're too busy to answer.

I'll get around to that letter from Fletcher pretty soon. First, though, before I play with it here, I think I'll make sure the Florida Attorney General has a copy....
 

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------------- Start Quote -------------

Recently our company(s) acquired a book from the foreman of the grand jury that handled Ted Kennedy's Chappaquiddick trial. The book is titled Left to Die - Chappaquiddick Grand Jury Foreman Reveals Explosive, Never-Before-Told Information. We quickly and carefully hustled this book through production. With the media surrounding Senator Kennedy's death, we are going to sell a lot of books with our author. This is a great example of our business model.

We believe we may have the largest database of ready and semi-ready books and authors in the world. We employ 125 very talented people, and we can move an author from their query letter to a finished book for sale on book shelves faster than almost any publisher. Our business model is to find as many of the best authors as we can, help them prepare for publication, help them get published, or publish them ourselves. We believe that we're the new model for the publishing industry and that our presentation to new publishing and agency clients is very straightforward. Details about how we present our business can always be found at www.StrategicBookPublishing.com and www.WLWritersAgency.com .

We believe the Florida Attorney General lawsuit is being manipulated by outside influences who may have provided misleading information to the AG and to our clients. We plan to look for evidence of collusion between Victoria Strauss, Ann Crispin, James MacDonald, and Dave Kuzminski who recently lost a defamation lawsuit. ((http://www.writersnewsweekly.com/kuzminski.html)). We were not able to follow through on a prior lawsuit against these people because of financial reasons. We will not make that mistake again. Once we have reached successful resolution with the Attorney General, it is our intention to file lawsuits against our detractors.

Furthermore, we are assisting the Attorney General in resolving this current matter as rapidly as possible and we look forward to reaching a mutually agreeable settlement. The Attorney General has 175 complaints from four years of our business. During these same four years, we assisted 30,000 authors. If you will visualize each complaint or author as equal to one piece of paper, that is a half a ream of paper compared to sixty reams. That's about one inch of paper opposed to a ten-foot stack of paper.

Frankly, our complaint rate is less than 1 percent. If small businesses and publishers in the US can be the subject of a lawsuit for a complaint rate of less than 1% then we are very worried for our industry. We have thousands of published clients, and we have thousands of clients with their work in progress. Maintaining our services to our clients will continue to be our focus as we move forward to a successful conclusion of this matter. We plan to maintain our position and answer questions on our Web site, www.StrategicBookGroup.com. Please stay tuned and visit the site often. We are excited about bringing our story to the industry. It is time to set the record straight.

To Request further information or an interview please email [email protected] .

----- end quote --------------------

Preserving this for posterity in case The Idiot chooses the flounce-with-deletion option.

It has also been posted at Writer Beware's blog.

BTW, the book referred to in the first paragraph--Left to Die, by Leslie H. Leland and J.B. Shaffer--has a pub date of July 2009. It has no sales rank on Amazon, and is listed as "temporarily out of stock."

I hope Strategic consulted with its lawyers before it "carefully hustled" this book to market.

- Victoria
 

rejectME

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BTW, the book referred to in the first paragraph--Left to Die, by Leslie H. Leland and J.B. Shaffer--has a pub date of July 2009. It has no sales rank on Amazon, and is listed as "temporarily out of stock."

Forgive my ignorance, but if the book was just released a couple months ago, has no sales ranks, but is temporarily out of stock, wouldn't that sort of indicate that it hasn't even been IN stock?
 

James D. Macdonald

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A bag of circus peanuts says our visitor was Mister B.B. himself. Bets?

Nope. I'm pretty familiar with Bouncin' Bobby's style by now, including the little unconscious things that he says and does, and assclown doesn't sound a bit like him.

I like the idea that this is Leapin' Leslie. We'll learn more when we hear more from him/her.
 

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Forgive my ignorance, but if the book was just released a couple months ago, has no sales ranks, but is temporarily out of stock, wouldn't that sort of indicate that it hasn't even been IN stock?

It gets even better than that.

There aren't any reviews of it, anywhere. At least not that I can find with Google.

And ... while it was listed at Tesco (here's the Google cache), at the moment it's
"We're sorry...

... we couldn't find the page you requested."

And, at Target, it was listed, but now it's "We could not find exact matches for "Left to Die""

It's out of stock over at B&N, too.

Somehow I don't think this one is going to sell a ton of copies.
 

AC Crispin

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My money's on Leslie, too.

You know, if my boyfriend had gotten me in trouble with the authorities, I wouldn't be hanging out on a message board, defending him in a really clueless fashion that's rife with spelling errors...I'd be calling the authorities to discuss rolling over on him in return for them leaving me out of the equation.

Leslie, did you know that the last all-purpose fraudster that threatened Writer Beware wakes up every morning in Federal Women's prison? Hey, maybe you and Martha can be cellmates, how about that? She still has a couple years to run on her sentence. I'm sure you'd have a lot to talk about.

(smile)

-Ann C. Crispin
 

James D. Macdonald

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Recently our company(s) acquired a book from the foreman of the grand jury that handled Ted Kennedy's Chappaquiddick trial.

"Trial" is the wrong word here.

Beyond that: the Grand Jury session in that case met in spring of 1970 and listened to twenty minutes of testimony. By then there had already been an inquest, and Kennedy had already pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and had been given two months, with the sentence suspended.


The book is titled Left to Die - Chappaquiddick Grand Jury Foreman Reveals Explosive, Never-Before-Told Information. We quickly and carefully hustled this book through production.

The grand jury session was a minor side-show. It took place nearly forty years ago. That this book came to rest with a vanity publisher after all that time tells me that it had probably already been rejected all over town. That means that either a) it stinks on ice, or b) it contains nothing new, or c) it stinks on ice and contains nothing new.

With the media surrounding Senator Kennedy's death, we are going to sell a lot of books with our author.

You may be disappointed. Chappaquiddick is old news. Very old news. Recall that Monica Lewinsky's book tanked, and her scandal was a lot sexier, and a lot more current, when it came out.

This is a great example of our business model.

Given that the book doesn't appear to be actually available anywhere, hasn't been reviewed, and doesn't appear to have any verifiable sales, you may be inadvertently telling the truth there.

But suppose it becomes an AEG Best Seller. What does that mean? That it's broken through into three-digit sales?

How much did the authors pay to be published?
We believe we may have the largest database of ready and semi-ready books and authors in the world.

La-di-dah. What's a "semi-ready" book? What's a "semi-ready" author? And what does that database do for you? You can't sell those authors to real publishers. You claim to have been trying for years. And you've been failing for years.

We employ 125 very talented people, and we can move an author from their query letter to a finished book for sale on book shelves faster than almost any publisher.

Not having to do editing, marketing, promotion, or distribution certainly helps with the speed. It's possible that only PublishAmerica is faster.

Our business model is to find as many of the best authors as we can,

The best authors you can find, and the best authors, are two different groups of people.

help them prepare for publication, help them get published, or publish them ourselves.

And that's the real point, isn't it? After signal failure to get them published by real publishers (while charging them fees for worthless services at every step of the way) you feed them into your own vanity press.
We believe that we're the new model for the publishing industry and that our presentation to new publishing and agency clients is very straightforward.

Weirdly, the publishing industry (you know, the industry that sells books to readers in bookstores) hasn't followed suit. Can you perhaps explain why?

Details about how we present our business can always be found at www.StrategicBookPublishing.com and www.WLWritersAgency.com .

Even more details can be found here thanks to the Florida State Attorney General.

We believe the Florida Attorney General lawsuit is being manipulated by outside influences who may have provided misleading information to the AG and to our clients.

That silly Attorney General! Doesn't he know that fraud isn't illegal in Florida?

We plan to look for evidence of collusion between Victoria Strauss, Ann Crispin, James MacDonald, [sic] and Dave Kuzminski who recently lost a defamation lawsuit. ((http://www.writersnewsweekly.com/kuzminski.html)).

Victoria Strauss, Ann Crispin, and James Macdonald recently won a defamation lawsuit ... brought by Bobby Fletcher!

We were not able to follow through on a prior lawsuit against these people because of financial reasons.

"This case is frivolous and this Court finds so, finds that the two plaintiffs and their lawyer, Jerrold G. Neeff, knew it to be frivolous before it even commenced."​

We will not make that mistake again.
"This Court finds that the claims asserted by the plaintiffs to be wholly insubstantial, frivolous and not advanced in good faith."
Once we have reached successful resolution with the Attorney General, it is our intention to file lawsuits against our detractors.
For assisting legitimate law enforcement agencies with their inquiries? That's a non-starter, Bobby. You "...knew it to be frivolous before it even commenced." The Court won't look favorably on you, given your history.

Furthermore, we are assisting the Attorney General in resolving this current matter as rapidly as possible and we look forward to reaching a mutually agreeable settlement.

Which, with any kind of luck, will include substantial fines, being banned from any further business on the Internet, being blocked from any future business dealing with literary properties, and full restitution to all the authors you've defrauded. I warned you years ago that you ought to find an honest job, Bobby. You didn't listen, and now look how much trouble you're in.

The Attorney General has 175 complaints from four years of our business. During these same four years, we assisted 30,000 authors.

Let's look at that. "Assisted" 30,000 authors. By your own admission, you've sold around a thousand of them to your own vanity press. Selling a book to a vanity press isn't a challenge. Selling a book to a vanity press that you yourself own is even less of a challenge. That isn't assistance; that's fraud.

That leaves 29,000 unaccounted for. Again by your own admission, you've sold perhaps as many as six of them to presses that you don't own (although you admit that the authors actually did the selling in a fair percentage of those cases). So your sucess rate, given the most generous definition of "success" that I can manage, is 6 out of 29,000, or around 0.02%.
If you will visualize each complaint or author as equal to one piece of paper, that is a half a ream of paper compared to sixty reams. That's about one inch of paper opposed to a ten-foot stack of paper.

No, that's six sheets of paper compared to sixty reams. That's less than an eighth of an inch of paper opposed to a ten-foot stack of paper. Where the ten-foot stack is the authors from whom you took money and did nothing in return.

"Usually each prospective author was good for about $600.00 and DEFENDANT ROBERT FLETCHER, was turning over about 500 consumers every six months, or receiving approximately $600,000 per year for no legitimate efforts to provide the consumers the help they paid for, leaving only frustration and disappointment for aspiring authors once they realized their money was paid, not to a legitimate literary agency, but a scam."
Frankly, our complaint rate is less than 1 percent.

You mean your success rate is less than 1 percent.

If small businesses and publishers in the US can be the subject of a lawsuit for a complaint rate of less than 1% then we are very worried for our industry.

"The Defendants at no time made legitimate efforts to assist their customers in having submitted manuscripts sold or published. Despite the contracts with the consumers to do so and receipt of funds from the consumers by the respective corporations for assistance in seeking publication, the Defendants did not exert efforts to do so, either making no effort at all, or sending batches of unprofessionally written letters to commercial advance and royalty paying publishers with no expectation that the manuscripts would be given serious consideration for publication."
We have thousands of published clients, and we have thousands of clients with their work in progress.

Published by your own vanity press.

Maintaining our services to our clients will continue to be our focus as we move forward to a successful conclusion of this matter.

Your services are worthless. Your claims are fraudulent. A "successful" conclusion will include substantial fines, or perhaps jail time.

We plan to maintain our position and answer questions on our Web site, www.StrategicBookGroup.com. Please stay tuned and visit the site often. We are excited about bringing our story to the industry. It is time to set the record straight.

Sorry, chum, that ship has sailed. Now it's time for the State of Florida to set you straight. You could have gone straight at any time. But no, you thought it would be funnier to launch frivolous lawsuits. Guess you aren't laughing now, are you, Bobby?

To Request further information or an interview please email [email protected] .

I've offered to interview you any number of times, Bobby. That offer is still on the table. Any time, any place. But don't expect me to be gentle now. That ship has also sailed.
 
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HapiSofi

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Okay, let's assume this is one of Fletcher's authors.

Odds are the person's in shock and severe denial. No one would get mixed up with an operation like Fletcher's if they thought it was operating so far over the line that law enforcement would shut it down. Besides, whatever this person knows about publishing will primarily have been picked up from Fletcher, and you know what a ripe source of disinformation he is.

Judging from the discussion here, I'd say the biggest point that Idiot doesn't understand is that since Fletcher didn't put any work into agenting his clients, or selling or marketing their titles, all his participation amounted to was interposing himself between his clients and acquiring editors, and between his authors and Lightning Source, then charging them through the nose for the privilege. Fletcher's done very well out of it. He's not going to want to stop now, especially if it means he's going to have to get a real job.

Idiot, you know those cardboard boxes printed to look like computers that office furniture retailers use as set dressing? Fletcher's operations are like that. We're not saying that AEG/SBP/etc. and his agencies are bad computers. We're saying they're cardboard boxes. Which they are.

All real publishers do sales and marketing and publicity, and they don't leave distribution to their authors. If you think otherwise, it's because Fletcher told you so. It wasn't true. If he published a book of yours, you're going to have to accept that he isn't your friend, he's never wished you well, and you are not and never have been an insider.

The big question is, do you have a reversion clause in your contract? Go and look right now. If you don't have one, you need to get a reversion letter out of Fletcher. At this point in legal proceedings, you may still have leverage. Later on, I can promise you won't.

Don't lose your book.
 
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victoriastrauss

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The Attorney General has 175 complaints from four years of our business. During these same four years, we assisted 30,000 authors.

Combining these figures with the AG's fee estimate (average of $600 per author), that's a gross of $18 million dollars over four years.

Even using the AG's lower author "assistance" figures (1,000 a year, which I suspect comes closer to the truth), it adds up to nearly $3 mil.

Just from authors. Without counting a single book sale into the mix.

- Victoria
 

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Victoria, in the UK, all the accounts of any limited company or business are available (for a tiny fee) as a matter of public record. Is it different in America? Because I bet Fletcher's company accounts would make interesting reading.
 

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If Writer Beware's experience with the FBI during the Martha Ivery case is any guideline, the moment the AG's complaint was filed, and various sources reported on it, more complaints begain flooding into the AG's Office.

I'd bet real money on it.

Consider: when the FBI searched Martha Ivery's place and asked us to post on Writer Beware that they had opened an official investigation on her and her "literary agency" and "publishing company," they had verified that defrauded authors had spent circa $100,000.00 dollars on her bogus "services."

By the time Ms. Ivery was sentenced, the total of losses reported to them stood at about $750,000.00.

This was ONE woman, working mostly alone, for a period of six-seven years.

Mr. Fletcher's operation is so smooth, so automated, that comparing it with Ivery's is like comparing an automobile assembly line's output with that of a couple of kids building a jalopy in their garage.

I know that at one point I stopped answering questions and complaints from aspiring authors about one of Mr. Fletcher's literary agencies and spent a while counting up how many I'd received. When I reached 1000, I quit counting. That was close to three years ago, and I don't think I counted more than half of the ones I'd received.

An efficient "assembly line" of bogus "services" indeed.

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

James D. Macdonald

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Because I bet Fletcher's company accounts would make interesting reading.

Alas, Fletcher appears to have been ... lax ... in certain areas. The terms "unregistered businesses" and "unregistered company" are sprinkled liberally throughout the Florida Attorney General's complaint.

The "Leslie" referenced above is "LESLIE MROZ WILLIAMS, an individual a/k/a LESLIE W. MROZ," Fletcher's long-term girlfriend, who is also named in the complaint.

If I were Leslie, I'd a) be seeking separate counsel, and b) trying to cut a deal with the prosecutor; immunity in return for testimony perhaps. When that train leaves the station she'd better hope she's on it.
 

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Well, Uncle Jim, I'm sad to hear that Mr Fletcher might have been a little too relaxed about filing his accounts, because here in the UK just about all businesses know that while they might be able to get away with a little bit of creative accounting here and there, if they try to deceive the VAT inspector then they're dead in the water.

I bet you have slightly different organisations in charge in the USA, but basically, there's a layer of taxation which businesses shouldn't even consider trying to get past. It brings to mind the stories I've heard about Al Capone being taken down because his tax records were not in order.

Popcorn, anyone?

(And yes, if I were Ms Mrox/Williams, I'd be offering my story to everyone and anyone I could find who was prepared to listen to it. Far better to speak up now than to be forced into a corner by lawyers with evidence in their hands.)