Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Fake Agent

                                         [picture source]

Some years ago, after I had my 400lb plus weight gain, I wanted to write a book about fat people and what happened to me. My husband had a book published years ago. This blog is unedited, and written off the top of my head but I thought with an in-house editor, it would be doable. I still have at least 7 chapters of this unpublished book in my files from the mid to late 1990s.

Some of the earliest articles on this blog are snippets from that book manuscript. This happened to me around 12 years ago when I had met this guy who ran a local writing group and ran a book store in a city around 45 minutes away from my old town and had dreams of publishing a book. He told me he worked as a book agent helping people achieve their writing dreams. He had published a few alternative press books himself. I am still work on my comic which has now reached 100 panels--yes I know I am extremely slow with the health struggles but had book dreams for many years. Wouldn't the story be more interesting now with my Lipedema diagnosis and breaking free of my narcissistic family? Anyhow perhaps the zine world will embrace me with open arms as the blog world has.

"Random House is interested in your proposal", he said! I knew he had gotten a deal for another guy. Everyone considered Bob [not his real name] a nice guy and recommended him highly. He was a bearded rather elfin looking man right out of the 1960s but clean cut and owned a bookstore and ran writers classes including an author's seminar at the local library. No one ever suspected he was a con artist until after he died.

"What do you mean you have no records left?", I said to his wife some time after he died. His wife continued the scam stating Bob magically somehow conducted his book agent business free of such essentials as address books and email accounts. Bob had dropped dead of a sudden aneurysm, so allowing time for grief, the shock of his death affecting all of us, I asked his widow, "I need to know the name of the person at Random House, he was doing business with, we were only weeks away from turning in a partial manuscript." Then the excuses began. I was devastated. "I was going to miss out on my big chance because someone was too lazy to write down a name or keep up any records?". I also beat myself up for not getting the name right away but he had given me the exciting news only a week before he died.

Something didn't smell right, after begging the widow who seemed unconcerned and obviously with her own major problems, I decided to follow things down the line and investigate. I knew something was rotten and didn't buy the "no records" story. I decided to talk to his "assistant" a guy that would help him with his writing business and bookstore. Emails and phone calls followed. "Please tell Mary [the widow] I really need that name!" He responded, "Oh, she's got so many papers to go through--we will give it to you when we find it!" Well we waited and waited and waited some more. We had my husband talk to his agent who had given him his small publishing contract about contacting Random House. She replied, "That would be like calling Belgium to ask for one person's name! Impossible!"

Then I got an idea--"Let's contact the one guy that we know Bob got a contract for--he surely must have a contact name since he was at the point of signing a contract!" My husband agreed that is a good idea. So we did, tracking him down, getting a number. It turns out he was taken for a ride too! The pieces of the puzzle came together. This man Randy [not his real name] said, "I was flying high for 15 months excited about my pending contract with Random House"! "I really felt this was my chance, I'm 50 years old, man it was great but then I found out the contract bill showed me it was just a lousy iuniverse contract. It was a vanity publisher not Random House at all!"

He then continued, "Peep, We have figured out, he told around 14 people the same lie and weirdly it was always Random House!!" I responded, "But he made no money off me, I never gave the man one dime! Why string us along for so long? Why lie? Why not just send the proposals in?" Randy responded, "One guy he strung along for 5 years, now you're going to trust your best friend aren't you?

Back then when its happened, I didn't know about narcissism or sociopaths. I was in literal shock. This was some kind of extreme ego trip, superman pie in the sky tales from Bob, just to make himself look good to the world and to sell his writing classes and seminars. It was at the expense of people's hopes and dreams. Just another con artist, a person living a facade life, there's way too many of them today. The rot and deception exposed due to an unexpected death, not exactly the legacy one would want to leave behind, loved and lauded while still alive and then exposed as a liar.

It definitely changed my view of this world a bit.


  1. Wow. I'm sure it made him feel important, pretending to be a gatekeeper to fortune.

    I honestly think you could do very well marketing your comic and your writing yourself, without having to get strung along or go through any publishing gatekeepers. I have a few friends who earn a little money via ebooks, webcomics or blogs. The webcomic world can be difficult because often you have to make a lot of free content in order to get an audience that will end up buying a book or some prints, or which is large enough to support a site via ad views. I know two people who've made it work, though.

    Patreon ( is a great tool for allowing supportive readers to pay you for your comic or blog - people who are interested can pledge you a payment for each page or article, or pledge a monthly subscription if that's easier. I subscribe to 3 projects on Patreon; one community media project, one artist and one writer, all of them friends of mine, and it's a good way to reward them for their work that I enjoy so much.

    1. Yeah he must have felt important.

      For online comics I don't have the tech skills. I think I may be happier just doing the zine thing as you know that is a world I am interested in. I have considered doing a "best of" of this blog and making a zine out of it, even different topics could make zines, but for that format I would have to extend some of the writing. My husband is putting together a zine that has some of my old drawings I did for him in it.

      Thanks for telling me about Patreon. I know I am planning to paint too once I get the comic done, and have an outsider art show like I had a DYI one before.

      I don't want any publishing gatekeepers. That's for sure. I think even the zine world will be rewarding even if that would just be pin money. I do hope that independent publishing will get bigger though, a lot of mainstream publishing seems just dead and not representing most people's lives.

  2. I'm going to do a Patreon site, as well -- the 'zine that we're planning is the first link in that chain. You gotta have product out there, as the man says -- :-) ...and then, it's gotta be first-class.

    That weeds out a lot of folks right off the bat, because that's a much harder road to travel than doing everything as cheaply and nastily as possible. So look at it this way, Peep: we've made it this far, that already puts us ahead of most folks.

    I, too, have bad experiences with various kinds of gatekeepers -- what strikes me the most, when I look back on those experiences, is how hard they claim to work...and how lazy (mentally) most of them are. That's why I could never go back to the pre-'net era -- at least we don't have sit around tapping our fingers, wondering, "Gee, if only I didn't have to pimp myself out to these idiots anymore..." --Mr. Peep

    1. Oh I am glad you know about Patreon too then Mr. Peep. :) I should take a look soon at that website. I agree since we have made it this far that is good. Yeah just do things with out the gatekeepers. I feel the same about the art world as you know. The best art wasn't vetted and prevented from happening by them. This is one good thing about the internet.