Saturday, August 15, 2015
The Fake Agent
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 I still have at least 7 chapters of this unpublished book in my files from the mid to late 1990s.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.