Monday, June 6, 2011

I've been banned!!

I was in a conversation at Absolute Water Cooler entitled: Can I try and traditionally publish after making a kindle/e-pubbing?

The general opinion of many posting there was that you've shot yourself in the foot by self-publishing first as the first publication cherry had been popped and therefore the book is now "dead" as far as getting agent representation or finding another publisher.

My position was that you still can publish that work. And people are not as concerned as they once were about the first publication rights. The points I raised included:
  • As my role in acquisitions, I actually seek out self-published authors to sign with Ridan
  • Michael resold his works that were self published (and for six-figures to boot)
  • Several self-published authors from the Kindle Boards were recruited by the Trident Group for representation.
  • Noah Lukeman, a major NY publisher recruited self-publishing authors D.B. Henson and J.R. Jagger.
  • I also posted 4 recent deals on Publisher's Marketplace for recently signed self-published works.There are actually three different posts on AW at this time on this exact subject so some of those points may have been made in other similar posts - I've not bothered to look back.
In any case any post by myself or Kevin McLaughlin (who had similar opinions) were dismissed indicating that there are many others on the site with years of "real" publishing experience and if they say the works are dead....they are dead. They stated over and over that this was "common knowledge" and neither produced nor were required to produce any facts or supporting documentation backing these claims.

All in all, neither side can say definitively which is correct. What would be needed it to do a mass survey with acquisitions editors and agents and ask them which of the following sums up their feelings.

a) I'll never consider a title that has the first publication rights taken
b) I don't care about the first pub rights but the book must have excellent sales or I'm not interested
c) I don't care about the first pub rights but if the book has sold to well it might be "played out"
d) I don't care about the first pub rights and even if the sales are low I'll let the story decide as low sales might be an indication of bad marketing
e) I don't care about the first pub rights and if the sales are good I'm more interested.
f) I don't care about the first pub rights and won't even look into the sales - I'll judge the work by its content

Only then could we say what the industry's true opinion on the matter is. But Kevin was becoming frustrated with the fact that any point he raised was dismissed if he couldn't not produce a cited work and raised the fact that there was a double standard. After seeing him lambasted repeatedly I came to his defense stating that there is an anti-self publishing bias and I recieve PM's and emails thanking me for offering rebuttals to the rhetoric there.

Anyway as I hit the save button on a post I had been working on I get a popup window that says:
You have been banned for the following reason:

Just get the hell off my site. You're relentlessly snotty, rude, and you're a f***cking bald-faced liar. I'm done with you.

Date the ban will be lifted: Never
The moderator used the full expletive that I self-censored here.

At which point I could not see any other posts on the site. (Someone later told me delete my cookies which would log me out and now I can get in and "look but not talk". When attempting to sign in the banning message returns. I've addded a screen shot because there have been a few people that doubt it actually said that.

What makes this particularly ironic is a couple of days ago on a different thread related to Ridan Publishing the poster said this:
I have to take a moment to post here.

I just spent the last two days reading from my last post, which was back on #85 or something, right through to here. WOW. I would love to give Robin a highfive. This thread should be mandatory reading for all new publishers on how to deal with criticism on Absolutewrite. So many other threads have devolved into something out of a horror flick by unprofessional publishers or their authors. Robin, you've done a remarkable job keeping your cool under more than a few detractors and critics, critics who posed questions I, as a writer, appreciated by the way. Professionalism and diplomacy is clearly not something you're lacking.
Bolding is mine.

The moderator posted the following before banning the two of us:


Originally Posted by KevinMcLaughlin

First off - on double standard. There is one. There is a small clique of people who frequent this forum who deliberately attack pretty much any post which actively supports self publishing. It just is. And they're just expressing their opinions, and usually not doing so in an offensive way - so it's really hard to report the posts.
Errr....So where is the "double standard" you're whining about, then, exactly? Because people have other opinions and they get to express them?

A double standard?



Why? Because I don't shut everyone up that you disagree with, so you can have a climate-controlled echo chamber? Because I let people cite statistics, facts, and anecdotes that directly contradict what you so desperately want to convince other writers of — no matter if it's right for them or not? Because we're not a board that's all about how self-publishing will make the average Jill and Joe Writer rich and famous beyond their wildest dreams or the reach of the NYT Bestseller list, so none of us ever have to face the sting of a rejection slip again unless we're irredeemable and pedantic masochists desperately clinging to the rotting dinosaur carcass of Publishing-That-Was?


Originally Posted by rsullivan9597

You are not the only one who sees the double standard being administered. There are a lot of lurkers that send me emails and PM's to this effect and thank me for offering a "dissenting opinion".
"Perpencity" and "desenting" and "the lurkers support me in email" and never met a pair of scare quotes that didn't make you positively giddy — but you wonder why some of us are a wee bit skeptical about betting our writing careers on your advice? And why we're not quite ready to tell other writers that they should bet their writing careers and a book they love on your advice? Really? That's still a mystery to you?

Kevin, you and Robin have both been consistently rude, snotty, condescending, evasive, and utterly unpleasant in this room. Yet you feel completely free to insult other writers here, twist and misrepresent their words, and then say that *I* run a board with a double standard because I dare to let people disagree with you?

Get lost. Both of you. Get the hell off my website.

I'm sick to death of the misinformation, disinformation, propaganda, and outright bald-faced lies that some of you insist on spreading like it's gospel truth. Go start your own damned cheerleader forum where no one gets to post rebuttals, ask questions, challenge assertions, or disagree with your awesomeness and mighty self-publishing guru-ness and wisdom(!!11!), and good luck with it.

You can read the entire thread yourself to see if Kevin or I were grossly out of line. I'd be interested to hear what others think?


rdlecoeur said...

I had my doubts about you wasting any of your valuable time over on 'absolute harridans' when you mentioned previously that you were a frequent visitor to that 'site.'
They once provided a useful 'writer beware' warning about unscrupulous agents/publishers, but I gave up on them in 2007/8 when the vitriol about POD being the end of the world became just too much. They were wrong about that and about E-books and will continue to be wrong about just about everything that isn't written with a quill, passed through 'professionals'
and sold in the low hundreds.
I must say that I also question you giving this site the oxygen of coverage whereas it ought to be left to wither and die as the anachronism that it has undoubtedly become.

Robin Sullivan said...

I think it is always good to listen to "all sides" that doesn't mean they'll change my opinions, but I don't want to make the same mistake that they are and put my fingers in my ears and go "la la la la - I can't hear you".

Besides they give me great ideas of things I need to talk about here. ;-)

Lexi said...

Goodness me. I've never joined that site because it struck me as being dominated by people with closed minds who spend way too much time on the AW forums confirming each other's prejudices. Anyone with another viewpoint gets ignored or set upon.

The owner has a strange lack of insight into her own behaviour - motes and beams would come to mind, except I don't see you had a mote in your eye :o)

David Gaughran said...

Hi Robin,

As a member of Absolute Write since January 2009, I have been extremely dismayed with the increasingly hostile attitude to anyone who displays a positive attitude towards self-publishing.

As you know, I have been in many of the same threads as you, and I have witnessed first-hand the same small group of people attack you over and over again. Throughout it all, you have kept your cool, and answered them with facts. I don't know how you did it, but you did.

I think your ban was 100% baseless.

The golden rule of Absolute Write is supposed to be "respect your fellow writer". I have been seeing precious little respect towards any writer who expresses an interest in self-publishing.

In the two-and-a-half years that I have been a member - an active member - I never got into an argument with anybody. That is, until I said I was considering self-publishing. Once I did that, the knives were out.

I fully expect to be banned next (I have been threatened with it before). I suspect the only reason I haven't been banned was that I am working on a tight deadline to get an MS off to my editor, and haven't posted there in a few days.

I think this situation is a pity for a couple of reasons. First off, outside of the self-publishing threads, there is a lot of great information on Absolute Write, and they provide an invaluable service in warning writers of unscrupulous agents and dodgy publishing companies. Second, you have provided some excellent information and resources yourself, and your contribution will be missed.

Unfortunately, a lot of the information on self-publishing there is bogus and seems to be fuelled by a reflexive need to defend trade publishing at all costs, no matter what point is being made. Personally, I think this approach will ultimately do a disservice to writers, which is a shame for the reasons I have mentioned above.

To give one recent example, I made a comment recently that agents were approaching self-published writers. I was mocked, one Absolute Write stalwart told me to "get real", and others laughed at the idea that agents would have time to scour the Kindle rankings with so many submissions to deal with.

I responded with a list of 10 or 15 writers from Kindle Boards who had been approached in just the last few months. But facts don't satisfy these people.

I remember a thread from 2008 when Mark Coker joined the forum to tell people about Smashwords. He was castigated, with several posters inferring he was a scam artist. I remember he impressed me with his coolness too.

A lot of these people are invested in the current system in one way or another, and their voices are becoming more shrill to block out the changes that are unfolding right in front of them.

But if they want to deny what's happening, that's their loss.

You have my support Robin, and my sympathy for such treatment. Keep fighting the good fight.


Katja said...

I can't trust any forum, that has admins/moderators behaving like ill raised children.

John Twipnook said...

Hi Robin,

I said a while ago on Writer's Cafe that you should not expend any more effort on those guys--let the blind follow the blind. AW has good info but as you know, the spirit of discussion concerning self-publishing is insidiously, inexplicably negative.

I'm sorry you were treated so cruelly. But at least (and of course this is self-interested me!), you will now be able to focus more energy on WC and your own blog!

You're an inspiration to entrepreneurial independent authors. We respect you, we appreciate you. Keep up the good work!

Take care,


Terry Mixon said...

I've never been a member of AW, mostly because of the venomous atmosphere when self-publishing is brought up. I'd already decided to go this route when I found out they existed. I'm glad I never joined.

I think their behavior is dispicable. I'm sorry you've been treated badly here. I'm inspired by how classy your response has been. I hope that people that are members there start a discussion about the banning and the completely unacceptable language in the private message you posted.

Thank you and keep doing what you do.

Robert Bruce Thompson said...

First, I think banning the two of you was ridiculous. These people are obviously threatened by the self-publishing phenomenon, so they put their fingers in their ears and run around in circles shouting.

Second, the one valid point I noticed is that your posts sometimes have many typos and misspellings, which reduces your credibility. Have you considered using a browser that includes an in-line spell-checker? (For example, Firefox just flagged a word in this post that I'd spelled incorrectly.)

T.J. Dotson said...

There is only so much time you can waste on people. My suggestion it that you chalk this unpleasantness up to 'experience' and move on.

You are a successful and intelligent woman,who is forging a new frontier. Focus on all that you've achieved this year. While you're publishing and selling books, your detractors are riding the 'submission-go-round'. Most of them will never be published, and if they are won't see much profit from their work.

Success is always the best revenge. Good luck and I look forward to reading more of your posts, with helpful publishing advice!

Alex F. Fayle said...

I may be shooting myself in the foot marketing-wise, but I stay off writing forums of almost any sort (other than Forward Motion Writers which I adore) for that exact reason.

Many forums seem to be full of people who like to whine, complain and pull others down with them. This was very much the case in the self-development field when I was blogging and working in that area and it's true for writing forums it seems.

Michael J. Sullivan said...

@Robert - it happens here as well - I try to get content out as quickly as possible and no I don't go over it afterward. To be honest if I worried about editing I would post 10% what I do know and its just not worth it to me. When I'm in editing mode - I edit. When I post on forums it is just stream of consciousness. I know it bugs people but it's my preferred way of operating if that means they don't listen so be it.

Michael J. Sullivan said...

@John - of the things that I find so interesting is that it seems obvious to me, David, Kevin, and others here that they have a bias against self publishing and yet they deny that is the case over and over again.

Robin Sullivan said...

oops didn't realize I was logged in to Michael's email account - the last two remarks were from me.

kathie said...

Robin--your work is stellar...
@alex--I'm not sure you're shooting yourself in the foot--the readership you're after goes far beyond other writers. I try to remind myself of that every time I feel guilty about not spending enough time on certain boards/blogs/pages. In my case, I think, most of my audience are non-writers. Not that I have scientific evidence, of course.

Sharper13x said...

I just followed the link over to that thread on AW. Wow.

This is a badge of honor banning.

People tend to clutch tightest to the things they've invested the most time and energy in. Like abusive spouses or trying out for American Idol every year. Charleton Heston couldn't prove to the Ape tribunal that humans could talk... even in his own words.

Kate said...

Hi! First of all, love the new look of your blog. Very classy. :)

Secondly, I've never been banned, but I imagine it must have been quite painful for you, especially since it seems like you've striven to do what you do on Kindlboards: provide helpful information, be professional, and bring some truth to a world in denial.

Hopefully, the warm comments of your many admirers will help toward soothing that wound. :) I myself bookmarked your blog long ago. Not because I self-publish, but because you are one of the only blogs I know of that provides info on BOTH industries, and promotes BOTH as viable options. I prefer to not close myself off to any option, despite what my current publishing choice may be.

KevinMc said...

Hey folks!

Robin, thanks very much for standing up with me over there. I *really* appreciate it. I feel like I couldn't be in better company. ;)

And yes, I do consider this a "badge of honor" banning. I've never been kicked off any site before, in about 20 years of internet use. I can't feel bad about breaking that streak for this, either, except that now there's two less voices there trying to provide a different point of view.

I probably should have given up a while ago, but like I said over on my blog, I have a tendency to "tilt when I should withdraw". ;)

Thanks again. =)
Kevin McLaughlin

(My full take on this is over at and for anyone curious.)

Abigail Hilton said...

Robin, I think you should wear this as a badge of honor. Dude! You were banned! If only they could have somehow banned your books! Nothing better for sales! :D I am so jealous.

And, seriously, your story serves as a warning to anyone looking at Absolute Write -

"Beware: Crazy People"

jnfr said...

I hadn't realized they'd tossed Kevin too. That's a real loss for the community over there, even if they don't understand that.

Hang in there, Robin, and please keep providing us with your very useful info.

J.A. Marlow said...

Wow. Just... wow.

AW used to be a nice site, although some of the regulars would seemingly attack people out of nowhere. It's one of the reasons that I never posted there, even though I had an account. Now the regulars are attacking everyone who has decided to go with the changing industry and ohmygoodness try to find readers and make some actual money?


AW is no longer a good place to go. Not for good balanced information. Not for anything unless you hold only one world-view of the publishing industry.

View it as a badge of honor. You stood your ground while still being polite. That's more than the regulars did. They should be ashamed of themselves (but they won't be. It's easier on their conscience.).

Suzanne Tyrpak said...


I know you from Kindleboards, and you've always been a voice of reason--a proponent of self-publishing combined with traditional publishing. So, I find it shocking that you were banded from AW.

I've never visited Absolute Writers, and I don't think I will. I'm just too busy writing, publishing and selling my books to put myself into such a hostile environment. And, yes, I'm making real money self-publishing!

A good friend of mine was a senior editor at Random House until a few years ago--when they fired most of the senior editors. I recently asked him if the publishers he knows (and he knows lots) are aware of what is going on with self-publishing. He said they're aware, but they're hiding their heads in the sand--seems like the admin at AW fits into that category.

Banning you is their loss.

CS McClellan/Catana said...

I'd heard that there was a strong bias against self-publishing on AW, but I also knew that there was a lot of valuable information there. I signed up a couple of months ago, but haven participated too much. I think your post confirms what I'd heard, and I'll be deleting my account there. I'm also familiar with Kevin from other sites, and he's never been anything but helpful, and concerned with the accuracy of his information.

Annie Bellet said...

AW has been getting less and less friendly and more and more mired in the myths as time goes on.

I read the whole thread that got you banned and I'm mostly just amused. Apparently it doesn't show a double standard to ban anyone who disagrees? Silliness.

You did nothing wrong, I just think AW isn't the place anymore for truth. :)

Jenny said...


I am extremely disapointed at the childish way you have acted over this.

I read the thread, and not only were you rude and obnoxious, disrespectful of anyone who had an opinion that didn't match yours, you frequently seem to pull figures out of your ass, citing them as fact, but you also came across as a very unprofessional and immature person to deal with.

In addition to your frequent rants and tantrums, you also, in this very post, INCORRECTLY quoted the moderator who banned you.

For those of you who have not read the whole thread where she was banned, let me tell you that the mod in question NEVER used an expletive, and for Robin to say so is, just like so many of her posts on AW, drawn from her imagination.

David Gaughran said...


I think the expletive refers to a private message that Robin received telling her of the ban. That's my reading of the above.

asrai said...

People believe what they want to believe. Anyone with half a brain who has been following the changes in the publishing industry could tell the difference.
My fave was the argument that quoted the contract specifications if the work has been previously published, rights must be with the author. Self-pub means you retain the rights. Also linking to people who have a vested interest in self-publishing failing is good times.

And the thread is closed because they won by banning you.

As long as you get a few blog posts from it, it is all good.

Anonymous said...

I am not taking sides on this matter, but I have been following with interest the Self publishing debates all over the internet.

Absolute write has always been good to me, and I cannot say a bad thing for them. If nothing else it's a great resource for information. I've never seen them ban anyone for no reason, from what I see it's usually a last resort.

Now, I don't know what else has gone on behind the scenes with this, but, based on the actual thread where you got banned, I have to mention a few things.

Because I have been following the threads, and the general debate, I have to point out that you didn't quite tell the truth in your blog post.

You cited a moderator as telling you to f*ck off, when they didn't. That sort of thing isn't cool. If they had said that, then fine, but they didn't, as you well know.

The actual post where you were banned is here perhaps you might want to reread.

David Gaughran said...


As I said above, I think the expletive Robin was quoting refers to a private message that Robin received telling her of the ban. Again, that's my reading of the above.

Sharper13x said...


Not only what Dave said, but she also posted the thing you linked to in her blog post, completely.

Anonymous said...

@David Gaughran

Ahh. I see.

But if that were the case she should have pointed that out. To infer something it wasn't is unprofessional, especially when she can't back it up by links etc.

Either way, it's a sad situation.

Jamie D. said...

I talked to MacAllister (the admin on AW) one day over a year ago on Twitter re: self-pub, and while our conversation was civil, she was very much against the whole self-pub thing, and anyone who dared to publish outside the lines, as it were (and she was very, very strident on that subject). I've popped into threads since at AW on occasion, and her personal strong bias is clearly the ruling influence there. I doubt she has any interest at all in allowing others to voice an opposing opinion, due to her own personal bias.

It's her board, of course, so she can run it as she likes...but I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone who's interested in a career as a writer. People should be free to make their own business decisions as they see fit, without being attacked for them.

It's an unhealthy environment, in my opinion. Respect is not to be taken lightly, and too many people over there don't show any for those who have differing opinions(including her - and I've seen that lack of respect from her on Twitter too after she decides to ban people).

Writers, beware indeed.

Robin Sullivan said...


Well you're reading of the post certainly differs from mine ;-)

You'll have to educate me on my misdeeds by pointing out the "rude and obnoxious" things I said. Because all I see are response to comments in a calm, cool, logical manner.

I'm not sure why you think my figures are "out of my ass". A big part of what I do is marketing and I study, report, and keep track of numbers. Just look around my site, and my posts online and you'll see that is the case. I assure you they all all accurate (unless I did a typo) again please tell me the number you question and I'll get you the data to support it.

I'm not sure what an unline tandtrum looks like - but I'm sure it involves bold and all caps and storming away or maybe even silencing someone so they can't respond. Oh wait...I do know what an online rant looks like. I think the one coming off childish in the thread was the moderator.

I did not misquote the moderator that banned me, and yes he used the expletive. It does not show up on the board - it showed up in a pop-up message as I tried to post. I'm sure its some admin feature where you add a comment when you ban someone. I just logged in and took a screen shot so you can see for yourself. If you think it has been photoshoped then ask the moderator directly - I'm sure he'll tell the truth as, while he's a hot-head and immature I don't suspect he'll lie especially when he accuses other of lieing without even citing the where it was that I supposedly did so.

Robin Sullivan said...

KevinMc - I also consider myself honored to be in your company. I've never seen you write anything but great posts online and it sounds like from others that know you from elsewhere that are consistently professional.

To be honest I've seen far more contentious threads on AW in the past. I was shocked that this was the one that got me banned as I wasn't the least bit frustrated.

As for standing up for you...I was simply agreeing with your posts which seemed in line to what I've observed on the subject. There are actually three threads on that single topic right now (not sure why) and so I wasn't actively reading all three. You were taking a pretty brutal beating in there so I was happy to provide someone else for them to swing at. - You need a wing man anytime - give me a call.

As for tilting rather than withdrawing - your posts were right on the money I'm not sure why you shouldn't speak your mind.

Robin Sullivan said...

@Abigail - you made me LOL - There should be a banner on the front page of the site with that on it like a sign warning about dogs who bite.

Robin Sullivan said...

@jnfr - will do - and thank you for your posts there. I don't think you post all that often but when you do they are "dead on the money" and I can remember a time or two where it was your response that kept me from blowing a gasket.

Robin Sullivan said...

@Annie - Yeah the hypocrisy of saying there is no "double standard" but then silencing someone so they can't respond is a bit ironic, isn't it?

Robin Sullivan said...

@clairewriteswords - read one of my other comments the "f - off" is in a message associated with my account I posted the screen shot or just ask the Mod - I'm sure he will fess up that he used that language.

Robin Sullivan said...

@ clairewriteswords said - I updated my post to make it provide clarity on where the explecative showed up.

Ryne said...

That forum's worse off without you, I'm sure. I've always enjoyed your posts over on Kindle Boards and am astounded at the behavior of the mod at AW.

I looked at the screenshot, and it's clear that it's really a screenshot of the forum. Some might say that it's a photoshop work, but it's too clean and has all the details of the website spot on.

I hope you find a good use of your time now that you have no reason to post there. :)

Robin Sullivan said...

@Jamie - Interesting to know. I have no problem with the Moderator, or anyone, expressing they don't like self-publishing. Heck they can even say that others shouldn't do so and make a case that they have "chosen poorly". What I don't get is the acusation of lying. I would be VERY interested to know what he thinks is inaccurate.

Rob Cornell said...

Clearly, that moderator is so married to his ideology of the publishing industry, talking reason and citing hard numbers will do nothing to change his mind--or his many acolytes on the site.

I'm with Joe on this one. "If you argue with idiots, you always lose."

Anonymous said...

First, they laugh at you. Then they get angry at you. Then they fight you. Then they ban you. Then you win.

Pretty sure there was a quote by some Indian sage that went along those lines.

Suzanne said...

Robin, I enjoy your well-researched posts here and on Kindleboards. Your reality checks are an asset to the writing community. Thank you.

Suzanne Adair

Unknown said...

I'm so glad you took that screenshot.

Unlike a lot of us, you don't need the forums for promotion. You were basically there spreading information as charity. So it's only their loss.

But I'm sure you planted seeds about previously unknown possibilities in a lot of people's minds who maybe didn't speak up.

Carradee said...

*scratches head* If you were an example of rudeness, I should've been banned already. I posted a snarky comment while in the middle of a migraine that came across completely the wrong way. (I apologized in-thread.)

Still, AbsoluteWrite's one place I had in mind when I posted last week on dismissive attitudes and publishing. I suspected things were about to get like this.

I'm sorry you were banned, Robin. I liked your posts on AW. An unconnected friend of mine just checked the thread and said that you and Kevin were the most rational ones there.

*sighs* Knowing me, I'm gonna have to speak up to say what you and Kevin would, now.


Nathan Shumate said...

Heh. Thought you should know: I show up on Absolute Write once in a blue moon, so I didn't see any of this drama taking place, but Michael A. Stackpole tweeted the link (very much in your corner). Anyone who pisses off the people you pissed off is obviously doing something right; consider me a new blog follower.

Nathan Shumate said...

And I'm only posting again because I forgot to check the "email follow-up comments" button.

MaryFrikkenPoppins said...

Hi Robin,

I'm a lurker at AW for this very reason. They are very unfriendly to people with dissenting opinions.
I read the self-pub forum with great interest and saw you, Kevin and Dave constantly having every post picked apart with demands to show data and publishing credibility. And there definitely was a glaring double standard because even though they required data from you, they felt they didn't need to post any of their own - and if they ever did it was out of date - by years!

I understand their caution. I think it's healthy. But what they did to you guys was wrong and terribly unproffesional.
And I remember the post the mod made before banning you the forum thread in question and actually feeling my jaw drop when I read the post! Using the F*word in that post telling you and Kevin to get the hell of the site. I literally couldn't believe my eyes.

They since removed it and about 5 other post from that thread and re-opened it.
Talk about a cover up. Ha! It makes me all the more glad you took that screen shot! Good for you! As others are saying, the moment they banned you, it hurt their own community.
Sucks for them.

Katja said...

@clairewriteswords is also missing that the admin has edited her original post since posting it. It's been cleaned a bit.

I regret not taking a screenie from the original. Maybe someone did?

J.A. Marlow said...

The original post the mod put up in the forum itself was definitely cleaned up. I saw the f-word as well. I didn't bother to take a screenshot because all it did was prove in spades why I haven't viewed AW worth my time in participation.

WJ MacGuffin said...

Hi Robin, A friend clued me into this situation as I just self-published a roleplaying game. I read all the comments in the Absolute Write post that got you banned and it's ridiculous.

First, I can see the double standard that Kevin talked about. Second, you did NOTHING worth a ban. You posted links, remained calm, and defended your position.

This is stupid and the mod is a jackass. Sorry you had to deal with this.

Robin Sullivan said...

andrewjcooper said...
First, they laugh at you. Then they get angry at you. Then they fight you. Then they ban you. Then you win.

Pretty sure there was a quote by some Indian sage that went along those lines.

Lol andrew - you are fight that is EXACTLY what Ghandi said word for word.

Robin Sullivan said...

Alan Ryker said...But I'm sure you planted seeds about previously unknown possibilities in a lot of people's minds who maybe didn't speak up.

That right there is the shame of it. That there will be less people challenging the 'party line' there now that Kevin and I have been silenced. I was lambasted on the forum because I mentioned there were many lurkers who appreciated my posts there. From comments here, on kindle boards, and Joe's blog (as well as PM and emails I receive this isindeed true). But those people are trapped in an environment where they really will only see one side of the equation. I feel bad that they won't be able to hear that there are choices.

Robin Sullivan said...

@carradee - I was intriqued and went looking for your post and you made some great points. Thanks for sharing it.

Unknown said...

I agree with what has been said. Your blog forum and online presence is definitely strong without AW. And, quite honnestly, if they can't handle change over there, it's gonna be a hard future for them.

Adam Pepper said...

Robin, I followed your discussions at AW, and think you handled yourself with grace and dignity in the face of a totally stacked deck against you. I engaged in some debate there myself, and really would go so far as to say I was looking to be talked out of going the self pub route. In the end, they really helped me make my mind up, as all their rebuttals to Joe’s arguments were pretty weak. I plan to launch my first self pubbed novel shortly. I really held back and bit my tongue numerous times, but what really bugged me was when I made a general statement, to no one in particular, which the mods deleted as apparently too inflammatory, and yet several regulars insulted me personally and directly, and no one batted an eyelash.

David Gaughran said...


I think a lot of people have shared your experience. But if they want an echo-chamber, there's not much we can do about it.

Robin Sullivan said...

@nathan - welcome glad to have you here.

flanneryohello said...

Wow. I've never frequented the AW forum (despite being aware of the site), and I can honestly say that I never will! There's nothing more annoying than the suppression of dissenting voices, especially in an online forum. That's what makes those places interesting...lively discussion and debate!

The funniest/saddest part about that whole thread is the way that those people just don't get it. My favorite was when someone posted links about self-publishing from years ago. The quote about how making 15,000 self-published sales is incredibly difficult because you have to sell each book "by hand", possibly from the trunk of your car? What a ridiculously outdated concept. Almost as outdated as all the warnings that bookstores don't want to stock self-published titles. Do these people really think that lack of physical shelf space in the (dying) brick-and-mortar bookstores is a reason not to self-publish? Really??

I also liked all the references to "self-publishing firms", as though all self-publishers are going to companies and paying them to "self-publish" their books. There's obviously a real lack of understanding on AW when it comes to what self-publishing is all about.

Anyway, I thought you were logical and fair in your responses. Given the staggering ignorance over there, I'm confident when I say that your banning is a real loss for that community.

You know, I've been trade published for six years now, but have had no problem whatsoever accepting that things are changing. And I'm excited about the changes! I see how they will benefit me, as an author. And I find that I don't care much about those published authors who insist on clinging to the old paradigm. I expect we'll all leave them in the dust. :)

Istvan Szabo, Ifj. said...

Robin. Absolute Write is one of the most unprofessional places on the planet for a writer.

I've been there, I also been banned because I had a different opinion which has came from personal experience. Of course I was called as a liar, because I was capable to defend my opinion. The owner and the moderators of AW are usually love to defame published and produced professionals (I'm this last one; award winning screenwriter / director.). And the worse is; the owner, the moderators and the core members love to give false advice to naive forum members.

The entire site is rather a big scam, powered by the endless ego of the owner and the moderators... ego without any real background.

Jacqvern said...

Hi :)

I didn't read all the comments, so I might repeat something someone else might have said.

My question is, what have you done about it? Because such a rude reaction from that site deserves much more disclosure, publicly.

I won't expand on the whole debate on indie & traditional publishing over the internet. Because first, it has gone beyond reasonably acceptable limits and second, I've stated too many times my opinion on the matter, both through posts and through comments on many articles.

Thank you for sharing :)

Jolea M. Harrison said...

Unbelievable. I joined AW in 2009. I don't post very much, but I read a lot. Your comments were in no way rude or any of the other things you were accused of. I found your tone completely professional. I don't get it, and I sure don't like it at all. I'll be frequenting other forums and blogs from here on.

Robin Sullivan said...

@Jacqvern said... My question is, what have you done about it? Because such a rude reaction from that site deserves much more disclosure, publicly

Jacqvern - I agree there should be more disclosure about what is going on at AW especially since I can't post there anymore to try to give a 2nd perspective. Both Kevin and I have blogged on the subject and I've seen some tweets going on. I'm very open to suggestions so if you have any let me know.

Unknown said...

pretty entertaining.

they ask for data, but when you give it to them, discount it as bunk. you give them context, they discount that as bunk. you give them first-hand knowledge and they discount that as bunk.

seems they should change their position from "we want data" to "we want data we like."

... well. that or "GET OFF MY LAWN!!!"

one or the other.


Anonymous said...

Really enjoy your blog, Robin. As someone who is considering publishing, your posts have been very informative. Thank you.

I read some of the longer threads in the self-publishing/pod category. I get the feeling that some of the regular posters do not like self-publishing. I was also amazed that it appears that many of the regular posters are editors with trade publishers or authors who have contracts with trade publishers. I wonder why they post as frequently as they do in the self-publishing/pod category. If they have such negative feelings toward self-publishing, including the moderators, it might do the website a world of good if the self-publish/pod category is just eliminated.


Robin Sullivan said...

@m3mnoch said...
they ask for data, but when you give it to them, discount it as bunk. you give them context, they discount that as bunk. you give them first-hand knowledge and they discount that as bunk.

You have no idea...I've posted data on self-publshed sales numbers, Amazon rankings, agents who have signed self-publisehed authors, contracts signed by self-published authors in every case it was completely dismissed out of hand. Their contention is that only outliers can make money self publishign when I pubilshed the names of 60+ people (none of who have ever hit the Amazon top 100) who are selling thousands of books a month they declared off of them as irrelevenat.

Frustrating to be sure - but I kept it up because others (those not posting) were finding value in what I was saying. Hopefuly they will continue to find me here on my blog, or on Kindle Boards where I regularlly post.

Robin Sullivan said...

@Anonymous well eliminating the self-publishing portions of the forum would give them no opportuntiy to convince people just how horribly wrong it is. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt that they truly believe they are doing this in order to help other authors, but I think they need to wake up and smell the coffee. The publishing industry has changed, if the refuse to adopt it themselves the least they can do is not ban those that have been successful from sharing their experiences.

Sandra Patterson said...

Robin you certainly didn't deserve this treatment. i was shocked at the response as I've always found your posts reasonable and patient in the face of open hostility. But it's yet another example of AW flouting its own "respect your fellow author" rule when it suits them. I have no axe to grind either way on the SP debate but to silence one side of the argument does no service to writers. I will be following you and Kevin from now on.

Isabella Amaris said...

hahaha that was incredibly funny... followed the link to the thread on AW, and was actually enjoying the debate between those commenting... didn't see any rude, snotty behaviour as such... but did feel that those commenting against self-publishing were largely coming from a place of annoyance or fear, even when they were giving good advice (which is ironic really, isn't it?).

All in all, am disappointed in AW. I remember when it felt good to visit the forum. Now, it feels a bit like a farce. I guess, like the publishing industry in general, times are a-changing, aren't they? This kind of banning sure speaks poorly of the site's understanding of freedom of speech. And, equally importantly, that the whole point of 'absolute write' is to talk about 'absolutely' all aspects of publishing, even if that causes some ruffling of feathers and conflict with established conventional wisdom. (Btw, how can one not see that 'conventional' wisdom might have to be tweaked and upgraded in 'non-conventional' times??)

Hahaha talk about double standards... Ludicrous that out of everyone there, only you and Kevin got banned, when some of the other comments could have been construed as truly offensive. And I can 'cite' em too:) Injustice, injustice...

Hope AW realises blatant injustice was done and fixes this so that writers of varying stripes feel comfortable voicing their thoughts in that forum once more...

Isabella Amaris said...

p.s. didn't see rude, snotty behaviour from you and Kevin, I mean... Unless honestly pointing out a double-standard you're seeing (whether others see it too or not) can be counted as rude...:D

Robin Sullivan said...

@Sandar - thanks - I'm already counting myself in the positive column from this experience as I got to meet Kevin and following his tweets have led me to some good sites of valuable information - glad to see you'll be following us.

Robin Sullivan said...

@isabella - I agree, banning sends a terrible message. The whole point of forums is to DISCUSS to SHARE experience and knowledge. It doesn't matter that not everyone agrees on everything as long as people are learning.

Anonymous said...


while i get the desire to make public individual experiences and all, I think that bitching about it all over the internet just wouldn't be classy, and would, in fact, lower people's professional opinions of you.

I think, in this case, that the point has been made, in clear and succinct way, and to launch a campaign of hate/exposure/blahblah would just undermine Robin's (or anyone else who did it) credibility.

No one wants to be that jerk whining on the net. Rise above it. Stay classy.

Anonymous said...

Someone mentioned deleting their AW account...anyone actually know how to do this?

Robin Sullivan said...

Sorry I don't but my guess is its somewhere off the "profile" area.

Melissa Douthit said...

Hi Robin!

I checked out the water cooler and read the comment thread. I think you're right. There is definitely a bias there.

I'm going to start posting and see if I can get myself banned too ... just for fun. =o) hehe


Melissa Douthit said...

Yay! I got banned too! Haha! Here is the message they sent me as I was typing up a response to one of the questions someone asked me:

You have been banned for the following reason:
Here. I'll help you find the door, since you're so obviously here from the Robin Sullivan fan club.
Date the ban will be lifted: Never

Okay so this is the message I posted in response to that whole thread that led to your banning:

Dear Lady A,

I read the thread you created: Can I try and traditionally publish after making a kindle/e-pubbing? I noticed that much of the advice people gave you on it is disinformation. As I was reading, I was thinking: “What planet have these people been on for past few years?” Now I understand why they are misinformed. It is because many of the people who replied to you are people who appear to be heavily invested in the traditional publishing world, a world that is going through some major changes. These people don’t know what is going on in the indie publishing world and if you want to know what that is, I will tell you.

To answer your question: the internet IS the new slush pile. I am an indie author who is just starting out (so it hasn’t happened to me) but I have many friends who are also indies, who have been doing this for a while and who are making very good money doing it. Reason being that they are seeing their sales go up and up. At first, they didn’t but it is a slow grow process and now they are seeing this. They also have been telling me that agents and traditional publishers have been approaching them left and right, offering them to sign on with them. Some are considering it. Others just brush them off.

The fact is that traditional publishers are watching Amazon closely ... very closely. They are paying attention to the sales data and trying to cherry pick from the best-selling kindle authors. Let me give you some top names: Amanda Hocking, Barry Eisler, Joe Konrath, David Dalglish, and John Locke. There are more.

I also know plenty of best-selling/award-winning authors who are straddling the fence - publishing with traditional publishers and doing it indie. I can give you a list of names for that if you would like as well.

If you are considering being published by a traditional publisher, the best way to do it is to publish on your own first - in both e-book and POD. If you need help trying to do this, there are many people out there who can help you, as well as online material that can teach you how.

Good luck! If you need anymore info, feel free to ask me.

Melissa Douthit said...

This is what MacAllister wrote to me in response:

First post on AW, even, straight to this room to re-open an argument from a locked thread. Curious, that.

Made even more special with that absolutely ludicrous assertion "If you are considering being published by a traditional publisher, the best way to do it is to publish on your own first - in both e-book and POD" -- which is patent nonsense.

We don't start new threads to continue the arguments that happen in closed threads, here, Lasournoise.

Please don't attempt to do this again.

Melissa Douthit said...

Here is what I said to him and then they banned me (I was an active member for, oh, about an hour):

MacAllister, I have a few questions for you:

“Made even more special with that absolutely ludicrous assertion "If you are considering being published by a traditional publisher, the best way to do it is to publish on your own first - in both e-book and POD" -- which is patent nonsense.”

This is ludicrous?! Are you joking?! Please, do explain. Please show me why this is ludicrous since the facts are that indie authors are being constantly approached by agents and traditional publishers. And the fact that traditional publishers are constantly watching the Amazon sales data for authors that stand out. It isn’t ludricrous. It is the truth. Are you afraid of it?

“We don't start new threads to continue the arguments that happen in closed threads, here, Lasournoise.”

Why was the thread closed in the first place?  Do you feel threatened by some of the comments that people placed on it?  Is that why those people were banned?  Because they told you the truth and you can't handle it?

“Please don't attempt to do this again.”

Don’t worry, I won’t even be reading or posting here anymore. It is obvious to me that this forum is controlled by Big Brother who doesn’t want to hear what is really going on and who has to censor anyone who tells him the truth.

caughtintheact said...

I think that Mac really needs to shut down the self-publishing portion of the forum and ban anyone who says they are going to do it. That would keep down the flame wars that constantly erupt because it's clear that Mac and the rest of that crowd need everyone to go through the experiences of searching for an agent and a publisher in order to validate their own choices. The thought of the changes that are taking place in the publishing industry clearly terrifies them, and so they just deny everything and attack anyone who dares to speak such blasphemy.
I've found the posts by Robin, Kevin McLaughlin and dgaughran to be among the few who actually knew what they were talking about, and weren't self-important wankers who seem to believe that it builds character to do things their way. I found it ludicrous that people who rather obviously knew nothing about self-publishing kept perpetuating negative stereotypes about it, all in the name of helping writers make the right decisions and not believe false information about self-publishing. What a joke.

Anonymous said...

Your banning was undoubtedly not about imaginary prejudice against self-publishing. There are many members who self-publish and work in e-publishing. Traditional publishing is treated just as roughly on the site. I learned to get a tougher skin about writing, and not keep playing with fire when I got burned.

If AW is so terrible then I humbly request for some one to show me a more active, more diverse site with more accomplished authors.

Fran Becker said...

I don't think that the behavior of anyone trolling is acceptable. And it just came out childish and rather sad.

I think something that some posters here have missed is that many, many of the people on AW, including many of the mods there, have self published, some very successfully.

Yes, many of the discussions over there got pretty heated, but usually that was a few select people who felt strongly about the issue.

I have NEVER seen anyone there say 'don't self publish' but I have seen many people question information, and I have also seen a lot of people say that SP is the only way to go and then get defensive and rude about it.

There are many people who SP very successfully, and many of them are at AW. But instead of making the most of the information and experience there, SOME people would rather throw out misinformation and vitriol in some sort of personal SP crusade. That's not helping anyone.

If you have something useful to contribute then brilliant, everyone, everywhere would love to hear it. But trolling boards she showing yourself up on the net is not the way to share you expertise.

Melissa Douthit said...

Dear Fran,

Did you see what Mac wrote to Robin when she was banned?

"You have been banned for the following reason:

Just get the hell off my site. You're relentlessly snotty, rude, and you're a fucking bald-faced liar. I'm done with you.

Date the ban will be lifted: Never"

Robin even has a screenshot of it.

So, do you think that is acceptable?

Just curious.


Anonymous said...

I'm glad that people have passion over it, but sad that it got out of hand. I've been in and out of fights on AW all week, most accidentally and sometimes thoughtlessly. I apologize and pick myself up and try to stick to a clear point.

Is AW rough? Definitely. It's full of people who have opinions and some of them have a very straightforward way of saying things. But at least they are honest, and many of them will turn from seemingly being your enemy to being someone you could count as a friend. Just gotta be able to shake it off or show some humility and flexibility.

Are they all against SP? lol, that's kind of absurd. Everything and everybody takes their knocks, eventually. Everything is equally scrutinized.

Melissa Douthit said...

Anonymous, I agree with you but the fact that Mac is banning and censoring people from speaking their mind on the site is just wrong, not to mention going against the principle of free speech.

I don't EVER see Robin do that on her blog, and believe me, I have said some things on here that people DO NOT agree with. And yet, she still lets me post my opinion without banning me or telling me what to do. That is the correct approach and I have a great deal of respect for her because of it.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, one of the worst ways to gain support for your position is behavior like this. Sending sock puppets and trolls to stir up trouble on a writers forum is neither mature nor professional--behavior, in fact, which not only reflects badly upon the individuals involved but also upon the platform which you support.

I went to AW and checked into the post history of both of you, and I understand why you were banned.You and Kevin were banned because of serial behavior--disparaging comments to people who disagreed with your position, rude comments about the site and the writers on it, and claiming there was a 'double standard' because not everyone at AW agreed with every assertion you made. And it's a shame the situation has come down to this. A serious shame. This is certainly not the behavior that a professional in any industry should exhibit.

AW discusses all aspects of writing from all points of view. Amazingly, the board admins didn't include several other threads and posters in their anti-self-publishing pogrom this week, including several authors who posted their self-publishing figures on the site. So if AW is so anti-self publishing, why are those threads there?

Because the people who were turning the conversation about self-publishing into ugliness are gone. Amazing how that works.

Self-publishing has a place in the industry, no doubt about it. But in this, as in every conversation at an international writing site, both sides must be willing to listen. Both sides must show respect. Both sides must be tolerant.

But no one in their right mind should accuse a community with tens thousand members of having a 'double standard' just because they don't like being disagreed with.

And sending silly people in to troll and stir up trouble is unprofessional, immature and ridiculous. This reflects poorly upon you and Ridan Publishing, and I really hate to see it.

I was with you to a point in this brouhaha about being banned. But after checking your past posts and now seeing this, I think you should take a harder look at yourself and your behavior before you waste your time whining about others.

Just my two cents. I'm sure you'll delete this as soon as you read it, but I'll send a troll in tomorrow to post another version.

Celina Summers said...

Wow Robin--seriously? You sent someone to AW to cause trouble and raise more bad feelings over this whole silly situation--one you brought on yourself? And then she comes back here and brags about it?


This is NOT the way a publisher should act. A twelve year old maybe, but not someone who self-represents as a professional.

People were disagreeing with you, so you threw a tizzy and started throwing out accusations while your sidekick was making rude, personal comments--uncalled for comments about someone he did not know--and you're whining because you got tossed out? And now this?

Well, best of luck to you in the future. I hope you don't burn all your bridges as badly as you burned this one.

Melissa Douthit said...


Robin didn't send me. I went in on my own to see if she was right about the site and I found out that she was. Furthermore, I will be telling people I know to avoid that site at all costs as it is filled with members who share a very biased viewpoint and who definitely engage in a double standard.

P.S. I think it is very brave of you to post as Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

Robin didn't send me. I went in on my own to see if she was right about the site and I found out that she was. Furthermore, I will be telling people I know to avoid that site at all costs as it is filled with members who share a very biased viewpoint and who definitely engage in a double standard

I think you are addressing the wrong person.

If you are going to tell them to avoid AW, then what site do you recommend? Again, I'd sincrely like to be pointed to a site that is as large and active, which has as many or more accomplished, published writers who are also active members.

I've learned so much from this site, and if I met you and you deterred me from it and later I realized what I missed out on, I'd certainly want to kick you quite hard in the shin. It's not always a pleasant, everyone must love each other place, but it's held together with respect and truth.

Melissa Douthit said...

Dear Anonymous,

I will direct people to these sites:

Kris Rusch:

Dean Smith:

The Passive Voice:

I have more if you would like me to post them. These sites are where you will get very valuable information - much better information than on AW. Check them out. I think you will be surprised.


Melissa Douthit said...

Dear Celina,

Robin didn't send me. I went in on my own to see if she was right about the site and I found out that she was.

Also, did you not see what Mac wrote to her:

"Just get the hell off my site. You're relentlessly snotty, rude, and you're a fucking bald-faced liar. I'm done with you."

As far as I'm concerned, she is better off not associating with someone like that or anyone who follows him.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the links, Melissa. They weren't what I had in mind, however. I should have specified, because I shouldn't expect anyone to be a mind reader.

See, the trouble with those sites imo is that while they may have wonderful advice, tips, info, and what else, they are written by one person (unless I'm mistaken). The thing I treasure about AW is that everyone can ask questions, everyone can share their knowledge, ect. So, I'm pretty much asking for a forum (or some newfangled cousin of a forum). If there exists one, I'd certainly love to expand my opportunities for knowledge.

And I hope that no other Anonymous shows up, or else this will get confusing...

Melissa Douthit said...

Dear Anonymous,

Yeah, you're right. They are written by one person. But, you can still share info and questions in the comments. That is where everyone talks to each other about the issues. I do recommend it.

As far as a forum, I will look into it for you and ask some friends. Seriously, I will get back to you on that. That's a good question.

One thing I am certain of, there has to be something better than AW. To be honest, the moment I got onto that site and saw all the "rules" and "regulations" and "proper terminology," I knew that there was something not quite right about it - that members of the site would not be free to express their opinions and expertise.

It's too bad because, you're right, there is a lot of good information there posted by smart people.


Anonymous said...

I understand your concern about censorship. It's the big threat of the internet, something that I truly oppose. (Hah, and me using the name Anonymous.)

Compared to other sites I've been on, where potentially controversial subjects were not even allowed to be touched upon, and where bad language itself could get you a ban, AW has really been much more liberating. I haven't seen many "Rules". Many of the posts that resemble that are guidelines to posters about the subforum, FAQs, or a warning to those who think they can jump into a hot-water area unscathed (ex: asking "Why do gays have to flaunt their sexuality?" in the LGBTQ areas and expecting to not get dogpiled.

Certainly, I've found that AW is much more freeing about what you can post. I've had discussions over abortion, religion, murder, rape, and other touchy, touchy subjects. People tend to get banned only if they find themselves crossing the line and decide to keep going, anyway.

I do find Mac's harsh language shocking to my delicate sensibilities, but it's a site for adult people. Cursing is not sensored. Also, I hardly know what was said in private messages.

Rob Cornell said...

"If AW is so terrible then I humbly request for some one to show me a more active, more diverse site with more accomplished authors.


Backspace is run by professionals. Has hundreds of professional members (ones you've actually heard of, btw). Has one of the most successful writer's conferences associated with it. Has endorsements and participation from such bestsellers as Lee Child, David Morrell, Kay Hooper, Karen Dionne (who runs the site), Marcus Sakey, Robert Browne, Tasha Alexander... The list goes on. I could be here all day.

Backspace makes AW look like amateur hour. (Which, from what I've seen, it is.)

Anonymous said...

Hi, guilt-ridden for my english but motionless learning. I non-standard genuine like your blog. I habitually wanted to also deceive its alo someway I deficit the time. Just so forth.

Bill said...

@ Melissa Douthit

The only 'rules' at AW is 'respect your fellow writer' which is a very good rule for everyone.

There are no other general rules, although I see you referred to a 'rule' about correct terminology - that was a thread that came up because some self published writers on the board decided that they were ashamed of being self published (I believe both Robin and Kevin were among those who argued their point ad nauseum) and decided to call themselves 'indie' instead. I get that it sounds cooler than SP, but if you were so pro-SP then why do you need to adopt a cooler terminology?

At the same time those people displayed their own ignorance of the industry, the term 'independent' already has a meaning, and it's not what you would like it to mean.

Melissa Douthit said...


There are few more rules than that. Take a look at the newbie quidelines.

Also, I wasn't being disrespectful. I was stating a fact when I said that people were misinformed about the indie publishing world. I said that because they are. It is obvious. Even just your comment about us "adopting" the term indie authors (which means independently published authors) shows your ignorance. We didn't make that up. Everyone in the indie world is using that term because of what it means - independently published, meaning independent of traditional publishers.

Add this to fact that the site also insists that traditional publishing be called trade publishing, when everyone else in the world is calling it traditional publishing. This proves the bias on that site. You want to avoid the word "traditional" because traditional implies that it was something done in the past, something that is fading because new ways are being discovered (which is what is happening). Traditional is the perfect word for it.

I think it is rich that you talk about the site "rule" being "respect for other writers," when the site manager calls people "relentlessly snotty, rude, and you're a fucking bald-faced liars."

Did you see the message that Mac sent to Robin when she was banned:

"Just get the hell off my site. You're relentlessly snotty, rude, and you're a fucking bald-faced liar. I'm done with you."

And you're sitting here talking about respect for other writers. How ironic!

Melissa Douthit said...

Also, to all those AW advocates, I think it is interesting that Fran, Celine et al. describe "trolling" the AW site as being rude and unacceptable and yet, they have no qualms about coming over to Robin's blog and doing the exact same thing.

Yet again, another double standard.

Melissa Douthit said...

Rob, I checked out Backspace. You're right. Much better than AW.

Anonymous said...

You've all heard the phrase "Absolute power corrupts absolutely." I think there is a reason the site is called Absolute Write.

Anonymous said...

I have to be honest. I ended up avoiding many of the threads Robin got involved in because I found her to be rude and snotty. I also found the way in which she constantly spoke about herself and Micheal as one person disturbing, saying she self-published when referring to her husband. I've been a member a long time and I have never seen double standards. What I have seen is any bias views dissected to an inch of their life. I do include Robin's biased views and figures set up to reflect her own opinion instead of the reality of publishing. I have never read the rules in AW and yet still never managed to get myself banned. The fact remains it wasn't just one thread that Robin posted on. It was many and she constantly left people with more experience having to sort through her fantasy information for the truth. I plan to SP at some point and the information I have received from AW and the experienced members there has been invaluable. I don't blame the mods at all for banning Robin after being repeatedly pushed to their limits. I'm going anonymous because I won't be back to check on comments and I am done with this sorry situation.

Melissa Douthit said...

As I said before, you anons are very brave for posting anonymously. Very respectable.

Anonymous said...


Delude yourself all you want sweetie, you're still a sad and pathetic girl trolling on the net because she is too immature to understand how the real world works.

Come back when you have a clue.

Melissa Douthit said...

Dear Anon,

Hey Sweetie, no thank you. I will never be returning to that site. Robin and the others were right about it. It is a waste of time to be a member there.

It is funny that you come here and "troll" under Anonymous. And you call me sad and pathetic?

As to how the real world works (as far as indie publishing is concerned), most on that site don't really have a clue. But I won't bother trying to tell them. Eventually they will find out.

Anonymous said...

@ Melissa

And how is YOUR writing career going?



Melissa Douthit said...

Dear Anon,

My writing career is going well, actually. It is interesting that many on that site think that I have never published. I have. That just shows me that people on that site make false assumptions and tout them as truth without researching or looking into the facts. And I could tell everyone there how my sales are doing if I thought anyone would listen. But from what I gather, most on that site seem to have selective hearing.

I have read much of what people on that site seem to think as far as publishing and making money. They seem to think the best way is to seek out agents and trad publishers. Before anyone comes to that conclusion, I highly recommend reading Kris Rusch's blog:

Read her Changing Times blogs and Surviving the Transition. She has given a lot of good information on contracts offered by trad pubs and agents that will scare the pants off you. Please, read it. You will be surprised.

I also recommend the Passive Voice. There are others if you want me to give you a list.

But don't assume that I don't know what I'm talking about or that I don't have experience in this, because that is wrong. I think that is what people on AW assume when someone disagrees with them. So I will never be returning to that site.

Anonymous said...

An earlier comment I left has been removed. I agreed with the banning. Funny how that happens on a blog going on about censorship. It automatically makes me wonder how many other comments agreeing with the ban and disagreeing with Robin have been removed. It seems the comments are manipulated as much as the figures and facts presented on AW by Robin.

Melissa Douthit said...


I don't think your comment was removed. Robin doesn't do that. I think an error occurred because I looked for your comment just after I got the email and it wasn't there. That wouldn't have given her enough time to read and remove it. Also, I think she is not even reading these comments right now. I haven't heard from her.

If you want your comment shown, here it is - I copied from the email I got:

Anon said:

"I have to be honest. I ended up avoiding many of the threads Robin got involved in because I found her to be rude and snotty. I also found the way in which she constantly spoke about herself and Micheal as one person disturbing, saying she self-published when referring to her husband. I've been a member a long time and I have never seen double standards. What I have seen is any bias views dissected to an inch of their life. I do include Robin's biased views and figures set up to reflect her own opinion instead of the reality of publishing. I have never read the rules in AW and yet still never managed to get myself banned. The fact remains it wasn't just one thread that Robin posted on. It was many and she constantly left people with more experience having to sort through her fantasy information for the truth. I plan to SP at some point and the information I have received from AW and the experienced members there has been invaluable. I don't blame the mods at all for banning Robin after being repeatedly pushed to their limits. I'm going anonymous because I won't be back to check on comments and I am done with this sorry situation."

Tara Maya said...

Robin, I've seen your comments around on a number of different sites and blogs. I also read the thread. You've never been anything but unfailingly polite and helpful. I think what was done to you was extremely unfair.

I've enjoyed AW and I have to admit this shocked me... not in a good way. I've very disappointed in AW.

Sadly, I've seen this bias in more than one writer's group, although never so blatantly.

Tara Maya
The Unfinished Song: Initiate

AnonymousCoward said...

On AW the whole issue of "approved terminology" in regards to self-publishing really turned me off. Watching those circular arguments go around and around is enough to make a person dizzy. I think too many of them are writing just to hear themselves write, and have forgotten that it's not about the writer, it's about the reader.

Melissa Douthit said...

Wow! That was really well said, Anon!

Anonymous said...

Note: I'm only commenting anonymously because my Google Account is tied to my profession, which has nothing to do with writing. For the record, I am Roger J. Carlson, long-time AW member.

My question @Robin is this:

How many sales are you willing to sacrifice for this campaign against AW? Currently, AW has 33,792 registered members, and it has a significant SF/F population.

I don't see how any publisher, let alone a small, independent, can afford to potentially alienate that many people.

I purchased several of Michael's books because of your recommendation as an AW member. Can you give me a reason to purchase the rest when you've gone to such lengths to bad mouth a community that I love?

I can't.

Abigail Hilton said...

Oh, for the love of Cerberus. People, please stop feeding the trolls on this thread. There's a very handy article on reviews two entries up. Go read that, implement it, and talk about it.

If you love AW, go there. Take their advice, bask in their glory, include them in your book's dedication. If you do not love AW, forget them. Never speak of them, link them, or visit them. You kill a site with silence, not angry words. Scrappy forums take up a lot of valuable writing time, so take this opportunity to re-focus on what matters: writing.

Robin, I don't know if you read John Scalzi's blog, but his no-apologies, my-house-my-rules attitude towards managing his very popular (and sometimes controversial) blog is refreshing and might help if you're feeling discouraged or overwhelmed.

Anonymous said...

Roger (Anonymous). MacAllister used to ban everyone without any true reason... well, actually there is one reason; you think something otherwise (Be it professional matter or personal matter). Let's face it; she is an unprofessional racist hypocrite, who loves to hear her own voice.

AW is an unprofessional place where the owners are using trolling and confrontation to defame published people, to sell an agenda, to disinform naive writers and to gather fans. They're confronting published authors. They ban them. Then they simply tweet their loyal followers about their great accomplishment, while they're presenting themselves as the victims. I've already seen this few times. AW is love to defame published authors, just as they did with Robin and Kevin.

You said; professionals are visiting AW. Actually not really as they're banning professionals who is capable to tell how things are actually working in the business. These people usually don't like the AW brainwashing (As the site is a actually brainwashing naive, young writers.). If you look after the so called "professionals" on AW, most of them are not professionals at all. Actually I never about most of them (Only AW is advertising them as professionals.).

Anonymous said...

Oh, and Roger.
"AW has 33,792 registered members"

And only around thousand ACTIVE members. The rest... they've been banned or simply left the place.

Robin Sullivan said...

Wow. I've not been to this thread in 5 days and a lot has happened -- Lol.

A few things.

1 - As has been pointed out here I never sent anyone to AW as a troll or otherwise.

2 - Stating an opinion that you should self-publish first is not "utter nonsense" - and is certainly not a position that should get you banned.

3 - The fact that such an opinion, or those expressed by Kevin or myself IS grounds for banning IS a huge problem - it is censorship.

4 - I've never deleted anyone comments here (nor would I ever). Posts here are not-moderated so you can post and they immediately get put up but Blogger does do some "spam filtering" and it sometimes gets it wrong. I found some posts in the spam area that as soon as I found them I made them go live.

5 - I agree with caughtintheact in that it would be better to just shut down that portion of the site. If the people who run AW want to present just one option in regards to publishing - so be it but to say you'll discuss all paths but then censor anyone who speaks up on one side does make it biased.

6 - My posts on AW were never an attempt to troll. They were/are my honest opinions. The fact that they would erupt into heated debates is because I expressed a dissenting opinion.

7 - As far as AW being "so terrible" - I think that is the sad thing about all of this. Is that it is a great community and has been a resource for writers - but now that people are being banned for talking about the changes in the industry locks its participants in an "old world" prison where information is prevented from being shared.

Robin Sullivan said...

8 - To the person who posted the following...."disparaging comments to people who disagreed with your position" - Please point out these "disparaging comments" - Yes I disagreed with people but please re-quote where I did this - because frankly I just don't see it.

9 - To the person who posted..."AW discusses all aspects of writing from all points of view." is just bluntly untrue as myself, Kevin, and now Melissa - who posted something very benign are not able to discuss anything.

10 - As to other forums - Kindle Boards is a great one. In many ways KB and AW are like Fox News and other news outlets (I'm not saying who is which in this equation by the way). What I mean by this is both look at the same information from two different mindsets. If you were to listen to both - then make your own mind up - I think you'd have a good balanced approach.

11 - The "Rule" of AW is don't disrespect others I think it is applied with a very uneven hand.

12 - As for Fran, Celine, and Anon people posting here - I welcome your input and opinions.

13 - As for ... "saying she self-published when referring to her husband." The Mods at AW (In particular Old Hack) said I must refer to Michael as "self published" because he was not vetted through an independent house.

14 - As for ... "It was many and she constantly left people with more experience having to sort through her fantasy information for the truth." - I've never "made up" information. All figures I've posted were either from my own sales records or what others have posted that were "supportable" based on their Amazon rankings.

15- To Roger J. Carlson - I have no "campaign" against AW. I do think they are wrong to ban people - and I wish they would stop doing so. I think these are times of great change and all writers need to know what is going on out there to make good decisions about their careers. I will continue to talk about the changes in the industry as I feel strongly about it. I doubt it has any effect on my sales, but even if it does - would I be a better person for being silent in order to chase the all mighty buck? I'm not "bad mouthing" a community you love - I'm asking that community to allow all voices to be heard.

16 - Abagail - I've not read John's my house my rules (though Konrath has the same one). I feel in order not to be hypocritical that I need to let all opinions be aired here - so I will not censor any comments made. I must say though there were a few in here that went over the line from a "disparaging" standpoint - especially the "racist" comment - I've never seen MacAlister step anywhere near that line.

17 - I'll agree with the following: If you look after the so called "professionals" on AW, most of them are not professionals at all."
Most of the people there have a few books out from small independent presses with minimal sales.

Anonymous said...

There has been unfair treatment on AW for more than one member. That will never change. It's a private site. The owner and her mods can and do whatever they like.

Sandee said...


Can you point out the thread on AW where the mods told you that you must refer to your husband as self published?

I'm curious to see what will happen to Ridian when your biggest author jumps ship.

Robin Sullivan said...

It's part of their whole "terminology" post

In general - on AW I got nicked for however I referred to Michael. If I said "self" - they would say "he's got the weight of a "indie publisher" behind him. If I said he was small press published - they said no he's not be independently vetted so he's self.

Robin Sullivan said...

Anon - While I agree it is a private site and they can do whatever they wish, I just think it is a shame as others coming to the site think it is a "general purpose" site about publishing and the bans mean they don't get the whole picture.

Anonymous said...

>>Oh, and Roger.
"AW has 33,792 registered members"

And only around thousand ACTIVE members. <<

That are logged in at a given *time*. Not everybody who reads and enjoys the board will log in, b/c you simply don't have to.

This blog is one of the more bitter, angrier, and unnervingly childish blogs I've come across.

Anonymous said...

"This blog is one of the more bitter, angrier, and unnervingly childish blogs I've come across."

Anon, if you want bitter, angry, or childish, go hang out over there at the AW water cooler. That is the most unprofessional site I have ever visited. I just checked it out these past few days. I won't be back.

Nathan Shumate said...

I think Anon (two back) left out part of his final sentence:

"I disagree with you. Therefore..."

Anonymous said...

'This blog is one of the more bitter, angrier, and unnervingly childish blogs I've come across.'

I couldn't agree more.

I don't usually comment on these things, but whoever you are, you're right.

Melissa Douthit said...

"'This blog is one of the more bitter, angrier, and unnervingly childish blogs I've come across.'

I couldn't agree more.

I don't usually comment on these things, but whoever you are, you're right."

And yet you are the ones still coming over to her blog to troll and post comments on how bitter, angry and childish *she* is. And you all do it under Anonymous. Interesting ...

Anonymous said...

"And yet you are the ones still coming over to her blog to troll and post comments on how bitter, angry and childish *she* is. And you all do it under Anonymous. Interesting ..."

Omg, haha, that's exactly right!

Anonymous said...

Those people over *there* and I think I don't have to specify where, have no idea what they are talking about. I've been over to the forum too. They are the ones on the Titanic standing around trying to convince themselves that they are on an unsinkable ship while the smart people are rushing for the life boats.

Ah well, what can you do ...

Robin Sullivan said...

I'm neither bitter nor angry, and for you to post that I am really just shows that you haven't taken the time to read the blog. I have no reason to be bitter, I'm succeeding in a field where many "professionals" still have their day jobs to pay the mortgage or because they can't afford to fund their own health insurance. What's authors are quitting their day jobs and supporting themselves and their families. I have nothing but a positive outlook and know that if I continue write on the changes in the industry it will help those that do open up their eyes and for those that don't...Well I think they'll be the bitter ones because they'll spend years struggling. It's a new world of opportunities for those with minds open enough to embrace it.

Anonymous said...

"I have nothing but a positive outlook and know that if I continue write on the changes in the industry it will help those that do open up their eyes"

It has been helping, Robin! Thank you for doing these blog posts for us! The information is invaluable.

Robin Sullivan said...

Thanks Anonymous!!

Anonymous said...

AbsoluteWrite was a decent site when Jenna was at the helm, but as soon as she turned it over to that moronic Mac it started a downhill slide that put it in the shape it's in now. Some people should NOT be a position of power and Mac is the poster child wrong leadership.
As soon as her main clique start in on someone she jumps in and starts threatening to ban them. What a child!

I don't know if you've noticed, but if you say one thing that is deemed anti-gay you are just about finished at AW. Mac being an "in your face" kind of lesbian, and all. On the other hand, if you kiss her ass like the "old-timers" consistantly do, she will be your friend for life. I've never said anything against that life-style, I just watched as those who did were banned. Of course, that is not the official reason.

When Jenna was the owner people could have a heated debate in TIO until it died down, or completely flamed out of hand before it was stopped. Now TIO is mostly pictures of locks.
That follows what another commenter said about "spiteful children" and that is exactly how Mac and the mods treat everybody. Only the old-timers take it and tuck their tails. Willing to put with being treated like kids just to post on the boards.

AbsoluteWrite is a community of wanna-bes without spines.

Melissa Douthit said...


"Spiteful children" - that's exactly what I thought. AW is the most unprofessional site I have ever visited. I think I hold the record for being the member who was banned in the shortest amount of time. =o)

And you know what is interesting? Members from the site have been coming to my blog and posting nasty comments, which I delete, trying to get me to engage with them. Yeah, they're not going to get too far with that.

So Mac is a lesbian? Huh, interesting. No wonder I thought she was a he.

A.D. said...

Here is my opinion and advice on forums. I've opened the comments section in case you disagree with any or all of it.

Anonymous said...

Melissa said:
"So Mac is a lesbian? Huh, interesting. No wonder I thought she was a he."

LOL, only in her dreams.

NotRoger said...

"AW has 33,792 registered members"

Not active members, but big deal. AW has alienated twice that many.

Of course, Mac will reward you with an attaboy for your effort. Good boy!

A.D. (again) said...

I'm going to try and make a clickable link to my thoughts on writer's forums to make it easier on everyone. I haven't tried this in years, so if I do it wrong please delete it before the AW trolls can laugh at me!

I wasn't banned from AW, I just opened my eyes, looked around and figured out that AW was not the place to be, unless you are a hard-core follower.

My Opinions

Robin Sullivan said...

The link worked - good job A.D. I added some comments over there.

A.D. said...

Thanks! Not sure if this is relevant, but I thought it was interesting. If not, you have a delete button and it won't hurt my feelings.

AW is always begging for money, but it doesn't seem that they are all that interested in paying their teachers. Where's the "respect" they say is the #1 rule?


Al Stevens said...

Robin, I observed the banning only today while cruising some old threads after reading veiled references to it on another thread. My reaction was that I was witnessing a meltdown. It sucked all the air out of the room. I couldn't believe it.

If they're monitoring this blog, I will probably get a FU message, too, the next time I log in. Oh, well. I've been thrown out of worse saloons.

I have experienced some hostility over there, but I never really understood why. I thought it might be because I'm an oldtimer with a lot of publishing credits. But from a previous era. Or it might be because I'm a congenital smartass. That's always been a problem. I recently got climbed all over because I mentioned that I've never used an agent, thus implying that it's possible to succeed without one. I guess that's a big no-no. And I've self-published, too. Oh, the shame.

The best part of AW is the SYW section. I've had nice exchanges there with other writers, got excellent feedback on some of my work, and recruited a dynamite beta reader from among the membership.

But, it sounds like I'm trying to make this about me. It isn't. It's about you and Kevin. What did it cost you? Not much I'm guessing. I think most people who saw the implosion reacted as I did. Disbelief. You are now denied access to a platform that did not welcome you. Kind of like wearing a Malcolm X T-shirt to a KKK rally. My guess is that some of the moderators were stunned, too.

I'm a successfully published author (over-the-hill, that is, aka retired). When you open for submissions again, let me know. If I have something ready, I'll send it. That's your reward for taking all that guff and enduring the faux humiliation. You get an unsolicited query from a has-been.

I grew up in Lorton and get to Springfield and Fairfax quite a lot. Family. Maybe we can meet some time.

Chin up, stiff upper lip, let a smile be your umbrella, and don't let the bed bugs bite.

Robin Sullivan said...

Thanks Al - Being kicked out doesn't bother me nearly as much as the fact that the board is so one sided that people going there for advice will only get one side.

They are very "by the book" there. (No pun intended) so yeah - write for years, get an agent...accept a crappy contract and declare, "I've made it."

There is no room for "daring to think that there could be more or a different path."

Necia Phoenix said...

I know I am finding this a bit late, sadly it doesn't surprise me. There are other better places to go and if they don't want you there, your information, insight and experience will be appreciated elsewhere.

I have in the past enjoyed AW, but more and more the "feel" of the place has become troubling. I don't go there often, usually just to say hi to a couple of the friends I have over there, but other than that **shrugs**

Just for fyi, Forward Motion for Writers has recently opened an Indi board over here:

(I'm eblgorton over there)

I know for a fact that you would be very welcome in case you ever decide to drop by.

Robin Sullivan said...

Thanks Necia...I'll check out that site. I'm on self-imposed not getting tied up in the Interwebs as I have a ton of editing I HAVE to get done but once I finish this I'll check it out.

Anonymous said...

I just got banned at AW after disagreeing that the average self-publisher sells zero copies. I wish I would have read this post and never joined in the first place.

Robin Sullivan said...

Anon - sorry to see you also got banned. You are the fourth person that I know that has been banned from there for expressing opinions that go against what publishing convention used to be.

Actually, now adays the self publishers are pulling in MUCH higher numbers than traditional published authors. I had 5 author's in July sell more than 1,000 copies. The lowest was 1,200 the highest was 5,500 and July was a slow month. In June I had one just barely miss 20,000 and another at 9,500. So yes the "small guys" are selling very well.

Melissa Douthit said...

"Actually, now adays the self publishers are pulling in MUCH higher numbers than traditional published authors. I had 5 author's in July sell more than 1,000 copies. The lowest was 1,200 the highest was 5,500 and July was a slow month. In June I had one just barely miss 20,000 and another at 9,500. So yes the "small guys" are selling very well."

Holy moly! You must be doing something right, Robin! I've had my three titles out for month, and so far I've had very few sales. But I have heard that when you are unknown and you first start off, it takes a while to build a platform.

Robin Sullivan said...

Yes, it takes a while to build a platform - start early, do a bit at a time and you'll get there.

Megan Payne said...

Well, I didn't get all the way through the comments, but Holly Lisle has forum boards that are excellent. Most are linked to her courses, but those are well-developed to handle trad or indie.

Robin Sullivan said...

Thanks for the recommendation Megan - do you have a link?

Anonymous said...

Magnificent! (As usual. :-P )

Anonymous said...

Well, I was banned three days ago from AW.

"You have been banned for the following reason:
You're on a free message board, where hundreds of people with a LOT of excellent professional experience ARE offering the benefit of their knowledge, insight, and ability to others...for free. You're done here.
Date the ban will be lifted: Never"

The reason? I refused to help someone who fails at her work for a publisher to do her work for her for free. I told her if she wanted me to do her job, she'd have to pay me handsomely. A sarcastic remark. I even added an evil smilie. Despite over 1,700 posts on AW, most of them helpful comments in Basic Writing, Novels and SYW, I was banned for 'not offering my advice for free'.

Mac's tweet immediately afterward: "I got rid of two chronic assholes today and I don't feel any remorse."

The other 'chronic asshole' she refers to is ColoradoMom, who has a successful marketing plan that she doesn't want to share for free because she intends to self-publish it.

I'm not self-published, I'm not leaning one way or the other, my novel is under consideration at a NY Publishing House. I spend my time at AW helping others, and now I get ousted for being an 'information leech'.

If you're a member on AW, you can check my credentials - do a search for AmsterdamAssassin and see how often I asked for help/information and how often I shared my information/knowledge freely.

There were members who offered to petition Mac to reinstate me, but I don't want them to: It might jeopardize their standing in the AW community to support a banned member, and I don't wish to be part of a suppressive forum anymore.

Melissa Douthit said...


Welcome to the group! I wouldn't worry about it. That site is so unprofessional it isn't even funny. If Mac keeps it up, pretty soon no one will be left.

Robin Sullivan said...

amsterdamassassin Sorry to hear about your banning - I really don't know what the hell is up with Mac and it hurts the site not to have people with good information participate.

I'm really sorry to hear about ColaradoMom's banning as well. I remember that handle (used to use a duck (IIRC) and her posts were always very constructive and on point.


Mystere said...

Disclosure notice: Never been to AW, have no idea who Robin Sullivan is apart from what I've read here.

After visiting three or four of the links to the comments referenced in Ms. Sullivan's blog entry, I can only say:

"Madre de Dios, can those people at AW bring the stupid or whaaat?" (vbeg)

Jan S.

Patricia said...

AW is an odd site indeed. Most forums on there seem to cater to a small clique of users who pat each other's backs. Any newcomer who doesn't kiss the buts of the "old regime" will be labeled a troll at the slightest provocation. Especially criticisms of agents are regarded as highly pernicious.

One of the most egregious offenders on that site is a loud-mouthed female author of trashy sex novels, who posts dozens of messages daily. She usually tries to bait people with remarks about how she knows it all in the business. Once you take the bait, she will attack you, and once that happens her whole circle of online buddies will descend upon you like a pack of ravenous jackals.

It baffles me why the moderators just let this happen, since it's so totally obvious what is going on. In the time I have been on AW I have seen many people be kicked out through intervention of this woman. And yes, I am on the verge of being banned as well because of her.

Yes, there is a lot of information on AW, but the bulk of it can be found in the so-called "stickies", and you don't have to be logged in to view them. Still, even that information can be found elsewhere as well.

I'd advise everybody to steer clear off AW. It might have been a good site in the past, but the mob mentality ruins is for many, especially new and inexperienced writers. I wonder how many people have actually been discouraged by that lot rather than helped.

Anonymous said...

Deb Doyle, James D. MacDonald's wife and writing companion, is now lauding self publishing. Yep, Deb's got her own book doctoring gig going and that scabrous curmudgeon of a husband of hers even put this information under his avatar on the AW Water Cooler. Of course, James D. changes what he's selling often and is now tauting an e-book he's written titled "Witch's Garden" or some such dross. What hypocrites these so-called experts are! MacDonald even claims he's only a "shaggy assed midlist writer" but judging from his Amazon book sales ratings, he's much further below even being a midp-list nobody. He's a real bottom feeder in the publishing world and seems to be sinking fast. Judging from what James D. MacDonald is selling on the AW Water Cooler, luck's turned for the worst and he's visibly lost both agent and commercial publishers. It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

Anonymous said...

Is Mac Stone a he, a she, or an it? I have no dog in this fight, but I'd like to know the real dog in the fight. lol.

Stanley Gears said...

For Pete's sake, leave poor Mac alone. Whatever she is, she is, and that's her business. The real misfits are the James D. MacDonalds, the Victoria Strausses and the A.C. Crispens who run into the ground anything that isn't in the traditional vein of publishing. Call them trolls, call them puppets, call them anything but real authorities on publishing. For the record, I'm very much against so called, self-appointed experts who claim to have a monopoly on experience and publishing wisdom. Publishing is taking a different course these days and self-publishing is definitely making some serious strides. Change intimidates people and the moderators on AW want to keep the status quo because they're whores to the system.

Anonymous said...

AW is pretty laughable indeed. I joined three years ago (account still in good standing, BTW) and quit frequenting the site after about a month and a few "discussions".

If a person is into writing and needs a sounding board, a local writing group is probably a much better place to start than AW. If you're a writer at the intermediate level, you're not going to gain anything from AW. It always seemed that the site was more about networking and navigating the publishing system anyways. From what I've seen and experienced at AW, their into indoctrinating new "writers" (mostly young writers with dreams of millions) into the old system. Also, be aware that there are more than a few agents and publishers that frequent the site to scout talent. If there is a "new" way that would jeopardize their old businesses practices, of course the feathers are going to ruffle and hairs bristle.

Anonymous said...

"If AW is so terrible then I humbly request for some one to show me a more active, more diverse site with more accomplished authors."

More accomplished writers don't hang out on forums, so I have noticed. They are too busy writing and tending to their fans *wink*

Anonymous said...

"If AW is so terrible then I humbly request for some one to show me a more active, more diverse site with more accomplished authors."

More accomplished writers don't hang out on forums, so I have noticed. They are too busy writing, tending to their fans, and spending their royalty checks *wink*

T.L.S Clarke said...

My recent experiences has only been confirmed by what I have read in the comments.

Although I am wading in way after the rest of the party has left, I have to say that I am a little disturbed by what I have encounters.

Terms like militant self-publishers (have to use that word as indie is banned through implementation of strict guidelines.)

I stopped for a breath between writing my next project. Ugly.

I think I'll gracefully and quietly exit, stage left, and take the advice of some posters by finding a local writers group. We can talk about writing. Not delivery methodology.

I had no idea the camp was so divided.

Anonymous said...

Perѕonally, Ι аm betωeеn cliеnts at the inside, so sіmplу look at me and I
attribute the гaspberry ketonеs world.
Τhe сells break doωn the rate аt whісh your body оf impuritieѕ among othеr items you buy
the best гesults when pounds ωere gоne.

Also visit mу site best raspberry ketone supplement

Anonymous said...

Greetings fгom Colοrаdο! I'm bored to tears at work so I decided to browse your blog on my iphone during lunch break. I really like the knowledge you provide here and can't ωаit
tο takе a look when Ι get home. I'm amazed at how quick your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I'm not eνen using WIFI, just
3G .. Anуhow, aωeѕomе blog!

Stоp bу my blog ρoѕt - http://www.greenhellracingteam.De/Index.php/gaestebuch

Heroin Heroine said...

The people that run AW are morons and I NEVER go there anymore.

My problem began with a post where OP asked how to write on the sly at work. Instead of offering tips on that topic, OP received a barrage of criticism about how it is unethical to use work time to write.

When I posted that the OP did not ask about the ethics, that obviously he/she was fine with that and simply wanted to know how to do it, etc. I was attacked per typical AW style.

Eventually I was warned that I was being watched, etc. Like I honestly care? It's a substandard forum filled with people who know nothing about the writing biz. The comments about cliques is def true.

Do they honestly think they're hurting people by banning them? It's a crap board ran by idiots.

Anonymous said...

AW seems to have the better interest of writers at heart; however, it's operated by unscrupulous vindictive types. Don't ever say anything on AW that conflicts with opinions of the owner or the mods. The AW terrorists will be looking for you. Besides, when I'm researching publishers and agents, I don't have time to go through 67 threads to find a good one through all the bad. A much better watchdog is P & E, which is a no-nonsense site with standards it adheres to - anybody who's rejected by an agent or publisher on AW can log in and begin slinging slander around.

What kills me is the utter phoniness of these people. They go after book doctors, vanity presses, rogue agents charging fees. Good. No, actually, that's great. Yet who is advertising on all those banner ads? Check out their home page, it's a hoot. Every one of the "25 Worst of the Worst" has a banner running underneath the Absolute Write flag. AW's making money and equivocating through example. If they're so much against graft in the publishing business, why do they put these cons underneath their flag on page 1? It must be because the AW gang is nothing more than a bunch of cons, too.

Anonymous said...

Just turned the AW switch to their homepage and guess what? No banner ads. LOL, I about fell out of my chair I laughed so hard!

What charlatans, what schizoids!

I took some time and poked around and wha'da'ya'know, they're still there, flying above many other pages! Literary services, book doctors, subsidy publishers, cover designers, even what might even be rogue agencies, in full bloom! On AW, the vanguard protection site for writers!

I can't be too critical, though. They do a good job as watchdogs, I guess. But they're so damned nuclear about it all. I could write three chapters in what it takes me to go through a thread with 167 pages of accusation, innuendo and yes, even some truths.

I'm sticking to P & E. They sum up in three sentences what the more verbose AW takes a tome to explain. I just don't have the time. What I want to know is how all those so-called writing experts on AW have time to write all their books when they're posting 10 hours a day on AW? They must either never sleep or never write anything they can actually sell. Of course, maybe they're making some $$$ from all their banner advertisements.

Anonymous said...

You have made some good points there. I looked on the internet
for additional information about the issue and found most people
will go along with your views on this web site.

Also visit my website Gafas聽Oakley Baratas

Anonymous said...

Superb site you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any discussion boards that cover the same topics
discussed here? I'd really like to be a part of online community where I can get feedback from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Bless you!

Have a look at my page; Christian Louboutin Outlet

Anonymous said...

Hey there! I know this is kinda off topic however , I'd figured I'd ask.
Would you be interested in trading links or maybe guest writing a blog post or vice-versa?
My site goes over a lot of the same topics as yours and
I feel we could greatly benefit from each other. If you are interested feel
free to shoot me an email. I look forward to hearing from you!
Fantastic blog by the way!

my web page :: Abercrombie Pas Cher ()

Anonymous said...

Very descriptive blog, I enjoyed that bit. Will there be
a part 2?

Here is my web-site - Tory Burch Handbags

Anonymous said...

I think it would be great if this blog went a little more viral. It'd be nice if some, if not all, of these very informative comments appeared on others' blogs.

Back to the subject of Absolute Write, however. I can't get over the utter hypocrisy of its management. One of the site's leading "supermods," James D. MacDonald, is always ridiculing literary services, self-publishing, vanity presses, fee-charging agents, etc. etc. Yet his wife, Dr. Deb Doyle, has an advertisement that runs continuously as an AW banner ad (see Dr. Doyle's Editorial & Critique Services - a piss-brown banner that usually appears at the bottom of AW pages).

James D. MacDonald is always promoting "Yog's Law," wherein money should always flow back to the writer. According to Doyle's business practices, however, this is not the case. If you click her advertisement, here's her fees: "What I will charge: for a typical (e.g., 80,000-100,000 word) novel, $1000, paid in advance via check or PayPal. For a flat fee of $100, I will critique and line-edit your short story or the first chapter/first 5000 words of your novel. (Novelists who later opt for a full line edit/critique will be entitled to a $100 discount on their fee.)"

This is money going back to the writer, alright. It's money going back to Doyle and MacDonald, who are supposedly vanguards for such scams as this.

Anonymous said...

Right now it seems like Drupal is the preferred blogging platform out
there right now. (from what I've read) Is that what you're using on your blog?

Here is my site :: Sac A Main Louis Vuitton

Anonymous said...

It looks like our comments have attracted the AW trollers! They have commercial websites, foreign websites etc. etc. and they want this blog, probably to use their advanced computer skills to undergo some forensics research! Again, these phonies are always lambasting others for trolling their sites but what are they doing here? The same. Don't you a-holes have anything better to do? Like write all those "best-selling" masterpieces you publish on smishsmash? Get real.

Anonymous said...

Hi! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog.
Is it tough to set up your own blog? I'm not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast. I'm
thinking about creating my own but I'm not sure where to begin. Do you have any points or suggestions? Appreciate it

Here is my blog - Louis Vuitton Pas Cher

Hansen said...

Did you know that Absolute Write's mod, Macallister Stone has been outed as Lisa Spangenberg and not only called out for sockpuppeting, but trying to boost ratings of her own book? Unbelievable.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Crikey. I thought it was just me that found Absolute Spite a cliquey, authoritarian, hierarchical place run by arrogant humourless schoolteacher types who delight in putting people down. Apparently not!



I've also been banned by absolute write.

Silly me, I didn't know it was a "fake" site - that isn't about helping writers anymore, but makes money by clicking on every page. They aren't going to want me telling them to go to JOHN GUY COLLICK's web-site to read my postings under NEVILLE HURT in order to learn more about using that difficult program : DRAMATICA PRO.

Yes, I'm asking you all to take a look - but many writers find that program hard to fathom out, and they would greatly improve their work if they could understand it.

Anyway, I posted on AW since Victoria Strauss recommended it on her HATERS GONNA HATE - that will follow her around like a bad smell for the rest of her born days !

I trusted that wise, kind lady - but she advertises her self-published books on AW.

Now, I can set the cat among the pigeons. On her page - CHRIS JOHNSON is supposed to be a supermoderator. He spells out that banning is a last resort, and tells us that the owners are the nicest people he has ever met.

ROT - and if you click on the name-link - YOU ARE TAKEN TO ANOTHER CHRIS JOHNSON.
A Dr. Chris Johnson in Minnesota ! ! !

I also post on Michaeljimdonagh - "why I left AW" - and he used to be known as - MOOKIE.

Hope you can see that AW is awful, and sadly we shouldn't listen to Vic Strauss !

Unknown said...

I’ve also just been banned for life.

No warnings whatsoever! I don’t think I will go near another writing forum again after this :(((
I asked them what I did wrong, someone emailed me saying ‘they are not a spamming mill - and you are banned forever’.
When I posted my article I saw a link that you can link your blog address to, so I did that. Apparently this is evil spanning in their books lol!

Best alternative is to just build up a wordpress or blogger community and be in charge.
They are nothing but a negative/evil community that I will personally avoid like the plague.

Cheers Ash

Anonymous said...

Man, I had no idea there were other people as unsatisfied with the Water Cooler. I implied it on Twitter, but it took me ten years to finish writing this one novella, because the forum crushed my self-esteem so badly.

-- LWFlouisa

Anonymous said...

I got banned there tonight. Want to know why? Because I made the mistake of posting in a political thread, and I dared to politely and respectfully express an opinion that differed from the extreme far left crowd there.

First, AW Admin responded to my comment with, "Bullshit. Get off my server." At that point, I had just PM'ed him (or her?) asking them to delete my account. So I guess it was mutual.

I don't think I've ever seen a more hostile crowd.