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April 20, 2006

Barbara Bauer takes action! (*yawn*)
Posted by Teresa at 11:24 AM *

Remember that thing I posted the other day about scam agent Barbara Bauer, who resents being on Writer Beware’s 20 Worst Agents list, and has been throwing around cease-and-desist letters and empty threats of legal action in an effort to suppress the list?

Who knew she reads Making Light?

This morning, Patrick and I were informed that she contacted a highly-placed Holtzbrinck exec* to complain that we’d libeled her on a Tor website, and threaten legal action. You may imagine how thrilled high corporate was to hear about that. We told them not to waste a single moment worrying about it.

Here’s how smart Barbara Bauer is:
1. Making Light is not and never has been a Tor website. Patrick and I work for Tor, and Jim Macdonald and Mike Ford are sometimes published by Tor; but that’s as far as it goes.

2. It’s not libel if it’s true. Which it was: Barbara Bauer is on the list, and she does (manifestly!) threaten legal action against sites that post it. All of which can easily be confirmed using outside sources; so what’s her gripe?

3. Fake legal threats do nothing for one’s credibility. She’s probably threatened a dozen or more websites by now. All she’s doing is publicizing her spot on the 20 Worst Agents list. Can we say Googlejuice?
Want to strike a blow against scam agents? Link to the 20 Worst Agents list. While you’re at it, link to Writer Beware and Preditors and Editors. You could even link to Everything you wanted to know about literary agents and On the getting of agents. But the 20 Worst Agents list—that’s the important one.
Comments on Barbara Bauer takes action! (*yawn*):
#2 ::: James Goodman ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 12:46 PM:

Link to the 20 Worst Agents list.

List posted complete with links. Let the word be spread far and wide...

#3 ::: beth meacham ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 12:58 PM:

Good grief. Why do people imagine that Making Light is a corporate site? Must be because they're stupid.

Sorry that happened!

#4 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 01:03 PM:

And if I poke him this way, he goes Waahh!

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 01:06 PM:

It's okay, Beth. It's been a while since anyone's phoned my superiors, trying to get me fired. It used to happen a lot oftener.

#6 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 01:08 PM:
Who knew she reads Making Light?
I was actually waiting for her to show up in the comments thread.

Your "On the getting of agents" link in your last para is blank, btw. I think you wanted it to go here. (That's the URL I filled in when I reposted that para at my blog.)

#8 ::: jennie ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 01:28 PM:

All linked.

Do they have a special person at Holtzbrinck to deal with complaints about you and Patrick and any other outspoken editors, they way the Barrayarans have on Beta Colony? I have this image in my head of an exec-secretary type with a headset and a manicure and an advanced degree in dealing with weirdos.

#9 ::: jennie ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 01:32 PM:

Please to understand that by weirdos I meant "folks who think that Making Light is a Tor website, or that a corporation can or should have any say over what its employees say on their personal websites and call said corporation to try to get said employees fired," not "the people about whom the calls are being made."

It just occurred to me that one could read my post above either way.

#10 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 01:43 PM:

Jennie: Nah, we roll our own.

#11 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 02:01 PM:

Your helpless mind slave at Ansible, unable to resist the steely thrust of the Making Light engrams, has updated our links page....

#12 ::: Rebecca ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 02:05 PM:

Jennie: I think that sounds like a nifty story idea...

#13 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 02:53 PM:

Linked in both of my sites.

#14 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 03:05 PM:

It's got its own special spot on my sidebar -- no rolling of the front page for this one.

Come on, Google!

#17 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 04:46 PM:

While linking to the list of the twenty worst, here are another couple of places y'all can link to.

Miss Snark

Writers Net

#18 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 04:50 PM:

Linked.

Re: Barbara Bauer - Aside from her allegedly unethical practises, why would you want a woman as your agent who showed such a poor grasp of legalities, acted clearly unprofessionally, and made a habit of pissing off editors and others in the writing communities?

#20 ::: Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 06:12 PM:

But are you going after her with malice of forethought?

#21 ::: Darice Moore ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 06:39 PM:

Done, and gladly.

#22 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 06:47 PM:

Now on my place-keeper index page at my ordinary webpage for ordinary people

#23 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 06:54 PM:

Teresa: Yep, that works. (The shout-out in the title attribute made me blush.)

Miss Snark is teh awesome. I think y'all pointed out her own response to the 20 Worst list already (and how she added a dishonorary 21st), so I won't go hunt that post up at this time.

#24 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 07:44 PM:

Sounds like somebody is a few commas short of a copyedit.

#25 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 08:33 PM:

Teresa:

It's not libel if it's true. Which it was: Barbara Bauer is on the list, and she does (manifestly!) threaten legal action against sites that post it. All of which can easily be confirmed using outside sources; so what's her gripe?

Actually, that's not strictly accurate. Libel is (loosely speaking) text that's untrue and defamatory to character. Barbara Bauer might be able to show that she's been libelled because you said she's on a list of worst agents if she can demonstrate--which she might be able to do--that, in doing so, you were saying she is a crook.

But she would have to demonstrate that she doesn't deserve to be on that list, which is a whole 'nother thing entirely.

In most American jurisdictions, the person who repeats a libel is also guilty of libel, even if they attribute the libel to the initial source.

All of this is an oversimplification, but it's true enough for the purposes of this discussion. If you're taking Ms. Bauer's threats at all seriously, talk to a libel lawyer, don't listen to me.

#26 ::: Writerious ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 09:26 PM:

Funny, isn't it, how people who are doing wrong in the first place are so quick to attack and threaten when they are caught? It's the old "blame the victim" mentality, like the burglar who, when caught by the police that the homeowners called, yells, "I'll get you for that!"

If the lovely Barbara had just done right in the first place, no one would be saying these things about her.

#27 ::: Bianca MarOu ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 09:55 PM:

Thank you for the links and the warnings. I find them very helpful.

#28 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 10:37 PM:

In other news, Writer Beware is reporting that Melanie Mills, aka The Mother Squasher, plead guilty to charges and was sentenced. Too bad those charges weren't for her activities as an agent and she was given credit for time served in a Canadian prison, but at least she's being deported and the Canadians have already convicted her for fraud, if I recall correctly, for her activities in a fraudulent literary convention scheme. Hopefully, they'll keep a close watch on her.

#29 ::: C.E. Petit ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 10:43 PM:

IAAL, and under either New York or New Jersey law Bauer has no claim for libel (or slander per se). "Crook" is, as a matter of law, not defamatory without more, and more context (such as concerning a politician or other person of "special trust in the eyes of the public," to quote a leading New York appellate opinion).

And that's before one gets to the truthfulness (or not) of the underlying statement. I'm satisfied that what was stated is accurate, and more probably an understatement. (I'm mean to Victoria and Ann about that.)

#30 ::: claire ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 10:44 PM:

have link, will warn. thanks for keeping everyone up to date on this!

#31 ::: Georgiana ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 11:02 PM:

Mission accomplished.

Dave Kuzminski - that's good news, thanks for the update.

#32 ::: Rivka ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 11:10 PM:

A libel suit threat!

I feel such a kinship with you guys right now. Good luck.

#33 ::: Rebecca ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2006, 11:33 PM:

I linked too. yay everyone!

#34 ::: Larry Kestenbaum ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2006, 12:49 AM:

I'm late to the party (hey, it was a four hour drive to this conference), but I've linked from my blog too.

#35 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2006, 01:57 AM:

C.E. Petit: Interesting. Thanks.

"IAAL" = "I Am A Lawyer"?

#36 ::: Matt D ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2006, 05:33 AM:

That's just what I want. An agent that runs around throwing hysterical, unfounded complaints toward large publishers.

#37 ::: Larry Kestenbaum ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2006, 07:28 AM:

Mitch: Yes. FWIW, IAAL, too.

#38 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2006, 08:51 AM:

Tor Books and the First Armored Division!

Is it always vanity press type people (fake agents, that R*ckoids guy) who try to get you fired? Is there something about them, perhaps that leads them to hate the thought of real editors doing their real job?

#39 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2006, 10:50 AM:

A little more GoogleJuice added...

#40 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2006, 01:18 PM:

Tor Books and the First Armored Division!

Now I'm picturing Teresa in her fedora commanding that tank in the pink cozy and the pompom on the barrel. I am quite enjoying her maniacal glee.

#41 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2006, 02:27 PM:

I only ride 'em, I don't know what makes 'em work.

#42 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2006, 04:06 PM:

The links I didn't already have, I added. Must dash....

#43 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2006, 05:08 PM:

Barbara Bauer might be able to show that she's been libelled because you said she's on a list of worst agents if she can demonstrate--which she might be able to do--that, in doing so, you were saying she is a crook.

As I understand it, the list was compiled based both on the number of complaints the site received about different agencies and the agencies' track record for successfully representing writers and their books with publishers.

Both the number of complaints received and the track record are verifiable. I don't see how it could be considered libellous to report them.

#44 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2006, 07:18 PM:

Another Barbara Bauer story:

heehee AMEN BROTHER! I spent 3 months working for a scam agent -- the Barbara Bauer Literary Agency. I should have known it was sketchy when she held my interview at Newark Airport. o.O

Crazy tales abound, but my favorite has nothing to do with scamming. Her "office" was really her garage. There was no heat. To keep me warm, she would do laundry, and the dryer exhaust would vent into the garage. When she ran out of laundry, work was over for the day.

#45 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2006, 07:25 PM:

So the wages of sin are lint?

#46 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2006, 08:38 PM:

Rather contradicts "Cleanliness is next to Godliness".

#47 ::: Vian ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2006, 11:22 PM:

Wasn't Joe Gordon nominally fired from Waterstones over comments he made in his private blog? Totally different legal system, of course, and he was vindicated in the end, but still, it made the blood run cold to think a workplace felt it had the right to dictate what its employees did in their copious free time. I'm glad Tor is more sensible about the whole thing.

Of course, the fact that a union rep was fired here yesterday for allegedly smirking at his boss, and another union rep was fired for defending him made my blood run pretty cold to start with. It generated a good headline though; Where there's smirk there's fire.

#48 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2006, 02:01 AM:

Joe Gordon was fired for criticizing his employers on his blog. It was a bonehead move on Waterstone's part, but the situation is not analogous to what's going on here, since Teresa is not criticizing Tor.

#49 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: April 22, 2006, 07:35 AM:

Sounds like what God made Typepad Typelists for. My site is rebuilding just now. Shortly these important links will appear on the lower right sidebar of all 1200-odd pages of my very Google-juicy site.

#51 ::: Irene Radford ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2006, 11:46 AM:

Thanks for the links. They are going on the writers workshop page of my website. I'm adding you to my favorite links.

Irene

#52 ::: Janna Silverstein ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2006, 12:30 PM:

Links posted here.

(Hi! ::wave wave::)

#53 ::: john ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2006, 05:04 PM:

linked

#54 ::: P J Evans sees still more comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2006, 01:01 PM:

Up to nine threads, now!

#55 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2006, 04:02 PM:

Are all nine of them marked with flags like yours?

#56 ::: P J evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2006, 04:18 PM:

James: No, but the spam messages are all of the same form. I only marked three. I believe a few more have been tagged. They all came in within a period of maybe half an hour, and mostly on older threads.
Walter on 'Dumbest of the twenty worst'
Gunnar on 'Seizing countrol of the debate'
Tristin on 'April Fools, 2006'
Isaac on 'The post with the most'
Darryl on 'Roomba costumes'
are still there

#57 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2006, 05:33 PM:

They're all gone now.

If anyone sees comment spam, please flag it. That'll make it easier for the roving moderators to find and delete it.

#59 ::: Alan Yee ::: (view all by) ::: May 23, 2006, 11:05 PM:

NEWS FLASH: Holy shit, Barbara Bauer has temporarily shut down Absolute Write, thanks to my big mouth and my big mouth alone (except for Jim unfortunately, Jenna told me). I know it was me because I was the one who wrote a long post just yesterday with many uses of the word "scam" in connection with "Barbara Bauer, Ph.D." and "The Barbara Bauer Literary Agency." I thought it was quite clear that this woman has a very short fuse and is not very well-versed or convincing, but Jenna's web hosts don't seem to see that. I thought Barbara Bauer's threats were so baseless and hollow that NO ONE would believe her, but apparently not so. So now I have a personal loathing for BB.

So everybody who hasn't posted the Writer Beware Top 20 Worst Agent List on their website yet, right now is a good time to be like me and post this to your own blogs.

WARNING: If you do so, be prepared to be threatened by her. She hasn't done it to me yet, but she will, as I've just posted the Top 20 list to my blog.

#60 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2006, 12:14 AM:

Any one know where Bauer got her Ph.D. ?

And in what?

#61 ::: Alan Yee ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2006, 12:26 AM:

No clue.

Somehow, based on all the remarks on how dumb she is, and her total lack of logic, I have my doubts that she even has a Ph.D.

Usually, someone with a Ph.D. has ways of showing how intelligent and knowledgable and competent they are.

There's also this: it seems like she spends all her time on this "literary agency." I haven't learned of any other job she has. And I'd think a person with a Ph.D. in anything shouldn't have too much trouble finding a job.

She does seem fond of adding the "Ph.D." after her name.

#62 ::: Beth ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2006, 08:01 AM:

Alan: Excellent idea. I've just posted the list to my livejournal.

#63 ::: bonniers ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2006, 09:12 AM:

According to Bauer's website, she received her PhD in 1979 from St. John's. Doesn't say what in, however.

#64 ::: Richard White ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2006, 12:34 PM:

Just added it to my links on the front page of my blog.

Bring it on, Barbara!

#65 ::: slobbit ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2006, 03:04 PM:

Judo is the art of turning the attacker's energy against him. Or her.

Top 20 posted on my livejournal.

#66 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 24, 2006, 04:47 PM:

I just added an LJ entry with a bunch of links to the Top 20 list; each time I mention the name of Barbara Bauer, that's where it links to.

#67 ::: Emily ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2006, 03:03 PM:

Beware the bloggers, for they are subtle and quick to anger--especially when provoked but a scam artist acting like a total arse. I have added two more blogs to the counter movement. How long before Barbara Bauer's own site no longer clings to google #1 if you search for her name?

#68 ::: Shayne Smith ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2006, 05:24 PM:

Posting it now and good work.

#69 ::: Lisa Spangenberg ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2006, 05:39 PM:

I've found, and requested her dissertation.

I can't believe someone who misuses common words the way she does has a Ph.D.

#70 ::: Guest ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2006, 12:19 PM:

http://digg.com/technology/DMCA_Shuts_Down_Message_Board_for_Posting_Agent_s_Email_Address

Front page would be nice for her. ;)

#71 ::: Benjamin Solah ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2006, 11:56 PM:

She really is doing herself more harm than good.

#72 ::: Peter Sturgess ::: (view all by) ::: May 30, 2006, 03:25 PM:

I don't usually get involved in this kinda stuff, but whats she and many other agents are doing is pissing me off greatly. I will gladly assist you guys in your campaign against such people.

Done

#73 ::: Kent Brewster ::: (view all by) ::: May 31, 2006, 01:43 AM:

I've just posted the 20 Worst on the front page at Speculations, and also dropped a link into the standard footer, so every page in The Rumor Mill should show a link. Hope this helps ... sorry to be so slow on the uptake!

#74 ::: Robin ::: (view all by) ::: June 01, 2006, 01:57 PM:

And done.

#75 ::: MorningDew ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2006, 04:17 PM:

I think when it comes down to basics you need to ask yourself, would a professional agent go around and personally send e-mail threats to any writing site or individual. Of course not, a professional agent would have their attorney contact those concerned, which shows you what these threats really are just mere air and gas.

Hasn't this agent every heard the saying ' me thinks she protests too much'. The more fuss she causes, the more writers become interested in the facts rather than the fiction. Doesn’t she realise that my making an enemy of writer sites and writers she is damaging her so called legitimate business.

‘Some people use their brains, while others merely sit on them’

#76 ::: zordom ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2008, 07:31 AM:

This seems to be a problem many people are facing all over the world. The laws are very weak when it comes to the internet. I don't know this Barbara Bauer, but I will do a little research concerning her legal issues. The question is for everyone who has an opinion concerning internet law and those who actually know what they are talking about. I think an internet attorney would know the “LAW,” concerning freedom of speech, harassment and connection to Blogs, YouTube, MySpace and other ISP’s.

In addition; I am curious to see the opinions of a Criminal Attorney and of course a Defamation Attorney. If this Barbara Bauer is not selling a product that is worth the toilet paper we all use, this is fine. However; it is up to the consumer to determine what is real and not real. Hence; free society offers everyone the ability to conduct business anyway they choose within the law and whatever governs that subject area. It is up to the consumer to research the person in question and make a decision to purchase the product or services offered. I am sure if this person is a fake or has no credentials someone will come down and pull her card.

Just a thought.

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