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August 16, 2009

Robert Fletcher, Literary Scammer, Part II
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 04:45 PM * 101 comments

I’d wondered why Fletcher had filed his wholly insubstantial, frivolous and not advanced in good faith lawsuit when he did. My thinking is that he did it to cover the launch of Strategic Book Publishing / Eloquent Books / Strategic Book Marketing / AEG Publishing Group. Perhaps he figured that if he could silence the watchdogs for a year he’d have a better time getting the next stage of his scam going.

Alas for him, when those vanity presses rolled out it was intuitively obvious what they were, and the warnings were going up, long before it became clear that this was Fletcher’s latest fraud.

One of the chief points against Fletcher-the-Agent (New York Literary Agency, Writer’s Literary Agency, Children’s Literary Agency, Poets Literary Agency, etc. etc.) was that he demonstrably couldn’t sell books to publishers. But if he owned a publisher….

The difference between Strategic Book Publishing and Eloquent Books is this: Strategic Book Publishing pretends to be a “traditional” publisher—no fees to the author—provided the author agrees to buy five copies per week at full retail price. Eloquent Books, on the other hand, pretends to be a “joint venture” publisher, where the author and the publisher each put up half of the cost. But since Eloquent Books authors typically send Fletcher (under one or another of his names) a thousand bucks plus in advance, it’s clear that they’re paying the whole freight plus a nice profit for Fletcher.

And, naturally enough, clients of various of Fletcher’s fraudulent literary agencies would be told that they’d found a publisher! Glory, hallelujah, a publishing deal at last! Without, of course, mentioning that the same people owned both the publisher and the agency.

Also typically Fletcher, he had a form letter ginned up to send to disgruntled authors. Here it is:

Thank you for requesting more information about all that information you found on the web. Recently, we were interviewed by a very known web-writer named DeleriousGirl, and this is the text of the interview. I think you will find it interesting, to say the least.

===============================

The Naked Truth Interview: Is WL and AEG a Scam?

Copyright 2008-2009. This interview may be reproduced only in its entirety.

===============================

DeleriousGirl (DG) decides to see what is really going on with the merger between one of most vocally discussed and denounced literary agency and publisher companies on the internet, the WL Literary Agency Group, and AEG Strategic & Eloquent Publishing.

First point, there really is a DeliriousGirl, but as a “well-known web writer” you’d need FBI assistance to find anything she’d written. She was an employee of Fletcher’s (although he was lax in getting around to paying her) at the time of this “interview.” The second point is that DeliriousGirl didn’t write the interview. Fletcher did; questions and answers both. It’s filled with his verbal tics. And he got confused at various times about who he was supposed to be.

More, far more, below the cut.


[UPDATE: 03SEP09: Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against “Literary Company”]

[UPDATE: 20JUN12]
Bobby has renamed his scam (again) to Strategic Book Publishing & Rights Agency (SBPRA), Publish On Demand Global, Best Quality Editing Services, and Best Selling Book Rights Agency, plus a dozen other names.


Thank you for requesting more information about all that information you found on the web. Recently, we were interviewed by a very known web-writer named DeleriousGirl, and this is the text of the interview. I think you will find it interesting, to say the least.
One reason people had a hard time tracking down the real DeliriousGirl was that her screen name was misspelled here. But Fletcher is right: I found the “interview” interesting, to say the least.
===============================

The Naked Truth Interview: Is WL and AEG a Scam?

The answer is in from a court of law: It’s a fraud.
Copyright 2008-2009. This interview may be reproduced only in its entirety.
And here it is, in its entirety. Twice!
===============================

DeleriousGirl (DG) decides to see what is really going on with the merger between one of most vocally discussed and denounced literary agency and publisher companies on the internet, the WL Literary Agency Group, and AEG Strategic & Eloquent Publishing.

You’d think DeliriousGirl would know how to spell her own name. The grammar here is atrocious, but then, Bobby Fletcher never was much of a writer.
The two companies have recently announced a merger and DG has decided to “dig for dirt”. What is really behind this company? Is it the scam everyone says it is? Why all the flack? DG decides to see for herself what all the commotion is about.
Is it the scam everyone says it is?
Yes.
Why all the flack?
Because they’re ripping off writers.
Fletcher is constantly announcing mergers, and constantly claiming that they have new business practices and new personnel—but those claims are lies.

If Fletcher had really wanted to be interviewed by a well-known web writer, I’m sure Miss Teresa would have been available. Or Cory Doctorow. Or John Scalzi. Or even me. Someone who knows a bit about publishing and actually is well-known.

Note: For reference, The company press release is at http://www.aegpublishinggroup.com/aeg_pressrelease.html .
And a regular farrago of lies, half-truths, and misleading and deceptive statements it is, too.
But we didn’t want to go with the ‘party line”, we wanted to get deeper, as we suggest that most writers do.
Here’s a good place to start: Writer Beware
——————————————————————————————————-

DG: OK, let’s get right to the point, there’s an elephant in the room and I’m going to go ahead and shoot it: I have seen and read some very, very derogatory online forums regarding your companies, both past and present. As a writer and a voracious reader, my first knee-jerk reaction was to be worried about the integrity of your publishing companies and how you treat writers. “Where’s the beef? What’s the problem? Why are you so hated by so many?

AEG: The short answer is that we don’t fit anybody’s mold. We’re different, and we’re already bigger than the industry pundits know what to do with. In the last 6 months, we’ve published over 250 authors and we’re selling 1500 books a week for them. We expect to sell over 150,000 books for our authors next year, and a million books by 2010 if we keep growing at this pace. We are also one of the few companies already doing joint ventures into China and Australia for our authors.
“In the last 6 months, we’ve published over 250 authors and we’re selling 1500 books a week for them.”

Since their contract requires the authors to buy five books per week, the fact (if it is a fact) that they’re selling six books per week per author isn’t very impressive. All that means is that the authors are buying their own books just like they’re required to do, and one of them is overachieving.

Remember, too, that “joint venture” is a euphemism for “vanity publishing.”

We have venture capitalists approaching us and we are ‘squeaky clean” from and accounting and legal perspective as we are also considering going public. Believe me, if there was anything to anyone’s allegations it would have been a deal killer by now. Any real business-person can look at those numbers above and realize that our company must be legit, because you don’t grow that big as ‘scammers’.
*cough* Bernie Madoff *cough*

I wonder what those venture capitalists think of Bobby losing his lawsuit, and having a Superior Court judge write, “Basically, Fletcher and LAG were running a fraud ….”

The only reason Fletcher thinks those numbers are impressive is because he’s never worked in publishing. Those are negligible sales. And signing up 250 writers in six months shows that there’s been no care in acquisition, editing, promotion, or marketing. In his ignorance he’s boasting of the proof that he isn’t really a publisher.

Also, we employ about 50 people now from all over the world, and those employees certainly wouldn’t work for a scam company either.
Poor innocent darlings.
  • “Ohhh yeah, by the way, I found out later from another unpaid employee that Robert was gone the whole month of December on a VACATION in the Caribbean or somewhere while his employees went largely UNPAID.”
  • “For the past month, I’m missing two paychecks and one paycheck actually BOUNCED! I wish I was kidding.”
  • “I usually have to wait and wait and wait until they finally have enough money to pay me. (could be weeks to months) Usually they do not have enough money to pay all their employees at once, so some have to wait longer than others to get paid.”
In short, those sites like Writers Beware and Preditors & Editors, are run by ‘minor league writers’. We’re in the big leagues and frankly, we scare the shit out of them.
This is in furtherance of an on-going libel. But let’s look at it a little bit. At the time this “interview” was being sent around, I personally had sold more books than all of the Eloquent Books / Strategic Book Publishing authors combined. And Ann “New York Times Best Selling” Crispin has sold more than me.
The people that run those sites don’t have the time, or the inclination to do an interview like this.
Not that “DeleriousGirl” (aka Robert Fletcher) asked. Those interviews have been offered many, many times over the years.
They are like old, and tired, and worn-out horses that have been around too long and like the old ‘Mikie” they hate everything that is different But if anyone wants to believe them, that’s fine, we don’t have time to waste as we are building a very, very global business with real “writer-business-people” that are committed to their careers. Our clients don’t sit around reading whiner sites, that’s for sure.
“That’s for sure” because people who find out the truth about Author’s Edge / AEG Publishing Group / Strategic Book Publishing / Eloquent Books / The Global Book Agency don’t send money to scammeister Robert M. Fletcher.
DG: Do I detect a bit of frustration?
The word you’re groping for, Bobby, is “desperation.”
AEG: Of course, it’s like the old kindergarten game, where you sit in a circle, whisper into the person’s ear next to yours, and the end result is so far removed from the original statement, that it is very, very frustrating. I will give our detractors a bit of credit though, they have caused us to toughen up, and succeed in spite of their crap. As the old saying goes, “that which does not kill me makes me stronger”, and believe me, we are so lean and mean right now, that we are approaching unstoppable, and frankly their opinions no longer matter to our business. And don’t tell them this, but they are actually helping us at this point … They are free advertising, as most rational authors can’t believe what they are now saying, and the authors come to us to ‘“see for themselves”.
We don’t work with authors that won’t spend the money it takes to improve and that has served us well.
That has served you well because your business is scamming authors out of their money. That doesn’t work if the authors won’t send you money.
The industry is realizing that the fastest way to separate the good from the bad, is how much time and energy the author has spent developing their craft. That’s what we want. We won’t stomach or tolerate “something for nothing” people, and that attitude has perhaps become misconstrued.
Which industry is that? The aluminum siding and storm door industry? In publishing, the industry has long known that the best way to separate the good from the bad is to read the manuscript.

What authors bring to the table is their manuscript. That isn’t “something for nothing,” unless you think that the manuscripts are “nothing.”

You aren’t separating good from bad—you’re separating fools from money.

DG: That all sounds nice, but really, why all the negative press?
Because Fletcher genuinely is a scammer. That’s all he’s ever been, and all he’ll ever be.
AEG: We have really tried to listen to the marketplace and we have made certain adjustments to the way we do business, however, we are very clear about one thing, we only want committed authors with edited, or reviewed work. That means that we only want authors that have been edited, or are willing to get help and assistance.
They only want authors who have whipped out their checkbooks and have shown that they’re willing to whip out those checkbooks again.
So, what happens is this, we say, “your work needs help”, and immediately we are jumped on. Why authors think that they get the world for free is beyond me.
Because that’s the way real publishing works? The author turns up with a publishable manuscript and everything else is on the publisher’s dime. Publishers pay authors. Authors don’t pay publishers.
We can make EVERY author a better author, and we do, it just costs some money, and this is a business, so we’re used to investing in our business, why wouldn’t a writer invest in theirs?
Because, as Rocky said to Bullwinkle, “That trick never works.” Publishers have a name for edited slush: It’s called “slush.”

They can’t make every author a better author. Not even I can do that. But they certainly can make every author they come into contact with a sadder-but-wiser author.

We have tried to dialog with P&E, Writers Beware, SFWA, etc.
This is a plain, flat, open-and-shut lie. Do you suppose he means the threats of physical harm he sent to Victoria and Ann?
Unfortunately, those people are so backward-minded and stuck, that they really didn’t listen, so we now ignore them and we just keep chugging.
Launching a wholly insubstantial, frivolous and not advanced in good faith lawsuit is an odd way to “ignore” someone.
Frankly, and I don’t want to be mean about it, but we think some of our authors make more in one month than that crowd has made in their in their entire writing career.
Not from writing they didn’t. (And the guy who’s making $20+ million a year? Tell him not to quit his day job.)
We suggest that authors make up their own mind, and not rely on anyone else when forming their opinion, especially minor-leaguers.
You’d prefer that they rely on minor league crooks?
DG: Ok, I can understand that you tell authors that they must improve, and I agree with how important that is, but what about the fact that you refer them to your own company?
It’s called ‘conflict of interest.’ Nice that you’re finally admitting to it, Bobby.
R: That “own company” that you are referring to is now the second largest editing and services company in the world, second only to Scribendi.
Uh-oh. Robert forgot to change the “R” to “AEG.”
Frankly, the editing companies that we used to refer to were very ‘mom and pop” and couldn’t do the work and handle our volume. So in order to keep prices down, and turnaround quick, we built our own company. Also, the press release about the two companies working together has been on the web for years now. We don’t hide the fact that the companies are working hand in hand. They have to be to handle the kind of growth and volume that we have created. In short, it’s a big business, we’re global, and it works well for the author, and for us. Frankly, we can do editing faster and cheaper than any editing company in the world. Hell, we might buy Scribendi next year.
“This is an amazing manuscript. The characters are fabulous, as is the plot. I am impressed with your imagination, writing skills, and storytelling ability. The readers will truly love this material. This will be a great success. I sincerely wish you luck with this endeavor. However you will not need luck, as you have a gift for writing. The readers will love the constant movement throughout. Your characters are strong and completely enjoyable. I do expect to read more of your work in the future, as you are a natural. The readers can see themselves within each scene with these characters. Nicely accomplished.”

Cynthia Sherman
a professional literary critic

“Well written. Readers will love this tremendously. I am impressed with the writer’s imagination and writing skills. The characters are fabulous, as is the plot. This will be a HUGE success.”

Cynthia Sherman
New York literary critic

“This is an interesting manuscript. The readers will love this material I am impressed with your imagination and writing skills. The characters are fabulous, as is the plot. This will be a success.”

Cynthia Sherman

Those are some of the professional third-party critiques (for three different books, in case I wasn’t clear) for which the authors paid around $90.

DG: Here’s another issue … Why have you changed names so many times?
To stay one jump ahead of Google and slow down writers who are trying to do research.
AEG: It’s marketing my dear. Have you ever noticed how many domain names the Children’s Writing Institute uses? We spend a lot of time on Google pay-per-click for our authors, and we’ve seen at least six names for them, for sure, that go back to their site or a clone of their site. I’m sure you are aware of search engine optimization.
Marketing? This make no sense whatever.
The simple truth is that as Google has changed it’s algorithms, we have changed our domain names so that we get better positioning.
The simple truth? From Robert Fletcher? No, the truth is that as more and more sites blocked their ads, they had to keep changing their names. And as more and more sites labeled them scammers, they had to keep changing their names. Maybe you should ask Fletcher why he needs more than seventy aliases himself. Is that marketing? Or is that fraud?
It’s that simple. Also, as partners and principals have come and gone, new companies, with new stock allocations have been formed. That’s part and parcel of a small business.
This doesn’t make any sense either. It looks more like they’re trying to escape their reputation (which is exactly what they’re doing). Nor have partners and principals have come and gone. It’s been Robert M. Fletcher and Leslie W. Mroz from the beginning.
And, we are very proud of this, we are starting the wheels in motion to setup a stock ownership plan for our employees and even our authors.
Given Robert Fletcher’s history as a stock swindler— I’m sure the SEC will look on that with a jaundiced eye.

“The Order alleged that Respondent Fletcher, as President of ByteAudio.com, Inc., violated the Washington Securities Act by offering and selling unregistered securities, acting as an unregistered broker-dealer and/or salesperson, and making material misrepresentations and/or omissions. The Order provided notice, pursuant to RCW 21.20.395, of the Division’s intent to impose a $50,000 fine jointly and severally against Respondents.”

We’ll probably undergo another name change at that time … That’s how it works for rapidly growing businesses.
No, that isn’t how it works in any business, except fly-by-night fraudulent businesses.
DG: C’mon … If there’s smoke, there has to be fire, what about all this stuff about criminal backgrounds, investigations, etc.?
Read it for yourself: http://www.dfi.wa.gov/sd/pdf/internetfraudnr.pdf
AEG: It’s identity theft with a twist. Let’s say that I decided to “get you” for one reason or another. It’s simple really. All I have to do is google search “your name - criminal records” and I will get plenty of hits, of your name, in all kinds of criminal situations. Then all I do is copy and paste that info into 3-4 sites, anonymously, and you’re screwed. I guarantee it.
I’ll have more to say about that and Fletcher’s attempted extortion/blackmail against me in a later post. But let’s look at this nonsense here: Fletcher is claiming that the Robert M. Fletcher of 699 SW 8th Terrace, Boca Raton, FL 33486-5509 who was fined $50,0000 and forced to pay restitution for stock fraud in Washington State is someone other than the Robert M. Fletcher of 699 SW 8th Terrace, Boca Raton, FL 33486-5509 who is currently running Strategic Book Publishing / AEG / Eloquent Books, etc. etc. etc. It’s all some kind of identity theft.

Yeah, right.

You’ll never live it down and never clean it up. Believe me, we’ve tried. Also, we’ve been investigated up and down, and nothing had ever come of it. The fact is that these days any disgruntled person can file a complaint with a District Attorney.
The Florida Attorney General’s investigation of Fletcher is ongoing. Nothing has come of it—yet. But it’s still early days. Look how long it took to put Martha Ivery behind bars. Or Dorothy Deering. Fletcher’s day is coming when the barred door will slam shut behind him.
We do what we say, we tell the author up front what to expect, we never over-promise, and we deliver. We have a real business that helps authors that are willing to help themselves that’s why all this stuff about investigations and backgrounds, etc. is such misinformation.
What the authors never get is success.
DG: Here’s another one, why do you even advertise? I thought agencies didn’t need to advertise?
They don’t.
AEG: We still have requests from publishers that we can’t fill.
Could you name three such publishers? Could you name just one that isn’t one of your own vanity presses?
We still find great books to publish every day because of our advertising. Early on we learned that more is better. Our business strategy since day one, is to have ‘depth off the bench’.
A strategy that has worked surprisingly poorly. How many books have you sold to publishers that aren’t you-wearing-a-mask?
And that strategy is paying off. Why do you think the agency is so valuable to the publisher?
Because when the fraudulent agent passes books to the fraudulent publisher the author pays twice.
Frankly, we think the agency has provided over 100 authors “ready to go” to the publisher.
You funneled over 100 authors, clients of your agency, to your own vanity press. What did they need you for? Selling your book to a vanity press isn’t any sort of challenge. The authors could have done that on their own without paying the agency a cent along the way.
Those authors are now making money and receiving royalty checks. Those authors will be part of the 100,000 - 1 MM books we’ll be selling in the medium term future.
Are they really? I’m sure this statement is going to appear on the paperwork when the Florida Attorney General’s Economic Crimes Division executes a warrant on your house.
AEG: Over 100 authors published? Prove it . . And did the agency take a commission since you merged? Isn’t that ‘double dipping”?
Bobby forgot that he was supposed to be “DG” here. Sloppy, sloppy.

But I entirely believe that over a hundred authors were desperate enough or deluded enough or naive enough to go for it.

R: No commission was taken by the agency. Period. Guaranteed. The authors were told up front about the merger. And if you want to see the books we’ve published, please visit www.AEGauthorsEdge.com .
Robert forgot that he was supposed to be “AEG” here. And I have reason to believe that all those authors weren’t informed that the agency was just selling the books from themselves to themselves, with the author providing every nickel along the way.
DG: Well, I admit to being glad that I dug a little deeper, I can see both sides of the story, and it is tough to break into any industry. Is there anything you wish to say in conclusion?
How can you say that you “dug a little deeper” and “can see both sides of the story” if you didn’t talk with me?

Easy. This “interview” is a fraud, and part of the fraud supporting the fraud.

R: We truly feel sorry for the author that is trying to make a decision about how to proceed with their writing career. Our best advice is to trust yourself and dive in. Sometimes analysis = paralysis. You can’t win if you don’t play, so we say, “get out there, get bloody, improve, take your lumps, learn, learn, learn” and as Winston Churchill said, “never, never give up”.
“R” again rather than “AEG.”

The author who is trying to make a decision can ask me. Don’t trust a scammer who stands to make money if you buy his story.

All of our contracts have ‘easy out’ clauses, so if we don’t perform, you can fire us. By the same token, if the author won’t perform, we can, and will fire them.
When the authors stop paying, you ditch them.
This is a business and we are here to stay, and play, for the long term, and make profits for our authors, our employees, and our shareholders.
The authors—I doubt that any of them have made more than they’ve spent to date. The shareholders—there aren’t any. The employees report getting stiffed. So that leaves making money for yourself. And, Bobby, I believe you’re doing pretty well at that.
===================

DG: Ok writers out there, you have it. I am not endorsing anyone, but I do think that everyone deserves a chance to be heard.

“Heard.” Yep. Did you consider “digging a little deeper”?
Frankly, my personal opinion is that those sites have gone too far, and are doing a dis-service for writers and this company.
“Those sites,” I suppose, are Preditors & Editors, Absolute Write, and Writer Beware. But quite frankly, every author-support site on the web that isn’t owned by Fletcher himself gives him and his scams a big thumbs down. How is that a disservice to writers? As to being a disservice to Robert Fletcher’s fraud, this is the world’s tiniest violin playing “My Heart Bleeds for You.”
Perhaps these guys made mistakes in the past, but I have a hard time arguing with 250 published authors and 1500 books a week being sold within 6 months of operations. (I looked at the royalty reports).
I don’t have any trouble arguing with that—because those numbers show that the authors are selling negligible numbers—and those books that are sold are ones that they’re buying themselves.
At the end of the day, DG says: Make up your own mind. And yes, please feel free to email me if you’d like: delirious.girl02@gmail.com
DeliriousGirl’s email address is really delirious.girl01@gmail.com, not delirious.girl02@gmail.com. Delirious.girl02@gmail.com went straight to Fletcher. That’s identity theft. And that’s a Federal rap.

Oh, Robert Fletcher. When the judge slams down the gavel on you and the Strategic Book Group. I’m going to be in the audience. I won’t say a word, out of respect for the Court. But believe me, I’ll be laughing on the inside.

Comments on Robert Fletcher, Literary Scammer, Part II:
#1 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2009, 04:56 PM:

(Initial front-page post is missing the link on the "after the cut" phrase.)

#2 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2009, 06:01 PM:

I can't put in the link to the below the cut part until after the post goes up.

#3 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2009, 06:07 PM:

As to Fletcher being up-front about the connection between his agency and his vanity publishing concern, look at what this writer has to say:

"I chose Eloquent Books because my literary agency suggested I look at them since I am a first-time novelist."

What do you suppose that literary agency was?

First, no legitimate agency would send anyone to a vanity publisher. Second, no scam agent would send a client to some other scammer's vanity press. It has to have been Fletcher sending an author to himself.

I'm sure the Florida Attorney General will get to the bottom of it.

#4 ::: PixelFish ::: (view all by) ::: August 16, 2009, 11:54 PM:

AEG: It’s marketing my dear. Have you ever noticed how many domain names the Children’s Writing Institute uses? We spend a lot of time on Google pay-per-click for our authors, and we’ve seen at least six names for them, for sure, that go back to their site or a clone of their site. I’m sure you are aware of search engine optimization.

Condescension to his imaginary interviewer. How charming.

Also, that strategy causes brand dilution--which is the point for him, since it enables him to scam a lot of people under various names. Gah.

Love the accusation of identity theft, when it seems that's exactly what he's doing to his employee by using their handle to publish his fake interview.

#5 ::: DaveKuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2009, 08:33 AM:

I think Google and other businesses selling advertising should receive a copy of the judge's finding on Fletcher or a link to it. They might not want to sell him anymore advertising since that would make them his willing accomplices in an ongoing fraud.

#6 ::: Neil in Chicago ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2009, 10:52 AM:

And he got confused at various times about who he was supposed to be.
Waidaminnit. He can't even operate a sock puppet? His license to operate a keyboard ought to be revoked.

#7 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2009, 12:31 PM:

For a real thrill, try Googling on "Cynthia Sherman" +impressed.

Ol' Cynthia makes a newspaper horoscope look personal and specific by comparison. Oh, and there's no reason to assume that "Cynthia Sherman" actually exists.

#8 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2009, 01:53 PM:

At a bull fight, and in principle (I've never attended one and am unlikely to), I think I'd feel rather sorry for the bull.

Somehow I don't find myself feeling at all sorry for Fletcher; it's pretty clear that he volunteered. And I do like watching you flourish the cape around.

#9 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2009, 03:09 PM:

I needed a thrill... Oh well, I got a chuckle.

I am impressed with your imagination/knowledge [delete as applicable], writing skills, and storytelling ability.
This phrase, in its two guises, seems to apply to an awful lot of books she reviews, from many different authors, on a wide variety of topics...

#10 ::: Victgoria Strauss ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2009, 06:51 PM:

I agree that Fletcher filed the lawsuit to cover the launch of his publishing enterprise--both Ann and I thought so from the beginning.

The lawsuit was originally filed in support of a preliminary injunction, demanding that defendants (me, Ann, and Jim) cease and desist from all statements about Fletcher and his companies, and remove all our remarks and warnings about him. Because of improper service on me and Ann (I didn't get served until one hour before the injunction hearing, which was being held in Boston, two hours' travel time away from me; and Ann didn't get served until three months later), the injunction hearing was never held, but the lawsuit was allowed to go forward.

My guess is that Fletcher never had any intention of prosecuting the lawsuit. All he really wanted was the injunction, in order to shut us up long enough for him to get the publishing enterprise off the ground. The lawsuit (which was incredibly sloppily and carelessly written, with exhibits that in many cases didn't support the allegations) was hastily thrown together because to ask for an injunction, you have to have a supporting lawsuit. Once the injunction was off the table, he was stuck with the lawsuit. I also don't think he expected us to respond as strongly as we did. It really tickles me to imagine his dismay when he got our long, extremely detailed interrogatories and discovery demands, and realized how much we actually knew about him.

Another amusing irony: through his various aliases, he'd been denying for some time that "Robert Fletcher" was still with the company. However, he couldn't file the lawsuit under a fictitious name--so in order to sue us, he had to out himself.

#11 ::: Victoria Strauss ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2009, 06:52 PM:

Aargh, mis-spelled my own name, above It's been a long day.

#12 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2009, 07:17 PM:

Of all of Fletcher various stupidities, perhaps the stupidest is this:

"In short, those sites like Writers Beware and Preditors & Editors, are run by ‘minor league writers’. We’re in the big leagues and frankly, we scare the shit out of them."

Tell me, Bobby, if I'm not worried by Time-Warner, News Corp, or Von Holtzbrinck, why the fudge should I be scared of you?

Bobby isn't in our league. Never has been, never will be.

First time authors: Don't go with a loser. Stay well clear of Bobby Fletcher.

Any Strategic Book Publishing or Eloquent Books authors out there who want to post the actual number of books that they've sold to folks that they don't know by name or who weren't looking them in the eye when money changed hands, now's the time to pipe up.

#13 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2009, 07:56 PM:

Hmmm, by that criteria, Consumer Reports would be operated by what? No league writers?

Sorry, Robert Fletcher, that logic just doesn't fly. The league we're in is dictated by the accuracy of our facts and our integrity, not by our fiction writing. On those counts, you're not in any league. All you have is a stick you think is a bat. We, on the other hand, are in the majors. In fact, just compare P&E to your collage of scam businesses. Not one of your businesses is recommended by anything other than another scam run by you. There are no legitimate businesses in the publishing industry recommending you and your businesses. For its part, P&E has been a top watchdog site for eight years running according to Writers Digest.

Meanwhile, Victoria, Ann, and James can similarly point to equal accomplishments when it comes to factual reporting and integrity.

#14 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2009, 04:48 AM:

I've been reading these articles with the fascination of a mongoose dancing with a cobra. You want to turn away but you can't.

I would love to learn that his true name wasn't Fletcher; that was my mother's maiden name. A lot of good people named Fletcher. Unlike this one.

#15 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2009, 05:29 AM:

Fletcher looks to be in a hole, and digging enthusatically.

This isn't the place for specific details, but I suppose he's going to be in big trouble if he doesn't pay up. He might be able to delay things by throwing more money at lawyers, but is any competent lawyer going to do this?

And, with the ongoing Florida investigation, it looks stupid to try such incompetent sock-puppetry. Somebody being investigated for fraud faking an interview?

You may well be able to stick a psychiatric label on him. And I wonder how many of his apparent assets--he has a yacht?--are effectively owned by banks he's scammed, rather than paid for by the proceeds of fraud.

#16 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2009, 09:22 AM:

he has a yacht?

That's what he claims.

#17 ::: CaseyL ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2009, 12:21 PM:

Jim, Victoria and Ann: Good on you for fighting and prevailing!

I read that Court order and have to say: WOW.

What a piece of toxic twaddle Robert Fletcher is. How delightful it will be to see him go to jail. Is there a site that follows the progress of this tale of grift and vengeance, or will Jim issue periodic reports?

#19 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2009, 02:43 PM:

Hey, Bobby -- As long as I have you here, what happened to authorschool.com?

#20 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2009, 06:43 PM:

Does anyone else have the impression that the guy's tone sounds to a good deal like that of a depressingly high number of people who are generally seen as perfectly respectable businesspeople?

#21 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2009, 11:08 PM:

Conmen in general sound normal. Persuasive, even. If they sounded as crazy as their schemes no one would fall for them.

#22 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2009, 11:48 PM:

Hypothetically, if you were the buyer for a book store and you received an email from an author offering copies of his latest book and that book was published by Strategic Book Publishing, how would you respond?

#23 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2009, 12:12 AM:

Paul Duncanson @22, if you asked that question of a chain buyer, you'd most likely be told that they evaluate each book on its own merits. I can't contradict that statement.

Does Strategic Book Publishing take returns? Are they professionally packaged and competitively priced?

#24 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2009, 12:29 AM:

Teresa: Judged in its merits... well, it really doesn't seem to have any. I'm quite OK with rejecting it on that basis. I was looking more for advice on gently guiding the horribly optimistic writer toward the truth about his "publisher".

#25 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2009, 12:42 AM:

I can't compete with Miss Teresa's reply, but I'll offer this comment:

Right now, Strategic and Eloquent, between them, have 1,058 titles. You should find multiple copies of multiple titles on the shelves of any bookstore you enter. Yet you don't.

Since we know that the only way those books will get into bookstores is if the author contacts the bookstores personally, and since we know that the authors are supposed to be proactive in marketing their books--making it a reasonable assumption that they have been doing so--the fact that you can't find SBP/EB titles on the shelves should (hypothetically) answer your question.

(Note: You may find some on the "Local Author" shelves, beside the PublishAmerica books, the AuthorHouse Books, and the Tate books. But only if the author lives within 30 miles of the store.)

#26 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2009, 03:07 AM:

Perhaps I need to rephrase and elaborate a bit more...

I am the buyer for an independent bookstore. A few times a year i receive emails from new authors, overjoyed at having "just been published" and wanting me to stock their books. The last one to do so was a victim of Strategic Book Publishing.

I have no problem with rejecting the books on their merits (the last one I saw was awful... really awful) or terms of trade. For self-published, vanity press stuff and scam published product my policy is DO NOT WANT. I don't have time to read most books to see if they're any good but if I know no editor has read it I won't inflict them on my customers. A simple "Thanks, but no thanks" usually gets the job done.

I could just let it go at that - it's what I've been doing for years - but the more I read about Fletcher and his ilk and the more victims I encounter the more I think there must be a gentle way showing them that they have been scammed. On the other hand, the last thing I need is one of the defensive ones having a hissy fit because I have rejected his magnum opus and said bad things about the only publisher who believed in him and they were warned that there were people like me out there who are in league with the elite of Big Publishing and are out to get the little guys and all that crap.

So, if you were a buyer in my position and you wanted to try to end the cycle of scammery, how would you break the news to the author?

(Even worse are the mothers whose precious teenager has become a published author. Break two hearts for the price of one.)

Can I punch Fletcher in the nose now please?

#27 ::: Sean Sakamoto ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2009, 08:18 AM:

I wrote some fantasy, and got paid for it, for an RPG publisher called Alderac Entertainment Group aka AEG and they handled everything fine. So I think there must be more than one publisher called AEG.

#28 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2009, 08:19 AM:

Ah, I see. You're in the position of the Slushkiller editor.

"We do not accept books from AEG Publishing Group" might work well enough to get them Googling. (You're never going to get through to the honeymooners.)

You might also get in touch with the Florida Attorney General's office to tell them about your experiences with Fletcher's company and Fletcher's victims.

(I wouldn't say that the books have never been edited--the authors paid a lot of money to be edited. It's just that the "editors" are unqualified, inexperienced, incompetent, and possibly non-existent.)

#29 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2009, 08:29 AM:

Hmmm.... yes, Sean. Fletcher's scam has nothing to do with Alderac Entertainment Group.

If you have contacts with Alderac you might alert them to the existence of Fletcher and his "AEG." They may have a trademark claim against him.

#30 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2009, 08:53 AM:

Some more names:

Mark Bredt
John Petelle
Joyce Kyle
Miranda Spigener
Andrea
Lynn Eddy
Robert Williams
Robert West
Phil Cruz
Georgina Scott
Suzann Durette
Liz Page
Kira Robbins
Cindi Pietrzyk
Ellen Green
Hil Mallory
Mary Bluestone
Georgina Orr
Beth Stormes

#31 ::: Lisa Padol ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2009, 02:50 PM:

#27: I see that this has already been covered, but to reiterate, Alderac Entertainment Group is entirely different. I have reviewed many of their products over the years, and I have spoken with their people -- employees and authors both. The company's website is here.

#32 ::: Jane Smith ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2009, 10:24 AM:

James wrote, "Oh, Robert Fletcher. When the judge slams down the gavel on you and the Strategic Book Group. I’m going to be in the audience. I won’t say a word, out of respect for the Court. But believe me, I’ll be laughing on the inside."

I'll do my utmost to be there too, laughing alongside you. It will be a fabulous day and photos won't be good enough for me.

To Paul at #26: could you perhaps point those "published authors" in the direction of Writer Beware's blog posts about AEG? That way they learn the truth AND they can get all huffy about it on the internet (sorry, Victoria, for directing them all at you) instead of having the potential for a meltdown on your shopfloor.

#33 ::: Sarah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 01:10 PM:

I guess the saying "you cannot please all the people all the time" applies well here but, wow! You guys have taken slamming someone for business practices that you don't agree with (but are perfectly legal) to a new level.

3 words:

Get. A. Hobby.

#34 ::: Xopher sees trollage and probably sockpuppetry ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 01:23 PM:

Go boil your head, Sarah Miller. The guy's a scammer.

#35 ::: Pendrift wonders if there's a real sockpuppet ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 01:25 PM:

Fraud is legal now? Must make up for lost time and find me some victims to fleece.

#36 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 01:30 PM:

"Sarah Miller" @33: Hi, Bobby. How's the weather in Boca Raton?

#37 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 01:39 PM:

I wonder what a psychiatrist would say about Bobby's habit of picking female names for his false identities?

Love the little pink sundress, Bob.

3 words:

Shave. Your. Legs.

#38 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 01:41 PM:

Jim, I think he does it because female identities get treated more gently in arguments.

#39 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 01:45 PM:

Teresa @38:
female identities get treated more gently in arguments.

Considering how people with identifiably female names get treated on the wild wild web, I think that says a lot about where these arguments are taking place.

Which is discouraging to someone who prefers a civil atmosphere without attendant manipulation.

#40 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 01:54 PM:

And then there are women who use gender-neutral noms-de-blog.

#41 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 02:12 PM:

To be quite serious about it, Fletcher was only casually interesting to me before he launched his frivolous and unsupported lawsuit for the mere purpose of harassment.

He says, as recently as this week, in e-mails that he's sending out to authors who question him:

We are aware that they have asked that we are [sic] investigated. We have lawyers working for us because there is a difference between free speech and absolute slander and we are quite sure that we will win. Unfortunately, it takes only one unhappy person to try to take down a whole company. We believe that we said 'no' to publishing someone and this is their revenge. It's sad but we know the truth and know that our authors are pleased with the publishing service we have provided.

You may want to count the palpable lies in just that one paragraph ... because I'm sure that a judge is going to be counting them.

If he wanted to draw my attention he sure picked the right way. Get a hobby? Dude, you made yourself my hobby.

#42 ::: Tom ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 03:58 PM:

Wait.. woah.. Vanity publishing companies don't reject anybody! Robert, what are you talking about here? You don't reject anybody you can scrape money from. You're such a nice guy you'll put old ladies on a payment plan just so you can get your money. What a scummy piece of ... um.. well you get the idea.

#43 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 04:40 PM:

Yo, Bobby!

As long as you're here, let me tell you, you're famous! You're in the newspaper in your home town!

In Boca, Even the Book Publishers Are Fraud Suspects

The only bad publicity is no publicity, eh?

#44 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2009, 05:07 PM:

What is it about Boca that's a fraud magnet?

#45 ::: deliriousgirl ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 07:35 PM:

Just to clear up a point here: I worked for AEG Publishing for about 8 weeks. I did some marketing for authors and generally solved problems with irate authors. I was sent about 35 or more books from Robert to review and post on sites. Let me tell you, the books were mostly just shit, pure shit. The content, language misuse, some were bound so crookedly that the words were unreadable anyway. I came across 1 book that I was able to even read. But yes, a lot of writers who paid him lots of money were given the impression that these crap books were going to make the author Stephen King rich.

Actually, he published a whole lot of books written by apparently religious nuts and fanatics, also. Pure crap, and even worse: pure unreadable crap.

#46 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 07:46 PM:

Hi, DG.

Let me tell you, the books were mostly just shit, pure shit.

This isn't too surprising, at least not to anyone who's ever seen a slushpile. Fletcher was publishing the slushpile, with the provision that only those with a thousand or so bucks to throw away were printed. The number of religious nuts and fanatics won't surprise anyone here.

A large number of them would fall into Slushkiller Categories 1-7, with a huge number of them being Slushkiller #1s.

No one is blaming you for this interview; we all know that Bouncing Bobby wrote it himself.

#47 ::: DG ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 07:51 PM:

And just FYI, Robert told me in one of the last communications I had with him that "you slanderous/jealous/insane people" were costing him over $10,000 a month.

And yes, he confessed to me that he has over 120 email addresses and names.

One real employee that I have had actual contact with who is not on your list: Andrea Minnies of Boca Raton, FL.

#48 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 08:07 PM:

Over $10,000/month? Really? In his frivolous, insubstantial, and bad-faith lawsuit he claimed, under penalty of perjury, that it was $25,000/month.

I trust you've let the Florida Attorney General know about Andrea Minnies. Maybe she can turn State's Evidence?

#49 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2009, 08:14 PM:

Yeesh, he really is trying to dig his way to China, isn't he? And about to dive headfirst into all that molten impure iron in the way....

#50 ::: deliriousgirl ::: (view all by) ::: September 06, 2009, 03:59 AM:

Yes, from my understanding, Andrea Minnies was also charged with some type of fraud although she was doing the work for Robert and she also, like me, was not getting paid.

And P.S. to Mr. McDonald: I am in the current issue of Red Fez, have a couple of stories upcoming in Girls With Insurance (where I have accepted an associate editorship), regularly contribute to Zygote In My Coffee, 3am Magazine, Greenbeard Mag, and Captain Canard, in the online and print versions and I have an anthology of flash fiction coming out in print soon, as well as a poetry chapbook in progress.

#51 ::: Patrick Carr ::: (view all by) ::: September 12, 2009, 04:00 PM:

Thank you for such an informative website. I recently finished a novel on terrorism by weather and was looking at publishers, saw this one and became immediately suspicious. You verified all my suspicions.
Thanks
Patrick

#52 ::: Carol ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2010, 09:15 AM:

Thank you so much. I recently submitted a manuscript to this company and today recieved a "joint venture" contract from them. I was immediately suspicious and decided to not sign it after reading the lawsuit against them and this post just confirmed everything for me. Thank you!

#53 ::: G J ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2010, 08:04 AM:

These are direct quotes from an email that I got from Tania @ Strategic Markting. All their words are in double quotation marks so you don't mistake them for mine.

""Before you read the information and our offer below, let us offer one caveat. This discussion is NOT about the quality of your work. This discussion IS about our perception of how hard, or easy it will be to SELL your work. Many authors take a publisher's response of anything less than"100% jumping up and down" personally.""

I personally would not go with a publisher that is not interested in the QUALITY of my work and yes I have already contacted the Florida Attorney General's Office. Which by the way, the address was provided to me I am proud to say by Preditor's and Editor's. :)

""While we are not confident that we could recoup publishing costs within the first year of publication, we do see a possibility of recouping our costs within the next three years. Because of this, we feel that your work is best suited for publication under our Joint Venture publishing arrangement.

HOWEVER, PLEASE NOTE: If you plan on writing multiple books, and if sales from the first book meet or exceed our expectations, then we will almost certainly publish the new works under the traditional publishing model not the joint venture model.""

And yet they are selling more than the top Publishing companies.

""In today's uncertain economy we realize this may be daunting. We have a program to reduce the risk and allow payment plans of as low as $50 per payment. Please see the information at the very bottom if this is of interest to you. NOTE: WE WILL ALSO DO THE WORK AND YOU WILL APPROVE IT AS THE MONEY IS RECEIVED. It is a 'pay as you go' plan.""

I have no words to describe this. What do they mean PAY AS YOU GO ?

""Proof Copy ($50) - A physical proof copy is printed and mailed to you for final approval before printing.""

I paid $4 for my proof copy on CreateSpace.

#54 ::: Joanna Aarts ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2010, 08:22 AM:

Hallo!

Great to have found you! Very helpful also that I can share my 'delightful AEG publishing story' - a long stressful story indeed (grim face)

I live in The Netherlands, am 72 years old, pensioned art teacher - and yes - one of Fletcher's victims. A FOOL indeed I was!

COMPENSATION PAYMENT: Do you know if AEG/Fletcher will have to pay my SALARY for working for AEG one year + RESTITUTION of what AEG charged me?

I had already paid Poets Literary Agent about US$ 75 for 'initial assessment', when 'hoorah': 'we have found a publisher who is interested in your book' and was shoved into AEG as a 'traditional publisher'. On the contrary I did and paid for everything - though I woke up in time - else I would have been ripped off some US$ 2000,00 - not counting one year in which I worked my head off for AEG - editing, Public relations, urged to 'sell your books door to door book stores', urged to pay, pay, pay ...

OUTSIDE EDITOR: I paid some US$ 75, -- she made a complete MESS of the MS, had re-written sentences (in poems!) that gave a different meaning (!) to what I had originally written. She didn't know the simplest of literary references - changed caps to lower case - an editor from HELL - used to high-school poetry/hadn’t a clue about contemporary poetry. When I complained 'sorry you do not LIKE our editor' - is all I got.

PRINTER: I had to instruct - and correct - the printer endlessly on how to set out the pages, how the footnotes ...a complete nightmare that caused me no end of stress - otherwise would have been 'published' with numbers of technical mistakes.

CONTRACT: says '300 print-run' - just before publishing AEG wrote 'we only print on demand' (I nearly fainted) - 'when a customer asks for one copy we print one copy' is already Breach of Contract - and their books of bad quality that no distributor will order.

COMPLIMENTARY COPIES: Publishers normally send 'complimentary copies' to the media and lit.critics - AEG none. NOTE: 'we sell fewer copies than we would complimentary copies' - the cheek! AEG sold 14 copies in one year - bought at the start by ME - while the subject is hot 'Islam'.

PUBLIC RELATIONS: AEG refused to send me the '20.000' (about that) 'e-mails we send on your behalf’. Why I made a list myself - that took ages to do.

BOOKSELLER: More ludicrous I - AUTHOR - was urged 'to visit bookstores and sell your book'- with extensive instructions on 'how to sell your book effectively', 'how to calculate book store percentage profit', 'keep records of what you sell', 'ask if you can promote your book in their stores', The cost of travelling alone would have nullified any profit for me.

STOCK: 'Always have 24 books in stock ready to sell from home'.

The AEG nightmare continued relentlessly:

METERS LONG E-MAILS - ’personal contact our pride' - in one whole year no personal contact whatsoever - standard e-mails is all I received. Nobody showed any interest in my book - except Bruce the printer who was nice and said 'love your poems it is my honour to work with you and envy you daring to express your emotions'.

QUESTIONNAIR: Just before the book was ‘published’ I received a QUESTIONNAIR: 'what is your name?', 'what is the subject of your book?', 'how old are you and who would be interested'.... I, furious and OFFENDED, wrote back that she was incompetent 'you haven't even read the back-cover information - least the contents - how can you 'promote' my book?' - never heard from her again.

BOOK FAIR: Topping everything: 'we have so many authors for the Munich Book fair HURRY UP we will SELL you book' - that not true.
made sure - rang two well-established Dutch publishers that said 'not done for you to share in the cost of a book fair; and when we invite authors we pay for their expenses'. AEG: costs you US 350 (something like that) it is only fair that you help to cover the cost of the very expensive Munich Fair; and PERMITS you (!) to be present in our stand'. The Munich Book Fair would have cost me around US$ 800 - is AEG totally RUTHLESS by using and wasting my money!

AEG refused to send 'complimentary copies' to the media, literary critics and such - normal for genuine publishers.

I have spend most of a year working my head off for Fletcher as author I had to edit my own book -do feel AEG should pay me what AEG owes me - at least one year salary!

Anyway, good to air my grievances - but my book is lying still - and feel embarrassed as it was I not my co-author who found this 'wonderful publisher!'


#55 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2010, 10:01 AM:

Our condolences, Joanna! Dunno about Netherlands law, here in the US (where they're based) I think you'd have little chance of seeing a dime from them. Alas, even in the Netherlands, there's sure to be a big difference between getting a court judgment (if possible), and actually getting a dime out of these professional scammers.

#56 ::: joanna Aarts ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2010, 02:14 PM:

Thank you David Harmon!

I'll put it down to 'Live and learn' - to a degree - as Fletcher has plenty of money and should pay compensation to every author for time lost and what has been paid - to his sole benefit.

I just wonder when the verdict will be reached.

Best regards (smile)

#57 ::: Shelly ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2010, 11:52 PM:

I published my book with Eloquent Publishing, and it was released last week. As far as I know it has been ranked as high as #76000 for the Amazon ranking system. It's called The Fairies Of Tythian. I can't tell you how many books have went out, but I call tell you it is a start. The idea is to get out there and get seen. If enough people read our books then we will gather a fan base.

I didn't have to buy any books to help support any other authors. However, I did buddy up for the joint venture. I liked the idea that I had so much say so in everything. There are still some things that will need to be worked on that I found out later, but I think it comes with all authors.

At the end of the day if you are a good writer you will advance. I didn't write my book to get rich, I wrote it for children to read.

#58 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 12:35 AM:

It's really just plain sad.

#59 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2010, 02:51 AM:

I suppose, having come out of fanzine culture, I've a better idea of the alternatives to professional publishing. And the big difference is that somebody else, somewhere else, is willing to put up time, effort, and money, to make my work available, even if the only payback I get is egoboo.

These scammers want you to put up the money, and don't make the work available.

Don't mistake that cultural experience for, as Fletcher just might claim, the sneers of a jealous incompetent.

(There's another of my stories going out on the web on this weird site, along with other stuff.)

#60 ::: Cindi ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2010, 12:44 PM:

Hi. I know this is an old post, but I wanted to set the record straight. I DID work for Fletcher back in 2009. I am a real person. I no longer work for Robert. I do not condone his business practices. I do not want to be associated with Strategic, Eloquent, or any of his other names and companies. I am a legitimate freelancer who took them on as a client before researching them (that won't happen again). I am commenting now because when I Google my name, I don't want it to come up as in association with Robert's without an explanation. I'd be great if my name could be removed from the comment above...

#61 ::: Martha Allen ::: (view all by) ::: October 17, 2010, 04:42 PM:

My cousin published with Eloquent Books, which is a division of the Strategic Publishing Group.

As of today, he's paid over $1300 for their services. He's currently saving money to attended a book fair in China, which will cost at minimum $600. He also needs to pay a fee in order to convert his novel into an e-book, supposedly to draw Chinese costumers. (Keep in mind that he earns $11.50/hour.)

I'm an aspiring writer as well, so I warned him of the scam before he gave AEG any money. Unfortunately, my cousin truly believes that this company will help him make millions of dollars off of his book. (Perhaps he read the fake interview and fell for that nonsense.)

In my opinion, people like my cousin are just stubborn. They let their desires completely overrule common sense,

To Shelly (#59):

I searched your book on Amazon, and the first sentence of your excerpt has grammatical errors that even a novice editor should catch.

// "In the mythical world of Tythian, creatures abound that are capable of Herculean tasks, such as the legendary roc, an enormous bird of prey able to carry off elephants!" //

Please don't be offended -- I'm not attacking your book. My point is that AEG/Strategic/Eloquent doesn't care about their authors' work at all. For heaven's sake, please don't send them anymore money!

#62 ::: Shelly ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2010, 05:44 PM:

Yeah, I kinda wanted to see just how much they would help out when the money no longer came in. Sadly, they don't do anything if you don't give them money. That isn't the only problem with my book. There are some other problems they didn't get. I thought well they want what's best for me right!!! They have made money on my book, but they haven't gave me anything. The funny part was the had one of their authors from here email me. I don't want to hear from anyone. I just want to know why are they never there. You can't talk to them to get them to fix any problems. You can't get any money that your book brings. Sorry this is rushed but I need to get going asap.

#63 ::: Shelly ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2010, 11:57 AM:

Well, just a little update.My money went into my paypal this morning. So, really it just depends. I know there are differences in writing books. Fiction doesn't have to follow the same rules as nonfiction. You are able to be free handed so to say. As for anything else....time will tell.

#64 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2010, 01:33 PM:

Shelley, the only money they plan to make on your book is the money you send them. You are never going to earn more than you spend.

#65 ::: shelly ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 08:54 AM:

That really isn't an issue for me. I feel better now that I have seen some of my money. I know how many books have been sold in the United States. I also know that I want some of the problems fixed within my book. Yet I understand that mishaps happen. Just look in textbooks. You see mishaps all the time. Yet, in all truth..my book is out there. It is being sold by many online retailers. I know this because I check the sites that are selling it.I'm not sure what my international sales will be. Yet I can tell you it is in more international online stores than American. However, it is with Amazon, B&B,BAM, and a few more American stores. The key step is staying on top of what your book is doing.

#66 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 10:35 AM:

Is is just me, or does anyone else suspect that "Shelley" is another Fletcher sockpuppet?

#67 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 11:40 AM:

The book she mentions back @59 does appear at Amazon1, so maybe she's a real person.


1 Note to Shelley: This does not mean it is being sold, only that it is being offered for sale. No copies will be shipped to Amazon until a customer places an order.

#68 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 11:47 AM:

Cadbury Moose @68:

No, this is merely an author on the second stage of a three-stage journey.

1. It's the best thing ever!
2. It may not be for everyone, but I can make it work because of my [hard work/ingenuity/wonderful book].
3. I had as much chance of making it work as an elephant does of fitting into a thimble; my [hard work/ingenuity/wonderful book] was wasted.

Seen it before. Hate seeing it now.

#69 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2010, 12:54 PM:

Shelley #67: I know this because I check the sites that are selling it.I'm not sure what my international sales will be. Yet I can tell you it is in more international online stores than American. However, it is with Amazon, B&B,BAM, and a few more American stores.

Shelley, check those exact same stores to see if a book called Atlanta Nights (ISBN 1411622987) is listed.

All that listing in those on-line stores means is that the book has an ISBN. Not that it's selling. I can tell you right now what your international sales will be: Zero, or close to it.

Now go down to your local bookstore. See if your book (or any Strategic/Eloquent book) is physically on the shelf. Why do you suppose it isn't?

How many copies of your own book have you personally bought? How many have been bought by someone you know by name, or who was looking you in the eye when money changed hands? The sum of those three will be close to the total books sold.

How much money have you spent so far on publication? That includes the "professional critique," editing, illustrations, and anything else Fletcher talked you into buying.

You've fallen in with a professional scammer. There's only one possible outcome.

#70 ::: Shelly ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 10:23 PM:

I'm sorry if things don't work out for you.If I came into this thinking I'm going to make thousands in my first 6 months I would be stupid. However, I came in this thinking....someone would see my work. I can't tell you what to do. Yet, I will tell you that my book is out there. I don't know how many people have picked up a copy. Yet, I know if someone wants to buy a copy they can get one. I think we often lose sight of our goals. Publishers publish our books, but it is up to us to get the sales. I tweet in Dutch,Irish,German, and English. I think you guys do more harm to us than the publishing company ever could. When I no longer see Fairies Of Tythian on the market, then I will say okay. Yet, until then it is up to me to get the word out.

#71 ::: shelly ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 10:41 PM:

"Atlanta Nights (ISBN 1411622987"

I looked up your book. It seems to me that you could do more with it than you are giving yourself credit for. You can't stop trying just because times get hard. You need to put it on twitter, and place it on facebook.My book is listed in more places than yours, but that is because I tweeted nonstop for a while. I used twitter to reach my friends in Germany and other places. I didn't notice anything about a twitter acct for you. One thing you will notice is that Fairies Of Tythian shows up often because I use so many different social outlets. I use Huffington Post, Twitter, I'm shameless! If it is something you really want then push it. Why can't you sell a book that is already in print? If authors who started out as self published are able to make it in the publishing world, then so can you. You have to make it work for you. You have to bring the people to your book. It's not enough to say "My book isn't in the store." So, what! Many others have been in the same situation and they have made it work.

#72 ::: shelly ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 10:48 PM:

"Atlanta Nights (ISBN 1411622987"
Another thing...go back and have it reprinted. There are a few things that need to be worked on in my book, but it happens. Again if Textbooks have mishaps why wouldn't normal books have them too? If it was something I wanted I would pull it, and have the problem fixed. I plan to do the same in the near future.

#73 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 11:15 PM:

Shelley, 'Atlanta Nights' was written to be as badly written as possible, by a group of professional writers, and submitted to PublishAmerica, another scammer, as a demonstration of what is wrong with these fake publishers. It was accepted with bad grammar everywhere, bad writing, misspelled words, a totally missing chapter, another chapter number used twice - all kinds of problems that a real publisher would have fixed or required to be fixed. It was never promoted in any way and no normal reader would buy it.

Jim's point is that if you see Atlanta Nights listed in an online store, then you know that store lists anything that has an ISBN assigned and that they theoretically could order to sell you if you bought it from them. If those are where your book shows up, that is proof that your publisher is doing nothing at all to promote it, not lifting one finger.

If your plan is based on the idea that you don't need a publisher, you need a printer who will do nothing but print the book for you, and that you will sell copies of the book yourself, there are some very reasonable printers for that kind of thing.

Lulu.com seems to be pretty well regarded. Go check out their site - go ahead, open it in the brwoser right now - and see what they charge you up-front and how much you receive per sale. (Nothing up-front, and around 80%, respectively.) That's what you should have been paying.

#74 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2010, 11:18 PM:

Excuse me, Shelly, I am sorry I misspelled your name; I only caught that after posting.

#75 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 12:46 AM:

Faust: Come, I think hell’s a fable.

Mephistopheles: Ay, think so still, till experience change thy mind.

-------------

Shelly, you might want to look up Atlanta Nights on Wikipedia, at TV Tropes, or right here at Making Light.

That book is a gag. It was written over a long weekend by a bunch of different writers with the purpose of being an unreadable mess to prove that a certain "traditional publisher" was actually a vanity press that offered contracts to books that they hadn't even read. After it had served its purpose it was just thrown out there with no support or publicity at all, in order to prove a point. That point being (among many others -- see the links above for far more discussion) that being listed in an on-line bookstore just means that a book has an ISBN. Not that it's a good book. Not that it has publisher support. That all the things that PublishAmerica, or Fletcher, or any of the vanity presses and publishers promise are bullshit.

Atlanta Nights is a joke. It's been out for years, the complete text is available on-line for free, and yet it still has better Amazon numbers than your book. (In the USA: AN: Amazon sales rank #526,215 as of this writing. FoT: Amazon sales rank #1,909,872. At Amazon UK: AN: Sales rank 1,156,660. FoT: Amazon sales rank none. That is, zero sold. At Amazon Germany: AN: 775.166 among books in English. FoT: Sales: None.) Think about why that's so.

Look, you're still in denial. I get that. Maybe I should tell you to come back in a couple of years to let us know how it all worked out for you. But I like you, and I want the best for you. You're a military wife, right? So was my wife for a long, long time, including the time when we first broke into print. You're a writer. I have as soft spot for newbie writers. So I'm going to tell you some things, even if you don't want to hear them.

They're all true, and they're all kindly meant.

The first thing that you need to know is that Robert Fletcher, the publisher of Strategic/Eloquent books, your publisher, is a conman. A professional scammer. He is currently being sued by the State of Florida for fraudulent business practices. His source of income is you, not selling books to the public. He has all kinds of fancy stories. They're all lies. You will never make more money from royalties on your book than you've spent so far on creating and promoting it. And that's even if your time is worth nothing. Anything more you spend, in time or money, is just more lost time and money. It's digging yourself deeper into a pit.

Your time would be better spent writing a new, different, better book and selling it to a real publisher. I've included complete instructions here.

No matter what Fletcher tells you, I am a multiply-published, best-selling, award-winning author. I make my living as a novelist. It's what I do to put groceries on the table and the kids through college. I have very likely sold more copies of my books than all of Fletcher's authors combined have sold of theirs.

This is my most recent book. You'll probably find it on the shelf of the bookstore nearest you. And that's without my lifting a finger to make it so.

Okay. Now, again in a spirit of helpfulness, let me go through your #72.


I'm sorry if things don't work out for you.

Things are working out fine for me. It's you I'm worried about. Maybe your book is wonderful. No one will ever know.

If I came into this thinking I'm going to make thousands in my first 6 months I would be stupid.

Oh, for heaven's sake! Why? Don't you like your book? Don't you like yourself? I made thousands in the first six months on my very first book, over twenty years ago. I've made thousands on each and every one since, in the first six months. Actually, well before the first six months, since I have the thousands already in hand as soon as the publisher's advance check clears. And that's before the book hits the stands. Sometimes before the book is even written.

(Note: This doesn't include Atlanta Nights--it was a sting on a vanity press rather than an attempt to sell books.)

Mostly, writers want readers. The reason we talk about money rather than readers is that readers are hard to count while money is easy to count. There's a positive correlation between money and readers. The more of the former, the more of the latter.

However, I came in this thinking....someone would see my work.

Someone will. But they're probably your friends and family, not total strangers. Fletcher didn't choose to publish your book because he liked it, or because he thought it would sell. He chose to publish it because he thought you'd write him a check.

I can't tell you what to do.

I already know what to do. I'm trying to tell you what to do. Which is, drop Fletcher like a bad habit and sell your next book to a legitimate press.


Yet, I will tell you that my book is out there.

So's Atlanta Nights. So's How to Good-bye Depression: If You Constrict Anus 100 Times Everyday. Malarkey? or Effective Way? "Out there" is a very low bar to jump over.


I don't know how many people have picked up a copy.

I do. Effectively zero. If you work very hard you'll probably top out between 75 and 150 copies, counting the ones you buy yourself. That's horrible.

Yet, I know if someone wants to buy a copy they can get one.

That's a mighty big "if." And wouldn't you prefer it if people actually did buy and read your book?

I think we often lose sight of our goals.

Mine's to get a lot of readers and make a living as a writer. What's yours?

Publishers publish our books, but it is up to us to get the sales.

No matter how many times you hear that from vanity publishers and self-publishing enthusiasts, that is a lie.

Your job is to write the best book you can. Selling it is the publisher's job.

I tweet in Dutch,Irish,German, and English.

That's nice. And I can summon spirits from the vasty deep. Tweeting doesn't turn into book sales.

I think you guys do more harm to us than the publishing company ever could.

How's that? The reason people aren't buying your book isn't because of anything I've said or done. Your book has negligible sales because the path that you're on makes sales difficult and unlikely. I didn't scam you. I didn't lie to you. And I didn't reach into your pocket and take your money. The only thing worse than being unpublished is being badly published. And you have been badly published.

When I no longer see Fairies Of Tythian on the market, then I will say okay.

It's POD. It'll be "on the market" as long as it's on a hard drive somewhere. It'll be theoretically available for sale. So's Atlanta Nights. How about picking another endpoint? When a year goes by without any sales, perhaps?

Yet, until then it is up to me to get the word out.

Get the word out all you want; it won't do you any good. Patrick O'Brian has been dead for ten years. He isn't Tweeting anything. Yet his books are still best-sellers. Why do you suppose that is?

Here's the answer: In legitimate publishing, selling the book is the publisher's job.

So, how about answering my earlier questions? How much have you spent so far? How many copies of your own book have you personally bought? How many copies will you have to sell to break even? (Not profit -- just break even.) Why isn't your book (or any Eloquent/Strategic book) actually, physically shelved in any bookstores that the author didn't visit in person and beg?

Have you read the lawsuit that the State of Florida has launched against Fletcher? In the interest of informing and protecting yourself, I think you should.

#76 ::: Shelly ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 04:54 AM:

I'm sorry but I don't see it the same way you do. If you want to see things in that light you are more than welcome to. However, I have seen authors from this area doing book signings from the publishing company I'm with. I have seen them in the news. One of our authors was on Jay Leno. I'm not saying that they haven't had issues because they have. I'm saying that not every book is the same, nor will the outcome be the same. If you want to think that go ahead and be my guess. However, it doesn't make it fact. You can say what you wish, but I see how many authors are doing okay from the company. It isn't Random. I understand this, yet it gives authors a chance to get their books out there. You can't tell me that it doesn't matter that my book is out there. Now I have spent less than 2500. If I would have self published I would have been out of much more. The idea for myself...Sorry Robert and everyone else is so that my work gets seen by someone else in the end. It has always been a way for me to get my work out there. I'm not in a contract that holds me down. I was offered two new contracts, but I plan to do this on my own. As for anything else...the last thing I paid for was for a revision. That put a bad taste in my mouth because I felt like it should have been taken care of for free.Yet, I will do it. Now at the end of the day we can fuss until I turn 34. Yet that wont do either one of us any good. So, I will just leave you with this. My mother was in a bad relationship. She was often told no,beat, and cheated on. She had to hold on to what she felt in her heart. One night after I had writers block so bad she came to me in a dream after she had been dead about a year. At that time I wasn't going to send anything in. Fairies Of Tythian was nothing more than a short story. Yet in the dream I was looking online with her. I was like mom I don't see it anywhere. I was talking about my book. She told me you never will if you don't finish it. See I had it published for her. I started writing after she died. I suffer from depression and it was the only way to not curl up and die. As for anything else that you might say or feel I can't help that. My mother wanted me to do this, and I didn't search around many places. However, I liked the idea of self publishing without having to pay everything. I checked around and it was very costly. There isn't anything anyone can tell me. When it comes to Fairies Of Tythian....it is about my feelings then.It isn't about what you think, or others. It is about what path my God has prepared for me. I don't know where it might lead. I don't want to be rich. I just want my book out there. It is about dealing with distrust and fear. At the end of the day if one person gets it and likes it....then it has reached someone. Yet, when you beat up on the people who helped me to get it out there...you beat up on me and others like me. I don't think it's right, and I feel like you are acting like a big bully.

#77 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 05:37 AM:

Anything you say, Shelly.

Come back in a year or two and tell us how it worked out for you.

#78 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 05:40 AM:

Shelly, just answer the question straight. How much have you paid Fletcher in total, and what did you get for it?

#79 ::: Antonia T. Tiger ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 05:53 AM:

Shelly, I know I'm not a professional writer. I don't get paid. But I don't have to pay somebody else to publish my stuff.

I might go the self-publishing route, through somewhere such as CreateSpace or lulu.com, and that can put me in the same place in the market as you are: the black, stinking, swamp which is print-on-demand sales though Amazon.

And I'm really wondering which Jay Leno book you're referring to.

#80 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 06:45 AM:

Not a book by Jay Leno.

A book by a guy who's been on Leno, and who also has a book from Strategic. I sincerely doubt that he was on Leno because of his book from Strategic.

All it means is that some of Jay Leno's guests have been scammed.

Here's my next prediction: That guy's book sales will also be poor-to-nonexistent.

It isn't particularly difficult for an author to talk some bookstore or another into allowing them to do a signing, particularly if they bring their own books and give the bookstore a cut of any money they make.

#81 ::: shelly ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 08:16 AM:

Well I will let you know. I'm very frank. I said I paid no more than 2500. I paid 995 for my part in the joint publishing..and another 675 or 650 for the three full page illustrations. I paid around 50 extra for revisions.So I paid nearly 1400 dollars.I had it to pay, and if I never write another thing...My children will have the book and know that their mother tried to follow her heart. Sometimes it isn't about the money. Sometimes it's about the meaning. You have to understand something I would spend 1800 on a ring that I didn't need. So instead of putting it on something that meant nothing I invested it in something that meant something. If you think it's stupid I don't care. It was my money. I paid it, not you.However what happens if someone reads it and think wow she has talent. Then they ask me about signing with them? It is a risk, but it is a risk I'm willing to take. I purchased around 25 books. About 67 I think have been sold. The books I purchased I gave to a high risk after school program. In some areas children need to think that they can do anything.They have hope now. I can't put a tag on that. I respect your views, but they are your views. It doesn't make them golden, or stone. It makes them your own.

#82 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 09:05 AM:

I guess this means that you're not actually going to read the text of the legal action that the State of Florida is bringing against this scammer.

It's like talking to someone in a cult. Sad.

#83 ::: Shelly ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 09:33 AM:

I read it before I signed with them. Yes,I knew the risk. Again I'm not saying that everything is perfect. If the situation was perfect I would sign with them on the book that I am now working on. After working with them I know what I want from a publishing company, and I know what I don't! I don't like the fact that you get nearly 500bucks of my proceeds.....and I get so so much less. I really really like the idea of self publishing.I don't like the 50% deal. I don't understand why everything comes out of my 50%. I don't like the fact that I can sell 60 plus books, and I get 90 bucks while they get nearly 500. I never said it was perfect. I said my book is online. I never said the situation was great. I said I needed to start somewhere. I have started, and now I can move on with my next book. This time I will make sure...I get what I want.

#84 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 11:23 AM:

Shelly: This time I will make sure...I get what I want.

Bluntly: You won't get it from Fletcher. If you're OK with dropping almost $2500 down the toilet and getting the scraps from Fletcher's table, fine. But as noted above, you could have self-published that same book through Lulu.com, for nothing up front, and kept 80% of whatever you sold.

Earl #84: Yeah, I've gotten the same feeling from then-friends who'd gotten sucked into an MLM (multi-level-marketing) scam.

#85 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 01:09 PM:

Shelly, Fletcher put up no money on this project. You paid for everything, full freight, plus a handsome profit beside. That's why he has a yacht--and you don't.

As you sit here today you've sold nearly all of the copies of your book that you'll ever sell. Try to prove me wrong if want; in two years' time you'll see that I was right.

My advice for your next work is to start at the top and work down. (Up at the top the publishers pay you, not the other way around.)

If you start at the bottom you'll never reach the top.

If you feel you must self-publish, genuinely self-publish. It'll be cheaper all around. You don't need to pay someone to take your rights.

(Self-publishing works best for niche fiction, specialized non-fiction, poetry, and drama. Which isn't the same thing as working well, but that's where it works best. If your book doesn't fall into one of those categories, expect a tiny readership.)

#86 ::: shelly ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 02:05 PM:

Well, as I stated I know what I want now. I want an agent. After I finish this book, I plan to get an agent and go from there. I don't know enough about the publishing world to understand the deals as they are. This time around I will try to find an agent. As for my Fairies Of Tythian. There is always hope. Don't you guys have something better to do. Go write or something! Go!!

#87 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 02:54 PM:

Trying to help people caught in a scam is "something better to do".

I hope that the How To Get Published discussion thread may be useful to you.

#88 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 02:55 PM:

Shelly, this is our hangout. You are the visitor, who came by to boast of paying an infamous con-artist to "publish" your book. (And Jim Macdonald is one of the moderators, not to mention his writing career is doing just fine.)

#89 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 03:12 PM:

Shelly:

One thing I'm glad to see you're doing is writing another book. And hopefully another after that. And that you're planning on looking for agents.

However, your comment about not knowing enough about how publishing works is worrisome in itself. Think of it this way; if you wanted to open your own small business selling flowers, you'd make sure you knew the rules of how to run the business, and the local tax laws, and bookkeeping. You wouldn't just grow flowers from your garden or greenhouse and sell them. It's worth your time to read up on it now, before you have a new book finished and NEED to hunt that agent.

Finding out how publishing works isn't hard. There are a lot of agents these days giving advice on how to submit to agents in general and to themselves in particular, and a lot of web sites with suggestions as to how to write a query letter or a synopsis. There are even places you can see sample contracts, to get an idea what rights it's okay to sell and what rights you want to keep. (Legitimate agencies don't charge a fee to read your manuscript, or refer you to an editing service. They get their money after they sell the MS to a publisher. It gives them incentive to try their hardest to sell your work.)

Look for web sites like Absolute Write, or sites for people in your genre (If you're still writing fantasy, the Science FIction Writers of America site has a number of articles available to non-members on writing and on publishing. IIRC, their web site's a nightmare to nagivate, but they're there.

ANd whatever you do, keep writing. That's the one part of your determination that is highly positive; don't give up, no matter what set-backs you've had.

#90 ::: Shelly ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 05:48 PM:

Thanks for the kind words. I understand the issue at hand.

#91 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2010, 11:36 PM:

Be careful.

In addition to pretending to be a publisher, Bobby Fletcher pretends to be an agent. He uses a large number of false names and has a large number of business names. But the underlying scam is the same: He takes money from writers and gives them nothing in return.

Nor is he the only scam agent out there.

#92 ::: shelly ::: (view all by) ::: June 24, 2011, 12:19 PM:

Well hello there! It's nearly a year later and I wanted to give you an update. The Fairies of Tythian didn't do much of anything sadly to say. I wouldn't pay the extra money to get the words corrected because I felt like I had already paid too much.. However.........I'm still writing. I write under S.B. Santiago, and my book The Vampire's Salvation has been ranked within the top 100 children's fiction for Adventure three times in the UK. The Fairies of Tythian never sold anything in the UK or anything without my direct help. So, it feels good to know that The Vampire's Salvation is doing well with people I don't know!! I'm selling more books as a self published author, than with ...well you know...I hope everything is going well for everyone..Goodbye.

#93 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 31, 2011, 10:09 AM:

Thanks for updating us, Shelly.

Yes, authors can do better self-publishing than they can by going with Bobby. It'll cost a lot less, too.

#94 ::: Alan Kayser ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2011, 04:34 PM:

This must be the same Robert Fletcher who "owned" Provision, a company that promoted seminars for real estate agents and others who were looking for insights into the then hot RE market circa 2004-5. My wife and I fell victim to Fletcher and his cronies who scammed us out of a lifetime's worth of savings. They set up offices in Ft. Lauderdale, he and his "wife" and another scammer named Larry Morris. They sold fake stock, interests in property they didn't own, etc. We even bankrolled his attempt to sell franchises in China. What did the SEC do about the fake stock sale? Nothing, nada, bupkiss. Fletcher deserves to burn in hell for what he did to not only my family, but many others along the way. And yet he still roams free, pulling the same scams time after time. I suppose his victims aren't important enough for the government to put a stop to. When we finally discovered it was all smoke and mirrors we had lost our shirts. Fletcher and Morris are sad pathetic people who have no compassion for their fellow human beings. Fletcher has no conscience. If you see him coming, R-U-N. Sorry for the rant.

#95 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2011, 07:09 PM:

Alan Kayser #96: No apologies necessary... it's interesting to hear that RF's scams aren't limited to the publishing field.

#96 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 17, 2011, 09:06 PM:

Hi, Alan --

Make sure you inform the Florida Attorney General of what you've just told us. They still have an active investigation of this scumbag.

#97 ::: Alan Kayser ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2011, 09:23 AM:

James and David: Thanks for the input. My experience with the SEC was enough to put me off investigation by any government agency. They have the ability to make the innocent feel guilty, as though we were somehow so naive that we deserved what we got. The Fed and state "agents" must be trained to use reverse psychology on victims, rather than spend their time on the likes of Fletcher and Morris. I always used to wonder how these guys slept at night. But the reality was/is that those types of scammers think the same way the government agents think: you were naive enough to fall for this so you deserve whatever has fallen on you. Capitalism at its best. I could tell you some real hair raising stories about RF, but I'll give you just this one for now: We were in Beijing (my wife is native Chinese) at a franchise show, staying at a hotel with the group of Provision CEOs, CFOs, etc. We were getting ready to check out when RF "discovered" he had left his cash in the US!!! So, not knowing at this point that we were being victimized, we agreed to pay his hotel bill in exchange for an IOU (LOL). Lo and behold RF and his "wife" had spent $2000 for in-the-hotel-room massages. Yep, $2000. That was the nail on the coffin, but it was already too late. My wife wanted to have RF "taken care of" right on the spot. I saved his worthless ass, but some 7 years later I wish I hadn't, mostly for the rest of the folks he has victimized.

Take a look at this:http://www.whatson-kiev.com/index.php?go=News&in=view&id=3510&page=60

Oh, and about that yacht. RF actually had two. One at the Provision office in Newport Beach, CA and one at Fort Lauderdale. Of course neither one was actually his, but that didn't seem to matter to him. Nor did selling property that he didn't own, or selling stock that was illegally transacted, nor using OPM (other people's money). We actually had that scum bag in our home, Morris too. They present themselves as friends then stab you in the back. Sad disgusting vermin.

#98 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2011, 09:44 AM:

The Robert Fletcher arrested in the Ukraine may be a different Robert Fletcher. To add to the confusion there are two different Robert Fletchers running around, both con artists. I've seen photos of both; they're different men.

I do urge you to contact the Florida Attorney General's office. One thing that conmen rely on is the reluctance of their victims to come forward and inform law enforcement.

#99 ::: Alan Kayser ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2011, 11:42 AM:

James, the RF arrested in the Ukraine was the same dude who scammed us here in Florida. The arresting photo was originally posted in the news and the description of his background matched. Same story...Alaska, MacDonald's, millionaire, blah blah blah. No question. After he was finished with Provision he tried to start a business in South America which failed. He tried to get in touch with some of his old "friends" to get enough cash to stay out of prison and get back to the US. Then he disappeared for a few years until he showed up in the Ukraine. There may be another RF but this guy is the same dude we knew.

#100 ::: praisegod barebones ::: (view all by) ::: August 18, 2011, 01:57 PM:

James MacDonald @ 100: Any chance that one of them might be impersonating the other?

#101 ::: Alan Kayser ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2011, 08:26 PM:

The Florida scam dude is easily recognizable: overweight, chubby face, receding hairline and about as lacking in etiquette as possible. Smooth talker and able to sustain a conversation as long as it doesn't sway too far from finance. Walked into a high end hotel in Shenyang, China, to a meeting with some Chinese high rollers. This was in winter and the ignorant dude was outfitted in shorts and a t-shirt. I mean, WTF dude, we got these people here to meet the CEO of an American business and he enters in SHORTS! So, if you have ever met this RF you will recognize the stench.

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