Over the years that I've been watching writers' message boards I've noticed a handful of people who always go that extra mile when it comes to protecting writers from the sharks.
Over and over again I've seen them give detailed, concrete advice about publishers, agents, contracts and the writing world; I've watched them patiently explain how scammers work within the publishing world, and how they can be avoided; and I've watched them help writers extricate themselves from the various mires that such scammers create. It would be nice if they got some sort of reward for their efforts: instead, they often get treated with rudness and hostility. Still they continue.
Most of these people are regulars over at Absolute Write which is, in my opinion, the single best internet resource for writers.
Some time ago, Writer Beware produced their "Thumbs Down Agency List". One of the agents on that list was Barbara Bauer (I'll not reproduce the list here as it's updated frequently, and it's important to read it alongside the notes that accompany it, but do have a look at it via the link). Ms Bauer has been on the "Thumbs Down Agency List" ever since it first appeared.
On September 20, 2007 Barbara Bauer filed suit in New Jersey against a list of defendants, including several members of Absolute Write.
Defending oneself against such a suit can be hideously expensive. To that end, a legal defense fund has been established.
I began this blog with the hope that I might be able to help a couple of writers avoid the traps that I've seen others fall prey to. Now I get the chance to help the people who helped me. Donate, if you can. Blog about it too, and let me know so I can come and say thank you. Every little helps.