Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Robert Fletcher of Writers' Literary Agency Labelled Fraudulent And Frivolous In Legal Ruling

Ann Crispin and Victoria Strauss today announced that Robert Fletcher of the Writers' Literary Agency has not only lost the lawsuit he took out against them and James Macdonald eighteen months ago: Robert Fletcher's suit has been deemed frivolous in the judge's findings, and his business habits have been labelled fraudulent. Robert Fletcher brought the case because he claimed that the warnings that Writer Beware had issued about his company were defamatory, but the judge disagreed with him. I particularly liked the piece by James Macdonald, which Fletcher objected to, which you can read here (I did want to quote it here, but Blogger still won't let me copy and paste).

Robert Fletcher has now been ordered to pay Writer Beware's costs, and according to a lawyer over at Making Light he's going to find it very difficult to wriggle out of doing so. At this point I wish that Ann and Victoria had hired a more expensive lawyer, but we can't have everything.

Just in case anyone who reads this page is considering submitting to the Writers' Literary Agency or one of its many subsidiary companies, here is a link to the discussions about the Writers' Literary Agency and Robert Fletcher over at Absolute Write: and I'll finish with an extract from the judge's findings which I found particularly interesting:
The plaintiff, Robert Fletcher, sent multiple e-mails to both defendants, Crispin and Strauss threatening them both with physical harm and threatening them with this lawsuit. In fact, in two of his e-mails, he indicated that his purpose was not to prevail in the lawsuit but just to bankrupt the defendants, Crispin and Strauss.

Hands up anyone who fancies an agent who behaves like that. No one? Can't say I blame you.

My warmest congratulations to Ann Crispin, Victoria Strauss and to James Macdonald for winning the case. And yah-boo-sucks to Robert Fletcher. Frivolous and fraudulent has such a nice ring to it, don't you think?

22 comments:

behlerblog said...

I couldn't be happier than if I were twins. Jane, you're a dear for posting this. Fletcher has been a royal pain in many sides for far too long, and it's lovely to see this man exposed for exactly what he is.

I actually held up printing Tackle Box so I could put that bit of lovely news in there. It was that important.

Jane Smith said...

Lynn, I think it was EVEN MORE important than that!

Word is getting round already. I've already had a couple of approaches from journalists trying to get hold of Victoria, and it's been my pleasure to put them in touch. I bet Twitter is buzzing with this one: I hope so.

Rebecca Knight said...

YAAAAY! People like the lovely folks of Writers Beware provide such an incredible service. GOOD FOR THEM for sticking to their guns, and coming out victorious :D.

Jane Smith said...

If anyone in the UK has a first-hand account of dealing with Robert Fletcher or the Writers' Literary Agency I know a journalist who would be interested in speaking to them... my email address is on the blog's front page if anyone's willing to talk.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I am so happy! I remember reading about the lawsuit on Preditors and Editors (those titles might be switched). The audacity of that man!

Victoria Strauss said...

Thanks for featuring this, Jane. We're so pleased and grateful for the outpouring of support we've received--it's truly heartwarming (pause to shed a tear).

The best thing from our point of view is that the Court acknowledged the bad faith aspect of the lawsuit, which was brought the sole intent of shutting us up. It's a blow against the chilling effect on whistleblowers of threats and intimidation. We hope it'll give pause to anyone who's contemplating a similar lawsuit in future.

Rebecca Ryals Russell said...

It's so nice to see the Good Guy win for a change. Thanks for this post to solidify the reputation of a worthwhile listing as Writers Beware! is. Thanks to Writers Beware! for the cahoonas to stand up for your beliefs.

Jane Smith said...

Victoria, there's no need at all for you to thank me for posting this: you and Ann do such solid work for so many writers and I know from experience how badly some of them take your help and advice: just sit back for once in your life, why don't you, and let the waves of adoration wash over you!

I hope that this will deter other similar frivolous fraudsters (don't you just LOVE that alliteration?) from dishing out lawsuits. And that you and Ann are now taking a break from all this nastiness and sitting back for a while, enjoying the sun.

Thanks for all you do. Really.

Jane Smith said...

(By the way, I'd really appreciate it if everyone who reads this who has a Twitter account clicks on that "tweet" button at the top of the post, either here on on Victoria's post at Writer Beware: this is one of those issues that just has to be broadcast as widely as possible.)

Donna Hosie said...

Tweet duly published! Thank you to Writers Beware for everything they do on behalf of us writers.

catdownunder said...

Purrfect result!

Marian said...

This is wonderful news. I'm so glad that the truth won out. And the news that this is going to be included in Tackle Box... well, I'm sure that's a great book, but now it's even more read-worthy. :)

Ebony McKenna. said...

Fantastic!

Doug Edwards said...

I just completed my first childrens book and am searching for an agent online. I could use some advice here.

Should I stay away from WL Childrens Literary Agency.
The only I got from their Acquisitions Dept was that they have offices in NYC, Florida and California and that they travel alot. Someone named Mark, from their customer service department, called my cell phone today and said they received my email w/ my attached manuscript.

What a coinsidence that now I'm reading this blog about the court case and Mr Robert Fletcher.

Can anyone offer me some advice about this Company?

Thanks,
Doug Edwards
Cleveland, Ohio

Jane Smith said...

Doug, I would advise you to not just stay away from the Writers' Literary Agency, but to RUN away from them. They won't get you a deal for your book, unless it's with a vanity press--which really isn't the way to go.

If you want to find out more, go to the forums at AbsoluteWrite.com, and look for the "Bewares and Background Checks" section. Robert Fletcher's various businesses have a whole section to themselves there, and you'll find all the information that you need.

In other areas of Absolute Write you'll get help in finding a good agent for your work--and you'll find out if you're really ready to submit.

I hope that's a help.

Akili Kumasi said...

Thanks, you saved me a lot of time and frustration as I am looking for an agent to sell one of my books to a publishing house (Fatherhood Principles of Joseph the Carpenter).

Akili Kumasi

Jude Barnes said...

Yes, I just received a contract from this agency, and I thank ALL of you for your "beware" comments; however, how does someone specifically go about finding a legitimate agency/agent to represent them??? I have been searching for months! All of this information about fraudulent behavior is a great help, but I cannot find ONE WORD about a legitimate agent/agency. How about some help for a newbie who is trying to take the right road here? Thanks...Jude Gallagher Barnes

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

Please can someone email me? I signed with this Robert Fletcher at WL and he has my manuscript! PLease please email me:

bloggingmamaandrea@gmail.com

Many thanks. I should have known it was too good to be true!

Jane Smith said...

Don't worry: you've not lost your work, and all will be well. The only thing you've lost is any money you've paid over for the "services" which the WLA provides. The agency has no record of making sales: it makes its money by charging its writers money and once the writers stop paying, they lose interest in them.

All you have to do is write or email them and tell them you're terminating your contract iwth them, and htat you're not going to pay for any more of their editing or other services.

You'll find a lot of information if you go to www.absolutewrite.com/forums and look in the Bewares and Background Checks area. There's a whole subforum there devoted to the WLA: have a good browse around and ask questions there if you need to. And you might want to contact the authorities, as there's a legal investigation into Fletcher's dealings going on right now: details are at Absolute Write.

Shannon Hudnell said...

This is incredible! Thank God for the internet because I was considering one of this man's companies. Interestingly enough, I was in a very similar situation because I posted the truth online. I was sued for defamation by someone whose intention was to cause financial distress. In the end, they lost.

Jane Smith said...

Jude, sorry it's taken me so long to get round to replying to you: I've been having just a few technical problems and I'm afraid your comment got tangled up with them.

You make an excellent point. I've blogged today (29 October) about how to distinguish the good from the bad, and more blog posts on the subject will follow. Keep watching.

Jane Smith said...

Shannon, I'm glad I helped you out. And while the truth is an absolute defense against a libel conviction it's no defense against a frivolous or ill-informed lawsuit, I'm afraid. I know this far better than I'd like.