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Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

At it again

Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett


I've been following the Barbara Bauer Wikipedia drama, and it's amazing. Ms. Bauer herself has apparently been attempting to edit the page. Each revision is full of puffery and, in some cases, attacks. Here's one line that killed me (quoted in accordance with the GNU provisions of Wikipedia):

In 2006, Bauer's agency, along with 25 other American(USA) companies, was the victim of googlebombing attacks on the internet perpetrated by terrorists attempting to destroy their small businesses, many of which are women and minority owned and operated.
First, let us remember that Ms. Bauer's Ph.D. is in English, and not Math. The list in question is Writer Beware's 20 Worst Agencies. I don't have a degree in Math either, but I don't need a calculator to know that 25+1 does not equal 20.

Second, use of the word "terrorists" is inflamatory. If this is indeed Ms. Bauer making the edits (the username involved is the same as the e-mail address posted on her web site), then she is not doing herself a favor by using language such as that. In all fairness, it could be someone other than Ms. Bauer, but the rest of the puffery-filled edits suggest otherwise.

Editing an article about yourself looks bad, even if your intentions are honrable. I'm sure the editors of the article would be happy to have her go to the Talk page and offer her corrections along with references to corroborate her side of the story.

In fact, all she has to do is show that she has recently placed manuscripts with mainstream publishing houses and show that she no longer requests fees up-front.

By mainstream publishing houses, I mean legitimate, advance-paying houses that distribute to brick-and-mortar bookstores. Yes, some small presses sell mostly online and their royalties may not be the best, but they don't ask you to pay to print your book. I'm not talking about them. Hey, even those folks offer proper discounts to bookstores and you (repeat after me) don't have to pay any up-front fees in order to get published. If you're going to pay to get published, you don't need to pay an agent to help you. End of story.

Read up on standard agency practices at Miss Snark and Writer Beware. The Writer Beware page contains a host of good links. The bottom line is to do your homework before you choose an agent. You wouldn't buy a car without looking into reliability and safety statistics, so why would you choose an agent without looking at their track record?

The final decision is yours.

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Filed under: Writing   BarbaraBauer           
6/25/2006 4:41:51 PM
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