In this bonus episode of season one of I Make Words, Marni and Diana talk about some recent publishing and writing stories from the headlines and the lessons contained therein. See related articles and more at www.spookedseries.com.
The Troubling Tale of Danielle Smith
Danielle Smith has been around the publishing industry for a while. She started out working for a literary agency before she herself became an agent in 2013. She worked for a couple of established agencies before starting her own "boutique literary agency for children’s book authors and illustrators that also packages books for publishers" named Lupine Grove Creative, LLC. She appears, at this time, to still be a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She has attended SCBWI conferences and other events. Her listing as an agent, along with the clients she purports to represent, still appears on Publishers Marketplace. She even hired another agent into her agency as recently as January 2018.
But as of this week, her agency website is shuttered. Similarly, her Twitter account has disappeared. Danielle's employee? She found out she was out of work right along with the rest of the literary world, when a story spilled out that it is all-too-familiar in some ways and uniquely bizarre in others. The only social media that seems to remain open to the public for Danielle is her personal instagram, which was updated only a few hours prior to this writing, with the somewhat ironic quote: "no matter what you're going to be okay."
Someone should tell that to her clients.
It began with a post to a closed Facebook group, but was quickly passed around, with writers who had signed with Danielle Smith finding out through emails from friends and even in some cases, via social media, that their agent was a liar.
The reasons for these misguided misrepresentations on Danielle's part seem unclear to everyone: her clients, her bewildered and heartbroken employee, other writers and agents watching in horror and sadness from the sidelines.
But hiding within this story is a clear warning to would-be authors out there. Even the most seemingly reputable agent may be hiding things from you. Be careful who you sign with, and always trust your gut.
More details can be found in Publisher's Weekly.
Beware of Strangers Bearing Gifts: Anna March
This week, the LA Times released a searing profile of a long-time grifter and con, Anna March. While the story would be interesting under any circumstances given the fabulist character at its center, this ongoing series of cons centered around feminism and the literary arts is highly relevant to all aspiring authors.
Anna conned people on both coasts. Some of these people were of both fame and high regard. Others were just writers with dreams. Most of the business entities she has crashed are either related to non-profit work that was intended to help give voice and space to underrepresented people or to assist those at the beginning of their careers with their craft and networking. From writing centers to retreats to feminist magazines to even, in one case, public radio, there is nothing but ashes left in her wake.
This story serves as a good reminder that, at the end of the day, anything that looks too good to be true probably is. Also? It never hurts to do a little digging before you tie your dreams and reputation up in someone else's business ventures.
More details can be found in the LA Times impecably researched and well-written expose.
This episode was written and recorded by Marni Bates and Diana Rosengard.
This episode edited by Diana Rosengard.
Our theme song is "Jazz Cafe" by Jam Morgan, used under Creative Commons license, from www.taketones.com.
"I Make Words (And So Can You!)" is a Snoozletime Media production, a division of Horseshoes & Hand Grenades Publishing, LLC.