If you have had a bad experience with a literary agent, book doctor, or publisher this is the place to tell your story. Maybe it will help others avoid going down the wrong publishing road.
Dear Mr. Fisher,
I just came across your web site and book about Dorothy Deering. I was researching for information in order to tell a friend about my own experience with Chuck and Dorothy. As your site stated you would appreciate hearing about bad experiences, I wanted to share a short note with you.
Since you obviously know much more about the Deerings than I, I'll just relay to you an observation. During the height of her scamming, I became entangled with Dorothy. Mine is the usual story; wrote a detective mystery, thought it was pretty good, bought a copy of Writer's Market and began sending out query letters to agents. When I received a hit from the Deerings, I immediately had fantasies of quitting my day. When I sent the manuscript, and received glowing praise for it, I was hooked. I was working, earned a decent living, and so the $300.00/year she charged me for promoting the book didn't bother me. You know the rest of the story; several years go by, and then I get the big offer. There's a great publisher in Salt Lake City who loves the book and wants to publish it as a joint venture. They'll put up 75% of the cost; all I have to do is put up the other 25% or $5,000.00 and I'm a published author. I went for it, Northwest Publishing and the Deerings stole my money, and the rest is history.
The amazing thing to me, at this point, is that early on in this saga, I actually traveled from my home in Houston to visit the Deering Literary Agency in Atlanta. I thought this was what authors and agents did; they established a business relationship on a personal level. I had a brother living in Atlanta, so I made arrangements to visit him and made an appointment to go and "meet with my agents". I recall getting up that morning and heading out to a suburb an hour's drive from Atlanta, following the directions provided by Chuck Deering over the phone. I pictured myself going in, introducing myself to the receptionist, "Hello, I'm Greg Morris, the author. I have an appointment with Mr. and Mrs. Deering, my agents." I was so proud. They would offer me something to drink, tell me to have a seat and the Deerings would be right with me (probably on a call to New York at the moment).
My illusion began to fall apart as I drove farther and farther from the city, and ended up in some rural suburb of very modest older homes. As I pulled into the driveway of what turned out to be the Deerings' house, I quickly began to restructure my impression of agents. In the time it takes to walk from the car to the front door I had decided a good agent wouldn't waste money on fancy offices and receptionists, and working out of one's house wasn't a bad thing. After all, I had written my book in my own house.
I spent an hour or so sitting in their kitchen talking and "visiting". I could have been visiting with an aunt and uncle. Dorothy was dressed, well, frumpily. I recall she was short and plump, and wore what seemed to be a cheap muumuu type dress from Wal-Mart. Chuck was an affable fellow, very positive and upbeat, the talker of the two. There was another girl in the house who was introduced as an assistant. She seemed to be busy typing and filing, etc. I left somewhat disillusioned, but not disheartened. Anyway, now that the facts are out, I find it utterly amazing I had that personal encounter with such crooks.
Well, it's a good thing I don't have to make my living as a writer. For me, it is one of several major hobbies of mine. I finally got a couple of books published (sort of) by the iUniverse company (www.iuniverse.com). All it cost me was around $100.00, and I can now send my friends to Amazon.com to order one of my books all printed and bound with cover artwork for $11.95. It's great; no more printing them out on 8-1/2 x 11 sheets of paper. I still think the books are good, and I have several ideas for stories I'll pursue, probably as one of my retirement activities.
Anyway, I think I'll get a copy of "Ten Percent of Nothing", read it, and then keep it with all the correspondence I have retained from Dorothy and Chuck and those fine folks at Northwest Publishing. It's a very valuable file folder, containing $5,000.00 worth of letters and contracts. I'll cherish it forever!!
Gregory A. Morris
The Woodlands, Texas