No way, you say? Well, fee-charging literary agent Eddie Kritzer begs to differ.
Since Writer Beware’s founding, I’ve been getting questions and advisories about Mr. Kritzer and his company, EKP Productions. In 1998 and 1999, most involved Kritzer’s referrals to Edit Ink, a fraudulent editing service that paid kickbacks to agents who sent clients its way. More recently, I’ve begun hearing that Mr. Kritzer is asking for a $500-600 “advance on commission.” (I have documentation of these fees, but you don’t have to take my word for it–a number of writers have blogged or posted about their encounters with Kritzer, and there’s a whole thread on him at Absolute Write.)
Mr. Kritzer’s bio and credits drop some well-known showbiz names–Art Linkletter, Bill Cosby, Burt Reynolds, Christina Aguilera, Phylicia Rashad–and cite a number of TV and radio production credits. Though most of these do check out, many prove on investigation to be rather elderly. For instance, the Rashad TV movie, False Witness, aired in 1989, and the Burt Reynolds TV special, Shattered, premiered in 1986. Animals Are People Too, featuring Alan Thicke, was broadcast in 1999, and How Do They Do That?, a radio show with Ed McMahon, in 1991. Aguilera, who Kritzer’s bio claims to have “just” secured for New Dana Perfume, signed with New Dana in 2000, and parted ways with the company in 2002.
Kritzer also cites a number of books sold to publishers. Some of the publishers are reputable, but again, there’s a certain lack of recency. Art Linkletter’s Kids Say the Darndest Things, published by Ten Speed Press, has a hardcover pub date of 1985, with a softcover re-issue in 2005. Bill Cosby’s book of the same title, from Bantam, was released in 1998. And Saving Money With the Tightwad Twins, from HCI Books, came out in 2003.
Other “sales” are, well, not really sales at all. Barry Broad’s Eve of Destruction (2008), Dr. Tom Yi’s The Practical Patient (2004), and Dominic Spinale’s G-Men and Gangsters (2004) have all been placed with Seven Locks Press, which offers contracts charging thousands of dollars to publish (Writer Beware has received documented reports of these fees), and has been sued by at least one of its authors for nonperformance (other complaints can be seen here). Craig A. Miller’s The Making of a Surgeon in the 21st Century (2008) was placed with Blue Dolphin Publishing, which asks authors to find “investors” to fund the multi-thousand dollar cost of publication (again, Writer Beware has received documented complaints, similar to the one that can be seen here).
So what does all this have to do with wrinkles and lesbianism?
Well, this past Sunday, Kritzer emailed me to let me know about his latest book sale. If you’re wondering why he’d bother, he’s unhappy with me because of what I’ve posted about him on Absolute Write (he’s been emailing me for some time to let me know), and I guess he thought maybe the following would make me change my mind, or prove me wrong, or something.
You be the judge:
Then, a couple of hours later:
The sale doesn’t seem to have been officially announced anywhere (an Internet search turns up only the fact that “Tiger Woods Syndrome” is a popular phrase with a variety of definitions), but HCI is a real publisher, and I’m content to take Kritzer’s word for it, especially given the delightful professionalism on display above.
Congratulations on the sale, Eddie. I’m wishing you a happy New Year too, and also a supply of apostrophes.
(P.S. I’m not the only one getting love notes from Kritzer. Check out this series of blog posts from another writer who displeased him.)
UPDATE 1/16/10: I’ve gotten a lot of angry and/or abusive emails in my time, but never one quite like this. (Warning: smutty content.) Clearly he is not happy about this blog post.
UPDATE 1/17/10: He just can’t quit me. He’s sent me seven or eight emails in the past five days. Here’s the latest:
Points for creativity, I guess. I don’t know why he thinks I have a son, though.
UPDATE 3/23/19: Just found out that Eddie Kritzer passed away last February. Here’s his obituary.