Industry news: AC Crispin Says Goodbye
Note: I usually write these a few days ahead. Ann Crispin died yesterday.
Until I got serious about understanding this business, when I thought of A.C. Crispin, my first thought was Star Trek. In reality, Ann Carol Crispin has been an incredibly prolific writer who has advanced both the Star Trek series of novels, as well as Star Wars. She’s also written a backstory novel for the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series, telling the story of a much younger Jack Sparrow.
Her Star Trek novel Yesterday’s Son was the first Star Trek novel that wasn’t a movie novelization that made the NY Times bestseller list. Overall, she’s written twenty-three published novels. And if that’s all she’d done, it would be a reasonably full resume.
But her primary contribution–and the reason for this post–was her work as a Regional Director, then President of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). It was there, with Victoria Strauss, that she started Writer Beware, a watchdog group within SFWA that lists shady agents, publishers, and editors. Writer Beware started in 1998 and includes lists of agents and publishers you shouldn’t query.
In short, it’s an indispensable tool for new and growing writers who want to avoid being ripped off as they pursue their dream. And as shady operators since the beginning of time have known, people pursuing a dream can suspend reasonable doubt as part of that pursuit.
Ann Crispin posted her good bye on her Facebook page this week. She’s suffering from cancer–losing a battle she first announced in May 2012. Tuesday, she made this post:
I’ve been hesitant to make this post, but it’s time. I want to thank you all for your good wishes and prayers. I fear my condition is deteriorating. I am doing the best I can to be positive but I probably don’t have an awful lot of time left. I want you all to know that I am receiving excellent care and am surrounded by family and friends.
I wish all aspiring writers the will to finish and a good contract. Please continue to monitor Writer Beware and be careful who you sign with. Victoria Strauss and Richard White are there to help.
I’ve asked Michael to collect and read me your messages. As I don’t know how things will proceed, I don’t know if I’ll have the strength to post on Facebook again.
I’ve never met Ann Crispin and you probably haven’t, either. You may have never gone to Writer Beware or had a bad experience with a crook trying to fleece writers. But the fact that someone like her is out there, looking out for other writers, is of value to writers everywhere.
Writer Bewared doesn’t come without its costs. Although the warnings are typically well-researched and pretty much on-the-money, there have been threats and actual legal action. In short, this is a woman who has taken time from her career to create a valuable service for us.
In essence, she’s a writer helping writers.