Friday, February 19, 2010

The Cult - Absolute Write Water Cooler

Posted by LD Keach on Friday, February 19, 2010

Some days, a writer just needs to get their bearings.

Some days, a writer’s been locked in their room for a week and a half with no human contact save for You Tube videos and a packet of demon-possessed Skittles candy.

Some days, when the burden of the terrible task weighs down upon us too heavily, a writer needs to share in the camaraderie of the writer’s life and relish the joys that come with the pains of this monstrous career we have undertaken…

This site will not help you do any of that.

Don’t get me wrong; I adore the Absolute Write Water Cooler. It’s like word cocaine. One can go there and howl about the trials and tribulations of writing, connect with writers who’ve had similar experiences, get advice and support and lots of other happy shiny things. At the Absolute Write forums, you’ll learn more about the craft of writing and the publishing industry than Writer’s Market will ever teach you. With over 20,000 members, professional and non-professional alike, it is the premiere indie gathering place on the internet for writers.

There’s just a reason they call it the “Water Cooler.” Because you’re not working while you’re standing around it.

But, when you’re in a bind, check out the site and peruse their exhaustive boards for whatever help you might need, be it for character development, dealing with jerkish editors, viable market information, or even the philosophies of language itself—chances are, they will have posts detailing whatever it is you’re looking for. But, after that, remind yourself that, yes, you are a writer, and it’s a writer’s plight to suffer in reclusive dementia, alone.

And, speaking of suffering, I think I’m giving up second person plural for Lent. (I’m not Catholic, but my husband talked me into it; he says self-denial is good for the soul, especially when done in groups. Of course, he also says Mohawk Jesus was the fastest gun in the West, so maybe I shouldn’t listen to him.)

My point is; it’s good to remember suffering and self-denial when dealing with the fabulous addictiveness that is the Absolute Write Water Cooler forums. Don’t stand around the cooler for too long, ya’ll—aw, dammit, second person plural.

I screwed it up already. Mohawk Jesus won’t be pleased.


  1. Greetings from down unde, there needs to be not just 'how to' but a year book of publishers & Agencies to run away from, the BargePole book [ would'nt touch with a barge pole etc. ]covering the last 12 months information plus on proud sleazy & reported practises, etc,

  2. Love the "Barge Pole" book idea, Simon!

  3. What if the Absolute Write Water Cooler is the bully and the liar? If a writer goes there to make post and join conversations only to be bullied by the Stasi, then what? With a place that has that many posters why are they are so sensitive to ideas that don't agree with theirs?

  4. It's a forum, J; that happens on every forum everywhere. It's like, a fancy forum coat that all forums must wear.

  5. J-Jammer is actually correct in the assessment that AW is comprised of highly sensitive people that are eager to disagree with you. I am all for discussion but a lot of what goes on there is just downright trash talking and insults. I have better things to do with my time. If I wanted to beat my head against a wall, get sour grapes commentary about "preditors", or to critique some awful writing, I could do it in far friendlier surrounds.

  6. I find it highly amusing that many of the contributors to the AW Water Cooler are practically illiterate. Though I think the Water Cooler tries its best for the interest of writers, many who post there suffer grave grammatic problems in the "he said, she said" commentaries that pollute this public forum. Maybe these contributors are indeed great writers and post lazy remarks at the Water Cooler, but if they are this shoddy posting to a public website, I'd hate to see the manuscripts they say they are sending to agents and publishers. Many of these manuscripts probably are in the same sad shape as "Atlanta Nights," a deliberate, terribly written manuscript some AW contributors put together for submission to what AW alleges to be a notorious vanity publisher.

    If you search AW on Google, you'll find that MacAllister Stone, who is the owner of AW, failed to pay three teachers a grand sum of only several hundred dollars for classes they taught for AW. AW has no business lambasting agents and publishers if Mac Stone is ripping off AW freelance writing teachers.

  7. Hmm... interesting stuff. I myself pop in from time to time on AW's water cooler and although I have learned some useful information there that I might not have otherwise, there are things that absolutely irked me. For one, there are certain members who seem to be able to say whatsoever they choose and not catch any flak for it. But, if you are a newbie and put even one toe out of line or express an opinion on something, you are hit with a barrage of insults. Personal insults, I'm talking. I was subjected to that myself. I agree with the comparison to cocaine because even after that incident, I went back to the site. Masochistic, I guess. Anyway, this post might just be the kick in the pants that I need to stay away from AW indefinitely.

    My advice? Browse the forums all you like, but DO NOT JOIN. I was much, much happier as a lurker...

  8. I'm glad I'm not the only person who has an issue with AW. Reese, you hit the nail on the head when it comes to newbies having to tiptoe whilst long time members have the apparent right to be bombastic and foul. I posted my (very bad) query on the forum, preparing myself for professional, constructive criticism which AW hypocritically promotes. I regard myself as a person with very thick skin, originating from a very non P.C., non B.S. family (which I am mostly thankful for). On AW I received nothing but condescension, vague answers, and the occasional accusal of being pretentious (I write literary fiction). I "audaciously" took the liberty in defending myself, and as it turns out, got permanently banned. Not once did I make a threat, attack someone, swear, etc., as it is not my style; but it seems the unnamed administrator was totally fine with long-time members doing this, one particular member who got a thrill out of being downright crass and brusque. The admin's logic is totally screwy, firstly giving me a 'time-out' before I was banned, which I detested as being absolutely ridiculous. It also seems that a lot of the members can dish it out, but they can't take it. I also question the nature of AW; when you look at the tone and requirements, it has a bit of a cult-like feel about it, encouraging people to share and be a friend. Being a member is something the admin tends to take VERY SERIOUSLY, now having a 50 post requirement before you can post your query to be critiqued. The 50 post requirement is so you can "make friends and contribute your share". The unnamed admin feels it is rude to sign up, have your query critiqued and never be seen again. I'm not inconsiderate, but let's just face it, writing is personal, and the writer is generally in it for themselves. I honestly don't care if Bob from Wisconsin has a partial out or Toad from Nowhere just struck a deal. I was sort of disappointed, too, by the lack of industry insight. I think a lot of writers on there who have struck small deals, feel they automatically know the ins and outs of the book industry, which is actually sort of laughable. The only slight accusal I made about the admin (to the admin) was that he would probably be treating me better if I had made a donation for "Site upkeep" (WTF?). After that line, I was immediately banned. Did I touch a nerve? I don't know, but I don't have time to deal with power-trippers.

    Pred and Ed is an awesome sight for info, though.

  9. I am glad to hear I am not the only one that ran afoul of AW. My great sin was to simply comment that the posters there that were ready to lynch Zimmerman before hearing all the facts of the Trayvon Martin case should be ashamed of themselves. I then pointed out that they were all claiming the video released by the Martin family proved that Zimmerman hadn't been injured and was thus a lying killer. I pointed out that it appeared the video had been altered and mentioned a story that said exactly that. I was then hit with several demands for "links" proving what I posted. So I went to locate the three links but before I could go back to post them, in less than 3 minutes I might add, I had been banned from that thread.

    No less than Mac Stone herself then jumped all over my backside for being a troll and banned me from the site after I pointed out, in a PM to her only, that censorship from a writer or a group of writers is sad to see.

    I did not use foul language or personally attack another poster but I am under a lifetime ban from AW. Its a shame because I had connected with a couple of writers there and now have no way to contact them.

  10. The place is just EVIL! Some of the warnings are legit, but 90 % of that site is BS. I only trust a few of the well known posters there. The attack and destroy mentality of these authors amazes me. Lurk--for the love of God--only lurk!

  11. Add me to the people who think the site is run by an evil crazy and a couple of her crazy minions. There are good people there but they are low level admins. The top ones are nuts.

  12. They have one old biddie there that is a "supermoderator" who tells everyone to buy a book about publishing with a copyright date of 1999 if they want to know all about the industry. She constantly tells members who say anything about what is going on in 2013 that they don't know anything about publishing. She says anyone who has sold less than tens of thousands of copies of their book should be ashamed. If someone so much this super mod is wrong about anything they are banned.

  13. If you are a writer or wanting to learn about writing my advice is to stay away from the AW-forums. The site is run and moderated by people who have no clout in the business and who fly under false flag. Beware, you will waste your time there.

  14. I've only been a member briefly, and found this blog by searching how to leave the AWWC.

    It's horrible. I thought it was an open, honest forum to exchange ideas and learn. I found myself in the middle of backbiting, condescending, bitter people (including two Mods) who were not helpful at all and hide behind screen names.

    How am I supposed to take career advice seriously from someone called SuperModerator, when I can't tell if they've ever published anything?

    I asked a specific question, and when I questioned politely but firmly the uninformed and negative advice an anonymous writer gave, she harangued and condescended like a fishwife. On another thread, she jumped into a productive discussion and tongue lashed not only me, but every contributor! Lord, it must've taken her half an hour just to quote every single one of us LOL

    It was a ludicrous critique: she said we "had to" provide evidence for everything we said. This, immediately after telling me one of her pets doesn't have to provide any, and I am rude for asking.

    Who the hell puts up with this? WHY would you? Neither would I trust advice from people who would submit to this BS.

    Would someone please tell me how to close my account with them? I can't find the information on the forum. I would like to put "closed" on AWWC.

    My email: [email protected]