Edit Ink redux

July 25, 2006

[copied from my old Myspace blog]

Eleven years ago, I had the misfortune of spending a few months as an intern in Buffalo, NY, for a manuscript-editing service called Edit Ink.  After I left, the operation was investigated by the NY attorney general for violations of truth-in-advertising laws.  Its owners eventually received civil fines in excess of $5 million for defrauding thousands of prospective writers in a clever bait-and-switch scam.  Fortunately for me, I was too naive at the time to realize what I’d gotten myself into; I was kind of like the low-level employees at Enron who only later discovered that they’d been part of something nefarious.

Anyway, long story long, I detailed my whole relationship with Edit Ink in my March 2006 column at Horror World.  The article proved to be an exhausting exercise in investigative journalism as I interviewed several people–including the NY assistant attorney general.

Since March, I’ve received a lot of interesting feedback.  I’ve heard from a few others who say they were former Edit Ink editors like me and who said I brought back a lot of unpleasant memories.  One lady said that a few years ago she crossed paths with Bill Appel in the years after the Edit Ink debacle, when he was selling home satellite dishes.  And just a few weeks ago–this took the cake–I was contacted by Charles Neighbors, one of the Edit Ink defendants, who ran the Aardvark Literary Agents.  After verifying his identity to my satisfaction, I interviewed him over the phone.  He told me that his role in the Edit Ink scam was highly exaggerated and that he would be taking steps to expunge his record with the State of New York.  Perhaps this fall he’ll pen a rebuttal to my column.  We’ll see.

The games go on, though.  Yesterday, a troll on the Absolute Write Water Cooler message board laid into me.  He claimed to have been involved with Edit Ink as well, but he refused to identify himself.  I concluded that he was lying about his whole involvement and just wanted to take some digs at me.  Here’s where you can read the whole exchange.  For what it’s worth, he may have had a good point concerning my definition of sexual harrassment, but other than that, he proved to be nothing but an ass.  I post the link here so you can judge for yourself.