Beware Absolute Write Trashing of Agent Eric Ruben

Eric Ruben is a fantastic agent! He is deeply knowledgeable, personable, and extremely business-oriented. It’s a pleasure to have him as an agent and I recommend him fully.
          - Anne Elizabeth, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Sourcebook’s Navy SEAL romance series and the Pulse of Power graphic novel series.


The Pop-up Sock Puppets of One Brilliance

Another gem from the axe-grinding paradise of Absolute Write.

Literary Agent Eric Ruben
We are asked to believe that four anonymous entities (who suspiciously sound like the same person) who joined Absolute Write one day after another and only for the ostensible purpose of trashing Eric Ruben are telling the unquestioned truth when "they" allege that an agent as professional as Ruben broke every rule of professionalism and behaved out of character like a foolish child, even to the point of becoming violent. We are asked to believe absurdities such as, "He spends a lot of time tweeting from Whole Foods." We are further asked to believe that "these" anonymous axe-grinders were able to initiate not one but uncounted intimate private conversations with Eric's clients who, of course, also trashed Eric to them. We are asked to believe these posters in question are all different people when they talk the same, make identical unsubstantiated allegations, weasel word the same, and even disgorge the transparently disingenuous claim that they don't wish to "badmouth" Eric before proceeding to do just that with great vigor and while pretending to be objective.

The curious thing about all this is that it eerily resembles the pop-up trashing of Curiosity Quills noted in our SAD TRUTH OF HATE post. In other words, an anonymous entity pops up from nowhere on the Absolute Write forum under the noses of the owners and mods and begins severely trashing their victim without being questioned or doubted in the least. A real pattern here. We see it everywhere on AW, and in each case, the mods, owners and members retreat from any reasonable standard of fairness while the victim is decimated. And how many times have we seen them all join in to support the bashing!

Moving on.

Look at Them
The first anonymous trasher of Eric calls herself SavvySharky, who kicks off with: "I don't want to bad mouth him..." Then proceeds to do precisely that, and remorselessly. So this Savvy Sharky (whoever she is) is disingenuous at minimum. Our trust level of this anonymous hater is sliding.

And a few unsupported claims and weasel wording:

"I finally had a few uncomfortable conversations with his clients to get a sense of what I was experiencing was the norm and it seemed it was. Other clients weren't happy with where he was subbing, or how little they knew about where he was subbing, and even raised some questions about his professionalism--which I can't speak to personally."

You can't, Sharky honey? Oh, and why not? You're speaking to everything else! And btw, what clients? It "seemed"? What does that really mean? Amazing that people she has never met will immediately open up and share their personal business with this Sharky. We find this really hard to believe. Hmmm, could it be she is quite simply lying? Can we suspect an anonymous entity who just joined the forum that very month only for the purpose of trashing Eric Ruben just might be making false and  misleading allegations? Is it possible? I suppose it's good for her to hide under the blanket of Absolute Write rather than risk a lawsuit for libel.

But wait.

Only a day later another anonymous entity suddenly joins AW and with yet another pseudo-clever name: DewTheWriteThing. Among other unsubstantiated allegations, she says, "Most of us (some who have left, others who are still hanging on) have been too afraid to say anything..." So who left? Who is still hanging on? Why not tell us? And why are they living in fear? Where is Eric's rep for destroying former or current clients? His other clients said he's a really nice guy.

And finally, here comes "Brilliance" who says, "Look, guys. I'm not trying to badmouth anyone." But just before that, she said of Eric Ruben: "Things got worse when I started to actually voice my doubts. He got very defensive and volatile. Eventually, I couldn't even disagree with him without him melting down. I reached out to some fellow writers who were dealing with him, and sure enough, everyone was having problems; bad communication, unsatisfactory submissions, and more than one told me they'd found out he lied about where he'd sent their work."

Wait a minute. She sounds suspiciously like that SavvySharky person, doesn't she? And she rarely posted on AW, but appears after several years to trash Eric. Could it be... Could it be that she is also SavvySharky and DewTheWriteThing? They do sound much like, do they not? They even "reached out" to others who were "dealing with him" and "everyone was having problems." Gosh, doesn't that sound just like old Sharky? Here we go again. Who are all these writers they both keep finding? How did she contact them? Where did she find them? No details. And again, why would these people spill their guts to someone they don't know? It's just amazing how Sharky and Brilliance synch so perfectly with tactics and wording. Not out to badmouth, eh?

Overall, this trashing of Eric Ruben's rep is quite clearly the work of one vengeful, unprincipled person. It was set up and orchestrated. We couldn't be more certain, and for the record, we have no horse in this race. We've never met Eric Ruben, but when we found this unfair and vicious trashing of a reputable agent, we couldn't help but call attention to the sleazy behavior.

No fair minded writer forum would ever allow this, much less never question the parade of negative allegations. Where were the mods? The owners? Why allow this agent specifically to get trashed? And why does this pop-up trashing closely resemble other pop-up trashings of various other victims as we've seen above?

Could it be these trashers are owners or mods on Absolute Write who have an axe to grind?


  1. The owners won't do anything. It's a good post bringing in click traffic and it's controversial. That would give one of the owners incentive to step in with an anonymous pop-up sock and slosh in the mud until Eric is thoroughly humiliated. More clicks that way off Google and the Beware section of Absolute Blight is validated. All very clever and sleazeeeee.

    1. You got it. The owners have no incentive to properly moderate, only incentive to further the conflict through action or inaction.

  2. I'm not terribly familiar with Absolute Write and know nothing about the controversy this article addresses. However, this writer loses all credibility with this line:
    "Could it be Janet who has a bone to pick with Eric? Just speculation, but mostly unfounded."
    Then why speculate? Why even mention the name of a highly-regarded agent who has never been tied to this ugly episode in any way?

    And doesn't this writer see the irony in making such an accusation? Sorry, but backpedaling within the statement does nothing to mitigate the spurious nature of the accusation. This is shameful.

    1. Thank you for this note and your opinion. Janet Reid or no doesn't change the spurious and deceptive nature of the AW posts.

      The speculation re Janet Reid is well founded, however, and we're glad you brought it up. In her disguise as Miss Snark, Jane Reid engaged in smearing tactics against others while hiding behind MS. As an anonymous member of Absolute Write, she engaged in group bashings along with the AW bully brigade. She knows full well what goes on at Absolute Write and pretending on her blog that she knew nothing of the bullying is a lie.

      Also, she censored comment posts on her thread about Absolute Write in order to protect her associates on that forum.

      Given her undercover sniping on Internet and the fact that the shark is her symbol, the speculation is justified and upon reflection should have continued further. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to discuss the antics of Ms. Reid, your highly-regarded agent, and one who, by the way, mocked and humiliated writers at conference events in New York, most notably the Backspace conference.

      Did you know, dear? Don't think so.

    2. This post is about Eric, not Janet Reid. I recommend a deletion of the Janet Reid comment, gals. I agree that Janet is a low blower, but the poster, even if she is really Janet, has a point.

  3. I'm a client of Eric Ruben. I and Eric joined in a partnership following the retirement of my prior literary representation Mitch Douglas of ICM.

    I voiced my support for Eric on Absolute Write. Thereafter I was banned from Absolute Write for posting the following:

    "I’m a current client of Eric Ruben's.

    "I was previously represented by Mitch Douglas of ICM. Upon Mitch’s retirement, I discovered Eric.

    "Eric has read my manuscript fully. The work is presently on submission.

    "To date he has been attentive to my inquiries. When contacting Eric online asking that we discuss issues, my phone rings within minutes with Eric asking how he can help.

    "Other present clients who witnessed the disgruntled posts here, have remained with Eric. As in any artist/representation relationship, which is equivalent to dating, I needed to get to know Eric and his process. Eric needed to get to know me and my process.

    "He signed me based on my voice and my prior published work of which he has a signed copy. (Eric and I still don’t know where on my national book tour I signed his copy.)

    "The first manuscript I submitted to Eric that he didn’t read past 60 pages needed work. I hired an editor of my choice through my connections. The manuscript was greatly improved. Eric fully read the revised version. As he read he kept me informed of his progress.

    "I do not know if the work will be sold; it doesn’t fit neatly into a single genre. Only my words can sell the book; not an agent (I sold my debut non-fiction to Random House on my own without an agent.)

    "Having worked with artists for nearly three decades— I caution this: expectations must be tempered with reality, not entitlement borne from a frustration endured that is the glacier-like journey of publishing.

    My best,
    Paul Russell"

    When I reached out to the owners of Absolute Write to inquire why I was banned, I was met with hostility.

  4. Hi!
    Random writer here.

    I wanted to query Eric Ruben, so naturally I googled "Eric Ruben Absolute Write." This posting came up first while the AW "trashing" second.

    The AW trashing is rather thorough, but fairly tame for AW. I wouldn't call it trashing, as nothing outwardly vitriolic was stated. Nothing to make me so "gees guys, come on, really?" as I've done with other AW circle-jerks.

    I believe that the tone of this particular posting here actually works against Eric. It's a somewhat juvenile and defensive; it's not unassailable and feels beneath Eric Ruben.

    I know it's been a wile since this blog posting, but I'd advise revisiting the voice here. Strip it of all opinion and "snark" and base it solely on facts, sales numbers, public endorsements from previous clients (things that don't appear to need feigning for Eric).

    To conclude: This post is a bigger turn off than the AW post, as AW is known for such posts, but Eric Ruben does not need to be known for such juvenile defense.

    1. Thank you for your opinion, but the exposing of fraudulent identities allowed and enabled by Absolute Write's mods and owners is partly the reason behind this post. Eric is an example of many writers and professionals being hounded and attacked on AW forums. Mysterious guest posters appear, the voices sound the same, their approach is the same, and they all just joined for the purpose of trashing. The AW agenda is hugely transparent.

      And whether it was "vitriolic" or not, is irrelevant for purposes of defining a trashing. They set out to utterly ruin his reputation in a tabloid fashion. We call that a trashing.

      As for your opinion, terming our post juvenile and defensive to deflect from the real issue of AW using shills and fake posters for the purpose of defaming people, is itself not only juvenile but transparently pro AW.

      To conclude: Eric Ruben needs this defense and AW needs to be exposed for the frauds they are.

      Nice try. We stand by this post.

  5. God, what a horrible bunch of Medusas!

  6. isn't this the 'every publisher/agent is a scam' website?