Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Meet "Arielle" -- the Sex Doll Literary Agent!

Not an agent who represents sex dolls, but a sex doll who is the public face of a literary agency.

I wish this was a joke. I really do. I'm anticipating weird links to show up in my email, but it's too hilarious not to blog about.

Or too creepy. You decide.

You know how some websites will have a little animated person to walk you through things? I don't care for those, finding them annoying, but some people like them.

However, those cost money to make. I suspect the genius behind this epic fail of a sales pitch took a look at his resources--pics of a sex doll  posed against various backgrounds--and a little light went off. "Hey, I can have something like those animated things and it won't cost nearly as much!"

I'm not worried that writers will actually go to this--um--agency. Anyone with working braincells knows that paying an agent a fee to sell one's book is only slightly less productive for one's career than flushing the cash directly down a toilet.

The Mocknick Productions Literary Agency is a fee-charging entity. The fees have gone from 450.00 to represent a writer to a whole 500.00 according to my source.

Fee-charging agencies are no friend to any writer.

For instance, MPLA have no pics up of any books they've actually sold.  But Mr. Mocknick seems to have plenty to say about himself through his "representative," Arielle.

Who is a sex doll.

Okay, nothing wrong in that, lots of people date sex dolls. But you'd think that when it comes to business that Mr. Mocknick would keep his personal life separate. Or at least have a pro in to do Arielle's hair and makeup. Must have been a hell of a weekend!

Instead of displaying books sold to commercial publishers, this single-page website sports a series of slide show videos starring this doll--again, I am NOT kidding! Melodramatic music plays in the background as we're treated to stills of the doll with informational captions.

Now if one has even one working braincell on crack this should scare the living crap out of you because you could die laughing. Seriously, you could. I almost called 911 to get some oxygen in, and the phlegm is still making me cough.

Oh--bonus fail points: you can't watch the vids on the website. When you click play, you have to click again to go to YouTube. Doesn't that just fill one with confidence?

Beverage alert people. I MEAN it.

Hello again! Back from the hilarity? Do you need a spork, eye bleach, or a blanket to hide under? Are you laughing or creeped out? Both?

Are you even remotely tempted to toss your hard-earned money over to this person and his lovely date?

If so, then let me conduct an autopsy on some of the claims made. Gather close, gang, this should be FUN!

Mocknick: We like all potential clients to know we don't charge reading fees, but if we represent them, there's an annual contract fee of 450.00 (now 500.00).

Mighty generous of you! It's also a certainty that you're motivated (to the tune of 500 bucks a pop) to "represent" anyone who bothers to send a manuscript. While I'm sure you might reject the ingredient list from a cereal box that's been repeated for 300 pages, everything else is a potential income stream and not likely to be rejected.

Mocknick: The covers pitching, submissions, phone calls, contract negotiations (in the event of a sale) and all aspects of representation.

You mean all the stuff that other literary agents do without collecting a fee until AFTER they sell a book.

This motivates them to sell work to publishers, not sit on their thumbs collecting checks from writers. "In the event of a sale?"  Yes, I'm sure a sale IS quite an event for this outfit! There's no evidence you've ever had one.

Mocknick: We inform people of this upfront, so there are no games or surprises.

Other than the slide show itself. Put up a beverage alert, why don't you?

Mocknick: According to certain websites, it is not a "standard practice" for an agency to charge upfront fees. 

Yes, that would be those annoying agencies that actually sell books to publishers.

Mocknick: In reality it is a standard practice.

Indeed yes, for other fee-chargers.  Oh, look--there's YOUR name on that Thumbs Down list from Writer Beware! How did that happen?

Mocknick:  Most agents that don't charge fees are members of organizations that forbid them.

You mean like the Association of Authors' Representatives, a well-respected non-profit group that has standards to uphold and a quite reasonable Canon of Ethics?

Or perhaps you prefer the short-lived IILAA that rose and failed back in 2006? Isn't it funny that all the members of IILAA are also on that Thumbs Down list from Writer Beware? Hysterical.

Mocknick: What they don't mention is that these agents generally will not accept new writers unless they're already bestsellers.

Writers on any given bestseller list usually have a literary agent and are quite happy with that person's work, thank you very much. 

New writers are not likely to be bestsellers, since they're looking for representation to help them sell a first book in the first place. Duh.

Mocknick: The reason?

Moving my drink well out of the way...

Mocknick: The time, effort and expense pitching a known author is minimal, while pitching an unknown in a skiddish industry requires much more.

Much more what? Horse hockey? Is that what you mean by skiddish? Is that a word? Let me look it up. Hmm. Apparently not, according to WordKeeper: Made up words : Skiddish (skittish).  Maybe you meant "Scottish!" No? But I like the idea of guys in the publishing industry running around in kilts. It sure would add fun to those board meetings and long lunches!

If I am any example, even authors who have been in the industry for years can have a hard time selling a new book. My most excellent NON-fee-charging agent Lucienne Diver worked her butt off selling not one, but two different book proposals for me. It took her months, but she came up trumps. Checks are in the mail. She does this every day for all the writers she represents.

Newsflash, bub, it is not unknown for an unknown to land an agent and sell a book. 

Agents are always looking for the Next Big Name lurking in their slush piles. They live in hope.

Of course, if a fee-charging "agent" can get a desperate idiot to pay 500 clams from the get-go, then the fee-charging "agent" hardly needs bother to work. That's 10% of a 5,000.00 advance--though new authors are usually given much lower offers than that.  Yes, indeed, fee-charging agents are highly motivated to collect a check from writers and do nothing at all to earn it.

Mocknick: An agency that doesn't charge some type of fee for new writers will not stay in business long, so they have no choice.

You mean agencies like Spectrum (34 years), Donald Maass (20 years), JABerwocky (16 years), and The Knight Agency (14 years)? Yeah, that's some stack of epic fail, what with all those books they've sold and new authors they've discovered over the years.

Mocknick: If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.

Why don't YOU have any sales proudly displayed on YOUR site?  Don't you have any? To real publishers, that is, not vanity houses.

Oh--wait--here's the slide show with his girlfriend, I mean dollfriend, I mean--er--uh--oh, never mind.

Arielle: (dramatic music in background) My name is Arielle. I'm just a doll, right?

You nailed that one, you ARE indeed just a doll, and considering today's job market you're lucky to have a place doing slide shows like this instead of working in specialized porn videos! (Unless that's one of Mr. Mocknick's other income streams.)  I must say that you seem to be a fine product from one of the higher end manufacturers. So many others are just full of hot air!

Arielle: (forcefully, in an aggressive pose, hand on hip) Better think again!

Gasp! What DO you mean??

Caption card, supposedly from Arielle, since it's evident the voice actress will charge more for extra lines not copied from another video: I provide information to potential clients of the Mocknick Productions Literary Agency. 

You do? Seriously?

They're in deep trouble then.

Caption: We accept fiction, non-fiction, screenplays, children's books, memoirs, and any works of any genre

 How focused. (Not.)

--except pornography. 

The last one is wonderfully ironic considering their front office face is a sex doll.

The caption goes on to provide details, ending with a picture of the sex doll wearing sunglasses. Just as well, the eyes don't match up.

At least she keeps her clothes on. Not all literary agencies who use a sex doll as their spokesperson--uh--spokesdoll--uh--whatever--are so considerate!

But let's see what the CEO has to say about himself. Why he bothers with YouTube slide shows when it's less time-consuming to just put info on the website is beyond me. I suppose he's in love with Arielle or something.

The slide show claims Dave Mocknick has been writing since the age of six, and is a produced and published author.

A "produced" author? What the hell does that mean? And how much did you pay to get published, Dave?  Why aren't your vast credits and many sales listed on the website? Come on, show us your writer's resume!

He "has contact with" many large publishing and production companies. 

So do I. 

It's called Google.

He claims he's made the process as simple as possible; I can believe that, as instruction captions are displayed across pics of a (still fully clothed) sex doll.

If he sees potential in your work (and I'm sure a credit check is involved at some point) he sends a contract--which you return.  With your fee. 

Giddy galloping grannys, what did you say?  A fee??

Hauling ass out of here, bub. 

Violating Yog's Law is not the done thing for any writer.

Mocknick: Once you return your contract with the annual contract fee....we'll take it from there.

THAT I can believe! Straight to the bank while the check is still good--though I understand he also takes plastic for those writers in a hurry to get to the literary poor house.

I DO have other things to do today, but when on a riff, I tend to check things until my eyes bleed. I was not disappointed.

I clicked on another video featuring "Arielle" -- who is really a 4-foot tall terrorist fighter.

Um, yeah. Who works for a fee-charging literary agent.

So I'm 11 seconds into this slide show vid and there's Arielle posed cross-legged in a chair, wearing ruffled kiddie panties, a kid-sized shirt, her hair in pigtails, cutie socks on her feet, holding a stuffed dog.

A 4-foot tall sex doll dressed like a kid tripped my "DANGER, PAT ELROD" trigger, so I hit the stop button before I reached the gagging point and vomited.

Since no real child is involved in this creepy display, reporting it to the FBI is not a likely to be a productive option. I'm sure others have tried.

I will offer the opinion that this Mocknick person--if he's "beetleboy2007" --should probably not be your first choice to have as an agent in charge of your literary career. Worse things may be going on here than just charging fees.

If you're that desperate, write me, I'll help. It won't cost you a dime.

Or your self-respect.


  1. Glad I'd just finished my cup of tea. However, I think I need something stronger now.

  2. Noticed now that all the videos on his site have now been disabled. Seems like he's realized he's not exactly getting the positive attention he'd hoped for through such a...creative...publicity campaign.

  3. "You nailed that one, you ARE indeed just a doll..."

    That brought out the 3yr old in me. *snigger*

  4. I'm with Barrett: this blog post needs an additional beverage warning, as in, "After watching these videos, strong application of alcohol is recommended in order to try and bleach away the memories."

  5. An *annual* contract fee. Not just a one-time fee, but annual. Wow.

  6. "Since no real child is involved in this creepy display, reporting it to the FBI is not a likely to be a productive option"

    That is not true. The laws on child pornography are extremely wide. One might even argue too wide; but in this case, it's certainly worth a try.

    Please go ahead and report him.

  7. A MCPlanck--I have and still am considering it.

    However--barring the fact that I'd have to watch the rest of that video and I'd rather not see where it goes--it is still an adult face on a 4-foot doll.

    It could be argued that she represents a legal-age little person, not a child.

    There's no reason why you can't report it if you want. If you see the doll dressed like a child posed for something inappropriate on the vid, have at them.

    I reported things when I found links from a costuming website I manage going to kid-porn sites. I reported to the host server and the FBI--who got back to me about 4 months later. I assumed they were tracking more important offenders against children.

    The server blocked the links right away, making their own report.

    In this case, it is my opinion that the person behind the vid is just not smart enough to know that it looks like kid porn with his use of a sex doll.

    If the person did have brains, the website would be considerably more effective and sophisticated with its sales pitch.

    Yet--strangely--Writer Beware continues to get mail from people wondering if Mocknick is "legit" and if paying such a fee is worth it.


  8. Pat, how much do you recommend finding an agent as opposed to just submitting a novel? I am trying to decide whether to edit and shop a novel this spring and I'm getting conflicting advice as to whether it's better to try to find an agent first, or get the novel to publishers and then find an agent when/if it sells. A fantasy novel and I'm intending to stay in the fantasy/SF genres, FYI.

  9. @ Kate-- I very much recommend getting a literary agent first if you plan to be a career writer.

    I've been at this a long, long time, and still do not grasp all the ins and outs of a literary contract. The last two I signed were 24 and 28 pages long and had new stuff included that didn't exist a couple years ago.

    Things are too complicated these days to not have someone in your corner who can explain the fine print and strike out clauses that are not in your favor.

    Your agent can also re-sell your books to foreign markets--which was how I was able to get the down payment on my house.

    Things are tight in the industry now, and even published writers with good track records are scrambling to sell proposals.

    There are fewer publishing houses with slush piles.

    The ones that still have them can take months and months to reply to a query. Having an agent puts you further to the front of the line. She will know which editors are looking for what, and can cut down the waiting time.

  10. I'm laughing my ass off. You are so damn funny.I hope that guy reads this because he needs a reality check. At the very least for using a sex doll as his spokesperson. (or I guess it would be spokesdolly)

  11. Just reading about this nuts video was enough. I really have no interest, nor the stomach, to view the UGH!!!
    I suppose all this bottom feeder needs to do to keep his naive writer clients happy is sub their work to a place like Publish America. It will take another year with PA before the unsuspecting writer realizes they have been duped... twice.

  12. I Googled said agency and the site looks completely barren. Nothing on there other than advertising 3 slide shows. The star being that ugly doll. The one with the pouty lips and bad wig. That one. Ugh.

  13. I think we might be getting off track here focusing on the doll, which is bad enough, but the real issue, the most important issue is the up-front fee. Thanks for helping me remember that if my book is good enough to sell, it's good enough to generate more than enough revenue for "marketing fees".
    Good luck everyone!

  14. This is HILARIOUS -- your post, I mean... Not the über creepy "literary agent". That's just disturbing.

    I plan to share this with everyone. How anyone could think this guy is legit is beyond me, but still better to spread the word!

    ::shudders:: I think I need a shower now.