Tuesday, November 25, 2014

$10,000 Pyramid Scam

Yeah, he looks trustworthy!

A fellow author on a group forum was approached by a publishing company.  That’s all nice and huzzah worthy until they hit her with the other shoe—they claimed to be a boutique publisher and required $10,000 (yes, ten- THOUSAND) up front for their services, including editing and cover design.

Wisely, she declined their offer for what it was—a scam.

This is one of the very rare times when it’s unfortunate that these days anyone can be an author.  If there were a gateway that all would-be authors had to pass through, a simple pamphlet entitled “Yog’s Law and You!” would take care of these kinds of concerns.  There might be other, more clever cons out there, but the obvious pay-to-play would dry up immediately.

Yog’s Law is simple: Money should flow toward the author.

In the above case, $10,000 is more than an obvious red-flag. It's so far out of most author's potential budget as to become a fireworks and magic display spelling out: “GET YOUR SCAM & CON HERE!”

100% Nigerian Prince!
Being published traditionally still has some cache. Not as much in the past, as more authors are “making it” (which probably should be defined as “able to quit their day job”) as independents. But publishing indie is less a guarantee of success than through a publisher, even a small press (who may or may not know what they're doing). So the desire to publish can easily override common sense, especially of the "fees" seem minor.

After all, what's $50 or even $500 when measured against seeing your book in print and available to the masses? Physical print is pretty much the first major, necessary step (other than actually writing) to world renown, fame and fortune. A decent enough con-artist can show you “examples” of successful authors who have used their services, and even sweeten the deal by offering a discount, say from their usual $1500 down to $1000. This may or may not include editing and cover design.

After all, this is your dream, right? You want to sign a contract, be told you have talent, and see your work go through the process of being released.

The only lemons this guy has are for your
gin and tonic after the sale!
Damn, I know I do! The first acceptance I received, after years and years of rejections, was . . . wow. Words fail this writer. It was Scotch and sex and winning the lottery all at the same time. I don't think I took a step for a week.

I floated around on a fluffy cloud of happiness.

But I’d done my homework, researched the publisher, and made certain they were legitimate.  I read reviews about their process, and I knew (roughly) what I was getting myself into.  I’ve learned a lot since then, but nothing that made me regret my decision to sign on the electronically-dotted line.

How much did I pay for this?  Nada.  Nothing.  Zip.  Zero.  Zilch.  They pay me.

Falling for a $10,000 service fee is a bit far-fetched for most authors.  It could happen, and I feel sorry for anyone who bites on that bait.  But a lesser amount?  Oh yeah, new authors fall for it all the time.  Scams like this may actually produce a book, but nothing near what the author had to shell out.

Yog’s Law in one.

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