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View Full Version : I Sense a Scammer



AZ_Dawn
05-23-2008, 01:29 AM
There's a thread in the fiction section of the pirate forum I'm a member of that's setting off more alarms for me than a city on fire. (http://www.piratesinfo.com/mysql/phorum/read.php?6,181520) I think it's the line about getting "your work in a book WITHOUT PAYING A DIME" that got me suspicious. I almost said something, but I thought I'd better ask for advice first. Should I confront this guy or give the forum an immediate warning, or should I ask who his publisher is first? Should I PM the mods about this? If I need to warn the forum I can't link to anything (outside links aren't allowed for some reason), but I can give google search terms. Thanks!

Maryn
05-23-2008, 01:40 AM
I agree, it feels totally scammy, but without details, I can't know how.

Rather than confronting him, why not ask serious professional questions? You'll look all knowledgeable and stuff (man, am I good with words, or what?) and coolly professional, and his inadequate answers will out him without you having to challenge him.

To start, maybe ask for the name of the press and the names of the bookstores in your area where its books are sold--not sites to order them, but places the books are shelved. Or ask why his 'published' book Characters in Black and White is not sold at Amazon or Barnes & Noble's website, nor does either one have any other Stephen Sanders books.

I'm sure people who know far more than I do can think up better insightful questions.

Maryn, whose hackles would also be raised

IceCreamEmpress
05-23-2008, 01:54 AM
I think just stating the truth about how publishing actually works, and giving links where people can find out more information, is probably the way to go.

JeanneTGC
05-23-2008, 02:23 AM
It kind of read like a vanity project to me. Whether that means scam, lack of business knowledge, or just someone who's decided to self-pub and is looking to let others in on it isn't clear from the post.

Maybe a couple of "how do you plan this to work" questions might be a good way to see where his intentions are.

AZ_Dawn
05-23-2008, 02:42 AM
Thanks, guys, though I'm not sure which piece of advice to take.

I had a second suspicion a few minutes ago and checked out his profile. I was right; he only signed up yesterday and only has one post. I get the feeling he's at least a spammer if not a scammer.

Yeshanu
05-23-2008, 03:43 AM
Ahoy there, mates! I've put out a couple of books of poetry and am currently working with several other poets and artists to do a book that is completely pirate poetry and artwork. If you're interested, drop me a line. If you think I'm kidding, then let's talk and I'll show you how you can get your work in a book WITHOUT PAYING A DIME and actually get something in return when we sell some of the books.

A couple of things to note:

1) Books of poetry don't sell well, and aren't usually published by bigger houses. Often they're self-published.

2) Though the rhetoric is that of high-pressure sales, the last statement is a pretty clear description of how real publishing works.

So this could be a legitimate call for submissions, but I'd want to ask a few questions first.

One: Is "Blackbeard" a long-standing member of the forum who contributes things other than ads like this. Yes: It may be legit; No: It's more probably a scam.

Two: I'd email him and ask for more details. Like how is he planning to market and distribute the book? Are you required to buy any copies, on the premise that you'd then resell them to friends, relatives, and convicts who can't escape from you? Or does he have other means of advertising the book that will get the word out to complete strangers and convince them to buy it?

Three: What are his other titles? How and by whom were they published? How well did they do? If you can buy a copy or view one on-line, do they look like professional books (even self-published books should be well-edited and look good), or do they have lots of errors, lousy typesetting, etc.

Don't write this off immediately if you might be interested in contributing, but evaluate it carefully as you would any business opportunity.

Yeshanu
05-23-2008, 03:44 AM
Thanks, guys, though I'm not sure which piece of advice to take.

I had a second suspicion a few minutes ago and checked out his profile. I was right; he only signed up yesterday and only has one post. I get the feeling he's at least a spammer if not a scammer.

Just read this: Well, that answers my first question...

benbradley
05-23-2008, 03:45 AM
I dunno about the guy's angle is, but I DID click on the link you accidentally provided in your post, and then found his poem on his site site by googling this much of this line:
"The village of Tween is a proper English"
and then I deleted the stuff in the URL after the ...-jewelry.com domain name to look at the main page on his site, where I saw and clicked on the "Click here to check out my new book of poetry!! ONLY $7.00!!" link, which took me to his Lulu page.

So at least it's not PA or another "vanity publisher." I wonder if he's just going to refer people to Lulu or if he's trying to make some scam out of it by being a middleman, or what. Hmm, I hesitate to say this, but since Lulu books don't neccesarily have "Lulu" printed anywhere on them, it could be a printing source for "third-party publishers," whether trying to be legit or not.

benbradley
05-23-2008, 03:53 AM
...
One: Is "Blackbeard" a long-standing member of the forum who contributes things other than ads like this. Yes: It may be legit; No: It's more probably a scam.
Just to note, the user name is "Blackbead" without the last R in blackbeard. I'd imagine the name "Blackbeard" (correctly spelled) would be a long-established handle on a pirate discussion forum. Also, the "bead" part jibes with the "jewelry" part of his (her?) website's domain name.


If this guy's scamming, he's IMHO not doing the best job he could, if it was so easy for me to find that he's self-published through Lulu (for anyone uninitiated, that's http://www.lulu.com - a legit "self-publishing" print-on-demand service). On the other hand, I'm a snoop and know how to drive a search engine to get whatever info might be on the Web.

Susie
05-23-2008, 04:50 AM
I went to their website and found this link about 'employment.' Looks interesting, but don't know if it's legit or not. http://www.piratesinfo.com/employment.php

IceCreamEmpress
05-23-2008, 05:31 AM
Well, if he's putting together a self-published POD anthology through Lulu.com, that might be something some people on the board might be interested in.

The way he's talking about it is odd, though.

Matera the Mad
05-23-2008, 07:04 AM
His blurbage suggests a mild case of self-pub swelled head. I've seen worse. Ask him about contracts and percentages and all that, I would. Hardly a gold mine, in any case. lol

Momento Mori
05-23-2008, 01:28 PM
He might not be a scammer - it depends what he's offering. A pirate-themed anthology might be sufficiently niche enough to justify going down the self-publication route. If you're concerned, then ask him questions on the thread about how he proposes to publish, what the royalty rate is, whether he's got a marketing plan etc and see if s/he comes back and what they come back with.

MM

Willowmound
05-23-2008, 04:35 PM
Scammer? Don't really care. But lookee:


Here's a sample of my work, recently published in "Characters in Black and White":

"THE HOMECOMING OF DANNY FRY"

It was a cold, stormy night

That's the kind of originality one deffo wants to be associated with. I say marry him.

Susan Gable
05-23-2008, 08:01 PM
Scammer? Don't really care. But lookee:



That's the kind of originality one deffo wants to be associated with. I say marry him.

Hey, at least he didn't say it was a DARK and stormy night. <G>

Susan G.

Willowmound
05-23-2008, 08:04 PM
That's what I mean. Intense originality. So, ring. Cake. The tacky doves. Go for it.

AZ_Dawn
05-24-2008, 02:01 AM
Thanks again, guys! If I hadn't asked for advice first, I'd be looking like a jerk right now.



2) Though the rhetoric is that of high-pressure sales, the last statement is a pretty clear description of how real publishing works.




Well, if he's putting together a self-published POD anthology through Lulu.com, that might be something some people on the board might be interested in.

The way he's talking about it is odd, though.

So true to both of you. I think what got me was that he emphasized not paying as if it wasn't the norm.



So at least it's not PA or another "vanity publisher." I wonder if he's just going to refer people to Lulu or if he's trying to make some scam out of it by being a middleman, or what. Hmm, I hesitate to say this, but since Lulu books don't neccesarily have "Lulu" printed anywhere on them, it could be a printing source for "third-party publishers," whether trying to be legit or not.

I read the PA threads too much; that's exactly what I was afraid of! At least my mind's at ease on that point.



I went to their website and found this link about 'employment.' Looks interesting, but don't know if it's legit or not.

I get the picture; I'm overreacting. No, I'm not insulted, because you're probably right.



He might not be a scammer - it depends what he's offering. A pirate-themed anthology might be sufficiently niche enough to justify going down the self-publication route.

Yeah, I'm starting to get the feeling he's probably a spammer at worst, and maybe not even that. On a side note, I hope "sufficiently niche" doesn't bode ill for my "Tales of" book. I don't have the business sense for self-publishing.



That's the kind of originality one deffo wants to be associated with. I say marry him.

:ROFL: I'll pass.

Well, I'm still not sure what to do, but I'll keep an eye on this guy, just in case.

stormie
05-24-2008, 03:15 AM
Hey, at least he didn't say it was a DARK and stormy night.
<Grumble> People always talking about me behind my back.