I Want to Hire The Ghostwriter Who Wrote My Books

The con artists at Creative Book Writers, a ghostwriting scam that offers to make your idea into a bestseller, were using my book TRUE FICTION as an example of their work. I’ve often wished my books would write themselves, but that isn’t the case. I threatened to sue them, and they pulled my book. But it’s like whack-a-mole. They still have my book up as an example of their work on many of their clone sites (a scam that Victoria Strauss investigated in detail and discusses in this excellent post at Writer Beware).
 
 
So I decided to have some fun. I visited The Book Writing Company, which claims a woman named “Patricia Johns” (pictured as a black man!) wrote Lisa Jewell and Sue Monk Kidd’s books. They pulled me into a chat.
 
Stuart Cook joined the chat Chat started

STUART: Hello, how are you doing today? Are you looking to get some Writing Assistance? Book Writing? Editor? May I know what is your book about? Autobiography? Fiction or Non Fiction.

ME: Fiction, but I am confused. I have been looking at various ghost writing services today, because I want to have a book written by the writer who wrote Lisa Jewell’s THEN SHE WAS GONE, but on your site, you say your author Patricia G. Johns ghost wrote it (though there is a picture of a black guy, also confuses me), but the Pearson Ghostwriting Service says their authors David Johnson & Julie D. Scott wrote it. So who really did? Because that is who I want to hire and I am so confused.

STUART: Hey, I did get the info. What you have just told me is the part of every fir. gf
 
ME: I don’t understand what you just wrote.
 
STUART: let me explain you. Whatever you have seen on the other sites could be the way of marketing but we never quote any fake examples to generate the sale. Also if we have written anything for the famous person so we will share the details else we won’t believe in fake marketing. Also you can share the details of the book with me. We have a team of experts with more than 150 people. they are Ph.D. qualified writers and retired professors. Once you will become our customer, I will assign a team of 4 experts on your project and you will be in communication with one of them throughout the process.
 
ME: I am still confused. So those ghost writers on the other sites are fake ones… but Patricia G. Johns, who is pictured as a black man on your site, is the real one? The woman or guy who really wrote Lisa Jewel’s book?
 
STUART: Yes she was the part of the team, usually what happens profiles like Patricia or any other senior author worked before as a part time writer with us to give management sessions , to train the young writers as a good gesture we use their pictures and details. Yes?
 
ME: So these ones are fake…?
<I sent him screen grabs of the ghost writers on the other sites that claim to have written the same books>
But this one is real?
<I sent him a screen grab of “Patricia Johns” from their site>
 
STUART: No, I am not saying that as I have told you usually what happens senior profiles join different companies temporarily to train and provide different sessions to their staff and writers.
 
ME: But Patricia and and whoever the black guy is are the ones who wrote Lisa Jewells book? I’m sorry, but I am having a hard time understanding this.
 
STUART: May i know your name and number in case we get disconnected?
 
ME: Your site and explanations are too confusing and don’t make any sense.
 
STUART: If you are willing to understand it will help

Amazing, Isn’t it? So I decided to visit another one of their clone sites, AD Ghostwriting, and had some fun chatting with “Susan Hughes,” a senior creative editor. I think you might enjoy it…and their strange logic. Their “fruit” analogy about books is especially bizarre…

Susan Hughes: Hello there ! How are you today? Are you interested in having your idea converted into a book? Would you like to discuss your requirement with Sr. Creative editor?
Visitor 7998474: I have been researching ghostwriting sites and you all seem to be identical. Vox Ghostwriting. AD Ghostwriting. Pacific Ghostwriting. Central Ghostwriting. Ghost Writing Proficiency. The same graphics, the same books you wrote. It’s all very confusing. How am I supposed to compare prices and services if you are all the same? Even your name pops up as customer service on all of them.
 
Susan Hughes: Sure let me answer that. All the fruit sellers sells their fruits on similar closets and baskets the only difference is the fruit which are from different farms. Similarly, we all look same probably to many extent but the editors varies. We are working with Ph.D. qualified editors and experts from various genres and yes one of the experts will be reserved to get this book done with a cohesive and coherent script And also will make it intriguing with top-notch writing.
 
Visitor 7998474: They also work with Phd qualified editors and somehow wrote the same books you did. It makes no sense to me.
 
Susan Hughes: They cant take the same book it isn’t possible but having PhD editors by every company is possible
 
Visitor 7998474: I know, but the sites are identical. They all claim to have written the same six books that you do.
 
Susan Hughes: If anyone has copied some book, We can file an infringement but the fact remain the same we never disclose with whom we are writing for As it always remain discreet
 
Visitor 7998474: Also, you Susan Hughes, seem to work for all of them. Are you all the same company?
 
Susan Hughes: Those books that you are seeing on my website, We have taken approval from the authors. It is not possible, like I have already answered you. If someone is using my name then they are crooks because same name can only be a coincidence.Since how long you have been thinking to do a book?
 
Visitor 7998474: I am looking at the other sites right now. They are the exact same as yours in every way. Even the statured client lists is the same! And when I visit, a chat opens up and Susan Hughes offers to help me. this is beginning to smell fishy to me.
 
Susan Hughes: I dont trust that it cant be susan hughes. can you give me the website name.
 
Visitor 7998474: Vox Ghostwriting. AD Ghostwriting. Pacific Ghostwriting. Central Ghostwriting. Ghost Writing Proficiency. Paramount Ghostwriting. The Writing Crib. I think you are all the same person trying to trick me. That doesn’t seem very honest to me. Maybe I should just write the book myself.
 
Susan Hughes: That’s not true it can never be the same. I have already given you one of the example of being identical. However we all offers 100% money back rights in case of any dissatisfaction.
 
Visitor 7998474: The fruit example makes no sense. I am not blind or stupid. I can see they are the same sites with different names. If you can’t be honest with me, I can’t do business with you.
 
Susan Hughes: You can only be stupid if you don’t take that example seriously. Now dont say that I cant call someone stupid.
 
Visitor 7998474: Paying you to write my book requires trust. How can I trust you if you start off by insulting my intelligence? A book is not an apple. You can’t all have written the same six books.
 
Susan Hughes: Lets get down the business take that example seriously and let’s work together. A book is an apple. it just taste differents there are plenty of books just as apples. the categories are countable too just like an apple, it can either be life story, fiction or non fiction
 
Visitor 7998474: Either you wrote BURN BRIGHT by Patricia Briggs or you didn’t. Either you wrote ALEX CROSS by James Patterson or you didn’t. They aren’t categories. They are individual book titles.
 
Susan Hughes: They are termed as life story books
 
Visitor 7998474: What??
 
Susan Hughes: I meant obviously not these 3 books but what clients bring us is either from the above 3 category
 
Visitor 7998474: If you don’t know those books are novels, not memoirs, then you definitely aren’t the right writers for me.
 
Susan Hughes: I have corrected my statement above already. We can argue as longer as you want me to but you know that nobody can take your money and run away you always can dispute if any situation arises
 
Visitor 7998474: I want my book to be written by the writer of Patricia Brigg’s BURN BRIGHT. You all claim to be that writer. That is not possible.
 
Susan Hughes: being a US citizen you should trust your own bank and work
 
Visitor 7998474: What does my bank have to do with it? Why do you want to know about my bank?
 
Susan Hughes: your bank always secure you against any frauds.
so why would not you trust them. you can pay us and see the book that is getting delivered as we will be delivering it chapterwise
 
Visitor 7998474: I am not asking my bank to write my book. I want the writer of BURN BRIGHT to write my book. You all claim to have written her book. Which one of you did??
 
Susan Hughes: So at any point if you are not contended it will be refunded. Assigning the editor is our choice so you cant make a choice: Getting a professional book is our commitment.
 
Visitor 7998474: I don’t want an editor. I want a writer. I want the writer who wrote BURN BRIGHT. You say you wrote her book. Why can’t I have that writer?
 
Susan Hughes: I already answer that.There are 85 writers who work under the belt of this company. We can get you the best writer but you cant pick the writer because you are not meeting writer you ain’t seeing their profile either. So there is no point of making a selection. Not all companies will tell you that ever.
But I am honest and I am transparent and giving you all the reason to trust my team. My writing as well as editing team will be board from day one until the book has been launched. Is there any way I can have your name
 
Visitor 7998474: Well, that doesn’t sound like a wise way to spend my money at all. I think I will talk to the other Susan Hughes and see if she makes more sense.
*** Visitor 7998474 left the chat ***
I stumbled across another ghostwriting scam site, Ghost Writing Express, who claim to have written my friend Tim Tigner’s books …oh, and Anthony Doerr’s, too. So I got into a chat with them..
THEM: Hello, are you looking for a ghost writing service?
ME: I loved Tim Tigner’s books. Can I get the same writer to write my book?
THEM: Sure. Let me help you out with that.
ME: Would it be Tim Tigner?
THEM: You mean you want Tim Tigner to write a book for you?
ME: No, whoever wrote his books if it wasn’t Tim Tigner. I want the same guy.
THEM:
ME:
THEM: He wrote his books himself, but yes, we can match the quality for sure.
ME: I’m confused. You said I could get the same writer. I want my book to be just like his.
THEM: Let me guide you through that.
ME:
THEM:
ME:
THEM: The original draft was done by Tim and given to us for a thorough edit, proofreading, and cover design.
ME: Great. I’ll ask Tim for a recommendation and get right back to you.
THEM:
ME:
THEM: Sure thing.
ME: Please hold.
THEM:
ME:
THEM: You know him?
ME: Yes, I’m texting him now. Please hold.
…and I was disconnected.

If you’re looking for a way to procrastinate, I encourage you to chat with these imbeciles, test our one of your characters on them by conversing in their voice. It’s fun. My brother Tod can’t stop doing it.

GATED PREY is here!

Gated Prey by Lee Goldberg

I’m so excited! It’s pub-day for my new novel Gated Prey, the third book in the “Eve Ronin” series, which is  now available in ebook, paperback and hardcover editions.  Here’s the story:

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s detective Eve Ronin and her soon-to-retire partner, Duncan Pavone, are running a 24-7 sting in a guard-gated enclave of palatial homes in Calabasas. Their luxury McMansion is a honey trap, set to lure in the violent home invaders terrorizing the community. The trap works, leaving three intruders dead, a body count that nearly includes Eve and Duncan.

Eve’s bosses are eager to declare the case closed, but there are too many unanswered questions for her to let go. Was the trap actually for her, bloody payback for Eve’s very public takedown of a clique of corrupt deputies? Or is there an even deadlier secret lurking behind those opulent gates? Eve’s refusal to back down and her relentless quest for the truth make her both the hunter…and the prey

The reviews so far have been terrific. Here’s just a sampling:

“Goldberg is every bit the equal of Michael Connelly… Superb reading entertainment.” Providence Journal

“Against all odds, Goldberg not only ties up most of the loose ends, leaving just a few deliberately dangling, but links some of Eve’s investigations in ways as disturbing as they are surprising. The seamy side of California dreaming.” Kirkus Reviews

“Hollywood decadence and duplicity are at the heart of bestseller Goldberg’s entertaining third outing for Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy Eve Ronin. Lively descriptive prose enhances the tight plot of this episodic crime novel. Columbo fans will have fun.” Publishers Weekly

“Affectionate and witty interplay.” Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

“Strong writing with just enough humor…Goldberg keeps the energy high throughout. One can hope that Goldberg will keep things moving for the foreseeable future, as there’s something special about what he’s started. This is a great series.”Mystery & Suspense Magazine

“The third Eve Ronin is another suspenseful, fast-paced yarn with engaging characters” Washington Post

“Third in Lee Goldberg’s Eve Ronin series, ‘Gated Prey’ begins, moves and ends at the speed of a bullet. Goldberg has a knack for adding subtle character nuances into his series, and here we find Eve and partner Duncan Pavone more complex than ever.” The Mountain Times 

If you’d like a signed copy, and can’t make it to one of my events next week, no problem! These bookstores will be glad to send you signed books:  Poisoned Pen, Mystery Ink, Bank of Books, Mysterious Galaxy, and Book Carnival.

And if you’d like to enjoy the “book event” experience, you can catch me in these recent video interviews with The Crew Reviews, Rogue Writers (with Lee Child, Andrew Grant & Lisa Unger), and at the City of Agoura Hills One City, One Book event.

Bathroom Etiquette

Etiquette question: I was standing at one of two urinals in a restaurant men’s room. A woman brought in a boy to use the urinal next to me. It made me very uncomfortable. Was I wrong? Or was she wrong to come in with him? Or should she have taken the child into a stall? Or should she have taken him into the woman’s room (FYI: There was no line for women’s room).

One City, One Book

I got some great news this week. The City of Agoura Hills has selected me and my novel LOST HILLS as their 2021 ONE CITY, ONE BOOK / AUTHOR. That means the local libaries, schools, etc. will be encouraging everyone to read the book and to come to City Hall on Sept 30th to see me in conversation, buy a copy of my book if they haven’t already…and get their copies signed. Past honorees include Michael Connelly and Dick Van Dyke. 

 

Their press release goes into more details:

Each year, the city of Agoura Hills participates in the One City One Book national literacy program
designed to stimulate reading through group book discussions and other related activities. The
community read is sponsored by the City of Agoura Hills, Friends of the Library, the Los Angeles
County Library—Agoura Hills Cultural Arts Council, and the Las Virgenes Unified School District.

“Lost Hills’ is a gripping story with twists and turns that take place on the very streets of our local
community. I especially love the tenacity of the detective and could picture myself riding past so
many familiar places and, typical when I read a book I love, I didn’t want the story to end,” said
Agoura Hills Mayor Denis Weber, who added he is a veracious reader and Goldberg is one of his
favorite authors.

The city is hosting “An Evening with the Author – Lee Goldberg” on Thursday, September 30,
2021, at the Agoura Hills Event and Recreation Center, 29900 Ladyface Court, Agoura Hills, CA
91301. The author will also be available for book signings. Registration will begin starting August
1, 2021 at www.agourahillsrec.org. Admission is free, but registration is required; space is limited.
For updated information on One City One Book 2021 events, call 818-597-7361 or visit the
website. For more information about the One City, One Book literary program, contact Amy Brink, Director of Community Services at (818) 597-7361 or email ajbrink@agourahillscity.org.

The Mail I Get – Write With Me Edition

I got this email from a total stranger this morning. She said, in part:

“Okay, here goes. I’m a teen therapist for 20 years… I’ve been writing for a long, long time. Just putting it out there. I’d love an opportunity to write a script with you. I’ve no idea where one finds a writing partner.  I’m a novice at format not content or ideas. I am a sponge when it comes to learning. I admire you and sometimes you just gotta go for it. I teach people to ask for what they want, so I’m asking. Take a minute and feel how awesome my request is… I’m super creative and I like to write about real life events..with a twist. I’m a Gemini. If that helps, great..if not, I have many life experiences worth writing about and letting others go on that journey…I hope you want to know more!” 

I wrote back…

Sorry, I’m not interested in co-writing a script with you. I’m glad you teach teens to go after what they want… but you should also advise them to be realistic, to do research, and to learn about the best way to achieve their goals. Reaching out to professional writers to collaborate is not a successful strategy for breaking into the entertainment industry. Everyone has ideas and life experience…and an astrological sign. Instead, you should hone your screenwriting skill by taking classes or reading books… and write a spec script. Often the best contacts you can make are in those classes… the student next to you could sell her script and become your contact in the industry. If you want to learn more about breaking into TV writing, you might check out my book SUCCESSFUL TELEVISION WRITING.

Naturally, declining to appreciate “how awesome my request is” and jump at the rare opportunity to work with someone who has life experiences, is super creative, and a Gemini, didn’t go over well. She replied:

There are kinder ways to say things Lee.. but hey, You crossed my fb path, making yourself accessible so I went for it. I will continue to do so as I teach my kids. If you only wanted to be approached and praised and a book purchased, got it! I would never discourage anyone from trying. Opportunity lies everywhere. Please do not advise me on my skill set with my teens. You responded In a condescending manner. After many have reviewed your responses…people think your are rude and acted horribly!. I no longer admire someone who reprimands another like that…you take care sir.

Apparently, my posts showing up in her FB feed gives her permission to make stupid proposals to me. I didn’t say this, of course. Instead, I replied:

Your response to a polite rejection is telling. You clearly don’t appreciate the outrageousness, and presumptuousness (is that even a word? I really should know) of contacting a professional and asking to collaborate. It’s a huge, absurd and frankly insulting ask. Would you contact Diane Warren & Taylor Swift and ask to collaborate on writing songs, although you don’t have song song writing skills, but have coached teens, are really creative, have lived life, and are a Gemini? Would you reach out to Michael Giacchino about co-scoring a movie, or James Patterson about co-authoring a novel, or Ray Romano about co-writing jokes, or Amanda Gordon about co-writing a poem? I’m not in their league, of course, but your ask is essentially as ridiculous. They’ve worked hard to get where they are… and you want to partner with them? What are you thinking? I spend a LOT of time teaching, mentoring and helping aspiring writers…and have for decades. The difference between you, and all the aspiring screenwriters and authors I have worked with over the years, is that they take the time to understand the field they want to enter, to reseach how they work, and to learn the skills necessary to succeed. They don’t cold call professionals and ask to be their partner. You need to get real…and get over yourself. Or you are in for a lot of disappointment.

I knew where this response would lead, of course, and she replied exactly as I knew, and now you know, she would:

We do not agree. Thank you for your time. It was a mistake to approach you. Be well sir.
You need to stop. Your behavior is not constructive its destructive. Im done needing to hear from you. Not everyone fits your mold of thinking. You have been abusive. I’ll be sure to pass this experience on.

And then she blocked me. I don’t know what makes some people think they are entitled to make dumb requests like this…and then get deeply offended when their offer is rejected. I shudder to think what bad advice she’s giving to teens.

Walking the Walk

I’ve got two pieces of big news today. The first is that my novel THE WALK may soon be coming to a movie theater near you. Constantin Films has picked up my screenplay adaptation of book. Here’s an excerpt from the story in Variety. :

“Resident Evil” producer Constantin Film has acquired the rights to Lee Goldberg’s movie script for thriller “The Walk,” which he adapted from his bestselling novel. Goldberg has served as the showrunner of “Diagnosis Murder” and “Martial Law.”

Robert Kulzer of Constantin Film is producing “The Walk” with Monella Kaplan of eMotion Entertainment. Constantin’s Alex Westmore and Colin Scully are the creative executives handling the project.

Nick Hanks, Constantin’s senior exec VP of business and legal affairs and operations, negotiated the deal on Constantin’s behalf.

Kulzer said: “Lee’s adaptation of his own novel is a brilliant exploration of the human condition by using the ‘Big One’ as a backdrop to create unforgettable moments of hair-raising tragicomedy.”

Constantin is best known for the “Resident Evil” franchise, with six movies released that generated over $1.2 billion at the box office. A reboot of the series, “Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City,” is set to be released on Nov. 24, 2021. Other credits include “Black Beauty” at Disney Plus and “Monster Hunter,” which is still in theaters around the world.

I am so excited and will keep you updated.

In other news, the cover for my next novel GATED PREY, coming out in October, was also released today. Here it is (click on it to see it full size):

Gated Prey

Lots of Lee Going On

Collectibles

There’s some exciting TV and film news about several of my books that I wish I could tell you (and hope to be able to soon). But while I wait for the greenlight to share that news with you, I can tell you this…

There’s a MYSTERY 101 marathon this weekend….all five movies in the hit series I co-created with my friend Robin Bernheim…and it culimates with the Sunday night (March 21) world premiere of KILLER TIMING, the all-new, sixth movie in the series…with special guest star Erin Cahill, who starred in my 2009 action movie FAST TRACK NO LIMITS. You can find out more about KILLER TIMING, and get a sneak peek, right here.

Lawrence Block’s new anthology COLLECTIBLES is now available for pre-order… and includes a short story by me. The collection scored a rave review from Publishers Weekly:

Standouts include Dennis Lehane’s gilt-edged chiller, “A Bostonian (in Cambridge),” in which a wealthy collector of letters of abandonment falls prey to wily blackmailers, and Joe Lansdale’s “The Skull Collector,” a gangster yarn featuring gun-toting female grave robbers. Other stories, like David Rachel’s “Devil Sent the Rain Blues,” in which greed, paranoia, and excitement hinder a trader’s attempts to acquire an extremely rare 78 rpm record, seem tame by comparison. Overshadowing everything, though, is Lee Goldberg’s “Lost Shows,” a delightful shocker about a fanatical collector of short-lived and unaired TV shows who has turned his Hollywood home into a mausoleum of lost dreams.

To say I’m flattered by the praise is an understatement. I am so fortunate to be in such stellar company.

You can order the “collectible,” limited edition hardcover here. The ebook and paperback editions will be coming later in the year.

Also coming later this year is GATED PREY, the third Eve Ronin novel. It will be out in October but is available now for pre-order and earned some very kind words from Rachel Howzell Hall, author of And Now She’s Gone, a 2020 Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist. She says:

I whipped my head back and forth reading GATED PREY. So twisty, so funny and so L.A.–a few of my favorite things. After zooming through these pages, I’ll ride shotgun with Lee any day!

Ditto, Rachel! Here’s the scoop on GATED PREY:

A simple sting operation takes a violent and unexpected turn for Detective Eve Ronin in a gripping thriller by #1 New York Times bestselling author Lee Goldberg.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s detective Eve Ronin and her soon-to-retire partner, Duncan Pavone, are running a 24-7 sting in a guard-gated enclave of palatial homes in Calabasas. Their luxury McMansion is a honey trap, set to lure in the violent home invaders terrorizing the community. The trap works, leaving three intruders dead, a body count that nearly includes Eve and Duncan.

Eve’s bosses are eager to declare the case closed, but there are too many unanswered questions for her to let go. Was the trap actually for her, bloody payback for Eve’s very public takedown of a clique of corrupt deputies? Or is there an even deadlier secret lurking behind those opulent gates? Eve’s refusal to back down and her relentless quest for the truth make her both the hunter…and the prey.

I hope to get started writing the fourth “Eve Ronin” adventure very, very soon. But to do it, I will have to start following some of the advice I give in this new Q&A interview with the Advice to Writers site:

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? 

Never. I’ve hit walls plotting, or had questions about what a character should say or do next in a chapter or scene, but that’s not a block. That’s writing.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

Put your butt in the chair and write, even if it’s crap. You can’t rewrite a blank page.

I got a nice surprise in the latest issue of Mystery Scene Magazine. Respected mystery critic (and stellar crime novelist himself) Dick Lochte included the audio edition of my novel LOST HILLS, the first “Eve Ronin” adventure, among his five favorite audio books of 2020, calling it “a brisk, character-driven police procedural…good fun, marked by smart plotting and sharp dialogue, winningly narrated by Nicol Zanzarella.” I thought she did a great job, too. And be sure to check out her reading of the sequel, BONE CANYON. Also in the new issue, Kevin Burton Smith (founder and curator of the wonderful Thrilling Detective Site) included Ralph Dennis’ ALL KINDS OF UGLY, his long-lost final HARDMAN novel, among his favorite books of 2020, saying:

“Lee Goldberg and Brash Books get two thumbs up for resurrecting the bits and pieces of a long-lost manuscript and finally giving Ralph Dennis’ much-loved Jim Hardman the send-off he deserves. UGLY is some kind of beauty: a pure distillation of Grade-A Hard-Boiled Pulp that dares to reach for more.”

I really appreciate that review, since resurrecting Ralph Dennis’ books, and publishing his lost novels, has been a passion project for me, one I talked about in this Crime Reads essay.

Okay, that’s it for today. I hope to be back with some news, anecdotes, excerpts from The Mail I Get, reviews, or my random musings, very soon.

The Mail I Get: Rejection Edition

How to never sell your book…

We received a submission at Brash Books, the small publishing company I co-founded six years ago with Joel Goldman. After reading the submission, we decided to pass. This is the entirety of the rejection letter we wrote to the author:

Thank you for thinking of Brash for XYZ. Unfortunately, it’s not a fit for us. We wish you the very best finding the right home for the book.

His reply:

Keep printing The same redundant shit Arrogant ass, just remember the title of this book, u will see it on the best sellers list asshole.

And I’m sure he wonders why he hasn’t sold a book yet. (BTW, his submission was awful). So I decided to respond:

I sincerely doubt it… and I say that as a novelist who has actually been at the top of the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post bestseller lists multiple times. To be a successful author, you not only need to write well, and tell a good story… you also need to have some decent people skills. If I lashed out and called every publisher who politely rejected my work an arrogant asshole, I wouldn’t have achieved my success. How do I know? Because I ultimately ended being published by two of the publishers who’d rejected my previous work. You are clearly the biggest obstacle to your success. You might want to rethink your strategy.

He responded a short time later. 

 
This book has a very complex plot and vivid characterization that you couldn’t have possibly ascertain in the brief time you review my story. is a very complex plot, and profound characterization. This story is very unique, and has major shocking twists at the end! A PHD from Western Kentucky, who was a professor for 38 years is editing it, and compared it to Silence of the Lambs. It is very, very unique story, and intertwines orwellian themes, which compare to today’s political and social upheaval. I DO APOLOGIZE FOR LASHING OUT, NOT PROFESSIONAL AT ALL, sorry just have my heart and soul in this book, and you rejected it in record time, this is not my first rodeo, again I do apologize!

Still a little crazy, but at least he apologized. I guess that’s progress.

The Mail I Get: For the Weatherman Edition

There is are a lot of Lee Goldbergs out there. One of them is a popular weatherman at WABC in New York…and I get a lot of emails meant for him. I always reply and politely tell them they have the wrong Lee Goldberg (which you’d think would be obvious from the face on my website). By the same token, Lee the Weatherman also gets a lot of emails about my books. We met a few years ago and he invited me on his show. It was a lot of fun.

Here is just a tiny sampling of the mail I get for him:

Dear Lee,

Please be advised that Clason Point in the Bronx is pronounced CLAW-son and not CLAY-son.

And another:

Hi Lee it was nice you mentioned the Moon and Jupiter tonight but Saturn was there too.

If its clear tomorrow in fact you might want to mention in your forecast that the crescent Moon, Saturn and Jupiter are gathered even closer together.

And another:

What type of meter is on the wall in your home above the computer monitor?
While watching you broadcast from your home (I assume it is your home) there is a device with many numbers on it in red.
Is that something I can purchase?
Thanks

And another:

Thank you for thinking of Toms River Ocean County NJ. Other channels don’t talk about Toms River. You are the only one who speaks about Ocean County NJ. Thank you, thank you, thank you. BTW, I’m from Toms River.

And another:

Hi Lee- it’s a great idea to tell your viewers the reason for the nightly colors. However, please do it at 5 and 6 pm for the many viewers who are fast asleep at 11:20pm especially kids and my Nursing Home residents. Thanks – please reply if you get this request.

And another:

Hello, Lee!
Could I be of any assistance in reporting weather conditions/readings for the northeast Bronx – Pelham Bay Park/City Island?i.e.Rain, snow, flooding, temperature, barometric pressure, etc.
Basically.. just another set of eyes for this outer area of New York City.

And another:

I worked in landscaping for 43 years. Outside work 6 days a week, plus drove an oil delivery truck in the winter. Always out in the weather. In the last 3 years the wind, especially out of the northwest has been relentless! The only calm is early AM and in summer Bermuda high when dew points and humidity are raging. I’m on LI. so the proximity to ocean and sound and peconic bay, but REALLY…… what’s going on?

When I responded to this guy, and told him he had the wrong Lee Goldberg, he actually replied:

Sorry. I thought that was a little too easy.

The Mail I Get: Recommend Me Edition

Two weeks ago, the same day that my new novel BONE CANYON came out, a complete stranger sent me an email on Facebook asking me to recommend him to my agent:

Hi Lee: Need to ask a question. Do you have an agent, order you publish yourself? If you have an agent, can you refer me to him/her. I have completed a novel, 60,000 words. If I send a cold-call query to an agent, I get a polite response. If I send a query to an agent with a recommendation, I get feedback. So far, feedback has said my manuscript is “well written.” But that doesn’t mean they will represent it. Asking for your input and a recommendation to your agent. Thank you, Ben

I didn’t reply…because I was very busy promoting my book and I really didn’t want to deal with his request. Two days later, I got another note.

I sent you the above message. Would love to get a response.

I didn’t reply to that one, either. The next day, I got an email through my website:

I left you a message on your Facebook page but never heard back from you. Can you read it and respond?”

This time I responded. I said: “I am represented by an agent and no, I will not recommend you to her. What an outrageous and inappropriate request to make of a complete stranger. Why would I do that? I don’t know you and I don’t know your work. And no, I don’t want to read your book. Here’s a blog post I wrote on the subject.”

He wrote back on Facebook:

You’re an asshole.

Then he followed up with an email saying:

What an asshole you are. I won’t expand because I don’t want to hear your pompous diatribe. So I’ll leave it at that.

I responded:

From screenwriter Josh Olson who, in his great 2009 piece in The Village Voice, said it best when dealing with a person like you:

“At this point, you should walk away, firm in your conviction that I’m a dick. But if you’re interested in growing as a human being and recognizing that it is, in fact, you who are the dick in this situation, please read on. Yes. That’s right. I called you a dick. Because you created this situation. You put me in this spot where my only option is to acquiesce to your demands or be the bad guy. That, my friend, is the very definition of a dick move.”

Here’s the rest of his wonderful essay on guys like you:https://www.villagevoice.com/…/i-will-not-read-your…/

Your emails to me make it very clear why you’ve had no success finding an agent or getting published. You might want to rethink your approach going forward. Good luck!

Ben responded immediately:

You are still an asshole.

A bad guy.

A dick.

A jerk.

I am very secure in my writing. Based on past experiences, I am very secure calling you the above names. You made your position know. I get it. But you are pretty insecure otherwise it seems. Now asshole just walk away. Take a frickin hike.

Regards,

Me

Five minutes later, he added:

Response 2

From now on, just send me or people like me a one or two sentence response saying you are in no position to read a manuscript and offer recommednations. That’s all you need to do. But you make an asshole case out of it trying to shame people. It shows you are pretty insecure or at least very petty. You need to rethink your approach to dealing with well-intended writers.

Now I’d had enough. Here’s what I wrote:

Wow, are you full of yourself. Let’s recap, Ben. You sent a note on Facebook to an author you don’t know (or, apparently, don’t know anything about). You began by asking this question:


” Do you have an agent, order you publish yourself? ” 

If you’d done even the most basic research about me, you’d know the answer to that question, that I am a #1 New York Times bestselling author who has been published by Penguin Putnam, St. Martin’s Press, Random House, etc. But that was too much work for you. And if you’d ever opened one of my books, which I’m sure you haven’t, not only would you know if I have an agent or not, you’d also know their names, since I thank them in my acknowledgments. So, strike #1 for laziness, poor research and a complete lack of professionalism. (Add poor-proofreading: “order” instead of “or do” in your dashed-off, “cold call” email)


You went on to ask: “If you have an agent, can you refer me to him/her.”

You are now asking a complete stranger to make a personal recommendation, leveraging their hard-earned reputation and hard-won personal relationships, on your behalf… a huge ask, even for someone who actually knows me or even, at the minimum, my work.  But you don’t acknowledge that. You think it’s nothing. So, strike #2 for ignorance and rudeness. (Add poor proofreading: you forgot to add a question mark to the end of your question, which again underscores the unprofessional, dashed-off nature of your “cold call”).


You go on to say: “If I send a cold-call query to an agent, I get a polite response. If I send a query to an agent with a recommendation, I get feedback. “


So, you’re saying  I should do this for someone I don’t know because my relationship with the agent will help get you feedback. In other words, you’ll get more attention from the agent because she feels a responsibility to me, the person who recommended you. 


And you’re making that request with no acknowledgment whatsoever of the significance of what you are asking. And you don’t even ask politely. So, strike #3…for presumptuousness, ignorance and rudeness.


You go on to say: “Asking for your input and a recommendation to your agent.”

Now you are asking an author you don’t know, or even know anything about, to not only recommend you to his agent (twice, I might add), but now you also want him to give you feedback…another big ask. So, strike #4 for nagging, ignorance and rudeness. 

And there wasn’t a single “please” in your entire cold-call email, a big strike #4, for having no common courtesy.  

But you didn’t stop there. When I didn’t answer you immediately, because really, what could possibly be more important in my life than responding to a complete stranger, you asked me two days later to respond. When I didn’t, you then prodded me again, a day later, through my website:

“I left you a message on your Facebook page but never heard back from you. Can you read it and respond? Thank you”

You not only hit up a complete stranger for a big favor, you now had the chutzpah to insist on an immediate response… and to complain when you didn’t get one (and, once again, the word “please” seems to be missing entirely from your vocabulary…because the whole world owes you their time and attention). 


I’m sure you have no idea how rude and inappropriate that is, but we’ll set that aside. This may come as a shock, but I have a few other things going on in my life (for example, if you’d done any research on me, you’d know I had a new book come out last week and have been busy doing scores of interviews every day). I have no obligation to you… certainly not to drop everything to engage with you. 


But no, in your mind, there is nothing more important, more time-critical, than you and your needs…even to someone you don’t know and know nothing about.


And when I did respond, (“I am represented by an agent and no, I will not recommend you to her. What an outrageous and inappropriate request to make of a complete stranger. Why would I do that? I don’t know you and I don’t know your work. And no, I don’t want to read your book. Here’s a blog post I wrote on the subject…), your reply was:


“You’re an asshole.”


Amazing. And you have the gall to try to school me on how to behave? Your arrogance and cluelessness are astounding. You aren’t a “well-intended writer,” but you’re certainly an ill-prepared, impolite, and self-defeating one. You asked me for feedback. Well, now I’ll give some to you. 


The proper response from you to my reply would have been an apology, an acknowledgement that what you were asking was out of line and ill-considered, and that you now realize that it was a foolish way to approach an author for advice…especially one you don’t know…and that now you know no better. That you don’t blame me for being irritated, you would be, too. 


That might have led to something productive. Instead, you doubled down on ignorance and arrogance…and responded with a crude, childish insult that proved me right: You aren’t someone who deserves my help…or *any* successful author’s help. 


No, Ben, I am not an asshole. What I am is a successful author, screenwriter, TV producer and publisher who is very busy…and doesn’t have much free time. Even so, over the last thirty years, I’ve taught and mentored writers across the United States and all over the world…in classrooms, in seminars, at conferences, and on-the-job. The difference between those writers and you is that they’re smarter, more professional, more polite, and a lot less full of themselves.


You’ve made many dumb, cringe-worthy mistakes in your interaction with me…and instead of responding now by telling me that I’m an ugly, smelly, talentless, creepy, petty, vindictive, Godless asshole, shithead, bastard, prick and overall terrible person, don’t respond to me at all. Instead, think of this as a learning experience and rethink your deeply flawed strategy of “cold calling” authors you don’t know (or know anything about) for help. You need a new approach….because your current one sucks…and works against you. 

Lee

His reply was entirely predictable:

You really took all that time to write this. Wow I must have really got on your nerves. You are sick. You need help. Ask your therapist if this is logical. 
As I said a simple two sentence reply at the beginning would have sufficed. 
I’m not even going to read this
I’m just going to delete it
Good night

I don’t think Ben, with his attitude, is going to have much luck finding an agent or getting his book published.