My brother Tod beat me to the news that Lori Prokop‘s Book Millionaire scam is back… a "reality show" that promises to grant the winner the "lifestyle of being a successfully published author" and "additional prizes to help achieve the goal of Best Selling and
In other words, Lori will publish the winner through her vanity press ("Bestseller Publishing") and they will get a stack of Lori’s self-published books. Wow. Where can I sign up? And as I predicted, back in April when this scam was first announced, "Book Millionaire" won’t be on any television network…it’s going to be on the web. Videos of the suckers, excuse me, aspiring contestants are up on her site. At least one of them is mortified and wrote to me about it:
I fell for it hook, line and sinker…so of course I sent an email to all my friends to sign up on the site and watch for my audition tape and my really smart lawyer friend found your site and now I want to cry!
Lori Prokop’s scam is so transparent, how could anyone possibly fall for it? So that’s what I asked the lady who sent me the email, and she sent me a lengthy reply. Here are some excerpts:
I was a huge Survivor and Apprentice nut — always wanted
to do one of those shows but did not want to eat bugs or work for Donald
Trump. I was new in self-publishing at the time I sent in my tape….my passion for this business has become my mission.
I have a circle of amazing friends who are always in the spot light–I thought it would make great television so
thus I believed the concept. I have a friend on the American Inventor Show, a friend who was
the first person voted off of Survivor and a friend that was on the Today Show…
I have read some best
sellers that I felt where only best sellers because they were marketed correctly and I have read some awesome books that will never be on the best seller because they don’t understand marketing. So I believed in the concept. Thinking back I was amazed she was also from Wisconsin.
Wisconsin? What difference does that make? Clearly, this aspiring writer wanted to be a celebrity so badly, and was so jealous of her friends who got on TV, that she jumped blindly into this ridiculous scam without bothering to notice that, even if she won, she would get none of the things she was dreaming of. Lori Prokop can’t give anyone "the lifestyle of a bestselling author" or "celebrity status"…all she can do is offer contestants some of her self-published "get-rich-quick" books, a cheaper rate on leased cars, and tickets to one of her motivational speeches at a Unitarian church.
I have no sympathy whatsoever for the suckers who fell for her scam… they deserve the humiliation and disappointment they are in for. They didn’t think about what they were being offered ("the lifestyle of a bestselling author??"). They didn’t do any research into Lori Prokop or Bestseller Publishing (ten minutes on Google would have been enough). Instead, they gladly deluded themselves because they wanted Lori’s empty promises and outrageous claims to be true…they wanted a short-cut to their dream of being published authors. They have no one to blame but themselves. It’s hucksters like Lori Prokop, who profit on the desperation of aspiring writers, that infuriate me.
UPDATE 4-2-06: My brother Tod and I aren’t the only bloggers outraged by huckster Lori Prokop’s Book Millionaire scam. Journalist Richard Cobbett writes:
Is it wrong to hope that people like Lori Prokop wake up one day to find
their intestines crawling with tapeworms?
If she did, she’d try to sell them on the Internet as "miracle healing tapeworms."
7 thoughts on “The Book Millionaire Scam”
I think there’s still room for sympathy and compassion. People taken in by these hucksters may contribute to their own downfalls, but it’s very easy to sit within the industry and call people suckers for not recognizing what is, to us, a transparent scam. A little greed, a little naivete, a little not having anything nearby to compare it to, and anything halfway-reasonable looks halfway-reasonable.
But your infuriation with the bloodsucking parasites themselves is dead on. Kerosene and matches are too good for them.
Actually, there is a difference between promising the “lifestyle of being a successfully published author” and promising the “lifestyle of a bestselling author.”
The truth is, she can (almost) promise the former — but the problem is that most wannabes do not understand that to be “successfully published” is not the same as, well, “successful.”
When they (eventually) do their homework, they will see that even the act of getting published is just another step in the life of a genuine novelist, not the end in itself.
The only problem with your post is that it’s preaching to the choir. I’ve been a reader at Zoetrope: All-Story for 4 years and never asked the editors to read my stuff, because I know it’s not good enough (yet). Some people have no shame.
She’s offering them the lifestyle of a published author? Sitting for eight to twelve hours during the working day staring at the computer screen either writing or editing a novel or working on queries and other correspondence . . . going to booksignings where most of the people who stop by your table want to ask you where the bathroom is or demand that you get up and show them where a particular best-selling book is shelved . . . traveling to speak at schools or libraries or conferences and perhaps not helping sales at all, although you get stage fright anyway . . . worrying about whether you should spend more of your own money on promotion, or if it’s doing any good at all. It’s not the life of an Artiste any more, if it ever was!
OK, here’s what we do. Download it, run it through some video editing software, and insert farting sounds. Same thing that happened to Robert Tilton, who, if it’s possible, was even more brazen than Prokop.
Hey, don’t knock the miracle healing tapeworms. They get to the parts conventional medicine don’t reach. Why use antibiotics when you can deploy your slithering army to deal with your dirty work.
Not to mention that they’re about as likely to make you a bestselling author as Lori’s show, so I’m sure some people would swallow them whole, just in case.
Is anyone surprised that one of the contestants (Andy Anderson) is a PublishAmerica author?