Let’s Dance on The Grave of Jones Harvest

It appears that Jones Harvest Publishers, the vanity press run by huckster Brien Jones, has finally died in shame.  His company website has disappeared and he's reportedly closed the pitiful  little storefront that he operated to convince his gullible "authors,"  primarily senior citizens, that their poorly-printed books would be available in brick-and-mortar stores.  

Bonnie Kaye, who operates the Jones Harvest Fraud Victims blog and the Jones Harvest Fraud Victims site, reports:

I have been receiving letters from people who are customers of Jones Harvest stating that there is no way to contact them. So I did some of my own investigating and found out they were right–the website has been down for at least a week. The emails are being returned. No one is answering the phone… 

Kaye was one of the victims of Airleaf, the disgraced vanity press scam that once employed — you guessed it — Brien Jones, who then scurried off to start his own print-on-demand press.  By then, he was an old hand at selling empty dreams of publishing success to wanna-be writers. Before Airleaf,  Brien worked for Bookman Marketing, an even more notorious publishing scam. Some people never learn…and that includes the suckers. Many victims of the Airleaf scam actually followed Brien to Jones Harvest, only to reportedly suffer the same disappointment and financial loss all over again. 
Frankly, I'm surprised Brien and his shabby operation lasted this long.  CreateSpace and Lulu, which allow people to publish their paperbacks for free, and Amazon and Barnes & Noble, which make it easy to self-publish ebooks for nothing, have been the Black Death for outfits like Jones Harvest.  I'll miss Brien.. only because his lame-brained schemes, like asking you to hire his staff of "expert" screenwriters to adapt your unpublished books into hit screenplays, were so much fun to ridicule.   
Let's hope the long-overdue, well-deserved demise of Jones Harvest will be the last time we see Brien Jones laughably passing himself off as a publisher.

Rumor has, he's decided to become a writer instead…

UPDATE 10/11/2011 (11:41pm): Maybe I spoke too soon. Here's what Brien Jones wrote a few weeks back on his blog:

So, You want to start your own company? It’s lonely at the top…


Also because THIS subject is closest to my heart it will probably not be terribly amusing—ESPECIALLY if you’re underpaid and stuck in a dead-end job with AN ASSHOLE for a BOSS.

Recently I was HORRIFIED TO LEARN that was precisely how my colleagues viewed ME.

THAT’S MY FAULT. As with EVERY rule, law, or responsibility IGNORANCE IS NO EXCUSE. In fact, NOT knowing makes the situation WORSE.

THAT’S NOT how things USED TO BE. If you spent a day working in our office last year you wouldn’t have thought BRIEN JONES was in charge of ANYTHING.

My wife and co-founder Brandy (who remains UNIVERSALLY REVERED) had clearly been at the helm.

Then I stepped in and made a couple VERY BAD DECISIONS. As a result of those decisions what had been a vibrant, happy and even slightly profitable little company augured into the ground.

Clearly I’m no good at running things.

For example MY LATEST HIRE has failed to meet every benchmark and quota imaginable (aside from FARTING) and often appears only long enough to ask if we’ve RECEIVED ANY CHECKS.

THAT ATTITUDE is not unique.

Over the past five years we’ve had QUITE A FEW PEOPLE that think MONEY JUST RAINS IN OUT OF THE SKY and we’re not CATCHING IT RIGHT.

Huh. Maybe they're onto something, after all…

Now we’re losing our last and BEST COLLEAGUE. And THAT is a CRISIS.

It is well known that the word ‘CRISIS’ in Japanese, (危機=kiki) is a combination of ”danger” and 機=”fucking up completely.”

ALL SUMMER I have been busting my ass to pay people that are just farting around, LITERALLY. (And THEN listening to THEM lecture ME about responsibility!)

That’s all over now kids!

But JONES HARVEST PUBLISHING is very much alive. It’s just going to be UNDER OLD MANAGEMENT.

I’ll still be around! AFTER ALL, if you read about me on the internet THE WHOLE THING WAS MY IDEA.

No matter WHAT happens we’ve already beat the odds!

According to Business Week, “The data show that, across sectors, 66 percent of new establishments were still in existence 2 years after their birth, and 44 percent were still in existence 4 years after.”

OCTOBER 24, we begin our SIXTH YEAR! I can’t WAIT to see the new DEATH-THREATS!

The Publishing Cart Before the Storytelling Horse

I wish I could take credit for that headline, but it belongs to Chuck Wendig.  He makes a very good point in a recent, and controversial, blog post about the obsession self-published authors have with striking it rich, boosting their rankings, voting on tags, etc. and how little attention they pay to the really, really, REALLY important part…

 In self-publishing, I see so much that focuses on sales numbers and money earned, but I see alarmingly little that devotes itself toward telling good stories. After all, that’s the point, right? Selling is, or should be, secondary. The quality of one’s writing and the power of one’s storytelling is key. It’s primary. It’s why we do this thing that we do. Any time you hear about the major self-publishers, it’s always about the sales, the percentage, the money earned. What’s rare is a comment about how good the books are. When the narrative was all about Amanda Hocking, everybody was buzzing about her numbers, but nobody I know was buzzing about how good those books were. Focus less on the delivery of the stories and more about the quality of what’s being delivered.

The problem is, if more self-published authors did that, they'd have to acknowledge how insanely awful most of the "indie" stuff really is. Josin L. McQuein, one of the commentors on Chuck's post, summed up the problem perfectly:

…self-e-publishing is a lot like the atmosphere on a fanfiction site. It’s mostly garbage, and everyone reading it knows that. Among that garbage, there are pockets of gold and diamonds that, if found, will draw readers. (I wouldn’t be at all surprised if some of the more popular fanfic authors make a serious go of self-e-publishing. They’ve got a built in audience that can be tens of thousands strong in the larger fandoms.) The trick is, someone has to find those pockets of precious material and pass the information along. It doesn’t always happen. If you’re going to self-e-publish, then TAKE YOUR TIME. If it takes you weeks, months, or even a year to write your book, then why would you undermine all of that time and effort by rushing through the final steps of the process? If you’re going self-publish, then don’t handicap your novel by not making it the best you possibly can.

In other words, don't put the publishing cart before the story-telling horse.

Now You Can Finally See REMAINDERED

Last September, I wrote & directed the short film REMAINDERED in Owensboro, Kentucky with a great cast (Eric Altheide, Sebrina Siegel, Todd Reynolds and Lisa Baldwin) and a terrific crew on a $1500 budget.

Our film has played at the Beaufort International Film Festival, the Myrtle Beach International Film Festival, the Beverly Hills Shorts Festival, the Traverse City Shorts Festival, The Big Island Film Festival, and the Derby City Film Festival, where Sebrina Siegel was selected as a finalist for Best Actress. 

We also picked up some incredible reviews along the way, like these:

"REMAINDERED was such a hoot. I loved everything about it and had so much fun. More awesomeness from Lee Goldberg," Sara Gran, author of "Dope" and "Come Closer."

"This may be the only time you’ll ever hear the dictate 'Read to me' uttered quite so seductively. Telling more about Goldberg’s plot would spoil its many criminal and comic delights. […]REMAINDERED may not be a mammoth Hollywood production, but Goldberg-has invested no less attention in its crafting because of that," J. Kingston Pierce, The Rap Sheet.

"REMAINDERED is brilliant! Hilarious, suspenseful, with booksigning sequences that induce PTSD… bravo!" Barry Eisler, bestselling author of "Hard Rain."

"REMAINDERED is terrific," Ken Levine, Emmy-award winning writer/producer of "M*A*S*H" and "Cheers." 

"REMAINDERED is great facial exercise for writers.  It makes us laugh and cry at the same time," Thomas Perry, bestselling author of "The Informant"

"One of the wiliest short stories I've read in many years. Really laughed my ass off when I read it. The short film based on it is equally excellent. Lee Goldberg at his very best," Ed Gorman, author of "Trouble Man."

"REMAINDERED was so well done on some many levels," Naomi Hirahara, bestselling author of "Blood Hina."

"A most enjoyable mini-feature. Professional all the way from screenplay to actors to direction. I must say I also laughed at all the touches of wry comedy. Lee Goldberg has the goods," William Link, Emmy Award winning writer/co-creator of "Columbo" and "Murder She Wrote"

"REMAINDERED is a hoot, a low budget production with a big heart and exceptional values, a twenty minute film that keeps you holding your breath until it explodes with laughter," Paul Bishop, author of "Twice Dead" and host of the  ABC reality series "Take the Money and Run." 

"The story was great and the actors were outstanding," Joel Goldman, author of "No Way Out."

"I loved REMAINDERED!" Daniel J. Hale, co-author of "Red Card."

"Very entertaining. Hard to believe it was directed by a first-timer. And I loved the soundtrack," Matt Witten, writer/producer of "House," "Medium" and "Law & Order."

"I enjoyed REMAINDERED immensely," Hal Ackerman, author of "Stein Stoned" and co-chair of the screenwriting department of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television

"One of the highlights of Bouchercon – the world mystery convention – was watching Lee Goldberg's independent film REMAINDERED. If it comes to a film festival near you, don't miss it. It rocked the house," Julie Kramer, author of "Silencing Sam."

"A marvelous script. Haven't heard that much out loud laughter from an audience in a long time," Robert S. Levinson, author of "Ask a Dead Man."

"Really well done and hilarious," Sheila Lowe, author of "Written in Blood"

"This twenty-minute film is funny, sharply observed, and very well put together. It might be a low-budget production, but it doesn't look it. The actors are having fun, and Goldberg gets the most out of every shot," Bill Crider, author of "Outrage at Blanco."

"Stinging and accomplished…the tale is as well-turned as you'd expect from a pro and it takes imaginative flight from a reality that'll be recognized by anyone who has ever faced the world over a stack of books at a signing table," Stephen Gallagher, author/writer/creator of the hit BBC TV series "The Eleventh Hour."

Now that a year has passed, and I'm preparing to shoot the sequel in Owensboro in early 2012 as a co-production with Riverpark Center and Firelight Entertainment Group, I thought it was time to finally share the film with everyone.

So here it is. I look forward to hearing what you think of the movie!

Where You Lived

WhereYouLivedFLAT3 My brother Tod's latest collection of short stories, Where You Lived, is now available on the Kindle and the Nook, with a cover by my sister Linda Woods. The collection includes "the stories behind the stories," a peek at how his provocative,unusual, and ingenious tales were written. It's a steal at $2.99.

Please buy it so he doesn't have to pimp his wife on the mean streets of Indio in order to pay his staggering air conditioning bills.