Harvesting More Suckers

Brien Jones is at it again…the vanity press huckster is offering to sell your self-published book to Hollywood using all of his amazing connections (which, translated, means he's going to attend "The Great American Pitchfest" like hundreds of other wanna-bes).  Victoria Strauss at Writer's Beware has the scoop on Brien's pitch, which sounds an awful lot like the scams run by Bookman/Airleaf, his former employer, which I first blogged about back in 2005.. Airleaf has since been shut down by the Indiana Attorney General.

6 thoughts on “Harvesting More Suckers”

  1. More Ways for the Self-Published to Throw Away Their Money

    I’ve received a slew of new pitches from hucksters who think the self-published are suckers and, apparently, that I am one of them. To be fair to the hucksters, anyone who sends them a check after visiting their sites deserves…

  2. Lee, I know your argument against self-publishing and its a good one: it costs money, it doesn’t earn money. So why do persons continue to do it??
    Here’s an article from a celeb/personality/spokesperson that offers some insight, I believe:
    If you click on the add to the right of the window entitled “Time to Write a Book?” it takes you to a PDF with the argument in favor of self-publishing.
    What do you think?

  3. Dan,
    As I have said many times, self-publishing makes very little sense for fiction but it CAN be lucrative for non-fiction if you have a strong platform for selling the work (you teach a class, host a radio show, give seminars, etc.). This author did — she is national spokesperson for the American Diabetic Association and wrote a book targeted at a diabetic audience…for her, self-publishing was a smart and probably profitable thing to do (depending on how much she spent with iUniverse).
    Bill Rabkin and I might self-publish “Successful Television Writing” someday when it goes out-of-print…because we both teach TV writing (Bill presently teaches at UCLA and UC Riverside) and we do lots of seminars where the book can be sold (I’ll be speaking about TV writing at the 94th Annual Missouri Writer’s Conference in April, for example). We have a platform … and best of all, it won’t cost us anything because the Authors Guild has a “back in print” program with iUniverse in which previously published books are brought out in POD editions at no charge to the authors.

  4. Dan,
    Regarding the article… it wasn’t the usual hype and was surprisingly balanced. It said, for instance:
    “But an easier way to get published does not necessarily translate into big sales or calls from Oprah. Though
    some of their authors sell in the thousands, the average first-year sales for a new title is 120 to 150 copies,
    according to iUniverse.
    It’s one thing to get a book printed, but quite another to get it in the distribution chain that will then get it onto
    book shelves, says Terry Nathan, director of PMA, the Independent Book Publishers Association in
    Manhattan Beach, Calif.”

  5. Thanks, Lee, you cleared up some my confusions. So if a book eventually goes out of print, then POD makes a lot of sense where the author has a platform because the book can be sold without any cost to the author. That makes sense.
    Thanks, Dan

  6. Dan,
    That’s not exactly what I said…and it’s more complicated than that.
    For one thing, you have to be a member of the AUthors Guild to take advantage of that free program, otherwise self-publishing will cost you just as much as anybody else.
    And I wouldn’t recommend that every author of previously published fiction or non-fiction should reprint their books through a POD house.
    As an experiment, and since it was free, I made MY GUN HAS BULLETS available through the Authors Guild’s Back-in-Print program and it hasn’t sold diddly (I think Richard Wheeler had the same experience with some of his novels brought out through the same program). My UNSOLD TV PILOT books, however, have continued to sell over the years in their POD versions at no cost to me. It’s found money…though not very much. I once printed my royalty statements here on those books here on my blog.
    Also, tying up your novel through a POD back-in-print program can also create problems if a new publisher wants to acquire your backlist.
    And if your non-fiction book didn’t sell while it was in print, that doesn’t mean it will find new life in POD. You will still face all the distribution, publicity, and other hurdles that all POD authors face.
    I do nothing as far as promoting my reprints (besides listing them in the right column of this blog). I don’t buy copies myself and sell them out of my trunk. People have to search them out or discover them for themselves.


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