Victoria Strauss reports that BookWise has gone — surprise! surprise! — into the vanity press business, a natural extension of their multi-level marketing scheme. They are charging gullible aspiring writers $6000 to "publish" their books and for "intensive training" at their WriteWise (aka PublishStupid) seminars taught by "Industry Experts" who, outside of BookWise founders author Richard Paul Evans and get-rich-quick huckster Robert G. Allen, have no actual industry experience.
Their "expert" faculty consists of the teacher of the Info-Preneuring Teleclass for the Enlightened Wealth Institute, a self-published cookbook author, and three authors who write fiction exclusively for the "LDS market" ("work consistent with the standards and principles of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ"). I guess Lori Prokop, Michael Drew, and Brien Jones were unavailable.
You will also get such amazing benefits as "an official BookWise review" and your photograph taken with BookWise founders Evans and Allen. Wow! Where do I sign up?
BookWise thinks that "anyone who is a serious writer" would gladly pay $20-30,000 for all of this, so six grand is a bargain. But "serious" writers know better than to take seminars from vanity press publishers and industry know-nothings who have a clear profit motive and glaring conflict-of-interest behind their "teaching."
This is no ordinary vanity press scheme. To lure in as many suckers as possible, BookWise is offering a $1000 bounty for every paying sucker their multilevel marketing associates can bring in. Prepare to be spammed. But wait, there’s more, as Victoria reports:
There’s another twist to the story. For writers accepted into
WriteWise, Richard Paul Evans and Robert G. Allen will become their
literary agents, receiving, according to the WriteWise brochure, "the
standard agency fee [of] 15% of the royalties that an author receives
from the publisher." The brochure makes it clear, however, that not
every book will be shopped: "…depending upon circumstances, BookWise
Publishing may also present your book to other major publishers." In
this arrangement, most of the benefit is on the agents’ side: they
don’t actually have to do anything for you (unlike in a normal
author-agent relationship), but if they do, they get paid twice.
These guys are taking the vanity press scam to a whole new, and truly sleazy, level.