Pity poor Brien Jones, the veteran vanity press sleazo behind Jones Harvest…who preyed on old people, taking their money on the false promise of "publishing" their books, getting them into bookstores and into the hands of Hollywood producers. Scores of people, most of them elderly, lost thousands of dollars to this unrepetent scammer…and now he wants you to feel sorry for him…and write another check. In a letter to his suckers, republished on the Jones Harvest Fraud Victims blog, he writes, in part:
I tried to sell [BOOK TITLE] and the rest every way possible—more ways than you ever heard about. As with 99% of our titles I failed. It’s hard. And if you ever try selling somebody else’s book (or even your own) to bookstores you’ll find it’s also unpleasant.
By 2010 I spent half my day listening to bookstores hang up on me and the other half listening to authors that paid $950 to publish (usually less than we spent on the print run) complain about lack of sales. I have to admit I don’t feel very bad about giving up on some of those clients.
I do feel bad about you. You were one of the few that even acknowledged our website was free of vanity publishing information or that we had a bookstore. Most of our clients never noticed. I kept on trying anyway.
Astonishing, isn't it? One moment he's talking about taking $950 from authors to "publish" their books and ignore their calls…and the next he's taking pride in the fact that he never disclosed on his site that he was running a thinly-disguised, nickel-and-dime vanity press that primarily preyed on the elderly. And by his own admission, he failed to sell books 99% of the time… a fact I'm sure he never mentioned when he was sweet-talking some grandma out of a thousand bucks.
Jones then has the audicity to recommend to everyone that he bilked that they go to Accurance and write another check for $850 to actually get their books "published" this time (What do you bet he gets a commission on each of those "sales"?)
Bill Earle, a huckster for Accurance, then sent a letter to the Jones Harvest suckers, breaking the news that, despite all the money they gave to Brien Jones, their books were worthless and unsaleable. In other words, they threw their money away. Here's an excerpt:
Right now, we are concentrating everything on the Jones authors who were published with Jones. Those ISBNs are dead now so those books are no longer for sale. Even if sales were poor in the past for whatever reason, you don't have a chance at even one now.
Our Jones Publishing Package, is fast, high quality, as affordable as is possible, and most importantly – complete. Right now, the book you had published with Jones is no longer valid. The ISBN from Jones for your book is a dead account. We are honored to be able to offer you the fastest way back to the market for just $849.
It's so nice that Bill is "honored" to offer the Jones Harvest suckers a chance to throw their money away again.
I have no sympathy at all for anyone who, after already being screwed over by Brien Jones, would now take his advice and write another fat check to yet another vanity press.
The "deal" that Accurance offers is a rip-off…just like everything Brien Jones has ever been associated with. A non-Jones author could get exactly the same services from Accurance for $500 (I wonder where that extra $250 is going?). But wait, it gets even worse. As Bonnie Kaye, founderof the Jones Harvest Fraud Victims Blog notes:
And guess what—if you take this route, you don’t even have a publisher. Accurance isn’t a publisher—it’s a set-up company that brokers you out to companies like Lulu, where you are your own publisher.
In other words, you could just go to Lulu yourself and cut Accurance out entirely. And you know what it would cost you to get your book published?
Now that's a deal.
The fact is, in today's new world, you'd have to be a brain-dead to pay anyone $900 to publish your book, whether it's Accurance, Tate, DogEar, Author House or anybody else.
Because you can publish for FREE digitally (on Amazon, B&N) and in print (with CreateSpace, Lulu, etc). Amazon, Lulu and CreateSpace take their money as a very small cut of your royalties. They make money when YOU make money. You don't have to pay a dime up front, to say nothing of $850.
You can even avoid the minimal cost of having your work formatted for ebooks by using Smashwords, which will also distribute your book to scores of online retailers. You can even make a cover yourself using your own artwork and a basic photo editing program.
It's time for aspiring authors to wake up and stop being carrion for vultures like Brien Jones.
UPDATE: 1-3-2012: Adding insult to injury, the notorious sleazo Brien Jones is now sending letters to the authors that he swindled, offering them the "opportunity," if they hurry and act right now, to buy all of the existing, unsold copies of their books back from him for $5.99 each…oh, and be sure to make the checks out to him personally, not his pseudo publishing company (hmm, do you think he could be trying to evade creditors like, for instance, the same authors he's trying to screw now?).
5 thoughts on “Scammer Still Scamming”
Is this the same guy who was associated with the Airleaf promo scams several years back?
Yep, same sleazo.
Thanks for the update, I hadn’t know this was going on.
Okay, Jones took, say, a thousand dollars from each client to publish their book. He tried to market them and failed, and it was unpleasant. Now, if we were angels-in-training sent by a Higher Power, what could we do to make this situation right for everybody?
First, Jones should go through the process of e-publishing all of the books. Older people are often afraid of computers and can’t get this done themselves, so it’s a legit service, and let’s say Jones earns a hundred dollars a book, so he still owes $900 in services to each client.
Second, he buys a book or two on e-marketing and really digests the material so that he makes himself into an expert. Let’s say he can charge $100 dollars an hour. So he owes nine hours of marketing online to each client. If he works roughly 9 hours per day, he can discharge the owed service to one client. If he engaged 100 clients, he owes 100 days of service—kinda like community service, but specialized.
Third, to get better results, he should establish an imprint on Amazon, like The Dead Man books. He can call it “The Golden Years Memoir Series”—and have the books further divided by state, so book buyers from each state can read and delight in experiences they themselves had. That’s the marketing pitch.
Okay, so how does it add up? First, Jones renders legit service for money paid. Second, the seniors get published and earn money on sales. Third, Jones rehabs himself into a legit expert with real services to sell. Fourth, we, the pre-angel-workers, have earned a little bit towards paying for our wings by saving Jones’s soul, and the souls of all those who might have gone astray in reaction to what he has done, including myself.
All in a day’s work for angels-in-training in this garden-school called, Earth.
Sadly, Brien Jones is a crook and a sociopath. Your suggestions may work for someone who has a conscience–which he doesn’t. You also mention those two words that are foreign to his vocabulary–“legit services.” He’s been scamming people for nearly 10 years who are mostly elderly, disabled, and most importantly–vulnerable. He knows no limits. Through his efforts, hundreds of thousands of dollars have gone up in smoke to support him and his family while he laughs in contempt of those he has scammed. Last week, he had his staff of two people besides himeself–his wife and brother–contact two of his former victims living in nursing homes trying to get them to republish with Accurance. He may be out of business, but you can be sure that he’s making a hefty commission by sending his authors to Accurance who are selling Jones customers services at a higher rate than other customers. Redemption? Never. Prosecution? I’m certainly working on it. He’s a criminal who needs to be in prison.
Bonnie, you are doing great work on the prosecution side of the Jones scam and I would encourage you to continue to stop Jones from scamming any further for, as we all know, some persons won’t stop until the law stops them.
Okay, but when you say that Jones does not have a conscience that goes too far for me. He might laugh at times at his victims, but inwardly he knows he is doing wrong, and he will suffer more and more and more over it if he keeps going. The moment of truth, where he confronts his own self, will arrive. At that moment, inwardly, he will collapse. Then what? Do we condemn him, and that’s it?
I believe he can make restitution to the seniors through e-publishing. I believe he can use his talents for doing a lot of good, if he changes. So I guess you will work on the legal side of it, and I will look for the turning point on the redemption side. They are not incompatible, but one without the other, I guess, might be incomplete at times.