Lately, I've been getting a lot of junkmail solicitations from con artists who prey on aspiring authors. Here are two of the latest. One is from a guy who is offering to interview me on his radio show... for a price.
ATTN: Lee G - Want to be a radio Star? I can make you a bestseller by advertising on my radio show Call me 781/860-9548. My name is Stu Taylor. I provide a unique service for publicly traded and private companies. I am the host of two nationally syndicated, weekly radio shows, both entitled Equity Strategies that are broadcast on Radio America Network and the Business Talk Radio Network. For a modest fee, I will serve as a host and interview a member of your management team to achieve whichever goals matter to you. Stu Taylor will also assist your company with public relations and media relations. Your success in business is Stu Taylor's success.
That's because your money will be going into his pocket. Don't you just love people who refer to themselves in the third person? Well, let me tell you, Lee Goldberg won't be calling Stu Taylor any time soon. Lee Goldberg urges you not to, either. If your book is any good, and if have any promotional skills at all, you should be able to score some free radio interviews on your own.
The next piece of junk mail was posted here as a comment (which I deleted because my blog isn't a bulletin board for Internet scam artists). It came from Randy Gilbert & Peggy McColl, who run a "get rich quick" scheme for writers called the "Zero Cost Bestseller Formula" (which they are also selling as "The Bestseller Mentoring Program")
Authors & Publishers – Tired of fighting for bookstore distribution? Even if you're a complete computer novice and have no marketing expertise, we'll coach you to follow our proven formula and . . . We'll Help You Make Your Book An Amazon.com Bestseller in Just 48 Hours … Guaranteed!
They say it's the same formula that's turned folks like Robin Sharma, George McKenzie, Rick Frishman, and Andre Lara into household names. What? You've never heard of them? How can that be? The gist of their scheme, which they are offering for "a $385 discount" from their usual price (whatever the hell it is), is:
In short, the formula involves getting people with big email lists to send out an announcement asking people to buy your book on a given day at Amazon. This method isn’t “spamming” because only “opt-in” email lists are used. To motivate people to purchase the book, you promise them a lot of digitally-downloadable “bonus gifts” for when they submitted their Amazon email receipt. For instance, buy a $20 book and you could get $500 of more of extra bonuses – a tremendous incentive to buy the book. Even better, because the formula uses email, it costs nothing to promote the book!
Their scheme is directed, of course, at self-published authors desperate for a short-cut to becoming the next John Grisham. ..and all too ready to hand their credit cards over to people like Randy & Peggy, whose come-on is:
Just think…for the rest of your life, people will hear the phrase “bestselling author” whenever you’re being introduced.
Randy & Peggy have several self-published books to their credit, including the "Proactive Success - The Amazing New Science of Personal Achievement," "On Being a Dog With A Bone," "Success Bound: Breaking Free of Mediocrity" and "The Eight Proven Secrets to Smart Success." They also have a company called "Bargain Publishing Inc." Hmm.
Randy, who likes to call himself "Dr. Proactive," also hosts "The Inside Success Show" Internet radio program and, get this, he actually managed to score an interview with Peggy! Wow. On his website, he says he was "priviledged" to interview her and he offers you this fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity:
Gold Member Mania! Click here and learn how to become a Gold Member so you can hear all our shows, plus download convenient MP3's, plus get discounts on other products, and get much much more. (All shows are now valued at over $2,000, plus you get two other Gold Memberships and Mega-Bonuses.)
Such a deal! But I've got to wonder... how good can their advice be if their idea of a brilliant promotional move is to post their get-rich-quick come-ons on my blog? Here's my key to success and I'll give it to you absolutely free (you don't even have to be a Gold Member) -- stay away from get-rich-quick schemers and Internet scammers who say they'll make you a bestselling author. Spend your money instead on some good creative writing courses from established authors (like my brother Tod). Work on making your writing better and learning your craft. You become a bestselling author by writing great books -- not by writing checks.