The Dark Side of the New Age of Self-Publishing

This really happened.  This week, in fact.

On Thursday I got the email that all writers dream about.  It was from a major television network, inviting me to appear on their morning talk show as part of their regular “author’s corner” segment.

That heady context alone tends to blind one to the dark side. Especially since that dark side is completely new to the author/PR paradigm.

The network was Lifetime.

Okay, not exactly Good Morning America, but still.  A pretty big deal.

Even more cool was the fact that this wasn’t about my new writing book, which is getting the kind of buzz that might attract a national television network.  No, this was all about my last novel, Whisper of the Seventh Thunder, which was released from a small publisher (Sons of Liberty) a little over a year ago.  Long enough for that particular buzz to have hushed.

Anybody who launches a book with a small publisher, or on their own, is hoping for a tipping point catalyst to descent upon them. For a moment there, I thought this was it.

The nice fellow on the other end of the email said he’d learned of my novel as a result of it winning the “Best Suspense Thriller” category in last year’s Next Generation Indie Publishing Awards, sort of the poor man’s Edgars.  So of course I opened my mind to this and began visualizing the tipping pointesque aftermath of such an opportunity.

It sounded so good.

Fly to Florida to shoot the interview.  Pre-interview with the hosts, who, unlike the major network hosts, would actually read the book.  Help position it for a largely female viewership.  Alert the publisher to an impending massive reprint.

And then the other shoe fell.  They wanted me to pay them $5900 for a “licensing fee.”

At first I thought they were offering to pay me (hey, we hear what we want to hear, especially when intoxicated by the proximity of a national TV interview).  But no.

First response: rationalize.  Try to justify it.  Quiet the inner skeptic.  Be bold, seize the moment, go for it.

So I ran it by my publisher.  My publicist (for the new writing book) at Writers Digest Books.  Several published authors.  And my wife.

It was unanimous: something is wrong with this picture.

The word “scam” came up in all feedback.  Including from the veteran professional book publicist, who has placed numerous authors on all the major networks.

This isn’t how it’s supposed to work.  It isn’t how it’s always worked.  This is new.

Frankly, I don’t think it’s a scam, exactly.

I think it’s a business strategy – as in, for profit — from the production entity that has managed to place their program on Lifetime.  An angle to seize and profit from the ambitions and perhaps naivety of small press and self-published authors.  Which, if you’ve been paying attention, are swamping the old publishing model and rendering bookstores and perhaps even major publishers obsolete.

There’s a new sheriff in town.  And you need to make sure he’s not on the take.

I checked the Lifetime website for this, and it’s apparently legit. But there are no A-list authors there, nobody whose name I recognized.  In fact, there’s no Big-6 authors there.  Also in fact, as far as I could see, there are no authors there who aren’t self-published.

There’s nothing wrong with self-published authors investing in promotion.  In fact, it’s a necessity.  But with opportunity comes opportunists.  And that’s the yellow flag.

It’s certainly up to the writer to decide if an investment of $5900 in their promotional strategy is a good idea.  But the salient point here is this: watch your back.  It takes a boat load of sales to cover this opportunity (add your travel expenses to the tab).

As a side note, one publisher I talked to said he’d placed an author on a regional program — at no cost, by the way — and sold a total of seven books in the process.  Take note.

I did suggest to my new Lifetime friend that the cost was prohibitive, and that I would be delighted to appear on their program if they could wave the fee.  The answer was a firm no.

Plenty of small and self-published authors out there willing to write this check, I guess.

Would they charge Amanda Hocking $5900 to be on this program? Probably. Would they charge, say, Chelsea Cain to be on this program?  Don’t think so.  Then again, they wouldn’t invite Chelsea Cain, because she’s likely already talking to Good Morning America.

It’s a targeted strategy.  And you and I occupy a spot in the bullseye.  As you watch your sales, be sure to also watch your back.

As an ironic footnote, the name of the guy who invited me on the show is “Fake.”  That’s his last name.  Fake.

You can’t make this shit up, folks.

Would you pay $5900 to appear on a national cable show purportedly with several hundred thousand early morning viewers?

78 Comments

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78 Responses to The Dark Side of the New Age of Self-Publishing

  1. Short answer: Hell no!

    Are you kidding me? This is the worst kind of scam–a scam that isn’t a scam. This is taking advantage of people under the guise of offering a service.

    And I would question whether it’s even effective–as you said, the other appearance only sold 7 books.

    The more I read of promotion and marketing, the more I start to realize the best way to sell books is to write really good ones that people recommend to their friends. Word-of-mouth seems to be the best way to break out. I’ve seen authors interviewed on these kinds of shows countless times, and I can’t think of one time I ever went out and bought a book because of the interview.

    Thanks for the alert, Larry. BTW, I’ve been in your workshops at WW conferences, and you rock. 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing this with us Larry. It truly means a lot to us that you’re looking out for us and sharing your personal experience. You’re one of the most sincerest bloggers I’ve read!

  3. Creepy. Blinded by the glare of the TV lights, it could be easy to rationalize this as “spend money to make money”. I think you did the right thing.

  4. You know, it’s a very sad commentary on human nature that people of any stripe would be gullible enough to cough up $6K for this “opportunity.” You approached it with, I feel, the absolute best set of criteria: you set aside the appeal to your vanity, and looked at the possible benefits. They weren’t sufficient to offset the cost. End of story.

    It’s this sort of cool, collected thinking about market strategy which separates the truly professional writer from the wannabe. It’s the lack of same which separates the wannabe from that $6K.

  5. There is no way I would pay to be on a morning show. I could get more media attention by having a wardrobe malfunction at a book reading.

  6. Absolutely not. I would not pay a movie company, who, like bloggers, writers, and artists of all stripes, produce content to make money. If they want to turn someone else into content, they ask or pay them, not ask to be paid. This is how business works, not just content creation.

    To put it another way, if Disney (Or insert any company here.) wanted to advertise on a station they didn’t own, would they ask the station to pay them for the privilege? I doubt it.

  7. John W Batey

    This probably ranks with–and costs way more than–the “You’ve been nominated to appear in our List of Professional Authors” pitch that comes with an order form for an overpriced book that will be purchased exclusively by nominees. I guess that makes it a scam, but then we already knew that, didn’t we.

  8. No I wouldn’t. But then I am blessed (or cursed) with a huge amount of cynicism. Thanks for this; another great tip. Filed and noted.

  9. I’ve had similar things happen in other contexts, but I’d do the same thing here I did there: laugh at them. I wouldn’t hang up right away; it’s worth the time to hear that stunned silence that says “Our cover’s blown, Lefty!”

  10. This company is probably spending a fair amount of money on the production of the video interview and even for that time slot on Lifetime, so I’d bet they really don’t make all that much profit from it.

    What annoys me about these deals is that they intentionally mislead you right up until the point where they quote you the cost. They know you had the expectation that some producer was footing the bill to get you, the famous author, on their show so they could make more money from advertisers. Only to find out that the advertiser is YOU.

    Creating that false impression to get you excited and thinking about the possibilities is what makes them liars and what makes their offer a scam.

  11. I would absolutely NOT pay to appear on a program like that. At least not $6000. Not even $600.

    Maybe $60!

  12. Patrick Sullivan

    You can tell by the setup it was a scam, because the mention of price came late in the life cycle. Well, that and the fact companies are supposed to pay to get content, and sell that content to advertisers as a way to get at a certain viewership. When it’s anything else, odds are it is a scam.

    Other ones to look out for are companies that let you pay to be read and possibly reviewed, which is a growing trend targeted at Indies, and just as insane though the prices are no where near the 6k you were quoted.

    Sad state of affairs they see people trying to get their work out there and see it as a chance to milk the desperate ones for large sums of cash.

  13. Lois2037

    Of COURSE not! Plus, Lifetime network is one that many people make a point to avoid because it is completely uninteresting. Writers can do better than this. Other networks ALL do better than this.

  14. Sounds like a scam. Because I bet few authors will sell $5900 worth of books after appearing on the show. I’m sorry that happened to you.

  15. This makes me shutter. On the other hand, I do author interviews on my blog. If I could get somebody to pay a few grand to answer some of my questions I wouldn’t call it a scam. I’d call it a gift.

  16. How about Kindle Nation Daily, which I was very excited about approaching until I figured out it would cost me a minimum of $99.99 to have my book featured. Much more if I went all the way up to the “platinum” level they offered.

  17. Patrick Sullivan

    @Patricia: Based on what I’ve heard from people on other writing sites I frequent, KND has a real chance of paying back the cost in added sales inside a week, in some cases in the first day or two. Obviously nothing is guaranteed with advertising, but they seem to do REALLY well.

  18. Kate

    I’ve also heard some reasonably positive statements about KND…..but Lifetime, for shame!! Thanks so much, Larry. How about becoming a publisher – epublisher or just plain for-pay advisor for we who are in the trenches writing our hearts out? We’d trust you!

  19. At the college where I work, we get a lot of offers to interview our faculty and drive traffic to our website with the idea of promoting enrollment, with similar price tags as you describe.

    It’s called Pay to Play.

    I get calls on a regular basis to be listed in someone’s Who’s Who. When they ask me why I want to be a member, I remind them that they called me. I’m not interested in paying $1000 a year to be in a book. I have Linked In.

    As your books point out, over and over and over, this writing business is a business. If a person is offered a business deal that stinks, the person has to be savvy enough to walk away.

  20. Hi Larry,

    The easy answer is to say “no” — but I think most of us would at least think about it. From a non-business point of view, who wouldn’t want to be on TV, at least once? That’s got to be a huge draw, as I believe you alluded to.

    From a business point, perhaps it is worth the $5,900. You’d have to look at the sales potential, perhaps contact some of the authors who have already appeared on the show to see what they thought of the experience and how it boosted sales (if at all).

    They say you can’t buy this type of exposure. Looks like there’s at least one production company out there that is finding a way for you to do just that…

    ~Graham

  21. Larry,

    To be a contrarian (slightly)—it is a potential marketing expense, right? And *they* want it to be a marketing expense you pay yourself back on at 15-ish bucks a pop.

    That’s a lot of pops.

    but…

    If you could angle the interview (or your answers) so that you were talking about your manuscript/ story coaching (which of course you’re good at because you’ve been through it all with your published works, to tie back in to what they thought they brought you on for), then you need a lot less poppin’ to make the marketing expense work. Only 8 or 9 pops, even with the flight expenses thrown in.

    And if most (all) of the authors being interviewed are indies, then most of the audience is probably watching wondering how they can *be like you,* not how they can read WotST. So 8 or 9 pops is probably possible.

    Other than that possibility, of course I’m in the Hell, No crowd. And since most folks wouldn’t have that way of re-angling the interview, it’s great that you brought it to light here. But as with any marketing expense, it’s worth thinking about what you’re marketing, as well as the pure cost.

    Whoo. A bit long-winded, there. Well, you got me thinking, as usual. 🙂

    Regards,

    Kelly

  22. Good call, Larry.

    I don’t think TV appearances translate that well into books sales anyway, at least in my experience.

    It may depend on the subject of the show, but I’ve been on FOX News Channel several times to talk about crime cases I was covering when I was writing print stories for the old CourtTV.

    I was even on Bill O’Reilly’s show, the most watched cable news show on television. I wasn’t there to talk about my book but in exchange for my time they listed me as the author of “Unspeakable Violence,” at the time my latest Penguin nonfiction book. The producers even showed a closeup shot of the cover of my book. With at least a couple million viewers, I thought I’d sell 10,000 – 20,000 copies.

    With a print book, hard numbers are almost impossible to find, so all I had to go on was my Amazon ranking. It jumped up some, but when my next statement came from Penguin I didn’t see any appreciable spike. They certainly didn’t have to go into another print run.

    The book eventually sold out its 35,000-copy printing and faded into obscurity.

    Fortunately, I got the rights back and have put it on Amazon as a Kindle.

    I’m sure a television show dedicated to discussing a particular book would bump sales more than my Bill O’Reilly appearance, but it would take a huge bump to make up that $5,900.

    This producer is preying on self-published authors’ dreams of stardom. Television is mesmerizing, and it’s quite exciting to be invited on a national program, at least the first few times, but then, like many things, it becomes just another pain in the butt.

    I wonder if Lifetime even knows this producer is sticking it to guests. It might be worth it to drop Lifetime a line and say you would have been happy to have appeared on the show, except for the $5,900 “fee.”

    I have the email address of a top producer who works directly for Lifetime. If you want it, shoot me an email.

    Chuck

  23. No way. This is a clear violation of Yog’s Law, which states: “All money flows in one direction, and that is towards the writer.” It is most definitely a scam.

  24. Chuck’s experience seems to be the best predictor of whether you would have made up that $$$, Larry. So I think you made the right call.
    But I also want to say that I was touched by your sincerity by telling us about this experience so we can learn from it. From my POV you seem like a pretty big deal, but you’re still “real” enough to acknowledge this very human experience. Thanks for that (and for your Structure and Engineering books.)

  25. This is unbelievable! No way would I write that check! Thanks for sharing this so others are aware. It’s so hard to find great marketing avenues. This is just sad! Best of luck to you!

  26. The worst kind of scam — a legal one.
    How many Indie authors have that kind of money to invest?
    It’s just taking advantage of someone’s dream. How very sad.
    Thanks for highlighting this.

  27. Hi Larry,

    Legit or not, this reeks. Good call, and thank you for highlighting tese practices to us novices in the business of publishing.

    Conor

  28. *these practices – apologies

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  30. Debbie Burke

    Larry,

    Thanks for being brutally honest about your ego. It’s hard to admit the uncomfortable truth about ourselves, that we fall prey to flattery and vanity gets the better of us. You’ll never know how many writers you saved from this scam with your honesty. You’re a man of integrity.

    About the sheriff metaphor…indie pubbing truly is the “Wild West” and “new frontier.” There is no law west of the Pecos, except the one that says, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

    Thanks, pardner, for watching our backs.

  31. Debbie Burke

    @Chuck,

    Thanks for sharing your fascinating experience and insight with us. Eye-opening.

  32. Many will thank you for this post. I am recently unemployed and received a similar email about a position which feeds on people’s deepest desire. In your case, it was to be recognized on a larger platform. In mine it was for a new job. My email suggested I go through a credit check using their credit agency, because of the nature of the position. Ummm. This was before the interview! I almost did it, then my rational self pulled back. I would have fed them every financial number attached to my name!

    Good call on your part!

  33. ellie

    $5900 is what you’d pay a decent publicist anyway — if you were going that route. But the cost is probably not worth the result. Having worked in TV, and seen production budgets shrink over the past three years, this angle doesn’t suprise me (remember the ’80s when glam bands had to pay thousands of dollars just to PLAY an A-list club? And the backlash came in the ’90s in form of low-key grunge and free coffee house gigs that knocked the pay-to-play out of existance!). Real opportunities still exist and real producers are always looking for “loud” concepts / people. No fees required.

  34. There are a lot of things in this biz you can’t make up. I am floored.

  35. Thank you for the headsup. It reminds me of a similar situation with being a runner up in a recent writing competition sponsored by a ‘publisher partner’ company. While my MS was not a winner, I received a Certificate of Merit which encouraged them to approach me with the possibility of being my publisher. The caveat? I would need to invest $9,000 in the purchase of 1,000 books, and this was at a deep discount per book because of my accomplishment at the competition.

    I passed on the invitation, but I did appreciate the certificate I received in the mail.

  36. This has been going on in the photography/art world for years. There are so many scam ‘contests’ it is ridiculous. Works like this. Enter the contest for fee – win award – get invited to go to award ceremony in New York at your expense – get to purchase the book containing your ‘award winning’ photo. The whole thing is rotten, but earns a ton of money from desperate people.

  37. Writer Beware had a good post on this. Given the time the show is on, and the fact it’s all paid-for advertising, it’s not exactly the best promotion to have your name associated with.

    You could do a whole lot of other promotional things with that money.

    The Writer Beware Post

  38. Steve S

    “Also in fact, as far as I could see, there are no authors there who aren’t self-published.”

    Deborah King’s “Be Your Own Shaman” is from Hay House. I didn’t see any others, though.

  39. I would most definitely NOT pay that much. There are plenty of other strategies. That, and being that I tend to watch Lifetime fairly often, I learned quickly that, as soon as paid advertisement started, to turn the channel.

  40. I would love to throw around $5,900. As it stands, my bank account holds a mere $400. One of the benefits to being poor is that when someone tries to scam you, all you can say is “Sorry, I can’t afford your scam.”

    I’m sorry this worked out this way for you. I’m sure it was very disappointing :-/

  41. Bieeanda

    “To put it another way, if Disney (Or insert any company here.) wanted to advertise on a station they didn’t own, would they ask the station to pay them for the privilege? I doubt it.”

    A friend works for a very small coding house that builds and programs highly specialized video recording and editing hardware. Several years ago, Disney asked them to do just that: -send- them one copy of their flagship program with the copy protection ripped out, in return for -maybe- being mentioned in the credits of one flick. Software that sells for thousands a seat, that they were paranoid enough to use a USB dongle for license protection. They told the Mouse where to stick it.

  42. Hell no, I would pay someone to interview me. There are enough bloggers, authors, websites and communities out there that anyone who wants to promote themselves can make an effort and do it for free.

  43. That, of course, should be read as ‘Hell no, I wouldn’t pay someone to interview me”.

    Furious keyboard hammering plays merry havoc with my typing accuracy.

  44. Oh Hell No.

    If there’s be any place to pay such a sum, where you’d stand the best chance to recoup your costs and make a profit, it would be if you appeared on Oprah.

    However, as the Oprah show has an over abundance of sponsors paying their bills, they wouldn’t need to have you pay. Lifetime looks like they want you to be one of their paying sponsors to promote your book. No like…

  45. I wouldn’t do it because they made you fly all the way out there without telling you about the cost. It feels like they tried to trick you into the cost, like you would say, “I got this far, I might as well.” I wouldn’t do it on principle.

  46. I got the same pitch for a program highlighting small businesses on the Travel Channel (like you, I declined the “opportunity”). These are just advertisers who buy infomercial time slots and use your cash to fund the ad fees and make their profit. The reason infomercial time slots exist is because those are the times that no one watches their channel — the network knows they can’t make any revenue from traditional ad sales. So they sell the time off to advertisers who take advantage of desperate people. I suppose it’s a lucrative business model for people who aren’t concerned with ethics.

  47. Some great insights here! I think if I had the money, I might be willing to pony up $5900 if I thought it would be a good way for me to spread the word about my book. Of course for that same amount of money I could do a mini-book tour and really connect with my readers and potential readers. I guess it’d be a matter of really thinking about it, weighing the pros and cons and determining what will truly get me the most bang for my buck.

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  49. Nope. Sounds totally impractical in the age of YouTube, social media and other cost-effective marketing outlets. This harkens back to the model of vanity publishing, which is exactly what indie/self-publishing needs to break away from if it’s going to be widely seen as legit.

    There’s a big difference between paying a marketing/PR strategist for their expertise and contacts, and paying for a sole interview.

    I know someone who’s worked as a guest booker/producer on a number of programs. Guests often bring samples/copies/marketing materials to distribute, but I’ve not heard of them actually paying to be interviewed. This is just a newfangled version of Payola, if you ask me.

  50. I’m a hell no responder as well. I’ve been hearing about this out in the discussion/forum world. It’s nothing more than an infommercial. You’re waayyyy better than that Larry Brooks.

  51. It’s hard these days when you’re largely on your own for promotions (whether you’re self-published or not!). I do internet marketing and SEO for my day job, and I see a lot of authors ponying up way too much money for web-based advertising. They don’t know how to find out how many eyeballs those sites actually receive, and they don’t think about whether or not their target audience is there. It’s a tough world out there!

  52. Martha

    Would I?
    In a word, NO!
    I submit to you, most people who read books don’t watch morning TV.

  53. LOL! His last name was Fake? You can’t get any better than that. If they want money you’d best walk away.

  54. I posted this to my Facebook, Twitter and I Stumbled it. Thank you, thank you.

  55. This sounds more like a “portion or segment-buy,” usually offered for product or service advertisers. Would you do it, Larry? Will the show be able to sell as much books to make you recoup the $6k investment? They’ll bring you in for just one ep, right? I don’t think they’re sincere about really promoting good reads for their loyal audience; it’s still network business at the bottomline. I won’t buy it. Thank you for the heads up to watch our backs!

  56. Gina

    Larry, You are a rock star. I practically idolize you just from reading your blog. They should be paying you to go on their show. Period.

  57. Given that they didn’t talk about the hefty fee from the start, I not only wouldn’t pay, I’m not sure I’d get into any business relationship with them. They obviously aren’t to be trusted.

    I also wonder if this sort of scam will become the modern, post-POD/digital equivalent of those vanity publishers who pretended in the early stages of negotiations to be genuine publishers and only brought up charges after an author’s hopes were raised.

  58. This doesn’t surprise me. Quite a business strategy, eh? Offer the carrot, and then hit with the stick.

  59. I’m assuming that they weren’t paying for transportation and lodging either.

    I could see where some authors might go for the deal, but it is a big gamble.

    Anyone going for this should check out multiple episodes of the show and this might not be the place for a 1st time TV interview (or at least in person interview).

    I’d also recommend checking out their demographics to see if the audience fit well with the market audience of your book.

  60. In all honesty, I wouldn’t pay much more than one tenth that amount to get my book published in the first place, let alone for one promotional opportunity. As already mentioned, for that amount you’d only get exposure for one episode. You might as well take out a 30 second ad and have done with it.

  61. These sort of avenues and opportunists are cropping up all over the place. In the paranormal research circles you get tons of these contacts… I’m doing a show…. yadda yadda the only thing they’re after is material without credit or having you pay. The profiteers of old have returned.

  62. No way Jose…I wouldn’t pay them…I’d do the show for free but they’d have to provide me with a hotel.

  63. Coming up next, you pay Reality TV to stick its cameras up your nighties.

    I wonder how much airtime for a 30-second plain old commercial would you get for $5900. It’d be a little more honest. Sheesh.

  64. I would still call it a scam. If they didn’t tell you up front – as in the first time they contacted you – that they were trying to *sell* you an interview spot and led you to believe they were just offering to have you on the show, then it’s dishonest. There’s no way I would do business with someone like that.

  65. Miguel

    What really surprises me is how Lifetime would turn a blind eye.

  66. Thomas

    Once upon a time in my oh-so-distant youth, I fell for this scam, too (although in the art business). It’s a double nasty. Someone is trying to use your own dreams against you, and you have to admit to yourself you ARE tempted. The former makes you feel like like the less-than-A-list artist you happen to be at the moment, and the latter makes you feel slightly embarassed about your own dreams (or the fact they haven’t become reality yet), since they MAKE you a target for such scammers. Congratulate yourself that you didn’t fall for it; I did, and I got over it, but it was a most unpleasant way to learn my favorite lesson (I forget who first said the wise words) : “If the money flows AWAY from the artist, something’s wrong.”

    And BTW, you don’t need to speak on TV about “Whispers” – it’s a darn fine book that speaks for itself, even though you didn’t use that female publicist to her full, Faustian potential (see my review of your book on Amazon if you’ve forgotten what I mean).

  67. I suppose it will (if it hasn’t already) pay off for them (the scammers). There will always be a certain number of people willing to shell out big bucks for what they consider to be the chance of a lifetime. I wouldn’t pay a fee, but I might consider doing it for free and eating the travel expenses, mostly because I like to travel and that would be a great excuse!

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  69. I would not pay money to be interviewed – ever! My marketing philosophy is to keep writing and self-publishing and over time, slowly, gain a following. I’ll let my writing and word-of-mouth do the advertising.

  70. Ing

    Good lord, no!

    I used to be in rock bands (back in the 90s), unsigned independent/regional outfits, and one rule we always lived by was that you NEVER PAY TO PLAY. Play for free, for a percentage of the gate, for a fixed fee, whatever, but never pay to play.

    Being a professional you know that there are real services you need to pay other professionals for: cover art, copyediting, etc. And you’re right about this “promotional fee” not being one of them.

    It’s a seductive lure, though, because it sucks to have something good that you can’t get anyone to notice…playing to empty clubs is not anyone’s dream, and you didn’t publish so your book could be ignored…

    Problem is, if Mr. Fake (the most awesome name ever for a promotional huckster) makes his profit directly from the artists before his program even airs, then he doesn’t have to care whether anybody watches or not. He doesn’t give a rat’s ass if it does you any good; he doesn’t have to care if sloppiness on his part makes you look bad in public, because he already has his (your) money.

    Any program that’s worth being on will make its profit from the people who want to see the program, not from the artists who *are* the program.

    Same thing holds true for in publishing, I’d say.

  71. It really happened to me too–today! Exactly as you described here, right down to the guy’s name. (You’d think he’d change that…) I was giddy, although slightly baffled as to why such a chipper morning show seemed to want the author of a dark YA fantasy with vampires in it…

    Then my canny editor found your post. Thank you so much for letting us all know about this. A bit of a letdown, but better now than on my way to Florida!

  72. You know, I’m actually a bit more ticked off about this today than I was yesterday. Yes, this show is preying on the hopes and dreams of authors (and probably others). On the other hand, it’s our job to watch our own backs; luckily, we can help each other (thanks, Larry) do that. What about the people watching this show, though? Are they told up front that they are watching ads, not unbiased interviews? I don’t have cable so I don’t really know….but I doubt it. And I write nonfiction too, so I KNOW that’s not right. The first job of a journalist or a nonfiction writer is to be straight with the audience.

  73. @ Sarah — to be honest, I’ve not watched the show. I do watch some stuff on Lifetime, and they’re legit, but even the networks run “informercials.” Not sure if they disclose that the guests are paying customers (advertisers). Like you, the more I thought about it, the more it ticked me off, as well. Best cure for this… revenge. And, realizing that you’re already better than that. L.

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  75. frank

    This is not new. About 10 years ago I got a call from a radio station saying they would like to give me my own talk show to discuss my topic of expertise–it would be a call-in format. They needed advertising dollars to make the deal work, and it would be my responsibility to supply the advertisers who would buy $5,000 of advertising for the series of shows. Or, of course, if I just wanted to pay the $5,000 myself then I wouldn’t have to drum up advertisers for them for my show and I’d be good to go! When I said I thought their revenue stream was their responsibility, they never called me again. However, a week or two later one of my colleagues got the same cold call and asked me for my advice, which is when I realized these guys just go down the list calling people until they find someone to bite.

  76. I am unable to wait around to see in which We turn out right now,

  77. John T

    I would call this a scam from square one. I would not have even replied to thier e-mail. If anyone falls for this then a fool and thier money are soon parted.

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