This is how the sleazoids do it

As I’ve mentioned any number of times, POD and vanity presses will stop an nothing to get you to buy your own books. Why? Because YOU are their source of income. You are the golden goose. These folks aren’t open to bookstores and exist solely to make your book available to you in print format.

The options are limitless, but there is one sleazoid who does it better than most:

[Vanity masquerading as a POD] will send your book to Oscar winner Sandra Bullock!

Sunday night’s Best Actress won the award for her role in The Blind Side, a movie based on a book that she read before she agreed to play the role. We will now submit your book to Sandra Bullock and ask her to read it.

Here’s how we do it for authors who choose to have a few extra books on hand: Go to [sleazoid’s website], find your book, click on it, then add to cart, indicate quantity, and use this coupon: SandraBullock25. Then click Recalculate and finish the transaction. Minimum volume is only 6 copies.

You will receive your books at a 25 pct discount, and we will print an extra copy that we will send to Sandra Bullock at no cost to you, or more if she requests more, also at no cost to you.

In the Ordering Instructions field, you may write a note for Sandra if you want. We will include your note when we ship your book to her.

Note that [sleazoid publisher] will keep your note confidential, and that Sandra Bullock may treat your book and your personal note in any way she chooses.

Full-color and hardcovers excluded. Offer expires this weekend on Sunday night.

What’s particularly sickening is that they make these mahvelous offers on a regular basis. The unwary, uninitiated, and just plain gullible fall for this stuff all the time.

Show them the money!

Let’s say that just 100 gullible authors [mind you, these folks have authors in the thousands] take up sleazoid publisher’s offer. Think they’re really going to send ol’ Sandy 100 books? Not without facing a call from Sandy’s bank of lawyers telling them to shove off in all sorts of colorful ways.

So while you forked over a minimum order of six copies for your overpriced book – and really, who can stop at just six? – they’re raking it in hand over fist because they fooled hundreds of their paying customers to do just the same thing. WoOt! Cha-ching!

What a steaming pile of yak droppings. Don’t be fooled.

11 Responses to This is how the sleazoids do it

  1. Brian Clegg says:

    Truly disgusting in the way it plays on the gullible would-be author.

    Lynn, in the UK we have a body called Trading Standards that would have the authority to take on a company that promised something it didn’t deliver. Is there some equivalent in the US you can report them to?

  2. Kim says:

    I was thinking just the same – that sounds like a breach of contract to me!

  3. Mick Rooney says:


    Let me see now…which ‘publisher’ could that possibly be…

    Publish America pulled this stunt last week with the promise of authors getting their books sent to Random House editors ad-hoc.

    Yes, its a pretty diabolical way to charm authors into buying more of their own books.

  4. That really is disgusting.

  5. Kim, there is no breach of contract. They’re simply making an offer that results in authors buying their own books. No guns are being held to anyone’s heads, and authors are free to partake or ignore. However, there’s a big gap between legal and just plain sleazy.

    There is no law that says you can’t toy with gullible authors. Some just excel at it better than others.

    Sandy’s people, or Random House, for that matter are free to toss the books into the trash, which they most assuredly will. Now, may it irritate Sandy’s lawyers if they send hundreds of books? I would think so. But, again, no laws are being broken.

    Problems would arise if authors bought their minimum order of six books and the publisher didn’t send the books out to Sandy – or Random House. However, good luck proving they didn’t…

    Brian, these guys have been called before the Better Business Bureau, Attorney General of Maryland – no one is interested in tackling the problem. BBB sends out a report to the publisher, the publisher denies all accusations and their record is wiped clean.

    The AG simply refuses to get involved on any level.

    The publisher has been successfully spanked only a couple times, to no great detriment to their operations.

    They’re very, very good at what they do.

  6. catwoods says:

    I feel for all the excited prepubbed authors who fall for this and spend their hard earned money to have their dreams crushed. Thanks for reporting on yet another pitfall we have to watch out for.

  7. How some people can be so gullible as to fall for that one is beyond me, but I guess there are some that do…

  8. Karen Gowen says:

    OMIGOSH! This is beyond belief. And I bet they have a clerk by the name of Sandra Bullock who takes the books and drops them in the trash. Or restocks them and sends them back to the author (or should I say customer?) next time an order comes in.

    I cannot believe anyone would fall for this!

  9. Voidwalker says:

    Just another scam for people to fall in. I firmly believe there will be a day of judgement where people like this, who con’d people for a living, WILL be held accountable for their actions!

  10. Marian says:

    Some schemes stay *just* within the law. The authors aren’t forced to buy their own books, nor is there any way to prove that the books are not being sent to the Dalai Lama or Marilyn Monroe or whoever.

    IMO, there’s as much of a chance of Monroe reading those books as there is of Sandra Bullock reading them.

  11. Heather says:

    A note to would-be authors: Don’t let desperation to see your name in print tempt you to go with a POD. Keep in mind that practically ANYONE can get a book published; it’s just a matter of what kind of publisher they have to resort to. I personally worked as a copy editor for one is these PODs, and had no say over which books we accepted for publication. Seriously, my 5th grader sister could write better than over 50% of the manuscripts I had to proofread. By “proofread,” I mean that I was only allowed to edit for grammatical accuracy, and even that was considered subjective if the author griped enough and got defensive, confusing voice and style for plain bad grammar. Spend the extra blood, sweat,and tears re-writing until a reputable publisher accepts your book. You can be proud of your efforts no matter what, but don’t assume that: 1) just because a POD accepts your book, it must mean that your work is as polished as it could be and that you can now count yourselves among other great authors, 2) that the POD will do ANYTHING to help you market your book, or 3)that any brick-and-mortar store will even agree to gamble shelf space to a book published by a POD, because unlike with traditional publishers, they can’t sell back unsold copies from an as-of-yet unknown author.

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