Where Personal and Professional Life Collide...

My life in 8 words: Organized chaos, by preference. Exhausting, but never boring

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two things, and a Mockery Moment
-- I was attacked by a nap monster! But awake now and revving up again. Three things to share with you:

-It looks like Blood From Stone got my usual 4 star rating from RT, bless them. Anyone got the actual print review? And fashionista_35 to the rescue, as usual:

"Gilman's sixth -- and hopefully not final! -- Retrievers novel is of a piece with the others -- paced at breakneck speed, compulsively readable and with a believable story. Wren continues to be a compelling protagonist, and her relationship with Sergei is as steady and as sure as her magic." Woot! and emphasis mine, natch.

-"Growls Garden" is surprisingly good to edit with. And now people who thought they knew my musical taste are going "Growls Garden? Clark? Gilman? WTF?" *laugh* My tastes, they are eclectic. Yes. The soundtrack for "Mustang" though is totally Chris Isaak, and the Bonnie books demand smooth jazz, while the Vineart books tend to veer from trance to opera. No, I don't know why, either.

-- And now, the Essential Mockery Moment:

In my spam filter this weekend, an e-mail from one Dr. Michael J. Duckett with the subject header "Make big money writing books."

There's a system to selling 1,000,000 books.

A system? Oh, do tell, Dr. Duckett! Do tell!

I found it and would like to share it with you.

You found it? On a street corner? Did someone leave it in the bathroom stall? But no matter, you found it, it's yours now, please do share!

Writing the book is the easiest part of becoming a successful author.

Huh. Well, yeah, I guess that's true. But 'easiest' on a scale of hard to impossible is still hard. And how are we defining 'successful?' Getting published? Earning out your advance? Getting another contract? Making the Times bestseller list? It's an ever-rising scale...

You are eligible for a $700 Scholarship!
Details are below

Ooo, goodie. Um, scholarship for what?

After you're done writing the book, the real work begins. If you don't know the business aspect of being an author, you won't sell very many books; you won't get them into bookstores; and you'll end up just having wasted time and money.

Um.... generally, one is acquired by a publisher, who is set up to do all that stuff, so you can go back to writing the next book. Oh. You mean self-publishing. Well. Okay, we're going down that route, are we? Okay, I'm still listening....

There's an old saying in the publishing industry, "All new authors believe their book is going to become a Bestseller." If you have this belief without the knowledge to sell books, you're only fooling yourself.

How old is that saying? 'Cause I've been working in the industry since 1989, and I've never heard anyone say that. I mean yeah, everyone wants to believe it, but mostly we're just hoping it will do well. And let me tell you, having the knowledge doesn't mean you're going to have the success. Believing otherwise is really fooling yourself. The old saying I know from publishing appropriate here is "there is no secret handshake."

Each year I accept a set number of students to learn directly under me--how to write and publish a successful book. If the student follows my system closely, success follows quickly.

Um. Can you cite actual successes, please? I'm really big on citing sources and stats when you make claims like that. Especially if you're asking me for money.

Would you like to write a book? I've already written a dozen. I'd like to finish the one I'm working on now, so hurry up and get to the point, please?

Have you already written your book but it isn't selling?

Well, the newest one isn't on-sale yet, so it's tough to tell... I'd like the others to sell better, yeah. Tell me how!

Have you dreamt of becoming a published author only to find your books aren't accepted?

Yeah, it's called rejection. It sucks and stings and you pull up your big writer pants and try with the next project. Remember the "no secret handshake" line?

Do you know why and when you should (or should not) approach a publisher with your book?

Oooo, I know this one! When it's finished and as polished as I can get it on my own. And only if they accept unsolicited submissions, or I send it through my agent. Next question?

These questions and many more will be answered for you in a very unique format.


I will accept a select number of students to attend a two-day comprehensive training. This two-day intensive will give you a complete understanding of how to write your book and make it an outrageous success. Without this knowledge, I have one recommendation--don't get into the writing and publishing industry--chances are--you'll fail.

Um.... sorry, I was stuck on your misuse of em-dashes. What were you saying? A two-day course that will make me an outrageous success. Right. I scent The Point coming along any day now...

I'm not trying to be negative. I simply want to give it to you straight.

Okay. Give it to me straight, I can take it.

I want to share the real stuff with you. You'll learn:

The pluses and perils of online publishing. Did you know online publishing prohibits you from getting into the major bookstores?

Well, yeah. because on-line publishing is done on-line, not in "major bookstores." And most major bookstores won't take self-published books because of the returns issue, among others. This I learned for free, by paying attention and doing my homework. Doesn't stop you from making a distribution deal with on-line retailers, though, if you have a functioning business model. Next?

How to write a quality book in just 15-minutes per day.

Dude! Fifteen minutes! I'd be able to write five books a year, that way! And still get sleep and have a social life! That's worth every penny... Oh. Wait. Fifteen minutes a day over how many years?

The ins-and-outs of editors, page layout people, graphic artists, printers, publicists, and other professionals you'll need to work with for your book's success.

Y'know, the best thing you can do for your book's success is never ever be in contact with the page layout people, the graphic artists, the printers, or "other professionals" who do the hands-on production work. That's your editor's headache. You should be writing the next book. Hell, even if you're doing self-publishing, you should be contracting with a specialist who can handle the layout and printing, and just send you proofs to approve. Unless you want to make a hand-made book at a per unit cost of, oh, $10?

If you're ready to take the leap--the net has appeared.

Yeah, the butterfly net.

Get ready to not only learn but experience the wonderful world of becoming a successful author.

Caviar and fashion models for everyone! Oh, wait...

I'm going to share with you the information to sell 1,000,000 books or more.

I'm curious -- have you actually sold that many books yourself? Those people you said you've shown The Way to -- can we have their names and titles, please, so I can see for myself? Not that I'm doubting you... my accountant will want proof before I list your class as a tax deduction.

If you even make $2.00 per book, selling 1,000,000 copies can make writing fun. A successful author is a happy author!

Well, I can't argue with that.

I assume by "make" you mean profits after expenses, yes? Because self-publishing doesn't include an advance, and does incur significant costs....

This year 483,000 books will be published in the U.S. Less than 2% of them will sell more than 10,000 copies.

Dude, I want to know your sources. Seriously. because... *flails hands* A quit survey of reputable sources on-line (www.bowker.com) says that about 292,000 books were published in the US in 2006, after a peak of 295,00 in 2004. So how are you counting these "books?" Are you including the guy who went to PublishAmerica and now has 500 copies sitting in his garage? The woman who did an e-pub on her own, and sold 900 copies without any kind of distribution system? And are we talking 10,000 copies gross, or net? And over the lifetime of the book, or in the first year? Because that makes a serious difference when you're calculating the odds!

[also, if you're a small press or academic press author... well, netting 10,000 copies would probably make your publisher break out the bubbly, send out a press release, and sign you up for another contract, stat.)

Attendance to this two-day symposium is limited so don't procrastinate. Click Here for more information or to Register.

The upcoming "Successful Writers" seminar is

Atlanta, April 10 & 11, 2009
10-5 P.M. each day
[details deleted not to shame the venue]

Although I could easily charge $10,000 for this information and tuition is only $999.00, I'M OFFERING YOU A PARTIAL SCHOLARSHIP TO THIS EVENT. Register within the next three days and receive a $700 Scholarship. That's right, you can attend for only $299! Just think of the return on your investment. As I've taught many people in my courses, "If you want success--Do It Now!"

$300, plus travel and housing, to sit in a conference room for two days and listen to you tell me... what? Maybe if I go to your website, I'll be more convinced...

well, there's www.hyperpublishing.org, which seems to be a publisher/distributor offering a very very wide range of services. But okay, maybe they have a staff of hundreds, each with the specialized skills needed to perform each of these services properly, from editing to typesetting to marketing to distribution to bookkeeping [in other words, do all the things he was going to teach you how to handle... I guess you handle it by signing with his company?] but still nothing about how or why Dr. D can teach you how to sell a million copies of your book.

In fact, the company was only started in 2008, and they don't list a single author they have published and/or distributed. Hrmmm.... anyone else here smell something just a bit like dead goldfish?

Oh. What's this? In the "submissions" section, Submitted Materials shall become the sole property of Hyper Publishing and will not be returned....Hyper Publishing will not treat any Submitted Materials as confidential or proprietary and will not incur any liability as a result of any similarities that may appear in other books published by Hyper Publishing.

You guys can all translate that, right? Right. Gold stars for everyone.

Hrm... well, there's this other URL in Dr. D's sig file.. where does that lead?


Professional Income Solutions Worldwide is the leading training, education and coaching firm dedicated to diminishing confusion in business through programs developed by Social Scientist, Dr. Michael J. Duckett....Under the leadership of Dr. Michael J. Duckett, the world renowned Social Scientist, impassioned better life advocate, and best selling author of numerous books, Professional Income Solutions delivers individual programs and business systems to achieve consistent, measurable results that transcend personalities and businesses to maximize success. Combining science and business consulting quickly creates measurable results.

Okay, I think I'm bored with Dr. Duckett now -- he's selling a product of puffery and promises, and not a single thing to back it up... oh, wait! He says he's a best-selling author!* Yeah well, so am I. Pay me $150 for a 1-day seminar and I'll not only give you good, useful advice, I'll provide lunch, too.

*The Mental Codes--Secret Powers of the Mind (2007) Amazon.com Sales Rank: #746,764 in Books
*Breaking The Money Barriers (1999) Amazon.com Sales Rank: #793,005 in Books (currently unavailable from Amazon)

And yes, this has already been forwarded to Writer Beware, I suspect by a LOT of people.

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Congrats on your good review!

As to the scam mail:

Wow... where was this guy when I was a gullible teen with lots of disposable income? I could have learned a lot from his oh so intelligent sounding seminars! And why don't I get fun ones like this - I only get Viagra spam and "how to get rich fast by manipulating the stock market" etc. Like we don't know better than that in THIS economy.

Snarf! Snarf snarf snarf.

"anyone else here smell something just a bit like dead goldfish?"

Hell, it reeks like the dead goldfish after my cat snarfed it up and then shat it in a goopy puddle all over the stuff in the laundry basket. (Yes, I'm doing laundry with HOT water and bleach, and repeating the mantra "I really DO love my kitties... I really DO love my kitties... I'm NOT gonna investigate taxidermy services... really DO love my kitties...")

If Writer Beware is as smart with this as they usually are, they'll link back to this lovely interpretation of Dr. RipoffArtist's SPAM. Can't think of anything they could add to your post here!

Oh, and in fairness to the Moggie Horde, no real goldfish, live or dead, were involved in the current Laundry Incident...

Heh. And then there's the Children's Writer's conference that was flogged in a piece o' lit sent to my school's Language Arts teacher.

Two days. $770 dollars. No recognizable names. Statements like "You can't sell anything without an agent." Further statements misrepresenting publishing that made me toss it on the table of the staff room with Much Loud Snorting.

And if you want college credit for this?

$200 more.

And that's a respectable scam.

Duckett's like an old matchbook cover

"Make Millions Writing Books!"

Or at least you can make a bundle convincing poor schmucks to hand you their cash so that you can tell them that just by following your positive-thinking approach to writing (TM Harold HIll Enterprises), they will take the publishing industry by storm.

I'm thinking that the MFA fiction workshop business has clearly been going about this all wrong...

This reminds me. I was walking back with Holly Black (co-author of "the Spiderwick Chronicles) and one of the fangirls from Holly's panel was talking to her about "her Story" and the fangirl's story was about a girl escaping from her life & Holly said that she would be hesitant to have such an escape from reality, because it doesn't show how the characters deal with the problems of their life & I mentioned this book "Staying Dead" & Holly said Exactly! Gilman's stuff is the kind of still dealing with life's problems kind of story she was talking about.

the part that made me think of this, was not the scam letter, it was the request for the review part.

We need an icon with "--chances are--you'll fail" in it. XD

I'm still stuck on the "useful day-long seminar for 150 bucks, lunch included."

Awaiting details. :)

I am seriously tempted to do it. Hell, for $150/person I bet I could put together a nice all-day seminar with a couple-three professionals. And hand-outs!

[but the only guarantee it would bring would be that you'd know more when you left than when you came. No sekrit handshake or golden ticket. Alas.]

Wonderful to hear about your review! Also, is this where I mention Yog's Law?

well, I'm not sure Yog's Law comes into play here, since even authors have to pay for professional seminars they attend, unless comped. The Law is more applied to actual publishing scenarios. The moment Dr. D tried to sign anyone up with his company for a fee, then we break it out like a giant clue x 4.

[Yog's Law: Money Flows Towards the Writer.)

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