Well, it’s better than a Nigerian scam

Been a while since I posted some writing-related spam.  Unlike a lot of fly-by-night endeavors designed to separate a newbie writer from their money, this one is not really a scam.  At least, I’m sure they’re giving you something for the money.   A lame something, but something.  That is perhaps the best thing I can say about a business this terribly ill-conceived from the name on down.

So, what is the name?

I present AuthorForSale.com! [Are you getting images of strippers doing  Jane Austin cosplay?  No?  Well now you are, heh.]

Hello author S. Andrew Swann, [Is that the lit-fetish version of “Hello Nurse?“]

Author For Sale. com The Showcase for authors where the publisher comes looking for You! [Where gratuitous capitalization comes looking for You!]

Visit: www.authorforsale.com [In case we cannot intuit the url from the above.]

The above link is exciting news for authors everywhere and is turning the literary industry on its head. [I’m excited.] It is fast altering the balance of power in the endeavour of publication and contract negotiation. You can now present your literary talent on a truly international stage [as opposed to the normal submission process wherein federal law prohibits the querying of anyone 50 miles beyond the territorial waters of the U.S.], and be seen by 100’s of publishers specializing in your specific genre [Even if my genre is Amish lesbian splatterpunk erotica?], all searching for new or established authors. [As opposed to the thousands of publishers not looking for new or established authors.] This means that when you get a book deal offer, you may even have more than one on the table to barter with [The economy is so bad, some publishers are paying in chickens], rather than have to accept the only deal available.[Why do I think if you had that deal, you wouldn’t be taking this spam so seriously?]

You are being offered a confidential [Ooops, not anymore, my bad.] Free Trial[i.e This crap will cost you money in the long run.] Showcase Listing valid until September 30th as part of a Writers Group[You know the Writers Group, right?  Every year they hand out the Book Award for Best Novel in a Genre] association.[i.e. We lifted your name from the SFWA mailing list, and we’re desperate for a published author to lend our hare-brained scheme some legitimacy] After the Free Trial [With Gratuitous Caps!] date you may terminate your listing with no obligations or renew your account by payment of the membership listing fee as ruling on October 1st 2010. Your Free Showcase Listing will attract the exact same benefits entitled to fully subscribed members, so the sooner you register, the more free.exposure [More and more I get the image of Lit porn. Shake those metaphors, baby. Yeah, show some symbolism.  That’s hot.  Come give daddy a little denouement. ] you’ll have.

Your Showcase can present an intended literary concept,[I intend to have a literary concept!  Sometime.  Watch this space.] a work-in-progress draft [Yeah, show everyone your fist draft, that’ll leave them begging for more.] or a completed manuscript. Getting early exposure may even attract an advance to complet it. [Yes, post a complete manuscript and they’ll pay for you to complet it.  Instructions on how to “complet” a manuscript come with a full membership subscription.]

[Technical login crap deleted to leave room for snark]

You want a more serious deconstruction of AuthorForSale.com, you can visit the Writer Beware Blog.  Here’s the thing.  The concept of this site is, essentially, trying to outsource the slush-pile.  Seems like an OK idea in the abstract, after all that is a major hassle for most editors and writers.  But, you need to ask yourself something; why does any editor want to go to this site when they have the old slush-pile staring them in the face?  It’s not like they’re going to stop getting traditional submissions.  So adding this website to the mix is actually increasing their workload.  Let’s add to this the fact that publishers have to pay to play, over five grand in fact.  That’s a small mid-list advance right there, for the privilege of adding additional work and getting more of something they already get too much of for free.  Yeah, they’re going to beat down your door.  Oh, and that author subscription fee?  Only $225 a year.  For something the author can do for the price of postage, and insure that it gets somewhere at least in the same building as an agent or an editor.  Hell, this website costs a tenth of that, and I guarantee you more publishing professionals have seen this content than would ever dream going somewhere with the squiktastic name AuthorForSale.

You’d be better off posting your writing on Facebook, it’s free and would be at least twice as effective.

But it’s guaranteed


Not only will you regrow hair, but you’ll get it dyed and feathered, get a nose job, have your teeth capped and your skin bronzed.  But, frankly, I don’t know why Bruce Willis wanted to look like Justin Timberlake anyway.

The housing market is worse than I thought

Judging by this ad at least:
It may just be me, but dancing skeletons do not fill me with the urge to refinance. They fill me with the urge to stock up on canned goods, toilet paper, duct tape and shotgun shells.

Meatloaf again?

My wife inflicted this upon me against my will, and to purge the damage this has inflicted on my soul, I inflict it upon everyone else. If you are of my generation, this will surely hurt you in your brain. . .

No, really, we’re serious…

When did it become acceptable to blatantly lie in internet ads? Are we just so desensitized from all the Nigerian Viagra Lotteries that it just washes over us? Is it a default assumption now that all banner ads are written by Russian script-kiddies playing with an exploit they found for unpatched versions of IE5? You expect this kind of crap when you’re surfing porn, but guess where this showed up?

My SBCglobal/Yahoo! email account!

I know Microsoft is making noises about buying them out, but are they really that hard up for cash? And to the folks that created this ad: I must say, great job, very cutting-edge of you to avoid all that tired business of letting people know what you’re selling. . . I also like the little reverse psychology here: “Hey, let’s make it look so much like a scam people will think it can’t possibly actually be a scam.” Also, nice way to avoid litigation by placing a button “click here to claim” without mentioning what it is the customer patsy is “claiming.”

These guys also don’t seem all too interested in repeat business. I know the eighth or ninth time I was the 10,000th visitor to my own e-mail account, I started having a little suspicion that maybe it wasn’t quite accurate.

Oh, and final thought, if the first line of your ad copy is “This is not a joke,” it is probably time to re-think your business model.

Book spamming for the Lord!

Today I got a new book spam. This has come to me via Media E-Blast, a company whose name was coined by someone in a desperate attempt to make unsolicited spam and e-mail harvesting all respectable and Web 2.0ish.

Here’s my first piece of advice: Paying some “consultant” to make you a fancy JPEG ad and send it to a “carefully targeted” e-mail list doesn’t make you look any better than someone using broken English to peddle erectile-dysfunction medication. Just because they can use Photoshop and have a mailing address in the continental US doesn’t make it less sleazy, it just means it’s a little less likely they’re using hijacked zombie PCs as mail servers. (Mmmm zombies. . .)

Second bit of advice: If you’re self-published, seriously consider paying someone else to write your ad copy. If you rely on borderline ludicrous sentence constructions like,

“Sleepless nights, anxiety attacks, drug or alcoholic addiction, sexual addiction, murder, losing a loved one, broken marriages, are many things that we sometimes face.”

your only market will be among the kind of masochists that buy awful prose with the specific intention of mocking it.

Third bit of advice: Don’t lie in the subject line of the e-mail and pimp your work as “Warren Caldwell’s #1 Best Seller.” It really looks bad, especially for a minister whose selling his “life-changing testimony.” Here’s a little clue: those lists in the New York Times, those books? No spam involved. That should tell you something.

Fourth bit of advice: No one likes large unsolicited JPEG attachments. Most are porn, and I like to solicit my own porn, thank you very much.

Last bit of advice: Never use the phrase, “I stripped down to nakedness to share my most inner self,” in a spam that lands in the same folder as all the penis enlargement ads. We don’t need that mental image.