Author Topic: NYT and USA Today Romance Author with a Unique Idea. Tell Me What You Think!  (Read 10864 times)  

Offline Perry Constantine

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For those who question why a successful author would take on this kind of venture when s/he could do lots better writing more books, I would point out that James Patterson, America's highest paid author ($95M/yr), sells his Masters course on writing and publishing for $80. I don't think Patterson needs the money.

Patterson isn't personally mentoring those students week in/week out.

Offline Al Stevens

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My point isn't to compare Patterson's effort to the OP's intentions. It is only to say that huge success doesn't automatically exempt someone from wanting to get into something that might be--or even has to be--less lucrative.

Offline Rosalind J

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For authors who have PMed RomanceWriter12 or who are considering PMing him/her:

This could be an amazing opportunity. It could lead into a very bad situation. Or anything in between. We don't know - so be cautious and take some steps to protect yourself before leaping in.

1. Google the author's name with phrases like "scammer", "bad experience", "lies". I'm not saying OP is any of this - but there are a lot of sharks in the water, and a quick google search can sometimes reveal them. Check how they behave on social media and search writing forums for mentions of them.

2. Make sure you have a contract. It doesn't have to be anything fancy or go through a lawyer; just a clear lay out of expectations, limitations, and what happens if either party flakes. I cannot stress this enough - never do business without a contract! Conversely, if they present a contract, read it carefully.

3. Check their credentials. There's a difference between selling seven million copies of individual books you wrote and selling seven million copies of box sets you helped manage / joined. Have a look at their store rankings on Amazon and any wide stores they're a part of. Check how many Goodreads reviews their books have. Are the numbers adding up? (Hint: expect to see one Amazon review per 100-150 copies sold)

4. Don't do anything that feels "off". Like Elizabeth Ann West said, don't send Paypal money through Friends and Family - you lose your protection. Don't be pressured into buying or reviewing other authors' books to "help" them launch. Don't follow any advice that seems to circumvent Amazon's rules, either in word or in spirit. You could be risking your account.

5. If in doubt, ask. An author who has sold 7 million books will be well-known. PM or email a few people you trust to ask about the author's reputation.
Great list. I should say, though, that I personally get more like 1 Amazon review for every 1,000 copies purchased/full-read equivalents. (This doesn't even count free copies, which have a much lower review ratio.) I don't think this is uncommon in romance.

Otherwise, I completely agree with this list as a way to assess a potential investment like this. There are great classes etc. that provide value, I know. There are also bad actors. The only way to know which is which is to do your homework.

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It has been warned never to engage with any business that requires you to pay through 'friends and family' paypal, but is there a way to tell without asking? I've never really noticed as I don't use it to pay very often.


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Offline Evenstar

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The fact that the OP hasn't returned to the thread to respond or allay any fears speaks volumes to me.  Am I the only one to think this? He/She has logged in again since posting.

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The OP would likely make more in the long run by writing a book about it, like Stephen King.


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Offline thesmallprint

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Perhaps there should be a duty of care procedure applied with anyone who posts with a view to getting paid. The same google searches etc being suggested here could be done by mods/volunteers prior to publication. It would always, of course, be caveat emptor, but such a setup would probably deter at least some of those whose intentions are not honest.

Offline Betsy the Quilter

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Stepping here to clarify a couple of points that have been made here and via PM to me. 

As I read the original post, it's posed as an idea for a business, not a currently running enterprise, with a request for feedback on a concept, which has been provided.  Such feedback is a strength here.  As a request for feedback vs an actual vendor thread, we would not require that the poster provide contact info to the membership as it does not appear that the poster is currently offering this service. A vendor announcing a current business would have to provide a way for potential customers to contact him or her. (We are continuing to discuss this issue.) This is not the first time a member has posted with an idea for a business model and asked about its viability. If I've missed something, please let me know.

Members are allowed to post anonymously here or under a business name.  We do not out posters who choose to post anonymously here.  However, I will say that the RomanceAuthor12 has a valid email address and a web presence separate from his or her posts here.

As far as vetting before posting, we would have to either turn on post approval for all posts (which, while it would probably result in far fewer food fights on the forum, would be burdensome for both members and moderators) or create vendors as a separate class of members which, in this case, would probably not have prevented this post from going through as (1) the member is not yet a vendor and (2) see comments above about our review of the poster.  Finally, the knowledge base and experiences of our membership do a far better job of vetting and asking questions than we could.

I do think that the fact that RomanceAuthor12 has not responded to any of the questions here indicates, at the least, that he or she may have thought better of this business model.  This thread continues to be a subject of discussion in the smoke filled admin caves.

EDIT:  In addition, KBoards is usually not the only place where proposals such as the OP's are made; by allowing a public discussion of the proposal vs one done only in the admin cave, it creates a publicly searchable record.

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« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 05:01:00 AM by Betsy the Quilter »
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Offline Elizabeth Ann West

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I will raise my hand and say I was the one who sent the PM.

I agree just asking for viability of a business idea is a fairly normal posting. I think it's when someone just made an account, posts an idea for a service or product and then ghosts or just handles inquiries by PM it's what causes everyone to jump. We are the ones who get the people who were duped after the fact, and in some cases it's thousands of dollars lost. :(

My suggestion was to make a rule about new accounts making anonymous business lead type posts, even "I have this idea for a business" because it's a new account UNLESS they are willing to say who they are. That protects this community from continual frisking by businesses and services that have, like you say Betsy, a track record of mixed results, from reinventing themselves as this new entity. Now, someone who has been posting and contributing, and they're anonymous, totally different story. We know that person has come to Kboards to be a part of Kboards, not just try to find new customers.

Basically, if you're here just to find new customers, which is a valid use of the board, you shouldn't be able to be anonymous. If you're here as a member in any capacity and then have an idea for a business or service, then you're not just here for new customers, it was a legitimate "hmmm I wonder if..."

Because right now, we get the anonymous business opportunity posts, which the OP asked for anyone interested in signing up to reply, so it was a Call to Action, many of the veterans try our best to say "Whoa, hold up, we've seen how this goes many, many times," and we get in trouble (though I agree that I went beyond where I should, and I do apologize...) and more of our fellow Kboarders are victimized. And when it's all said and done.... they feel like no one warned them... because we couldn't.

IN this case, I think THIS thread has PLENTY of warning in it. Anyone getting involved in any business opportunity can apply much of the advice given here to feel out a new opportunity. But in the future  . . . I am glad the mods are duscussing what to do about business type anonymous posts, especially if it affects other parts of the forum as well. :)


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Offline MonkishScribe

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I'm okay with threads like this, so long as the skepticism doesn't get moderated out of existence.

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Agree 100% with Elizabeth. If someone comes here with the view (even with just the intention) of soliciting business, they should not be allowed to be anonymous.

Some people will already have PMed the OP (because people are desperate and do rash things without checking). If the OP wants to coach writers by way of paying it forward, that's actually awesome, but it still sounds like way too much work to be viable.

But if it's a business... I assume the business model is at risk of collapse because it's not terribly sound and I can't imagine that someone who sells that much needs to do this for profit. Or in some other way, something will blow up and people will be unhappy and out of pocket. And then it's people like Elizabeth and myself, and others who are not anonymous, who get to be the shoulders that everyone cries on.

One of the great things about the KB is its infallible BS meter. Not saying it's at code red over this proposal, but anonymity from someone who will have recruited some people already via PM does nothing to help us give the yay or nay.

I, for one, am rather sick of consoling people who have lost thousands in ill-advised deals. TBH I'd much rather write.

Offline What Writes at Midnight

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Hi guys,

Is there any way for those raising objections to avoid using terms like desperate and rash and generally bad gullible-like thing to describe fellow writers on this board who are considering contacting the OP? Such language feels like a slap in the face rather than an attempt to help.

I'm in the camp that sees more signs the OP is on the up-and-up than signs they are not, and most people would not call me gullible or inexperienced. It's my humble opinion, it could certainly change, and to engage in dogmatic arguments would be silly since there are not enough facts for dogma here.

I'm simply putting this out here in case you were unaware there are people following this thread who would appreciate your being be more diplomatic in your language and taking care, as many posters have here (thank you, those posters) not to insult the people you are kindly defending.

Thank you.

Offline crow.bar.beer

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I'm in the camp that sees more signs the OP is on the up-and-up than signs they are not...

They sent you proof of their sales or which pen names of theirs appeared on the bestsellers lists? Can you post it here, please?

Offline Evenstar

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Hi guys,

Is there any way for those raising objections to avoid using terms like desperate and rash and generally bad gullible-like thing to describe fellow writers on this board who are considering contacting the OP? Such language feels like a slap in the face rather than an attempt to help.

I'm in the camp that sees more signs the OP is on the up-and-up than signs they are not, and most people would not call me gullible or inexperienced. It's my humble opinion, it could certainly change, and to engage in dogmatic arguments would be silly since there are not enough facts for dogma here.

I'm simply putting this out here in case you were unaware there are people following this thread who would appreciate your being be more diplomatic in your language and taking care, as many posters have here (thank you, those posters) not to insult the people you are kindly defending.

Thank you.

No, there isn't.

If you want to get the point across you kind of need to make it ruthlessly. Patty is absolutely right, listen to her, she's trying to warn you not insult you!  I've been on this board since 2012 and I've seen this happen more than once.

By all means contact the OP, but don't be gullible or rash or desperate. Do some research. She's trying to say that in terms that make it really clear not to rush headlong into a proposal like this without being sure of who you're dealing with.  None of us are saying it's a scam, we're just saying it seems like something to investigate thoroughly before parting with cash.

It isn't a coincidence the most of us who are trying to get this point across are not anonymous.
And please realise that we're sticking our necks on the line to try to warn people who haven't been here so long, because there could easily be a backlash from voicing our concerns. Most of us have been the victim of 1 star retaliation at one point or another for being honest if we think something doesn't add up. But we are not hiding behind an anonymous name. Who would you rather trust?

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No, there isn't.

If you want to get the point across you kind of need to make it ruthlessly. Patty is absolutely right, listen to her, she's trying to warn you not insult you!  I've been on this board since 2012 and I've seen this happen more than once.

By all means contact the OP, but don't be gullible or rash or desperate. Do some research. She's trying to say that in terms that make it really clear not to rush headlong into a proposal like this without being sure of who you're dealing with.  None of us are saying it's a scam, we're just saying it seems like something to investigate thoroughly before parting with cash.

It isn't a coincidence the most of us who are trying to get this point across are not anonymous.
And please realise that we're sticking our necks on the line to try to warn people who haven't been here so long, because there could easily be a backlash from voicing our concerns. Most of us have been the victim of 1 star retaliation at one point or another for being honest if we think something doesn't add up. But we are not hiding behind an anonymous name. Who would you rather trust?
How very well put.


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Offline What Writes at Midnight

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No, there isn't.

If you want to get the point across you kind of need to make it ruthlessly.

Er? I was asking for courtesy and respect. You don't have to give it if you don't want to. You always do seem courteous and respectful, though, to everyone, even while getting your point across. I find your contributions valuable.

But since you bring it up, which seems more likely to help a person make business decisions unemotionally - a shaming post or a friendly warning?

If you're contacting the poster, you must be rash and desperate.

Don't get taken for a ride, we've got your back, watch out for yourself.

I imagine more forum goers respond reasonably to the bottom type of approach. Maybe your experience is different.

crow.bar.beer: I have only the facts you do.

Moderator:  I would not be against your moderating all these posts including mine that are off topic. I was hoping the tone here could be friendlier.  Now I am part of the problem.

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Er? I was asking for courtesy and respect. You don't have to give it if you don't want to. You always do seem courteous and respectful, though, to everyone, even while getting your point across. I find your contributions valuable.

But since you bring it up, which seems more likely to help a person make business decisions unemotionally - a shaming post or a friendly warning?

If you're contacting the poster, you must be rash and desperate.

Don't get taken for a ride, we've got your back, watch out for yourself.

I imagine more forum goers respond reasonably to the bottom type of approach. Maybe your experience is different.

crow.bar.beer: I have only the facts you do.

Moderator:  I would not be against your moderating all these posts including mine that are off topic. I was hoping the tone here could be friendlier.  Now I am part of the problem.
I think we have been very friendly, quite frankly. We have a lot of new posters coming here with great ideas to help us all, when to the well seasoned it is obviously they are only trying to feather their own nests. And it is the newbies and the desperate they are counting on; there is no detriment in saying so. It is true. This poster might turn out to be all that she claims, but given that she hasn't been back, I am doubtful.

Just as an aside, I don't think the moderators are waiting for your consent to do their job.


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Offline Evenstar

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Just as an aside, I don't think the moderators are waiting for your consent to do their job.

Doglover! You know I think you're great, but that's not going to help!

Are you doing okay? You seem a bit grumpy recently.... I'm a PM away if you want to have a vent x

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Doglover! You know I think you're great, but that's not going to help!

Are you doing okay? You seem a bit grumpy recently.... I'm a PM away if you want to have a vent x
I've always been grumpy; it's part of my charm. I'll PM you.


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Offline dianapersaud

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No, there isn't.

If you want to get the point across you kind of need to make it ruthlessly.
Patty is absolutely right, listen to her, she's trying to warn you not insult you!  I've been on this board since 2012 and I've seen this happen more than once.

By all means contact the OP, but don't be gullible or rash or desperate. Do some research. She's trying to say that in terms that make it really clear not to rush headlong into a proposal like this without being sure of who you're dealing with.  None of us are saying it's a scam, we're just saying it seems like something to investigate thoroughly before parting with cash.

It isn't a coincidence the most of us who are trying to get this point across are not anonymous.
And please realise that we're sticking our necks on the line to try to warn people who haven't been here so long, because there could easily be a backlash from voicing our concerns. Most of us have been the victim of 1 star retaliation at one point or another for being honest if we think something doesn't add up. But we are not hiding behind an anonymous name. Who would you rather trust?

I, for one, appreciate the honesty of your (and others') posts when it comes to warning authors.

I know several people who have been taken advantage of because those in the know were too polite to issue any kind of warning. Scammers (bullies too) win when people are afraid to speak out.

Sugarcoating can be unhelpful. I think most of us on this board are professionals or striving to be. In that regard, we should all be wearing our big girl/boy pants and be able to deal with blunt, honest posts.

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Offline JalexM

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I think we have been very friendly, quite frankly. We have a lot of new posters coming here with great ideas to help us all, when to the well seasoned it is obviously they are only trying to feather their own nests. And it is the newbies and the desperate they are counting on; there is no detriment in saying so. It is true. This poster might turn out to be all that she claims, but given that she hasn't been back, I am doubtful.

Just as an aside, I don't think the moderators are waiting for your consent to do their job.
I'm not surprised the OP hasn't responded yet. They probably never will. Kboards has been less inviting to newer members lately which this thread shows. Especially when when a member doesn't know what you know after only being here for a few days and getting told this in a far too blunt way.
Being ruthless isn't constructive if that's all you bring to the table.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2017, 12:37:20 PM by JalexM »

Offline ebbrown

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It isn't a coincidence the most of us who are trying to get this point across are not anonymous.
And please realise that we're sticking our necks on the line to try to warn people who haven't been here so long, because there could easily be a backlash from voicing our concerns. Most of us have been the victim of 1 star retaliation at one point or another for being honest if we think something doesn't add up. But we are not hiding behind an anonymous name. Who would you rather trust?

True story ^^.

I'm not surprised the OP hasn't responded yet. They probably never will. Kboards has been less inviting to newer members lately which this thread shows. Especially when when a member doesn't know what you know after only being here for a few days and getting told this in a far too blunt way.
Being ruthless isn't constructive if that's all you bring to the table.


The OP may have only been here for a few days, but she makes a lot of statements that would infer she is an expert in the industry -- especially by stating that she is considering charging for her guidance. She isn't a newbie who doesn't understand how it all works, and her business proposal would be targeting authors who have much less experience and knowledge of the industry.  That's why there are experienced members here asking hard questions and trying to give newbies/anyone considering contacting the OP plenty of info.

I agree with Patty, too. It stinks hearing stories from authors who have been scammed by those who've run similar gigs to what the OP is proposing. Of course it would be wonderful if authors contact the OP, privately discuss qualifications and details, and come to a mutually satisfying agreement. Yet I continue to be stumped by why a person who sold 7 million books and has made the "NYT bestselling list more than two dozen times and the USA Today more than 40" isn't willing to disclose her identity. It's certainly not against the rules to be anonymous, but even giving her feedback as to the viability of her proposal (which she came here looking for) is kinda pointless if we don't know who she is.  If she's someone who made a bunch of bestseller lists because she paid money to be in a zillion 20-author box sets, her experience and advice is going to be of a different value vs and author who sold all those books and made all those lists on her own. Would I be interested in a mentoring course by John Locke on how to get reviews? No way. So he's a NYT Bestselling author, sold millions, yadda yadda. None of that means squat to me. There are NYT & USA Today Bestselling authors out the yin yang on this board, and a good amount of authors who've sold millions, and they give their advice and guidance here on KBoards for free.
Public reputation and public persona definitely makes a difference when you're offering "mentoring" services for large amounts of money.
   
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Offline crow.bar.beer

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crow.bar.beer: I have only the facts you do.

Nah, I've got nothing. The most I saw was the OP say they were a NYT bestselling author that'd sold seven million books. Floating a business idea by appealing to one's identity while not revealing that identity is trying to have something both ways. Whether or not we each glean from this that they are crooked or legitimate, that practice itself is wrong.

Offline Anarchist

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Would I be interested in a mentoring course by John Locke on how to get reviews? No way.

Ha. I haven't snort-laughed in awhile.

Thanks for that. :)
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Offline Shawna Canon

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Kboards has been less inviting to newer members lately which this thread shows. Especially when when a member doesn't know what you know after only being here for a few days and getting told this in a far too blunt way.

I'm a new member here, and I've felt welcome. Of course, I can be more than a little blunt myself, and I came here after doing about 6 months of research into the whole self-publishing thing elsewhere on the internet, although I think if I'd found this board when I was first starting my information search, I probably would have felt just as welcome. Can some people here be a little gruff and heavy-handed about their own opinions? Sure. But in my time here so far, I have found only a very few people actually cross the line to being mean, and the mods are diligent about keeping things civil.

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