I’m angry with myself for being naive. I should know better by now. But apparently I don’t. Almost 45 and I am still so bloody naive. I expect the best in people, even when I know that people always disappoint.

In January I took part in what seemed a lovely scheme to write a short piece every day; I chose to post mine on my blog, so did many others. I didn’t really think about it; I had been pretty ill over Christmas and so the idea of focussing on a single thing and writing about it seemed a good practise for being glad to be alive. I registered that the organisers of the scheme intended to collate some of the entries in a book but again, I never thought about it much. I sent in when asked ten of my entries. When I was then asked to submit them not as attachments but in the main body of an email, I complied. I assumed that because I use Open office, they had been unable to open them. A week or so later, I was informed that a piece had been selected, and slightly edited. I was unhappy as the editing was done so that the piece ceased to have any context or personal connection to me; I protested but the response was that context was not needed. I had also been surprised at the choice; it was the first piece on my email, and not the best.

This morning I get an email announcing the launch of the book and was encouraged to buy not one but many copies of the book that has about five sentences of my writing in. More than 300 people had also sent in their entries. To me that means that virtually every single person(except sour pusses like me) will buy at least one copy of the book; probably multiple copies, to give to friends and family. I also discovered this morning that 72 copies sold overnight.

Now when it comes back down to it, the organisers have been provided with free and willing content, not to mention a probable captive market of people who are delighted to see their words in print, and since the book is print on demand, their only outlay has been to buy 1 (yes, just 1) copy of the book themselves as proof copy. A few days of work collating the entries, writing introduction and putting together a very lacklustre cover, and the intention of doing the whole thing all over again in July~ a nice little money maker don’t you think?

Before you ask, contributors get nothing at all. Bearing in mind it is possible to offer a free download using this format, does this not strike you as a very clever scam? Write us a book and then buy a copy of “your” book.


I feel like I have been stitched up very nicely.

What do you think? 

13 thoughts on “Scammed?

  1. That? Is complete CRAP. I used to submit poems to, and even had a couple taken up for their “book”. Which, of course, they then wanted me to pay something like $75.00 for.


    But it can happen, and it does happen, to everyone, at some time. Sorry, my friend.


    • You’re the second person to mention today.
      I had something similar happen a few years back, but realised after they contacted me to tell me I hadn’t won the competition but my poem would be included in the book that it wasn’t something I was bothered about. See, poetry has never been something I’ve felt was important for me, in terms of getting published.
      But this scheme, this river thing, it was so subtle, I fell for it. Of course, I ain’t buying and I ain’t publicising it either. And if they do another in July, I’ll blog a warning.
      Sad thing is people are delighted. I’d kind of assumed the whole thing would be a free e-book, that no one paid for and therefore was kosher in my book.


  2. I had a similar experience.
    Except it wasn’t a contest, just a blog entry.
    They sent me this long contract and I signed it.
    Next thing you know I could buy a book with my name in it.
    I am a sou®-puss too!
    Besides I already have several copies of the New Testament. 🙂 .
    My old boss had this little book he would carry around. I knew it was his as it was clearly labled,
    “The Book of James”.

    On the flip side I am getting a free book and a photo from a recent blog- contest.
    Super nice lady.
    Everyone is not out to getya.

    Sorry about all that.
    No one should have bought it and they should not have CHANGED THE CONTENT.

    I feel pretty special up in here behind that password 🙂
    Thanks Viv


  3. Jeez. That is something, it really is. A scam indeed. Very sorry to hear this. My only consolation is that more people will get to read your beautiful writing… and it IS beautiful…


    • Thanks Jane.
      I have tweeted to ask when the contributors get their royalties but no answer.
      It makes me sad because it would seem from observation that the organisers seem unaware that what they have done is actually a scam, and many of the participants are just delighted to be in a book. I guess it’s a grey area, but one I feel I have been ripped off in.
      hey ho, live and learn.


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  5. Viv, I’m curious to know what happens to the other nine pieces you sent to them? Do they have the right to publish them also at any given time or ….?

    It seems a bit underhanded to me…
    I’m sorry you got caught in this scam!

    Adriana xxooxx


    • Hi Adee,
      I retain copyright over all my words, including emails and comments. Enforcing it is another matter.
      It is underhand and all legal.
      I suspect they won’t use anything of mine again, because they will have plenty of paying customers whose words will fill the gap.
      The crying shame of this whole thing is that I thought better of them and that some very excellent writers have been screwed over. I have lost nothing but another bit of innocence.


    • They have offered to remove it as they need to reedit the already published book as they made a spelling mistake in the names of one of the contributors(as I said, they do NOT value any of the contributors enough to bother checking this; they wanted it out for the start of March. bills, probably)
      I have little doubt they will find enough milch cows not to need mine; my correspondence with them at the weekend was caustic(not something I do often) and I suspect that whether or not I want them too, my piece has been cut from the new edition and my name cursed with many curses.


  6. Viv, I read they are offering a free PDF download to the contributors now.. Did you know this? Maybe you did some good by speaking up….


    • I did know this. But I don’t know if my original post made any difference. I wrote back to them and made sure they knew how I felt it was a scam even after the offer because in the end, any monies still went to them. A pdf is free to give as well as receive. I hope I at least made them think.


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