Someone is offering to sell his unfinished manuscript on eBay, and has set a starting price of $150,000. The author figures that if someone like John Grisham or J. K. Rowling were to buy it and put their name on it, everyone would buy a copy anyway, so it’s worth the price.What follows is his take on it. I’m afraid the paragraphing is mine:
I am a first time writer and have two more chapters to go, to complete my story. It’s fiction, a coming of age story that would be most enjoyed by adults. It’s a fascinating read that I had a couple of english teachers read themselves, telling me that they could not put my book down after the first chapter. It’s filled with suspense, along with fear and anxiety.Six photos accompany the offer. One of them is a closeup of the author’s own handwritten annotation at the top of a letter he has received. It says:
The story focuses on three 10 year old children, two girls and one boy. The story also focuses in on one of the father’s dealing with nightmares, which are somehow linked to his childhood, past. Everything comes to an end with a absolution and a twist, making sense in a reality way. I had a english teacher tell me that this story would be a great one to watch, in a movie format.
So what is this all about? Well here is the deal. I am putting my manuscript up for auction only to real popular writers and authors, which names are already known. Of course if just the ordinary joe wants to buy my script well, that’s ok too. My manuscript may seem expensive to ordinary people like me, but to a real author like John Grisham>The Client, The Firm, and A Time to Kill well if he bought my manuscript for 150,000 dollars and put his own title on it and copyrighted it, putting his name on the book as the writer, how much do you think he would profit from it? Well over 150,000 dollars I assure you, seeing that most of his books go right to the theaters immediately.
So that is why I am selling my manuscript mostly to well known authors and whether Oprah Winfrey reads this or Stephen King or the ever so popular J.K. Rawlings, if they bought my book for my price and put there name on it as the author, everyone will pick up the book and read it, because these authors have already earned a reputation.
Now I have actual pictures of my manuscript and a legit publshing Co. that will put my book in print for 695.00 dollars. The book will then be advertise to over 25,000 different book stores through the internet only. That sounds great right? But having a new author’s name on my book, … how many people will actually buy it? 3 mabe 100 mabe and if I’m lucky, a 1000. However I heard John Grisham self published his first book and the movie Legally Blonde, was also a self published book. So it also may sky rocket and people may buy over a million of my books, but it’s a long shot and I don’t want to take the route for now.
I also know this is a long shot, but I am throwing out there anyway, to any well known writer that can profit from this! For J.K. Rawlings or Stephen King to buy my manuscript and put there name on it, they can’t lose and neither can I. 150,000 dollars can sure help my family get me out of this apartment we have been living in for 9 years and finally get a house for my three children. A well known author can put my book in print and make over 2 million dollars with ease! We both win this way!
I have pictures and let me assure you that my manuscript is not yet copyrighted or even titled yet. Let me also assure you that this is a story that is fully typed and formatted for print and will probably add up to 450 pages, or so. I also had my family and a couple of english professors read my manuscript, all of them giving me thumbs up on the fascinating thought processing fiction, I put into this. I literally wrote over a 1000 pages and thrown it away, because I want to get this one story, right.
I have now spent about one year on this manuscript and have about two more chapters to go to complete, for publication. This is a serious book, one to be reconcile with. It’s emotional and heartfelt story that entertains from beginning, to end. If interested in buying my manuscript and of course if you are, you probably want to read it first, I will give you my address so you can come over and read it for yourself, or I can come to you with the manuscript, so you can read it. I will never give my writing out over an email address. That will only put me in danger of someone stealing my story and putting there name on it. I will do everything possible to come to you if it’s easier, so you can read my story. I will give you my email address so you can tell me if you are interested. Then we can set up a time to meet.Warner brothers Co. and Paramount Pictures payed John Grisham 600,000 dollars for the rights to his writing of The Firm, so they could make a movie out of it. Paramount pictures if you are reading this, I believe my story is strong and willful just like all of John Grisham’s films. You can have my script for 150,000 dollars, that’s a bargain for your company. Serious inquires only please! Pictures are shown at the bottom and the last pic is an actual paragraph written by me, on chapter 6. So if you can excuse me, I have a story now to finish! Good day and good bidding!
This is a legit company that has contacted me, asking me to let them put my book in print for a fee of $698.00. I don’t want to go this route. This would be my last option.The next photo shows the letter itself:
As I’ve said before, I don’t have anything against self-publishing. I’ve done it myself. I’m doing it right now. What I do mind are outfits that make their money by bunco-steering naive writers into vanity publishing deals that can only leave them sadder and poorer.
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Whatever you think of his writing, the fact is that this guy has done a lot of honest work. Does he really think his book is publishable, and that with Grisham’s or Rowling’s name on it, it would easily be worth $150,000? Never doubt that he believes it. Every author with a book in the slushpile thinks their work is publishable. They literally can’t tell that it isn’t. If they could, they’d have written different books.
What does he want? Nothing out of the ordinary. For nine years he’s been living in an apartment with his three children, and he’d like to be able to give them a house to live in. That’s a Jimmy Stewart/Normal Rockwell kind of aspiration. And what has he gotten? A letter from AuthorHouse, formerly 1stbooks, offering to publish his book for only $700. You know the man hasn’t got it to spare.
The AuthorHouse letter is a small masterpiece of mendacity. Yes, they can physically turn his manuscript into a professional-grade trade paperback. No, they won’t turn it into a professional-grade book.
When they say they’ll make his book “available through the world’s largest brick and mortar booksellers and online retailers,” by which he thinks they mean his book will be stocked and shelved by all those stores, they actually mean that if someone special-orders his book through a retail bookstore, Ingram will send them a copy.
See the list of services they offer? Notice that editing and proofreading aren’t on it. If this guy takes their bait, his book will go out just as he wrote it. I’ll bet they’ll make him write his own cover copy, too.
The other thing missing from this scenario is any opportunity for this author to discover that AuthorHouse is currently the subject of a class action lawsuit brought by their dissatisfied authors. I believe the plaintiffs are charging misrepresentation and non-delivery.
Bottom line: How typical is this author? Absolutely typical, with two exceptions. One is that he’s trying to sell his manuscript on eBay. That’s a creative move.
The other reason he’s exceptional is that he’s given some serious thought to AuthorHouse’s offer, and realized that since nobody knows who he is, he’s not likely to sell more than a handful of copies. Give the man major credit for that one. I’ve seen a lot of writers with heavy-duty degrees and professional credentials who couldn’t spot that problem on their own, and stuck their fingers in their ears and chanted “na na na na na na na na na na” when someone pointed out to them.