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March 30, 2007

Author Identity Publishing
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 09:41 PM *

I came in very close to the ground floor on this story. On the morning of 08 November 2006 I got a piece of spam:

AuthorIdentity.com Newsletter
Author Identity Publishing

Hi Short Story Author,
Would you like to get your short story published?
Would you be interested in selling one of your stories to us?
We are a small, but very reputable publisher looking to buy short stories for a compilation coming out this holiday season. This could be your chance to jump start your writing career.
If you are interested in submitting a story or just finding out additional information, please click on the following link www.authoridentity.com
Wishing you success in your writing career.

Author Identity

I promptly went over to the Bewares and Background Check forum at Absolute Write and started a thread about this wonderful thing. I mean, I’m all about success in my writing career.

Much hilarity was had noting that Author Identity said:

We require you supply us with five (5) local newspapers we will send a press release to. We also require you to find 25 people who are willing to purchase your book on its release. Most of our authors have reached out to friends and family, however, we never tell you who must buy your book. You must however, demonstrate you have the ability to sell 25 copies prior to the books release. Once this book is published, the marketing will continue to be a concentrated effort. We recommend you approach at least two local bookstores and present the book for them to sell. Again, if you are not willing or unable to do so WE ARE NOT THE PUBLISHER FOR YOU!

Continued below the cut.

Fair enough, they aren’t the publisher for me.

That’s a vanity press, right the way down the line: Authors are required to buy or sell books, it’s open-and-shut. Vanity. But it only got better:

Question: Do I need an agent?
Answer: Not if you decide to submit your work here. We select our authors without being represented by agents, no matter how hard they sometimes try. There is not much an agent can do for most new authors, other than try to locate a publisher. If you have already signed up with an agent, tell them to contact us with your work, and we will gladly study their proposal. But it will be no different than when you contact us yourself.

No matter how hard the agents try? To sell a short story to a start up vanity press anthology? Which agents would those be?

Sharp-eyed AW regular Triceratops soon noted that there was an amazing similarity between that question-and-answer on the AIP site and a similar question on the PublishAmerica website:

Question: Do I need an agent?
Answer: Not if you decide to submit your work here. We select our authors without being preached to by agents, no matter how hard they sometimes try. There is not much an agent can do for most new authors, other than try to locate a publisher. If you have already signed up with an agent, tell them to contact us with your work, and we will gladly study their proposal. But it will be no different than when you contact us yourself.

Almost uncanny, isn’t it? (This rather invites the question of exactly which agents try to sell their clients’ work to PublishAmerica, but leave that aside for now. Do keep PublishAmerica in mind as they’ll play a small part in the story to come.)

The morning continued. It wasn’t yet noon when another AW regular noted that Author Identity had been mentioned by one other person: a certain Kevin A. Fabiano. The first time he mentioned it had been on the first of November, 2006:

Furthermore, if you have written a short story and would like it published I know Author Identity is seeking submissions from new authors. You can reach them at www.authoridentity.com . I hope this is a help.

Off on Kevin’s own website, on the very same day that the spam arrived, he posted this helpful note:

Author Help
Wednesday, 8th November, 2006

Short Story News

Hi Authors,

I want to introduce you to Author Identity Publishing. They are publishing one of my short stories and they may be able to help you get published.

Thank You for your interest in joining Author Identity’s compilation. Author Identity is a traditional publisher in business to provide readers with greater choices. They specialize in short story compilations. Currently, they are in need of additional stories to fill a few of their existing projects.

Please do not send them your submission at this time. Instead, if you are interested in being considered for publication, please follow the procedures listed below.

If you would like to be considered for a future project, please copy the information below. Answer the questions and return it to them via email. If they accept your story they will be paying you for your work. They are not a vanity press, instead, a small press who pays its authors.

A bit more hilarity followed, but not much. Author Identity looked gormless, but not much worse than that. Mr. Fabiano was a PublishAmerica author, and so many PublishAmerica authors go on to start their own gormless publishing houses that it’s become a cliche.

Imagine my surprise to discover that I had e-mail from Mr. Fabiano himself the next day:

Dear Mr. Mcdonald,

I am sure this is an oversight on your part, however it needs your immediate attention. I have been advised you may have infringed on my copyrighted material. It appears you have copied sections of my website then altered the content to create a blog which you use to promote your products. In addition the added statements to this post create a false statement and attack my character. If you had taken the time to read the entire website and not only the section you copied, you would have uncovered the Best Selling Program belongs to Peggy McColl and Randy Gilbert not me. Please correct this issue immediately and reply to me at kevinfabiano@lawyer.com or 212-764-1126 as to your actions.

Thank You,

Kevin A. Fabiano

I passed the letter on to my lawyer, and otherwise ignored it. But this did make me curious about Author Identity, so I decided to look at them a little more closely. Author Identity Publishing claimed, on their website, to be a division of West Publishing. West Publishing is part of Thomson. They publish Westlaw, among other things. (Interestingly enough, Mr. Fabiano claims to be a lawyer.) Nowhere on West’s websites, or on Thomson’s websites, was there any mention of a division called Author Identity Publishing. So I went to Thomson’s live help chat room and asked the nice young lady there if they had a new division. Nope! No one at Thomson had ever heard of Author Identity. Was there, perhaps, another West Publishing that might have such a division? Not that they’d ever heard of.

I note that Author Identity Publishing no longer claims to be a division of West Publishing.

Well, that was pretty much where things stood. Victoria Strauss, indefatigable member of Writer Beware, blogged about Author Identity on 20 November:

I’ve been getting a lot of questions recently about Author Identity Publishing, a publisher of short story compilations that has been emailing writers with invitations to submit. To avoid the appearance of a spam campaign, the solicitations are personalized with the writer’s name and the title of the story; in true junk mail style, however, they urge writers to act right away: “Please realize if you are interested in having your story published for the December 2006 compilation, this will put us under a severe time constraint, so please submit your short story within the next week.”

The ownership of AIP remained in doubt. Nowhere on AIP’s web site was a publisher, or an editor, named.

One more thing. The company’s solicitations instruct would-be contributors to provide this statement along with their story: “I, ________, agree to Author Identity’s Policies.” No doubt many people will suppose that they are binding themselves only to the terms that appear on the company’s Policies page—but what about other terms? There’s nothing on the website about what rights you will be giving up, or whether you’ll have a say in editing. Are you agreeing in advance to whatever the company decides?

One week later, someone calling him/herself “Victoria Strass” posted this on Kevin’s Guestbook:

Tuesday, 28th November, 2006

Thanks for inviting me to your site. I love the clean design with the red and grey. I also purchased your book recently from amazon and am half way through it. Every time I think I know what is going to happen, I find out I’m wrong. I can’t wait to get to the end. Good luck with Poison and I will bookmark you to check to see when it is released. Thanks again Kevin.

If you look at the source-code for that page, you’ll discover that “Kevin A. Fabiano is a best selling author of The Palace of Wisdom: A Rock and Roll Fable. He is a lawyer and professor who owns a publishing company in New York City, NY.”

Hmmmm… I wonder what the name of the publishing company is? Perhaps a clue is to be found on Kevin’s Amazon.com profile page:

Nickname:
authoridentity

Mr. Fabiano’s website and the AuthorIdentity.com website use very similar templates.

Even at this point, Author Identity isn’t unique. Another vanity press, ho-hum. The way in which Author Identity managed to get well-known authors into its anthology became known: Authors like Mark Twain, Bram Stoker, and Louisa May Alcott filled out the roster. The anthology, The Shortcut: 20 Stories To Get You From Here To There, came out on 28 December 2006.

Mr. Fabiano was no stranger to the worthless practice of manipulating Amazon sales ranks. On Friday, 12 January, 2007 he posted on the PublishAmerica Message Board:

I’m not sure any publisher will hire a publicist for new authors, however, one is a great idea. I hired one on my own and my book reached best seller status on Amazon.com. It has rally fallen off, but for that short period of time it felt great, not to mention I can now call myself a Best Selling author forever.

On 19 January, in the comment thread that followed Victoria’s 20 November blog post, we had this classy entry:

At 1/19/2007 3:05 PM, Anonymous said…

YOU DUMB CUNT…..INCASE YOU DIDN’T SEE. AIP JUST PUBLISHED A BOOK THAT HIT #89 ON AMAZON FOR THE CATEGORY THEY ARE WORKING WITH IN.

The following day, 20 January, Kevin posted this note on the PublishAmerica Message Board:

My Book Made it to #2 on the Amazon.com Best Seller List

HI PA Family,

I just wanted to inform you my second book, The Shortcut made it to #2 on Amazon.com’s Best Seller List yesterday. Here is the link if you would like to see. http://www.amazon.com/gp/bestsellers/books/10303/ref=pd_ts_b_nav/002-3051880-8671203

This is should be hope for those who feel we cannot sell our books.

#2 — not among all books at Amazon, but among Short Story Anthologies in English at Amazon, a position that is a bit easier to reach. And it didn’t stay there long. It had been #89 among anthologies if Anonymous was right the day before, and by the following day (as Kevin posted at PublishAmerica) it was down to #53. So fleeting is fame.

This is where folly turns to fraud. This is where the mainstream media got interested in what otherwise would have only troubled the councils of the small and silly.

Out on the west coast, a bookstore called the Seattle Mystery Bookshop took a phone order from someone who wanted a copy of The Shortcut: 20 Stories To Get You From Here To There.

This began a couple of weeks ago. We often get special orders for books that we don’t stock or haven’t heard about. It is a way we hear about new books from small presses, so we’re open to them but we try to be careful. We don’t want to get stuck with books we don’t want. So we get a credit card from the customer when they place the order.

So this guy calls up on a Friday afternoon, asks if we have this short story anthology he’s read about, The Shortcut. I hadn’t heard about it but looked it up at a wholesaler and said we could get it. He said fine, gave me his name, phone number and credit card info. I put the book into the system and went back to other things.

When the book arrived, we called the number - it had been disconnected! We tried the charge card to at least get the money out of the order and it came back with the message ‘bad account number’. So it appeared we would be stuck with the books (I’d gotten one for stock, too.) The best thing I could think of to do was to post a warning on the listserve for the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association and try to keep anyone else from falling for this scam.

The mystery caller had given his name as Michael Evers.

The owner of the Seattle Mystery Bookshop started investigating, and discovered that another bookstore owner, in Indiana, had gotten stung by Mike Evers, ordering The Shortcut with a phony credit card and a fake local phone number. Then someone in Colorado had the same story. Another bookstore in Canada…. Mike Evers had been a busy boy.

Publishers Weekly picked up the story on 29 March. The Talkback section brought out more stories from other bookstore owners. From Maine. From Vermont. From Minnesota. From Massachusetts. More from Canada.

Victoria has blogged about Author Identity again.

Meanwhile, one of the booksellers, ticked off enough to do some sleuthing, made an interesting discovery. “Michael Evers” is the protagonist of a novel by one of the anthology’s contributors, Kevin A. Fabiano (The Palace of Wisdom: A Rock and Roll Fable, published by PublishAmerica). Coincidence? Not likely. In a truly breathtaking combination of sleazy “marketing” tactics (which may have come straight off the PA message boards—I’ve seen the fake book order ploy advocated there a time or two) and just plain dumbness (hint to scammers: if you’re going to use an alias, pick a name that can’t be linked to your real one), Kevin Fabiano has apparently been trying to achieve the fevered dream of every vanity-published author: to get his book onto bookstore shelves.

This doesn’t prove that Kevin made those fake orders, it’s possible this is a Joe Job designed to destroy Kevin’s name and reputation, but maybe someone ought to look into it.

How many of those fake orders have there been? No telling. But look at this. I called Ingram’s automated stock-check number and punched in The Shortcut’s ISBN. That book sold zero copies last year. This year, however, according to Ingram, it’s sold 1,119 copies to date. That includes this week’s unadjusted demand of 163 and last week’s adjusted demand of 212.

One hundred to two hundred copies a week. Of an overpriced, non-returnable vanity POD volume. In a non-holiday period. If just half of those are fraudulent … well, I’m not a lawyer. Maybe Mr. Fabiano could tell me at what dollar amount Theft By Deception clicks over into being a felony. Maybe he can tell me if using the telephone to make fake credit card orders, interstate and international, is a federal rap.

If I ran a bookstore, or if I had a friend who ran a bookstore, I’d get the word out, and I’d check my records to see if a phone order for The Shortcut had come in with a phony credit card number. And if so, I’d call the cops, and the nice folks at the FBI.

[UPDATE]

The game is going into extra innings, with another Publishers Weekly story, Non-returnable Book Scam Widens

Emails to Author Identity Press (the only way to contact the press) were not returned in time for this update. PW also tried to contact but got no response from Kevin A. Fabiano. Fabiano is one of the living authors in the short story collection. He is also the author of a POD novel that features a main character named Michael Evers.

Public relations managers for both Barnes and Noble and Borders said they hadn’t heard any complaints from stores. But a helpful bookseller at one B&N location in Manhattan was able to look the ISBN up and find out that seven nearby B&N stores had the self-published title in their inventory. The title was flagged on the bookseller’s screen as “Do not order.” It was not found in inventory at three random Borders locations.

[UPDATE 2]

Publishers Weekly, 03APR07: Ingram Offers Refund on Scam Title

Ingram spokesman Keel Hunt said Ingram made the decision to refund their money, “In the interest of supporting our customers.” According to Ingram’s Automated Stock Status System, Ingram has sold 1,163 copies of the short story anthology. BookScan’s reported sales were 150 copies.

[UPDATE 3]

Victoria has blogged again

One thing that emerges from the PW article is that, as I speculated in my previous post, Fabiano does indeed have an ownership interest in AIP. According to PW, he’s one of three partners (two of them unnamed) who each paid $250 to establish AIP and set up The Shortcut through Lightning Source. :

One of the links that Victoria gives takes us to an interesting place, were we find a gentleman quoting a letter from Fabiano that says, in part:

Just so you know, I do not own Author Identity, (they have published my story, The Rising Star: The beginning in a anthology The Shortcut: 20 Stories To Get You From Here To There ISBN 978-1-4243-2797-3 and I knew they were looking for other stories.)… I hope you are willing to accept my apology and will in the future refrain from accusing me of being dishonest until you have your facts straight.

Since we now know that Fabiano does, in fact, own part (if not all) of Author Identity Publishing, that statement seems a bit on the misleading side. He isn’t just an author who happily found a market and is trying to share the news: He was trying to drum up business for his own company.

More experienced writers instantly pegged it as a vanity press.

Comments on Author Identity Publishing:
#1 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 10:22 PM:

Maybe he can tell me if using the telephone to make fake credit card orders, interstate and international, is a federal rap.

IANAL, but I'd be willing to bet that it would be covered by wire fraud. And, since it appears to be interstate ... oh, look, feds!

#2 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 11:48 PM:

That's pretty juicy, even for a publishing scam story.

I'm a bit shocked to see this one's gone as far as ripping off bookshops though. I'd become used to stories of 'publishers' ripping off would be writers, and of the terrible deceptions the writers perpetrate on themselves, but this is the first time I've heard of it escalating to this level of fraud.

Other postings like this have led to hanging around on PublishAmerica forums, and it's a hell of an education in human weakness. The urge to believe in happy endings at any cost can male people paint themselves into pretty tight corners.

#3 ::: Comesleep ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2007, 11:58 PM:

Steve, at #2--
It's fairly common practice to rip off the booksellers, really. When I first started working for BN, there was a woman who'd incessantly order in copies of her nephew's appalling PoD book, and then never pick them up--meaning that we had to shelve them, as they're nonreturnable.

(And then she'd come in and get very angry when she saw they were remaindered with a dollar sticker on them...)

#4 ::: Naomi ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 12:29 AM:

They claimed to be affiliated with West? ::spits drink on keyboard::

Back when I worked at West as a technical writer, I got cold-called by someone who wanted to try to convince us to acquire their consumer-oriented magazine, or something along those lines. It was very odd. It's been years since I've worked at West, so I don't know exactly what they publish these days, but at the time, it was legal stuff plus a few textbooks.

#5 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 12:34 AM:

Every once in a while I wonder: is there just something wrong with me, some missing Ambition Gene? Because I just... I don't GET THIS.

Yes, sure, I would love to be published. But... if I just want someone to see something I wrote, well, either a) I give it to them (takes maybe 3 minutes if they have email) or b) I put it online (mostly with poetry and non-fiction). So, it can't just be that. It's gotta be the money.

And, yes, sure, I'd love to be able to make a steady amount of money from writing -- say, enough to cover rent, leaving the other bills to my sweetie. Barring that, I'd happily take a couple short story sales and throw the money at debts or replace my ancient video card or something. But... those require me going somewhere where, well, I'm going to be paid.

If I want to hawk my own wares, I'll start printing them out and selling them on teh intarweb. No need for some pseudo-publisher to stamp their name on it. There's e-bay, or making my own commercial web site; I've got a business paypal account and can take credit card payments already, in fact. Or, heck, lulu.com. If I'm self-publishing and self-selling, why would I want to pay someone else for the trouble?

But beyond all that... what sort of satisfaction am I supposed to get out of trying to rip someone off? I mean, if I'm going to turn to a life of crime, there are far more lucrative avenues to pursue, and if I really-really-really want to be published and be making a living from it, wouldn't that sort of... defeat the purpose?

I mean... maybe I'm just too honest? Maybe it's that good ol' 20th-century-immigrant work ethic at play? I don't know.

It's boggling. I just don't get how anyone would get any kind of... fulfillment out of this.

#6 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 01:11 AM:

In my first posting, s/male/make/, of course. Stupid fingers.

Comesleep at #3 wrote:

> When I first started working for BN, there was a woman who'd incessantly order in copies of her nephew's appalling PoD book, and then never pick them up

It's the little things like this that gnaw away at my hope for humanity. The atrocities on the news I pretty much take in my stride, but these petty things slip past my guard.

Tina at #5 wrote:

> It's boggling. I just don't get how anyone would get any kind of... fulfillment out of this.

The whole vanity publishing area makes me think of fetishism - not the scam publishers, but their marks. Somehow people transfer their ambitions from the real deal - having thousands of people reading their writing because they actually enjoy it, or having a big pile of gold on the living room floor - to the external symptoms of those desires, like being able to hold a physical printed book with their name on the cover, or to say "I'm a published author". It seems to be the same principle as transferring ones sexual focus to some innocuous and faintly absurb physical object.

Or then again, maybe it's more related to cargo-cults, a mystical belief that once the book exists, readers will magically be brought into being.

Third possibility: I'm rambling and should go and make a cup of tea.

#7 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 01:12 AM:

OK, fair warning, I am not a lawyer, but I spent the dotcom bubble years building and running electronic commerce systems. We regularly got fascinating briefings from our nervous corporate attorneys on this stuff.

Maybe he can tell me if using the telephone to make fake credit card orders, interstate and international, is a federal rap.

In my inexpert opinion, more than one. (My guess is you already knew that.) Basically, if you intentionally defraud by material representation over any kind of interstate telecomminications method, it's wire fraud. In fact, just thinking up a scam somebody else executes can be a crime. Then there is the matter of using credit cards fraudulently.

If I ran a bookstore, or if I had a friend who ran a bookstore, I’d get the word out, and I’d check my records to see if a phone order for The Shortcut had come in with a phony credit card number. And if so, I’d call the cops, and the nice folks at the FBI.

You should add the Federal Trade Commission, as they supposedly investigate credit card frauds of over $ 2,000.

#8 ::: Elusis ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 02:21 AM:

Steve at #6 -

then again, maybe it's more related to cargo-cults, a mystical belief that once the book exists, readers will magically be brought into being.

Maybe it's some sort of spontaneous generation - pile unsold books in the corner, and readers will appear?

#9 ::: gurnemanz ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 03:45 AM:

Tina @ 5, Steve Taylor @ 6, Elusis @ 8- I believe you're very close to the truth with your questions and observations. There's a kind of magical thinking involved. I was a SAG/AFTRA agent for a while; the parade of the self-deluded was sad to behold.

Everyone has a dream. Not everyone has a grip on reality firm enough to deal well with their dreams.

#10 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 04:43 AM:

People do not always have clear-cut, simple motivations for writing, such as "I want to make a living" or "I want people to read my stories".

(Even those apparently straightforward explanations can be picked apart into their underlying motives. So, why do you REALLY want people to read your stories? ;-))

The victims of vanity publishers may not be fully aware of why they are driven to, say, hook up with PublishAmerica.

But why not simply ask one of them? "Why did you pay to publish this?"

#11 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 07:26 AM:
#10 But why not simply ask one of them? "Why did you pay to publish this?"

In the case of PublishAnything and their ilk, the writer will say, "But I didn't pay to publish!"

To which you have to ask, "Then why is your bank account lower now than it was before?"

#12 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 09:20 AM:

Tina @ 5: The mentality of people who do that kind of thing is very strange. They believe the outward seeming of a thing is the same as the reality. Getting to 89 on Amazon by playing the system is the same as having legitimately earned the ranking; having a book in print by a vanity publisher is the same as having it published and paid for by a commercial one.

These people have no understanding that the symbol is not the thing. They do not comprehend that hanging on their walls first-place ribbons that were bought at a store is not the same thing as having won them. They simply don't grasp the concept of "earned," only "got."

#13 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 09:27 AM:

Hi Short Story Author

Who you calling short?

#14 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 10:24 AM:

Wow. The Google-ads in the right-hand column read like a Who's Who of scammers. If you want to know who the bad guys are and what their pitches look like, check 'em out.

#15 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 10:29 AM:

In no particular order...

Aconite@#12: So, what went through my mind when I read your response is, "So these people are Gollum?"

I guess I'm never gonna get that. The symbol is just a symbol. It's worthless without the thing it represents behind it. It's like if I nailed a crucifix up in my livingroom and said I was Catholic because of it.

James (D.) Macdonald (I feel so off calling you just 'James')@11: Seriously, people say that? How do you not call giving someone money paying for something? What the hell is wrong with people?

Steve Taylor@6 & Elusis@8: I can almost understand the cargo cult mentality. Allllmost within my grasp. There's something shiny about the idea of my-book-as-a-book; when I put my first book in PDA format I even gave it a mockup cover cuz the concept was neat: I wrote a BOOK! But that didn't make me published; it made me putting it in a form I could give it to a couple beta readers in.

A.R.Yngve@#11: There's another common motivation I can think of, which is "I have to write the stories or they take up all my brain", and then there's "I want people to like what I wrote" and "I want to be famous". But only the last one even remotely goes with this practice.

I have some mix of why I want people to read what I wrote. Some of it is that I like the stories and I want other people to like them too, of course. (That falls into two categories itself: simple ego-boo, and the same impulse that leads me to recommend other authors: "It's neat! You'd like it!") Some of it is just the bit where "I wrote a book!" seems more real if someone else reads it. And of course, someone reading it puts it that much closer to getting to it being published, even if there's a lot of steps between "I wrote it and got the critique I needed and fixed it up some" and "Look, it's on sale in a bookstore!"

But I've been thinking about it for... call it 20 years, give or take, whereas sometimes I get the idea that some of the people who take the vanity route woke up one day and said "I wanna write a book." without really thinking about why.

#16 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 10:38 AM:

Tina @ 15: "So these people are Gollum?"

If Gollum carried copies of his book around in the trunk of his car, yes.

#17 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 11:03 AM:
"You! I've just awarded you the prize for the hundred-meter dash. Does it make you happy?"

"Uh, I suppose it would."

"No dodging, please. You have the prize -- here, I'll write it out: 'Grand prize for the championship, one hundred-meter sprint.' " He had actually come back to my seat and pinned it on my chest. "There! Are you happy? You value it -- or don't you?"

I was sore. First that dirty crack about rich kids -- a typical sneer of those who haven't got it -- and now this farce. I ripped it off and chucked it at him.

Mr. Dubois had looked surprised. "It doesn't make you happy?"

"You know darn well I placed fourth!"

"Exactly! The prize for first place is worthless to you... because you haven't earned it. But you enjoy a modest satisfaction in placing fourth; you earned it."

-- Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers. I suspect that a lot of those vanity-press folks would have failed H&MP.

#18 ::: Steve Zillwood ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 11:49 AM:

Tina @ 15 - I think back to a friend who had not one, but two "agents" over the past few years that were fee-based, and used a vanity press to finally get his book in print (with the commensurate growing pains, increasing fees, inadequate cover art, etc.). He, too, had been trying for years to achieve his dream of publication, and in his case I think he finally ran out of patience - just a single case, but I guess there are a few that simply lose a bit of faith in themselves. I suspect most are as you suggest, and either think writing a book would be "cool," or wake up to a new "Great Idea to Become Wealthy and Famous" (tm) at least a few times a year. I blame the sense of entitlement obvious even in a simple act like trying to drive five blocks to the store, and the overly goal-oriented focus of our education system and the media. I think we still need goals, but whatever happened to pride in doing one's best, like the Heinlein Joel quotes above touches on so perfectly?

On another note, regarding my relishment of this thread.... My students, especially the science and business majors, often ask me why it's important to study English (besides the fact that it's a requirement). I always start with the delight reading can and should bring, but being goal-oriented this often doesn't seem to satisfy; I usually then resort to the "thinking critically" and "effective research skills" that I believe they can develop through the discipline. What I should really do is point them here: posts like this one remind me how much delectable fun can be had with a little perception & research tied together. And delight. I detect delight being had.

#19 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 11:51 AM:

Although the book is a short story collection, *each* of the included authors is required to find 25 friends/relatives who will promise to buy "your" book? That's somewhere around 500 pre-sold copies before the book even goes to press - and it shouldn't be *that* hard to arrange for them all to buy within a week or two, creating an artifical flurry of interest. Then you add the fraud on top of that...

I remember when I first read Foucault's Pendulum, I thought that Eco had made up the vanity press, that nobody would be stupid enough to fall for something like that in the real world. (In my defense, I not only had no experience with publishing, but knew very little about it. As if that wasn't obvious.) Now I wouldn't be surprised to hear that it had been invented within Gutenberg's lifetime.

#20 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 11:57 AM:

I do wonder whether Mark Twain was required to sell 25 copies of the book, send out five press releases, and get two bookstores to stock it.

I wish I had a copy of this book's table of contents, and exactly what it says on the copyright page.

#21 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 12:48 PM:

Joel #17: apt quotation--but judging by the prevalence of cheating, doping, etc., plenty of athletes appear to be motivated to acquire ribbons, medals and titles they haven't earned. (See also padding your resume, hiring agencies to write your term papers....)

#22 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 12:51 PM:

Attributing magical thinking to vanity press authors reminds me of a short discussion a few threads back* about the Harvard MBA mentality. It's a very similar notion: the thing is real when I have acquired or created the appropriate symbol, so it isn't necessary to actually create the ding an sich**. I have personally seen MBA-trained managers insist that the job of re-organizing a troubled organization was done, and done well, once the Mission Statement and new org chart were published. This seems the same to me as insisting that one is a writer*** because your book has been printed, never mind that it was never accepted by a real publisher with real distribution capablity, and it sits in a warehouse somewhere and rots.


* I don't have time just now to hunt down the thread involved; if anyone else cares, I can do it later this evening (Pacific Daylight Time).

** Note my philosophical pretensions: a little Kantian seasoning makes any intellectual meal better.

*** How could two be a writer?

#23 ::: Joyce Reynolds-Ward ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 12:59 PM:

And then there are the sad cases, like the one sweet old lady I worked for years ago, who dearly wanted her self-published, vanity press book to succeed. But her motive was Christian evangelism to young kids. Using dogs as a mouthpiece.

The book was godawful. Terribly so. But she thought she was writing inspirational masterpieces, and had started up a second one.

She was a mark for all sorts of scams, unfortunately. I tried to help her, but in the long run, she didn't want truth, she wanted Truth--and in her version of the world, they weren't ripping her off.

Sigh.

#24 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 01:07 PM:

Thanks to a tip from Victoria, and Google's Book Search feature, here's the table of contents for The Shortcut:

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
Mark Twain

The Rising Star: The Beginning
Kevin A. Fabiano

Ghost Writer
Norm Tyrrell

Napoleon and the Spectre
Charlotte Brontë

The Warehouse
Amber Sperry & Alex Ocasio

Lilith in the Garden
Raven West

The Blue and the Gray
Louisa May Alcott

Young Goodman Brown
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Growing Up
Cady Hayden

The Story of an Hour
Kate Chopin

Blackness
Sabra Carpenter

The Outfielder's Crying One Last Time
Regina Henson

The Lamplighter
Dene Chaney

Permanent Twilight
Sayan Mukherjee

The Schoolboy's Story
Charles Dickens

A Glimpse of Freedom
Michele Rowlands & Annastasia McGrade

The Revolutionary
Jonathan Marcantoni

A Predicament
Edgar Allan Poe

Unconditional Love
Matt Waters

Dracula's Guest
Bram Stoker

#25 ::: A.R.Yngve ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 01:24 PM:

Whoa! Bram Stoker is still alive??
;-P

#26 ::: Martyn Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 01:25 PM:

James D Macdonald @ 20

Oh hell, Mark Twain could have done all that - and much more - before he lit his first cigar of the day.

Of course, he wouldn't, certainly not at Mr Fabiano's behest. Rather, I fancy he would have turned up on Mr Fabiano's doorstep with a horsewhip in his hand.

I think I understand the motives of the writers, but I know I understand the motives of these sleazy scum. They are worse than spammers. Mother, where's the rusty razor blade and the Anthrax spores?

#27 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 01:31 PM:

where's the rusty razor blade and the Anthrax spores?

In the weapons closet, next to the chlorine and alcohal bomb. Why?

#28 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 01:35 PM:

Nah, Bram Stoker isn't still alive. He's just there to fill out the roster, and to make true the publisher's promise that Well Known Writers were also going to be in the volume.

#29 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 01:53 PM:

I'm not particularly capital-L Literate. Are any of the works by Well Known Writers (however you care to define that) still under copyright? I recognise Twain, Bronte, Alcott, Dickens, Poe, and Stoker. I guessed that Nathaniel Hawthorne was also a classic author, but I'm not familiar with his work.

#30 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 02:09 PM:

Hawthorne, like the rest of the Well Known Authors, is very much Public Domain.

(I'm sure you've heard of The House of the Seven Gables.)

All of the stories by well-known authors are also widely anthologized.

#31 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 02:11 PM:

#14 Jim -- the thing to do with ads by offensive groups is click on them -- a lot. It costs them for every click.

:)

#32 ::: Elusis ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 03:09 PM:

Steve @18 and Bruce @22 - the thought has just struck me that perhaps part of what is at work here is the I'll Show You mentality. These authors cannot concieve of the possibility that their work is just not good enough to publish, and thus the only explanation for their lack of acceptance by the mainstream press is some sort of conspiracy or willful ignorance. Hence, "I'll get published, and you'll see, I'll Show You just what you were missing!"

Contempt and revenge as financial motivators rarely works out all that well.

I believe this is probably related to the Just Showing Up Award - a phenomenon I saw at a particular post-grad institute where I taught for a while, whose MA-clad students thought it was acceptable to fail to turn in work, complain about having to read an entire book, write ungrammatical responses to an essay exam, and miss two out of four day-long classes, yet still expected to get credit for the course (and an A grade, no less). Because they were entitled to earn credit toward state licensure for Just Showing Up (or in some cases, Just Paying The Course Fee).

I no longer teach there, needless to say.

At any rate, I think some of these folks believe that Just Showing Up, in their case completing a short story or a children's book or NaNoWriMo or whatever, automatically earns them the right to be published, and when that "right" is denied... well I'll Show You.

#33 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 03:22 PM:

#14, #31: James may qualify as a 'publisher' of the site, in which case he falls under the Google AdSense policy which includes 'Publishers participating in the AdSense program: ... May not encourage users to click the Google ads by using phrases such as "click the ads," "support us," "visit these links," or other similar language'.

Google claims to be able to recognize the bulk of clicks-for-the-purpose-of-costing-advertisers-money (which is one subcategory of the larger realm of 'click fraud'), but it's very hard for outsiders to tell how well they actually do at that.

Additionally, it is now possible for advertisers to opt into a 'pay per action' model, where they pay when someone places an order / signs up for a service / etc., in which case clicking won't do anything at all. I don't think it's possible to tell which advertisers are using PPA and which are using PPC.


And as of Monday, I'm starting a new job where I don't need to know any of that, so maybe this will be my last writing on the subject.

#34 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 03:47 PM:

It's not just the getting published, though. They could do that a lot more cheaply via Lulu for PoD, or via an honest, above-board old-style vanity press. I think Mr. Macdonald has pointed out a number of times that there is nothing wrong with that - sometimes it's the best way to get something into print, when there's no commercial market to sustain it.

But that's not good enough for them, because it's a clear commercial transaction. What they pay so dearly for is to be coddled with the sensation that they are going through the same process that "real authors" go through.

I just realized - it's not exclusive to authors. I have seen something very similar to this in the small-business world, too. Some people really want to believe they are businessmen, and will steadily lose sums of money trying to run a small business with no real product or service and no idea what they are doing. There are a bunch of scams tailored to those people too.

#35 ::: Eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 04:35 PM:

Ironically, I think that the key phrase here is "author identity."

If you crave to call yourself An Author, then (1) you need to get your book published, and (2) the publisher had better not admit to being a vanity press. So you can't publish your book through Lulu, because they're quite honest about publishing anyone and anything.

A clever scammer is more-or-less compelled to brag about their exclusivity. I suspect that it's the whole point.

(Self-publishing trivia: Edward Tufte mortgaged his house to publish The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. And most of us, I suspect, would be happy with his reviews. So Yog's Law does have the occasional exception.)

#36 ::: sara ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 05:24 PM:

Sometimes it would seem more honest if we just created old-fashioned European aristocracy in America, with titles that can be purchased.

People would fall over themselves to become the Earl of Poughkeepsie or the Duchess of Peoria.

They wouldn't have to pretend to others or themselves that they've actually done anything of merit.

#37 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 05:35 PM:

I'm in Arizona right now, and at the Sierra Vista Mall (as we were searching for wireless) I saw a table at Dalton's advertising a signing for a "new local author" of children's books.

Looking at the book was depressing.

1: It was PublishAmerica
2: It wasn't without talent. About 13/rd of it was good, 1/3rd needed some work and the other 1/3rd didn't look all the strong to me, but I'm not a children's book editor, so I don't know.

#38 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 06:22 PM:

Joel@17:

Yes, exactly! I don't agree with everything in that book, but that scene, by golly, resonates with me.

There are many things I like to do. Some of them I am quite good at -- I'm a really good non-fancy cook, for instance. There are no doubt better cooks but I'm consistently good and people I cook for really like it. Some, well, I'm not so good at. I'm an okay artist -- you can tell what I'm drawing and I do halfway-decent sketches of my characters with a few good ones here and there (and some cute chibis). I am never going to be a professional artist, though, or win any prizes, and probably I'm unlikely to ever wow anyone with a piece of art, and I'm fine with that.

I'm sure there's things I'm self-deluded about, but I hope they're at a minimum. Being satisfied with what I can do with occasional bouts of "gah, I wish I could do this better" seems a much better recipe for a happy life than trying to trick myself into thinking I'm better than I am.

Steve Zillwood@18:

I'm all about sympathizing with the publishing process as frustrating and just wanting it DONE. (I have several very, very frustrating rejection letters, in that they basically read 'I really like this, but it's not quite right', and that's actually more frustrating than 'form: no'.) Where I lose the thread is how that turns into "therefore I shall pay someone to publish it and consider that victory".

Elusis@#32

I suspect that you are quite right about the "I'll Show You" mentality thing. I mean, obviously, I think my stuff is good enough to be published, or why would I be submitting it? So I'm sure these people feel the same way.

From that angle, I almost see how they leap to "Therefore I shall go where I will be accepted." I'm a little too... something... to take that leap myself. What's the 'something'? I need a word here. (Sheesh, and I call myself a writer.)

I read too much, that's what it is. For all that I think my writing is overall pretty good and enjoyably readable and such, I can easily see where many published authors have honed their skills more than I have.

#39 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 06:25 PM:

Self-publishing is not an exception to Yog's Law.

In self-publishing the author spends nothing; the publisher still spends all. That the publisher and the author are the same person is a mere quibble.

The first and greatest error that self-publishers make is that they, as publisher, don't pay the author the royalties due or figure them into the total cost of the operation.

It's only moving money from one pocket to another in the same pair of pants, but it's necessary to the business.

Pray note that The Visual Display of Quantitative Information falls squarely into that area where self-publishing does best: specialized non-fiction.

#40 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 08:03 PM:

Joel Polowin at #17 wrote:

>"You! I've just awarded you the prize for the hundred-meter dash. Does it make you happy?"
(Starship Troopers)

Yeah - that's been running through my head for the whole thread.

God knows, Heinlein wasn't perfect, and had his crazy moments, but it's surprising how often some fragment of one of his books pops up in my mind as commentary on some situation - and this one couldn't be more apt

#41 ::: Scott Eric Kaufman ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 08:57 PM:

Personally, I think you people are being way too hard on this guy. I, for one, was really inspired by him.

#42 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 11:39 PM:

The Heinlein passage makes an assumption about... I don't know, personal integrity? In a similar vein, there's the line from Aral Vorkosigan in Bujold's A Civil Campaign: "It could be worse. There is no more hollow feeling than to stand with your honor shattered at your feet while soaring public reputation wraps you in rewards. That's soul-destroying. The other way around is merely very, very irritating."

But there are some people who really do want the adulation and attention more than they care about actually doing something well.

For example, there was an S.C.A. cook a few years back who skimped on a lot of the preparation for a banquet (her official task) so that she could spend most of a day doing a really spiffy luncheon for the visiting royalty (not part of her job). We had moderate chaos in the kitchen, but she got noticed by the tin-hats.

Or the guy who was, for about eight months, the editor of the newsletter for an organization. He was given a few basic constraints: not more than five sheets of paper (the maximum that could be sent in a standard envelope with standard postage), and a publication schedule; the rest was up to his discretion. And there's no question that he put together a nice-looking publication: reasonably clearly laid out (apart from some really stupid widow- and orphan-line problems and some crappy-looking graphics, because he didn't know how to use his software and wouldn't accept any advice), decent-sized text, moderate white space. I wasn't too impressed by the content, but that's a matter of taste. But he was always way over his budget because the newsletter had two or three times as many pages as had been allowed for, and it was always mailed long after the schedule dictated -- except on the one or two occasions when it wasn't mailed at all. People weren't finding out about events until after they'd happened; they didn't get notice of official business until after deadlines were passed (which got into potential legal complications). Once or twice, he created fake titles and positions for himself in the list of the organization's officers in the newsletter. When it finally became clear that he could not be gotten to follow the needs of the group, he was removed from the position, with much acrimony.

But unfortunately (to my mind) he got the positive attention he was seeking; some of his friends nominated his issues of the newsletter for an award, and enough people voted in favour of it (either not knowing about the problems, or not caring) that he won the award.

When I was younger, I was more keen on getting awards and recognition than I am now; these days, I lean towards trying to do my best and hoping that people will notice. But even when I was young, I wasn't comfortable with unearned praise or recognition. My teachers thought it was bizarre that I would come up to them after they'd returned the class tests, and point out where they'd neglected to take off marks for things I'd gotten wrong. I was compulsively honest, I guess. Or figured that it would balance out when I complained about not getting marks that I deserved.

#43 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2007, 11:54 PM:

Tufte really is one of those people who should self publish -- his works are solid, and he's too much of a perfectionist to trust them to anyone else. (And typeset) (And Layout). It's all part of the point of the books, really.

One of the pages in his second book is a swiss contour map -- it's a 27 ink plate, and all of them register perfectly. All of the contours match.

(I'm eric with a small e, not to be confused with the other one up thread who started the tufte diversion)

#44 ::: Dei ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 06:10 AM:

*avid reader, very shy poster here*:

I think there's one thing wrong with Heinlien's passage quoted here in that the pupil knows he didn't earn that prize, the awarder knows he didn't earn it and the pupil knows that everyone around knows that he didn't earn it. Under those circumstances, it'll be a very rare person who'll accept first prize.

On the other hand, if no one knows how you got it... ah, now that's different. And you'll find a lot of people willing to either fake achievements or cheat to win real ones, particularly when there's a lot of prestige in it.

#45 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 08:08 AM:

Dei, 44: Under those circumstances, it'll be a very rare person who'll accept first prize.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you..."Bush patently in denial over Gonzales."

(oh, c'mon, we've all been thinking it...)

#46 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 12:11 PM:

There's a phenomenon in the world of fanfic which I think is related to the vanity presses which cater to the people who want other people to believe they've been published. In recent years there have been a good many people who find actually writing a story far too much like hard work, when it's ever so much easier to lift a story from a LiveJournal or website, change the author's name, and submit it to fanfiction.net. When caught and exposed, they cannot see anything wrong with what they've done. In fact, the standard reaction is to say that the ripped-off author should feel honoured that they were chosen.

I've never been able to get my head around that behaviour. They're obviously doing it for the egoboo of being praised for good work -- but how can it feel good when it's not their work, and it's such shameless and outright theft that they can't possibly convince themselves that it *is* their work? I presume it's a status thing. They have the status of being authors with a string of comments praising their work, and that's more important than whether it's real. Get caught, and see the stolen story taken down -- just steal another one and put it up. Or even the same one. After all, the bragging rights over how many "OMG UR brill!!!!" comments you receieved are what's important.

#47 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 12:17 PM:

Tina (#38): the word is "honest," as in "you are too honest to lie to yourself about something important".

#48 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 12:53 PM:

Per the second PW story, the editor of The Shortcut seems to be one Danna Curran.

#49 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 12:55 PM:

Dei, 44: Under those circumstances, it'll be a very rare person who'll accept first prize.

I think you underestimate the ability of quite a number of people to convince themselves of what they want to believe, especially if they are incapable of earning what they think they deserve. Don't forget Unskilled and Unaware of It. No foolin'.

I'm really unsure how this relates to Texanne's(45) comment about the Bush/Gonzales affair (he said with a slash).

#50 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 02:38 PM:

Tina @ 38: From that angle, I almost see how they leap to "Therefore I shall go where I will be accepted." I'm a little too... something... to take that leap myself. What's the 'something'? I need a word here.

Realistic? Sane? Grounded? Or its folksy synonym, down-to-earth?

I'm just thinking here that we have a lot more varied and pithy words for degrees of "crazy" than for its antonym at the other end of the continuum.

#51 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 03:32 PM:

The Heinlien passage reminds of when I was given an academic award in school that I didn't earn under the rules because the teachers felt sorry for me. No one understood, including my dad why I refused to show up for the ceremony. He insisted I should have been there to rub it in the faces of those that spent too much time telling me I was worthless loser. He failed to see how a framed piece of paper I didn't earn wouldn't change that.
My ethics and integrity always knows it was a cheat and rings hollow. Drat that his lessons in honour actually stuck.
If I give in my vanity press will be self publishing at Kinko's or Lulu. Why disguise it as otherwise.

#52 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 07:15 PM:

Re #48, following the link I learn:

Returning to the US Danna began a career as a mechanical editor.

What, exactly, does this mean? I think it has something to do with pasting up newspapers or magazines.

(I resist the urge to use this sentence as a straight line, making references to The Mechanical Editor of Oz, and instead observe that Another Sort of Editor might have put a comma after "Returning to the US.")

#53 ::: Mary Sipe ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 07:46 PM:

*Delurks and gives a shy wave*

Tina @5 - I'm right there with you. It simply makes no sense to me. It's like plagarism in that I don't understand how anyone could derive satisfaction from it.

Of course, I've known a lot of poets to self-publish and they seem entirely happy to sell their books at readings, slams, etc. The difference, as I see it, is that they just want to spread their work among like minded folk. This scam is a clear appeal to writers with aspirations to commercial publishing. (Understand I am not a person who feels 'commercial' is a dirty word.) Why would such writers be satisfied with what 'Author Identity' is offering, even if it wasn't a scam?

Elusis @32 - That's a very good point about the 'I'll Show You' mentality. And ego is likely a factor as well. This Mr. Fabiano seems quite the egomaniac. I just can't understand how he thinks to get away with such blatant fraud.

It's the sense of entitlement inherent in this that most bowls me over. Perhaps I'm naive, but I would like to believe that most people don't think the world should be offered to them on a silver platter simply because they had the good grace to be born.

Julia Jones @46 - I was thinking exactly the same! :-)

#54 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 09:15 PM:

A friend was telling me about an incident earlier this week, when he answered the door and found a young man who was selling his 'science fiction story' door to door. (Said young man described himself as a 'great fan of science fiction' but didn't recognize Locus. We suspect someone who doesn't actually read it, only watches it on TV.)

#55 ::: Leah Bobet ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 09:46 PM:

...does anyone else find it deliciously ironic that the anthology is called The Shortcut?

Echoes of the Magic Get Published Button...

#56 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 09:53 PM:

Mary Sipe@#53 -- Welcome to unlurk land!

Yeah, there's a clear difference between "self-publishing" and "self-deluded vanity publishing". ^_^ I think you can assume pretty much everyone here sees the line between self-publishing and the sort of scam that's being run here, or between self-publishing and vanity publishing. And if you know you have a limited market and the ability and willingness to hawk your own product, self-publishing's likely even a smart move.

Selling your own poetry chapbooks when you've got a ready-made market for small quantities? That's just sensible. Getting poetry published is probably even tougher than getting fiction published, at least at collection length. It's in the same realm as musicians who sell their own CDs out of their trunk at small-venue shows, another thing I have no issue with.

Heck, even vanity publishing has its place, if you walk into it knowing darn well what you're doing is vanity publishing. Maybe it's worth some money to you to have a bunch of bound copies of your family history or recipe book or whatever, rather than try to do it yourself.

So, yes, the line definitely is where people mistake (willingly or not) vanity publishers for legitimate commercial publishers -- or, to use a vanity term, 'traditional' publishers. The ones with silly rules like "Your writing has to not suck." and "We must think this will sell." and "An editor at least needs to look at this at some point." :D

Emma@#47: :D Self-honest is something I strive for, yes, so that would work, but also...

Clifton Royston@#50: I like "down-to-earth". It's another thing I strive to be, and it fits the situation pretty well. I may sometimes have my head in the clouds -- everyone daydreams! -- but I try to conduct my life down here in the real world.

I think, too, that it helps a lot that I've had places like Making Light (amongst others) to read the realities of publishing at. I have a pretty good idea at this point what to expect out of the business end of publishing, and also that it's a darn good sign that I've gotten personalized rejections. The rest of the way there may be frustrating but I think I'll get there.

#57 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 10:00 PM:

Leah @55: Probably in imitation of The Secret. I was browsing an article in Newsweek, which described that book as packaging yet another 'power of positive thinking' message (the latest in a lineage going back a hundred years), but thought its success could be attributed to the punchy title, which suggests that there is a simple secret that the author was going to let you in on.

#58 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 10:31 PM:

According to her AuthorsDen bio, Danna Curran's "...lastest book is The Shortcut..." Quite possibly it is.

#59 ::: Jon Hansen ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 10:33 PM:

That's very interesting. I think I saw a copy of The Shortcut in my local B&N Saturday eve. Hmm -- have to swing back by for another look.

#60 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 10:42 PM:

Poor Danna also misspelled the title of the book on her AuthorsDen page.

The good news: She's been mentioned in Publishers Weekly! The bad news: She's been mentioned in Publishers Weekly....

Big List o' Links here.

#61 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2007, 10:45 PM:

...copies of her nephew's appalling PoD book...

Would that be the one that was the narration of someone's D&D game, with the bad CG cover picture?

#62 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 02:02 AM:

The one review The Shortcut has on Amazon is by Cady Hayden, the author of one of the stories in the book.

#63 ::: Eve ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 09:17 AM:

“Your manuscript is both good and original; but the good parts are not original and the original parts are not good.”

#64 ::: Nick ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 11:52 AM:

Re: unearned rewards and praise:

When I was about 7 or 8, I layered plasticine over a small plastic dinosaur and passed it off as a sculpture that I had made. The look of pride in my mother's face when I showed it to her caused the worse shame that I have ever felt, and I desperately attempted to make a real tricerotops sculpture that would genuinely earn that pride. I couldn't.

I'm inclined to think that people who don't feel that shame are sociopaths.

#65 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 01:50 PM:

The more I follow these stories, the more I suspect that the writers who are sucked into them genuinely don't know that they aren't involved in genuine publishing.

They think that this is really the way it is. See, for example, Ann Crispin's story "How Much Did It Cost You?"

#66 ::: Michael Bloom ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 02:06 PM:

Tina @#56: Touring musicians should always carry copies of their CDs in their luggage. If your CD sells in a store, you make (at the level I'm at) maybe a dollar, payable sometime over the next year, *if* the record label *and* the distributor are honest about their accounting, and nobody in the chain has gone bankrupt. (One CD I played on had a bunch of copies in stock at Tower, requiescat in pace.) If you sell it yourself at a gig, you get to put the entire purchase price in your pocket immediately, at a point where you're probably wondering how much gas it's gonna take to get to the next gig, and your profit is the difference between that amount and what you paid for it. (Even corporate labels will probably sell you your own CDs in quantity for $7 each or so. Of course you'll forfeit the royalties on those, but see above.)

Plus whoever buys it may well be impressed by the personal touch if you autograph it, and be that much more likely to come see you again. And at least s/he bought it, which may not happen if your CD isn't in stock in the shop, or your fan doesn't find it before getting distracted by something else, or is short on cash this week...

#67 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 02:17 PM:

Okay, so I don't have much familiarity with this particularly seamy aspect of "publishing", but do these writers and editors always write as poorly as poor Danna?

"Danna wrote her first freelance story at age 16. It was crafted in poetic form. This story was picked up by the Capitol Courier."

I wrote like this in the 4th grade, in short, simple declarative sentences. However, at that time I did not claim to have "lectured on the college circuit and helped to craft young adults into aspiring* writers" nor did I have "a career as a freelance editor making her services available to individual writers giving them the advantage of a polished manuscript."

I am comforted to know, though, that "She continues to write her own work today..." I'd surely hate to think she'd paid someone else to do it.

* A case of truthishness? She didn't say "successful" or "polished" or "skilled", after all.

#68 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 03:19 PM:
"She continues to write her own work today..." I'd surely hate to think she'd paid someone else to do it.

Or that she was "writing" someone else's work, either as a ghost-writer or as a plagiarist.

#69 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 05:28 PM:

Michael Bloom@#66: Oh, actually I agree. Having extra CDs around to sell to folks, particularly if you're mostly playing small venues where they're more likely to approach you, is a grand idea. I was thinking more of the folks who booked their own studio time and cut a CD they're going to distribute themselves. Some musicians do that, and I think of it as the equivalent of poets who self-publish. Sometimes it's the better choice.

I was more trying to illustrate the line between self-publishing and vanity publishing than anything. There are definitely pursuits in which it may work out better, and musicians came to mind.

#70 ::: Mary Sipe ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 05:56 PM:

Thanks for the welcome, Tina!

#71 ::: Carrie V. ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 06:58 PM:

James on #65:

I think you're exactly right with this. On a recent temp gig, I was explaining to the other temp what I did with the rest of my time (third novel just out now--squee!). She asked, "So how does that work? You get money for the book...then pay the publisher a percentage?"

I was a bit taken aback. I told her the publisher actually paid me for the right to publish my books.

She looked shocked. "But then what does the publisher get out of the deal?"

"Um...all the money?" So I had to back up and explain the entire system.

I've found myself in a constant process of educating people about how the publishing business actually works, and they're always shocked by it.

#72 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 07:35 PM:

James D. Macdonald @ 65, Carrie V. @ 71: Those are the ones who break my heart: the ones who had the bad luck to fall in with the wrong kind of crowd early on and just don't know any better. There but for the grace, &c.

The ones I want to fire Miss Snark's clue cannon at are the ones who wander, stumble, or charge into the company of writers and editors and publishers and agents vastly more experienced and credible than they or their crowd of cronies who then proceed not only to ignore good advice and researchable fact, but to argue with it. Why, oh why, does it never seem to occur to these people to apply the same "Why should I take your word for it?" attitude to the piles of crap they learned first too?

#73 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 08:01 PM:

Dan linked to "Unskilled and Unaware Of It" back up at #49. Now should come the ritual link to SlushKiller.

The slushpiles are full of folks who are convinced that their writing is every bit as good as what they see on the racks -- but are mistaken.

To those people, the guy who says "I love your writing!" is a hero, a man of taste and good sense. He's so clearly right about the important thing that they'll accept everything else he says too.

#74 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 08:37 PM:

Carrie @#71: third novel just out now--squee!
John and I finished said 3rd novel a week or more ago. Thanks for the fun read!

Aconite @ #72: IANAW, but in my experience as a beta reader newbie writers ignore good advice and researchable fact for the same reason that people who can't sing insist on auditioning for American Idol.


#75 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 08:37 PM:

Carrie V... I was recently visiting my buddies at my employer's main San Francisco office, and said to one of them how I wish we could afford to move back there. My buddy, who is not a stupid man, suggested that my wife's agent should send her books to Hollywood. He obviously has a strange (but probably quite common) idea of how things work. Of course, should the phone ring and it's Steven Spielberg himself calling...

#76 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 10:15 PM:

Please allow me to drop a link for Varieties Of Insanity Known To Afflict Authors to add to Mr. Macdonald's post above. The points made there are worth noting by my fellow unpublished scrubs who haven't yet been culled from the herd by pseudo-publisher scammers. Consider them carefully. It should be easy to see how even getting your novel published by a reputable house will be far from a clear indication that your writing is any good, or that you're a sane and sensible person.

In fact, it's an immutable Law of Nature that if you're a writer, then the question is not whether you're sane or sensible. (Of course, you're not.) The question is whether the variety of insanity that afflicts you is compatible with the peculiar requirements of the weird population of cranks and misfits who keep the publishing industry from completely cratering into mass bankruptcy on a daily basis by showing up and doing real work.

#77 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 10:29 PM:

Tracie at #67 wrote:

> Okay, so I don't have much familiarity with this particularly seamy aspect of "publishing", but do these writers and editors always write as poorly as poor Danna?

Darn. You made me look:

"I don’t look at you as just my mother
But a very special friend
Whenever I have a problem
A hand you’re always willing to lend"

Hmmm...

#78 ::: Stephen Speelburg ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 10:31 PM:

Serge @ 75 - Hi. I'm Stephen Speelburg from Production America and I can help you get your screenplay produced...

#79 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 11:23 PM:

Nothing much to offer other than saying 1) I think Lulu.com is as good a place as any for an orphan work (I'm thinking about compiling my published short stories, my contract stated that as long as I credited where they appeard they are mine to do with what I wanted). and
2) Just about every Ren Faire musician worth their salt (and a lot that aren't) sell their CDs for at least $10. That likely pays more than than the venue does. And the seven-song wonder that appears at our local faire has apparently never gotten that message. Good because as far as we can tell, he only knows seven songs. And $10 is a fair price (I've paid it often enough).

#80 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2007, 11:55 PM:

Sure, Mister Speelburg. Could you get Miss Black to play the leading lady? And I mean Claudia Black, not Karen Black.

#81 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 12:58 AM:

"We suspect someone who doesn't actually read it, only watches it on TV"

To be fair, Locus is not *that* commonly carried on the rack. It's more common to see it nowadays in the big-box bookstore era, but in areas not blessed with such stores I could see someone unaware of Locus' existence.

I think I only learned about Locus when I started reading rec.arts.sf.composition, back in, or shortly after, college.

#82 ::: asdf ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 01:32 AM:

Anyone else see the irony of the title of the book? It hit me when I looked at that Danna blog and read the caption of a photo, "Shortcut Authors." As in, taking the shortcut of self-publishing?

#83 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 06:07 AM:

Serge #80: Why not Halle Berry?

#84 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 06:51 AM:

Fragano @ 83... Nah. Angela Bassett. I wish she had played Storm in the X-men movies.

#85 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 07:54 AM:

Serge #84: Not a bad choice either.

#86 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 08:16 AM:

The living authors (so far as I'm aware) in this anthology were adamant that this was not vanity publishing, despite the requirement that they buy or cause to be bought 25 copies each.

That's innocence.

#87 ::: Michael Bloom ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 10:00 AM:

Tina @#69: It seems to me that making your own CD has more "indie cred" than self-publishing a book, even though in most respects it's exactly the same process.

I've done both (although in the project for the real label I was a sideman, not the official creative force).

There are other factors that emerge out of that basic dichotomy. (Stop me if you've heard all this before.) A label deal is usually structured so you have a sum of money advanced (loaned) to you, out of which you budget what it's going to cost you to make the recording, and you deliver the finished recording to the label for pressing and distribution. In the overwhelming majority of cases this means you book time in a recording studio, hire a producer and/or engineer, and try to capture magic on tape as quickly as possible. (Unless you're Fleetwood Mac or Pink Floyd or someone like that, and can take as much time as you feel you need.) My "professional" recording took about six days to record, because we were pretty well rehearsed, and a gratifying number of tracks on the finished CD were first takes. (The rest of the deal, as in book publishing, is that you still owe the label for that advance, and in theory you pay them back out of your royalties. It is a rather small minority of CDs that recoup their advances. I don't know the comparable figures for books.)

In a whole 'nother band (and one which put more faith in the idea of improvisatory spontaneity), we accumulated tapes over the course of years, and when we felt like making a CD we picked them over, looking for performances with some magic in them (and adequate technical standards) and paid the thousand dollars to have it mastered and pressed. We sell it at our infrequent gigs, or trade with other bands, or give it away to new friends, and still have a stash in the basement. I don't think we quite broke even, but because we're an abstract instrumental band with a strong improvisatory component, and moreover we're lazy, we don't have much of a constituency anyway; there are many working musicians either more tuneful or more diligent than we are who follow this model and make a career of it.

The differences as I see it involve a bunch of tradeoffs among time, money, autonomy and indeterminate professional standards, many of which don't analogize well to book publishing-- for example, you can't reasonably expect any author to write a publishable novel in a week, even given Harlan Ellison's shop window stunts.

Except maybe in the sense that what passes for copy-editing in Publish America product kinda resembles excess distortion or tape hiss on a homemade CD. There was something of a trend back in the '90s to revere "lo-fi" recording as a sign of authenticity; critics who bought into that should probably be invited to read Atlanta Nights. But in my view that's a matter of insufficient diligence on the auteur's part. Once you decide you have standards, it's your own responsibility to meet them.

#88 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 10:14 AM:

Selling your book from the back of the hall at presentations or poetry readings is entirely legitimate.

The question is, can you fill a hall with folks who are willing to pay five bucks to five hundred bucks a pop to listen to you gab?

#89 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 10:41 AM:

Jon H @ 81

This incident took place (a) less than a mile from a university campus and (b) less than two miles from a mall with a major-chain bookstore that *does* carry Locus (although it's on the bottom shelf).

#90 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 11:37 AM:

Rebecca O'Meara, either an agent or a publicist I'm not sure, just spammed all the Meetup groups, IMDb, and has a few listings on publishers weekly, a nanny site and an independent publishers site.

She has no publications, or representative lists though she's suppossedly "World Wide"

I'm not sure what to think of her.

#91 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 11:50 AM:

Is it just me, or does the scheme described in #87 bear a much stronger resemblance to vanity publishing than to legitimate publishing? Particularly the way significant portions of the cost are expected to be borne by the musicians, whether the publication succeeds or not.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought the whole point of Yog's Law is that (in legitimate publishing) the author is not required to pay one cent more than the postage necessary to ship the manuscript to the publisher, even if the book turns out to be a calamitous failure. The publisher assumes the risks and costs, which is why they collect the majority of the revenue and the author gets a significantly smaller share.

#92 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 12:06 PM:

Chris @ 91

does the scheme described in #87 bear a much stronger resemblance to vanity publishing than to legitimate publishing

Too bloody right it does. The recording industry has long been notorious for its mistreatment of the artists that it ostensibly depends on. They get away with it because they're often the only game in town (at least up until the Internet). But it's really understandable why the RIAA's protestations of concern for the income of the artists has been met with less than enthusiastic agreement from many of those artists.

#93 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 12:26 PM:

Chris@#91

It's not just you. Authors may not make much more of a percentage on their book sales, but the process is a hell of a lot more fair than the crap musicians have to put up with. Rights management in publishing is far more friendly to the author, amongst other things.

Michael Bloom @#87

I suspect part of why there's more credibility for musicians self-recording is... well, fairly complex, probably, but I think it boils down to a couple factors:

1) A lot of bands are selling those CDs to people who have already ponied up for a show and have figured out if they like the band, which in turn relates to
2) Bands typically generate an audience via live performance before they cut anything more complex than a demo, and usually before that, too, whereas
3) A first-time author with a book is selling it to strangers who probably have no clue other than skimming the first few pages if it's going to be any good

Writing and recording music is every bit as complex and intricate a process as writing a book, but I think the end result is easier to judge, even for the musicians. I think because it comes in shorter chunks. Any given song is more like a short story or a piece of poetry (well, it is poetry in many cases, set to music), and the songs get judged individually before inclusion on a CD. That's why I think it's much more akin to self-publishing poetry, which is a more accepted practice than self-publishing novels.

By virtue of their length, novels have more places they can go wrong. Good prose doesn't ensure a plot that holds together for 300 pages, and a good plot doesn't ensure the prose is consistently good, the writing is technically apt, the dialogue is realistic enough throughout, etc. With a poem, it's generally either good or not. With a song, it's a little more complex -- you can have, say, a great melody but bad drumming -- but it's closer to the 'hit or miss' simplicity than a novel is.

#94 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 12:59 PM:

I think it's worth noting that bands recording and releasing their own CDs is precisely analogous to the one (potentially) non-scam self-publishing scenario: when you've written a niche work that you publicize successfully by having people pay to see you perform it (or lecture, in the case of non-fiction). They then buy the CD (or t-shirt or book) while they're there. Or they find out that the band makes their CDs available on CD Baby.

However, this isn't a scenario most novelists find themselves in.

#95 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 01:49 PM:

A closer analogy of vanity publishing for musicians is the old Song Poem racket.

#96 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 02:42 PM:

Everyone's probably seen the Courtney Love speech from 2000, right?

Just checking.

#97 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 02:45 PM:

Oh, hey! According to Wikipedia, the "work for hire" bit was successfully repealed.

Mr. Glazier should, in a just world, still be in jail, though.

#98 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 04:14 PM:

I am not a music-industry insider or expert on it - I've just known a few musicians - but it seems to me that the mainstream portion has as much in common with the scam vanity presses and scam agents than with legitimate publishing. Here are a few wrinkles for musicians which move the "mainstream" label approach several notches closer to the PublishAmerica scam vanity-press model.

First, I hear there's a lot of effort put into wowing bands with "You're signed! You've made the big time! Now don't read this contract too closely, these are just details..." The result is that a lot of bands, unless they're street-smart and have heard the horror stories, or are fiends for reading complex legalese, really don't understand how the advance works and the structure of all the expenses that will be billed against their royalties. Does that remind you of what you would hear from the scam agents and vanity presses, as opposed to legit publishers?

Second, if you're recording an album, you're in theory free to use any studio you want. Street-smart musicians or bands choose their own and negotiate the hourly rates carefully. Bands that don't know this usually end up using a studio owned by - guess who, that's right - the label or its holding company and paying an exorbitant hourly rate, along with extra hourly charges for engineers, etc. who are employees of the label. Naturally in this case the label will encourage them to "take as long as you like... get the sound perfect..." and the naive do. This neatly skims off a bunch of money the label would otherwise have to pay the band, from one pocket of the company into another pocket. Does this remind you somewhat of the long list of "reading fees", "editing fees" and "preparation fees" charged by scam agents and publishers?

Same kind of deal might apply with the producer who's supposed to oversee mixing and give the album its overall "sound". I don't know as much about that, but I do know it's the band who ends up paying out of their royalties.

Then there's "promotion". Know of any legit publisher which bills their authors, on a line-item basis, for book promotion touring costs? PublishAmerica says it's all up to the author to promote the book, but doesn't - AFAIK - have the chutzpah to bill them for it. As I understand it, the expenses of the band's tour to promote the album, down to the M&Ms backstage, typically get billed by the label against the band's royalties, usually with a suitably creative accounting and mark-up.

Then there's the whole "independent promoter" scam, which is how the labels can pretend they're not doing pay-for-play to the radio stations, while according to rumors managing to involve executive kickbacks and organized crime in the process, and still all getting paid out of the band's royalties.

All these factors together lead to how and why numerous musicians have complained of releasing a platinum (over million-selling) album, which made the label tens of millions of dollars, and yet never seeing a net royalty check and owing their label money at the end of it. It's a great racket, and only the exceedingly wise or successful and experienced manage to avoid it. (By doing things like setting up their own label, by managing and paying for all of their own recording and touring expenses, by having their own song publishing company which gets paid a much smaller royalty but on gross sales, etc.)

I'm sure one piece of the puzzle is that for newcomers to the business, there is nobody experienced on their side who plays the same role as an author's agent and negotiates for them on the basis of a share of their net. A band's manager is often some friend of the musicians who doesn't know the ins and outs of the recording industry, but just knows how to soothe ruffled feathers, keep their books, and land them gigs at local bars and venues.

Another piece is that up to the last 20 years or so, there was a big technology investment required on the recording studio side, and a huge one on the music production plant. That favored the manufacturers. That advantage is now gone, but the industry hasn't adapted yet.

And another piece is that the recording industry is only about a century old, so more balanced institutions haven't yet evolved. Publishing is a lot older.

#99 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 04:46 PM:

Clifton @ 98... "You're signed! You've made the big time! Now don't read this contract too closely, these are just details..."

I find myself reminded of Brian de Palma's Phantom of the Paradise.

#100 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 04:57 PM:

P.S. You should assume my above posting, as always, to be tendentious, suspect, and light on hard facts. :-)

#101 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 05:16 PM:

Speaking of the music industry, see this cartoon.

#102 ::: Tully ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 05:28 PM:

OMG. LMAO!

An interview with Kevin Fabiano.

He works for a legal publishing firm in New York*, he advises to never "write to the market," but that success lies in "marketing and tenacity."

Money quote: "Think outside the box when you think about marketing your books."

Uh huh. Though perhaps one should also think "inside the cell" when marketing in certain ways, no?

[*--anyone wanna guess?]

#103 ::: Graham Blake ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 06:15 PM:

Tully @ #102

Oh my.

In the left-hand column there is a link to "Get Interviewed!"

You write your own answers to the canned interview questions. I was thinking it deliciously amusing that whoever conducted Fabiano's interview could not write or spell. Now I see the content was written by Fabiano himself, in an attempt at self-promotion. As a writer.

Priceless.

#104 ::: BKA ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 06:32 PM:

Tully @ 102:

Amusingly, he also quotes his own answers from that form interview as a "book review" on his site.


What's the one thing that you want them to know about your writing?

I take great care in checking the facts I place in my books. All the information, dates, locations, technology and historical figures are accurate. I do this because I know I am writing to an educated reading and I would never attempt to insult their intelligence by massaging the facts.

becomes

[Fabiano] take[s] great care in checking the facts . . . [he’s] writing to an educated reader.
-Writers Manual

The rampant brackets on that page make me wonder about the rest of the quotes.

#105 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 06:41 PM:

He says that "perpetrate" inspires him to write. Does that sound Freudian to anyone else?

#106 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 07:39 PM:

LMAO. My favorite line is that he wants to visit Iceland because of their "belief in ferries and mythical monsters."

But note this:

What would you do differently if you could repeat the same publishing experience?

I would have started a marketing campaign before the book’s release date. This is what I did with my second book and it appears to work much better.

Hmmmm... I wonder if there been any bogus orders for "Poison: Unlocking Years of FDA Cover-Up"

#107 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 07:40 PM:

cough... That should have been:
I wonder if there have been any bogus orders for "Poison: Unlocking Years of FDA Cover-Up"?

The stupid, it's getting on me!

#108 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2007, 10:31 PM:

Poison hasn't come out yet, so there probably aren't any orders of any kind for it.

When looking for Poison, I found this item posted at Google Base by kevinfabiano@lawyer.com (which at the time I looked had exactly 1 view). Clicking on "all items by" brought me to Review The Palace of Wisdom: A Rock and Roll Fable.

That showed me this:


Description

A great book. It [will] keep [the reader] riveted from beginning to end. It is a must read for anyone who loves twists and turns, or rock n' roll.

-Barnes&Noble.com

Well, nothing would do but to go to BN.com to look for that review. It's the only review of Palace of Wisdom over there:

A. Dwyer, A reviewer, 09/12/2006 Customer Rating for this product is 5 out of 5
EXCITING
This was a great book. It kept me riveted from beginning to end. It is a must read for anyone who loves twists and turns, or rock n' roll.

After that I went to Amazon, where A. Dwyer also left a review:

3 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
EXCITING!!!, September 8, 2006
Reviewer: A. Dwyer - See all my reviews (REAL NAME)
After hearing of the release of the Palace of Wisdom, I rushed out to buy it. I was excited when I began reading this novel and was thrilled at its conclusion. Not only was this a fascinating read, and a very quick read at that,it was very informative with all the rock and roll history that was hidden as clues in the novel. It took me a while, but when I uncoverd the names were anagrams, boy was it eye opening. It is a must read for any rock and roll fan!

That's the first review of The Palace of Wisdom over there, and that's A.Dwyer's first and only review at Amazon.

The names are anagrams? Let's look at that. Michael Evers is an anagram of A Vile Schemer.* That certainly seems apropos.

=======
* Also of I Shelve Cream and Vials Cheer Me.

#109 ::: Tina ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 12:34 AM:

Vials cheer me! At least if they contain alcohol.

Also, don't forget that also allows for "A Schemer Evil". I love the way that having 'vile' turn up means you can always use 'evil' as well.

"A Crime Shelve" very nearly also fits the theme, if you allow for the slightly ungrammatical bent. "He's Evil Cream" sounds either very odd or very dirty; I only include it because it struck me as funny, which I needed today. (Bad day. BAD day. My cat died.)

#110 ::: BKA ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 01:18 AM:

How odd. Three of the other Shortcut authors (Amber Sperry, Alex Ocasio, and Michele E. Rowlands) have similar blogs, on which they post an abbreviated version of Fabiano's list of the dubious offers and marketing schemes which he's recommending. The list is identical (typos and all) on each of them, except for the name of the poster. None of the blogs have any content other than this post and biographical info, and the posts were all made November 11 within an hour of each other.

#111 ::: Paul S. Cilwa ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 01:35 AM:

Allow me, as a PA author, to explain why I did it.

I was young. (Hey, 50 can be young.) I had published (conventionally) four technical books and been contributing editor to a technical newsletter, but no one ever mentioned writing scams and I'm not the kind of person who would ever PULL one, so it didn't occur to me anyone else might.

I had finished my first novel and sent it off to ten or twenty potential publishers. (I had been approached by a publisher for my technical books so never needed an agent.) I got a couple of rejections, but then an email came from PublishAmerica that SEEMED as if it was in response to my having sent them a query. (I realized later, too late, that I had not.)

As a computer geek, their explanation of POD made sense to me. Their request for addresses of local papers seemed a little odd--Wiley and Sons and Coriolis had always handed publicity for my computer books. But what did I know? So I signed on.

I did think the list price was a tad high.

Finally, I discovered the various writers' forums and learned that I had been taken. Oh, well. By then I had already finished a second novel and was well on my way done with a third. So I put it down to experience. I have NOT bought copies from PA. I figure to outwait them. Once I DO get fiction published, if that book is any good, it should be relatively easy to sell others. And after my seven years of limbo are over, I can market Midnight Harvest as a "lost" book by the well-known author...!

So, bottom line: I wasn't stupid, just naive. (And I was DEFINITELY naive!) I am not desperate to see my words in print; I'd just like to make a living writing books that I, myself would want to read. (The tech books were examples of that, once, but I no longer enjoy reading tech.) My wallet isn't lighter from the experience, because I haven't bought any of the overpriced PA copies.

Oh, one more thing: Although I don't like that PA misleads its writers, I have to say I believe there IS a place for what they do. Grandmothers who've written their memoirs and would like copies in the hands of their grandchildren, could never get the same result as cheaply from a conventional vanity publisher. After all, authors can buy these volumes for 50% list, which is between $8 and $12 depending on the size. And the author gets two copies free off the bat! So, it CAN be a good deal, IF the author knows what he or she is getting into and is okay with that (or better yet, is looking for that exactly).

#112 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 01:38 AM:

Tina @ 109

My sympathies, Tina. Losing a pet really is losing a family member, and it's a hard thing.

#113 ::: RedMolly ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 02:01 AM:

Tina @ 109: I'm sorry to hear about your kitty. My cats have been all that keeps me going at times, and it makes me sick at heart to think of the day I'll lose one of them. You have my sympathy.

And to all drawing parallels between vanity publishing and mainstream music labels: have you seen the film I Am Trying To Break Your Heart? It's the story of Wilco falling apart at the seams while struggling with their record company over the release of their soon-to-be-classic album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The money-grubbing, short-sighted, ultimately evil industry practices it documents are enough to make any self-respecting band go out and start its own label, a la Sufjan Stevens and Asthmatic Kitty Records. Massively recommended.

#114 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 06:02 AM:

Clifton Royston #98: That sounds awfully familiar. I'm sure the economics of the music business are slowly changing, though not quickly enough to keep any more artists from being bled white by (mostly) untalented middlemen. (One notable exception to "untalented" would be the late Ahmet Ertegun.)

#115 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 07:06 AM:

Bruce Adelsohn @ 114

"Shining example" might be too restrained a phrase to use for Ahmet Ertegun. He understood the music deeply, cared about it deeply, and cared about the musicians as well. The problem he gave the industry was that he was so much better than almost everybody else in the field that he made them look even sorrier by comparison. Every so often someone comes from outside our artistic tradition and shows us some of what's possible with it, someone like Joseph Conrad or Ahmet Ertegun.

#116 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 07:46 AM:

This morning's news is that Ingram is going to make those fraudulently-ordered books returnable.

Details here in PW: Ingram Offers Refund on Scam Title

#117 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 08:14 AM:

Paul, #111. I think that your story does show that there's room for a book entitled something like, How to Publish Your Own Book Without Paying People for Nothing!.

There are companies which will do short-run printing. There are freelance copy editors and designers. There's all sorts of stuff you can do yourself, if you know the trick of them.

There could even be room for an honest publishing services company, though I'm not sure it could be kept distinct, in the public eye, from the crooks.

Without that sort of support, outfits like Publish America will continue to thrive.

Come to think of it, I think I've seen books on self-publishing, but I can't recall details. Is the problem simply that the crooks have better advertising?

#118 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 08:49 AM:

Dave Bell #117: I don't think it's a matter of the crooks having better advertising as such - they can spin a better tale, not being encumbered by such niceties as the truth.

After all, Yog's law and the need to run your accounts properly as your own publisher pale rather next to YOU can be RICH and FAMOUS with us, a TRADITIONAL PUBLISHER! Send NO MONEY now!

#119 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 08:52 AM:

Looking at the book itself, and apart from the quality of the stories in it:

Copyright page:

© 2006 by Danna Curran All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission from the publishers, execpt by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be printed in a newspaper, magazine or journal.

First printing.

All the characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblence to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

ISBN-13:978-1-4243-2797-3

2

First thing I notice is that there's no publisher's name or address or contact information. Second thing I notice is that the person who created this page doesn't believe in the serial comma. Third thing I notice is that whoever formatted the book put a page number on the copyright page (yeah, that's what the "2" is all about).

Onward to the book itself, again without commenting on the writing in the stories.

I note that whoever formatted this book didn't figure out how to put different headers on alternating pages, or how to change the headers between the stories. Every page has simply "The Shortcut" at the top.

First story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." The story is set with indents of about five spaces at the start of each paragaph, and with line breaks between the paragraphs. Straight quotemarks.

Second story, "The Rising Star: The Beginning." The story is set with no indents: flush left the whole way. Again, line breaks between paragraphs. Curly quotes.

Third story, "Ghost Writer." The story is set with absolutely huge indents (around 12 spaces). No line breaks between paragraphs this time. Curly quotes.

Fourth story, "Napoleon and the Spectre." The story is set with two-space indents at the start of each paragraph. Line breaks between paragraphs. Straight quotemarks.

Fifth story, "Lilith in the Garden." Flush left, with line breaks between paragraphs. Straight quotemarks.

And so on. No attempt appears to have been made to regularize the formatting. Check out the bizarre quotemarks in "Young Goodman Brown."

#120 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 09:38 AM:

James (#119) Check out the bizarre quotemarks in "Young Goodman Brown."

That's what happens when you want to create ``directed'' quotes out of plain ASCII. I first saw this used in the TeX language. Of course, it's better when you run it through a text processor, or even print it in a font that has slanted apostrophes. I think some fonts even have curly apostrophes and render grave accents as inverted curly apostrophes. But when you're into cut-and-paste-and-don't-worry, that stuff goes out the window.

But given the ASCII quotes, I expect the PD text was ripped off the web somewhere. I think the Gutenberg project has restrictions on commercial use--I wonder if someone might not have bothered to check on that, being a big-time lawyer and all. It would be interesting if he got to pay for that, on top of the "out-of-the-cell" revisionism in the PW article.

``Why in a million years would I want to ruin the name of a character I am trying to brand?'' The usual answer is ``because you wore the juice, so you thought you would get away with it.''

#121 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 10:03 AM:

Dan, given a full text of that book, I'm pretty sure that we could use formatting and typoes to find exactly where on the Web each of the PD stories was taken from. I'm dead certain that none of them were retyped from PD sources. They probably weren't even looked at.

(I'm not sure how far Gutenberg's no-commercial-use clause would take them, given that the texts themselves are PD.)

#122 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 10:14 AM:

Paul #111 --

I've long said that PA caters to the desperate, the deluded, and the naive. If you haven't bought any copies, that's good! You escaped unscathed.

I've also long said that there's a place for what they do, or would be, if they dropped the false and misleading advertising. If they were up front about their business model and about what they do and don't do, I wouldn't have a problem with them.

Meanwhile, those granny ladies who want copies of their books in their hands would be better advised to go over to Lulu.com or CafePress. If they lack the technical ability to format and upload text, they could hire a teenager for the price of an extra-large pizza to do the job, and come up with a superior product far faster than PA is capable of doing it, without the seven-year anchor hanging off their ankles.

#123 ::: Tully ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 10:16 AM:

Clifton #106: The Icelanders really do believe in ferries!

#124 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 10:42 AM:

Sez the intrepid Kevin Fabiano: "I have an idea of whose behind this smear of my name..."

Really? Whose behind would that be, Kevin?

#125 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 10:56 AM:

And any day now OJ is going to reveal the name of the real killer.

#126 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 11:22 AM:

Dan Hoey said (#120):
I think the Gutenberg project has restrictions on commercial use ...

I don't think that's correct; the page describing the Project Gutenberg license has this to say about Gutenberg ebooks which are based on public domain books:

A Project Gutenberg ebook is made out of two parts: the public domain book and the non public domain Project Gutenberg trademark and license. If you strip the Project Gutenberg license and all references to Project Gutenberg from the ebook, you are left with a public domain ebook. You can do anything you want with that.

#127 ::: Paul S. Cilwa ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 11:42 AM:

James #122

I sometimes get breathless with the effort of trying to keep up. Lulu.com? Omigod! I just got done reading their entire web site. I am so impressed, as much with the concept as with the fact that I could find no typos!

It almost makes me want to throw a book together just to have the experience of putting a book out myself (without the hassle of a know-it-all editor or the annoyance of realizing, later, that the editor actually did improve the book, after all).

Best of all, they seem to be honest and straightforward about what they are offering.

Thanks for the tip.

Uh...there isn't a similar model for agents, is there?

#128 ::: --E ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 12:05 PM:

Tracie @ #124: Looks as if they fixed the typo.

Am I the only person who was irked by the PW article's characterization of Mr. Fabiano as a "budding author"? There's a world of positive connotation in that adjective. The neutral "author" (or even more neutral "writer") would be more appropriate in a journal article.

#129 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 12:42 PM:

E @128 -- It doesn't surprise me that they* are monitoring this thread, but, my, that was quick! However, I do think the correction should have been whose->who's. Picky, picky.

*Whoever "they" are. Could be Kevin F., could be other members of the $750 crew, could even be PW/Kevin Howell. Probably all of the above.

#130 ::: Trip the Space Parasite ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 01:08 PM:

Tina@109:

Extra, extra sympathies. One of my cats has chronic renal failure, so I'm going to be facing the same thing in (vet's estimate) a few weeks. :( :(

#131 ::: Graham Blake ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 01:50 PM:

In asserting his moral high ground, Mr. Fabiano solemnly vows, "If I were to do something greedy and sleazy like this, I wouldn’t do it with 13 other authors, I would do it for a book only I wrote."

I am having a hard time believing that someone who would never do something greedy and sleazy like this would say anything except, "I would not do anything greedy and sleazy like this, full stop".

It is really hard to not take that qualification as a "tell".

#132 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 02:24 PM:
"If I were to do something greedy and sleazy like this, I wouldn’t do it with 13 other authors, I would do it for a book only I wrote."

The 13 other authors provide plausible deniability.

#133 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 03:50 PM:

“If I were to do something greedy and sleazy like this, I wouldn’t do it with 13 other authors, I would do it for a book only I wrote.”

Would those 13 other authors be the living ones, or the dead ones?

#134 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 11:04 PM:

From Ice Rocket: Although the blog it references has since been deleted, we find this archived snip:

November 15, 2006
SELL YOUR SHORT STORY
Hi Authors, I want to introduce you to Author Identity Publishing. They are publishing one of my short stories and they may be able to help you get published. A ...
140 days ago · 93 words · SELL YOUR SHORT STORY by Kevin A. Fabiano
#135 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2007, 11:28 PM:

right now I just want to fix the issue.

Right now he wants to stay out of jail for fraud.

#136 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 08:32 AM:

Dene Chaney, one of the other authors, has now been heard from:

Do me a favoure. Take your copies and rip my story out of them. And don't worry, I have recieved no royalties from the f###ers either
#137 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 08:55 AM:

From the PW article on Ingram's accepting returns of the book:

Booksellers can fax him a copy of the invoice, proving they made a purchase and he will send them a check to purchase those copies for the amount the bookstore paid. "I don’t want anyone to be defrauded, so the only person out anything will be me," said Fabiano. Bookstores can wait to mail out the copies of the books until his check clears.

Note that bookstores who take him up on this offer would still be losing money on the books, since he's offering to pay their wholesale price, but they'll have to pay postage to mail him the books and he's not offering to reimburse them for it.

(One wonders what's up with the checks, and why he doesn't give them a credit/debit card number to use instead.)

And I agree that saying, "If I were going to do this sleazy thing, I would only ever do it for my own book" just screams "I have no clue what I just admitted."

#138 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 09:41 AM:

Michael Evers, a striking, stylish attorney carries his New York air of self-assurance with him as he criss-crosses the countryside to formulate what will develop into a historic case.

Does that sound like Mary Sue Gone Wild?

Can anyone find out if friend Fabiano is, in fact, a lawyer? Or exactly where he is or has been a professor?

Weirdly, none of the AIP authors who maintain blogs have so far mentioned this contretemps.

#139 ::: simon ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 10:20 AM:

It is hard to believe that people are stupid enough to publish something and pay for it themselves through the world of scamming scumbags like the "publishing" company in question. But here I am, an idiot in the making. Maybe there's still hope for me? You see, I live in the sheep-infested hills of Wales, and what I know about publishing you could write on the back of a postage stamp (with room for diagrams). At the time I had sent out about five stories to magazines, and one to these basta...sorry, I promised myself I wouldn't swear. I was rejected by three of the magazine and am yet to hear back from the other two. But AIP accepted me. Being a naive, plucky little welshman, I believed the terms of publication to be standard for book format. And was I wrong? Does the bear shit in the woods?

I recieved the book - after waiting for my unhinged postman for four weeks - and found, to my horror, that the editing was child-like. There were six mistakes in my story alone. The formatting was awful and the page numbering was off after a certain story, and I found myself wondering what it was I had gotten myself into. But, sure enough, a few days later I sent another story to them. I had near convinced myself that the reason for their bad formatting was inexperience. Then, like the epiphone, I slapped myself in the face.

To conclude, all I can say is after all of that I found myself cherishing the rejections as less of a failure than the so called "publication". A majority of those in the book are hard-working people who just want to be heard, and all this nonsence is hurting them. I don't write short stories anymore, but if I did, I'd find the hard way and enjoy every rejection as something to learn from. And I certainly wouldn't put myself in the hands of people who carry themselves in such a way. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

I hope people who refuse to listen are now paying attention. The world of publishing can be shitty if you look in the wrong places. Vanity publishing is fine, as long as it's what you want. Make sure you know what you're getting yourself into. This is from the horse's mouth.

#140 ::: jamiehall ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 10:50 AM:

To Simon at #139:

Try not to feel too bad about being scammed by a vanity publisher. A lot of people get scammed like that. You were actually smarter than me, because I paid money up front to my vanity publisher, but your vanity publisher is the type where its business model is set up to make money off the authors after publication. Those are much harder to spot.

#141 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 10:56 AM:

Hi, Simon. Good to hear from you.

May I suggest you check out Slushkiller (and the many similar posts) here at Making Light? See also On the Getting of Agents. We do try to help. The real people in the publishing industry Just Won't Shut Up about how things are supposed to work.

I'm certain that the majority of the people in the book are good folks who naievely believed a fast-talker. I have no idea whether their stories are good or bad. Some could be outstanding.

The real pity of vanity publishing is that it sweeps up the good with the bad and hides it away.

#142 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 11:34 AM:

According to Google, someone named Kevin A. Fabiano of North Miami FL passed both parts of the multistate bar examination given in Vermont in February 1998. Our Kevin claims to have graduated from a Miami FL law school, and probably did.

Also according to a Google search, a Kevin A. Fabiano was fined $375 in 2000 in Miami for -- oops -- forgetting to turn in his campaign treasurer's report on time. (No evidence he won any elections, however.) Further down in the Google results, in May 1989 one Kevin A. Fabiano (registered representative, St. James NY) was fined $10,000 and barred from "association with any NASD (National Association of Securities Dealers) member in any capacity" for some oopsies involving personal purchase of securities.

#143 ::: Graham Blake ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 11:36 AM:

The community is so aggressive in uncovering these publishing scams because they make victims out of writers (not to mention the booksellers, in this case). There is enough anguish in working toward getting oneself published without the grief these scams cause for writers.

Do not feel too bad Simon. Welcome to the collective of writers and allies working to get the word out about these exploitive operations.

...and bless those in the publishing industry who "Just Won't Shut Up about how things are supposed to work."

#144 ::: Simon ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 11:59 AM:

Needless to say, I'm damn happy I found this site (but I wish it had been under different circumstances). I read those blogs and read them again. Fantastic! I remember getting my first rejection from Hodder & Stoughton when I was sixteen. I had written a book which was six hundred (copy) pages long. You don't have to guess what they said, but I framed it, nevertheless, and have it to this day. For me it was a reminder that I wasn't just writing for fun. I was doing it and getting somewhere (if nowhere).

Thank you for your kind words and directing me to advice I will use. As for Fabiano...I'm still trying hard not to swear. Maybe I should review my contract before I start commenting on his actions. I've probably paid for a "no slagging off the publisher" clause too.

Thanks again.

#145 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 12:07 PM:

Also check out the Absolute Write forums, where you'll find some familiar names:
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/index.php

#146 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 12:09 PM:

I'm certain that Victoria (beware@sfwa.org) would love a copy of the contract. Writer Beware keeps material sent to it in confidence confidential.

#147 ::: simon ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 12:31 PM:

J.D.M. Will I get "witness protection"? You must have seen what happened to Will Smith in that film, "Enemy of the State". I cannot afford to underestimate the all-seeing eye of Fabiano's rule.

...what am I talking about?

#148 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 08:26 PM:

#118 --

YOU can be RICH and FAMOUS....

That isn't the real selling point of the vanities and quasi-vanities. The authors aren't after that. The real selling point is this: "You will get to HOLD a copy of YOUR BOOK in your HAND." That's what they're offering.

I hear it over and over.

#149 ::: Joy ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 09:19 PM:

According to Curran's blog:

She is also known to hobnob with celebrities who love to get free editorial advice.

#150 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2007, 10:39 PM:

simon @ 139: It is hard to believe that people are stupid enough to publish something and pay for it themselves through the world of scamming scumbags like the "publishing" company in question.

Please don't confuse stupidity with ignorance. Nobody is born knowing how publishing works. It's something you learn, and if you're lucky, you learn from reputable, ethical, knowledgable people. If you're not lucky, you either learn the hard and ugly way, or you don't ever learn how it really works.

#151 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2007, 12:13 AM:

Young Goodman Brown looks to me like it could have come from http://www.moonstar.com/~acpjr/Blackboard/Common/Stories/GoodmanBrown.html - the quoting, indentation and initial-word caps match. In that same directory is JumpingFrog.html; the quotes match but the paragraph indentations don't.

#152 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2007, 07:15 AM:

As AIP says:

"As a small publishing house we are dedicated to quality work. Our reputation depends on it. We are therefore, careful with the work we present to the public. Great TIME AND ENERGY is spent in editing, proofreading and formatting your work."

#153 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2007, 10:31 AM:

I've just been reading movie reviews of The Hoax, about Irving's pseudo Howard Hughes autobiography, and all of them point out that (individual)scams were much larger and more outrageous back in the day....

#154 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2007, 11:59 AM:

Tina@109 and Trip@130,

I sympathize with you and your kitties. It's a wonderful and terrible thing that we fall in love with beings who don't live as long as we do.

In regard to Trip's note, One of my cats has chronic renal failure, so I'm going to be facing the same thing in (vet's estimate) a few weeks.

I hope your vet knows about feline CRF maintenance care, and has good reasons for rejecting it. When the cat's kidneys are functioning at a inadequate level, it is possible to maintain quality of life with regular subcutaneous fluid infusion, which is a form of osmotic dialysis. The injections, which I expected to be a horror for both of us, turned out to be a bonding experience, a regular pet&purr time.

I maintained one cat for 18 months and another for 6 months on this regimen. Eventually they died—eventually they all die—but they were healthy and happy during their treatment. So this is a warning for us all—watch your cat for evidence of rear leg weakness, excess water consumption, and bad breath, and see the vet. These may be symptoms of the time in the life of your cat that when taken in the flood lead on to an extended and enjoyable CRF maintenance experience.

#155 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2007, 01:57 PM:

No wonder she wanted to stay Anonymous, though she didn't stay anonymous long once she gave her name in her bio. More from Danna Curran, mechanical editor.*

This poem is about my Chihuahua, Khloe Amber

Soft hair round eyes a little wet, watery I think is what they call it
long thin nails they are very sharp if these nails will scratch me it
would most likely hurt this creature is small it weighs four pounds the
tail always wagging, happy to see me she wants her belly rubbed the
head round and small like a gala apple very loving and affectionate the
name is Khloe and she is my best puppy.

Well, I'm glad she loves her dog. I love my dog too.

Pictures in Danna's album titled MY BABIES!!:-) the brown dog is Gianna Summer, the black dog is Khloe Amber, and the guy in the white turtle-neck labeled My Baby is ... Kevin Fabiano! And here's Danna and Kevin on their ski trip this past January. According to his bio, Kevin lives with his "wife Claudia" and two children. Kevin in hot water. "This is so unbelievably refreshing!!!"

Danna's hubby in 2005.

This is as good as reading the National Enquirer. (Okay, I admit it. My secret vice -- I read the scandal sheets while waiting the supermarket line.)

*In answer to someone's question way up the thread, a mechanical editor is one who edits writing for grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, etc.

#156 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2007, 02:14 PM:

Claudia Fabiano AKA Danna Curran's Friendster page.

Claudia
Female, 25, It's complicated
Interested In: Friends
Member Since: Mar 2005
Location: Greentown, PA
Hometown: Greentown, PA
College: State University of New York - Binghamton
Schools(Other): SUNY BINGHAMTON.. GO BEARCATS!!!! :-)
College/University: State University of New York - Binghamton, Attended 2006 - ????, Class of 2007, Bachelor's Degree, Spanish and English with a concentration in Creative Writing
Occupation: Student/Freelance Mechanical Editor
Hobbies and Interests: Dance, skiing, wakeboarding, traveling, red wine, working out, SUSHI, crafts, theater/shows - I LOVE NY!!, roadtrip, the beach, clubbin, reading, CHIHUAHUA's
Favorite Books: Too many..
Favorite Movies: Footloose, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Grease, Dirty Dancing - the original!!, Top Gun, Risky Business, and the list goes on....
Favorite Music: classic rock -- AC/DC, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, and more... i love the 80's too! --Metallica, Cinderilla, Poison, Journey, and again the list goes on and on!! And of course, HIP-HOP n RnB!!
Favorite TV Shows: the Sopranos, Sex and the City of course, That 70's Show, the oldies -- SOAP & All In The Family --...
Zodiac Sign: Gemini
About Me: pragmatic, spontaneous, loving, open minded, straightforward, sophisticated, and im not afraid of taking risks cause
"The way I see it if you want the rainbow you gotta put up with the rain."
GURL JUST WANNA HAVE FUN!!
Check Out These Sites:
http://authoridentity.com/
http://dannacurran.blogspot.com/
http://www.authorsden.com/dannacurran
http://community.webshots.com/user/khloeamber
Who I Want to Meet: anyone mature & cool enough to share a thought or two with!!

#157 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2007, 03:04 PM:

It's a wonderful and terrible thing that we fall in love with beings who don't live as long as we do.

Even among people with no pets, the best-case scenario is that nearly half of us do exactly that.

#158 ::: Trip the Space Parasite ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2007, 05:15 PM:

Dan Hoey @ 154: It's a wonderful and terrible thing that we fall in love with beings who don't live as long as we do.

Yes, it is. But, although I doubted it for a while over the weekend, the wonder really does outweigh the terror.

I am definitely giving Dani-cat subcutaneous fluids, every other day. I also have my vet looking into Fortekor, which she had not previously heard of but another cat-owner recommended I check into (and which I mention here in hopes it might help someone else someday, whether it helps Dani or not).

I don't know if the vet who made the estimate (who is not Dani's regular vet, but just the one who was on duty at the time) was too pessimistic, but Dani is home now, and reasonably happy. I'll just have to do my best for her for whatever time she has left.

#159 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2007, 07:00 PM:

The injections, which I expected to be a horror for both of us, turned out to be a bonding experience, a regular pet&purr time. That's been my experience with my cat's insulin injections, after the first week. I've been trying to figure out if she's made a causal connection between the injections and feeling better or if I'm just anthropomorphizing.

#160 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 02:10 AM:

I've heard of cats that came and reminded their owners that it was time for the insulin injection. Sounds like a causal connection made to me.

#161 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 12:00 PM:

Xopher @127
Even among people with no pets, the best-case scenario is that nearly half of us do exactly that.

And that's the best case, which gay marriage*. We het women have a greater than even chance of outliving our menfolk**.

-----
* I had to say it. I'm staying in a house with my disgruntled lesbian sister, who brings gay marriage into every conversation.

** Actually, that means the straight men have it best. Typical. Even demographics favour them.

#162 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 01:32 PM:

Abi #161: I'm confused. Are you saying that, for example, the odds that I will predecease my wife mean that I have it better?

#163 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 02:44 PM:

Hear the words of the Dark Aphrodite:* "The price of love is mourning, because all relationships end in either separation or death. This is not a risk you take; it is a certainty you must accept. The only ones who escape it are those who die young—so young that they predecease all other beings they love. If you do not accept this, my mystery, both light and dark, is closed to you."


*speaking through a friend of mine, some years ago

#164 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 04:04 PM:

I'm as confused as you are, Fragano.

#165 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 05:20 PM:

"Have it better" if "better" is limited to "mourning a beloved partner."

#166 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 07:55 PM:

Todd Larason @ 159: My vet recently told me about inhalers for cats with asthma. When I expressed some concern about, er, administration, she told me that after the first or second time, most cats recognized they could breathe more easily after the funny thing was put on their face, and they accepted it calmly.

One of my horses had to have some rather nasty wounds flushed and cleaned twice daily for about ten days. Even though this was unpleasant for him, he still came to me each time I called, even when he could see the honkin' big syringe in my hand, and stood like a saint while I did the painful business. I'm convinced he understood why it was necessary.

#167 ::: Leslie in CA ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 08:40 PM:

(regular lurker, infrequent commenter)

Tina and Trip, my sympathies. I try not to think about the day I'll have to say goodbye to my own kitty.

Tracie #156: Since your post, the College/University portion of the page has been changed, as follows:

College/University: State University of New York - Binghamton, Attended 2006 - ????, Class of 2008, Bachelor's Degree, ENGLISH

No more double major, no more CW emphasis, and graduation has suddenly been pushed back a year. Isn't misrepresenting one's education also a form of fraud? If so, you may have done Claudia a favor.

#168 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2007, 11:57 PM:

Serge, Fragano

As the woman in a heterosexual marriage, I have a better than even chance of being a widow. In those circumstances, my husband will live his entire lifespan without the grief I will experience*.

-----
* Unless his theory** is correct, and we are each immortal in our own universes, in which case he will too.

** Not the one about sheep eggs. A different one.

#169 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 01:07 AM:

abi, since I'm now convinced that your husband believes that sheep eggs confer immortality, I shall go to bed. This brain isn't working, clearly.

Actually...no one can prove that they don't, can they? In fact I'd assert that no one who has ever eaten a sheep egg has ever died!

Sleep. Must sleep.

#170 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 04:03 AM:

Abi, #168: I seem to recall reading a short story based on the idea that we were all immortal in our universe; the narrator kept surviving more and more bizarre circumstances, until he was the only human left alive. I'm also getting images of a used bookshop and living quarters upstairs, where the really interesting books were kept, but that could be from a different story. Don't suppose anyone can ID this?

#171 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 04:12 AM:

Tracie (#155) your 'secret vice' has received an unusual recognition. Earlier this year many people tried to define it in the Dag's Dictionary 2007 Challenge No 5: "This week we need a word for the person who browses through all the gossip magazines in a supermarket queue and then puts them all back before they reach the checkout."

Suggestions were: Biblio-aisle; Checkout flick; a Checkout quick; Counterflitter; Eyebrowser; Flickpocket; a Fliptease; Gloss-adjusters; Gossaholic; Gossiptunist; In-line-(cheap)-skater; a Look-worm; Mag-nah-carter; Mag-scab; Muse-agent; Peekpocket; Peepskate; Queuedumper; Rag-snatcher; Scabloider; a Scandalouse; Slybrarian; Star Grazer; Steal magnolias; Sticky-Peek; Super-market-mag-addicted-neva-gunna-purchase (semi-sung); Tabloitterer; Waitwatchers; Woman’s Sneakly (pun on Woman's Weekly, a popular Australian magazine).

#172 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 07:16 AM:

abi @ 168... Oh, that's what you meant. Looking back, it is obvious and, yes, the esprit d'escalier is a wonderful thing. That being said, my wife has made it clear to me that I must take care of myself because she'll be real upset with me if I pass away first. Of course, that means I'll be the one growing old alone.

#173 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 09:31 AM:

Abi #168: I see.*

*Except about the sheep eggs.

#174 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 10:08 AM:

Now I *really* want to know what it is about the sheep eggs.

#175 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 10:29 AM:

There's clearly a bad Latin pun to be made about sheep eggs (sheep=oves, eggs=ova) but I am not sufficiently awake yet to be the one to make it.

Happy Easter, those who celebrate Easter.

#176 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 10:51 AM:

I had to chuckle at the reviewer of his book saying I can’t wait to get to the end. I've felt that way about many things...bad movies, dishes of brussels sprouts, The Grapes of Wrath...

#177 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 10:58 AM:

I can now call myself a Best Selling author forever

I'm pretty sure I can call myself this, too, just like I can call myself a hero of space exploration, but nobody else will call me that (well, maybe Mr. Dell, but that's another story).

Question for the pros: what does it really take to be legitimately considered "a bestselling author?" Is there still a NYT Book Review bestseller list (or NY Review of Books, I can never remember) that's kind of like the billboard charts for books? Because right now it seems like people throw that term around if they sold out the stack they offered at Granny's yard sale.

#178 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 11:30 AM:

Todd Larason @ 170: So we're all living in James Nicoll's universe?

(One of these days I'll get around to printing up the membership cards for the United Solipsists Association.)

#179 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 11:37 AM:

Mary Dell said (#177):
Is there still a NYT Book Review bestseller list (or NY Review of Books, I can never remember) that's kind of like the billboard charts for books?

I can't comment on its perceived importance, but there is still a NY Times bestseller list (or lists, really; broken down into "Fiction," "Nonfiction," and "Advice," in Hardcover and Paperback subsets).

Curiously, if you go to the individual pages (e.g., Hardcover Fiction Bestsellers), they're dated "April 15, 2007." Apparently the NY Times is able to extract book sales statistics from the future. Spooky.

#180 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 11:41 AM:

Epacris, I'm gratified to know that there's a name for my "condition". I haven't decided which name, but ... It always amuses me that the scandal sheets manage to stay in business when practically no one will admit to actually buying them. (yeah, I know -- advertising.)

I did buy the issue of the Weekly Weird News with the 12 members of Congress admitting to being space aliens. (Kinda explains some things, don't it?) The story of how the reporter got the story -- which was not a fabrication -- made the mainstream news. He called up Congressional offices asking the members (or their staff) to confirm or deny that Sen. X was a space alien. 12 of them decided to play along with the joke. "Why yes. There are more of us that you suspect. I'm surprised it too you so long." The article also included a checklist on how to tell if your congressmember was a space alien, very similar to how to tell if your husband/pet/boss or even a prostitute is one. Useful.

#181 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 12:11 PM:

Todd Larason (#170): yes, I thought of that story, too. I can't remember the title, author, or venue right now either.

I do remember the narrator finding a copy of Heinlein's[1] The Stone Pillow.

Great Ghugle, I've found it; Robert Charles Wilson's "Divided by Infinity". (Thanks to the NESFA list of recursive SF.)

I am somehow completely unsurprised to find that it appeared in Starlight 2.

[1] Another one for the spelling reference, perhaps?

#182 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 12:17 PM:

Lila @ 175... There's clearly a bad Latin pun to be made

To me, the idea of sheep eggs brought to mind the kind of animation segments Terry Gilliam would cook up for Monty Python's Flying Circus, maybe a crossover between Basil the Killer Sheep and Eggs Diamonds.

#183 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 04:50 PM:

#181: Ooh, thanks Christopher. I think I even know where my copy of Starlight 2 is! (Egads, I need more shelves.)

#184 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2007, 10:59 PM:

Many amazing and amusing comments here... I love the way you've been unearthing and correlating all the "incriminating info" about the scammers. Just to chime in with others, they're exploiting people's ignorance and vanity.

@#153 Faren Miller (individual)scams were much larger and more outrageous back in the day....

Oh, I dunno. There was that author(?) who turned out to be a multi-year masquerade act, for one! There's the usual parade of "self-improvement" and "alternative whatever" gurus, and a few have been pretty flashy. One could also point to ShrubCo, but that's just too easy....

@#155 Tracie: Well, my first thought was that she could be his mother, but she doesn't really look old enough.

#185 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 03:25 AM:

Speaking of recursion, Todd (#170) & Christopher (#181), through quite a different pathway, and completely without looking for it, I ended up at the Wikipaedia quantum suicide and quantum immortality pages, which refer to both the concept in the story, and the Robert Charles Wilson story itself.
Cool, man.

#186 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 11:13 AM:

David #184: This is Kevin's mother with Kevin Jr. This is daughter Cassie (Cassandra). Not only is Claudia not old enough to be his mother, she's not old enough to be his childrens' mother. Li'l Kev (aka Achilles Jr. -- you just know there's a family story about that) turned 20 last year. But Claudia's Friendster profile does say her age is "25, It's complicated" ...

I think I'm so fascinated with familia Fabiano because I'm alternately too depressed and too annoyed to want to think about Iran, Iraq, etc. They're an amusing distraction, like the supermarket tabloids.

#187 ::: Bruce Cohen, SpeakerToManagers ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2007, 05:48 PM:

Dan Hoey @ 154

Finally, I get a chance to use my very favorite Jane Yolen quote:

"It is fearful to love that which is touched by death."

#188 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 06:32 PM:

Tracie @#186: No no, I initially thought Donna was Kevin's mother. But now I'm just confused.

"What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive...." Lies breed like vermin. Let enough lies accumulate, and they'll build complicated defensive "nests" until the structures fall over of their own weight.

#189 ::: Jim Lund ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2007, 06:57 PM:

Returning to the US Danna began a career as a mechanical editor.

Danna cut car brake lines with a pair of tin snips.

#190 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2007, 12:40 AM:

Danna (it's Danna, not Donna) is Claudia.

#191 ::: Claudia's ex-housemate ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2007, 12:59 PM:

To all those of you interested in Fabiano-gate, here is more news: I actually lived with claudia l fabiano. She refused to pay rent and when we confronted her she went running back to her husband in greentown. Now, I've been asking her whenever i bump into her (we both go to Binghamton University) to pay us back but she refuses.... That is the kind of people the Fabianos are, if you went to see the house she left, she still has the guts to put it up on the internet (http://outdoors.webshots.com/album/557704917HYYdTL) ... well this might not be news to you, but she is not the sharpest cookie. In fact it is her lawyer husband who is telling her how to get away without paying, anyway, we are suing her in small claims court in PA...

#192 ::: Kai ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 05:51 PM:

I heard about this, and I actually saw some really bad stuff on another site, but good thing she does have real friends who love her and have the decency to ask her what the truth is. It turns out she doesn't even owe you guys anything, and even if she did you should have handled this in a different way. What were you guys trying to do anyway? Just get whatever you could from her so one of you guys doesn't have to pay your share of the rent? You were already overcharging her in the first place, and you wanted more??
It's funny how childish/immature "college kids" just never think about the consequences of their actions.

#193 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 05:58 PM:

Hi there, Kai.

Could you ask Claudia herself to drop by? I have some questions for her.

#194 ::: Jnn ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 06:01 PM:

Fr #156 Trc:

r y rll jst fckn jls f thrs' ccmplshmnt? Mnd yr wn fckn bsnss. Gt yr ft fckn ss p, nd d smthng prdctv

#195 ::: Joel Polowin sees too many vowels ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 06:12 PM:

Gosh, Jenna AKA Kai seems to be taking things very personally.

#196 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 06:15 PM:

That rather does invite the question: Exactly what are Claudia's accomplishments?

#197 ::: Jnn ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 10:17 PM:

Wht r yr ccmplshmnts Mr. McDnld bsds bng sd n th stt f Nw Jrs (r ws t Vctr?) hhhh :-), fr ll th sht yr ft ss hs dn??

#198 ::: Jnn ::: (view all by) ::: April 17, 2007, 10:23 PM:


h Jl wht's th mttr? cn't gt nw glsss? y lk lk y jst stppd t f th 70's. nd f crs tk thngs srsl. 'm trd f ths ppl wh hs nthng bttr t d thn rn thr ppl's d wth thr ptt bllsht... gt lf!!! r g s@#k c$%k!! r &*^k *()s^!!!

#199 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 12:40 AM:

For those of you coming in late who didn't get a program, losing your vowels is the local penalty for being rude and abusive.

If you have a point to make here, it's best made by being civil and showing some manners.

#200 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 02:13 AM:

Joel Polowin at #178 writes:

> (One of these days I'll get around to printing up the membership cards for the United Solipsists Association.)

Surely one card would suffice?

#201 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 03:59 AM:

Gt yr ft fckn ss p

teehee. i read that first as "get your fact-checking ass up."

sadly, that would be too witty & also too accurate for our troll to have come up with.

#202 ::: Claudia's ex-housemate ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 09:57 AM:

kaizen0204, or Kai or Jenna or whatever

"doesn't even owe you guys anything" If she you told you that you might want to reconsider your friendship, since apparently she is lying to you too. "even if she did you should have..." what we "should have" does not excuse the fact that she is financially delinquent and a liar: that is what _really_ is immature. "What were you guys trying to do anyway?" Get paid for the 3 months of rent she never paid, also get the money for the utilities someone loaned her out of kindness (granted, thinking that she was trustworthy was immature on our part). "You were already overcharging her _in the first place_" in the first place? to go along with your sophomoric rationalizations, 'in the first place' we could have never overcharged her because she never paid, and if she felt paying $235 a month for rent was out of her budget she should have never rented 'in the first place', THAT was immature (since you seem found of calling people that).

#203 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 10:25 AM:

I have no doubt at all that Kai/Jenna is Claudia herself.

Her "accomplishments," that we're supposed to be "jealous" of, appear to be these:

1) Married a rich guy old enough to be her father.
2) Threw a birthday party for her dog.
3) Incompetently edited a vanity anthology.

Did I leave any out?

No one would have noticed that she existed at all if that vanity anthology hadn't been marketed via federal crime.

The rich guy, now, is a depressingly familiar character. Privileged white male goes to private school, gets everything he ever wanted handed to him. He writes a book and for the first time ever is judged purely on his own merits, not on how much money he has in the bank or who his daddy knows. For the first time ever he's told "No, not good enough." He decides publishing is broken (since there couldn't possibly be anything wrong with perfect him) and becomes a publisher--with predictably bad results. (Though I must say that in this case he went spectacularly, if not hilariously, wrong. Most of those other rich white guys never get mentioned by Publishers Weekly.)

The tragedy is for the other writers who didn't know the warning signs and thought that he actually was a real publisher. They put their stories in his hands--with predictably bad results.

#204 ::: Jonathan Marcantoni ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 10:40 AM:

I am one of those Author Identity people who got caught up in this scam. My story was The Revolutionary and I have not received any royalties and no one returns my calls or e-mails. This doesn't surprise me, and I feel better knowing the truth and I will never deal with these shitheads again.

#205 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 11:39 AM:

Hi, Ex-Housemate --

You have no reason to feel defensive. If Claudia undertook to share the rent and utilities, then never paid up, she's inarguably in the wrong. The word for that isn't immature; it's dishonest.

(Go back and look at comment #192. I knew the moment I read it that it had to be Claudia. No one but the person being discussed would react like that.)

If you want to get your rent and utility money, take Claudia to Small Claims Court. They make it cheap and easy to file (that's the whole point), and it sounds like you have a clear case. She promised to pay, she failed to pay, and if she's throwing birthday parties for her dog she can damned well afford to pay.

By the way, verbal promises can be binding. They're just harder to prove than written ones. You don't need a tape recording. It's probably enough to have a couple of people testifying that that's what the absconding renter promised to pay.

It's a pity we can't pin Claudia down (by full legal standards, at least) as the author of comment #192. Not only is "I don't owe you anything, and you should have picked a different way to collect on the money I owe you, and anyway you were overcharging for the room" a ludicrously stupid defense -- it's right up there with the classic "I didn't push him, he jumped, and anyway I acted in self-defense, and furthermore I was in another city that day and I can prove it" -- but it's also an admission that she owes you rent money and has repeatedly failed to pay up when asked.

Good luck!

#206 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 11:58 AM:

Steve @ 200: Surely one card would suffice?

Sez you. My Mileage May Vary.

#207 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 01:26 PM:

In the interest of providing that proof, our mysterious visitor posted first from 149.125.255.248 then twice from 128.226.160.195

I'm certain that whoever maintains the server logs up there at SUNY Binghamton could take that, plus the date/time stamps on the messages, to tell who was logged in.

#208 ::: Jenna ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 01:40 PM:

Ex-Housemate -- jamirocake, Mariko Edwards, Manuel-Garcia Duque, Kris Rodulfo, whoever the fuck you are

Who's the BITCH now!? hahahhh!!! lmao!!!!

#209 ::: P J Evans sees too many vowels ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 01:46 PM:

Oh jeebus. Another clueless, or extremely rude, post from 'jnn' (pre-disemvowelled for convenience).

Jnn, or whatever your real name is, please find a more appropriate place for your juvenile behavior.

#210 ::: Claudia's ex-housemate ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 02:09 PM:

Thanks to all of you in the forum who have been supportive. Yes, as James D. Macdonald pointed out I am posting from SUNY Binghamton, and have no reason to deny that. We are in the process of taking this to small courts, since NY and PA have different law systems (PA is a commonwealth) we have weighed the options of where to take the case and we will proceed with the jurisdiction in which enforcement would be more expedient. On another note, please if anybody got scammed by AIP, please contact me. I have talked to some of the bookstores that got fake c.c. orders for the shortcut and we are assembling evidence for a different and more serious case.

#211 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 02:09 PM:

I think it's pretty hilarious that the soon-to-be Jnn actually typed maniacal laughter.

#212 ::: Ex housemate ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 02:20 PM:

James D. Macdonald, thank you for your input. I will be contacting Computing Services once I have all the paperwork done to see who was logged in from those IP addresses at the given time frame.

#213 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 08:07 PM:

Ethan, we're of one mind.

Ex-housemate, that last comment from "Jenna", #208, was posted from 149.125.254.253. I'm loath to disemvowel it -- one so seldom sees a baddie provide her own cackling, villainous laughter -- but I assume those are your and your other housemates' names. It's your call. Should I disemvowel it, or -- in the words of Jim Macdonald just now in a chat session -- "leave it up in all its drooling stupidity"?

If you want or need copies of the original versions of Claudia's earlier messages here, with their full message headers attached and the vowels still in the text, let us know. If you're going to be contacting Computing Services, you should have all the information we can give you.

#214 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 18, 2007, 08:25 PM:

Who's the BITCH now!?

I'm sensing...a J name..with an N in it...possibly two. </John Edwards>

#215 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2007, 12:04 PM:

Is Jnn getting her writing ability from Bad Victorian Melodramas 'r' Us?

#216 ::: Matt Waters ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 03:33 AM:

Wow, what can I say, besides I’m late for the party? I’m truly surprised to see this issue receive such a feedback on this message board… I participated in this anthology almost a good year ago thinking I’d be paid a decent sum, and receive solid exposure for my work… surprise, surprise, I was never paid, and was almost immediately embarrassed by the backlash against this book…. I’m a young writer looking to get my work noticed, and I obviously became overzealous in my quest to get published. I should have heeded the warning I received about Author Identity, instead, I just wanted to see my name in print… ironically enough, and I’m being totally honest about this, I’m really happy with my work in that book. It’s a simple, 6-7 page short story about a person discovering that their talent doesn’t define them. That’s it, that’s all. I wasn’t looking to con or deceive anyone in the literary world… oh, well. I fulfilled my contract and never got paid. Quite frankly, this doesn’t bother me [not getting $], but sully on my name does. I’m just an honest, unconnected writer who wanted to get his work out there. Judge me not, people, please. I have learned from this.

“So, bottom line: I wasn't stupid, just naive.”

Truer words never spoken, my friend.

- Matt Waters

#217 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2007, 10:27 AM:

Matt, no one thinks badly of you. I'm very sorry that you had this experience. Just chalk it up to experience and move on.

Take your story, go to Duotrope, and find paying markets that take reprints in your genre.

Move forward, write more, and only go with publishers who have a proven ability to get books onto bookstore shelves.

#218 ::: aline ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2008, 03:45 PM:

Don't know if anyone checks the fabiano-curran posts these days, but if you're interested ... their house on Lake Wallenpaupack was foreclosed on last winter and they were evicted. Seems like they chose not to pay their mortgage. I guess being pseudo-authors doesn't pay well these days.

#219 ::: Jim Kopp ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2009, 09:52 AM:

I rented a home from them in october 2005.April 2006 we received a 10 day eviction notice from monroe county sheriff.Called kevin and he said he would check it out.3 days latter he said it was because of community dues.2 days latter it was because of back property taxes and swore up and down it was taken care of.Two days latter I went to work and received a phone call from ny 10 year old dauchter tgat her and my 5 year old daughter were put out on the street with my two dogs by the sheriff.Turns out we live and payed them rent on a house they lost in forclosure prior to us moving in.The previous tennant was Kevin jr.Then 2 weeks latter when we went to get our belongings everything was gone.20 years of possessions gone and noone would help us.The police,sheriff or lawyers no help.

#220 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2009, 05:23 PM:

An update: kevinfabiano.com expired on 09/26/2009 and is pending renewal or deletion. AuthorIdentity.com expired on 10/22/2009 and is also awaiting renewal or deletion.

A belated note to Jim Kopp (#222): I certainly hope you sought legal advice and informed all of the proper authorities, including the state bar association(s) where ever Mr. Fabiano is licensed to practice law.

Opinion seems to be divided on Mr. Fabiano at Rate My Professors (for his teaching at the McCann School of Business). Mr. Fabiano is not currently mentioned on the McCann website.

Over at LinkedIn, a Kevin Fabiano has this:


Kevin Fabiano
Owner, West Legal Reproductions, Inc.
Location
Greater New York City Area
Industry
Legal Services
Current
* Owner at West Legal Reproductions, Inc.
Education
* University of Florida

University of Florida certainly seems to fit with our boy, as does the legal profession and greater New York area.

Googling on "West Legal Reproductions, Inc." leads one to all kinds of interesting places, including an ad posted on 30 May 2008 offering a $100K salary for a salesman, but nothing more recent.

West Legal Reproductions was located at 99 PARK AVE
NEW YORK, NY 10016-1601
Phone: (212) 764-1126

It was apparently founded in 2001, and its president was Kevin A. Fabiano. The phone is now disconnected; Switchboard.com does not give any listing for West Legal Reproductions in New York City.

Mr. Fabiano donated $300 to the National Republican Congressional Committee on March 21, 2003.

He appears to have entirely dropped off the map (or at least the web) under the name "Fabiano."

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